|Major trade takes place at the Cai Be floating market daily - but at 7am, not 9am|
In short, it was not a good day for me. I swear I will never ever go on either Mekong tour again. We prebooked the tour from their website, showed them the receipt and got our tickets quite smoothly. Because Cai Be is located over 100km away from HCM, it took 2 hours to get there, i.e. 7am - 9am. By the time we got onto the motorboat, it was 9:30am and the floating "market" turned out to be just 15-20 boats selling pumpkin and garlic and pineapples. From what I read and saw on the Amazing Race before, there are supposed to be hundreds of boats! Disappointed!!
|How do you know what each boat is selling? They tie the produce to a long bamboo pole|
|People actually live on the boat|
We then went on to 3 home industries - rice paper making, honey bee tea and coconut candy. *YAWNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN*.
Soon after, lunch was served by noon. A simple menu offering fried spring rolls, deep fried elephant ear fish, vegetables and a soup. Quite ordinary a meal and nothing to shout home about.
|Lunch venue with its beautifully landscaped gardens|
|Fried Elephant Ear Fish|
|They scrape the meat off using gloves, and wrap them in rice paper roll|
After lunch was yet another boring 1 hour boat ride to Vinh Long. So what is there to do in Vinh Long? Just another wet market. However, this is where I managed to buy very cheap lotus seed nut snack for rather cheap, 220,000 dong for 1kg. In HCM city, it was going for approximately 500,000 per kg.
|Petrol station on the river|
|Vinh Long market|
|Wedding ornaments and favours are very popular here|
We were asked to meet back at 2pm after our market visit. Great, just another 2 hours before we're back. But no way man, because we went farther away from Cai Be, it now takes 3.5 hours to go back to Ho Chi Minh city. WHAT THE HECK!! My bum hurts! In total, I would have been sitting 2 + 1 + 3.5 hours on my good behind, just to see 10-15 boats selling pumpkin and garlic? Sighhhhhhh.
Once we got back, it was time for a nice dinner to relax our aches away. Back in 2006, I loved a restaurant called Quan An Ngon, famous for a collection of all types of Vietnamese street food at one place. The restaurant is now known as Nha Hang Ngon and it's still as good as before.
|160 Pasteur Street|
|Prawn paste wrapped around a sugar cane, to be rolled in rice paper with vermicelli. 135,000 dong|
|Grilled pork rice paper rolls, 52,000 dong|
|Mini prawn pancakes, 52,000 dong|
|Once again, my favourite Bun Thit Nuong. The spring roll here is my favourite meal of the whole trip|
On hindsight, Lotte Mart felt like Giant or Carrefour back home. But being a Korean chain, they have a lot of varieties of Korean food products that I wish I could bring home. Too bad I didn't have a check-in luggage.
|Lotte Mart at District 7|
I had wanted to sleep in today, to catch our 1:20pm flight back to KL. But the idiotic guy at Seventy Hotel came knocking at my door at 7am, telling me that all my friends are at the lobby having breakfast, and wants me to pack my bags up and vacate the room now. Why? Because another couple just flew in from France and would like to check-in early. WHAT THE HECK again! I was already falling sick from the lack of sleep and 2 days out in the scorching sun, and you said you want me to give my room away at 7am? No way jose! I wanted to scream at him for disturbing my sleep.
Thankfully, they did not mess up my transport to the airport. The cost for a 7-seater car was US$12 and a 4-seater for US$10.
In summary, I like Ho Chi Minh City for what it is now, and it definitely has a lot to offer to first timers.
Airport 2-way Transfer = US$52 = RM17.80/pax
Hotel = US$12x3nights = US$36 = RM110.84/pax
Cyclo Tour = RM59.53/pax
Motorbike Tour = US$35 = RM107.77/pax
Mekong Tour = RM51.29/pax
Food pool money = 300,000VND = RM47.40/paxAirasia Airfare = RM410/person
Shopping = 600,000VND = RM90 (Others in my group spent much much more!)
Grand total = RM894
Also check out:
Ho Chi Minh City 4D/3N Itinerary - Day 1
Ho Chi Minh City 4D/3N Itinerary - Day 2
Ho Chi Minh City 4D/3N Itinerary - Day 3&4 (Final)
Review: XO Tours - Saigon By Night