Monday, March 13, 2017

Chau Doc town


A/ Overview and Map
B/ Sights and Activities in Chau Doc:
           1/ Float myself at peaceful, lovely riverside  
     2/ Chau Doc floating market
           3/ Floating house
           4/ Cham village
           5/ Chau Doc market
           6/ 15 days for eating 
           7/ Tay An pagoda

 C/ Tra Su national cajuput forest - Kingdom of birds, storks

 D/ Rice fields around Tra Su  

 E/ Where to stay in Chau Doc

 F/ Getting to Chau Doc from Sai Gon
     Exit to Cambodia 

G/ Bung Binh Thien lake

H/ Photos: Unique fairs in the floating season

I/ Muddy and fun: A very different kind of sleigh ride in Vietnam


A/ Overview and Map
Chau Doc is a beautiful riverside town, 250km from Sai Gon.

Its center with post office, market, goverment buildings and riverside park, is small enough to walk around. There is one statue of cat fish in the park - the symbol of Chau Doc. 

Just 15 minutes from the Chau Doc riverside by rowing boat, there is a floating house village where local poeple staying on and raising cat fish under the houses

Not far from the floating house village is the village of Cham ethnic people who still stay in traditional stilt houses. Cham people here follow Muslim.

About 5km from the Chau Doc's center is Chua Xu lady temple. People in the South Vietnam and Vietnamese overseas often comes to this famous temple. 

From Chau Doc, it takes 30km to Tra Su national cajuput forest - kingdom of birds and storks - where you can "float" yourself on grassland like golf with rowing boat. Coming to Tra Su, you also have chance to see the surrounding picturesque rice fields of Khmer ethnic people.

 Those who look for the waterway from Vietnam to Cambodia, should go to Chau Doc. The town have daily slow/fast boats taking tourists to Phnom Penh, Cambodia via Vinh Xuong - Kaam Samnor check points. Depart Chau Doc around 7:00AM and arrive in Phnom Penh about 4:00PM by slow boat and about 2:00PM by fast boat. Cambodian visa is available on arrival at check points
Its great to spend 2 to 3 days in and around Chau Doc 

                                                                           Map: web

Map explaination: "Red star" is the center of Chau Doc town. The rivers are Chau Doc river and Hau river. Chau Doc market is around Doc Phu Thu and Thuong Dang Le streets

B/ Sights and Activities in Chau Doc:

1/ Float myself at peaceful, lovely riverside
Back to crowded and busy Sai Gon city, I miss the peaceful time at Chau Doc riverside.

A cup of hot milk coffe and a bowl of beef noodle soup with just 37,000 VND, bought me a great place at riverside restaurant to watch the everyday life of local people on Chau Doc river: rowing boats slowly taking passengers to and from floating house village; fishermen casting their nets into the brown waterways; small motorised boats full of vegetables and fruits coming from nearby floating market; the water hyacinths with purple flowers were striking in the golden sunlight and deep blue sky... 

I was lucky to have many mornings at riverside and to feel that  life is really beautiful!

Riverside restaurant

                                                               Photo credit: vietnamguidebook

Beef noodle soup
                                                                   Photo credit: vietnamguidebook

When time slowly passes like coffee-drop

30/4 Park at riverside

                                                          Photo credit: vietnamguidebook

Rowing boat and sunset

                                                            Photo credit : vietnamguidebook

2/ Chau Doc floating market
A 15-minute drive by motorised boat from the riverside took me to Chau Doc floating market - a world full of colourful agricultural products such as coconut, banana, pineapple, guava, dragon fruit, jack fruit, custard apple and cabbage...

Thanks to its remote location, the market rarely see tourists and the local people are really friendly. I was welcomed onboard a big boat full of bananas and coconuts. The owner of the boat was busy with his daily job -  transferred bananas and coconuts to buyers. His wife sometimes helped him, but her main duty was to count money received from buyers.

From the top of the boat I had a nice general view of the market and surroundings. A lot of boats "stood" on the river and the bamboo poles were used to hang out many kinds of tropical fruits, like a way of advertising, so that buyers could recognise the products. Not far away, on the small motorised boats, many women wearing conical hats were chatting happily. One of them with a little son smiled and waved their hands to greet me. In the beautiful golden sunlight, I also saw the "warm" smoke coming out from hot noodle soup. Many sellers enjoyed the breakfasts offered by some floating boat restaurants... Sold and bought, came and back, the sellers were happy when their boats getting empty and buyers were glad when their boats full of fresh and cheap agricultural products. They made the river really "float"!

