I rode on a small speedboat from Phnom Penh to Vietnam. I was leaving the Mekong soon, so it was nice to take a ride down it into the delta region. The other passengers on my boat were an English family, and I was reminded once again that the most annoying sound in the world is the sound of English children speaking.
The family got off the boat a bit before me, at the Victoria Hotel. The Victoria in Chau Doc has to be one of the strangest hotels I’ve come across, simply because it’s a large four star luxury hotel in a town that is neither large enough nor rich enough to support a KFC, or even a coffee shop.
Chau Doc was something of a relief coming from Phnom Penh. Though there were occasional bicycle rickshaw touts that would harass me, for the most part I could walk around town in peace. In Phnom Penh, somebody would hassle me every five feet to part with my money in some capacity or another.
I stayed in the Thuan Loi hotel, a fine place by the river with a deck that overlooked the floating houses. It was a great place to relax and right on the deck.
My first night there, and well into the afternoon the next day, I only saw two other white people in town. I knew Chau Doc was popular with tourists because of its river transportation connections, but I was glad to have the town to myself for the most part. My second day in town, a barge of Eurotrash must have landed, because the town was suddenly swarming with whitey, and my hotel’s restaurant was taken over by large Swedish tour groups, blaring ABBA and everything.
I didn’t notice this evolution throughout the day, of course, as I had rented a motorbike to drive up to nearby Sam Mountain. Riding a motorbike in Vietnam is definitely more difficult than in other countries I’ve been, mainly because there are so many of them. Also, Vietnam is big on traffic circles and light on traffic lights or stop signs, which generally don’t exist outside of the largest intersections.
After a week of hard drinking and hard touring with Martin and Kris, I didn’t really do much in Chau Doc beyond riding around and writing, so I’ll move on to the pics.
The river from my hotel deck. This isn’t the Mekong proper, as it has already split up into smaller channels this far downriver, but its still Mekong water. After exactly one month to the day on the mighty river, I would follow Mekong spurs further south in my bus the next day. Eventually, the bus would arc east and cross the main channel, and my Mekong time would end as we rolled into Saigon.