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Stop At: Vinh Trang Temple, Nguyen Trung Truc, My Tho Vietnam
Nicknamed the ‘rice bowl of Vietnam’, the Mekong River Delta is a flatland stretching from Ho Chi Minh’s southwest to the Gulf of Thailand. Orchards, paddy fields and swamplands make up the rustic landscape of this verdant region, well worth exploring as an escape from Saigon’s street scenes. Of the dozen-more towns here, the capital My Tho is most famous. The amiable market town is a convenient jumping off point for boat trips from the city, nestled on the north bank of the Mekong’s northernmost strand, the Tien Giang (Upper River).
At My Tho, our first stop is the Vinh Trang Temple, a peaceful Buddhist temple of intricate architecture set in a beautiful garden. After half an hour, we’ll move on to the harbour, where we board a boat cruise of the Tien River. Float by Phoenix, Unicorn, Dragon and Tortoise islands, fishing villages, stilt houses and fruit plantations along the river. All this time, our local guide will impart insights into village life and local industry.
After lunch we’ll need the fuel for an afternoon exploring Ben Tre, a picturesque coastal province home to the delta’s most breathtaking scenery. A sampan ride will take us along the natural canals in the shadows of water coconut trees. It’s here we’ll get a real sense of the charm and tranquility of the area. We’ll then stop to visit a family who make their living from creating coconut candy, see the entire process and taste the final product.
We end the day with afternoon tea, Vietnam style. On the menu: fresh fruit and honey tea against the background of Southern Vietnamese folk music performed by locals.
Duration: 30 minutes