What to expect - on a 7 day Mekong River Cruise-part 1-Vietnam

Updated: Jun 5, 2020

Temples, Markets, Popping Rice, Local Life and Fishermen

What to expect in Ho Chi Minh City

The Mekong River is one of the world's great rivers. As you drift along on your cruise you'll travel from the Mekong Delta in Vietnam upriver to the border where you'll cross over into Cambodia, ending up at Siem Reap (which may or may not involve an interesting coach trip overland at the end).

Or you may do the journey the other way round, starting in Cambodia.

After leaving Ho Chi Minh city we travelled south to My Tho and we embarked on our ship, the RV Mekong Prestige II to begin our 7 day cruise. The ship has a capacity of 60 odd passengers and a crew of 28. The double cabins are on two decks with a restaurant, bar, spa with exercise equipments, various massages and beauty treatments. The top deck is mostly taken up with outside space - sun loungers, tables and chairs and a small swimming pool - and a large lounge area. Wifi was available, free of charge, but the service was a bit hit and miss!

Overall, it was a great ship. We booked the holiday through Riviera Travel and there were 34 of us (I think) in the group. The rest of the ship was taken up by another small party of British travellers and a larger German group.

We set off towards our first port of call, Cai Be. The following day we took smaller boats to visit the town and the Floating Market.

There are various floating markets along the river. We saw the wholesale market at Cai Be which wasn't particularly interesting. There were very few customers as they were wholesalers, ordering in bulk, rather than ordinary village people.

Entertaining, nonetheless ...

We also visited a French Gothic cathedral, a reminder of Vietnam's colonial past.

We also visited a family owned workshop that produces coconut milk candies, rice paper and popping rice - the Vietnamese equivalent of popcorn.

They also do a nice line in snake and scorpion infused spirits:

Later that day we cruised through Vinh Long to Sa Dec. Here we strolled through the colourful marketplace and ended up at the Cao Dai Temple.

The Cao Dai Temple is the centre of an indigenous religion which is a mix of Taoism, Buddhism and Confucianism. This is probably the most bling temple you'll ever see ...

We also visited a rural village along the river.

That night the film show on the ship was 'Good Morning Vietnam'.

The Mekong is a working river and you will see fishing boats every day. These come in various shapes and sizes in a variety of conditions.

The following day we moored at Tan Chau - move on to Part 2

If you are considering visiting Vietnam, here are some recommended Guide Books: https://amzn.to/2FR1BU5

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