From amongst the different tours offered to us by the staff of Thien Xuan Hotel in HCMC, Vietnam, our family chose the Upper Mekong River Tour. It is a whole day tour. Thien Xuan Hotel has TNK Travels as their accredited tour company. I first thought it would be nice to go check out the Cu Chi Tunnels. But the photos alone, seeing how tiny the tunnels are, made my tummy squirm. It’s definitely not for me. The Upper Mekong River – My Tho Ben Tre Tour sounded more fun. We decided to have the tour on the second day of our stay in HCMC. We were pretty spent the day that we arrived. But we did manage to visit a couple of museums on our first day – Reunification Palace and War Remnants Museum. Both of which I still will blog about.
Tom was our guide to the Upper Mekong River Tour. She said her Vietnamese name is Loan but she chose Tom for her English name. She said it is easier for English speaking people to understand. While as, if she uses her real name, Loan, she will have to explain how it is spelled and pronounced. The Vietnamese language does not include The letters “F”, “J”, “W” and “Z” in their alphabet. She gave us a whole lot of background and insights about the general lifestyle of Vietnamese people.
On our way to Mekong Delta, we passed through numerous rice fields. Most of which have tombs in the middle. I was creeped out at first. It’s not really something we are used to seeing from where we came from. Tom said that the government allows the farmers to bury their dead in the rice field. Most Vietnamese are Buddhists. They believe by keeping their dead close, their spirits will better guide the living ones.
In the outskirts of the harbor town of My Tho is the Vinh Trang Pagoda, a popular Buddhist Temple where The Laughing Buddha stands.
With Mom and my son, Jed. Behind us is the Laughing Buddha
Vinh Trang Pagoda has very intricate details in and around their temple structures. I gather this to be true particularly of Buddhist Temples. This goes as well for the structures we saw in Cambodia.
A Vietnamese Peddler. Even my husband was amazed how they can go on all day carrying their merchandise like this. He tried to carry a coconut drink vendor’s merchandise for a minute. He said, it was very heavy. It is more interesting that it is rather ordinary to see even Vietnamese women carry these heavy loads. No wonder most Vietnamese are slender and slim.
My son made friends with a Buddhist monk
The hubby’s compulsary jumpshot 🙂
with my folks and son at the Vinh Trang Pagoda
From our stopover at the Vinh Trang Pagoda a.k.a. The Laughing Buddha Temple, we headed straight to the Mekong Delta River. The tour cost was very reasonable and we really enjoyed ourselves. We were only on our second day of stay in Vietnam and we already visited a lot of places. This trip is one of my favorites, to date. Especially because my folks were able to join us. As with our previous trips, we bought our plane tickets to and from Vietnam on sale. We found that this is always best. The money you save, you can use for pocket money. For similar deals, you can find cheap flights online with flightline.co.uk.
The Upper Mekong River Tour (My Tho – Ben Tre) cost us $112.50. $25 per adult and $12.50 per child.
- drinking water
- transportation (air conditioned bus)
- tour guide
- boat trips
- entrance fee
- lunch with local specialty
The Upper Mekong River Tour is a must do for those visiting Vietnam. Up Next is our adventure at the Mekong River. More often than not the Mekong River Tour also includes a stopover at the Vinh Trang Pagoda, which is also known as the Laughing Buddha Temple.