Can Tho, Vietnam
5.3.11 - 5.5.11 30 °C
In my opinion the 4hr/$4 minibus ride was totally worth it I liked Can Tho. We decided to come here b/c I was interested in seeing/experiencing the Mekong from a different perspective. We didn’t know at the time, but it turns out K’s parents were both born in Can Tho with her dad actually growing up there. I was happy she learned a little more about her family history in this trip.
Can Tho is a smaller city near the Mekong Delta, neighboring the Khmer Krom towns of Soc Trang and Tra Vinh a couple of hours away. The Can Tho river connects to the Mekong, and is known for its fresh fruits/veggies and fish sauce (this is where the majority of Vietnamese fish sauce is manufactured supposedly). There is a daily floating market on the river where farmers/vendors barter and sell fruits and veggies (Cai Rang Market) in the early dawn hours until mid morning. There is another floating market that sells snakes, both dead and/or alive, poisonous or not (Phung Hiep Market) that we didn’t get to visit.
In an attempt to catch the Cai Rang floating market (it’s hard b/c we like to sleep in hehe), we decided to catch a boat ride. Always looking for a bargain at K’s expense (j/k) I opted to take the janky small boat with the mini motor as opposed to the bigger more sturdy ones that cost more haha. $30/2ppl/2.5hr ride as opposed to $40/2ppl/3hr ride to the market and a visit to a local fruit orchard and animal farm. Both prices are prolly 2-3X higher for us tourists than what it’d usually cost I would say.
Yet again heteropatriarchy at its best, most of the smaller boats that are more difficult to maneuver and maintain are operated by womyn, while the easy to steer and stable larger boats are operated by their husbands/men. Our guide was cool, friendly, and spoke some English which is different from most locals in the area. Her poor boat kept getting pollutants stuck on it’s lil propeller that she had to remove by hand, and it’s tank was so small she kept having to refill the tank with the gas she kept contained in an old plastic soda bottle. K had another brief moment of hatred towards me. Ooops! All in all though, a nice trip and we made it back to the dock safely.
We stayed at a hotel managed by this really nice womyn, with all womyn staff. No bugs, helpful, safe, totally lesbo/womyn friendly. I liked Can Tho b/c it’s not yet touristy (kinda like Koh Kong) although it is starting to develop in the area of tourism. There aren’t ppl pestering you to buy items or lotto tickets which is common in parts of Vietnam. It’s small enough to get to know the streets and pretty peaceful. The waterfront at night was beautiful.
I do have a couple of gripes tho:
1. Getting out of the Can Tho Ben Xe Khach bus station made me flinch. I hated it! As soon as your bus rolls up into the lot there are a bunch of men running alongside it, creepily looking into the windows. They’re motobike drivers looking for passengers, and they hella hound the tourists. Which is expected, but at one point there were like a half dozen men that followed us to the sidewalk where we were gonna catch a cab, circled around us and STARED at us for the longest. Gross. Was so happy when the taxi came.
2. But not for long. In Can Tho we were scammed by like 9/10 taxi rides we took. Either they “didn’t know where we wanted to go”, drove hella slow, or rigged the meter to jump up every .1 kilometer when its supposed to go up every .7k. So annoying.
3. There are so many cockroaches! That one K was talkin about in my hair was about the size of the end of my lil pinky. The ones around Can Tho are about 2 inches in length and fat. They run around at night along the sidewalks, which I don’t mind as much. What’s not cool is seeing them when you’re tryna eat. Even I have my limits ewwwl. K made this scene at this one recommended restaurant (Lonely Planet folks are on crack sometimes) b/c soon after we ordered there were a couple just scurrying around next to our table. She freaked out and had them cancel our food order, and we had to hurriedly pay for our coconut drinks and ran out.
So as much as I liked Can Tho, I was happy to return to Saigon/HCMC after the 3 nights. We took the full-sized bus back, fully equipped with A/C, toilets, free bottled water, and perfumed hand wipes. Most importantly – no bugs.Turned out it only cost 50cents more than the miniexpress bus. My bad!