Photo: Wandering Chau Doc.


Our rating:

Perched on the southern bank of the confluence of the Chau Doc and Bassac rivers, Chau Doc features not infrequently on the itinerary of foreign travellers, especially those overlanding between Vietnam and neighbouring Cambodia as it is the launching point for the speedboat service between here and Phnom Penh.

Booking logo
Check hotel availability in Chau Doc
Arriving on:
Leaving on:

Most give the medium–sized town barely 24 hours—often arriving in the late afternoon on a bus from Ho Chi Minh City or elsewhere in the Mekong Delta and catching the speedboat the next morning to Phnom Penh, but (and you know we’re going to say this), Chau Doc is a worthwhile destination in its own right. The town itself is interesting and, with a riverside setting, very scenic, but it also serves as a base for exploring the surrounds either under your own steam by bicycle or scooter, or on an arranged tour. We would say, at a minimum, Chau Doc deserves one full day, while those with a looser schedule could easily fill two days exploring the town and its surrounds.

<em>Bun ca</em> nom nom nom. Photo taken in or around Chau Doc, Vietnam by Stuart McDonald.

Bun ca nom nom nom. Photo: Stuart McDonald

Aside from a riverside setting, Chau Doc town has a great market and a handful of temples and pagodas which are worth a look and are all easily accessed on foot. Across the Bassac is an area commonly referred to (for tourism purposes) as the “Cham Village” in recognition of the Cham people who live there, and there is a second Cham village on the landmass between the Chau Doc and Bassac Rivers. Both are easily visited independently or on a tour. A little to the east of the confluence there is an interesting wholesale floating market, which runs every morning from 05:00 to around 07:30, yes, it is worth getting up early for.

To the south of Chau Doc lies Sam Mountain, a temple clustered hill, which is worth visiting to poke around the temples and certainly worth ascending to the top (by xe-om for the less energetic) to enjoy fabulous views not only over Chau Doc but also out to the west over Cambodia. Further south again is the Tra Su Wildlife Reserve, where you can do a boat trip through a semi-sunken forest, spotting (if you are lucky) hundreds of birds—this alone is worth staying an extra day in Chau Doc for.

Chau Doc still has a few beautiful older buildings. Photo taken in or around Chau Doc, Vietnam by Stuart McDonald.

Chau Doc still has a few beautiful older buildings. Photo: Stuart McDonald

In semi-recent history, Chau Doc gets a mention for the Ba Chuc Massacre—a 12–day murder spree in April 1978 when the Khmer Rouge crossed the border and murdered 3,157 people who lived in the same–named village—only two survived. This attack was one of the reasons for the subsequent Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia. Just under half way between Chau Doc and coastal Ha Tien, Ba Chuc today has a memorial dedicated to the massacre and it can be visited on a longish day trip from Chau Doc (though we didn’t make it this trip).

Chau Doc is not actually the capital of An Giang Province, that title belongs to the bustling Long Xuyen an hour and a bit by bus to the east of here, but for the casual traveller, there is little reason to slow down for the capital.

Pagodas and temples litter the downtown area. Photo taken in or around Chau Doc, Vietnam by Stuart McDonald.

Pagodas and temples litter the downtown area. Photo: Stuart McDonald

As mentioned, Chau Doc sits n the southern bank of the Chau Doc and Bassac Rivers, with the downtown area facing onto the former and the eastward sprawl out to the bus station overlooking the Bassac. Le Loi runs along the river front, with the centre of town set a few blocks back from the riverfront, clustered around a pleasant park and a Buddhist temple. The sizeable market runs from the river to a block from this park area.

ATMs are dotted through this downtown area and it is here you will also find most of the hotels, cafes and restaurants. This entire area is easily navigable on foot, though if you are heading to Nui Sam or Tra Su you will need to organise some transport. A xe-om from the bus station into town shouldn’t cost more than around 20,000 dong.

The surrounding countryside is great for exploring—especially by bicycle. Photo taken in or around Chau Doc, Vietnam by Stuart McDonald.

The surrounding countryside is great for exploring—especially by bicycle. Photo: Stuart McDonald

Chau Doc Hospital is on the road out of town heading towards Long Xuyen—about one kilometre past the bus station.

Book a flight, train, bus, taxi or ferry in Vietnam with Baolau


What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Chau Doc.
 Check prices, availability & reviews on Agoda or Booking
 Read up on where to eat on Chau Doc.
 Check out our listings of things to do in and around Chau Doc.
 Read up on how to get to Chau Doc, or book your transport online with Baolau.
 Do you have travel insurance yet? If not, find out why you need it.
 Planning on riding a scooter in Chau Doc? Please read this.
 Browse the web securely while travelling with TunnelBear. Try with a 7–day free trial.

Onward travel

Chau Doc is on the way to or near ...