John Harvey Photo

Mekong DeltaGo to Slide Show

Average Elevation: 0 Meters


Previous: Ho Chi Minh City
 Day 1: Cai Be

Church In Cai Be
We woke this morning in our hotel in Hanoi, enjoyed the buffet and checked out.  At 8am we walked out of the front doors and looked for our next trip.  I'm always amazed these booked over the internet packages work, but the SUV idling in front of us confirmed that I didn't need to make a call to the credit card company.  We had booked a 3 night Mekong Delta trip and we had a driver, guide and car for the next 3.1 days. 
 


Our first destination was Cai Be.  It's about 2 or 3 hours from Ho Chi Minh City and so we had a drive to get there.  The highway was never up to Canadian standards, but our driver got us through pretty quick.  At some point the roads got smaller and then the driver just pulled over.  We got out and there was a river boat waiting for us.  Our guide got in first and we went for a short run out into the river.  Out first stop is a market that sold a variety of refined food products.  I was particularly impressed with how rice wrap paper was made.

Making Rice PaperPeeling Paper Off FabricDrying Rice Paper

Making Puffed RiceSeparating Husk From Puffed Rice

There were a number of stores / demo factories next to the river here and each store specialized in a few products.  The place was thick with tourists which worried me about what the rest of the trip would like.   Helen and I had been shopping plent already so we were reluctant to add to our burden but we did pick up some candy.


After this little demo we got back into our boat and motored out into the Mekong.  We watched traffic go by and eventually stopped at a small restaurant set out over the river.  We were almost alone there with our beautiful view of the river and an impossibly large meal in front of us.  This was more like it!

Taxing Across ChannelLunch At Riverside Restaurant

Into the Canals

After lunch and a nice rest, we got back into our boat and motored down a canal that seperated two large agricultural Islands.  As we slowly motored down the canal we caught glimpses of life - fruit being transported and people harvesting snails from the river banks.  Hand pushed boats glided by (often carrying tourists).  The people on shore seemed friendly, often waving and smiling.

Boating By With TrapsPushing Tourists Down ChannelLongan Loading On Boat
 
Finding Snails In MangrovesHarvesting Snails In Channel

After what seemed forever wandering through canals (If I was driving we would have gone around in circles) we came up to a dock and were done - back in the Everest, fresh bottles of water and we drove to Can Tho. 

Can Tho
 Bridge Near Can Tho
Can Tho is on the other side of one of the major branches of the Mekong and we had to take a ferry to get across.  In the distance you can see a huge bridge being built so that traffic can move easier.  I was quite impressed with the scale - both of the bridge and of the ferries.  The ferries run 24 hours a day and when we crossed there were at least 6 different ferries at various stages of making the 10 minute trip.   What is hard to appreciate from a photo is that the Mekong can run pretty quick (probably as the tide falls) so the ferries were strongly angled against the current coming and going.


Day 2:

Helen In The Bow
We overnighted in Can Tho and the next morning went out for the markets in the river.


The market in Can Tho is a wholesale market.  Boats from the farms nearby come to this market and sell their boatfull of goods to the larger boats.  The larger boats then sell a variety of goods to smaller boats that go out to the smaller communities and sell the goods.  The heavy action happens early in the morning, but it was still pretty active when we were there.

Boat Full Of Dragon FruitBoat Full Of SquashGoods Sticks Up
 
The larger trading boats generally have a stick thrust up into the air with samples of the produce they have on board.   Some trade boats may have only a few products, some boats have pretty much everything you can buy in the area.
 
Selling Bags FullBoat Of PapayaSmall Buyers

After the markets, we drove toward Chau Doc.  It's not a short drive but thankfully our guide had a few stops in mind.   Our first stop was a bird sanctuary.  We pulled over and our guide rented some motor cycles and drivers to take us into the sanctuary - perhaps 1000m from the road.  The "sanctuary" is actually quite small - it's a stand of bamboo that the little egrets have colonized.  
Two Birds Looking AsideTwo Birds On Tree Top

In the middle of the stand is a two story high metal platform that gets you to the level of the canopy.  No blind - the birds see everything you do and there are local children up there playing while you take photos, but still quite a nice experience.  I have never seen so many egrets together before.

Spiky Feathers OutTwo Chicks In Tree

Our next stop was a crocidile farm.   This farm raises Crocidiles for export for their skins.  Apparently they are a local fresh water species and I was quite impressed by the number of walls they had to prevent a release into the river.  The Crocodiles are caged into groups based on age and size and they live about 4 years before they have reached a good trade off of size vs quality of skin.  From their they are shipped live to China where they are slaughtered, skinned and made into export products.

Crocodile Coming OutStack Of CrocodilesCutting Tape Of Crocodile
 
Our final stop was a small family home making incesnse sticks.  Repetitive manual labour, but apparently it paid well enough to afford machinery.
 
Painted SticksWrapping Incense On Small SticksLarger Incense Sticks

Our last destination is Sam Mountain.  Sam Mountain (a hill) is the front most foothill on the border between the Mekong Delta and the hills behind it.  From the top of the mountain you can see into Cambodia (See the large wet area) and Chau Doc on the bank of the Mekong.  This area is dry because of the water canal and dike building.  Because the land is drained here, the Vietnamese can get another crop of rice out.

