Misadventures on the Mekong Delta

With a dip of the paddle into the cafΓ© au lait waters, we effortlessly glide down the narrow waterways of the Mekong Delta. A strange kind of palm tree that I have not seen before lines the banks, and like feathered plumes they shield us from whatever wildlife may lurk on the mainland.

We row past homes balanced on stilts above the waters, and children run to the door to wave hello. On the left side of the bank, a woman rows past us wearing a conical hat; a load of jack fruits stacked into a pyramid formation on the back of her vessel.

This is the Vietnam I have been looking for.

Traveling down the Mekong Delta in Vietnam

And that’s when you call bulls**t!

I could certainly tell that story. I have the photos to create said illusion, but the truth is that the last 3 days have been nothing but torture.

Wait, wait, wait. Back up. You just spent three days cruising down the Mekong Delta, one of Vietnam’s most exotic stretches of waterways, how could anything possibly go wrong?

Well, many ways, my friends. Many ways.

I suppose I let my imagination run a bit wild. A three day boat tour of the Mekong Delta conjured up images of me lazily travelling upstream on a steamboat hotel whilst lounging on a hammock and stopping at little villages along the way. An idyllic tropical paradise of sorts without much of an agenda…

I set off from Saigon with grand expectations of a river boat expedition, and what I got instead was one of the worst tours I have ever been on. So today, in lieu of an exotic tale from the Mekong Delta, I present:

How NOT to run a tour company

That’s right. You’re in for quite the rant treat. (Quick! Surf to a different travel blog while you still can.)

I’m not trying to slander the company’s name in this post, but I will point out where I think Delta Adventures has ‘room for improvement’…

Let’s begin!

Do not rush people from one site to the next.

Say you’ve travelled halfway around the world to come and visit Vietnam. You want time to soak in the natural beauty, explore the sites, snap a photo or two, right? Wrong! Our schedule would have put a military drill sergeant to shame. We were hustling.

Guide: Okay, we here. This is cave pagoda. You climb 400 steps. Come back 30 minutes.
Me: Wait, 30 minutes?!
Guide: Yes.
Me: You want us to climb up the mountain, visit the temple, AND get back down here in 30 minutes?
Guide: Yes.

I wasn’t the only one rolling my eyes considering we had spent over 2 hours driving to reach this place. You can call me lazy and out of shape for struggling to cover a total of 800 steps in half an hour, but we were also travelling with an older couple that I’m not so sure was able to reach the summit because of the time constraint that was placed on us.

That brings me to my next point.

Do not spend more time on a bus than you do sightseeing.

This was the recurring theme for the length of our three day tour. I understand that there may be great distances to cover in order to reach a destination, but never never ever should you keep passengers on a bus for twelve hours a day (not kidding!) and then only give them 15 minutes at the local market, 20 minutes at a crocodile farm, and 30 minutes to scurry up and down a mountain. (I am not even exaggerating with the times!) Travellers don’t want to nap the day away on a bus, they want to get out there and visit the attractions.

By the grim expressions, slouching postures, and eye rolls, it was clear that everyone stuck on this particular tour was exceedingly annoyed.

In this case, the tour company either needs to cut down on the number of places they try to cover, or choose attractions that aren’t so spread out, even if it means not making it to all the main sites.

Do not promise more than you can deliver.

One of the reasons I was so disappointed by this tour was that they delivered far less than what had been advertised at the agency and on their travel brochure.

On day 1 we were taken to what was supposed to be a bee farm. (I have been to bee farms before and I know what they look like). We were led to two wooden crates, a man pulled out one of the panels where the bees were hard at work, and told people to snap a few quick pictures. That was it. That was the tour of the ‘bee farm’. We were there for maybe two minutes, and then we were ushered to a table to sample honey tea and honey treats (I can’t complain about the snacks!), but the whole aim was to get people to purchase honey based products.

Do not leave passengers behind.

You’d think this is a no brainer. You just don’t leave a paying customer behind in a remote town, in a foreign land, where they don’t speak the language. They paid for a service, therefore you are responsible for them. Yet our guide on day 2 seemed to not care about anyone who lagged behind.

