Mekong Delta

We took a boat ride across the Mekong Delta.

And landed on Unicorn Island where we taste tasted the local honey.

We then moved on to tasting local fruit

Where we were serenaded by the locals singing “If You’re Happy and You Know It, Clap Your Hands”

We then did my favorite part of the whole trip so far! A sampan ride down the Nine Dragons waterway

We returned to the big boat to cross back over the Mekong Delta as the sun began to set

They gave us fresh coconut water

And once again, Vietnamese traffic

And my girl, Hello Kitty!

Good Morning (Again) Vietnam (touring Nha Trang)

We arrived in Nha Trang this morning. Nha Trang is a coastal resort city in Southern Vietnam.

Watching arrivals from our balcony is a favorite part of cruising

These guys were fishing quite far from land in a very small boat.

We docked across from the resort Vinpearl. The cable cars bring you across. It’s very Disney-esque and there is quite a bit of expansion going on.

Once we docked, we took an “Ancient Civilizations” tour of Nha Trang.

Our tour guide is named Lien

We are passing these gorgeous beaches (and stop at one later). Lien said the people of Vietnam go to the beach very early, by 4am to do exercises. They then go home by 6am. He said if anyone is on the beach in the afternoon, they are likely a tourist. Then the locals come back to the beach from 6-9pm

First stop was Po Nagar Cham Towers. The Champa Kingdom has a long run in Vietnam beginning in the 700s and spread over a few centuries. This is the best preserved relic from that era. Located on the Cu Lao Mountain and at the mouth of the Cai River, it is dedicated to Yan Po Nagar, the goddess of Vietnam who is associated with the Hindi goddess Bhagavati.

You have to be wearing the usual knees and shoulders covered. I love they call it costume. And they provide long grey jackets you can borrow if you’re in an inappropriate costume

Some video of inside one of the towers

Some cool art

Next stop was the Dam Market or Cho Dam in Vietnamese. There is a wet and dry section and it goes on for blocks and blocks. It’s quite overwhelming and they sell everything under the sun. Haggling is not only expected, it seems to be a form of entertainment 

We then finally got to actually go to the beach and not just see it through a bus window. We stopped at the bar first and had a choice of Vietnamese beer

Soft drinks, I loved this pretty 7 Up can

Or Vietnamese coffee. It comes to the table in its own little coffee pot. The coffee drips into your cup and then you flip the lid over and use that to place the pot on when you’re ready to drink

The beach itself was stunning

And quite whimsical. There were decorative old cars and bicycles and even a piano

Our next stop was an embroidery center. This was amazing to see. All the pieces below are needle and thread. They look like paintings. Our guide told us it takes two women working 5 months to make the larger pieces.

We got to see some women working on pieces

And the progression of a piece from scratch drawing to completion

Some of the pieces are double sided and you do not see any knots on either side. Simply amazing!

Patra bought this beautiful piece. It was a little over $400 USD. It was perfect because she loves orchids and her mom loved butterflies

You could buy it with the frame or without. She did without so she could get it home easily. It wraps down to a small box!

We headed back to the bus and here’s some more crazy Vietnamese traffic for your viewing pleasure

Our last stop for the day was Long Son Pagoda. Long means Dragon

The pagoda was built in 1963 and intended as a monument to nuns and monks who died battling the government of the time.

These are the Buddhist flags of Vietnam

The highlight of this pagoda is an 80 foot white statue of Buddha that can be seen from all over the city. It’s 152 to the top

Back on the ship for sail away. Same scene from this morning all lit up

Long Boat Ride

We took a long boat ride on the Chao Phraya River through the canals of Thonbon on the east side.

You have to wait at locks pending the tide of the river to reopen.

We were met with a floating market.

There’s is such a vast difference between wealth and poverty in Thailand. Literally just feet apart. But both have beauty and contentment.

