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This is a super fun thing to do while in HCMC. Boat is real cool, originally built to cruise the canals of Amsterdam. Waterfront really interesting. Hanh, our host was charming and informative. Snacks and wine splendid. A highlight of this year's Asia trip!
For anyone interested in nature and the outdoors, this is a fantastic trip. The speed boat is exciting, and having a chance to see how people live along the river as well as all the local wildlife along the way is extremely interesting. I was afraid that the stop at a local market would be a kind of tourist trap, but not at all-- it was a genuine, bustling market with a fascinating diversity of objects for sale (both natural and almost supernatural), and our kind hearted and well-informed tour guide "Kha" did an excellent job of explaining aspects of cuisine and everyday life as we walked through the different parts of the market. The Sanctuary itself is magnificent with huge mangroves and a quiet canoe ride that slips you into the forest to an island where you can view a large colony of chattering fruit bats hanging in the trees. The water is filled with interesting fish with many kinds colorful crabs along the tangled banks, and the interior waterways attract birds ranging from kingfishers to herons. The family-style lunch is refreshing and delicious. The return boat ride involves a thrilling journey into a huge, industrial harbour, and offers an unparalleled view of the explosive development of housing and high rises that characterizes modern Ho Chi Minh City. For anyone worrying about the degree of difficulty-- I have a bad knee and was concerned about whether there would be much serious hiking, but this was not a problem. The trip is well-suited to groups of all ages.
Had a great time and will hopefully book again soon.