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Jamietravelstheworld

Mekong Delta Shore Excursion

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Will be booking shore excursions soon for Regent Seven Seas Voyager that stops in Ho Chi Minh City. There are 2 different Mekong Delta excursions and I'm not sure which to take. I'm pasting descriptions below. Feedback greatly appreciated. The first tour is included at no cost - the 2nd tour has a cost of $149. Looking at maps, it seems to me that the first tour might not have much time on the actual river but I'm not sure. Any advice greatly appreciated.  Thanks, Jamie

 

Tour 1, no cost, 7 hours: Departing the pier, drive to the delta port of My Tho where the exploration on the Mekong River begins. One of the great rivers of the world, the Mekong begins in the Tibetan Plateau and tumbles 2,795 miles to the Mekong Delta and the South China Sea. In Vietnam, the river divides itself into dozens of
tributaries and becomes the Cuu Long or Nine Dragons that fan out into a rich delta, covered with green rice paddies and orchards of coconuts, mangos,
pineapples and bananas. Upon arrival in the provincial town of My Tho, visit the 150-year-old Vinh Trang Pagoda, with its interesting combination of Asian and European architecture. Continue your drive to the Mekong river bank. Upon arrival, board a boat to begin your trip down the Mekong River. Pass fruit orchards, stilt houses, fish and
shrimp farms, small canals and all manner of boats. Pause at Thoi Son Island, with its tile-roofed houses and fruit trees bearing plums, mangoes, and
lychee-like longans. Walk around the village and stop to taste the local fruits and honey tea and enjoy some local folk music. You’ll stop for lunch at a local restaurant where you have a chance to taste local dishes such as elephant ear fish, spring rolls, rice balls, grilled pork and steamed shrimp. After the lunch, continue to walk into the village for a sampan ride within a small canal bordered by fruit trees, villages. Most sampans are made of wood and are used to carry fruits and people in small canals.
Afterwards, cruise back to My Tho, where you'll re-board your coach for the return drive to the ship.

 

Tour 2, $149, 8 hours (the extra time is driving time): Explore everyday life on the Mekong Delta during this picturesque visit to Cai Be, and a boat ride on the Mekong River.
Depart the pier in Ho Chi Minh City for the 2-hour drive to Cai Be. Along the way, you will pass through miles of flat rice fields, small villages and highways
bustling with bicycles and oxcarts riding to and from the market. You will have numerous photo opportunities to capture life in the country, including rice
threshing and milling, vegetables drying on the flat, hot roadside and children caring for their water buffalo. Upon arrival at Cai Be, located in the heart of the
Mekong Delta, you will see the century-old floating market, where people living along the canals exchange goods from their boats and display their wares on
long bamboo poles protruding from the boat. Across the way is a French-built church that provides a scenic background for more photo opportunities.
Next, you will embark a private boat for the highlight of the day: a chance to discover the day-to-day life of the friendly locals living along the Mekong River.
Your trip will take you through a maze of canals, past many boats, and on to one of the many islands in the Delta to visit the traditional homes of fruit farmers
and fishermen. You will stroll in a mandarin orchard, and visit an ancient teakwood house located within the orchard. You will be treated warmly by locals
offering tea and garden fruits, then see where they make coconut candies and rice paper. After sampling some local fare, you will take the boat back to
town, and rejoin your coach for the 2-hour return drive to the pier and ship.

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We spent two days in the Mekong with a homestay and a guided tour.  I would pick the second tour hands down based upon our experience.   We were not on a ship though, ours was independent land travel with added tours here and there.

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The key difference between the 1st and the 2nd tour is the visit to the Cai Be Floating Market offered in the 2nd tour.  The floating market scenery is accurately described but only can be fully experienced if you are there during its peak hours which is around 5am to 8am.  This detail is usually not mentioned in the travel program so the visitors may have the incorrect expectation that it is a morning long or even a day long affair.  In my opinion the Cai Be Floating Market, due to its location next door to the city of Can Tho, is best visited when you have a stop in Can Tho city as part of a land trip.  You overnight there and get to the pier the next morning around 430am and even if you have not pre-arranged for a water taxi, there will be plenty of folks there offering a ride to the see and record the sights and sounds of the market before the first ray of sunlight.  It is a true experience not to be missed.

 

Back to the OP question, I would suggest the free tour unless you are really keen to see the floating market at its closing stage (with your expectations properly set).

 

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1 hour ago, hxhbk said:

The key difference between the 1st and the 2nd tour is the visit to the Cai Be Floating Market offered in the 2nd tour.  The floating market scenery is accurately described but only can be fully experienced if you are there during its peak hours which is around 5am to 8am.  This detail is usually not mentioned in the travel program so the visitors may have the incorrect expectation that it is a morning long or even a day long affair.  In my opinion the Cai Be Floating Market, due to its location next door to the city of Can Tho, is best visited when you have a stop in Can Tho city as part of a land trip.  You overnight there and get to the pier the next morning around 430am and even if you have not pre-arranged for a water taxi, there will be plenty of folks there offering a ride to the see and record the sights and sounds of the market before the first ray of sunlight.  It is a true experience not to be missed.

 

Back to the OP question, I would suggest the free tour unless you are really keen to see the floating market at its closing stage (with your expectations properly set).

 

Thanks for this feedback, it’s very helpful. 

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We did the Mekong Delta tour from our cruise and loved it. I can highly recommend www.mywaytravel.com

for that tour. They also do Ho Chi Min tours which look amazing, but we were traveling with our kids and thought they’d like the Mekong delta boat tour over the city tour. 

We also used My Way Travel in our other ports and were very pleased with all tours. 

Kelly :)

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Have been to both these areas on a few occasions and as someone said above, unless you are at Cai Be floating markets very early in the morning there is not a lot of action after 8.00 am. Cai Be market, to my knowledge is no where near Can Tho city which has a very different floating market to Cai Be.  I believe the city  nearest Cai Be is My Tho.

 

Anyway, you will see enough whichever trip you take so I would also recommend the "Free" option and save the money for another excursion elsewhere.

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If this is an itinerary that you probably will not repeat, maybe you should do neither and look for a private guide to take you on a more personal experience.  I watched this video on youtube by a Vlogger (Kyle Le) who is a Vietnamese American and booked this tour he was on for $100 each for my wife and I.  I checked it out on TripAdvisor and booked it as a real immersion tour.  I will post a review in November.  

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