On the way back to riverside, I saw a young girl sitting at the front of a small motorised boat. Her blouse was blue and the sky was blue too. I fell in love with that nice peaceful time!

Note: A small motorised boat charges about 60,000 VND to visit Chau Doc floating market. There are many boats waiting at riverside.

                                       Selling bananas and coconuts. Pic: vietnamguidebook

The boat was full of green bananas.



Counting money. 

Photo credit: Vietnamguidebook

3/ Floating house
There are more than 2000 floating houses along Chau Doc river, make it a floating village which is just a 10-minute drive by rowing boat from the main town.

The people of this village go around by boats. Children go to school also by boats. If they dont want to go to market on land, there are some boats coming to their homes offering all kinds of food they need. Breakfasts are also served by boats. And there are floating coffee shops as well as Karaoke  in the village. Even wedding parties are also held on these floating houses...

About two or three generations live in one floating house. Some floating houses are very beautiful as they plant many kinds of flowers in the pots and place them at the front of the houses.

The villagers earn living by raising cat fish under floating houses. If the weather is good and the fishes are healthy, the biggest floating house can produce 90-ton fishes after 5 or 6-month raising. When you feed the fish, you will see there is no water but fishes.

Cat fish usually will be sold to factory and export to foreign countries such as USA and Europe. In 2011, exporting cat fish from Mekong delta earned about 1.8 billion USD.

You can visit this floating village and Cham ethnic group village with rowing boat. A rowing boat can afford 2 people. Come to riverside in the morning and there are many rowers waiting there. Pay for one boat about 50,000VND to 60,000VND. Its good to arrange the boat in the late afteernoon of the day before.

                          Statue of cat fish at riverside - the symbol of Chau Doc. Photo credit: Vietnamguidebook

                                                   Floating houses. Photo credit: Vietnamguidebook

                                               Feeding cat fish. Video credit: vietnamguidebook

Photo credit: Vietnamguidebook

4/ Cham village
A 35-minute rowing boat trip from the riverside will take you to Cham ethnic group village.

Most of Cham people here are farmers and fisherman. Some earns living by doing small busieness.

They usually live on stilt houses. When you arrive in the village, you will easily see a wood column of a house where on it Cham people marked the years. These years tell you the peak level of water of Mekong river for each year.

One of the Cham most delicious dish is beef or goat curry used with steamed rice or noodle. The sour soup cooked by Cham people is also excellent (they use "trai bua" and "dien dien" to cook sour soup. "Trai bua" give sourness like tamarind. "Dien dien" is yellow flower blooming during floating season)

Unlike most of the Viet people (Kinh) who follow Buddhism, the Cham people here follow Muslim.

Combine the trip to Cham village with floating house village.

Rowing boat to Cham village
                                                          Photo credit: Vietnamguidebook

  Cham fisherman
                                                         Photo credit: Vietnamguidebook

Stilt house in floating season
                                                            Photo credit: Vietnamguidebook

                                                    Photo credit: Vietnamguidebook

5/ Chau Doc market
One of the most colourful and biggest markets in Mekong delta where I see myself 22 years ago! It not only has so many kinds of vegetable and fruit that even I cant call out their names but also comes with meat, fish, crab, shrimp, chicken, duck and so on... Come to market, back to my livelyhood!

Most of fish, chicken, duck, crab and shrimp are alive. Children love seeing alive baby fishes or little chicken and ask mother to buy for them.

Chau Doc is very famous for its fermented fishes. Vietnamese tourists come to Chau Doc market surely will buy fermented fishes for themselves and  their friends like a gift. Just look at the colour of fermented fishes, I feel hungry. A lot of Vietnamese people love eating it everyday with rice or rice noodle, vegetable and garlic, chilli... When they stay far away from the country, they miss fermented fishes very much.
Many kinds of fermented fishes.  Photo credit: Vietnamguidebook

You love sweet? Come to Chau Doc market, there are a lot of kinds of cakes and sweet drinks, sweet eats. Famous cakes are "Banh ich" (sticky rice with green bean or banana or coconut), "Banh khoai mi" (fried tapioca cake), "Banh bo duong thot not" (sticky rice with palm sugar and banana, coconut)... One day eating and drinking tour? You cant taste all in one day!

