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Published: December 11th 2015
We booked a 5 day cycling tour across the Mekong Delta thinking it wouldn't be too challenging being relatively flat and a short-ish duration; originally there was talk of a 9 day Mountain ride (yipes) or an 11 day Mekong to Angkor Wat cycle (double yipes). My spouse and I both did some cycling fitness training for this and although not a strenuous pace or terrain it was challenging enough with jet lag; change in food and the heat and humidity and my bicycle sore butt.
We were picked up at our hotel in Saigon by the cycling glide with a van for 2 couples; cycling guide, van driver, luggage and bicycles and driven into the Mekong countryside; relieved to be out City and Saigon traffic, to a rural 2 lane paved road; fitted the bikes and were off cycling in the morning heat and humidity across rice paddies and through banana and palm plantations' over bridges. We were on various sized pathways and roads from 2 ft wide concrete paths to 2 lane roads; weaving through the tapestry of agricultural fields and plantations with either concrete houses or water palm frond woven walled and roofed huts. The area is
well populated by farms on 1-5 ha parcels with lots of schools and smiling children waving "he-low" giggling; we were the main tourist attraction of the day; sometimes whole schools were on recess at the fence waving. The guide set a pace that we were comfortable with and had time to look around to glance at the passing sites ever turning to another pathway or going over small bridges and stopping for breaks every couple of hours for a cold drink of water, coffee, and local fruit and food. People were friendly and curious to see 5 cyclists passing through and if we were stopped cautiously and respectfully would ask questions to the guide; eyeing us.
By cycling we experienced people, Vietnam and Mekong first hand with countless smiles; waves; and surprises at every turn; you couldn't help but forget the heat; humidity and sore cycling butt ... often the guide planned for shady pathways and stopped in roadside huts for short breaks for water, snacks and to relax and swing in hammocks under shady woven palm roofed huts. If we were lucky they had a block of ice where they chipped off chucks to cool off overheated salty
heads arms and legs.
On our first day we cycled through jungle like plantations on smaller pathways of banana's coconuts an sugar cane until dusk through a largish town of 300 thousand, Tra Vin, that really tested our cycling skills against the cities chaotic Scooter traffic; straight through the town & intersections on our bicycles during rush hour; loosing 1/2 the pack to a 10 lane road crossing filled with scooters & trucks into a blinding setting sun. We felt truly initiated eing a Vietnamese road tested, surviving the City traffic and cycling up the ramp into the hotel lobby of a 3 star Government Hotel Lobby.
(note to self; To be added to; district and town names?)
TRA VINH – CAN THO 80KM
CAN THO – LONG XUYEN 75KM
LONG XUYEN – CHAU DOC 80KM
CHAU DOC – SAI GON Van ride back
Tot: 2.978s; Tpl: 0.067s; cc: 10; qc: 48; dbt: 0.0488s; 2; m:saturn w:www (18.104.22.168); sld: 2;
; mem: 1.4mb