Before traveling to Vietnam I didnt hear much about this far away country of Asia, all my informations being strict related to the bloody war which took away more than one million lives (both civil and militery) and left a deep scar in the human kind history.
The natural beauty of Vietnam
I never imagined the beauty hidden in this place badly hit by the faith.
Being a new destination for our carrier we were all excited to discover a place totally unknown for us so far and with a mutual agreement we all decided to explore the Mekong river in the short time that was allocated for us in Vietnam.
The driving from Ho Chi Minh, the biggest city of Vietnam, to the Mekong delta it is long and tiring. We finally reach the base of the river after more than 3 hours spent on the bus and now we are “warm welcomed” by a tropical storm, raised from a clear sky, so typical for this period of the year.
Greeted by a tropical storm
The weather conditions made the river impossible to sail and after waiting more than an hour for the rain to stop we decided, disappointed, to return to the hotel.
Once we step on the bus, the sun is rising between the tick clouds, warming the earth again and drying every single drop of rain. Was it a dark divine joke or the sun was just testing our pacience?… we will never know but now we have its blessing to continue our trip and we dont want to waste any minute of it.
Wearing colorful raining cloaks and traditional vietnamese hats, we are jumping with enthusiasm on the first boat anchored on the small bay, ready to start my first adventure on Asian lands.
Mekong river, the hidden treasure of Asia
Mekong is the 12th longest river of the world which traverses Asia on 4000 km lenght and it represent the most important income for vietnamese people.
The locals main activity is the rice growing, which makes Vietnam the second exporter of the world, after Thailand.
Beside that, the Mekong delta is named by the specialists “the biological treasure” not only for its beauty but also for hosting hundred species of animals considered missing with millions years back.
Our first stop is one of the 9th arms of the river, special prepared to comfort hundred tourists which visit the delta every day.
The locals invite us immediately to taste their traditional products which includes the banana wine, fresh honey bee and some sort of strange fruits which I never seen before.
Our exotic breakfast is accompanied by few vietnamese singers, extremly beautiful and elegants in moves, wearing colorful dresses and a simple hairstyle.
Their voice make us forget about the time and we would have enjoy listening to a song which lyrics make no sense to us for the whole day if the tour guide would not approach us, advising to not lose any more time.
We board our boat again and this time the bright sun convince us to remove the raincoats.
Navigating between the vietnamese villages
The next stop is a small bay where tiny floating devices, similar with gondolas of Venice are waiting for our arrival. A local “sailor” is making sure that we are sitted in our assigned places, arranging us same as the pieces of a chess, trying to balance the unstable boat. We are advised to keep our hands inside and watch out the surrounding at all time. The Megonk canals are tight and crowded and not only once we collided with other tourist boats, or we were scratched by the lianas around the river.
Once the adventurous ride is over we are invited to disembark in one of the small vietnamese villages, wondering what other surprises this trip has to offer.
A carriage pulled by a horse is waiting for us and my thoughts are flying to the happy moments of childhood when I used to play in similar devices on my granparents village.
We are all excited and satisfaied with the way our day is going but the naughty stomach allert us that is time for lunch.
We stop in front of a small restaurant and the food is already nice arranged on the table. Different types of asian delights were specially prepared for us and included in the small amount of money that we pay for the trip.
Few fish with funny dressing seems to be watching us from their stand, delicious spring rolls, vietnamese soup, country side chicken and a strange “asian shaorma” is prepared just in front of us. The atmosphere is filled with joy and we are spending good time together, trying to find out more about each others, the lunch time being the only quiet moment of the day.
After the delicious meal, the tour guide suggest us to visit the village comercial center where we can buy souvenirs or taste the traditional products of Vietnam.
Testing the national products
Here, some of the locals are sculpting with passion coconuts while others are working on the candy factory. Everything is made manually with care and patience just in front of the tourists which are watching enchanted the whole process. Meanwhile we are invited to try the delicious coconut caramels and the unusual alcoholic beverage flavored with poisson snakes.
Even if in Vietnam and China it is a very popular beverage it doesnt seem to have same succes for the foreigners which find it disgusting and not very hygienic.
From the calm of the river to the agitation of the city
Deadly tired and with limited time before the flight, we decide to go back to the hotel and have a nap.
The sun keept his promiss ensuring that we have an enjoyable time but once we reach the bus he breaks the wow and the green Vietnam is hit again by a tropical storm.
I cant sleep and I keep my eyes on the window for the whole trip, trying to memorize the beauty of the nature and the smell of the rain, which we miss so much in the desert.
Back to Ho Chi Minh I am surprised to notice the discrepancy between the calm of the nature in Megonk and the crowd of the big city. Less cars but million motorbikes, seems to be in a continues rush, horning and shouting to each other to move faster.
Beside that, expensive bags, sunglasses and jewelery are a high target for the poor community of Vietnam and not only once happens for foreigners to be dragged on the street while a greddy driver is trying to snatch their belongings.
By the time we reach it is already dinner time and the hotel restaurant is animated with people. Curious to try other vietnamese dishes I am taking small bites from each and every item dispayed on the buffet, including the shark meat, frog legs, lobster and different types of shrimps.
By the end of a day full of adventure and good food I can declare myself enthusiastic and ready to come back to Vietnam as soon as possible.