Journey Three / Chapter 25

The Mekong Delta: Phnom Penh to Can Tho

March 2019

Sailing down the Mekong River from the infamous Cambodian capital, through Vietnamese river border to Mekong Delta cities of Chau Doc and Can Tho.

After leaving Siem Reap we head slowly but surely to the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh. Now quite lovely and charming developing south-east asian capital, albeit with a very turbulent history. Indeed, the largest impression by far is a visit to a former secondary school which was used as Security Prison 21 (S-21) by the Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge regime in the 70s - a macabre reminder of bestiality of one of the worst genocides in the history.

Despite that Phnom Penh is a charming city now, and after spending few days resting here we head on to Vietnam. To make thing interesting through we choose unusual path (at least for today): instead of taking a bus or train, we hop on a boat that's going to take us via Mekong river. Although it's supposed to be a regular ferry service, there are only 4 passengers on the boat including us, proving that Mekong is not used anymore for long-distance travel as much as it used to be. The journey through is magical - passing little towns and villages along the river whose life is completely intertwined with Mekong.

After we pass through river border control point and several side waterways, we end up in a charming town Chau Doc to stay overnight. And the next day we continue down the Mekong delta to the city of Can Tho, place of most famous Vietnamese floating market. To visit it we wake up at 5am to hit the market just at sunrise around 6am - when it's just starting to get busy.