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Travel GuideSaturday, 09/23/2006, 02:34

See the Mekong Delta a different way

Interlacing rivers and channels plus an abundance of fruit and vegetables are just a sample of what makes the Mekong Delta popular with tourists and the travel companies that take them there
See the Mekong Delta a different

See the Mekong Delta a different way

Interlacing rivers and channels plus an abundance of fruit and vegetables are just a sample of what makes the Mekong Delta popular with tourists and the travel companies that take them there. And the tour operators know that travelling in a car or minivan can wear a bit thin after a while.

If the thought of a long bus ride puts you off seeing Tien Giang, Vinh Long and Can Tho, you can always get there in style by travelling on a fast cruise vessel operated by Saigon-Mekong Greentours.

This particular travel firm has a one-day boat excursion to My Tho, the capital of Tien Giang, a two-day trip to My Tho and Vinh Long, and a three-day tour taking in My Tho and Can Tho.

It also offers a longer river journey all the way to Cambodia, stopping off at My Tho, Chau Doc near the border and other places along the way. Passengers get their fill of fresh air as the boat averages 50kph along the Saigon River and the myriad twisting channels to and in the delta. And there's no traffic congestion to speak of or ferries to wait for, quite unlike travelling by road.

Cycling is another option. Pedaling along narrow country roads, watching the farmers at work in the field, and discovering quiet little villages in out-of-the-way places is very pleasant. So is stopping at the home of an accommodating family, sampling the local cuisine, and listening to don ca tai tu, a style of folk music common in the region.

Saigontourist can take you to the Mekong Delta by motorcycle, and foreigners in particular seem to like this option because of the convenience and fun. Since the itineraries are not set in cement, you can pretty well go where and when you will, although staying with a local family is a definite.

At the moment Saigontourist is plugging a tour named "Traveling to Dong Thap Muoi in the Flood Season." It takes in lots of melaleuca forests and includes a boat trip up the Vam Co Tay River to the Remedia Center, where the party can learn about herbs and how to extract and distil attar.

The country around Can Tho City is the focus of a new tour from the Saigon-Can Tho Travel Center (Sacotour). Besides visiting the floating markets at Cai Rang and Phong Dien, the travelers can go up Rach Nho (the name translates as "small canal") and enjoy the water coconuts and cork oaks along the banks, the bamboo bridges that cross the channel, and the little jetties. It's very peaceful and far removed from the noise of the big city.

In a bid to claw back some lost market share, Fiditourist is planning a tour from HCM City to Phu Quoc Island off Vietnam's southwest coast. It will involve taking a bus to Can Tho then on to Kien Giang, stopping off to see the melaleuca forests of U Minh, then catching a fast boat to Phu Quoc for a few pleasant days of island life. Fortunately the trip back will be by plane, not bus.

If any of these sound interesting, make enquiries or even book a place at:

Saigon-Mekong Greentours,173 Dong Khoi Street, District 1, HCM City.Tel: (08) 822 7311

Saigontourist Travel, 49 Le Thanh Ton Street, District 1, HCM City.Tel: (08) 829 8914

Fiditourist,129 Nguyen Hue Boulevard,District 1, HCM City.Tel: (08) 914 1414

Sacotour, 5 Phan Dinh Phung Street, Can Tho City.Tel : (071) 825831


 

 


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