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: Phong Dien – Cai Rang
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.
Then visitors will stop by the local orchard garden where many special types of tropical fruits are grown. You can walk around and amaze yourself with the new knowledge of how many types of fruit trees look like.
Finally, the bus will stop for lunch then head back to Ho Chi Minh city.
* Included: A/C transfer, English speaking guide, boat trips, 1 lunch, 1 breakfast, fruit, honey tea and all entrance fees, 1 extra dinner (applied for homestay), 1 night 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.
Ho Chi Minh – My Tho – Ben Tre – Can Tho – Ho Chi Minh (start 8.00 – return 17.00 next day)