Day 1: Ho Chi Minh city – My Tho – Ben Tre – Can Tho
Leaving Ho Chi Minh City, visitors will drive along the National Route 1A. About 2300 km long, it is a very important route connecting many provinces and cities of the country. Driving along this route, visitors can enjoy the scenic journey of beautiful green rice fields that turn golden during harvest seasons on both sides of the route. Following this route, the bus will arrive at My Tho city, in Tien Giang province not long after the departure.
In My Tho, visitors will visit Vinh Trang pagoda. Vinh Trang pagoda is one of the best known Buddhist temples in the region. The temple stands on a large area with the size of 5 acres. Inside, there are many bronze and wooden statues of various Buddhas and the 18 arahants. The oldest of these statues can be more than 100 years old. While still at My Tho, visitors will also take an entertaining boat ride along the My Tho River to view this region’s unique ecosystem of nipas (a water type of coconut plants) growing wild on the sides of the river, the stilt houses above the water, colorful fruit plantations with all types of distinctive tropical fruits and fishing villages along the river bank. After that, visitors will visit the Tortoise Island, one of the four islands named after four different animals in the Tien River between Ben Tre city and My Tho city.
Here, visitors will take a leisurely stroll and have lunch in the beautiful orchard garden. After lunch, visitors will go on another boat ride to An Khanh Commune – a less known but should-not-be-undervalued attraction in Ben Tre to enjoy many hands-on activities. This is often the most fun part of the trip. You will have an opportunity to try rowing a hand-rowed sampan – a signature type of boats of this region – along the natural canals under the cool broad shade of the evergreen nipas, to enjoy seasonal tropical fruits and honey tea while listening to the special “Southern Vietnamese folk music” originated in this area performed by the locals themselves. After that, visitors will get to visit a family business in the area in order to understand the local idyllic rural daily lives. Before leaving Ben Tre, visitors will get to taste the special Mekong Delta style of coconut candy. Different from other usual types of hard candy, this coconut candy is soft, white, chewy and hold inside its unique type of sweetness from real coconut milk.
Leaving Ben Tre, visitors will proceed straight to Can Tho. The group will check in and settle in the hotel. (Visitors can request for a family home-stay style dinner with the locals or at a local’s house. This needs to be requested early for arrangement. Else, take care of your own dinner.) For the rest of the night, visitors are free to walk around or visit the busy, lively Can Tho market on their own.
Day 2: Can Tho – Chau Doc – Tra Su Sanctuary
After breakfast, visitors will go on a boat trip. The leisurely boat trip will take visitors to different tributaries of the Lower Mekong River to enjoy the picturesque, peaceful view of the biggest river of Vietnam. After a while of cruising around the river, the boat will head to Cai Rang floating market (or Phong Dien is optional). Cai Rang floating market is the liveliest, most bustling market in the Mekong Delta region. Floating market is a signature type of market that almost only exists in this rivery area of the country. This bustling floating market is where locals buy and sell products from their boats. Samples of fruits, foods, local specialties are hung in front of the boats to tell people what kind of products a boat sells.
In the floating market, you will have a chance to taste the Vietnamese famous vermicelli soup and see how it is made. The Vietnamese vermicelli soup from this area is featured on many big Western cook shows. Even the hard-to-please British chief Gordon Ramsay had to fall for this dish. Then visitors can wander around the village and meet the locals. They will show you how to cross a “Monkey bridge”, which is a very simple type of bridge used to cross small canals or lake that is built from almost nothing but one stem of bamboo. Walking on a Monkey bridge will give you the feeling of a master acrobat crossing a thin line of rope in the sky. Before leaving Can Tho, the group will stop by an orchard garden to see the colorful, rich types of tropical fruits.
Then the bus will head Chau Doc. Here, visitors will have a tour of Tra Su Sanctuary, which is a famous wild birds sanctuary of the whole nation. Cruising through the splendid canals of the sanctuary that reach deep into the forest, visitors will feel the breeze from the river blowing, watch storks, cranes and see other tropical birds freely flying right across you. If time permits, there will be a quick stop at Sam Mountain so you can visit the Cave Pagoda. Then head back to town to check in the hotel. Spend the night at the hotel in Chau Doc.
Day 3: Chau Doc – Ho Chi Minh city
After breakfast, visitors will go on a boat trip cruising through the floating village on Mekong River and stop by to visit their fish farms. In these farms, Mekong Delta River raise fishes right underneath or beside their floating houses using a unique system that is both good for the production of fish and the surrounding environment. Then, leaving the boat, visitors will get back to the land, in the bus to vist the Cham Community. They are a Vietnamese minority that has existed for years in Vietnam with a rich history of beautiful culture. Visitors will see their traditional weaving village. Finally, the bus will stop by a local Islamic Mosque in the area. Islamic Mosque is not popular in Vietnam, even in big cities like Ho Chi Minh but there is one right in the Mekong Delta. Head back to Ho chi Minh city. End of the trip.
*Slow boat to Phnom Penh ( no air-con ) start 7.30 – arr 16.30
( Drop off at Neak Luong Wharf )
*Fast boat to Phnom Penh ( with air-con ) start 7.00 – arr 13.00 (depart at early morning without visiting fish farm & Cham village)
(Drop off at Sisowath Wharf)
* Included: A/C transfer, English speaking gide, boat trips, 1 lunch, 2 breakfast, fruit, honey tea and all entrance fees, 1 extra dinner (applied for homestay), 2 nights A/C accommodation at 1 star hotel (base on twin or double room sharing), 1 mineral water/pax/day
* Excluded: Travel insurance, drinks, other meals not mentioned, personal costs.