(I’m running down the street to catch up to the guide.)
Me: Hi, excuse me but we are missing a lady.
Guide: Who are we missing?
Me: The Australian lady who lost her ticket yesterday. She’s not here.
Guide: Oh, she’s not here. She’s not at hotel. She disappear.
Me: (Huh?) Umm, I had breakfast with her today. She just thought we might be leaving a bit later. She’s definitely back at the hotel.
Guide: She’s not here. We go.
(Turns back to his cellphone and continues leading everyone toward the harbour.)

I just stood there stunned. He’s just going to leave her behind. I ran back to Sam to see if he could get our tour guide to listen. By the time we both caught up to our guide we were at the harbour and people were starting to get on a boat. Sam tried talking to him and a similar conversation ensued. Just when we were beginning to lose hope, the Australian woman in question came running down with her bag and neck pillow in hand. The hotel receptionist must’ve pointed her in the right direction. She made it on the boat, but not because of our tour guide.

Do not go on long detours to drop off other passengers.

I’m okay with dropping people off along the way; I certainly don’t mind a little detour. However, on one particular day we spent an hour and a half driving to a ‘neighbouring city’ to drop off three passengers who were doing an extra activity, and then we backtracked again along the same route! We drove over the same bridge, saw the same buildings, and got stuck in the same traffic. That was an extra three hours on the bus for everyone else! Wouldn’t it have made more sense to have a taxi take them there?

Do not try to poison me.

Okay, let’s try to end this on a positive note. Technically there was no poisoning involved, but there could have been.

Guide: Today we have free lunch for you. You choose fish, chicken, or tofu.
Me: Okay, I’ll have the fish.
Guide: Fish is not free.
Me: But you just said…never mind, I’ll have the chicken.
Guide: Good. Oh, I forgot to say, chicken have problems.
Me: Huh? What kind of problems?
Guide: Chicken have virus. Chicken sick in China.
Me: Avian flu?!
French tourist: But you can’t get zee flu from eating zee chicken, non?
Guide: Yes, chicken is very sick. You want chicken, I give you pork.
Me: Umm, I’ll just stick with the tofu, thanks…

And that concludes our three day tour of the Mekong River Delta.

Now that it’s been 24 hours, I can look back and laugh about it.


86 Comments

  • Nici@Travelingandthat says:

    Oh no! I’m so sorry you had such a crappy time. We’re usually pretty anti-tour as this seems to be the case far too often. On a positive note- nicely written post!

    • Audrey says:

      I don’t take tours too often because I like the flexibility of being able to wander off. That being said, I have been on some really good ones in South America, so I can’t cross them off completely. I think this particular company just needs, umm, a little work.

      • Thevinces says:

        Hi audrey please tell me this tour company isn’t sinh balo! I’ve just booked a cycling tour with them 😞

  • Mark Olwick says:

    It’s absolutely ridiculous, and more than a bit irresponsible, to not name the company. It’s not anywhere even close to slander – you’d just be posting an honest review. It always baffles me when people say “oh, this tour company seriously ripped me off, but I’m not going to tell you their name, so you too can have the chance to be ripped off by them.” Geesh.

    • Audrey says:

      Alright, you changed my mind, Mark. Company name has been divulged should you (or others) be planning to travel through southern Vietnam. I think with any travel company, it pays to do your research beforehand. I was on a time constraint and just went with the first option, but you saw how that turned out… Cheers for the comment.

      • Amit bhartari says:

        Kindly divulge me the name of company , so I can also avoid booking a tour with them. I will be travelling with 2 kids in December and anxious to book right.
        Thanks

  • flipnomad says:

    This is indeed a terrible tour… d@mn, i won’t be able to climb 400 steps and back for only 30 minutes unless if maybe I signed up for a weight loss program and not a sightseeing tour LOL!

    Great job on writing this post Audrey… the last segment made me laughed a lot… the conversation was almost surreal… haha thanks for sharing..

