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Published: July 26th 2009
Since we were preparing for our final border crossing, we thought we'd try something new and take a long boat journey down the Mekong to Vietnam. For the low, low price of $15/person we got a virtually private boat the full 6 hours to Chau Doc, Vietnam. The boat pulls over to stamp you out of Cambodia (where, amazingly, they didn't ask for any money) and then again for the entry stamp to Vietnam. Then they just pull up to a dock in Chau Doc and turn you loose.
The boat that took us from PP to the border looked like a close cousin of the Yellow Submarine. It was a pleasant ride through the Cambodian countryside. We enjoyed our last journey through Cambodia and decided it had dramatically risen on our favorite places list.
Once we got to Vietnam, we saw many more boats on the river and the return of small houses built on rickety stilts. Then we were dropped off in Chau Doc.....a place with one whole page in the guidebook and no map. An older gentleman, walked up to us with the ubiquitous, "Where you go?". For once, we had no idea. He claimed he
could take us to a nice hotel, "cheap cheap". Without a better idea, we decided to go with him. He was 'driving' a bicycle with basically a big basket on the back. Pat and I and our two backpacks, held on for dear life while we journeyed through the streets.
Miraculously, the hotel was indeed 'cheap, cheap' and perhaps one of the nicest we have stayed at. The hotel was less than a year old, had fabulously clean rooms, full bathroom, satellite tv, fridge, and free breakfast for a whole $9. We were so happy with the suggestion, that we decided to make arrangements to see the mountain top at sunset with our bicycle friend (who promised to come back with a motorbike).
At sunset, Pat and I got on the backs of two different motorbikes and whizzed out of town on our way to Mountain Sam. On the way, my driver pointed out the piles of brown grain drying in the middle of the roads was rice. Quite interesting as I had never seen rice still in the hull. We got to the top of the mountain, gazed out at the brewing storm and the Border between
Vietnam and Cambodia, and then headed down to see the temple. We have no earthly idea what religion the temple was for......when I asked the guide whether it was Buddhist or Hindu, he responded "Vietnam". Indeed. Quite a change from the temples anywhere else.
After a great dinner, we turned in before our next bus journey to Can Tho, another town on the Mekong Delta.
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