                                                           "Banh ich". Photo credit: Vietnamguidebook

Chuoi nuong (banana). Photo credit: Vietnamguidebook

For many guide books and non Vietnamese tourists, Vietnam noodle soup is just only "pho". In fact Vietnam has so many kinds of noodle soups. The ways to cook noodle soup are different from here and there. The ways of using raw material for cooking are not the same for different areas. And the ways of eating noodle soups are also different. Noodle soup in English is just the word cant figure out the "culture" of Vietnam noolde. Name some noodles in Vietnamese: bun, pho, mi, cao lau, bun uot, bun giai, bun tau...
Chau Doc market is very famous for its "Bun ca" (noodle soup cooked with fish and special herb called "ngai bun", and eat with vegetables, especially with "dien dien flower" and salt and chilli.)

Another famous dish is "Bun ken" (rice noodle soup cooked with coconut, mud fish, peanut and eat with salt, chilli, cucumber, bean sprout)

Chau Doc people also love "Bun cari bo"  (Noodle soup cookednic with curry, coconut, beef)

                                                           "Bun ca". Photo credit: Vietnamguidebook

                                                          "Bun ken". Photo credit: Vietnamguidebook

Many kinds of flowers are sold everyday and in Buddha day. Walking around the market, you will let your feet follow many people buying flowers. It makes me feel happy and peaceful.

Lemon or lime or tamarind? The famous sour one in Chau Doc market is "trai bua" and "trai truc". They give special sourness. Especially, "trai truc"  not only gives pure sourness but also the fragrance. In Mekong delta, just only Chau Doc, An Giang province has it! I usually buy it for my mom.
You have fever? Drink "trai truc" sour sweet juice and really feel better.
                                                       Trai truc: 50,000 - 80,000 VND/kg

Vietnamese women love "ca na ngao duong" (a sour fruit boiled and then mixed with sugar and eat with salt, chilli). Pregnant women ask their husbands to buy for them when he goes to market!

                                                   "Ca na ngao duong". Photo credit: Vietnamguidebook

Cambodia, Laos, Thailand have tuk tuk. Chau Doc has "Xe loi" (A four-wheel vehicle with a male driver ). "Xe loi" is popular in the city and many people use it everyday. In Chau Doc market, "Xe loi" is "superman". It carrys many heavy goods on it, make it look like a "small mountain"...
A short ride with "Xe loi" charges about 5,000 VND to 10,000 VND. Ask how much first before getting on "Xe loi". Many "Xe loi" charges 50,000 VND for 1 hour.

                                                         "Xe loi". Photo credit: Vietnamguidebook

6/ 15 days for eating 
There are many restaurants in and around Chau Doc that can keep foodies staying longer in Chau Doc than they planed.

One of most famous restaurants in Chau Doc is Bay Bong where many Vietnamese tourists come to enjoy dinner. The restaurant is a small, tall building and the price is reasonable.
Address: 22 Thuong Dang le street (Near Chau Doc market)

                                                             Photo credit: Vietnamguidebook

Below are some delicious dishes of Bay Bong:

Canh chua bong dien dien nau ca basa (Sour soup cooked with basa fish and "dien dien" flower. This dish makes you feel better if you have fever)

Dien Dien flowers

Ca linh kho, an voi rau song ("Linh" fish cooked with fish sauce and eat with many kinds of fresh vegetables and lemon)

Ca linh chien gion an voi nuoc mam (Fried "Linh" fish, eat with sweet sour spicy fish sauce)

                                                       Photo credit: Vietnamguidebook

Ca linh kho to ("Linh" fish cooked with fish sauce and pepper)

                                                             Photo credit: Vietnamguidebook

"Ca linh" is one kind of fish that comes in great number in river during floating season, start from August to October. Vietnamese people like it very much

Ca basa chien gion (Fried basa fish with salt and lemongrass.)

                                                                Photo credit: Vietnamguidebook

Canh bau ca ro ( "Bau" - one kind of melon cooked with "Ro" fish. This dish makes you cool)

                                                        Photo credit: Vietnamguidebook

Cai chua (Sour sweet "cai chua" vegetable. This makes you want to eat more and more!)

