|Ferry across the Mekong|
We left the city in an old four-wheel drive - six paying guests squeezed into the back and the driver and our English-speaking guide up front. Our fellow passengers were three Taiwanese people, two Saigon residents and their guest, and a very chatty single Australian lady who had told us her entire life story before we had gone very far!
We drove south out of the city for about two hours. It's only 50 kilometres or so, but the roads are not the best and the traffic slowed us down. Then it was a short ferry crossing of the Mekong Delta and we were on Can Gio Island. Here, the roads were wide, well-maintained and free of traffic. Our guide told us that it is the location of choice for wealthy Vietnamese to retire to and we certainly saw some very nice-looking villas.
|Don't know why they were wearing helmets!|
From there, we went to a beach resort for lunch, after which we had time for a swim and a bit of sunbathing. It was so good to cool off after the heat of the market and we vowed to check out transport possibilities that would enable us to spend weekends there.
Our final stop of the day was 'Monkey Island' itself, the nature reserve which gives Can Gio its name. The reserve consists of 80,000 hectares of mangroves and water coconut trees. Formerly, the area was home to a wide range of wildlife, but most of it was eaten during the American War (according to our guide) resulting today in a dearth of native fauna. There are now only a few saltwater crocodiles being kept in capitvity whereas a few years ago there were thousands. The only creature which hasn't disappeared is the monkey. There are a couple of thousand residing in a small area and it was a little disconcerting stepping between groups of them as we walked through the reserve!
After our walk, we had a ride in a motor boat through the mangroves to see a base used by Viet Cong fighters during the war. The various sleeping, eating, and meeting huts are linked by very dodgy bamboo walkways and, to be honest, I was more concerned about falling through one of these than in what I was seeing around me!
|Don't be taken in by those eyes!|
You can see more of my photos of Can Gio here.