First off all, a special shoutout to Martin Ristl for lending us a few of his wonderful photos on his recent trip to Mekong Delta and Cambodia. During the renovation of our website in 2016, we could not come up with such an awesome website if it's not for his generosity.
If you appreciate his photos, like I do, and would want to have a look at more similar works from him, please check out his website as listed below:
FROM THE BEGINNING
According to some Asian countries’ lunar calendar, 2009 is the year of water buffalo and here we come with our official website www.waterbuffalotours.com! The very first Indochina online premium travel services have come with our passion for unique, personalized and unparalleled itineraries and service quality. And our only marketing tool is the words of mouth! We really appreciate the recommendation and reference of travellers who used our services. Also, we extend our thanks and warmly welcome back our special clients, the Viet Kieu, the GIs, and the Diggers, who have kept on supporting us
The idea to set up an online premium travel service has been pregnant years ago as I have been around the industry since 1994. Starting as a tour guide and then became a Tour Guide Manager for an Australian-run travel company named Travel Indochina for few more years before calling Australia home from 2000 to 2005. The passion for the travel industry has always seemed to be irresistible to me! I got back to Saigon and resumed my position in 2006 with Travel Indochina and by somehow I ended up to be the Operations Manager for a locally-run travel company since early 2008.
In 2008, I designed and led a day tour down to the Mekong Delta for a Canadian couple from Toronto and an Aussie guy from Melbourne. As usual, I avoided the tourist traps by taking a rural route, not the Highway 1, passing the villages of Can Giuoc, Can Duoc and Go Cong. We took a stunning short bike ride crossing the paddy fields lined with coconut palms located in the remote villages of Tan Hoa and Tan Thanh. The stories of the water buffalo popped up when we stopped and took a few photos of them wandering along our route. I told the three some stories of how I grew up looking after my family’s four water buffalos. They enjoyed the stories very much and bombarded me with many questions about the water buffalo. Understandably, the questions were too easy for me!
We then headed to My Tho for a pleasant boat ride to Ben Tre. On the way back to Saigon, they brainstormed me with an unforgettable question which I almost got stuck, “Why do people call it water buffalo? What is the difference between the buffalo and the water buffalo”. I came up with some explanations of how hardworking, smart and loyal the water buffalos are, how much they mean to the farmers, how much they love the water and how fast they are in the water. One can easily cross the mighty Mekong River on the back of a water buffalo. The stories really excited the three and on the way back to Saigon they kept urging me to start a small travel agent with unique tours which are similar to the tour they are taking and the tour that tourists can have a ride on a water buffalo and to swim crossing the Mekong River. Unique tours are the words that have stayed with me every day ever since