The Floating Markets and Ho Chi Minh


We left at 5.50 with our local guide, San, for a visit to the local floating markets. It’s completely authentic and people from all over the area go to the market to get their goods. The first boat we came across was basically a floating Starbucks, so I placed my coffee order, handed over my cash. In return I received a boiling hot, fresh Vietnamese coffee. It was delicious and just what I needed at this early hour!
Each boat had a long stick coming out from the top and on it they hang the produce they have on board. We saw lots of banana and fruit boats and even one boat which San told us was called a ‘supermarket’ which was a little boat that stocked all of the essentials- not quite Tesco but an interesting alternative!
We went around the markets for a while and I absolutely loved watching people going about their business just living their normal lives. It’s difficult to remember that they are still doing this when we are all at work, doing our normal thing. San was super and brought fruit for us all to keep us going, including red dragon fruit and rambutan.
Our next stop was to the floating home and store of the Cham people. Cham people are a massive community in Vietnam and they are of Muslim faith and often live in very rural areas or on water. After traversing the floating path (which I found a significant challenge) we went inside to meet them. They were incredibly friendly: some ladies were cotton and silk weaving making scarves, and others dressed us up in their traditional clothing so we could try it out. It was really fun, and I bought a beautiful scarf from them to say thank you. I also love the scarf, and it was a bargain at 100 Dong, so just over £3.
We got back on board the boat and headed towards the original docking point. We got off and walked the market with San where she bought baguettes and bananas for us to take on the boat. I was delighted as there were lots of interesting people to take candid snaps of!
We then had a quick breakfast before boarding the day bus to Ho Chi Minh. The bus was a trial run for the night bus a few days later and it was surprisingly comfortable. It was basically three rows of semi lying down beds with alleyways in between them. I found it really comfortable and dozed most of the way!
When we got to Ho Chi Minh we dropped off our bags and then headed for lunch at a hotel with a roof pool. On the way a boy started kicking a dead frog at us which wasn’t really much fun but I managed to dodge him so it didn’t touch me. I was worried my teacher voice would come out if he came too near! When we got to the pool I had some of the only western food I’ve had for months- a cheeseburger. The service was slow but it was absolutely incredible. I didn’t know I even particularly liked burgers but this was extraordinarily tasty. I didn’t go in the water as it was a little overcast and chilly but Matt really enjoyed it!