Chau Doc in the Mekong Delta is an important border town to Cambodia. A daily speedboat connection on the Mekong to Phnom Penh is an important part infrastructure and conducive to trade.
Its diverse population is also typical of the town. Cambodians, Cham, Chinese and Vietnamese live peaceful here and bring different cultural aspects in the daily life. The various religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, cross and crescent also lead a peaceful coexistence here.
Chau Doc is known for its sacred mountain Nui Sam, that lies about 5 km to the west of the city. During a three-day pilgrimage festival, the mountain becomes an annual attraction for more than two million pilgrims. In the past, the 320 m high mountain was an island in the sea. But unfortunately, we have no time to visit the pilgrimage place.
We change over from the car into a boat and go out to the river Hau, a tributary of the Mekong. Our next destination is a floating village. Soon, the nice houses appear on the other river side and we steer to one of these. We enter the house through a porch. The owner welcomes us.
She opens a flap in the ground and throws fish food from the bag standing next to it into the water under the house. Immediately a chaotic hustle and bustle start when the fish jump after the food.
All the houses have nets underneath to breed fish, most of it Pangasius and Tilapia. Vietnam exports 600.000 tons every year. The largest part is artificially bred here under the houses. It now contributes more to the yield than the naturally captured fish.
This is not uncontroversial. Since the fish are bred in the smallest space, one adds plenty of antibiotics to the food, which in turn reaches the Mekong and the natural food chain. In addition, the South China Sea will be fished empty, as these fish serve as food for the artificially bred fish. It is not the only swimming village in Vietnam. On the Mekong there are countless.
Village of the Cham
We drive a little further and enter a village of the Cham via an adventurous wooden bridge.
Many of the Cham people settled here, after being driven from the area around My Son and Hue. Their houses stand on high stilts, where you can see the high-water marks.
Today, the Cham are Muslims and mainly earn their living by weaving and textile trade. We can see one of these looms in the factory.
The male youth spent their time with a mixture of badminton and football, while the girls have to do agricultural things. A girl arrives when she sees our guide. But soon the Djibab is thrown over, which is usually too hot in this tropical climate.
We go on to the shore and pass a goat’s barn, which was also constructed at lofty heights because of the high-water.
After few meters, we arrive at the modern Mubarak mosque. An elderly man watches proudly over his little granddaughter.
Then we have to go back because we still have to check-in at our hotel.
Again and again, we are amazed how elegant the people steer their fishing boats. They stand upright with two paddles in hands, which hung crossed at the boat. At the same time, one operates the rudder with one leg. If we had tried this we would have landed immediately in the water.
We enjoy the setting sun floating picturesquely over the Mekong.
Chau Pho Hotel
Arrived in Chau Doc, we check in at the Chau Pho Hotel. It is furnished very comfortably and offers very spacious rooms. The bathrooms are separated from the living area by frosted glass windows that let the daylight in.
The staff is very friendly and helpful. We would have liked to stay longer, but the next morning our journey already led us on to Phnom Penh in Cambodia.
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