For one day (whilst still based in Ho Chi Minh City) we escaped the city and joined a day-tour out to the Mekong Delta area, visiting My Tho and Ben Tre. This was a good way to get an easy ride around the Mekong River Delta and Vietnamese countryside.
"An unforgettable way of seeing the Mekong Delta to drive along the provincial roads down on the southern region of Vietnam through Paddy Rice field, pineapple plantation, orchard and small hamlets.
After arrival in My Tho, you will ride on a local motor boat along Dragon Island, Unicorn Island, Phoenix Island, Turtle Island and you will take a short trek and go for a rowing boat trip. You will also enjoy tropical fruits in an orchard, natural pure honey at a bee keeping farm and traditional music.
From there, you will continue your motorboat trip to Ben Tre province to visit a handmade coconut candy workshop. Then transfer to a small motor boat and travel along the lush, green canals, and stop at a local restaurant for Vietnamese lunch and bicycle riding around the village. The boat will take you back to My Tho, then the bus will drive you back to Saigon around 7pm"
The trip was almost exactly as described (provincial roads was a bit of stretch) and very well run. Sometimes these kind of trips can be frustrating when expected to buy products from all the various stopping-off points, but there was no hard sell on this trip. It was good not only to be out of the city for a day, but also we because didn't have to think for ourselves - we were transported everywhere and fed without any effort required on our part. This day trip cost $9 each which felt like a bargain.
In addition to drinking honey tea at the bee keeping farm, we also tried banana wine, rice wine, and snake wine! The rice wine was just as bad as the Sake we tried in Japan. The banana wine was ok; more like a rough schnapps, but the snake wine was more special. Not because of the rough alcohol, but because it was cupped from a large container with dead snakes and blood in, and out came a live python for the tourists to hang around their necks! Julie bravely stepped forward and we got some great pictures...