So, finished up with part 2 - hope you like. The whole thing with some pictures, again, is here :-)
Arrived on the boat from Phnom Penh in Chau Doc in the early evening, accompanied by some light rain. As I did not want to go wandering around at the moment, I just grabbed the first cyclo that came up to me, who, while on the way to the hotel, decided that it would be best to continue looking back at me instead of forwards. This ended with us going head first into a pedestrian walking through the street. No one was hurt, and while the driver didn’t seem to worried about it, the pedestrian was not thrilled about the whole incident.
Arrived at the hotel after the 5 minute ride, dropped the bag off, and headed out for some delicious pork cooked in a clay pot, as well as having my first Vietnamese beer – 333 (ba ba ba). Walked through the market for a while taking in all the sights and (occasionally terrible) smells, as well as setting up a ride to Sam Mountain for the next morning.
The next day, after a rather mediocre baguette sandwich for breakfast, took a motorbike ride to the top of Sam Mountain where it’s possible to overlook the surrounding area, as well as look back towards the Cambodian border. While at the top I ended up taking pictures with a group of locals who appeared to be just up for a visit, although a lack of Vietnamese on my part and a lack of English on their part made it tough to confirm. Despite the communication barrier, it was still quite fun. Went through some of the pagodas in the area, but found them to be a bit…tacky. Back into town for lunch by the water, and ended up chatting with the hotel staff for quite some time (including learning how to attempt to properly pronounce a few phrases – I could not have been further off) before catching the local bus to Can Tho .
The ride into Can Tho was my first real introduction to driving in Vietnam – no stopping, biggest vehicle gets the right of way, 12 seats means 20 passengers, and your horn is a surrogate for any blinkers or brakes. After barreling down the wrong side of the road for quite some time we finally arrived in Can Tho (surprisingly still in one piece). After having the xe om driver attempt to take me to a different hotel, I finally arrived at the Phong Nha – a great little place with a super friendly owner – Mr. Sang, who got me setup with a great boat tour starting the next morning at 5:30am. Spent the rest of the evening enjoying dinner by the river, wandering and doing some people watching.
Yet another very early morning – met the other passenger on my two person sampan boat tour, as well as our “guide” – she did not speak any English, but was a blast to go with – she made some incredible things out of peeled pieces of bamboo – bracelets, flowers, earrings – you name it! We started out at a couple floating markets which, while interesting, did not seems quite as great as their reputation had led me to believe. After that we headed out into some of the quieter areas where we saw rice noodles being made, and got to go exploring a bit off the beaten path. The whole tour lasted around 7 hours – all for $20. Thanks for a great stay in Can Tho, Mr. Sang!
Enjoyed lunch before grabbing the bus to Ho Chi Minh City. Looking back, the Mekong Delta was probably a favorite area of the whole trip – really great people and an overall very interesting area. If I head back again, I would certainly plan to spend much more time in the area to see what I missed, and I would suggest anyone heading there consider spending a couple extra days, if possible.
Next up, Saigon!