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Chau Doc Travel Guide

Chau Doc Travel Guide


Area: 3,406 sq. km.
Population: 2,146,800 habitants (2003)
Regional code: 076
Capital: Long Xuyen City.
Town: Chau Doc.
Districts: An Phu, Tan Chau, Phu Tan, Chau Phu, Tinh Bien, Tri Ton, Cho Moi, Chau Thanh, Thoai Son.
Ethnic groups: Viet (Kinh), Khmer, Cham, Hoa.

Geography: An Giang Province is located to the west of the Mekong Delta between the Tien and Hau rivers and shares a 100km border with Cambodia in the north – west. It also shares border with Dong Thap Province in the east, Cantho City in the south – east, and Kien Giang Province in the south – west.

An Giang has two main types of topography: midland areas and low mountains. The low mountains is Bay Nui (Seven Mountains) in Tinh Bien and Tri Ton districts. Vinh Te Canal runs along with the province’s border in the west, which connects from Chau Doc to Ha Tien.

Climate: An Giang is divided into two seasons: the rain (from May to November), and the dry (from December to April next year). The annual average temperature varies 27ºC. The highest temperature is 35ºC – 37ºC from April to May and the lowest ones is 20ºC – 21ºC from December to January next year. The annual rainfall is 1,400 – 1,500mm.

Chau Doc sits at the junction of a tributary linking the Bassac and Mekong Rivers and the Bassac River itself. An incredibly friendly and bustling little city, Chau Doc has a colour scheme to match its ambience, with bright pastel hues of green, blue and purple adorning many of the newer shopfronts. If you're arriving here from Cambodia, be prepared for the shock into technicolour paradise.

Chau Doc locals are known for being very warm and approachable -- even the xe dap loi drivers, as pestering as they are, are friendly. English is spoken in most of the foreigner-targeted guesthouses and hotels, and most restaurants have an English menu.

A highlight of a visit to Chau Doc is a boat trip on one of the small paddle boats that collect near the western end of the park. For a few dollars an hour they'll paddle you around the many floating raft houses and fish farms. Doing this at dawn can be very photogenic and rewarding.

A second attraction, just outside Chau Doc, is Sam Mountain -- more of a hillock in fact -- which has reasonable views over the surrounds. The views are pretty rather than spectacular, though when combined with a visit to the pagodas around the hill's base, this makes a worthwhile afternoon jaunt.

Chau Doc is also the closest large town to the Vietnamese/Cambodian river border crossing. If you're heading to or from Phnom Penh by boat, you'll pass through Chau Doc, so try to allow for an overnight stay.


Chau Doc Boat Trips

As you walk along the Bassac River towards the grandiose Victoria hotel you'll find no end of people trying to get you to hire their little boat to go out and see the fish farms which are common here. At around $2 an hour this isn't a bad way to experience river life but go early in the morning so that you can catch the river market.

Instead we chose to take a tour with the owner of the 'English Bookstore'. We met at his shop at 7am and walked down to the river where his friend's boat was waiting for us. First of all we headed south east along the river beyond the Victoria Hotel and met up with the approaching floating market. Our boat got right into the action and we were able to step onto one of the trader's boats as they sold all manner of fresh fruits and vegetables.

From here we crossed the river and went to see the floating fish farm houses which have fish cages under the living area. We then visited a Cham village and its mosque before returning to Chau Doc. This 2.5 hour private tour cost us just $7 for the two of us.

Sam Mountain

The other main tourist attraction of Chau Doc is Sam Mountain which is 6km from town so you'll need some transport. On our first night we were 'stalked' by one of the cyclo riders who seemed to pop up no matter which street we were on. He wanted $5 to take us to the mountain so we agreed to meet him the next afternoon and head there for sunset.

The cyclo rider picked us up at 3.30pm arriving with his wife and Downs syndrome daughter. The poor bloke works 24 hours a day to support his family as as his wife has to stay at home to look after their child. They could put her in a government school but then they'd never see her again. The cyclo man just puts his situation down to Lord Buddha and just gets on with it with a big smile on his face. A lesson to us all!

A couple of moped riders gave us a push on the way to the base of Sam Mountain then our man showed us around Tay An Pagoda, the Temple of Lady Xu and the Tomb of Thoai Ngoc Hau. The moped drivers then took us to the top of Sam Mountain (for a small fee) then waited for us so that we could watch the sunset over the endless padi fields with Cambodia in the distance.