    • Audrey says:

      Haha, there were lots of strange conversations on that tour. I didn’t think I’d be able to climb 400 steps up and down either, but this whole backpacking thing (ie. carrying around all my belonging in 40 degree weather) had kind of gotten me into shape. πŸ˜‰

  • OCDemon says:

    My favorite therapeutic method of dealing with unmitigated disaster is to say “this’ll make a great story (or blog post) someday.” It has gotten me through many a cold winter accommodation-less night. Besides, rants are more fun than inspirational tales of wonder.
    OCDemon recently posted..Every water bottle on the planet is stupidMy Profile

  • Jackie D says:

    Oh man. You guys don’t seem to be having much luck with tours over there. At least you have someone there to laugh with about it, though? I’m glad you chose the tofu and have lived to blog another day.
    Jackie D recently posted..Jackie Makes Friends on the InternetMy Profile

  • Oh my. I didn’t know you guys availed a weight loss package with sightseeing! Just kidding

    But what a disaster! Supposedly, tour packages are there for less hassle. They must cut down the destinations to visit and take into consideration the elder clients.

    Toinks at the chicken story :)) Hope you feel better now πŸ˜€
    Micamyx|Senyorita recently posted..Pangasinan Food Trip: Must-Try Dishes in Dagupan CityMy Profile

  • Nat says:

    Oh dear – I have been on tours like that so I can sympathise. I like doing tours but am very selective with who I go with now because of the exact reasons you state above
    Nat recently posted..Kusadasi – Not Quite The Jewel Of TurkeyMy Profile

    • Audrey says:

      I just didn’t do my research on this particular company beforehand… I’ll definitely remember to do so next time!

  • Kellie Netherwood says:

    So sorry to hear you had a bad experience in the Mekong Delta…but not surprised, because I had a similar experience myself a couple of years back. I thought I was maybe being a bit unreasonable because I had been living/volunteering in Cambodia for the 4 months prior and had just arrived in Vietnam. I put it down to ‘it was just too touristy for me’ but in hindsight, it was just a badly run tour. Having said that – once I started heading north, I completely fell in love with Vietnam and had incredible experiences. So I hope you do too!

    If you get the chance to see some of the Central Highlands and Ho Chi Minh Trail by motorbike, you won’t be disappointed. I also loved Sapa, Hue, Halong Bay and Hanoi.

    Happy travels!
    Kellie Netherwood recently posted..TRAVEL BUCKET LIST INSPIRATION #AtoZChallenge: X is for…eXplore BoliviaMy Profile

    • Audrey says:

      I’m sure I’ll enjoy the rest of my time in Vietnam. Despite the almost comical tour, I have loved Saigon, and I still have a month left to work my way up through the country. So here’s to more adventures! πŸ™‚

  • Maria says:

    Sounds like you and Sam are in some crazy re-make of the film, African Queen!
    Maria recently posted..Wordless Wednesday – Park GuellMy Profile

  • Jaklien says:

    A real shame and it doesn’t have to be that way. I did a tour in the Mekong two years ago and it was fab. Glad you can laugh about it now though.
    Jaklien recently posted..Taking in the View from The ShardMy Profile

  • Cheryl says:

    Wow! What an adventure … too bad that it turned out that way but at least you can laugh about it now and have more fun ahead during your stay in Vietnam. πŸ™‚
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  • Angela says:

    Oh man, this sounds like exactly why we try to avoid tours! I wish there were more good and responsible tour operators out there who are not just in it for the money but who actually enjoy what they are doing.
    We did a tour in Cameron Highlands not so long ago, mostly because it had everything we wanted to see and it was a lot easier than doing it ourselves. Our tour guide Rajeesh was the most genuine, friendly and awesome guy I’ve ever met. He was super excited about everything, even though he did the same tour twice a day, 7 days a week. He restored our faith in tours. Why can’t everybody just be like Rajeesh.
    Angela recently posted..Koh Phayam – Could we live here?My Profile

    • Audrey says:

      Rajeesh sounds like a great tour guide! I’ve had some really good ones in the past who truly loved what they were doing – I still remember one guide in Paris who talked to us about the architecture of Notre Dame with such passion, that I still remember what he had to say today.

  • memographer says:

    Ahh, I am sorry you got such a “fun experience” πŸ™
    I’ve heard/read so many bad reviews of Mekong River Tours (operated by different companies) in Vietnam. So I didn’t book any when in Vietnam. In Laos I’ve just hired a boat for myself and asked a guy to take me to some local villages. Unfortunately, a monsoon started two hours later… But, we’ve visited a monk’s village and another village up the Mekong River. Great experience! I was the only tourist there…
    memographer recently posted..Semana Santa – The Holy Week of Easter in Latin AmericaMy Profile

    • Audrey says:

      Ooo, a little hired boat during the monsoon sounds like quite the adventure, hehe πŸ˜‰ Yeah, I think in the future, hiring a local guide and having him take us around might be a good idea. That’s what we did with our tuk-tuk driver in Battambang and he was great!

