Taking a ride on a Sampan at My Tho.

My Tho tourist boats moored on The Mekong River in Vietnam.

One of the things to do while staying at My Tho is to go on a Boat Trip out onto the beautiful Mekong River.

Boat trips at My Tho can be booked through Tien Giang Tourist Company which is located along the river front near the Chuong Duong Hotel. Typically they charge USD30 to USD35 for a private tour to the islands - also having lunch on one of the islands is possible but this is extra.. You should give them as much notice as possible especially if you want them to arrange an English speaking guide to come along with you (a good idea). As the tourist office caters mostly for pre-arranged organised coach trips then setting up private tours may take a little bit of time - if needed they will find someone in the office who speaks English.
There is a large map in the office so you can chose which route you would like to take although this may be subject to tides. Note the Mekong river is extremely wide and has fast currents and can be very choppy especially on the part between Dragon Island and Ben Tre Province. If not sure about being on such a small boat in such possible conditions then ask for a life jacket - certainly make sure there are life-jackets in the boat somewhere.
Incidentally beware of people along the river front in My Tho offering boat trips at cheap prices - these boats are almost certainly not insured, may not be legal and anyway it's just not worth the risk on such a dangerous river just to save a couple dollars. If you want an alternative to Tieng Giang Tourist Company there is another which arranges boat trips called Ben Tre Tourist Company at 4/1 Le Hung Gang - this is out of town near the new bridge.
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A restaurant amongst the Mangroves at My Tho. Mangroves lining a canal at My Tho in The Mekong Delta. A typical boat trip takes you across the Mekong River to Ben Tre Province, then along the Tan Thach Canal to the

Honey Bee Farm

for some Vietnamese honey tea tasting. This is followed by a visit to the

coconut candy factory

which is extremely interesting. They show you how the coconuts are pressed to extract the milk - this milk is heated with lots of sugar, then when it all sets it's all cut into small pieces. Various flavours are added during the process and the end result is extremely delicious coconut candy bars. The ever resourceful Vietnamese do not waste anything in this process with every part of the coconut used for something or other - for instance even the husks are used for making coconut matting or for fuel.
Cocont milk extractor near My Tho. The Coconut Monk Temple near My Tho in Vietnam. Phoenix Island and the Coconut Monk Temple - Vietnam. A Coco Bean growing in the Mekong Delta.
The boat tour may well continue on to visit the

Coconut Monk Temple on Phoenix Island

- this temple features 9 blue and gold dragon-entwined pillars which are meant to represent the 9 tributaries of the River Mekong. The "coconut monk" was actually called Ong Dao Dua and he formed a new religion which was a mix of Christianity and Buddhism - known as Tinh Do Cu Si.
Beautiful Mekong Delta -  Unicorn Island sampans. Unicorn Island sampans amongst the mangroves in Vietnam.  Unicorn Island canal boats - Mekong Delta. The final part of the trip might well include taking you to

Unicorn Island

for some fruit tasting and for which you have to travel a little way up a narrow canal - it's too shallow for the tourist boat so you are transferred onto a sampan. The narrow canal has a canopy of palms and on either side there are beautiful mangrove and other foliage - it really is a lovely part of the trip. Once you get off the sampan you are given a platter of quite a few different fruits to try out plus some Vietnamese tea - all accompanied by local music and dancers.
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