It was a hard cycle back in the dark without the help of the mopeds, even more so when we got a puncture. When we paid the rider more than he'd asked for and paid for his puncture to be repaired ($7.50 in total) he seemed quite concerned and informed us that we'd given him more than we'd agreed and wanted to be sure that we were aware of it!

Ba Chuc
Ba Chuc is situated between Chau Doc and Long Xuyen where there is a temple and ossuary dedicated to over 3,000 Vietnamese that the Khmer Rouge massacred in September 1978. It is very moving and well worth visiting.

Bay Bong Restaurant - tasty and westerner friendly

This popular restaurant claims to specialise in Southern Vietnamese cuisine and is easy walking distance from the centre of town. While untried, their hot pots looked excellent and there is a reasonably priced English-language menu. A friendly, comfortable option and very popular with travellers. It is mentioned in most guidebooks.
Type of Food: Vietnamese /
Add: 22 Thuong Dang Le St, Chau Doc - An Giang
Tel: (076) 867 271;

Hong Phat Restaurant - good rolls, loads of flies

This small hole-in-the-wall does reasonable spring rolls, but the rest of the food on display was fly-blown enough to turn off even the most determined. Try Lam Hung Ky just down the road if the flies put you off.
Type of Food: Vietnamese /
Add: Chi Lang St, Chau Doc - An Giang

Juice stalls - Yummo

Wash down a meal from one of the nearby restaurants with a fresh fruit smoothie from one of the stalls clustered around the park pagoda. We tried the stall with the Christmas lights and their mango smoothie with a hint of sour sop hit the spot. Refreshing and cheaper than water.
Type of Food: Dessert /
Add: By the square, Chau Doc - An Giang

Que Huong Restaurant - generous portions
Just on the corner facing the square, the friendly Que Huong does a range of Vietnamese fare with a smattering of Khmer standards. The servings are generous and the prices reasonable. A friendly spot.
Type of Food: Vietnamese /
Add: Bach Dung St, Chau Doc - An Giang

Thanh Tinh - vegetarian hit
Thanh Tinh offers a great vegetarian menu, with very good portions of noodle soups and rice, along with very tasty spring rolls. There is an English menu and it is a friendly spot. Watch out for the coffee though -- they add enough sugar to bring on a seizure.
Type of Food: Vietnamese /
Add: Quang Trung St, Chau Doc - An Giang

Hotels in Chau Doc

Hotel Name Hotel Location Rating Price Booking
Single Double Triple
(US $) (US $) (US $)
Victoria Chau Doc Chau Doc 170 180 200 Book
Ben Da Nui Sam Hotel Chau Doc 30 30 40 Book
Nuisam Hotel Chau Doc 30 40 - Book
Songsao Hotel Chau Doc 28 28 33 Book
Trung Nguyen Hotel Chau Doc 25 27 33 Book


Chau Doc is one of the main entry points from Vietnam to Cambodia, and, along with Long Xuyen, one of the key regional centres of the An Giang province. As such, a there are a number of different transportation options, both to other cities within Vietnam, and also over the border into Cambodia.

Using the ferry to cross into Cambodia is quite an experience!

This Chau Doc Transportation Guide gives some background information about getting to and from the city, along with Long Xuyen, and also getting around within the two places. You can also use the local transportation options to get to Nui Sam.

Chau Doc Transportation Guide

Getting There & Away

Car / Motorbike

The bus station is located on Le Loi St., southwest of the town. A regular bus line runs from Chau Doc to Ho Chi Minh City's Mien Tay station (about 6-7 hours), which includes two ferry crossings. There are also buses from Chau Doc to Long Xuyen (1.5 hours), Can Tho, and other destinations throughout the Mekong Delta. Unfortunately, there is no direct road from Chau Doc to Ha Tien. To get there by car involves a drive of about 8 hours via Rach Gia, or else by boat ferry along the canal. The journey via ferry is about 8 hours, and they run daily.

Chau Doc is located 96km from Ha Tien, 117km from Can Tho, 179km from My Tho and 245km from Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon).

Boats / Ferries

Boats across the Hau Giang River to Chau Giang District leave from two separate docks. The vehicle ferries depart from Chau Giang Ferry Terminal, which is located at 419 Le Loi St. Meanwhile, the smaller, more frequent passenger ferries depart from FB Phu Hiep Ferry.

Getting Around

Xe Dap Loi

Xe Dap Loi drivers will take you anywhere, and are the best, quickest and cheapest way of getting around. You should have no problem finding them - they'll find you! Be sure to negotiate a price before starting your journey.