                                                                    Photo credit: Vietnamguidebook

Ca basa kho to ("Basa" fish cooked with fish sauce in clay pot)

Thit ba roi kho to (Pork cooked with fish sauce in clay pot)

7/ Tay An pagoda (Chùa Tây An)

C/ Tra Su cajuput national forest - Kingdom of birds, storks: My love!!!
My love
I have one colleage. She didnt like Mekong delta. But one time came to Tra Su cajuput forest, she stood on the motorised boat in the middle of forest and shout: " So nice! so lovely". And she came back with her family!
I and my friends have been here many times and often come back 
What is Tra Su cajuput forest? Why to go? And love to go?

My answer
Tra Su cajuput forest is Vietnam national forest, managed by An Giang province' rangers. The cajuput trees here were planted since 1983. There are two kinds of cajuput: Australian cajuput with tall big trees and local Vietnamese cajuputs with small thiner trees.

Tra Su  is renowned for not only its almost-untouched natural beauty but also its sanctuary of flora and fauna. Take a boat trip into the forest, you will immediately feel like you are harmonizing with nature because of all of the impressive pictures of cajuputs, the fragrance of the flowers and the music-like noise of birds, insects and animals. 
Starting with a narrow motorised boat  in front of rangers' office, the boat move fastly on brown canals full of water lily, lotus, water hyacinth. Both sides of canals and inside the waterways are cajuputs. The sky above is deeply blue. The wind makes you cool. And, there, so many birds and storks fly out. Sometimes, you can see thousands of them! Your camera works continuously and burn the film, Im srue.

The driver then let the boat move slowly into small canal with thick cajuput forest where sometimes you can see beehives.

You then will  walk up to the top of observation post where you can see the green vast cajuput forest of 845 ha.  There is one big binoculars here helping you see clearly a lot of bats hanging on cajuputs trees far away. In the early morning and afternoon (4:00PM - 5:00PM) you can see many birds and storks flying out and back too. 

Beside the observation post, there is one small restaurant. They offer some delicous dishes and after your stomach is full, you can lie down on hammocks here. There is one monkey bridge over the canal too. Want to know how Mekong delta people deal with crossing canal and want to let your heart beating faster, get on and cross the monkey bridge. You love fishing? There is fishing service available at restaurant.

Now come to the most beloved part: get on the rowing boat and "float" your self on "grassland". The canals are fully covered by wolffia and inside the canals are the thick Vietnamese cajuput forests. The birds and storks' noise is around you. The golden sunlights "cast" on grassland. Here and there, the pics taken look like not real.

Stay until late afternoon to see beautiful sunset on cajuput forests and canals, then back to Chau Doc. 

For birds and storks' lovers: birds and storks fly out in ealy morning (about 6:30 AM) and fly back in late afternoon (about 4:30PM - 5:30PM). The bats fly out about 5:30PM

Starting with motorised boat from here

                                                               Photo credit: Vietnamguidebook

Then float on duckweed
Photo credit: Vietnamguidebook

Then to cajuput canal


                                                     Photo credit: Vietnamguidebook

 And float on duckweed again
                                                          Photo credit: Vietnamguidebook

Finally arrive in heaven: Rowing boat floats on grassland or golf

                                                          Video credit: vietnamguidebook

Light performance on grassland

                                                           Photo credit: Vietnamguidebook

And see birds and storks



Photo credit: Vietnamguidebook
And see red dragonfly
Photo credit: Vietnamguidebook
And spider
                                                                    Photo credit: Vietnamguidebook

And beehive
                                                                 Photo credit: Vietnamguidebook

And see wild water lily and lotus
Photo credit: Vietnamguidebook

Photo credit: Vietnamguidebook

And poisonous mushroom?
                                                               Photo credit: Vietnamguidebook

From observation post
                                                            Photo credit: Vietnamguidebook


                                                             Photo credit: Vietnamguidebook

And sunset in Tra Su

Smoke comes out from burning rice field makes me feel homesick

  Photo credit: Vietnamguidebook

Beautiful moon comes out - a day is over

                                                         Photo credit: Vietnamguidebook

Location and contact
 Tra Su cajuput forest is in Tinh Bien district, An Giang province. Its 30km from Chau Doc town.
 Motorised boat and rowing boat services are available. Contact the rangers' office: (076) 221 8025
 Chief ranger, Mr. Tuan: 0169 946 7892

