Review of Tour to the Mekong Delta with Les Rives

Simply put: luxurious and respectfully pampered. That’s the reaction that comes to mind when reflecting on the day trip we took with the tour company, Les Rives, to the Mekong Delta. Their company motto, "An Authentic Experience," is not just a marketing ploy, it’s a true description of their operating philosophy.

Many day trips out of Ho Chi Minh City require a packed bus ride and a large tourist group. However, with Les Rives, you pay a bit more to receive a lot more, in terms of service and quality.

Transportation begins from the easily accessed port in District 1, on impeccably clean and spacious high-speed motorboats (Yes, you skip the bus part!). The group of tourists you join can only reach a maximum of 15 people, which makes for a calm and stress-free day. Having a small group of people on the speedboat also creates a nice atmosphere for getting to know your fellow tour mates. We had a great time sharing travel stories with one another!

For our tour, we started before 8am, with an introduction to our day plans from the impressively well spoken and charismatic tour guide, a breakfast of Vietnamese style coffee, fruit and different types of “bánh mì” sandwiches. That was only the start of the tasty treats we were served throughout the day. Actually, not an hour went by that we didn’t have a spread of cold water bottles, tea drinks and fruit in front of us. The lunch meal showcased some of Vietnam’s most popular foods, including the popular soup, “canh chua,” fresh spring rolls, caramelized pork and ginger chicken. A surprise seafood dish with an amusing presentation also delighted all of the guests toward the end of the meal!

We’re not quite done talking about the food yet! It has to be noted that all of the employees of Les Rives practiced faultless hygiene; the tour guide guys even used gloves when they cut fruit for us to share. This was so refreshing to see, as many places around the world (including inferior tour companies in Vietnam), don’t seem to realize the importance of cleanliness to create a comfortable environment for their guests.

We navigated through small, tree lined canals in the Mekong and stopped for an insightful and beautiful visit at a Buddhist pagoda, a real food market near the water, a sugar cane field, a local's home (with a real shocking surprise! And the sweetest old lady you’ve ever seen), a Cao Dai temple and a small, authentic riverside town for that lovely, aforementioned lunch.

The places visited were obviously well planned, informatively versed (on the travel guide’s part) and it was evident that Les Rives had developed real connections with the locals who opened their homes to us "local experts."

If you want to step out of the city and see a unique area of Vietnam, referred to as “Sông Cửu Long” (Nine Dragons River) by its inhabitants, consider the well-planned, smoothly executed and indulgent tours offered by Les Rives.