Chau Doc Travel Blog› entry 12 of 19 › view all entries
Our time in Vietnam will be a little shorter than originally planned (as we have detoured to Laos) and have a set date when we need to meet friends in China. When we see the option to go from Phnom Penh to Saigon via the Mekong delta this looks like a good option and it idoes not cost much more than the direct bus trip.
We are collected early in central Phnom Penh. The guide is careful to check we all have valid Vietnam visas before we set off and we then have a hair-raising drive through the city to the boat. The tour map makes this look like a short ride but it takes almost 2 hours. At one point the driver stalls the bus so he orders out the people sitting nearest the front to give us a push start.
When we finally reach the boat we need to fill in details of our passports and visas 5 times; after the visa formalities I'm beginning to think that Vietnam may be a little bureaucratic.
The boat chugs gently down the Mekong for an hour or so to reach the Cambodian border where we need to disembark and complete the usual formalities. We then re-board and are taken onto the Vietnamese border post where we are met by an efficient young lady who is our Vietnamese tour guide. here we need to have our bags x-rayed and complete a health check (cost $1) but it all is well organised and quick as the river border crossing is only used by a few people.
After lunch we continue on a different boat down the Mekong, then leave this for the Chau Doc river.
We still have time before dinner to explore the town. Somehow it is not quite what I had imagined. Chau Doc is a busy commercial town with very little in the way of toursist attractions but this makes it interesting. After dinner some of our group head out to a beer hoi bar that they have been told about. BiaHoi is local beer and is very cheap. We try to find them on foot and can't so hire a cyclo to take us to there.
We have an early start tomorrow for a tour of a local fish farm and Cham village, so we quit by10 but are already too late for the hotel which is locked up. We ring the bell and the night guard lets us in. It is very hot in our room and the fan stops working. It is too late to get this fixed or swap rooms and I don't fancy the thought of spending a night with no fan so have a go at dismantling it and manage to get it working again by loosening a couple of the holding nuts. With a bit of luck it will last until morning.