l Explore the amicable Chau Doc in Vietnam | Chau Doc Travel Guide 2024

Explore the amicable Chau Doc in Vietnam

Cập nhật: 01-01-1970 12:00:00 | Blogs about Vietnam | Lượt xem: 1178

Marking the border between Vietnam and Cambodia on the Mekong River, Chau Doc is a colorful land where Kinh, Cham, Khmer and Chinese cultures meet and are well preserved. In this land, you’ll be captivated by lovely stilt houses, lush green landscapes, splendid religious works, distinctive floating fish farms, as well as the mouth-watering cuisine that makes up Vietnam’s Mekong Delta. With appealing natural beauty and diverse heritages, Chau Doc is definitely a must-stop for an unforgettable Mekong Delta trip or Vietnam and Cambodia tour.

Chau Doc’s weather

Similar to other regions in Mekong Delta Vietnam, Chau Doc features a pleasant tropical climate with two distinct seasons: the dry one and the rainy one, with marginal differences in temperature. Its average annual temperatures are around 25°C – 29°C, but can reach 38°C in April and drop as low as 18°C in December. 

Although this area is rarely affected by thunderstorms or typhoons, the rainy season (May – November) still causes occasional flooding in Chau Doc. Therefore, the dry season (December – April) would be a better period to visit the city.

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How to get there

Located in An Giang Province, Chau Doc is about 250 km West of Ho Chi Minh City and is mostly reached by sleeper bus. At Western Bus Station (395 Kinh Duong Vuong Street, Binh Tan District, Ho Chi Minh City), public buses to Chau Doc run daily at the cost of $5 – 9 per ticket, and the travel time will last about 7 hours. 

A faster way to move from Ho Chi Minh City to Chau Doc is driving. You can hide a private vehicle, and the amount of moving time therefore will be reduced to 4 hours.

If you want to explore other regions in the stunning Mekong Delta as well, going on a Saigon – Phnom Penh Mekong River cruise will be a great choice for you. Such cruises usually start from Ho Chi Minh City, and then slowly stop by other places like Can Tho, Cai Be, Sa Dec, Chau Doc… before finally arriving in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. 

Things to do in Chau Doc 

Hike up Sam Mountain

Lying only 6 km from Chau Doc center, Sam Mountain is not only the Mekong Delta’s highest peak, but also one of the most famous Buddhist pilgrimage sites in the whole country. There are about 200 temples, pagodas, and shrines on this mountain, scattered from its foot to the top. The most renowned among them is Ba Chua Xu Temple, a huge structure built in 1824 to worship the Goddess of the mountain.

At a height of only 284 m, Sam Mountain looks more like a hill rather than a mountain, but it still offers breathtaking views of the rich rice fields below as well as the Cambodian border from afar. The entrance fee to the mountain is about $0.8. You can either hike up it yourself, catch a motorbike taxi (xe om), or use the cable car for about $6.

Explore Tra Su Cajuput Forest

Tra Su Cajuput Forest situated 25 km from Chau Doc is a complete ecosystem with dense cajuput trees, tranquil waterways and abundant biodiversity. Covering an area of over 850 ha, this forest is not only a typical mangrove forest of the Mekong Delta but also a fascinating bird sanctuary with a broad number of rare birds, of which 2 species are listed in Vietnam’s Red Book – the painted stork and the oriental darter. It is home to over 70 species of birds and 140 botanical species, not to mention other animals, reptiles, and fishes.

The ideal time to unlock this green wonderland is the flood season, from September to November. Buses from Chau Doc to Tra Su are about $6, and the entrance ticket comes with several choices including canoe/paddle boat fees.

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Visit an authentic Cham Village

The Cham is an ethnic minority that used to have its own kingdom in Vietnam. There are currently 11 Cham villages in An Giang Province, but Chau Giang and Chau Phong are most open to visitors. In these villages, you can admire their traditional weaving arts, tour rustic stilt houses, sample Cham dishes, learn about Muslim customs, and catch a glimpse at the gorgeous Mubarak Mosque – which was recognized as a national heritage.

An Giang’s Cham villages are scattered along the riverbank opposite Chau Doc, 5 km from the city center. To get there, you’ll need to take a ferry on the Hau River (also known as the Bassac River, a tributary of the Mekong River). Meanwhile, some villages are accessible by land.

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Stop by Chau Doc Floating Market

Despite not being so well-known like Can Tho’s Cai Rang Market, Chau Doc Floating Market still owns all the prominent characteristics that showcase the lifestyle of Mekong residents. Countless interesting trading takes place in this fluctuating market, and it’s also the best spot to find fresh fruits at cheap prices.

You have to come here at dawn to see the best of this place, it’s busiest from 5 to 7 am when local traders gather to buy and sell goods wholesale. The market is located on the Hau River, so you’ll need to get on a boat to immerse in its lively atmosphere. Expect to spend $4 – 8 depending on the length of your stay.

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Tour the floating village

An excursion to the floating village on Hau River will give you an impressive insight into the locals’ lives and culture. Chau Doc’s fishing community has been there for over 50 years. They build houses on rafts, board ferries every day to move around, and the fish farms are their main source of income.

From the center of Chau Doc, you can easily take a boat tour upstream of the Hau River to get to this village. Such tours often take 2 – 3 hours, and the price will depend on your destinations as well as the number of your group members. But please rest assured that it will be really reasonable.