Ghe Ngo Festival - An Giang province

Ghe Ngo Festival
Ghe Ngo Festival
According to the Khmer people, the 15th day of the tenth lunar month marks the end of their year. Khmer people in Vietnam's southern Mekong Delta celebrate this event with ceremonies, feasts and Ngo boat races.


On the Khmer New Year's Eve, villagers gather in the grounds of their local pagoda, in a treeless area. The moon is invited to watch the ceremonies, which begin with the construction of a bamboo archway, decorated with leaves and flowers. Beneath this arch stands a table on which villagers place offerings of bananas, coconuts, sweet potatoes, cassava and, most importantly, new sticky rice.

When the moon appears, an old man lights incense and candles and prays to the Moon Deity. Following this prayer, children kneel and raise their clasped hands to the moon. The host of the ceremony places chunks of sticky rice in the children's mouths, pats them on the back and tells them to make a wish. These wishes are said to foreshadow the fate of the community in the coming year.

Following this ceremony, the festivities begin. Lantern-rockets, made of paper and powered by burning oil, careen into the air. Candles are lit and the dripping wax, collected on banana leaves, is used to predict the weather. Rafts made of banana leaves are released on canals. And like at all successful festivals, the rice wine flows freely.

The following day features Ghe Ngo (Ngo boat) races. The long, slim boats, often made from the hollowed-out trunk of a Sao tree, each hold about 50 men. Prior to the race, people place incense and candles on the boats and, accompanied by a traditional orchestra of gongs, perform various ceremonies to choose the boats' captain and crew. One man is chosen to sit on the prow, where he will pray to the gods and entertain the rowers. The races themselves are thrilling, as the rowers push themselves to the limit, encouraged by the jubilant cheers of the crowd.

Author: Ben Thanh tourist

Ox - Race Festival of the Khmer Ethnic Group - An Giang province

Ox - Race Festival
Ox - Race Festival
Ox-race is a typical sport of the Kho-Me ethnics in Bay Nui - An Giang province. It is organized at (Don Ta) Festival from the 9th to 10th of October every year. Don Ta is a traditional great festival of the Khmer to commemorate their forefathers.


the festival, the Khme drift paper boats, organize x-race. Before the race, a large area is chosen, (200 in long, 100 in wide, with some water) and plowed and harrowed to make it slippery. The area is protected by low walls, there are safety gates for oxen. The race-way is 120 in long, close to the walls. Starting-point is fixed with two flags. The oxen that start from which color have to arrive at the same one. Before the race, the owners agree and draw lots to decide the regulations. During the race, the oxen that do not follow the race-way are decided to lose and those that step op the scaffolding of others are decided to win, the owner has to stand firm, if he falls down from their scaffolding, he is decided to lose.

Before the race, the couples of oxen have to run round the ground twice to the starting-point, the owner, with 3cm long rod, touches the ox, getting pained, the oxen run forwards. The faster the speed, the more interesting is the race. Unlike the horse-race, in horse-race, a man on the horse back and the man to win is the first arrival. The race starts in the early morning, the locals arrive at the point earlier. Distant people come from the day before, they bring with them food, foodstuffs only to enjoy the whole race. There are no seats for spectators, only a place to stand. The ground is crowded, shouting, hand-clapping is heard all the time, especially at heart-breaking, moments.

An Giang, a land of beautiful landscapes and historic relics of which ox-race is typical one, not only for the Khmer ethnics, but for the whole community.

Author: Vietnamtourism

Ba Chua Xu Festival - An Giang province

Ba Chua Xu Festival - An Giang province
Ba Chua Xu Festival - An Giang province

The festival of Ba Chua Xu (also called the Via Ba Ceremony) is held annually from the 23rd night to the 27th day of the 4th lunar month. To go to the festival, head along Road No.10 from Long Xuyen to Chau Doc. Sam Mountain is 5 kilometers away from Chau Doc. Also, one can take the waterway from Can Tho to Soc Trang, or from Saigon directly.


On the night of April 23rd, there is a bathing and changing of robes ceremony for the statue of Ba Chua. The bathing water is scented and Ba Chua's old clothes are cut into small pieces to distribute to visitors and pilgrims. The small pieces of clothes are considered lucky, keeping one in good health and driving away evil spirits.

After this ceremony is the Tue Yet Rite, which starts at midnight on the 25th and continues into the early morning of the 26th. This rite petitions Ba Chua's nomination to the heavens with an imposing procession of dragon dances. The Imperial Sedan Chair is taken to Thoai Ngoc Hau Tomb for a chanting ritual before being taken back to the shrine of Ba Chua.

Author: Vietnamtourism


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