  • Sam says:

    This sounds awful! I think you’ve done a great service here by discouraging any would-be customers from using this tour company. Unfortunately, this only adds to the unpleasant experiences I’ve heard about travelling Vietnam, which sadly make me less and less inclined to visit, because I’m sure there are wonderful things about it. I hope the rest of your time in Vietnam works out better, though, and you can prove me wrong!
    Sam recently posted..100 Days of TravelMy Profile

    • Audrey says:

      I’ve only been in Vietnam one week, but aside from that little tour mishap on the Mekong, I have really enjoyed being in this country. My favourite so far in SE Asia! Vietnam tends to get a bad rep, and I can see why, but hopefully in the coming weeks I can show another side. *knock on wood!* πŸ˜‰

  • Tamsin says:

    Oh wow, what a nightmare! Tofu was definitely the right choice!
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  • Ashley says:

    Oh my word!!
    Hearing about the elderly couple makes me want to cry!
    Did they even have a good time?
    That organization sucks. Knowing my standards for organization I think I would have balled my eyes out on day one (you can tolerate a lot more than me). My mother says “your father would have thrown himself off the boat”, father replies “no way, not into that cafe au lait water, I would have thrown ..some else)”.

    I hope the rest of your time there goes well! At least you now have memorable tales πŸ˜€
    Ashley recently posted..Prayer and VolumeMy Profile

    • Ashley says:

      I hope you write a letter to the company, for the sake of future tourists that have saved for years to experience Vietnam.
      Ashley recently posted..Prayer and VolumeMy Profile

    • Audrey says:

      It was such a bad tour that it was more comical than anything. I saw the couple a few days later in Saigon, and they were really enjoying their time in Vietnam, so thankfully their holiday wasn’t tarnished by the experience. πŸ™‚

  • Oh man, that is why I don’t do tours! The times I did, they never delivered.

  • Lauren says:

    Wow. That seriously… just, wow. That sounds so crap! I can’t believe he tried to run off without one of the passengers. Like, can you imagine realising your tour group has gone without you and you’re stranded in the middle of nowhere with no idea how to get back?! Crazy.

    I agree that some things are better done independently — I spent 10 days on a scooter road trip around the Delta and it was amazing! (And all of the tour groups looked miserable!).

    But, it’s tricky. Had I not been with Dave (who can ride a scooter and plop me on the back) and Stuart (who runs Travelfish), there’s no way I’d be able to get around, or even know where to go or stay, or what to do!

    So I probably would have ended up on one of these tours!
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  • Bethaney - Flashpacker Family says:

    Damn… that sounds terrible! I did a Mekong tour from Saigon and it was adequate, definitely not as bad as this, but all the interaction with locals was staged and it did feel very rushed. Vietnam is to be enjoyed but I think better done independently and at a leisurely pace.
    Bethaney – Flashpacker Family recently posted..Baggage Fees for Airlines in the US (2013)My Profile

    • Audrey says:

      I agree about going at a leisurely pace. I have a lot of ground I want to cover over the next month in Vietnam, but I’m trying to linger where I can and soak it all in. πŸ™‚

  • Sofie says:

    Sounds horrible!
    I’m not a tour person at all. I don’t like to be rushed at all, but I do realize some places are best visited on a tour.
    Not always easy to find a good company, though. Definitely not in more remote destinations.
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  • Andrea says:

    I’ve been on a tour from hell before. Lucky for you yours only lasted a short time – ours was 3 weeks haha!
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  • Savana says:

    I took a guided day trip to Halong bay, Hanoi in Feb this year and it was trip from hell too. Guide was rushing you to hustle up and couldn’t care less if you miss the bus or not. Plus the lunch that was included was just horrible, no safety guidelines for passengers on the boat and a guy fell while sitting on a broken bench at the jetty.

  • Aggy says:

    That is just flip crazy! Especially the one about leaving someone behind and the food poisoning! I’ve never heard of such an awful tour before. Glad you managed to get through it though!
    Aggy recently posted..On Top of the WorldMy Profile

  • eve says:

    Wow, I had the same experience 2 years ago going to Halong Bay. Actually it was wurst, it still feels bad…Halong Bay was one of the main reasons to visit Vietnam. As much as I dislike tours, sailing 3 days was ” impossible ” as a solo, budget traveler.

