Chau Doc

Chau Doc on the edge of the Mekong Delta is the stepping stone to Vietnam for travellers arriving from Cambodia. We arrived on the back of motorbikes that had collected us at the Cambodia/Vietnam border near the town of Tinh Bien which is 30km from Chau Doc (see Vietnam-Cambodia border crossings).

Chau Doc

Chau Doc

They dropped us at the very nice Trung Nguyen Hotel which overlooks the main market in the town centre. Nice, clean rooms with very helpful receptionist at just $10 a night(Chau Doc). Another good budget option is the Thuan Loi Hotel which is right on the river where the ferry from Phnom Penh docks. The Song Sao Hotel is a good mid-range option located almost next to a small bookshop called ‘the English Bookstore’. The charming owner loves to practice his English and will take you on private tours of the river(Chau Doc).

Instead we chose to take a tour with the owner of the ‘English Bookstore’. We met at his shop at 7am and walked down to the river where his friend’s boat was waiting for us(Chau Doc). First of all we headed south east along the river beyond the Victoria Hotel and met up with the approaching floating market. Our boat got right into the action and we were able to step onto one of the trader’s boats as they sold all manner of fresh fruits and vegetables(Chau Doc).

From here we crossed the river and went to see the floating fish farm houses which have fish cages under the living area. We then visited a Cham village and its mosque before returning to Chau Doc. This 2.5 hour private tour cost us just $7 for the two of us.

Sam Mountain in Chau Doc

The other main tourist attraction of Chau Doc is Sam Mountain which is 6km from town so you’ll need some transport. On our first night we were ‘stalked’ by one of the cyclo riders who seemed to pop up no matter which street we were on. He wanted $5 to take us to the mountain so we agreed to meet him the next afternoon and head there for sunset(Chau Doc).

Chau Doc

Sam Mountain

The cyclo rider picked us up at 3.30pm arriving with his wife and Downs syndrome daughter. The poor bloke works 24 hours a day to support his family as as his wife has to stay at home to look after their child(Chau Doc). They could put her in a government school but then they’d never see her again. The cyclo man just puts his situation down to Lord Buddha and just gets on with it with a big smile on his face. A lesson to us all!

A couple of moped riders gave us a push on the way to the base of Sam Mountain then our man showed us around Tay An Pagoda, the Temple of Lady Xu and the Tomb of Thoai Ngoc Hau. The moped drivers then took us to the top of Sam Mountain in Chau Doc (for a small fee) then waited for us so that we could watch the sunset over the endless padi fields with Cambodia in the distance(Chau Doc).

Chau Doc

Tay An Pagoda

It was a hard cycle back in the dark without the help of the mopeds, even more so when we got a puncture. When we paid the rider more than he’d asked for and paid for his puncture to be repaired ($7.50 in total) he seemed quite concerned and informed us that we’d given him more than we’d agreed and wanted to be sure that we were aware of it!

What to do? A highlight of a visit to Chau Doc is a boat trip on one of the small paddle boats that collect near the western end of the park to many floating raft houses and fish farms. A second attraction, just outside Chau Doc, is Sam Mountain — more of a hillock in fact — which has reasonable views over the surrounds. The views are pretty rather than spectacular, though when combined with a visit to the pagodas around the hill’s base, this makes a worthwhile afternoon jaunt. Chau Doc is also the closest large town to the Vietnamese/Cambodian river border crossing. If you’re heading to or from Phnom Penh by boat, you’ll pass through Chau Doc, so try to allow for an overnight stay. Cruise the Mekong River between Chau Doc and Phnom Penh takes 5 hours.

When to go?

Trips to Mekong Delta are suitable all year round but the best time is the monsoon from June to September(Chau Doc).

Travel Tips

Bring along camera, hat, sunscreen and insect repellant. Should keep your camera in a plastic bag when it is not in use as it is easy to get splashed by the wake of motorized boats(Chau Doc).

Chau Doc

Mekong River Cruise

Vietnam Cruise

Vietnam Tour

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