My Tho Province
My Tho is 45 miles (72kms) southwest of Ho Chi Minh City and therefore quite deep within the Mekong Delta. My Tho is quite well known as it is one of the most popular destination for Vietnamese day trips from Saigon. Tourists arrive early on coaches from Ho Chi Minh City, get straight onto boats for the trips out to the Mekong River’s islands for a few hours and then get back on their coaches and whiz off back to Saigon. They therefore sadly do not see anything of this really nice Vietnamese town – My Tho has far more to offer than just it’s boat trips and makes a very pleasant place to stay for a few days holiday.
Similar to other nearby Mekong Delta towns there are numerous bus connections to and from My Tho and it’s also easy to arrange a car and driver. The bus station for My Tho is called Tien Giang and it’s located 3 km northwest of the town center.
One of the most interesting areas of My Tho is the Bao Dinh Canal with it’s stilt houses and constant flow of river craft. In this part of the Mekong Delta the water-borne activity is always so fascinating – things going on all the time and all manner of different sized and shaped boats – so easily possible to spend far too much time just watching it all. A little way along the canal the accompanying road leads to one of the largest and most interesting markets to be found in the Mekong Delta. Everything spills out into the road including fruit and veg, fish dead and alive, pots and pans, clothing, shoes, nets and baskets – it’s busy, colorful and noisy.
Between My Tho and Ben Tre Province there are four islands which until recently were connected by ferries but now that the new suspension bridge (Rach Mieu Bridge) is open the only ferry still operating is to Dragon Island. Although it’s interesting to watch the somewhat dilapidated local ferry going over to Dragon Island perhaps do not be tempted to have a ride on it and actually go to the island. Local people quite strongly suggested we didn’t go to Dragon Island as they considered it was not exactly a friendly area particularly for tourists and had lots of vagrants wandering around.
Anyway – using the new suspension bridge is now the only one to get over to the other islands and this is a long diversion and makes a hard trip to take on gear-less sit-up-and-beg Vietnamese bicycles.
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