    After a careful check, booked with one of the endless tour companies offering similar tours.

    Paid for a double, AC, 3 MEALS and not so traveled destinations. Guess what…? I got none of what paid for. NOTHING!.

    To make a long story short – if your are to visit Halong Bay and about to book it in Hanoi, better check carefully with as many travellers as possible. I have stayed in one of the 2 backpackers’ big hostels (can’t remember the name, but it’s the one in the middle of the street not the one close to the corner with a free beer).

    After fact, tours from both hostels, to Halong Bay seemed to be more reliable.

    Another thing – don’t attempt to book 3 days. Most of it is a long ride from Hanoi, and swimming.

    Another option that might be better is booking in Halong Bay.

    Vietnam is a bit ‘complicated’ since locals who are in the tourism business are tough to communicate. At least in my experience. Yet, Vietnam is beautiful and interesting.

    Enjoy.

  • Amber says:

    So sorry about your misadventures. For what it is worth, I have heard from several Vietnamese, including some living in the US, about meat warnings. Apparently there is a rumor going around that the meat is imported from China, and that the Chinese are trying to poison them. I swear – numerous people have told me this! But, probably a good idea for you to go with the tofu anyway, considering your luck during this tour.
    Amber recently posted..Traveling Labels – Flashpacker versus BackpackerMy Profile

  • Lilian says:

    This tour sounds awful and this is the reason why I’m not a tour person either. Although, I have been on some good ones and sometimes they are just the easiesr option.
    You really have to do your research when booking a tour as there are so many bad ones out there, I’m afraid.

  • BlogDaz says:

    Sorry to hear you had such a harrowing time, I can relate to what happened. I have taken a couple of tours in Thailand which have been rather inflexible, even though we were a private group with no one else to please.
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  • Dean says:

    Wow. This sounds like the kind of tour I always try to avoid. I want to explore the Mekong Delta when I’m in Vietnam next month but I’m certainly skeptical about it now. I like to have the time to explore on my own. It’s always hard to know which tour agency to go with in these situations.
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  • Julika says:

    What a nightmare of a guided tour! Spending 12 hours on a bus to climb a temple mountain for 30 minutes already sounds bad enough — but leaving people behind and poisonous chicken? Seriously?! I’m sorry you had such a bad experience! But it definitely made a one of a kind travel story!
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  • Haha! The fish is not free. Wow this sounds like an awful experience. Was there a way you could have done this without the tour company all together?
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  • Jess says:

    I have an irrational fear of being left behind on any tour- I usually try to make sure I can always keep the driver or other passengers in my sight. Your guide would have terrified me into never wanting to get off the bus again. Or eating anything.
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  • Andrew says:

    The bus to sightseeing ratio is one of the things I have run into in tours in Europe as well. It is just an aspect of doing bus tours, but 12 hours in the bus in a day is a bit insane.
    The rest seems completely bat crazy. Glad you survived.
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  • Montecristo Travels (Sonja) says:

    Stunned into silence and THAT does not happen often. What a shame. You will laugh about it one day … maybe.
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  • James says:

    Sounds very much like a tour I did of the Mekong Delta. Same bee farm, later a rice factory a floating market and a 5 minute paddle down a grubby canal and that was that. Possibly the worst tour i have had the misfortuen of doing in my whole life. Not to mention the agonisingly long bus trip there. We left the tour and went back to Saigon/ Ho Chi Minh. Also had a very similar cruise on Halong Bay. Still had a great time in Vietnam though an absolutely awesome country.

  • Kat says:

    I had a similar experience on a Mekong Delta tour. It was a total waste of money and I wish I had just explored Saigon more.
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  • Oh dear, that reminds me of my tour in the Mekong delta. I used a different our operator, but I think they are all alike. I only went on a day trip from Saigon, but instead of spending as much time in the delta on boats etc, we wasted a whole hour during an alledged wee break which was conveniently located at an art workshop where disabled people worked. I am all for supporting them, but not when I get forced to enter, followed around by the tour guide pointing out things to buy, when it wasn’t scheduled, and when it was obvious that the tour guide gets a commission. I got really frustrated as some of the other tourists spend ages looking for staff of course when all I wanted to do was seeing the floating market, which was almost closed by the time I arrived.
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  • Ceri says:

    Wow. Holy hell. It’s exactly these kind of reasons that put me off going on tours like this. :/
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  • Douglas Santiago says:

    Oh my, I was about to try the tour going to Mekong but based on your experience I might as well try other places. Thanks for sharing your experience this can certainly help other people.

