Where will PHP 500 (USD 10) take you?

500 Pesos, or 10 US Dollars seems like a small amount. Depends on where you are, it can probably just buy you a fastfood meal or a movie ticket. How long can you survive with just 500? If you spend it for food, probably a couple of minutes, for a show, probably for 2-3 hours. To get your money’s worth, spend it in a Mekong Delta Tour – an amazing 9-hour experience, with memories that are truly priceless.

We booked our tour at our hostel in Ho Chi Minh District 1, Saigon Backpackers. To be exact, the tour costs USD 8, booked around 2 days in advance since it wasn’t really part of our itinerary. Considering the price, initially we were just expecting a short tour, including the boat ride, period. But it turns out to be more than just a boat ride.

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Transportation #2: Motorized boat going to Mekong Delta

We rode a bus together with others who are part of the tour. We were given bottles of water and a cap, so we were like: “Hey, we just paid $8, and we get free stuff! :)” The bus ride is just one of many rides we were about to experience. We rode a motorized boat going to the delta, which took us around 20 minutes. The guide explained that the area is actually the border to Cambodia. From there we transferred, to a smaller boat for us to tour Mekong Delta.

Transportation #3: Paddle boat!

What is delta? A delta is a landform, where a river divides into several smaller rivers before flowing into the sea (Cambridge Dictionary Online). I was excited to experience paddling, since I was unable to do this during our Bangkok Floating Market Tour. It was as if I was in a theme park ride, but definitely this one’s better because it’s real, it’s legit! Those from other boats would usually greet us, as if we already knew each other, making it even more fun. Everyone just had smiles on their faces and were enjoying the ride.

After that, we thought that was it. We were already happy and content with the tour. But wait there’s more! We had a chance to rest at a small restaurant, and watch a short musical presentation. We were served with fruits, as well as traditional Vietnamese Honey Tea, which was one the of the best new drinks I have tasted so far:

We just needed to ask for more… so good 🙂

To top it off, a meal was also included in the tour. We were thinking that there might be catch or some sort of scam but everything was free!

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Our lunch included a decent serving of rice, meat and vegetables, we just ordered this and paid an additional PHP 300 or around USD 7 divided among the 6 of us.

We were given a couple of minutes after lunch to rest and freshen up prior to heading back. To our surprise, we were actually allowed to do a quick tour of the place with a free bike rental. Yay! I don’t know how to ride a bike, so I let my friends enjoy it.

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Transportation #4: Bike. Hello April!

Over lunch we talked about how the tour was so worth every penny we paid for. Food, entertainment, culture, we got it all for just $8! We were actually willing to pay more if we knew all the inclusions. How can they be earning from this? 😛 After lunch, we thought that we would just hop on our bus, but lo and behold:

Transportation #5: Horse-drawn carriage

Another ride. That was a thumbs up right there.

In summary, we rode a bus, a big motorized boat, a smaller motorized boat, a paddle boat, bikes, and a carriage, watched a cultural show, ate lunch and snacks, and did some souvenir shopping all in day’s tour which lasted from 8 am to 5 pm, for roughly 10 bucks!

Was that money well spent or what? After the tour, we felt that the next time we see a 500-Peso bill or a 10-Dollar bill, we’d be looking at it differently.

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