#19 South Vietnam: Mui Ne, Saigon and Mekong Delta

After the “wet” stay in Hoi An I just wanted to get out of the rain and took the overnight bus to Mui Ne because the weather forecast said there will be sunshine. I arrived after the exhausting ride with another stop over in Nha Trang for 2.5 hours (arrived 5.30 a.m., next bus at 8 a.m.) and had blue sky and sun 😀 I booked a cheap hostel with a pool and 2 minutes walk to the beach (Casa Del Latino).

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Beaches, big cities and floating markets – southern Vietnam has a lot to offer

The next day I went on a Jeep Tour to the fairy stream and sand dunes of Mui Ne. From white sandstones, red and yellow dunes and a field full of four-leaved clover, there was much to see! I even shared a quad with a Malaysian guy from the tour to cruise around the sand dunes – absolutely the highlight of this place!

I really enjoyed relaxing and coming down from all the travelling. It has been two months now after my start in Moscow and it although my trip has been very adventurous I needed a bit of proper holiday. Each morning I had the famous Vietnamese sandwich “Banh Mi” from the Lady next door for 15.000 (= 50ct) and an ice coffee for the same price. A perfect start in the day! I met a lot of other travellers as well and we went out for party twice. There was actually a quite cool night club directly on the beach called “Dragon Beach” and to warm up I had moquitos 2 for one for 2 Euro.

From the train station in Phan Thiet nearby me and a Canadian guy I met took the train to Ho Chi Minh City (HCM), the biggest city of Vietnam with 7 million inhabitants – known for its crazy traffic and vibrant lifestyle. That was a so good alternative to the busses and just a little bit more expensive because we had to take a motortaxi for 4 Euro more but if you go there, take the red bus Number 9 – it takes you to Mui Ne and just costs 18.000 Dong.

In the evening we arrived in Saigon, the old name for Ho Chi Minh City, and went straight to the “Budget Hostel” which was actually quite nice because a cute Vietnamese couple is running it and they are so helpful. For the next day we booked a tour to the Cu Chi Tunnels which are just 50km out of the city.

These tunnels were the base of the Viet Cong soldiers which was a communist front in South Vietnam fighting against the anti-communist forces in this region like the Americans. They used these tunnels to hide, protect and live in. As a resistance against American soldiers they built a lot of traps which we saw during the tour. It must have been horrible to live in this time because the tunnels were so small and so many Vietnamese soldiers died in opposite to a smaller amount of Americans.

MEKONG DELTA

To which one do we go?? the German heavy metal band or the river delta in Asia? Take a guess!

….?

Of course… The river delta in Vietnam, Asia. But did you know about this band? I didn’t – wikipedia helps. Anyway the Australian girl, Evie, which I got to know in the hostel and me took the bus in direction of the Mekong Delta. We decided to do a tour on our own because we read a lot of negative reviews about the touristic tour (it is all about money and you just have 30 minutes to visit each spot, then go on…). The first stop was the biggest city of the Delta: Can Tho, with about 1.2 million inhabitants and known for the floating markets.

We booked a homestay next to the river and got picked up from the owner at the bus station. It was a nice accommodation but not how I would imagine a homestay because we got more treated like in a guesthouse, no exchange with the family or spending time together and then he expected $50 for the tour around the floating markets. But we made the best out of, took the free bicycles and rode along the river to the city center. Luckily the found a tour there for half price. Funny thing was that I was sweating more when I stopped my bike because it was so hot (like 30 degrees) and on the bike the wind was nicely blowing to cool down.

The next morning we got picked up at 5.30 a.m. and enjoyed seven hours of cruising around the Delta in a private boat and visiting the floating markets with a nice lady as a driver. Honestly I expected the markets to be a bit bigger but the boat tour was great anyway. She took us to another homestay for lunch where we got to know her cute son Ho who guided us around the garden and showed us how the different fruits are growing.

Our second stop was Chau Doc, a much smaller city right next to the border to Cambodia. We stayed in a small, cheap hostel ($10 per double room) with a very friendly owner. Next day we went to the market which was one of the best I have seen so far in Asia – a various offer of different fruits, seafood and other delicates. Another attraction in this area is the Tra Su Forest and Sam Mountain which we wanted to explore by motorbikes. We went to the Forest and got three boat rides through beautiful mangrove trees for $3 entrance and no tourists around us except some locals. Some of them even invited us for party and dinner – we just followed their cars and celebrated the last evening in Vietnam together! What a great end!

The next morning I took the bus to Phnom Pehn – wuhu welcome Cambodia! I plan to stay more than a months to do some volunteering in Siem Reap.


More about Vietnam and the best travel tips about where to go, when to go and public transport on my VIETNAM page.

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