Vietnamese Dinner

Last stop in Ho Chi Mihn was an authentic Vietnamese dinner. It was a preset group meal. I’m not at adventurous eater, so I won’t lie, I packed a lot of snacks for this trip and they care in handy. The rest of my group loved the food though so it was a fine feast.

The elephant ear fish came out first and I was too nervous to even try it just from the looks of it.

Pork rolls, which were good, and shrimp were placed on the table

Some ladies came over to make spring rolls out of the weird fish and pineapple, noodles and lettuce with rice paper

These were something coconut

Some kind of meat dish. This was good!

And soup

Dessert was these sweet beans. They were surprisingly good.

And after a very long, very hot day, this Saigon beer really hit the spot!

Dinner at the Peninsula Bangkok

We got off the Long Boat and got on another boat to cross the river for dinner at the Peninsula Bangkok

Our epic meal began at the bar.

Which has these gorgeous orchids

Their cocktail napkins are made of linen and embroidered. Fancy!

They bring you this lovely selection of nuts: candied walnuts, chocolate dusted almonds and spicy peanuts.

Cheers!

The restaurant, Thiptara, was on the river and just stunning. Its website describes it better than I can:

“Thiptara is a feast for all the senses. Surrounded by majestic banyan trees and lush tropical gardens, this is a unique dining experience by the riverside. The legendary Thai lifestyle of days gone by is restored in all its glory at Thiptara, not only through its elegant décor but also in its cuisine.”

The meal began with pumpkin chips brought to the table with sauce. We didn’t order this, it was brought like bread and was very good

The table itself was beautiful and the service is incredible. They bring you individual clip on lamps so you can see the menu better

And these beautiful etched lamps

And these gorgeous ladies who happily posed when I asked if I could take their picture

I ordered the house specialty drink and they make it tableside. It was beautiful and delicious

We began the food portion of the program with chicken satay. I could drink both sauces. Sooo good!

For the entrees, Gregg got beef and rice

Patra got crispy chicken and cashews

And I got Pad Thai with egg as the protein

I had to order a Mai Tai as my next drink as the Mai Tai originated in Bangkok

For dessert we got fried bananas with house made coconut ice cream

We explored The Peninsula afterwards. It was all decorated for Christmas including this huge and adorable advent calendar. When you open door 9, as it was the 9th of December when we were there, there was candy inside you could take 😃

And it wouldn’t be Christmas in a hot and humid environment without palm trees with Christmas lights on them

Our First Thai Meal

Our first stop for food in Thailand and also, my actual first time trying Thai food! Lunch was included in our tour and the meal was preset so we didn’t select what we ate but it included a very nice variety. The restaurant was called Sala Rattanakosin and it was inside a hotel with lovely views of the river.

They met us with some cold washcloths. That was a lovely gesture as we were quite hot and sweaty after our morning of touring

Gregg started with a Thai beer, which was is very strong. 12% alcohol. And I got the energizer. Patra stuck with good old refreshing water as we had probably sweated out our body weight in that Thai humidity..

We started with a duck salad

And soup

Next was a meat dish that was quite spicy for me, which probably means it was normal spicy

Then they brought out this beautiful veggie dish that also had fish in it. Not sure what the fish was but the veggies were delicious

The meal ended with this gorgeous plate of fruit

And this is what Thai baht looks like. It is currently valued at about 30 cents on the dollar.

Tea Time

Regent does Afternoon Tea every day at 4pm. It’s my favorite time of day on board because trivia is right after. In my many years of sailing on Regent, I have enjoyed many tea time themes including cupcakes, flambé and chocolate extravaganzas. Today was a first… donuts! And the pastry chef outdid himself.

The donuts ranged from Creme brûlée, to key lime pie, to vanilla popcorn, to apple pie, and everything else in between

Afternoon tea also always includes cookies, tea sandwiches, other pastries, and two types of scones with all the fixings.

I had the vanilla popcorn because it sounded so unusual. It was great!