About two hours south of Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), are several townships set along the Mekong River. One of the largest of these townships is Cái Be and it is also the starting point for the river tour we took, set in the region known as The Mekong Delta, Vietnam.
Full Day 7:30AM – 16:30PM
Up to 40
Lunch is included
On this day, we had only four other guests join our tour, so it was very intimate and we did not have the hassle of having to move a large group around!
The river was once a bustling floating market, chockers with boats selling food and other household items. Today, only a few boats remain. The main produce sold on each boat is attached to a tall flag pole and buyers can clearly see from afar what they may be able to purchase.
A fruit merchant sailed past and we brought the boat right next to hers and boarded the shop. She allowed us to taste each of the fruits for free before making a decision on purchases. I bought a mango, it cost 10,000VND (US$0.50), it was fresh, juicy, sweet and fairly sizeable.
Next, we visited a small island, home to local producers of honey, popped rice, coconut oil, rice paper, snake wine and many other local food products.
Whole snakes are soaked in the mixture and allowed to ferment.
In the photo below, you will see how rice is popped! In a large metal bowl, sand is heated to a very high temperature (its black in this photo because the sand has been used many, many times). Once the sand is very hot, then cold, uncooked rice is added and then everything is agitated and stir to cover the rice with hot sand, causing the popping!
The older generations still drink snake wine, which is made from local fruits and whole snakes are soaked in the mixture and allowed to ferment. Gross! It smells like nail polish remover (acetone), however, you’ll need to find out for yourself about how it tastes, that I did not do.
Dale held a python, a huge one at that. I tried to just go near and it frightened me, I seized up in fear. No photo with the snake.
Lunch was served in the middle of the jungle. It was grilled pork and rice, served with a side of fried spring rolls and a bowl of soup. Simple but appetising. You have the option to order a whole fish and other local dishes, but the cost increases.
After lunch, the locals put on a musical performance for us – traditional instruments and a male and female vocal duet. It was beautiful to hear such harmonies in the local language. While we couldn’t understand the meaning of the song, you could hear the emotions through their singing voices.
A short stroll deeper into the jungle brought us to a small rivulet that poured out into the river Mekong – a traditional wooden boat carried us all the way out.