$64 Tour – 3 Days – 2 Nights – Bus – Boat – Meals – Accommodation – Guide

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My hostel in Ho Chi Minh City had a brochure of the tours they offered. I always take these to see what there is to do, and how I can do it myself. As I read through it I noticed a 3 day bus/boat tour with an add on to go by fast or slow boat to Phnom Phen. I had planned to go to PP next, so this sparked my interest. The total cost for the 3 day tour (transport, accommodation, some meals, and a guide) was $40 with a $14 add on for the slow boat. I thought anything sounded better than a long bus ride, so I decided to sign up for it. I can do just about anything for 3 days. I did pay an additional $5/night in order to have my own hotel room.
Day 1: I was picked up and we went by bus to My Tho city. We took a mid sized boat to an island where we visited a bee farm and drank honey tea. We also rode in little dug out boats down a winding channel. Each boat held 4 people and most boats were paddled  by an elderly couple. . The old lady on our boat got a call on her cell phone so talked on it most of the way, as she paddled.  It was not far, and the channel was full of boats going both ways. We had lunch then went to see how coconut candy is made.  Back by boat to the bus and a long ride to Canto where some of us went for a lovely dinner along the river. 
Day 2: Breakfast at 6 and on the bus by 6:30. We got to a pier and got on a boat for a half hour trip to a floating market. This is also where the big wholesale fruit and veg market is. Big boats completely loaded with fruit and veg. Market vendors have little boats that pull up beside ours – you can buy coffee, soup, soda, fruit and anything else you might imagine. We stopped beside a big boat full of pineapples and the old lady peeled them for us, and we ate them like popsicles – so good, so sweet, and $1 each. Next stop was an island where they make noodles. Rice is ground to a fine powder, mixed with salt and water. The batter is spread on a big round grill and covered, and cooked for 30 seconds. The big discs are then put on rattan racks to dry in the sun for 4 hours. They are then run through a machine to cut them. The rice husks provide the fuel for the fire – nothing is wasted here. Earlier night to our hotel in Chau Doc. Day 3: Brekkie at 6 and on the river by 6:30. First stop was a floating village where each house has a net underneath it, and each net holds a fish farm. They open a trap door in the floor and throw in some fish food. Here are many floating homes and people living on boats – both big and small. We then went to  a stilt village. We left our boat and walked on a small, narrow, uneven wobbly catwalk – with no handrails. We then got on an even more scary walkway – very high – like a suspension bridge. This area has huge floods during the rainy season. Village was all Moslem, and women did weaving. Back along the scary walkway to the boat.   We head upriver for 3 hours to the border. Stopping in Vietnam for exit stamps and we fill out Immigration cards for Cambodia, and I pay $35 for my visa. Back on the boat, they change the flag from Vietnam to Cambodia. We don’t go far, get off the boat – the guide takes all of our passports and Immigration cards. He comes back with our visas all done and we just have to get one stamp before we are good to go. Now we go on a different boat – this one has brought people down river. It has reclining seats inside, and then a raised, covered deck on the back with lots of rattan furniture – papasan chairs etc. We settled in for an incredible 5 hour trip up river, constant sights like little fishing boats, big barges, corn fields, villages etc. The only negative was 8 Russians that joined our tour the last day – they were drinking at 6 am, and never stopped all day. Drunk and rude. We lost our 5 cute young Aussie guys to the fast boat,  and got the Russians – bad trade. We all kept grinning like fools who have won the lottery – that one day was well worth what we paid for all 3 days. Now to see Cambodia.

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