You can’t come to SE Asia and not cruise down the Mekong! In Vietnam the river divides into nine estuaries and is aptly named the “Nine Dragons”.
The Mekong is easily reachable from Ho Chi Minh City, and is definitely possible to do as a day trip.
I booked my day trip through Buffalo tours, they organise private tours around Asia. Their Mekong itinerary was just perfect for me, from cruising on a small boat down one of the canals to interacting with locals and learning about their different trades.
The day started with a pick up from our hotel in Ho Chi Minh, a 2 hour drive from the Mekong delta. The guide went over what we would be doing whilst also giving us history and more info on the Mekong and Vietnam in general. It was so nice to be able to easily speak to a local!
Find out the Top 15 Things to do in Vietnam!
EXPERIENCING LOCAL TRADE
We started the day at a brick making factory. The guide explained the process of making bricks as well as how they are cooked 24/7 for 5 weeks straight, how crazy is that?!
We also visited a coconut factory where we learnt all the different uses for the coconut, it amazes me how resourceful the Vietnamese are, nothing goes to waste! Here we sampled coconut candies and wine (which was 20%!!) whilst watching the locals pull apart the coconuts to use the fibres to make rugs.
Next stop was a little village where you get to see how bed mats are weaved. I even got to have a go! Not sure they’d be able to make the usual 4 a day with my help though!
THE MEKONG (CANAL)
Buffalo Tours are all about sustainable tourism and thus their Mekong tour is on a less commercial part of the river, so you can enjoy drifting down the river in a small boat without the hoards of other boats.
The cruise down the little canal was just what I’d hoped for, the river is bordered by sea coconuts and we only bypassed a few fisherman and a boat transporting coconuts, it was such a peaceful and tranquil experience!
THE MEKONG (ESTUARY)
The day ends on Buffalo Tours own boat, Le Jarai. Here you will have space to enjoy a delicious 5 course meal of local cuisine whilst cruising down the Mekong.
We also learnt how to make fresh spring rolls and how to shape vegetables for the plate decoration you see all over Vietnam. I had a go at carving a carrot flower and it wasn’t actually that hard!
Thank you Buffalo Tours for such a great day! It was amazing being off the usual tourist path and to learn about as well as try out the local trades.
I also booked a tour with them which took me hiking through the mountains in north Vietnam, and included a homestay.
If you’re travelling around Asia make sure you get in touch with Buffalo Tours for a tailor-made private tour!
If you’re interested in learning more about my spendings for my 7 month trip, check out my blog “How to Travel on a Budget in Asia“.
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