The welcoming rice bowl of Vietnam

Discovery and cruises at the heart of the Mekong delta

Bassac cruises  Mystic sampans  Nam Bộ Boutique Hotel  The Lighthouse

Overnight cruises and accommodation on shore; Day cruises on board comfortable sampans and their extensions; Tours around Cần Thơ and in the delta.

We offer our own services. About us.
0903033148 any time

With us, no nonsense: clear and reliable services to make you discover the Mekong delta and the variety of life on the river.

Overnight cruises on board the Bassac

Accommodation in the delta

Daytime cruises and family outings

Welcome on board Mystic sampans

Departing from Cần Thơ, board comfortable sampans to explore the Mekong delta beyond floating markets, from a breakfast cruise to a grand day out.

Many options and extensions are available.

Tours and excursions


Explore the river around Cần Thơ. Cycle away into the countryside, or from downtown to the greener suburbs of the city, as many occasions to discover the contrasts of the delta.


In our pages

See also our pages in French and in Vietnamese.

Our contents are not the same if the three languages.

Subscribe to our pages in English Subscribe to our pages in English

The ghost market

Chợ ma Định Yên, photo credit:

Shadows drift quietly through the market after nightfall.

They are burdened with large loads that hide them from the glare of street lights, and with the weariness of the day past.

Both loads are revealed as they glide past the lampposts, the earthly loads in colors much brighter than the immaterial ones. Bright yellow here, rich red there, have tinted forever their hands and their souls.

Where they lay their goods down on the pier, they stage them carefully. In the flicker of oil lamps, one can discern the main product of the village is rush mats. In another hour the market will be alive with buyers, on the road or even by boats, who wait til night to coast. Such is the quality of the mats of Định Yên.

→

The night of mid-autumn

Floating lanterns on the river

I knew this was going to be the big night.

Tonight, it was not going to be a walk through a crowd in the dark, with mom holding my hand all the time: big sister Thi promised she would take me with her tonight. She said we would go on the river with Papy Thống on his tourist boat.

We'll go cast lanterns on the river.

→

the River Shipping Company of Cochinchina, story of a monopoly - 3/3

Le Cambodge sunk in 1904, 115 lives lost. image:

Power and neglect

The adventure and passion for the river must have dwindled with the advent of the later contracts: in 1914, no question of a 20-years monopoly anymore, and the terms were tightened so much as to turn the Messageries essentially into an administration.1) Between the ebb and flow of the Mekong, the lack of diligence of the officers in charge and insufficient infrastructures, The Messageries, went on neglecting their duties until the outrage flared in the late 20s.

→

the River Shipping Company of Cochinchina, story of a monopoly - 2/3

The launch Hàm Luông, truncated, set on rails on the South of Khône island in October 1893

a time for adventure

The Messageries fluviales took a central part in the logistics of the 1893 expeditions upstream to Laos, with launches like the Hàm Luông, Lagrandière, or Massie, which allowed access up to Luang Prabang and even to the Golden Triangle and the Southernmost confines of China. But at that time, like today, the Khôn falls, at the 4000 islands, prevented steamers from crossing the Mekong upwards from Cambodia to Laos. In order to transport the first launches to the first bief upstream, the Messageries installed on the large Khôn island first a metric railway with three hand-powered carts, then a real railway when commercial traffic took up.

→

the River Shipping Company of Cochinchina, story of a monopoly - 1/3

Livret du voyageur, 1912

Uncertain origins

The history of the Messageries takes us back to the 1870s, at a time when the French admiralty was supporting about three thousand troops in Cochinchina and when the Saigon port, then a little over fifty thousand inhabitants, was hosting the Colonial Council, which, before the time of Governor General Paul Doumer, was levying taxes from the indigenous population and employing them in a discretionary fashion. That is also to say, if you wanted to set up a trade in those times, you needed a real spirit of adventure and a strong will, or much political clout in this small pond.

→

Last modified: 2023/11/05 18:19 [benoit] Copyright (c) 2014-2024 TransMékong 144 Hai Bà Trưng, QNK, Cần Thơ - 0903 033 148