A bustling, hectic metropolis. Abrasive, intense and exhausting. I found it lacked any of the authenticity and culture I had seen in other towns such as Ubud, Kampot and Siem Reap. It reminded me of Phnom Penh – another capital city I had hated – and I decided to move on pretty swiftly.
We had however, a single day to kill in between. And there was no chance that we would be spending it in the city – so we booked a $12 tour of the Mekong Delta, from 8am to 5pm including lunch and water.
I usually hate tours like this but in a country like Vietnam, where small quirks and histories are overlooked for the larger, depressing tragedies, it was nice to be told stories of families and rural life for a change.
For example; supposedly the Vietnamese bury their lost loved ones in the rice paddies where they make their livelihood.
Que Julia: “Mmmm. Tastes like grandma!” #ShitEbertSays
We were taken to see the past, present and future Buddha statues, where we were told to NEVER take a selfie with a Buddha – it is sacrilegious to be in a photo standing in front of the Buddha. (A little bit late on that one, Sorry Buddha.)
Next stop was the “Handicapped Handicrafts” store…I don’t think much more needs to be said on that one.
We were then taken to botanic gardens where we paid a solid $6 for a mango smoothie as we hadn’t had breakfast. Stupid move, but it tasted damn good.
We were then taken on a small boat up the Mekong delta, while Asian men took lots of photographs of/with us and waved animatedly.
We were treated to a Vietnamese theatrical performance which was really just a bit strange and awkward, before drinking honey tea and holding a massive python for fun.
Last stop was the coconut candy making store – oddly really disgusting rather than the expected tasty. All round disappointment.
Overall – 100% worth the trip. We got to see a good chunk of the real south without being overwhelmed by angry motorcycle men and Japanese tourists with mammoth cameras (Japanese festival was there that week, of course.)