Taking a ride on a Sampan at My Tho.
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.[ Click the thumbnails for a larger photo, use the back button to return to this page ]
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.
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.
The final part of the trip might well include taking you to
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.
Related items about My Tho.
More destinations for which we have travel and holiday guides are for Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, India, Cyprus, lots of Greek Islands, The Algarve and several Canary Islands
Also many Topics about England - Wild Flowers, National Trail Walks, Churches plus quite a few canals including The Kennet and Avon Canal, The Oxford Canal, The Grand Union Canal, The Regents Canal - also two rivers (the Lee and Stort) and about walking The Thames Path.
Please visit our Resources Page