The colonial house of Ben Thuy looks like it hasn’t changed a bit since the 19th century. After checking out the property and its garden of orchids, we walked toward the river along the entertaining street of Bui Huu Nghia.
With over a million inhabitants, Can Tho is the unofficial capital of the Mekong Delta, and a major center of education and commerce. But despite the big-city status, it manages to maintain a slow pace and relaxed atmosphere. We spent four enjoyable days here.
Running along a curvy, eight-kilometer course which defines the northern border of central Saigon, the Thị Nghè Canal is an attractive waterway lined with sidewalks and exercise equipment. A walk along either side of the canal is one of the most pleasant and popular ways to spend an evening in Saigon.
If you follow the Bassac River inland from Can Tho, the last town you encounter before reaching Cambodia is Chau Doc. We spent a few days in this ethnically diverse city, dedicating the first to its most popular attraction: the holy mountain of Nui Sam.
Part of the six-hour boat tour we’d taken in Can Tho had been a visit to a tourist-oriented rice paper “factory”. That was fine, but we wanted to see the real thing. About forty kilometers north of Can Tho lies Thuận Hưng, which is locally known as a rice paper village. We took the bus there, to hunt down a few of the factories.
Apart from a few photos in a Can Tho tourism brochure, we couldn’t find any information about little Cồn Sơn Island. But we decided to roll the dice, and visit anyway. If “Adventure” is comprised of equal parts “Challenge” and “Surprise”, with a dash of “Terror” to spice things up, then our experience on Cồn Sơn definitely qualifies as an adventure.
Part of Can Tho’s charm is that there isn’t a lot to do. The city practically forces you into a state of relaxation; it’s hard to stress about “seeing all the sights”, when there aren’t many sights to see. The entire itinerary for our first day was “Boat Ride”, so when the tour turned out to be six hours long, we didn’t mind.
Noise, pollution, rats, cockroaches, insane traffic, incessant honking, unhygienic street kitchens, non-stop construction, and drunken singers who belt out horrible karaoke late into the night… Saigon has all of this and more! So how is it possible, that Jürgen and I enjoyed our 91 days here so completely?
Here’s our final compilation of our favorite Saigon street food. This is the kind of chow which makes us smack our lips, smack smack smack. The kind that makes us chew with our mouths wide open, so that we can smack as loud as possible! The kind which sticks in our tooth gaps, so that after our meal, we sit around with a toothpick for 30 minutes, picking and sucking our teeth… wait a second… have we gone native?