After living in Brisbane and constantly driving over, under and around the Brisbane River, or what us locals call it ‘The Brown Snake’, I would have never thought that a brown river could be beautiful, until I witnessed the mighty Mekong River. The Mekong River is the longest and largest river in South East Asia, stretching approximately 4,350km. Starting in China and interweaving all the way down through Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, the river is a vital source of life for those not only living in the region, but for the country as a whole.
As part of our Gecko’s Adventures Vietnam Highlights tour, we were able to experience a real life homestay with a local family right on the river front and it was nothing short of unbelievable. I wanted to share with you all some of my photographs and favourite moments from this unforgettable experience that warmed my heart and filled my soul with gratitude.
We jumped into this little row boat so we could go down one of the narrow streams running off the Mekong River and although scenic and extremely peaceful, it took a lot of nerve and getting used to. We were centimetres from the water and it sure did not feel like it could hold the four of us along with the sweet lady that was rowing us. It did however make for some incredible photographs! Okay, so everyone else in my row boat didn’t necessarily approve of this, but I did decide to stand up and change places with my tour guide in the seat behind me so I could snap this photograph of the sweet lady rowing us to safer grounds.I feel like my tour guide is getting a wee bit sick of me constantly yelling out ‘STOP!’ for photo opportunities, especially when we were on our bike ride through the small little village that we were staying in. However, it’s so worth it when I get shots like this!How sweet is this little pineapple? There is an abundance of fruit and vegetables growing on the sides of walkways and in the gardens within the Mekong region. I just wish I could have gone fruit picking, but no, preserve! This was our first spread of the day – not bad, not bad at all. You may be thinking ‘what on earth is in the middle’ and well to put your mind to ease (I know you are burning to ask), it’s actually rock salt and chilli salt. I wasn’t a huge fan of the chilli but the salt worked surprisingly well with the pineapple and complimented it in the strangest way known to man kind. We sure did polish off the Vietnamese tea however, seriously so yummy. Here is my proof that a brown river can be beautiful. Just look at that perfect reflection on the water and the vibrancy of the palms. My lovely new travel pals and I trying our honey tea/posing with our honey tea. I think I probably had my fair share of tea by the time I left but I simply couldn’t resist especially when it came straight from the hive and was included in our tour. Gotta make the most of it! Tourist? what tourist? I have a whole different perspective when I see the vendors walking around with these baskets totally overflowing with fruit and vegetables. It is damn heavy. This is the famous Elephant Ear Fish that my tour guide raved on about from day 1. As a vego, this definitely wasn’t the meal for me, but for those meat eaters out there, my travel companions said that it was scrumptious. They ate it in fresh rice paper rolls and it looked amazing and was a lot more photogenic compared to my vegetables.
Call me Sophie the Beekeeper. I braved the bees (they are actually so friendly) and got this photograph with my new happy buddies. I even tried some honey right from the hive. I must admit sticking my finger in the middle of hundreds of bees isn’t usually my cup of tea, but for the taste of the honey and yes, the thrill, made it so worthwhile. Taken at the back of our home stay for the night. I spent quite some time here chatting away with my new travel pals and editing through the day’s photographs. I also did attempt to watch the sunrise here but due to the weather it was impossible. At least I tried, right? What lovely and welcoming blokes! The locals living by the Mekong River really changed my perspective on the Vietnamese – I definitely just had a bad run on my first two days.
I only got to stay one night on the Mekong River, but I couldn’t recommend it any higher. It’s a once in a life time experience where you learn so much about the Vietnamese culture, people and most importantly…the mouth-watering FOOD!
I hope you are all having a brilliant time wherever in the world you may be.
Lots of love,