Visiting the Nine Dragon Delta

Mekong Delta

After a filling breakfast, Mr. Q picks Virg and I up at 830am. The almost two-hour drive to My Tho boat station seems like a breeze because I sleep through part of it.We board a motorized boat that can accommodate 30 people, with as many life jackets for those who fear for their safety.

Virg and I ready for our new adventure
Our private boat for the day

The Mekong River, part of the formidable Mekong Delta or Nine Dragon, is wide and bustling with activity, and looking at colorful boats with the verdant islands and the Rach Mieu bridge as  backdrop is very soothing.

One of the boats traversing Mekong River

Basket boat bobbing along the river

RachMieubridge provides the perfect background for a relaxing trip

After 15 minutes, we reach the first island where the honeybee farm is located. We are allowed to hold the screen replete with bees.

Bees a-buzzing

A few steps from the bee cage is a pretty girl waiting for us to take our seats, drink honey tea, and taste the peanut brittle, candied ginger and bananas, among other things. The tea and peanut brittle are good while the candied ginger is an acquired taste.

Snacks at the bee farm: honey tea, candied bananas, peanuts and ginger

After buying some products, we walk along a dirt road flanked by merchants offering colorful non la and ao dai, bags made of different materials and trinkets (most of which are cheaper than the ones found in Bien Thanh market) until we arrive at another designated area.We listen to traditional music and a rather unenthusiastic rendition of “If You are Happy and you Know it, Clap your Hands” while eating some of the sweetest fruits the island can offer. The musicians use instruments made of coconuts.

Pineapple, jackfruit, mangoes, papaya and dragon fruit with a glass of hot tea.
The fruits taste better when eaten with salt and chili.

After the refreshing snacks (second in a span of 30 minutes), we walk for five minutes then take a small boat through a narrow canal.

Palm leaves of the trees that dot the river

 Despite the non-stop movement of the small boats, it is a serene experience to look at the palms and marvel at the expert maneuvers of the boatmen/women. At the end of the ride, the big motorboat that took us to the island, is waiting for us and takes us to our next stop—the coconut candy factory.

A few minutes after we exit the canal, on our way to the bigger boat

A worker explains to us the process of making the coconut-based candies while we walk from the vat of coconut milk to the long table where other workers wrap the candies with rice paper (edible!).

Coconut candy makers nonchalantly doing their job

Aside from candies, ornaments and decors made of coconuts are also sold in the area.

See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil—the three monkeys coconut edition

After a short horse-drawn cart ride, we reach the restaurant where a succession of dishes is presented to Virg and I.

Feel like a princess in these horse-drawn rides

A woman adeptly prepares four spring rolls before she disappears, only to return a few minutes later bringing more food. I like the spring roll and the balls of yam.

Our lunch in progress

After a few centimeters of indentation in my stomach, we return to the motorboat.

Waiting for our boat to pick us up.

At around 3pm, we travel back to My Tho port, then we drive back to the city-center amidst heavy rain. We are fortunate enough to have finished the tour before the sky turns grey followed by an intense downpour.

Dinner

At the recommendation of one of the hotel receptionists, we have dinner along Le Thanh Ton. Two orders of fresh spring rolls, a bowl of crab soup, two guyabano shake and custard cost VND 266,000.

Perfect with some chili, a very filling meal
Beautifully-wrapped spring rolls to complement the tasty soup

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