  • Jeanette Todd says:

    What a crazy tour guide you had there! I hope that this won’t happen to anyone, I surely don’t know what dangers you could in there if they will leave you all alone in a none English speaking community.

  • I have to agree to Jeanette, such a dangerous place to be when everybody could not understand you.

  • Janice Murphy says:

    Ha ha. We have just come from a similar tour – same ‘bee farm’ etc. I am a beekeeper so had lots of questions but nobody could tell me anything about the bees or the methods of beekeeping.
    We stayed at a homestay which was great, but we spent hours on the bus getting there, got picked up on motorcycles to go to the homestay (we are 60-somethings and were not prepared for this, though it went ok despite running red lights etc and arriving after dark). Two people got left behind atthe rice factory (we went back for them), no free bottled water which the brochure had promised tour guide sat beside me on the way back and fell asleep leaning on me, then we got dumped off the bus in HCMC 1km from our hotel and told to walk back.
    It was such a contrast to our Halong Bay tour, which was well organised and really pleasant. The junk was like a floating hotel, clean and with AC, and the food was plentiful and delicious. However, the guide there told us there were 1400 steps to see a cave, so I stayed behind since I had a bad cold, and an Indian couple stayed because they were in their 70s and not sure they could do it. My husband went and there were only about 200 steps, which all of us could easily have managed.

    • Audrey says:

      Yikes! I’ve heard a lot of people having negative experiences with the Mekong Delta tours. All different companies, but it sounds like the exact same itinerary. It’s just so hard to know what you’re booking because sometimes even after you meet with someone at a booking agency, they still throw you in with groups that booked with different companies… I’m glad to hear that the Halong Bay tour was a lot better. I also had a better experience with that one. I was really glad it was just a small, quiet group on the boat with us.

  • Great post! I’ve been debating on whether I should do the Mekong Delta on my own or book a tour. Looks like I’ll be doing it independently!

  • Anh-Tho Tran says:

    Hi Audrey,
    I am Vietnamese and living/ studying in Montreal, it is a huge pleasure to discover your travel blog filled with nicely written posts and information. I am really sorry for the bad experience you’ve had and very glad (or relieved) that you’ve enjoyed the country after all. As a local, I also dislike the tours offered because of the rushing and food problems. Originated from the Mekong Delta (my grandmother side), I would say that this region is not made for fast-food-style tourism, not at all!
    I read all your posts about Vietnam, and truly enjoyed your pieces of writing!
    Keep it up! Merry Christmas btw πŸ™‚

    • Audrey says:

      Hi Anh-Tho,
      Thank you for your kind message. While the specific Mekong Delta tour I took wasn’t what I had expected, I really did enjoy travelling through the rest of the country. Even after a full month there travelling from the south all the way to the north, I was still sad to have to say goodbye. Vietnam is one of my favourite countries in SE Asia, so I’m always trying to encourage travellers to give it a go. πŸ˜‰ Enjoy your holidays in Montreal, I bet it’s very snowy over there!

  • AndrΓ© says:

    I did not laugh that hard for quite a long time. I’m sorry you had such a bad time, but the way you describe it was hilarious.

  • Stephanie says:

    Audrey, thanks for writing this! I read this JUST as a girlfriend and I were about to head into the Mekong Delta (and considering if we should do a tour). We were in Pham Ngu Lao, slumped over at a hostel computer, completely confused. Your post gave us the right push to DIY our itinerary. It ultimately turned out to be the right choice, although there were QUITE a few bumps along the way (including our bus being delayed for a whopping 6 hours)–but we made it there and it was my favorite part of our Vietnam trip. Keep up the good work, girl!
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    • Audrey says:

      Glad to hear you two had a great time out on the Mekong Delta! Yeah, the tour I did was terrible, so I’m glad you managed to avoid that by planning your own DIY version. Sometimes that takes a bit more work, but at least that way you have control of where you want to go and what you want to see.

