Results 1-10of 10 Reviews
Northampton, United Kingdom
August 15, 2011
From journal Vietnam
London, England, United Kingdom
September 1, 2010
From journal Vietnam Part 1: Ho Chi Minh City
Gravesend, United Kingdom
November 30, 2009
From journal South Vietnam
Los Angeles, California
October 3, 2008
From journal Vietnam...It's a Country Not a War
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
June 15, 2005
Our first stop was a coconut candy factory where candies were hand-made over a charcoal fire. We were encouraged to buy some packets of candies back as a support to the local industry. Later, we were also served lemon tea with honey made from the bee farm adjoining the coconut candy factory. Just as we were leaving, another group of tourists arrived. Brisk business…
We boarded our boats again for our next destination – lunch! Lunch was at this restaurant about a 20-minute boat-ride away by the riverside. It is obviously a tourist restaurant, as cultivated plants lined both sides of the walkway, there were chickens and monkeys in cages for all to tease, and there were replicas of traditional farming tools on display. Rice, vegetable soup, stir-fried morning glory, fried spring rolls, some pieces of meat, and fruits: it wasn’t luxurious, but, well, what can you ask for $7, right?
After lunch, we walked through the back of the restaurant, passing a snake farm, fruit orchards, and a river with the monkey bridge (which all of us attempted and passed). Finally, we arrived at a family house where we would be entertained by a family of musicians to Vietnamese traditional music. I couldn’t help but wonder about the two young girls in the troupe. They were probably no more than 8 years old. Pretty and demure in their pink ao-dai’s, they melted the audience’s hearts with their innocent smiles and graceful moves. Do they go to school? How does the whole family survive solely on tourists’ contributions? When the time came for us to be generous, most people in our group put in only a 5,000 dong note. My heart goes out to the family.
We then walked to the canal again and were greeted by six sampans. Each sampan holds only four people, and we were rowed by a woman in those iconic triangle hat. This was actually my favourite part of the tour. Each of us took turns with the oars and raced each other down the canal.
By the time we reached our big boat that would take us back to the jetty, it was already 3pm, and most of us were just dying to get back to the cool comforts of our air-conditioned van. But no, $7 also brings you to the Vihn Trang Temple on the way back to Saigon. To be very honest, I had neither the mood nor energy left to appreciate this lovely temple. All I wanted was to go back to the hotel and stand under the cold shower.
So, if you are looking for a cheap way to spend your day in Vietnam, visit Kim’s Travel. They have tours to Hanoi, Hoi An, MyTho, Can Tho, and numerous other destinations. Seven dollars goes a long way here...
From journal Saigon Experience
With eight wards and five bordering communes, the city of My Tho has a population of 170,000. Situated on the left bank of Tien River, My Tho covers 50 square kilometers and is surrounded on the east by Cho Gao and Chau Thanh on the west. My Tho saw its early settlers in 1623 and gathered a rich historical background for the natural beauty of the land.
Our day started at 8am in front of Kim’s Travel. There were 12 other fellow travelers, comprised mainly of Koreans and Japanese. We were the only Malaysians. Our tour guide welcomed us on board with a smattering of Korean and Japanese, but, thankfully, resumed the rest of the speech in English.
The van took us through the outskirts of Saigon, onto the highway that leads south. Due to the heavy traffic and road conditions, the 80km journey took us more than 2 hours. Along the way, we saw many commercial projects and housing projects under construction. The guide explained to us that the Vietnamese government was trying to encourage developments outside Saigon. We were pleasantly surprised to see the campus of RMIT under construction 20km from Saigon. With this, skyscrapers and high-rise condos have also risen from the mud. We were told that the price of each condo unit starts from $120,000, steep for the normal Vietnamese standards.
After 2 hours of bumpy ride, we arrived at My Tho’s jetty to board a boat that would take us down the Mekong River. Thick, muddy waters greeted us, and I just couldn’t help comparing what lay in front of my eyes with all the postcard images I’ve seen on the Internet before this. Anyway, the boat took us to one side of the river bank, and we changed to another smaller boat that would bring us to the coconut candy farm. The smaller boat ride was more interesting as we weaved through the canal. Flanked by thick mangrove swamp on either side, it was easy to fall in love with this place.
