17.02.2013 - 20.02.2013 30 °C
We have now headed on from Cambodia into Vietnam via the border crossing into the Mekong Delta. This has been the easiest border crossing yet. We arrived by mini-van and got our passports stamped with no queues on the Cambodia side, then walked down a dirt track and into the Vietnam passport control on the side of the Mekong River, where we sat down for 30 minutes in a cafe as they were stamped.
The rest of the trip down to Chau Doc was by boat, a very relaxing journey down the Mekong with some great scenes of river life. Arriving in Chau Doc we set of immediately to the nearby Sam mountain to see the sun set. We jumped in a Xe Dap Loi to get to the mountain, 5km out of town. This is basically a push bike with a pram on the back, which didn't look like it could hold one, let alone 2 large people. The driver must have had legs of steel to get us both to the mountain, up a slight hill, although he did get some help when his friend on a moped gave us a push from the back on the steepest section of road! Only just got to the mountain before sunset and had a very quick and sweaty climb to get to the top in time, but nice views once we were up there.
The next day we were up early to see more of Chau Doc before heading on to Can Tho. The market by the water was bustling and we picked up some breakfast. Then we hired a man with a rowing boat who took us on a tour of the local floating villages, fish farm and the Cham Islamic stilt house villages. This was really fun, very peaceful on the water and some fantastic sights.
Another slow bus journey (with the obligatory 2 hour break in the middle for no reason) brought us to Can Tho, and yet another form of transport checked off...motorbikes! This was the only form of public transport in Can Tho so we jumped on the back of one with our rucksacks for the short drive to our hostel....it was so much fun! The part of Can Tho we stayed in was not particularly exciting, but ok to stay for one night. However, our dawn boat ride into the Delta was brill. We visited 2 floating markets, one wholesale, one retail, a rice noodle factory, and cruised down the quieter canals. The trip was great, but by the end of our 7 hours we both had sore bums and the noisy engine driving the propeller on the boat was starting to get irritating, maybe a shorter version would have been better.
From Can Tho we took a bus to Ben Tre, our final Delta stop. Ben Tre was a lovely little town, not a lot going on but it had a really nice feel to the place and not many tourists. We went on a cycle around the rice paddies and coconut groves by the river. This was very pleasant, but I was a little disappointed that we didn't find the rice wine factory or coconut candy factories which were meant to be on our route. Not sure if we passed them without realising or just took the wrong route.
From here we left the delta and moved on to Ho Chi Min City, on the nicest bus of the trip yet, clean with AC and comfy leather seats!