Exclusive travel memoir Excerpt #12 Backpacking Vietnam: Can tho floating market experience
Table of Contents
I’m delighted to present an exclusive sneak peek book excerpt for my new travel memoir ‘Backpacker to Nomad’
What’s Backpacker to Nomad? It’s my new travel memoir, chronicling the evolution from naive newbie to full-time traveller through my adventure & misadventures.
What readers are saying about ‘Backpacker to Nomad’
★★★★★ “The writing is excellent, and the author’s descriptions are so vivid” — Amazon Review
★★★★★ “You’ll get lost in Amit’s adventures and laugh along the way (mostly AT him)” — Amazon review
★★★★★ “I thought the way the book weaved between adventure and mental self-discovery was very smart. — Amazon Review
if you love travel adventures, discovery, escaping reality to drift off to lands far and wide this is the book you need to pick up.
Book Launched: July 27th 2022
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Sit back, grab a snack and enjoy …..
Can tho floating market: backpacking Vietman overview
It was what Amit liked to call stupid O’clock in the morning adventures, he didn’t want to but was glad to have, floating down the serenity of the mighty Mekong River to watch a sunrise then onto the hustle and bustle of the Can Tho floating markets with a local and not in an organised tour – What could possibly go wrong?
Stupid o'clock Backpacking Vietnam adventure
It was still pitch black; my eyes were barely open whilst hiding under my hoodie as the wooden boat that resembled an oversized canoe rocked to the motion of the calm water. Alex, on the other hand, was full of beans as usual. It didn’t matter how long we travelled for, I still hated that disgusting floaty morning spring in her step. There was just no need for it.
“Oh, come on, Amit, look at all this. We are in Can Tho and on the Mekong River with a local and going shopping with her.”
Her words prompted a little snarl for getting me out of bed to go shopping. I didn’t care where we were, at the end of the day, it was buying fruit and veg on a boat—it was nothing to get excited about.
“If this was Laos then you don’t care waking up early, you will be so excited, but because this is Vietnam and you don’t like it, you be a big baby,” she sniggered.
She had a point… if this was the wonderful, mystical Laos that I missed so much, I would probably be in better spirits, but Vietnam hadn’t done it for me. I felt nothing towards it. I don’t know what it was, but Alex loved it here and everybody we had met loved Vietnam, I just had no feelings towards it. In fact, I was the only person I knew who didn’t like Vietnam—I missed Laos too much.
Just want to leave can tho
Finally, my head lifted and my eyes opened, but I could barely make anything out along the river. The banks were hidden from sight, but there were noises, rustling like people were moving around. However, without visuals, I couldn’t confirm what the noises were, which put me on edge a little.
What are those noises and how is this old woman even steering without any light?
Forget that, how did Alex manage to get us on a boat with this local?
There were two reasons we’d come to Can Tho from Ho Chi Minh City—firstly, to get to Cambodia, and secondly, for Alex to experience a river market on the Mekong Delta.
I was only interested in leaving Vietnam. What we didn’t realise was just how many tour companies advertised an ‘authentic river market experience’, which instantly put us off. We had learnt—especially with our experience of the world wonder, Ha Long Bay—how anything that had grown popular became a huge disappointing and overpriced tourist trap. Incidentally, that was the last organised tour we had done.
Backpacking Vietnam local experience
It seemed the ‘river market experience’ had gone the same way. Alex didn’t give up though and somehow found a local to take us on a trip—she didn’t say, but I’m sure some money must have been exchanged. Alex had met this lady a couple of nights before and befriended her, even though she didn’t speak a word of English, so I’m not sure how that worked.
As we floated down the river in the darkness, a cold breeze snapped, biting at my cheeks every time I tried to look up to make out what the noises were. I could just see the local lady standing at the end of our boat as she lifted the giant wooden paddles she used to steer it.
She hadn’t said a word yet, just smiled in my direction as the boat gently floated down the river. She lifted one paddle out, rotated the other underwater, and alternated between the two. We had just set off, but it looked like tiring work. She lifted both paddles out of the water, letting the boat drift as another boat came into view—his lantern the brightest light on the river. Our boat pressed up against his, which had used tyres on the sides for a soft collision.
coffee on the mekong
My hood lifted in curiosity as she spoke for the first time, instantly nattering away with the old man holding the lantern.
Well, at least we know she’s not a mute… wonder if that’s her husband?
My eyes wandered over his boat as the old man sat surrounded by metal canisters, snacks, and a rice steamer, like a mobile boat vendor. The aromas of strong coffee lifted and wafted under my nose. Alex had already started to order her coffee and steamed banana wrapped in a banana leaf.
He looked over to me and I nodded, asking for two strong Vietnamese coffees. He poured the thick piping hot coffees and passed them over while chatting with the old lady on our boat. Once the exchange was over, he pushed us away; the long wooden paddles were back in the water and she continued.
the mighty mekong river
Light finally started to lift just slightly. Colour wasn’t in full focus, all the shadowy boats on the river looked a dull grey, and people came into focus. There were so many boats, the larger ones anchored down, the smaller ones like ours looking like they were racing each other, all heading in the same direction. But there were no tourists and no signs of tour boats, which was a good sign.
Can Tho was where the same mighty Mekong we had crossed from Thailand to Laos—and the one I adored in Laos—split up into a maze of waterways and channels before connecting to the sea. This was the Mekong Delta, and luckily for Alex, there was more than just one river market. The one we were heading to was apparently just for locals and not the tourist one, but that remained to be seen.
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This was just the start of the story, nothing is ever how it seems, adventures can easily turn into misadventures on the drop of the hat and not revealed itself yet.
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