  • Tunc says:

    First of all i am really sad about your story. I am the self discoverer kind of backpacker and opposite to all “tours”. Find where to stay,go wherever you want,talk to the people more…etc. I definetely recommend the same for everyone. 19th November i will be in Vietnam, hope to write a positive report about it πŸ˜‰

  • Emzy says:

    Hahaha absolutely brilliant! Well, no, obviously not brilliant, but made for a highly entertaining read. πŸ˜› Gonna do Mekong Delta some point soon, will take care choosing the tour company…
    Emzy recently posted..Touristing it in SaigonMy Profile

  • Steven says:

    That’s a shame the tour was so bad. We’re doing a North – South trip in Vietnam just now and there seems to be a lot of dodgy companies doing the Mekong delta trips.

    Think we might just get the train or even fly into Cambodia.

  • Evelyne says:

    Hi, I’m currently preparing my itinerary for my trip to Vietnam. I only have 12 days, and planned spending 2 in Mekong delta, but after reading your article, I’m doubting. Should I change it to 2 days in Hanoi? (currently, I’m not planning to go to northern Vietnam) Thanks A LOT!

    • Audrey says:

      I wouldn’t cross it off your trip! My experience was only negative because of the tour company I went with, but the Mekong Delta is a a great place to visit. Just do your research in advance and ask how much time you’ll spend driving versus actually visiting places. I’m not sure I’d swap the Mekong Delta for Hanoi…(I preferred Saigon/HCMC over Hanoi), but I guess it depends on whether you prefer cities or nature.

  • halle says:

    Hi, I heard that Mekong River Cruise is “must-to-experience” journey, and I am planning to book a trip on Aqua Mekong, however I am a little bit worry and concern after reading your experience (sorry for what you have been through). I also get confused because of the differences of price offer from some websites as well as the way they provide itinerary. Can you advise which criteria of a travel agent is essential to be able to trust as well as help me to book reliable website with affordable price?
    Has anyone booked these websites before? I search on Internet through the key “”Mekong cruise vietnam””, so I think It is better for me to ask for advise first.
    aquaexpeditions.com/luxury-cruise-vacations/aqua-mekong-cruises/
    bestpricevn.com/mekongrivercruises/
    lecochinchine.com/
    aptouring.com/travel-styles/river-cruising/mekong-river
    cruisesmekongriver.net/

  • Liz says:

    i take a tour for 15usd for 1 day tour. result? ok but not satisfied. as you said not same as the brochure. really dissappointed.

  • Ngoc says:

    haha, i laughed so hard when i crossed this post from you. I’m sorry for what you experienced. English from the guide is very very poor. What travel agent did you use? I think they are running bad services. So please make sure to do research before booking with any of these agents. The Mekong Delta tour is only borning because of the guide. Believe me, I’m the local and visiting Mekong Delta serveral times, it was just…so so for me. But later, i had chance to go on a trip with a very experienced guy whom is also my teacher, i were so amazed by the informations he taught us about his homeland. 2 days is enough for Mekong! Cheers

  • Oh my, I was about to try the tour going to Mekong but based on your experience I might as well try other places. Thanks for sharing your experience this can certainly help other people.
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  • Jacob says:

    Hi Audrey! Greetings from Singapore. I’ll be in Vietnam this June and will be heading to Mekong Delta, Ha Long Bay and Sa Pa. May I know the names of any tour companies which I should avoid?

  • Two Idiots Traveling says:

    Such a terrible experience!

    We had a similar one in Bali when we took a private tour around the island. We were pushed from one store to another, with the vendors talking irritated to our driver when we didn’t buy anything. I’ve never felt more like a walking wallet then I did that day.

    Our problem was instead we misse tanah lot because we stayed too long at one of the places, which would had been nice if our driver had told us, instead of driving us in and out of stores….

    Im truly sorry for your experience but very glad that you shared, with the company’s name and all. Helps a lot for future visits to Mekong Delta!

  • Frances says:

    I am so glad I came across this review! I’ve been looking into booking a Mekong tour soon so I know to try and stay clear of this one and similar tour companies. The only thing you can do it laugh off a horrible situation like this though, and hopefully never repeat it!

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