A slow boat ride on the meandering waters of the river Mekong is just what we needed after the rush of a motorbike ride from Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) to Vinh Long in southern Vietnam.
We’d heard great things about the experience of staying in a home stay on one of the tiny river islands than a regular hotel and it’s just what we did.
The home stays can arrange for boat trips to nearby floating markets which are done in two parts. The first involves a bigger wooden motorboat in which you’re taken to the Cai Be floating market in the wee hours of morning. While the market itself is nothing to write home about its appeal lies in the simple normalcy of it and the ride itself makes it worthwhile. For the latter part of the trip, you move to a narrow row boat which goes through the tiny canals passing my smaller villages and is quite reminiscent of the one we took in the backwaters of Kerala in India on a houseboat.
The river here seems to play a more significant role than the roads around and always has a flurry of activity going on. People moving around by boats; the houses, shops and even the church face the water from where I presume people drop by than the road. Most of them buying their groceries from the market and heading home by the canals. Old or young, everyone seems adept at handling a boat and most families seem to own at least one of them. It was nice and refreshing to see that almost all of what we saw was not on display for tourists but merely people going about their work as usual, unperturbed by tourists passing by.
To have a clearer idea of how it all looked, here are some more of our photos.