Best time to visit
Tra Su opens everyday. The floating season start from Mid August to beginning of November, is the best time to visit
For birds and storks' lovers: birds and storks fly out in ealy morning (about 6:30 AM) and fly back in late afternoon (about 4:30PM - 5:30PM). The bats fly out about 5:30PM

How to get there by public bus
At the Chau Doc riverside, near Chau Doc market, there is public bus to Nha Bang district. Bus will stop at Nha Bang bus station.(8,000VND/ticket/way)

Take public bus Nha Bang - Tri Ton. Get off the bus at Bung Tien bridge where you can see a panel on the left showing you Tra Su cajuput forest. From here, its about 3 km to the Tra Su cajuput forest's office (You can take motorbike or walk)

Vietnamese language
I would like to go to Nha Bang bus station: Tôi muốn đến bến xe Nhà Bàng

I would like to go to Tri Ton and get off the bus in front of Bung Tien bridge: Tôi muốn đi Tri Tôn và vui lòng cho tôi xuống xe ở trước cầu Bưng Tiền

I would like to go to Tra Su cajuput forest: Tôi muốn đi tham quan rừng tràm Trà Sư

How to get there by motorbike
A motorbike to Tra Su cajuput forest takes about 1 hour for 30km. Motorbike driver usually charges 100,000VND for 1 way. Some part of the road is pumpy and full of dust. But with motorbike you can stop on the way for taking photo.

There are many motorbike drivers taking local passengers to Tri Ton district. Most drivers dont know Tra Su cajuput forest. So ask them to go to Tri Ton, then to Bung Tien bridge and Tra Su is in front of you.

There is basic restaurant in the center of the forest (beside the observation post). It offers some delicious dishes such as:

Ga nuong mat ong (Fried garden chicken with honey)

                                                                   Photo credit: Vietnamguidebook

Ga hap la truc (Steam garden chicken with "trai truc" leaves)

                                                            Photo credit: Vietnamguidebook

Ca loc nuong trui (Fried mud fish comes with tamarind sauce)

                                                                      Photo credit: Vietnamguidebook

Canh chua bong dien dien ca basa (Sour soup cooked with basa fish and "dien dien" flower. This dish makes you feel better if you have fever)

Enjoy lunch in restaurant's "Cai tum"

                                                                    Photo credit: Vietnamguidebook
Sleeping on the hammock
                                                              Photo credit: Vietnamguidebook


                                                                        Photo credit: Vietnamguidebook

and monkey bridge
Monkey bridge.  Photo credit: Vietnamguidebook

D/ Rice fields around Tra Su 
The rice fields around Tra Su in Tinh Bien and Tri Ton distrists draw a lot of photographers! They are dotted by palm sugar trees and are surrounded by low mountains. The rice fields are in light yellow, bold yellow, light green, bold green colours... Stepping into rice fields, you can meet many Khmer people: the man ride water buffalos, the boy chase the ducks, the little girl with bicycle on the field waiting for her mother, the ox cart carries rice...

Photo credit: Vietnamguidebook

Photo credit: Vietnamguidebook

Photo credit: Vietnamguidebook

E/ Where to stay in Chau Doc
There are some basic good hotel at the center of Chau Doc, near the market.
The 4-star Victoria hotel is beautifully located at riverside

1/ Hai Chau hotel (My pick)
Address: 63 Suong Nguyet Anh street
Tel: (076) 626 00 66
Hot line:  0985 999 111
Overview:  clean room, nice design, English speaking friendly staff, good location

Room rate: 18 USD up with breakfast (bread and fried eggs, one drink)

Bonus: lift, hair dryer, wifi, booking slow and fast boat to Cambodia



                                                                      Deluxe room

                                          Standard room and bathroom. Photo credit: Vietnamguidebook

2/ Trung Nguyen hotel 
Address: 86 Bach Dang street
Tel: 076 3561561/ 3866 158.