Famed for its floating markets and associated river life, we planned to visit Can Tho, the main city in the Mekong Delta. We made reservations and paid for our hotel via the Internet for a 1-night stay on our fourth day in Saigon. When we got to Saigon, imagine our horror when we discovered that the 1.5-hour ferry service to Can Tho had been terminated. But, according to the latest Lonely Planet, it still existed! The locals explained that the service was terminated 2 years back, as there were too many collisions between the big ferry and the smaller sampans on the Mekong River.
Determined to get there, we scouted for a private tour to Can Tho in District 1, but the prices quoted to us were way too steep. For a round-trip ride from Saigon to Can Tho in a private taxi, it was a cool $120. The ferry service was supposed to have cost $12 each.
Anyway, with much disappointment, we went to Pham Ngu Lao, the backpacker district of Saigon that afternoon. After a couple of beers to cheer us up, we found Kim’s Travel and wandered in. The guy manning the counter explained that they have a day tour to My Tho City the following day and urged us to come along. He explained that Can Tho was not a viable option, seeing that we only had 2 days left in Vietnam. The My-Tho itinerary included a return trip to My Tho on air-conditioned van, plus visits to a coconut candy farm, fruit orchard, traditional dance, lunch, and a visit to Vihn Trang Temple – all these for $7! Well, why not?
Plymouth, United Kingdom
November 6, 2004
We drove to My Tho, which is on the Mekong Delta and where a boat was waiting for us. It must have been a least a 16-seater, but we had it to ourselves. We were served coconut milk as we toured the islands; the Mekong Delta is 3km wide at this point. Our first stop was the Honey Farm where Paul had an encounter with an Anaconda (boa constrictor). As Hung had explained in the car that they are only awake when they are hungry, I just took the photos. We were served peanut and honey sweets, honey with rice wine, and hot green tea and lime juice-it was quite nice. If you think about buying some of the sweets to bring home remember about weight-one of everything is quite heavy! Our next stop was for a fruit lunch while the locals sang traditional songs for us, which was nice. We went for a trip in a traditional boat paddled at the front and back, which was very wobbly, and were given conical hats to wear. Our next stop was the province of Ben Tre, where we tried warm coconut candy and bought beautiful hand-embroidered T-shirts for $3 each. Perfect for presents.
On the way back to Saigon, we stopped at a bonsai garden and met with a monkey that shakes hands and likes his head scratched. Hung said she was upset today- it must have been Koreans. Hung has not taken to the Koreans, although Americans are fine, which is strange for someone who fought for the Viet Cong. There was also a baby monkey, about 3 months old, that was happily climbing inside and outside the cage. We stopped at a marble factory and watched the work in progress, excitement added by the fact that the shade canopy fell towards us! We bought a small marble Happy Buddha here; he brings luck, which was just what we needed to avoid excess baggage charges on the way home!
From journal Vietnam Voyage
January 26, 2004
From journal Vietnam -- my favourite destination
February 23, 2002
The bus trip from HCM City takes you through acres of rice paddies where you can see farmers in their traditional conical hats plying their trade as they have done here since the 1860s when the French colonial authorities recognized the lands potential value. The first stop of the day was at a roadside bar for a quick shot of the local rice wine to start our day, this was quickly followed by a brief respite at a Caodaist temple, this spiritualist religion founded by a Vietnamese civil servant in the 1920s continues to thrive throughout the Mekong delta and neighbouring Tay Ninh district where these fabulously colourful and at times tacky temples abound.
Finally arriving at CaiBe we are
loaded onto our little wooden boat for a 5 hour tour of the delta, taking in: a small village where everyone is employed in the production of rice sweets, one of the floating markets where local producers trade their goods, an island fruit orchard where we break for lunch (local fish served in the traditional upright position) and a quick cycle ride around the island to work it off afterwards (well my companions did, I took the opportunity to work it off in my own way by passing out in a hammock), and finally a pottery factory before being loaded back oto the bus for the return journey.
The return journey took us through the busy little city of VinhLong and the MyTho bonsai gardens (a nasty little tourist trap where various species of wildlife are kept in unpleasant conditions, to be avoided at all costs) before once more being taken through the glorious rice paddies and dropping us back off at Kim’s Café in HCM City in the early afternoon to collect out free t-shirts!
From journal Don't Miss Saigon