The first European to encounter the Mekong was the Portuguese Antonio de Faria in 1540; a European map of 1563 depicts the river, although even by then little was known of the river upstream of the delta. European interest was sporadic: the Spaniards and Portuguese mounted some missionary and trade expeditions, while the Dutch Gerrit van Wuysthoff led an expedition up the river as far as Vientiane in 1641–42. The French took a serious interest in the region in the mid-19th century, capturing Saigon in 1861, and establishing a protectorate over Cambodia in 1863.
Day 1: Ho Chi Minh City – Vinh Long (30 km cycling). Drive from Saigon to Cai Lay and ride to Cai Be. From Cai Be, take a boat trip along the mighty Mekong River and its tributaries to view the daily lives of people who work and play on the waterways of the Mekong Delta. The trip includes a visit to the unique "floating" market at Cai Be, and to a family-run business producing rice paper - a key ingredient in Vietnamese cuisine.
Lunch is on an island mid-river, in a local house set amongst fruit orchards and bonsai trees. Then followed by a performance of traditional Vietnamese music. After lunch, continue riding on to An Binh island. (Seasonally, on the way to the Mekong Delta, we can enjoy the peaceful scenes of farmers seeding, ploughing, and harvesting the rice crop). Overnight in Vinh Long. Includes:(L).
Day 2: Vinh Long - Can Tho (50 km cycling). In the morning, visit craft industries in VinhLong to see local residents make tofu, floor tiles, bricks, and rice farming. Ride to Can Tho and spend the afternoon at a fruit market. Overnight in Can Tho. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 3: Can Tho - Ho Chi Minh City (30 km cycling). Take a morning boat ride from the Ninh Kieu dock in CanTho to visit the teeming floating market at Cai Rang. Ride through small tracks and stop at a fruit orchard to taste some of the succulent fruits of the Mekong Delta. Lunch en-route. Drive to Ho Chi Minh City. End of trip and welcome back. Includes: (B), (L).
Also see tour packages in:
Asia Vietnam Outdoor: Land Rambler Bicycle Touring Cultural Journey
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