We enjoyed Chau Doc so much that I felt it truly deserved a section in this adventure all to itself. Arriving by ferry into the centre of a major township has a certain appeal about it. The arrival in Chau Doc offers two restaurants at water's edge; two great choices to have immediately upon arrival. The use of bamboo stilts is readily apparent; these can approach 6m in height on occassion & withstand the swiftest currents: Chau Doc is situated in, over, on-top off & all around the Hau Giang (Bassac) River, part of the Mekong complex. Its a captivating setting where life is conducted on the water. Its constant, its mesmorising & its quite magical. Houses floating on empty drums under which fish are raised in suspended nets fill the waterways. One cant help but notice that such maritime existence also involves activities as diverse as growing herbs to raising chickens: The early morning sun explains the wonderful colour. Catching the floating house raised fish is simple, conducted from the myriad of sanpans oared by conical hatted skippers that ply the waterways. When not working with the fish these sanpans provide a shuttle/taxi service between the floating houses & the 'mainland', in particular around the markets the backdrop to which is a series of landings for patrons & for goods: Fish farming - mainly catfish - accounts for around 20% of Vietnam's fish output; no mean feat considering the length of Vietnam's coastline & the extent to which it is fished. The greatest concentration in the country of floating houses & fish-farming is here at Chau Doc where larger household nets can approach 2000 cubic metres & raise 400 tonnes of fish in a single cycle. Roe is sourced from the wild (normally Cambodia); hatchlings are then raised for a period approaching 10 months to a marketable size of around 1kg on a mixture of cereals, vegetables & fish scraps. There's apparently a bio-fuel project in place utilising the fatty waste from the fish, where a kilo of fat can produce a litre of diesel. Here one sanpan 'harvests' fish: We would stay at Thuon Loi sensationally positioned & the only moderately priced accommodation right on the river. The market-place is but an easy stroll away & its a market that really hums! Its a matter of intrigue but in the first room we checked it was the AC which didn't work, in a second the shower....................& so it went. But who cares! One just cant get annoyed, even upset in a setting such as this; its that sensational! Even in the mornings we were up at first light; that's how excited we were by Chau Doc. Look at these shots from our rooms balcony on our first morning: Nui Sam, a holy mountain for Vietnamese offering sensational views over ricefields back to Chau Doc & over to Cambodia beckoned. Only around 5km from town it offers a wonderful ride past certain shrines, grottos, ancient tombs, temples & pagodas to its summit. If you look closely, mid-left, in the first photo below you can see, some kilometres out from the ricefields in Vietnam, the red roof of the two-storey Cambodian government check point for crossing the border; other constructions in the area are totally submerged: The flooding in Cambodia is more clearly demonstarted in the photo below which shows a second border crossing point some distance from the first in another area along the border. The water where the access road from Vietnam vanishes under water IS Cambodia; a much flooded Cambodia! With 75% of Cambodia swamped & one in ten (!) of the population directly affected by floodwaters one can start to comprehend how remote villagers have been living in waist-high water for over 3 months at the time these shots were taken: Sunset from Nui Sam: A couple of hill-side temples photographed late at night to encourage readers to identify them when undertaking their own tours....... Chau Doc is, of course, the kick-off point for the Vinh Xuong-Khoam Samnor border crossing where one can enter Cambodia & proceed to Phnom Penh by boat some 100kms up the Mekong. Check it out!!!!!