HA TIEN en route to Phu Quoc - Pt 5: Da Nang to Mekong Delta

Discussion in 'Vietnam - Road Trip Reports' started by Rod Page, Nov 28, 2011.

  1. Rod Page

    Rod Page Ol'Timer

    Ha Tien makes for a comfortable, quite interesting base from which to launch off to Phu Quoc.

    It would appear that the national roads budget has not quite extended down this way, especially in terms of completing roads let alone signage; even the roads through the centre of towns are 'shot', something which has not been the case earlier on this trip. Whilst riding along its difficult to imagine that the road is taking you to what's billed as the world's next best island/beach destination; things will surely change given the enormous 'wraps' on Phu Quoc. Its restful, scenic countryside for the moment, however, where one has a sense of participating in local life as one meanders along.

    There are 2 options leading south for those wishing to stop at Ba Chuc - Hwy N1 straight along the Cambodian border or a loop starting 17kms south of Chau Doc taking you via Tri Ton through some nice scenery especially around the Tra Su bird sanctuary photographed here as we could see some ricefield green amidst the flooding.....

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    Ba Chuc is not at all easy to find off Hwy N1 - its a very small turn-off along an insignificant route with no signage to help - but its worth the effort. Much of Vietnam is like this - whilst touring its easy 'to get lost'; by default seeing most, if not all of Vietnam.............................but not necessarily the destination you are seeking!

    N1 takes you along the border past the Phnom Den border crossing, busy at the time we passed. A large access bridge on the VN side is currently under construction but at present access is by a single laned road controlled by traffic lights which no-one obeys; size continues to determine the rules of the road here! The grandiously dubbed 'highway' N1 follows the Vinh Te Canal. Here's a shot looking back towards the border crossing & over to Cambodia - remember this is a 'canal'; the photo clearly shows the degree to which Cambodia is flooded with the plains of Cambodia totally under water & the canal looking more like a Mekong equivalent:

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    Homes along the canal's retaining walls are stranded along the length of the route south. Its not just the Cambodian side that's flooded; the photo below shows how the sheer volume of water has smashed levy banks on the Vietnamese side too causing massive flooding:

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    Red Cross flags flutter everywhere, indicative of the considerable hardship the whole area is experiencing:

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    In this shot the indication of recent flood heights are still apparent:

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    The road is not without its dangers; I stopped to let these guys pass but only just managed to keep my bike upright on several occassions as they smashed their way past me:

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    As you approach the coast the soil inevitably becomes poorer but karsts start jutting up into the skies; it adds to an already pleasant ride down. A sudden arrival at the Gulf of Thailand seaside, sandy beaches & palms - it feels you've travelled very suddenly to a land a million miles away.

    A short run into Ha Tien along the coastline, another almost common large bridge over the To Chau shows off Ha Tien to travellers:

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    We headed straight to Thuy Tien cafe set wonderfully on the To Chau before finding our hotel:

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    Ha Tien has a number of beaches along the coastline as it runs out to Cambodia. The beaches are well patronised by locals accompanied, as they are, by many small, casual beach-side restaurants. Mui Nai is the beach central to the action:

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    Dinner on the floating restaurant moored not far from Thuy Tien, we would head to Phu Quoc tomorrow.
     
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