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“A highlight in Vietnam”
Review of Mekong River

Mekong River
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Ho Chi Minh City and Canals Boat Tour
Ranked #114 of 1,198 things to do in Vietnam
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
539 reviews
356 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 232 helpful votes
“A highlight in Vietnam”
Reviewed 17 March 2014

A cruise on the Mekong river will provide an insight into the lives of people who live in the Mekong delta and depend on this river system for their livelihood.

The Mekong river originates in the Tibetan Plateau and flows across China, Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Burma and Cambodia (including Tonle Sap lake). I have now seen this river in 3 different Asian countries.

Visited February 2014
1 Thank PlanetOz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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ross-on-wye, england
Level Contributor
79 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
“Mekong Delta is disappointing”
Reviewed 15 March 2014

Well, the bit we saw anyway. We had a 2day/1night tour booked with Jason Superstar's other guide, Vu, who was charming. We were picked up from our hotel in HCMC by car but unfortunately the car was stopped by the police on our journey. We never found out why, but it was clear that the police wanted money before they would let us continue. In the end, I lent the driver the equivalent of $90 and we were on our way.
It is quite hard to describe why we were disappointed in the trip - I think we just felt it was very touristy - although some things were good. First stop on our private boat ride was to a small island and Vu showed us around a beautiful and peaceful pagoda. This was quite charming.
Next, after another boat ride we disembarked onto a small sampan and were punted up a small tributary which could have been quite enchanting, until we met 2 similar boats of tourists coming in the other direction! Later on both Vu and our local lady sampan operator were talking on their mobile phones. The illusion was totally shattered.
Next, we were taken by boat to a brand newly constructed building on the banks of the Mekong, apparently built and owned by Jason SS. His family were there and we assisted in cooking a sumptuous lunch which was laid out and beautifully served. If we had been a young couple I am sure it would have been very romantic and was probably the highlight of the trip.
We returned to the Sao Mai Hotel by boat for a rest after that.
In the evening Vu collected us and took us to his parents' home where the whole family was gathered and cooked us an amazing meal. It was a privilege to cook in their home. My daughter is a very fussy eater which made it difficult as they were very eager to please us and were disappointed when we would not eat more.
The following morning we were collected at 5.30am, primarily to see the sunrise. Unfortunately the weather was not good. We were freezing cold, which did not help, and the sun, when it did come up was shrouded in mist and greyness and the experience was underwhelming. No-one's fault I agree. We stopped on a small island where the local inhabitants hold a daily market to purchase all their food before daybreak. It was most interesting to see all the wonderful freshly caught fish, freshly baked bread etc. The other reason for rising early was to see Cai Be Floating Market. Now we had seen this the previous afternoon, when we set off on our boat, and it was just a few very battered and ancient and colourless boats in the middle of the inlet at Cai Be. We had presumed that in the morning there would be many more boats and it would be bustling with small boats buying and selling their wares. Wrong! There were no more boats, and nothing much going on. It was extremely disappointing. Vu told us that the boat owners (the wholesalers) were extremely poor and there were international efforts to get them housed on shore, so there weren't many left.
Perhaps Can Tho market is more interesting - Cai Be certainly isn't and definitely not worth going to see. However, the market on the shore was terrific. We had seen other similar markets in other parts of Vietnam so were perhaps a little blase by this stage, but if it had been your first, you would have been enthralled. We even saw live frogs tethered by their legs, for sale!
We were taken to see sugar cane being refined and rice paper being made and it seems all Mekong Delta trips are being padded out with a few of these local "factory" experiences. It's not a bad idea and they were interesting.
It is just the Delta that was disappointing. Maybe one has to go much further into it and be more intrepid but these tours just don't really do it. My daughter said she reckoned we could have seen all we needed in a one day trip. I agree.

Visited December 2013
3 Thank hollysmum_8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Rochester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
74 reviews
23 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
“Cheap but certainly not cheerful!”
Reviewed 13 March 2014

Just returned from Saigon and did the 1 day trip to the Mekong Delta with Delta Tours. We only paid £10 but what a disappointment it was. The 2 hour trip on an over stuffed coach was not great, and a pretty boring journey. When we arrived we were herded on and off boats all day long to visit tea, coconut candy places, hardly any time on the Delta itself. Our guide had been doing his job too long and was really offhand, and had no consideration other than to get us around the various places and then shoe horn us back into the coach for the journey back. My husband was taken ill whilst on the trip with an upset stomach and the guide left it to other passengers to help me get him from boat to boat, and when I tackled him about his lack of care, he shrugged his shoulders and said he had to look after the group.
My advice is to pay a bit more and make sure you get time on the Delta, NOT WITH DELTA TOURS!

Visited March 2014
2 Thank kentisi2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Merimbula, Australia
Level Contributor
393 reviews
129 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 119 helpful votes
“A tour of Unicorn Island and the adjacent islands, complete with floating fish farms and tropical fruit in abundance, showcases”
Reviewed 13 March 2014

The Mekong is a must for all when touring Southern Vietnam. The laid back put-put sound from the long boats, the wide river and the different way many people live off it create a relaxing ambiance that is of huge contrast to Ho Chi Minh.
It has the usual tourist traps, without persistent salespeople - which is refreshingly different to the markets in Ho Chi Minh.
The families that live on the islands make a living out of the tourists but they do it in such a natural and relaxed way that you buy lollies and snacks knowing you can't take them through customs anyway - just to support them because you want to.
The food is very authentic, not to be eaten because it's served from fabulous chefs, but because it's made and served by ordinary and lovely people etching a living in an honest way.
While I was on Unicorn Island I got to handle a large python, called Michael Jackson (don't ask me why).
We met a family that owned a floating fish farm and got to feed their fish. Talk about a relaxed existence.
By the end of the day we were sad to leave but far better for having the experience.

Visited March 2014
2 Thank TerryAustralia2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kristiansand, Norway
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 March 2014

Great lovely trip, I highly recomend it, the crew is amazing, the river facinating and the people on and off shore was gentle and kind...loved it!

Visited February 2014
1 Thank Mali A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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