Stroll in local markets

The local markets in Chau Doc perfectly reflect the beauty of the local lifestyle and are worth a visit. In the heart of Chau Doc, you can easily spot its same-name market, which is one of the most vibrant trading places in the Mekong Delta. Chau Doc Market is open all day and sells everything you look for, from daily items and fresh/dried food to local specialties like fermented fish or jaggery cakes. Communication is also not a problem, since the sellers are very patient and friendly.

Another genuine market in An Giang Province is Tinh Bien, a large wholesale market adjacent to Cambodia, 22km from Chau Doc. It offers a diverse variety of goods, from not only Vietnam but also the neighbors Cambodia and Thailand. There you can find a great deal of clothing, cosmetics, handicrafts, electronics, traditional sweets… and especially, edible insects, including the extremely poisonous ones. They could appear as raw ingredients, steeped alcohol, or prepared eats.

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Get lost in Ta Pa rice field

Described as the most charming field in the Mekong Delta, the Ta Pa rice field is a picturesque landscape you can see nowhere in Southern Vietnam. It’s a vast land with various colors ranging from green to golden, dotted by soaring palm trees and embraced by a cool atmosphere that will soothe your soul. The field is mesmerizing all year long, especially in its harvest season from September – November.  

Ta Pa rice field is located 40 km from Chau Doc and the easiest way to reach it is by hiring a private vehicle. Along the way, you’ll also encounter other notable attractions in An Giang like Sam Mountain, Tra Su Cajuput Forest, Cam Mountain and Co To Mountain…

Discover Bang Lang Stork Sanctuary

Located on the path that connects Chau Doc and Can Tho, 70 km from Chau Doc Center, Bang Lang Stork Sanctuary is one of the largest bird gardens in Vietnam and a superb destination for a fantastic Mekong Delta tour package 3 days 2 nights. This vast sanctuary was founded in 1983 with a total area of 16,500 m2, and is now home to about 300,000 storks of 20 different species. Inside the sanctuary, there’s an 8-meter-high observatory that offers a spectacular panoramic view of the whole area.

Bang Lang Stork Sanctuary opens from 5:00 am – 7:30 pm daily and costs about $0,8 per visitor. It’s most crowded in the early morning when the storks start leaving the branches in search of food, and most beautiful at dusk when they fly back in gorgeous twilight. During the rainy season, you can also experience sailing through its submerged forest with a boat.

Chau Doc must-try dishes

Bun ca (fish rice noodles)

As a land that makes a living from freshwater fish farming, there’s no surprise that Chau Doc’s top specialty is a fish dish. Bun ca Chau Doc is famous for a special broth made from fish bones, snakeheads and dried shrimp. Its ingredients, besides the rice noodles and the snakeheads, include fresh turmeric, shrimp paste, garlic, lemongrass and chili. It’s at its best when being served wild local veggies like pea-like flowers, banana flowers, bitter greens, water lilies, and water spinach.

Banh bo thot not (jaggery honeycomb cake)

If you like Vietnamese honeycomb cake, you’ll love its jaggery variation. Jaggery honeycomb cake is a traditional dessert in An Giang Province. It’s spongy, soft, sweet, and stands out with a brownish-yellow shade of pure jaggery. This cake is often topped with a thick layer of creamy coconut milk and roasted sesame seeds for a more flavorsome taste.

Xoi xiem (Siam sticky rice)

Xiem sticky rice is a dish of Thai origin introduced to Chau Doc and became a specialty here in the 70s of the last century. It’s basically Thai sticky rice steamed with pandan leaves, and then served with a mouth-watering sauce made from rich coconut milk, egg, palm sugar, crushed durian, and flour.

Lau ca bong lau (catfish hotpot)

Lau ca bong lau is an amazing hotpot that captures hearts with an indigenous sour broth of the Mekong Delta River in Southern Vietnam. It gets the typical sour taste from tamarind, and is enriched by fresh coconut juice and some local spices. Added to the hotpot are pineapples, tomatoes, bean sprouts, local veggies and some kinds of herbs like coriander or Thai basil…  Of course, we can’t forget the star of the dish – pangasius krempfi, an important catfish species for fisheries in the Mekong River basin.

Ca loc nuong trui (grilled snakehead)

Unlike the above-mentioned fish dishes, ca loc nuong trui is a dry dish with no soup, so the awe of the dish lies in the fish itself. To make ca loc nuong trui, the chef will wrap the whole snakehead in foil paper, grill it on charcoal, and then add scallion oil and a bit of crunchy toasted peanuts. The fish after being grilled is rolled in rice paper with some vegetables and dipped into a sweet and sour sauce.

Bo bay mon (seven-course beef)

The seven-course beef at Sam Mountain is a unique combination of local beef delicacies. Each restaurant will have its own choice of the 7 courses. A typical seven-course beef would include: goi bo (beef salad), bo nhung giam (beef dipped in vinegar soup), bo la lot (beef grilled in lot leaf), bo nuong xa (beef grilled with lemongrass), beefsteak, bo luc lac (beef rattles), and chao bo (beef porridge). The beef used in this dish must be from That Son (which is literally “Seven Mountains” in Vietnamese) – a nearby region that’s famous for its racing cattle breeds.

 

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