2-day exclusive cruise to the flower villages around Sa Dec
This is an unforgettable cruise between Cai Be and Sa Dec. You will see a floating market, the colourful flower villages and the cosy colonial town of Sa Dec. This tour is operated with our exclusive 2-cabin cruiser Dragon Eyes.
The Vietnamese people will celebrate their New Year and the start of the year of the dragon from 20th of January onwards. Tet Nguyen or Tet is the most important public holiday in Vietnam and also the beginning of spring. People celebrate this occasion over 3 days and festivities start on the first day of the new moon year, but the preparations usually start weeks or months before: people pay their outstanding debts, clean and tidy their houses, decorate everything with flowers, buy new clothes, cook traditional foods and organise family get togethers.
Especially in Sa Dec heaps of flowers are grown for the Southern part of Vietnam. Even in colonial times Sa Dec was known as the «Garden of Cochin-China.» Especially during the two weeks before the Tet festival — many Vietnamese come from Saigon to Sa Dec to go shopping. For this occasion we are offering a special tour to Sa Dec and a flower village to see the beautiful and very colourful flowers.
The departures for this trip are daily between 1st and 18th of January.
Day 1: River Cruise to Sa Dec and visit of the flower gardens
We pick you up at your hotel in Saigon (district 1 and parts of district 3) and bring you to the pier in Cai Be (approx. 2 hours drive) where you board the Dragon Eyes cruiser. After a refreshing welcome drink we show you our on-board facilities and your cosy cabin. As lunch is served on the top deck, the boat starts cruising. Sit back on the sun deck or in our air-conditioned lounge and watch the fantastic scenery and the daily life of the Mekong people.
After lunch we arrive in charming Sa Dec for a city tour. There you can see the busy and colorful local market, enjoy a coffee on the nice riverside promenade and visit a nearby flower village with orchards. The charming town still has a lot of colonial architecture, in particular the old market, the church and many old villas and trader’s houses. We visit one of them, a beautifully renovated traditional house of a Chinese trader’s family. This sumptuous building belonged to the main character of the novel „The Lover“ and indeed to the lover of Marguerite Duras (see below).
In the late afternoon we return to the Dragon Eyes vessel and enjoy a sunset cruise with more fantastic photo opportunities from aboard. If time allows there is a chance for a brief stop at a brick kiln or short bicycle ride before dinner is served on board and we moor for the night. You stay overnight on board your floating hotel in the Mekong Delta.
Day 2: Cruise to Cai Be and visit of the floating market
Wake up well rested to the sound of the Mekong river and get ready for another exciting day of sightseeing in the Mekong Delta. At 6.30h the Dragon Eyes sets off for a sunrise cruise. Watch the locals go about their daily work drying exotic fruits and building ships on the wooden yards while enjoying an early breakfast.
After the tasty breakfast, we board a sampan boat to Cai Be floating market. Marvel at the sheer abundance of exotic fruits, vegetables and skillfully handcrafted regional products. We will pull up to the boats for talking and bargaining with the merchants. Please note that time does not stand still in Vietnam — modern forms of trading are pushing back the more traditional forms of trading; this also affects Cai Be floating market which is currently getting smaller and smaller.
After the floating market you have the opportunity to go for a guided walk around Cai Be, a beautiful Mekong Delta town with fruit orchards a French church and many local handicrafts. You can also opt for a bicycle ride on backroads to a small village along the Mekong canals. Or you can explore some small canals with the sampan before lunch.
Lunch is served at the famous Ancient House; traditionally build in wood and recently carefully renovated with the support of Japanese specialists.
In the afternoon we take you back to your hotel in Saigon.
Our tours include:
- Road transfer from / to Saigon
- Accommodation in cosy double or twin bedded cabins on the Dragon Eyes
- 4 savoury meals
- English speaking guide on the Dragon Eyes (other languages available on request)
- Mineral water placed in your cabin
- All entry fees
Side trips and excursions as mentioned in the itinerary.
Drinks are not included in the price (except the mineral water in your cabin).
Marguerite Duras’ „The Lover“ — famous novel and movie
Writer Marguerite Duras grew up in the colonial town of Sa Dec where her mother worked as a teacher. In 1984 she published the apparently autobiographical novel L’Amant, translated into English as The Lover, which describes her adolescent affair with a Chinese man. The text won the Goncourt prize in 1984. In 1991 Jean-Jaques Annaut directed the successful movie The Lover. The film was one of the first Western films shot in Vietnam after the Vietnam war. Many of the scenes were actually filmed in Sa Dec where a number of the original locations of Marguerite Duras’ life still exist: in particular the family house of her Chinese lover, Huynh Thuy Le (until some years ago a police station, today a museum), his grave and a pagoda with pictures of him, the school where her mother was a teacher as well as the house which was represented in the movie to be the family house of Marguerite Duras.