Tourists take a boat trip along a canal in Ben Tre Province
With just one day free, we had to rule out a trek to Nha Trang, Phan Thiet or Dalat cities and we didn’t want to go to cafes downtown as we do it all the time.
However, we didn’t want to ruin the weekend and as a last throw of the dice we decided to join a one-day tour to Ben Tre-My Tho in the Mekong Delta, and it proved a great option.
A Dutch tourist tries to put a python on her shoulder
The tour departed from Pham Ngu Lao Street in District 1 and headed to Trung Luong Expressway with its many immense rice fields. After about one hour and 45 minutes, we were transferred to take a boat along the canal under the shade of coconut trees to reach Ben Tre Province. Some activities on Tortoise Island included enjoying traditional music shows, strolling along orchards, witnessing locals make coconut candy, taking pictures with swathes of bees, drinking honey tea and conquering fears by posing for photos with a tamed python.
A foreign tourist takes photos of locals making coconut candy – Photos: My Tran
After lunch, we took a motorboat on Tien River to visit Vinh Trang Pagoda in My Tho City. Built in 1849 on an area of over 2,000 square meters, Vinh Trang boasts a combination of European-Asian architecture and creating a splendid beauty, solemnity and purity. There tourists can enjoy the peaceful ambiance of the sanctuary surrounded by gardens of ornamental trees, ancient trees and bonsai, creating a peaceful atmosphere. Burning some incense to pray for good luck and health for families is also a meaningful thing to do.
Late afternoon we were back in HCMC with great memories, making our weekend more special. The tour is available in agencies on Pham Ngu Lao or De Tham street in District 1 and costs about US$10 per person.
Here are some snapshots taken by The Saigon Times Daily journalist My Tran.