Thursday, August 09, 2018

Cycle Mekong Delta Day 6 - Tra Vinh to Vinh Long

It's Day 6 in Mekong Delta with a good rest at Gia Hoa Hotel 1 in Tra Vinh and we hope for another good day ahead.
Our breakfast was just next to the hotel, another pho (Vietnamese soup) affiar with rice noodle and meat. 
Breakfast at the side lane in between the hotel and a coffee shop. Isn't it fun.
So far the pho has never to disappoint us and one for the pho seller, we enjoyed herr food. We had siew yuk from her too.
The weather started fine in the morning as we left Tra Vinh for our next destination.
On our KM12 we had to cross an irrigation dam called Lang The Dam situated at GPS : 9.996440, 106.307384
Immediately after the crossing we stopped for a drink at this stall. GPS : 9.997969, 106.305799
We made a mistake going through this toll both at Trạm thu phí cầu Cổ chiên, GPS : 10.019834, 106.297357 realising that we were on the wrong direction.
Fortunately we did not ascend this bridge if not we will have to revert back.
For the first time we started to see this drying of long stalks on the road side and we wonder what was it.
Another similar structure laid ahead of us, it is also another irrigation dam and this one is called Cong Dap Cai Hop located at GPS : 10.062597, 106.250318
The crossing was part of our route as we continued our journey towards Vinh Long.
The field on the left is straw plant field used for the making of sleeping mats.
The straws were left to dry on the road side and can be seen in abundance along our ride.
I guess this must be one of the major incomes for the local.
 The many households busy with their activities with regards to this straw production.
The weather remained cloudy we continued to move on as long as it is not threatening like thunderstorm or severe downfall.
The rain eventually came we had to stop and fortunately we were timely to find this shop for a shelter.
We bade goodbye to the family and continued with our ride. The location was Trung Ngãi, Vũng Liêm, Vĩnh Long, GPS : 10.060892, 106.225863
The rural people are always friendlier and make our journey alive and fun.
After 37km we reached a township called Vung Liem and stopped by for a snap or two. Located at GPS : 10.093766, 106.186282
Here we were at an area called Mang Thit. Mang Thit is a district of Vinh Long Province in the southwestern part of Vietnam . Mang Thit is not only an important waterway in the Mekong Delta, but also a very high productivity area for fish rafts, where many of the red brick and tile bricks of Vinh Long. Mang Thit is a district producing a lot of rice and delicious fruit.
While the rest we have opted for a duck noodle lunch, I went a little bit further up the road for a pork rice with a braised egg.
That's my lunch for the day.
The place we took our lunch wasn't far from this ferry terminal.
This ferry terminal is known as Pha Mang Thit.
Just like the locals we commute just like them, frequently on a ferry ride. Our conical hats made us look like their farmers in the country side.
The drizzle continued so was our ride, the drizzle could not stop us in anyway.
We entered into another horizon it looks like Angkor Wat but not then what was it. We did not know and had to go closer to probe.
It is a brick producing factory and not any historical remains. Vinh Long is renown for producing red bricks and brick tiles. 
The traffic is light and easy it was a wet day indeed. We have to be careful in our maneuver. 

As usual we will stop at the bridge and observe the various type of boats passing underneath us.
A row of flowers planted along the route that breaks the monotony of the scenery.  
At another bridge where a local dame was trying to sell us lottery.
More and more brick kilns seen this time it was from a bridge. I guess the closeness to the river would make it easier for transportation.
The kilns continuously to surface and hopefully soon we will reach Vinh Long town.
We love Sinh To (Vietnamese fruit shake) and always on a look out for the word "Sinh To" when we are on the road. Here we were at a rest stop for another Sinh To indulgence.
I could sense the closeness to the centre zone of Vinh Long and the day light was slowing diminishing.
Finally we reached the hotel we wanted to stay and with luck there were rooms available for us.
Our bikes were kept at the lobby. The hotel is a family run business even the old grandmother was around to greet us.
The route for Day 6 covering a distance of 73 km on a wet day.

