I just wanted to share my recent experience in case anyone visits Can Tho and is interested in doing the early morning boat trip to the floating markets.
After we’ve arrived late in the afternoon to Can Tho city, we checked into one of the hotels near the riverside. We wanted to book the boat tour to the morning markets, but we wanted to do it without the middle man. After we went down to the reception, there was this man hanging around in the lobby, who I assume was somehow affiliated with the hotel (as he spoke with the receptionist and was friendly to her). He tried to sell us the tour (7h covering two markets and surrounding channels) for $15/per person. We said we will think about it, but it seemed too expensive.
In the evening we went to the waterside and tried to look for a place to book a tour directly with the boat driver. Straight away, we were approached by this horrible woman (oldish woman) who was very very pushy. Beware of this woman. She hangs around at the waterside and seems to approach tourists. She is quite aggressive in her manner, so you will recognise her. We didn’t even want to talk to her but she was following us around. As we couldn’t find anybody that looked honest we went back to the hotel. The hotel affiliated guy was still hanging around in the lobby and tried to sell us the tour again.
Next day, we walked around looking for breakfast and went near the river and the pushy woman was there again. She followed us for about two hours. We told her to leave us alone and asked her not to follow us as we are not interested. She ignored our remarks and continued to follow us around. We were laughing at this but it was not funny, really.
We finally dropped her and then decided to go to the marina again with the plan to book the tour directly. We went to the marina and started talking to the friendly looking lady who had her boat parked there. She did not speak English, but called her friend who did, and we arranged the tour with her directly for $15 per boat and paid her 30% deposit (same sort of tour as this guy was trying to sell us for $15 pp, so it seems he gets $15 in his pockets). Out of sudden, the old woman appeared and started shouting something at these two ladies, which we’ve arranged the tour with. We were saying we are NOT INTERESTED in her service, but she went nuts and was abusing the other two ladies. She was fuming, even though we did not make ANY commitments with her. We ignored her and finalised our agreement and went back to the hotel.
Our trip was amazing and our boat driver was honest and happy and was trying VERY hard to show us everything. Even though her English was limited, it really didn’t matter. She took a daughter with her on the tour and we’ve learned a bit of Vietnamese. It was a real experience and I am pleased we’ve made an effort to arrange the tour directly with her. Please, if you have time, don’t let these people ruin the fun for you. There seem to be some kind of little mafia acting there. If you have time, try and book the tours directly with the driver.
Sorry for the long post. Hope that it will help somebody.
#1 fox80 has been a member since 12/2/2010. Posts: 22