If you find yourself in Ho Chi Minh city, it's definitely worth a trip a few hours south to check out the Mekong Delta. 'Cuz ... it looks like this:
When we decided to head down, we looked into tours from Ho Chi Minh that provided transport, a boat ride through the delta, a place to stay, and the whole shebang. I'm not usually into tours like this, because I feel like a sheep in a herd, but, come on, it was the first time we traveled with our son to a far away place and I was a scared momma. What we found was that all of these tours were insanely expensive. Like, hundreds of US dollars expensive.
No thanks. We don't roll like that.
Instead, we used the Phuong Trang bus company to get to Can Tho, the common jumping off point for Mekong Delta tours. The ride is only a few hours, but you can get a sleeper bus where the seats are reclined. You're basically in the lap of luxury for only 1000,000 Vietnamese Dong ($4).
Check out that recline! Perfect for a baby nap.
We didn't spend too much time in Can Tho, tho. We got there around 6, and took a walk around the town. They have your typical Southeast Asian night market and some decent phó places.
Do you see the look of fear in my eyes? Unbeknowst to me, the night market was not pedestrian zone only. Or maybe it was, but motorbikes were all up in there.
Phó and Tiger beer was basically our diet for a month straight. No complaints. Bonus? Z was fast asleep in the carrier.
We went to bed early, because we have an alarm clock that goes off every 2 hours at night (Z baby), and we had to wake up at 5am to meet Anna, our guide through the Delta. You can definitely just hire boats that will take you around to see the floating markets and other sites of the delta, but it's definitely worth it to get an English-speaking guide (assuming you speak English). We booked our tour through Eco Tours. We couldn't say no to the five star reviews and the $25 per person price tag.
5am wake ups calls are rough, but a boat side delivery of Vietnamese iced coffee with half a can of condensed milk makes anything better.
There are many times traveling where Z falls asleep in one climate/landscape/mode of transportation, and wakes up in a completely different one. This face after he woke up on a boat says it all.
The tour lasted 7 hours total. We visited 2 different floating markets, drank mad coffees, constantly had fruit cut into fancy shapes handed to us, had an IV of baby coconut water all day, and ate a full lunch (all included in the price).
This was just before Tet, the Chinese New Year, so many boats were filled with the bright orange and yellow flowers that decorated everyone's houses around that time.
This guy came up to me after we docked for lunch, grabbed Z, and walked away, only to drag back this mini hammock that he pushed him in for 30 minutes. It was totes adorbs.
Post lunch food coma
Baby's first watermelon
How to make Vietnamese Ice Coffee: Step 1: overflow the glass with ice, Step 2: Pour in a can of sweetened condensed milk, Step 3: add a splash of the greatest coffee you've ever tasted.
We went during the winter months, so the weather was cooler with no rain. Mosquitos and the nasty diseases they carry might be more of an issue during the summer months, as it's hot and muggy and rainy--the perfect breeding ground for mosquitos. We didn't see any of those nasty creatures during our time on the Mekong Delta, which was a relief, but I assume it may be worse in the summer.
And since we're talking about risks, we also brought a lifejacket for Z on the trip (this one). It's small, but it still took up an insane amount of space in our packs, we never actually used it (I guess that's a good thing), but it gave us peace of mind when we were traveling by boat. I chose that one because it's designed to keep the baby's head afloat without any assistance.
This trip south (even though we were ultimately heading north) was well worth it (especially for the less than $100 price tag for transport, accommodation, food, and the tour).
I think I'll sing it again. Mekong Kong Kong Kong Kong.