We set up several home stays on the Mekong delta where the land meets the sea in the form of flowing wide rivers around islands populated by farmers of mostly fruits and rice paddies. The delta is at a more leisurely pace in it’s towns and cities but still buzz with motorbikes after the ferries arrive. Our first homestay was near Ben Tre and called “The Mekong Floating House” although it wasn’t actually floating. We witnessed some astounding sunsets on the porch and we were served a sampling of the local fish served in grand style. Mr. Kim was the owner of this place and did a fine job of assisting us with our travel plans. We were his only guests at the time and he made us feel right at home.
Home stays are actually guest houses built separately from the family home, however, the bathroom and showers are communal and the eating areas are shared. There is often limited English spoken. Guests are asked to adhere to some of the family rules such as removing shoes prior to coming into the home.
We took a tour of the floating markets at Cai Be and the Vin Long channels with rowing boats. We stopped for the standard tour of coconut candy making and bicycled through some of the back streets of this smaller town. We had some difficulty dealing with the heat and humidity at times but the ambience of living on the river won out.
We moved on to our second home stay in Vinh Long that served a free breakfast and dinner. We also got the opportunity to take some cooking classes with our host and his sisters. It was great to wake up to roosters and hear crickets at night. There were fireflys at night which I haven’t seen since I was a child.
After 4 days in home stays we took a very warm and torn up local bus to Can Tho which took about 2 hours altogether.`We stayed in a lovely little hotel called the “Tay Ho” which was right on the water front and directly across from a giant statue of Ho Chi Mihn. We visited Cai Rang which is the largest floating market in the Mekong Delta.
Around this time we found out the the cost of renewing our visa’s had doubled, so we have to make plans to cross the border into Cambodia with a special letter written by a visa agest in Ho Chi Mihn City. We took the bus to HCMC which took about 3 hours from Can Tho.