Mekong Delta Tour from Ho Chi Minh
We booked our Mekong Delta Tour from Ho Chi Minh through Withlocals who specialise in connecting visitors with local guides for unique, personalised and authentic tours. This was the tour we were most excited about and had stayed an extra day in Ho Chi Minh for. We didn’t regret it!
The booking process using Withlocals is simple. Choose your country, choose the city / town and then choose your local! Each tour will have different local people available and you can read a small bio about them in advance. The dates and times of their availability will then be shown, book and pay and then you can message them at any point before your trip. Given the tours are private and customisable, they are understandably more expensive (around £110pp) but it was so worth it to take part in the Non-Touristy Mekong Delta Tour from Ho Chi Minh. No large tour companies, boats, people – just us, our local guide AK, local families and nature!
The Mekong Delta spans 6 countries (Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, China and Burma) and is around 300km long, significantly longer than any river in Europe. In Thailand, the Mekong Delta is 4 miles wide! Madness.
Upon booking our Mekong Delta Tour, we chose AK (the street food expert) as our guide. AK was a great guide during the day informing us of the history of the Mekong Delta and Vietnam, taking many photos and just generally chatting to us about his experience as a guide.
We were picked up by AK at 7.30am from our hotel in a large air-conditioned car and provided with cold water. This non touristy tour takes you further into the Mekong Delta so the journey is around 2/2.5 hours depending on traffic and is around 125 miles from the Cambodian border. There are four islands in the Mekong Delta named after Vietnam’s sacred animals: turtle, unicorn, phoenix and dragon. Upon arrival you leave the car and take a trip around the Mekong Delta using all sorts of transport!!
Our first stop was at a Bentri Central local market next to the river. AK showed us the different foods sold there ranging from local fruit and vegetable, fresh fish and seafood to potatoes, eggs and meat. The market was bustling with many locals buying their produce for the day / week.
We then made our way on to a Motorboat all to ourselves to ride down the Mekong Delta river. We started off on a larger part of the river before making our way through the smaller, windier parts covered with coconut and jackfruit trees.
Coconut Candy and Sleeping Mats
Our next stop was at the coconut processing workshop to witness how coconut candy, oil, water and alcohol is made! Vietnam exports around 16millon coconuts from this province.
It was so interesting watching the candy being made from cracking the coconut, grinding it, melting the coconut milk and water and adding a little sugar and flavouring (if desired), watching it solidify and then cutting it into squares and wrapping it up ready to sell! They were similar to toffees and just delicious. Of course, we were given a coconut water to sip on in the boat!
Back on the boat we travelled to a local house to watch how sleeping mats are made. This is now only one of the few traditional jobs left in the Mekong Delta and it was fascinating to watch how each small section of the mat is weaved and threaded through. We even managed to have a go! Afterwards, we tucked into local fruit: mango, banana, pomelo, watermelon and jackfruit. It was the juiciest mango I have ever tasted!
Cycling Tour and Lunch
On to our next mode of transport, we had a cycling tour around the villages of the Mekong Delta. This was one of my favourite parts of the tour as we cycled past local houses, schools, temples and more.
Our bicycle ride led us to a local house for lunch where we dined in a tree house surrounded by a pond. It was simply gorgeous. We had local elephant ear fish (literally caught and cooked from the owner’s pond), veggie spring rolls, soup and pork in a clay pot.
After leaving full, we embarked on yet another form of transport – a Sampan boat ride! It was so peaceful being rowed through the Mekong Delta with no one else around! We finished on our final mode of transport – a tuk tuk – which took us back to meet our driver. We arrived back to our hotel around 4pm.
The Mekong Delta Tour from Ho Chi Minh through Withlocals is a must do! It was incredible to spend the day with AK exploring this hidden gem and understanding how the locals live and work in, what they call, an agricultural miracle! It was seamlessly organised and great fun.
East London Girl: Mekong Delta Tour from Ho Chi Minh