Overview: Small hotel, nice design, clean rooms, English speaking staff, good location

Room rate: 11 USD up (without breakfast)

Bonus: Offer travel information, online booking

Minus:  Be tired to climb up to the room with narrow staircase


3/ Ngoc Phu hotel
Address: 25 Doc Phu Thu street
Tel: (076) 386 6484

Overview: basic hotel, English speaking friendly staff

Room rate: 11 USD up (without breakfast)

Internet access charges 


                                                           Photo credit: Vietnamguidebook

4/ Victoria hotel 
Address: 1 Le Loi street
Tel: 076 3865 010 

Overview: The best  hotel of Chau Doc with great location at riverside where you can spend hours to watch daily life on Chau Doc river. The swimming pool is a plus. Nice design.

Room rate: Public on web is from 140 USD up, but on Agoda is just 80 USD up!

                                                                   Pic: Victoria hotel
                                                           Pic: Vietnamguidebook

                                                       Photo credit: Vietnamguidebook

F/ Getting to Chau Doc by bus
Sai Gon - Chau Doc, 250km, takes 6 to 7 hours. Most bus operators offer Huyndai 45-seat bus. Some offers sleeping bus. Depart hourly
Below are some famous bus operators: Phuong Trang and Hung Cuong

Phuong Trang bus operator: For booking ticket; get on bus
Address: 328A Le Hong Phong, ward 1, district 10, Sai Gon
Tel: (08) 38. 309 309 - Fax: (08).38 333 467

 Kind of bus: Universe Luxury 45-seat with good A/C
 Price: 130,000VND/ticket (as 18 April 2012)
 Depart: 06:45, 08:45, 10:45, 13:45, 14:45, 15:45, 17:45, 19:45, 20:45, 21:45, 22:45, 24:15
 Stop on the way at Satra rest stop, Tien Giang province (about 2 hours from Sai Gon)

 Arrive in: Chau Doc bus station (5-minute motorbike to center of Chau Doc town)
 National highway 91,  Chau Doc town
 Tel: 0763.565888
 Note: Free transfer to the center of the town by van/car
 Vietnamese language: Please transfer me to the center of Chau Doc (Vui lòng chung truyển tới tượng đài cá basa trung tâm Châu Đốc) 

 Hung Cuong bus operator
 Chau Doc town
 Address: 84 Doc Phu Thu street, Ward A, Chau Doc town
 Tel: 076 3865 116 - 076 3560 807 

 Address: 48 Pho Co Dieu street, district 5, Saigon
 Tel: 3857 2624 - 3955 1247

Overview:  Hung Cuong is perhaps the largest bus operator for Saigon - Chau Doc. Offer new seating and sleeping bus with good air-conditioned. One hour has one bus from early morning till evening. 

Minus: Its usually crowded with local passengers and sometimes its quite noisy on the bus.

                                                           Photo credit: Vietnamguidebook

Exit to Cambodia
The waterway from Chau Doc to Phnom Penh capital surely gives great sceneries and is the best way to come to the country of temples.

Depart from Chau Doc pier at about 7:00AM and arrive in Phnom Penh about  4:00PM by slow boat. (about 1:00PM by fast boat).
I prefer slow boat (enjoy beautiful sceneries along the way)
Depend on number of passenger, the boat operators use small or big wooden boat. The boats are just basic.
Fast boat is a canoe. 

Some boat operators offer slow and fast boat service:

TheSinhTourist ( 
Buy ticket in Sai Gon (246 De Tham street, district 1. Tel: 3838 95 97).
Buy ticket in Chau Doc (Ngoc Phu hotel: 25 Doc Phu thu street, Chau Phu A ward. Tel: 0763 866 484)

Note: TheSinhTourist has 3-day 2-night tour to Cambodia. Their guests stay in Ngoc Phu hotel. They arrive in hotel everyday about 6:00PM. So come to hotel at 6:00PM to see the tour guide and buy boat ticket.

I used its services two times with slow boat and really liked beautiful sceneries along the river. What a pity! The slow boat just took me to Vinh Xuong check point. From here a mini van took me to Phnom Penh. The van stopped at TheSinhTourist Phnom Penh hotel about 3:30PM. TheSinh hotel is about 15 minutes to Phnom Penh riverside. Tuk tuk charges about 2 or 3 USD to riverside.

