Up A Mangrove Without A Kayak

Continuing my trip down memory lane, and after feeling like we didn’t get a fill of kayaking in our “hike, bike and kayak tour” in Vietnam, we decided to do a day trip to kayak through the mangrove forests and it turned out to be quite a little adventure. I only took the go-pro for this day trip so a lot of the photos ended up blurry.

We were picked up early from our hostel in a minibus which made two further stops, picking up a lovely American lady and a Korean couple, I felt we were pretty lucky to have such a small group. We arrived and met our guide, who mentioned he would take us in a different direction than normal because a big coach load of Chinese tourists had arrived just before us so going the other way would be less crowded. He also mentioned that those tourists had payed to each be paddled around in the kayaks by a local person rather than paddling themselves, which I thought was pretty odd since that is half the fun of kayaking, each to their own I guess.

As we were set up with our kayaks our guide asked whether we had kayaked before, three of us had but the couple had not. These were two person kayaks and our guide paired up with the lady, however that did not last long. We set off on the open river and before long we were surrounded by wilderness.

Before long the river became less open and we were into the proper mangroves, unfortunately at this point it became very clear that the couple had not kayaked before as they managed to steer themselves directly into the trees. Through some combination of grabbing the trees and the current pushing the kayak they ended up outside of the kayak and in some distress.

Our guide did a wonderful job of trying to calm them down and get them back in the kayak but the scene soon repeated itself. At this point the guide basically pulled up next to the couple and asked the lady if she would mind swapping with one of them as American lady clearly knew what she was doing. The swap started to take place with the unfortunate circumstance of the lady ending up basically between the two boats while they were getting further and further apart from one another. She was a great sport though and said that it was all part of the adventure.

Now orientated in our new configuration we could continue the trip, with the guide and the lady doing the lion’s share of the kayaking while the couple remained enthusiastic but not terribly helpful.

In the mangroves

With the huge karst surrounding us together with the wild foliage and the jungle noises we soon felt like we had been transported into Jurassic Park or some similar movie set.

As it was high tide when we were on the water, there were a few tight squeezes through some caves (where the photos get very blurry due to the lack of light for the gopro).

Passing through each cave the landscape became more and more dramatic.

And we got to see some wildlife including a snake, which I was super excited about as it was the first time I had seen one in the wild, a crab in a tree, mud fish (which I don’t think we got pictures of) and a water monitor. I think the first time I did this trip we saw a lot more water monitors. I am pretty sure we also saw some monkeys but couldn’t really get any pictures of them.


Before we knew it we were heading back to the base for some lunch at the end of our adventure.

Having done this twice I would still most definitely go again, sitting here now out of lock down but still unable to travel, this is giving me some pretty bad wanderlust and I can’t wait to get traveling again soon.

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