Vietnam: Mekong Cruise (February)

A view of the southernmost point of the Mekong we went on.
A view of the southernmost point of the Mekong we went on.

From Ho Chi Minh City, we went to the Mekong and took a cruise up-river to Cambodia.  Seeing the Mekong was fun, but if anyone is asking for recommendations, I would say skip the cruise and just plan a day visit.  We did have a good time — The boat we were on was huge and very nice, and the food was great.  Each day we got off the boat and visited one or two towns and sites.  It was interesting to see some of what life was like on the river, but if you’ve only got so much time to see Vietnam you might want to compress the Mekong tour to a day.  We ended up spending most of our time on channels and a river that runs parallel to the Mekong, both of which more mere crowded and industrial.  The majority of our trip, which had about 2 and a half days on the water was not spent on a river like the picture above.

We visited a few river markets, some in more crowded areas and some kind of in the middle of nowhere.  These markets are mostly selling wholesale / large quantities to people who are stocking their stores and markets in towns.

The cruise dropped us off at a big town on the water and we took a van to a hotel on the water, maybe about an hour away from where the boat dropped us.  We stayed the night and the next day took a speed boat to Phnom Penh, Cambodia.  I think the highlight of this trip was the Vietnamese border stop, which was an over-water small building with children and sweet dogs running around.  It was a good stop for iced coffee and a bathroom, and the best was the amazing unicycle basketball game on the television.  Who knew this was a thing?

Our boat.  Plenty of room for the two of us. We lounged under cover during the day and ate upstairs too.
Our boat. Plenty of room for the two of us. We lounged under cover during the day.
A typical view of the channels we traveled on.
A typical view of the channels we traveled on.
Relaxing on the boat.
Relaxing on the boat.
Flowers for Buddha: All of the boaters put flowers on the front of the boat for Buddha.  These boats are tied up at a floating market.
Flowers for Buddha: All of the boaters put flowers on the front of the boat for Buddha. These boats are tied up at a floating market.
River Market: Boats use poles to display whatever produce they are selling (left). A few women go around to the boats and sell food (right). Makes me think of the BBQ boat that would be out on Lake Travis on the weekends.
River Market: Boats use poles to display whatever produce they are selling (left). A few women go around to the boats and sell food (right). Makes me think of the BBQ boat that would be out on Lake Travis on the weekends.
Banana boat.
Banana boat.
Watermellons.
Watermellons.
Our boat fed us well.  Our first day we made our own little fresh spring rolls with local fish (left).  Tom made a banana man with a hat made out of the skin of a new kind of fruit we tried.  It was kind of like a lychee (right).
Our boat fed us well. Our first day we made our own little fresh spring rolls with local fish (left). Tom made a banana man with a hat made out of the skin of a new kind of fruit we tried. It was kind of like a lychee (right).
An outdoor market in a town on a Mekong channel.   This stretched on for maybe half a mile, and you could buy fruit, veggies, meat, and all kinds of fish (left).  A town lit up at night (right).
An outdoor market in a town on a Mekong channel. This stretched on for maybe half a mile, and you could buy fruit, veggies, meat, and all kinds of fish (left). A town lit up at night (right).
We visited a brick factory and went into one of the ovens that wasn't being used.
We visited a brick factory and went into one of the ovens that wasn’t being used.
I love the bright colors used for houses on the river channels.
I love the bright colors used for houses on the river channels.
Many houses have a very open front room like the house on the left.
Many houses have a very open front room like the house on the left.
Morning on the Mekong.
Morning on the Mekong.
A morning boat ride, this boat is moving rice husks, we saw tons of boats loaded up like this along the river.
A morning boat ride, this boat is moving rice husks, we saw tons of boats loaded up like this along the river.
Morning on the boat.
Morning on the boat.
The largest city we saw on the Mekong.
The largest city we saw on the Mekong.
Animals on the Mekong: Farmers dye their ducks pink as a way of distinguishing them from their neighbors’ ducks (left), a floating chicken coop (top), and pigs on a boat (bottom).
Animals on the Mekong: Farmers dye their ducks pink as a way of distinguishing them from their neighbors’ ducks (left), a floating chicken coop (top), and pigs on a boat (bottom).
Unicycle basketball (left), and Tom enjoying seeing the new sport (right).
Unicycle basketball (left), and Tom enjoying seeing the new sport (right).
Sunrise.
Sunrise.

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