Until the 16th century, the Mekong Delta was an area of marshlands and forest. Gradually, marshlands were reclaimed and a canal network was built for the cultivation of rice, fish, soybeans, maize, peanuts, tobacco, and melons. In the morning, travel the 2.5 hours to Cai Be area, which is famous for its coconut palms and fruit orchards (mangoes, longans, bananas, and citrus fruits). Enjoy a boat ride on the Mekong River and observe the active river life. Sail to one of the islands in the Mekong Delta and visit a traditional farmer’s home and fruit orchards, sample tropical fruits, and hob knob with locals. Pass by local communities, schools, a small church, and rice mills before re-joining the boat to continue this journey through the maze of tributaries. Spend the night here at a comfortable home-stay where participants will help their host family prepare dinner.
The next day, enjoy an early breakfast and some fresh air in the village. Embark upon a boat trip in the morning to local brick kilns, where participants can watch crafters create beautiful potteries from clay. The boat will sail along the floating village and the group will learn how to farm catfish on Mekong River. Stop in at Vinh Long market, a great place to snap a few photos of bountiful fish, shrimps, prawns, crabs, snakes, rice-field rats, tropical fruits, vegetables, and more. Later in the morning, engage with the farmers and projects of Heifer Viet Nam (HVN). A branch of Heifer International, HVN started small-scale animal projects in provinces of the Mekong Delta between 1987 and 1992. From 1992-2003, its coverage grew to 27 provinces stretching to the North, Central, and south of Viet Nam. In 2003, HVN established its office in Can Tho city and in 2007, it began incorporating the Values-Based Holistic Community Development model to strengthen its projects. HVN focuses its efforts on needy families, Agent Orange victims, ethnic minorities, and marginalized people living in disadvantaged communities.
Next, travel to the capital of the Mekong Delta, Can Tho. The largest town in the delta, the city’s name romantically translates as the “River of Poems.” At the heart of Việt Nam’s rice bowl, Can Tho is perfectly positioned for travelers to explore the Delta’s vibrant floating markets and myriad waterways. In addition to its numerous pagodas, Can Tho has an attractive cathedral, pleasant promenade and bustling night market. After lunch, take off for a pleasant biking trip in Cai Son before spending the evening on your own for dinner.
Finish up this Mekong experience on the final day with a boat ride to Cai Rang and Phong Dien floating markets before taking the 4 hour journey back to Ho Chi Minh City
- Travel to Cai Thia (~2.5hrs)
- Tour around Cai Thia (tea & cakes at a local house)
- Boat ride to An Binh Island (lunch on board)
- Tour canals by rowboat
- Meet with a local war veteran
- Afternoon to explore on your own
- Prepare dinner
- Overnight at homestay
- Early breakfast
- Boat trip to local trades
- Heifer Viet Nam (HVN)
- Travel to Can Tho
- Biking in Cai Son
- Evening and dinner on your own
- Overnight at hotel
- Boat ride to Cai Rang floating and Phong Dien floating markets
- Return to Ho Chi Minh City (~4hr drive) (lunch en route)
*Please note times and activities are subject to change*
Day 1: lunch, dinner
Day 2: breakfast, lunch
Day 3: breakfast, lunch
Hat, sunscreen, and bug spray is recommended.