A trip to Vietnam will always have to be sufficient enough to see the mighty Mekong river, whose estuaries, tributaries and its own river provided life to many people from China, down to Vietnam, Cambodia and others. To see the Upper Mekong Delta in one day, I went to book my day tour with TNK Travels on De Tham Street, in Pham Ngu Lao. I was ecstatic since I forego my Mui Ne tour since all hotels are fully booked on December so an easy, one-day tour is enough to ignite my interests on Vietnam furthermore.
The bus departs for My Tho from De Tham street around 7:30AM and I was picked up by the bus at the TNK Office along with many other backpackers who choose to go there instead of roaming around Ho Chi Minh City. So the excitement begins when I was imagining ordinary folks riding on small boats navigating the estuaries of My Tho and the brownish color of the Mekong River just simply meant LIFE.
My Tho is the capital city as well as a municipality of Tien Giang Province. It is located south of Ho Chi Minh City. Its rich history started when Chinese refugees flee Taiwan in 1683 and those times, My Tho was part of the greater Khmer Kingdom and in the 18th century, it was annexed to Vietnam.
As I am walking towards the riverbank to ride the small canoe that will bring us to a Coconut Candy factory nearby, I asked our guide why the color of the waters in the Mekong River is brownish and without a flare of technicalities and scientific explanations, he just simply me it is because it has LIFE. I understand that the river, when its water is colored brownish fosters a great catch of fishes and other living organism unlike those that are colored green. Called the “Nine Dragon River Delta”, the Mekong empties itself out to see in southern Vietnam and to the South China Sea.
For the entire trip that I spent in My Tho, I was captivated at how ordinary people live by the river each day and live their lives in such wondrous experiences that inspire others. I have seen rivers and tributaries but never in my life did I saw much of LIFE than in My Tho where the people get their life or live their lives by the Mekong River.
The only downturn of the tour perhaps, was that, I am looking for a Pagoda or a cultural heritage sites along the Mekong River or perhaps a community where I can understand further about My Tho. What I have seen in this trip was a peek at their lives rather than immersing myself into it, which is what I preferred. The day-tour was fun and meaningful but had it there been opportunities to see a Pagoda on the river banks along the greater Mekong River, then it would have been somewhere near to perfection.