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Cycle Mekong Delta Day 5 My Tho Ben Tre and Tra Vinh

After a good sleep, recharged and ready to continue the journey we checked out from the hotel around 7.30am with a plan to visit a famous temple  before we leave My Tho.
We were continuously blessed with good weather the temple is not too far from the place we were staying and breakfast can come later.
A cable bridge so near yet so far to cross, we will be come back for you.
After less than 3km we could see sign of Vinh Trang Temple with a huge standing Buddha statue and an ornamented gateway.
Vĩnh Tràng Chùa is a Buddhist temple near Mỹ Tho in the Mekong Delta region of southern Vietnam. It is one of the best-known temples in the region. Location at GPS : 10.362038, 106.373553
Statue of the Buddha Amitābha of Vĩnh Tràng Chùa.
Budai (Bố Đại) statue, God of Happiness
Bicycles are prohibited to enter the compound.
Coconut ice cream seller on two wheels.
Within a stone throw away we patronised a eatery shop for an indulgence of more soup noodle.
I enjoyed this clear noodle with slices of lean meat.
Of course my kaw kaw (concentrated) Vietnamese coffee without sugar nor milk. The ice cubes will slowly melt and dilute the concentration to suit oneself. 
A toilet visit at another temple nearby.
The bridge crossing Bảo Định canal which is connected to Mekong River and in the vicinity of the Mekong Delta.
The busy part of My Tho as we were leaving the town.
We stopped by this scenic river side along 
Hoàng Sa to take some photos.
Some of the boats seen at 
Hoàng Sa (kind of a boulevard) with a cable bridge at the back ground.
Rạch Miễu Bridge (VietnameseCầu Rạch Miễu) is a cable-stayed bridge in the Mekong Delta. The bridge connects Tiền Giang Province (Mỹ Tho) with Bến Tre Province, over the Mekong.
As viewed from the bridge before we roll down towards Ben Tre.
One of the many stalls selling dried stuff like coconut candies.
Joe lost and found a new shade from this man.
 Ham Luong Bridge over Ham Luong River - Ben Tre GPS : 10.235555, 106.334917
Here comes the rain but our ride continued as it was not that threatening. 
Though it was wet but a cooling day to cycle.
Fenn was gamed for a durian and I was equally anxious on the taste of a Vietnamese durian. I like the taste but nothing like our Malaysian durian.
The eating stall that we stopped by, had a durian, a good lunch and rest. Again the many hammocks in the many eatery stalls which allow the customers to lay and rest. GPS : 10.153754, 106.330368
Another venture into the local delicacies and also the famous coffee.
We took a detour to a road called Công Lý filled with coconut production activities and this route is running along a river. The GPS location is 10.124751, 106.323491.
The coconut husk fibre or also known as coir extracted from the coconut husk and used to made floormated, mattresses, brushes and sometimes used for burning.
Local ladies dehusking coconut under a shade next to the river and many barges carrying fresh coconuts busy ferrying in the river.
The road seems very interior and I started to get worry whether we were on course.
We were lucky that we could proceed pedalling and continue our ride without any U-turn.
River activities are the main characteristic of Mekong Delta whether it is on the main river or the many canals.
Another narrow bridge crossing at our KM44 and was glad that the journey continued seeing interesting rural scene of Mekong.
A sign of civilisation with more live and activities ahead of us. 
A small commercial community with a few shops and a flooded road which we had to go through.

Most of us dismounted and pushed through the obstacle. 
Another narrow bridge over a stream at our KM 52.
One of the two motobikes ferrying a pig in a cage trailer heading our opposite direction. 
The route that we were cycling actually runs in the vicinity of a river known as Cổ Chiên River which flow through for 82 kilometres through Bến Tre Province, Trà Vinh Province and Vĩnh Long.
Suddenly the road was muddy road and stretches a long way, cycling and balancing of one's bike has to be be very skillful. Sometime the surfaces could slippery with slimy laterite mud.
Sometime a long moment of silent with no live along the track.
Somewhere at our KM 58 we came across a hut with people enjoying their drinks, they waved to us and were friendly.
What a relief when we have reach a ferry terminal the road remain of gravel without any distinguish jetty structure.
The ferry awaiting for its passengers to board.
I found out later the name of this crossing is known as Vam Don Ferry Terminal.
Payment for the ferry ride was made only after the crossing at a small toll house.
We could feel the closeness to a town with the traffic volume increasing and more buildings encountered.
5,000 dong for a quick bike wash as we were approaching Tra Vinh town. All satisfied with our clean bicycles and no more mud sticking on the bikes.
We found out that the hotel marked on our GPS devices was fully booked, we had to search for alternative. Fortunately the staff gave us a recommendation. We checked into another hotel near by for the night.
We went through 70km from My Tho via Ben Tre to Tra Vinh and one of the toughest road conditions ever done during the tour.