Mekong Tours
14 Nguyen Huu Canh, Chau Doc, Vietnam.
Tel: (+84-76) 3 86 82 22 - 3 56 28 28

Slow boat: 10 USD (Depart at 7:00AM. Arrive about 4:00 to 5:00PM)
Fast boat: 25 USD (Depart at 7:30AM. Arrive in Phnom Penh at riverside dock, backpacker area about 1:00PM)
(I just visited its office. Havent used its services. The price is on 18th April 2012)

Ngoc Phu hotel: Booking slow and fast boat to Cambodia with same price with Mekong tours. (See Where to stay in Chau Doc)

Vinh Xuong check point (Vietnam)

Kaamsamnor check point (Cambodia)
                                                              Photo credit: Vietnamguidebook

You can cross border to Cambodia via Tinh Bien - Phnom Den check points. The check point is in Takeo province, 120km from Phnom Penh capital.

There is public bus from Chau Doc to Tinh Bien check point, takes about 45 minutes for 23km

Cambodian visa is on arrival. From Phnom Den, taked a shared taxi to Phnom Penh (about 8USD/pax) (Note: I was in Tinh Bien check point. Havent been to Phnom Penh by shared taxi. The information of taking shared taxi to Phnom Penh is from famous Cambodia website:

G/ Bung Binh Thien lake


Photo credit: Vietnamguidebook

H/ Photos: Unique fairs in the floating season
VietNamNet Bridge - In the flood season, special markets appear in the southwestern region, selling animals that are caught thanks to water rising, such as eels, snakes, turtles, rats, snails, and crabs. When the flood recedes, the markets also close.

Snakes are sold in many places in the southwest, from large to small markets, but the largest markets are those in An Giang province. Snakes are available at Khanh An market in An Phu district and An Giang from July through November, said Mr. Nguyen Van Tuan, a snake trader. 

 Mrs. Luong Thi Cua, a snake trader at the market of Vinh Hoi Dong, An Phu district, An Giang province, said this product had sold very well. In the flood season, she sells several hundreds of kilos of snakes a day to traders from HCM City and southwestern provinces. The prices range from VND110,000 to VND550,000 per kilo, depending on species.

 This year, besides usual snake species, some Cambodian sell red-tailed vipers for making medicinal alcohol at prices from VND50,000 to VND100,000/snake.

 Lizards are sold from VND80,000 to VND90,000/kg. This species is largely imported from Cambodia.

 Rare turtles also appear at the market, with prices ranging from VND280,000 to VND350,000/kg. Customers are mainly restaurants.

 Mrs. Ngo Phuong Mai, who sells turtles at Khanh An market, said in the flood season she travels to Cambodia to buy turtles for sale. The prices fall by half in the flood season.

 Phu Dat market in Binh Long commune, Chau Phu district of An Giang province is the biggest field-mouse market in the south. Each day the market sells tons of field mice to restaurants in the Mekong Delta and HCM City.

 Prices are VND45,000 to VND55,000/kg for live mice and VND90,000 to VND120,000/kg for slaughtered mice.

 Truong Xuan is the biggest field-crab market in the south. It is located in Thap Muoi District, Dong Thap Province. The market supplies over 100 tons of crabs/day for HCM City and neighboring provinces.

 Mr. Nguyen Truong Canh, from Tan Hung District of Long An Province, said that every day he catches 400kg of crabs to sell to traders.

 The field-snail market in the town of Long Binh, An Giang province, is the largest of its kind in the south. It sells tens of tons of snails a day.

 The largest market of "linh" fish is in An Phu district. Many Cambodian fishermen bring fish to sell here.

There are also markets selling vegetables and flowers of the flood season along the Vietnam-Cambodia border in An Giang and Dong Thap provinces.

Dien dien flowers are the most popular product at these market, priced at about VND40,000/kg.$1 = VND21,000

(Source: Zing/VNN -

I/ Muddy and fun: A very different kind of sleigh ride in Vietnam - It's a weekend of fun, thrills and just enough danger for hundreds of locals and visitors at the largest Khmer bull racing festival in the southern province of An Giang. 
Dozens of bulls were brought in to compete in the annual event. They tried to outrun the others on a very muddy field. 

Some lost control and pulled their riders down with them. Some ran straight into the cheering crowds and scared quite a few people. 
But everybody seemed to have a good time, especially the winners, 38-year-old local Chau Chen and his two fearless bulls.
He received a 32-inch TV for winning the race.
Chen said he bought his bulls four years ago at VND110 million, just for racing. He said the bulls are members of his family. 

 Photo credit:

베트남 여행 일지 - Travel diary of a Seoul student in Vietnam: