In the past, rich people in China, France and many Western countries ride horse carts their wealth. French people brought horse-drawn vehicles into Vietnam for purpose of transportation in 1880s. These horse-drawn vehicles were pulled by 1 or 2 horses, they had 4 wheels, 2 front wheels were smaller then 2 back wheels to make sure the carts were well balanced. The French called horse-drawn vehicles in its colonies “Malabar”, then “Boîte d’allumettes”. Luxury 4-wheeled “Malabar” was used by governors and upper class in Vietnam. They also improved “Malabar” to use in French army. Horse-drawn vehicles were more popular in South Vietnam, especially Saigon-Gia Dinh (former name of Ho Chi Minh City) than in Central and North Vietnam, where the French called horse cart “Tonkin” or “Cochinchine”.
Vietnamese people created a simple and cheap kind of horse-drawn vehicle – “Xe Tho Mo” to carry passengers and/or a load. From 1940s to 1950s, “Xe Tho Mo” had been developed in South Vietnam. At Thu Dau Mot market, there were 3 parks for “Xe Tho Mo”, number of these horse-drawn vehicles reaches 50. There were a lot of factories building “Xe Tho Mo”. It wasn’t easy to build a good pulled by 1 horse “Xe Tho Mo” which had 2 wooden wheels covered with rubber. They must use padauk, xylia xylocarpa, jackfruit wood – hardest and most stable wood to make wheels and carts. Afterward, the wheels has been similar to bicycle wheels, the position of cart is lower so that it make customers more comfortable. The sound of hoofbeats had been familiar to Vietnamese peopel in the past. Nowadays, horse carts improved from “Xe Tho Mo” are used for riding tourists around to sightsee and relax. The horse carts are usually decorated beautifully and driven by locals. Tourists can try riding horse cart in Dalat, Mekong Delta, Vung Tau…
In Mekong Delta, it’s easily to rent a horse cart to weave dirt paths under shadow of lush fruits orchards, lines of green coconut trees and stop at factories making coconut candy, broom, handcrafts… in calm villages. All make tourists feel like living in the past in peaceful and beautiful Mekong Delta. It’s time forget all difficulties in life and relax totally.
Horse carts pulled by a beautiful horse are decorated splendidly
Foreign tourists are excited at riding horse cart around a village in Mekong Delta
If you would like to try riding horse cart, you should do Mekong Delta Tour.