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Old July 6th, 2009, 10:46 PM
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Cool Cycling to explore the Mekong Delta

By Dat Tien / Saigon Times Online

Cycling through orchards and along rivers, visiting pagodas to discover culture and history and indulging in stunning landscapes are wonderful experiences.

We start in the Mekong Delta province of Long An’s Tan An Commune and follow Bao Dinh Canal toward My Tho City. Full of strength and curiosity, we are all keen to explore the land on our iron horses.

The road is surrounded by colorful fruit orchards, elegant pagodas, poetic rivers and peaceful canals.

Reaching Tien Giang Province, we stop by Thoi Son Islet in My Tho City to row a boat on zigzagging canals, sit in the garden house and sip tea with honey and enjoy the singing of folk songs. Then we visit Vinh Trang Pagoda which was built in the nineteenth century and is famous for its ancient architecture and design and its 60 precious wood statues.

The next day, we continue on to Ben Tre Province, our eyes satisfied by the green of endless coconut farms. We talk with some residents about the life of farmers.

The next day is a tour of Vinh Long Province’s Cai Mon District which is nationally famous for its fruit. We do not worry about being tired after long hours on our bicycles but have fun fishing, cooking and joining entertainment areas. At night, we have an outdoor party with fresh fish and local cuisine accompanied by cai luong (southern classical music).

We saddle our bikes and move on to Can Tho City to see floating markets such as Cai Rang and Phong Dien to buy indigenous specialties and to sense the hardships of the sellers. Markets wake when the sun is still below the horizon as sellers gather to prepare for a new day.

Finally, we conquer 20 kilometers on bicycle to visit Bang Lang Stork Garden, a 1.3 hectare stork sanctuary popular with tourists who come to see thousands of storks. Visitors can see these birds returning home from hunting food in the late afternoon. The image of thousands of storks gathering in the Garden is exotic to visitors.

Organized bicycle tours of the Mekong Delta are available from Saigontourist Travel Service Company. Visitors will be accompanied by a tour guide, a doctor and medical equipment.

Saigontourist is located at 49 Le Thanh Ton Street, DistrÝct 1, HCMC, tel: 3827 9279, email: info@saigontourist.net, website: www.saigontourist.net.
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