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Mekong Rural Life- authentic Mekong Delta excursion when visitting Viet Nam

Mekong Rural Life- authentic Mekong Delta excursion when visitting Viet Nam

In order to really experience an authentic Mekong Delta excursion , travellers must ensure that they delve deeper into the beautiful landscapes of Ben Tre, areas that are not often visited by many of those who visit Vietnam. Droves of tourists come in search of an authentic look at the local life, simply to find themselves surrounded by many other tourists, thus spoiling the immersion in local Vietnamese culture.  Steering clear of touristy areas and various tourist traps is therefore essential to really make the most of a trip to the Mekong Delta, however doing so can be extremely difficult, especially for a foreigner (like me)! So, it is a great relief that authenticity is at the heart of the tour for some companies who operate trips to the Mekong Delta. So called ‘non touristy’ tours are hard to come by, but Innoviet offer the chance to ensure that an authentic Mekong Delta excursion is easy and simple, whilst no less captivating and truly wonderful, encompassing a combination of wonderful activities as well as wholesome interactions with the lovely locals of the Mekong Delta.   Authenticity in Vietnam is at the heart of Innoviet Tours The Mekong Rural Life tour starts off in arguably Vietnam’s least rural area, Ho Chi Minh City! However, we won’t be here for long as we set straight off for the Mekong Delta (with a couple of great stops on the way!) District 1 or District 3 are mostly available for hotel pickup, however anyone staying outside of the pickup areas can be collected at the Saigon Opera House in D1, a very easy landmark to locate. As we set off it is straight on to the bustling Vietnamese highways, as we make our way to Mekong Delta! On the way there, we make a few stops. First is a quick rest stop at the appropriately named “Mekong Rest Stop”, where there is some time to make use of the toilet, and have a quick stroll around the picturesque setting, which is a small glimpse of what the Mekong Delta has to offer. The guide will also walk around and explain various aspects of daily life in the Mekong, such as: what to expect of a typical Mekong home, plant and wildlife information, as well as some cultural do’s and don’ts. After the short stop, it is back on the road as we make our way to the Cao Dai Temple in My Tho. Besides the structures eclectic design and architecture, boasting a plethora of colourful images, the temple itself is one of the lesser explored Cao Dai temples, and is not a place well known with tourists, with only locals in sight you are in for an authentic visit to a temple of Vietnam’s third most followed religion. Information on the temple and Caodaism itself was in abundance from the intelligible guides who fill the trip with relevant information, as guests learn all about one of the most interesting religions in the world, whilst partaking in an authentic and non-touristy tour of a Cao Dai temple. Following the visit to the picturesque temple, is a visit to a local market. Passing through the market is truly excellent, watching on as local vendors go about their daily life, selling various foodstuffs and such to the many Vietnamese locals who visit and acquire their groceries from here. Visiting the market facilitates a truly authentic Vietnam experience.   From here, it is straight into the heart of the Mekong Delta, to enjoy different kinds of boat trips along the various branches of the Mekong River, to enjoy the views of the local setting, interact with the hospitable local people, and indulge in authentic Vietnamese delicacies during the Vietnamese homestay experience. Upon arrival, a pleasant stroll is undertaken on the way to board the private ferry operated by a chipper Vietnamese local. The boat journey is roughly around thirty to forty-five minutes and takes place on the impressive Ham Luong River, where there is time to take in the impressive views of the beautiful Vietnamese countryside. The views from the boat are amazing, regardless of whether it is a hot summer day or in the midst of the wild monsoon season, which in my opinion adds to the authentic experience of the Mekong Rural Life tour. Whilst on the boat journey, participants are able to enjoy a delicious drink from a locally sourced coconut, which is truly a delight – that is, to drink from a fresh coconut whilst cruising peacefully along the Ham Luong River, taking in the breath-taking sights of the southern Vietnamese landscape.   After plenty of time sailing along the river, guests are dropped off at a local coconut processing factory, and it seriously does not get much more local than this. For these people, this is their livelihood, and it is very interesting to witness the goings on of a typical Vietnamese coconut farm. Once here, visitors are greeted with warm smiles and waves from the locals, who are just as interested to see tourists visit them, as it is so incredibly rare for foreigners to make it to this location, as the tourists are to see them. After learning all about the daily lives of the workers at this coconut factory, with the help from the guides who are more than happy to act as translator for you to ask the local people questions, visitors are invited to take a relaxing ride in a sampan. A sampan is a canoe type boat, along some of the narrower canals of the Mekong, which make Venice look gargantuan in comparison! The setting here is truly fantastic, and the personable guides can answer any questions you have regarding your surroundings.   Our next stop is to experience an authentic Vietnamese homestay, with an extremely hospitable local family, who cook together a truly amazing meal which caters for absolutely everyone, including a very picky westerner like me! Although everything about the trip is simply amazing, this is one of the highlights, and an experience that does not happen on touristy trips to the Mekong Delta, certainly not with such a high level of intimacy. It was truly an honour to be hosted by the local family in their own home, this is what makes this a truly authentic tour.   The xe loi (a type of motorbike pulled cart) ride that rounds the trip off is certainly something. Passengers watch on as they are whisked through the streets of the Mekong Delta area, and receive many waves and smiles from the local people who are happy to see them there! And that concludes the tour. An unforgettable experience indeed, the tour is something anyone travelling to Vietnam should consider embarking on, as memories from the trip will be held dear for years to come. To book the Mekong Rural Life one day tour, click HERE. For other Mekong tours - and more, click HERE.   Writter: Daniel Editor: Vi Lam