View Towards Chau Doc

We stayed in a hotel half way between Chau Doc and Sam Mountain.

Day 3: Chau Doc
We went out for another trip on the river. Chau Doc is right on the border with Cambodia and there are fast boats here that can take you deep into Cambodia.

The Pho Boat
We poked around some of the smaller channels.

Driving to Rach Gia

Monks Coming From Building
As we drove from Chau Doc to Rach Gia was passed through rural fields and small villages.  One village had a festival going so we backed up the vehicle and took a look around.

Monks Having Daily Meal
 
Shaved Ice BikeRoulette Like Game
What really surprised me was the child gambling.  I think it was all for fun, but the image of kids betting and adults giving and taking money was a bit jaring. 

The Dice Game For Kids
 


Community Threshing
As we continued driving towards the coast we passed a field being harvested.  Most fields are divided into a number of smaller fields, each owned by a family.  Come harvest time, the community gets together to harvest the rice.  A large threshing machine (some self powered, some tractor powered) comes in and the whole community contributes to process.  Stalks are cut and bundled and fed into the machine.  Rice pours out of one end while straw is thrown from the large gap.  The staw is saved - it's stored in the rafters of many homes for use as feed for the animals in winter.


Feeding ThresherFeeding BagsThresher Blowing Straw

We pulled over and I walked around to look for pictures.  The people bagging the rice grains wanted to see there photos and they got so engrosed in pictures that they neglected to provide a new bag for the women filling.  Much yelling, smiling, and laughing and the men returned to work.

Next: Pho Quoc Island




Roulette Like Game
Altitude: 3m (9 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: game, Vietnam
Peeling Paper Off Fabric
Tags: performance, Vietnam
Taxing Across Channel
Altitude: 6m (19 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: boat, Vietnam
Painted Sticks
Tags: Vietnam
Drying Rice Paper
Location: Go To...
Tags: Vietnam
Helen In The Bow
Altitude: 1m (3 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: boat, Vietnam
Wrapping Incense On Small Sticks
Tags: incense, Vietnam
View Towards Chau Doc
Altitude: 211m (692 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: panorama, Vietnam, vista
Monks Coming From Building
Tags: monk, place of worship, Vietnam
Lunch At Riverside Restaurant
Tags: lunch, restaurant, Vietnam
Separating Husk From Puffed Rice
Tags: Vietnam
Making Puffed Rice
Tags: performance, Vietnam
Spiky Feathers Out
Species: Egretta garzetta (Little Egret)
Tags: bamboo, bird, Vietnam
The Dice Game For Kids
Tags: game, Vietnam
Two Chicks In Tree
Species: Egretta garzetta (Little Egret)
Tags: bird
Longan Loading On Boat
Altitude: 2m (6 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: boat, fruit, produce, Vietnam
The Pho Boat
Tags: boat, street food, Vietnam
Shaved Ice Bike
Tags: street food, Vietnam
Selling Bags Full
Altitude: 2m (6 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: boat, market, produce, Vietnam
Bridge Near Can Tho
Altitude: 2m (6 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: bridge, construction, ferry, Vietnam
Boating By With Traps
Tags: boat, Vietnam
Larger Incense Sticks
Tags: incense, Vietnam
Cutting Tape Of Crocodile
Tags: farm, Vietnam
Boat Of Papaya
Altitude: 4m (13 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: boat, market, Vietnam
Feeding Thresher
Altitude: 13m (42 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: farm, Vietnam
Two Birds On Tree Top
Species: Egretta garzetta (Little Egret)
Tags: bird, colony, Vietnam
Finding Snails In Mangroves
Altitude: 3m (9 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: dappled light, fishing, Vietnam
Boat Full Of Dragon Fruit
Altitude: 2m (6 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: boat, market, produce, Vietnam
Monks Having Daily Meal
Tags: lunch, monk, Vietnam
Crocodile Coming Out
Altitude: 4m (13 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: farm, Vietnam
Boat Full Of Squash
Altitude: 5m (16 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: market, produce, Vietnam
Thresher Blowing Straw
Tags: farm, Vietnam
Feeding Bags
Altitude: 2m (6 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: farm
Goods Sticks Up
Altitude: 2m (6 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: boat, market, Vietnam
Harvesting Snails In Channel
Altitude: 5m (16 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: fishing, Vietnam
Two Birds Looking Aside
Species: Egretta garzetta (Little Egret)
Tags: bamboo, bird, colony
Making Rice Paper
Tags: performance, Vietnam
Small Buyers
Altitude: 3m (9 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: boat, market, produce, Vietnam
Community Threshing
Altitude: 20m (65 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: farm, Vietnam
Stack Of Crocodiles
Tags: farm, Vietnam
Church In Cai Be
Altitude: 3m (9 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: place of worship, Vietnam
Pushing Tourists Down Channel
Location: Go To...
Tags: boat, Vietnam
Tags: Vietnam(39), boat(11), farm(7), market(6), produce(5), bird(4)
From: John Harvey Photo > Trips out of the Country > Vietnam > Mekong Delta

Leave a Comment

Some HTML allowed: <b>, <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>, but most isn't.  Text length is limited.  comments from first time authors will be reviewed before being posted. comments with swearing or painfully poor spelling will probably be rejected.


Last Modified Tuesday, June 9th, 2009 at 01:29:06 Edit
Copyright and Contact Information.