Mekong Delta, Vietnam

We crossed the border to Vietnam without any problems. We were a little worried about this since we didn’t have any international licence, insurance or ownership in our own names (it’s technically illegal to own a bike so you must have the ownership papers registered to a Vietnamese person), but the officer barely looked at them. We crossed at the southern-most Cambodia/Vietnam border crossing, Ha Tien.

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Crossing the Cambodia/Vietnam border at Ha Tien.

The first major city we went to was Can Tho. The ‘quintessential tourist experience’ here is a riverboat tour of the Mekong Delta to see the floating markets. The Mekong Delta is a maze of small and big rivers all connecting to the large Mekong river. So we signed up for an 7 hour tour (ya it was a bit long!) that started at 5:30am and ended around noon. Besides the floating markets, one of the coolest things on this tour was a rice noodle factory where we learned how they make rice noodles from start to finish.

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Our river guide and I bright and early!
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One of the boats heading to the floating markets. They advertise their products by placing a sample on a very high pole.
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At the floating market you could buy anything from produce to cups of cafe sua da (iced coffee).
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Carrying steaming trays of rice noodles (before they’re cut) outside to dry.

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Walking along the paths between rice fields.

We went to Saigon (also called Ho Chi Minh city) and spent a few days visiting the War Remnants Museum, the Cu Chi Tunnels and trying to navigate the notoriously bad traffic.

The War Remnants Museum gets a bad rep for being full of propaganda against the US, but I found it to be well worth the visit and full of photos with simple descriptions of what they are. Their were some hard things to look at including the section on Agent Orange – a chemical sprayed in North Vietnam by the US that has had some serious consequences that are still evident today. We’ve seen many many amputees and children born with birth defects in Vietnam. However the war vets are extremely proud that they fought for and won independence for their country.

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The slogan “Independence or death” was seen everywhere in the streets of Ha Noi when fighting the French colonialists.
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Now this was propaganda! Watching a video before touring around the Cu Chi tunnels.
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Trying to fit in the tunnels. There are hundreds of kilometres of tunnels that the Viet Cong dug during the war to hide and fight off the US soldiers. These particular tunnels were rebuilt for tourists but we visited some better ones in the DMZ (later post!).
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Crawling through the tunnels – it was a tight squeeze and incredibly hot. Gives you a real appreciation and admiration for the people that lived down here for months at a time.

After several days in Saigon we made our way to Mui Ne, a beachtown on the coast. We had to take hwy 1 which we were advised to avoid and now we know why! When stopped for coffee the locals looked at us like we were crazy and couldn’t believe it when we said we were biking ourselves. Some of them said they wouldn’t even bike on this hwy! But after a long day we finally made it and took some time for a little relaxation on the beach. Besides being EXTREMELY touristy, Mui Ne had some spectacular places to visit that more than made up for it!

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Sundown – in front of our accommodations, right on the beach!
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Walking down the Fairy River surrounded by sand dunes.
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A fishing port just outside of town.
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Several kilometres of sand dunes.

The next day we reluctantly left Mui Ne on an epic, exhausting, beautiful four day 1000km ride to our next destination, Hoi An …

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