Keen for an adventure and already loving Vietnam thanks to HCMC, we packed the bare essentials, left our big bags in the city and headed off to explore the Mekong Delta.
Just before leaving the city I read that tourists aren’t allowed to ride scooters without a Vietnamese license but I didn’t tell Luke until we were driving out of the city. It was too late, our bags were packed and we were on the road so we headed for Ben Tre – keeping on the small roads – less police and far more beautiful.
Luke was the designated driver and I, the navigator (I know people will find that hard to believe). Google maps became my best friend until it told me there was a road over one of the tributaries but when we arrived the road disappeared and the water began. Thankfully this teeny tiny ferry saved the day.
Day one was spent driving past acre upon acre of grasshopper green rice fields, this picture nowhere near does them justice.
After arriving in Ben Tre, we were taken in by a group of very friendly locals. A few bottles of rice wine later and we were best of friends despite all communication being sign language and charades. One of the guys no younger than 70 was particularly fond of Luke and I, he kept hugging us and smelling our face and hair … I’m hoping that’s a Vietnamese thing otherwise we were sat with a nutter. Later his wife came to take photos of us.
Durian is everywhere and has a bad rep with westerners because, well … it stinks. But one day a lovely local lady wouldn’t take no for an answer, I gritted my teeth and tried to smile as I placed a piece in my mouth. It’s actually really nice! Next time you are in South East Asia give it a go, you might be pleasantly surprised.
From Ben Tre we headed to Tra Vinh, both towns are nice enough but only really for a pit stop, the journey in between is the best part. We were looking for somewhere more rural though where we could relax and wander aimlessly so we headed to Cai Be.
The journey from Tra Vihn to Cai Be can be done in around 3 hours but we decided to experiment by taking lots of alternative routes.
We ended up in many random villages enjoying coffee with some lovely people (If you haven’t tried Vietnamese coffee yet, do it right now, you will never buy Nescafé again!)
6 ferries and 8 hours later we arrived in Cai Be. We decided to stay somewhere nice after our overly complicated day so ended up at The Durian Lodge which was such a stark contrast to its rural surroundings.
4am that morning I woke up with absolute dread … Where was my passport?! After checking I realised I’d left it at our hotel in Tra Vihn. the round trip to retrieve it took up near enough the whole day .. Sorry Lukey!
Once back in Cai Be we headed over to the western side of An Vinh island to a place called Happy Family Guesthouse. Getting there was eventful to say the least, we got lost about 8 times and when we finally got written directions from a local they were stolen by a drunk man on a motorbike who thought it was money. Funny now, not so much then.
The family cat had these little cuties right outside our room.
When we weren’t in the pool, sleeping in hammocks or enjoying the stunning sunsets we were wandering around the very pretty village.
During one of our midday meanders we were dragged into a house by three very drunk men who were adamant that we drink beer and sing karaoke with them. Luke being the wall flower that he is took one for the team.
Our Mekong Delta adventure was one of the highlights of our trip so far, if you are planning to come to Vietnam I would definitely recommend hiring a bike and go exploring! Just watch out for the Po po.