We arrived in Can Tho just after lunchtime and went straight to our hotel, the Kim Long. When we tried to check in it turned out Jack had actually booked a Kim Long hotel in HCM City – so we’re even on booking errors now! Anyway, the lovely manager found us a great room and made us feel at home straight away, laughing at our mistake (turns out there are a LOT of Kim Long hotels in Vietnam!). He advised us on a great place to go for dinner and he also organised a boat driver to take us on a tour of the famous floating markets the next morning at 5AM.
We spent that afternoon walking through the city and we immediately loved Can Tho. Once again the people were fantastic, saying hello and smiling at us, and we rarely saw any other tourists. Jack decided to get a haircut and, through the language of mime, he managed to explain what he wanted. Here’s a photo of the hairdresser in action
We were clearly a bit of a novelty to the people in the salon as we ended up posing for several photos with the hairdresser!
After this we walked through the busy market street. It was PACKED as you can see from this photo:
They had all sorts for sale, loads of live fish and squid:
Baguettes sold by extremely smiley men:
Plus, the world’s smallest banana:
After this we found a rooftop bar where we had a beer and watched the sunset over the busy city beneath us:
We noticed that lots of families were outside flying kites in the early evening, it gets pretty windy in the afternoon in Can Tho and these kite fliers seemed like pros – some of them were about 20M in the air! We tried to get some photos but none of them really did it justice. Still, here’s an attempt:
Once the sun had slipped beneath the skyline we made our way to the outdoor restaurant that had been recommended for dinner. Jack took some cool photos of the busy roads – a sea of moped headlights as the bikes roar through green (and red) lights:
After a great dinner we were up the next morning at 4:45AM – PAINFUL! We dragged ourselves out of bed and downstairs to meet our boat driver. We had heard a few stories about surly drivers who try to charge lots for fictional extras but were immediately charmed by Minh, our amazing guide. He was really friendly and entertaining and clearly wanted us to enjoy the trip.
Watching the sun rise over the river was beautiful. The river traffic was busy from the start, people get up a lot earlier here and do their shopping before 6AM. We wanted to take photos of almost everything we saw, from the mobile coffee seller to the boat laden down with pineapples, to the noodle soup lady to the families going about their daily lives on the river. It was all incredible to see. Here are some of our highlights.
The approach to the market:
The pho lady:
After an hour or so at the market, and a delicious iced coffee, we were taken on a tour of some of the backwaters where lots of people live. The scenery was stunning and we saw people going about their daily lives, washing clothes in the river, going out in their boats and relaxing in hammocks.
I love this photo:
A beautiful house on the river:
Throughout the trip our driver kept revealing little surprises. He had bought and carved a pineapple for us while driving (no idea HOW he managed it!) which he presented about half an hour in. Then he picked me some flowers which was lovely. Finally he made some langoustine sea creatures out of river reeds – quite detailed work, again while he was driving!
River reed sea creatures:
Minh, our boat driver posing behind us – total legend:
After 3 hours our trip came to an end. It was definitely one of the best trips we’ve done so far, and our driver really made the experience for us. We decided to share the love so we gave away the reed animals and the flowers to some kids in the town, they looked pretty happy!
That afternoon we left Can Tho for Ho Chi Minh city. As our minibus pulled away from the hotel the manager and receptionist stood in the doorway and waved goodbye.If all our experiences in Vietnam are half as good as this we’ll love every minute here.