MY THO - Attractions

Awash with day-trippers from Saigon, My Tho is not the most atmospheric place to sample Mekong life, but it has its moments. Boat trips typically stop off at one or more of the larger islands in the Tien Giang River (including a look at the tacky, past-its-prime Coconut Monk Pagoda – hopefully the guides won’t use the provided poles to poke at the sleeping crocodiles in the artificial pond if you go). Tours then pop into the more rewarding canals across the river in Ben Tre province. These palm-lined, chocolate-colored canals are lined with homes. Typically tours stop at a coconut candy factory and honey farm.

DIY TIP If you want some elbow room to yourself (supposedly 1000 people come a day on weekends), and get a little more drama out of the trip, it’s well worth arranging the half-day trip to end at sunset, well after the day-trippers have left for Saigon. Coconut candy farms are still churning out fresh candies, without the prying eyes of dozens of tourists. Also, on late-day trips guides will stop at the river bank to spot (and catch) fireflies. And if you arrange it from Ben Tre, as I did, you finish in the canals after sunset, which can be a thrilling experience – slowly drifting through narrow waterways in the pitch dark.

TIEN GIANG TOURIST (see BASICS) arranges two- to three-hour boat trips, starting at 8am (along with Saigon crowds), for $24.50/27/32 for one/two/four people. The abundant freelance offers will be cheaper. Offers ranged from $10 to $20, though you’ll be asked to pay a $1 or $2 for a fruit plate at the honey farm on Ben Tre. You can also arrange a trip across the ferry at the village of Tan Thach, in Ben Tre province.