Chau Doc is a small town located in the heart of Vietnam’s Mekong Delta region. Lying along the banks of Hau Giang River, Chau Doc is a popular stop for visitors crossing towards Cambodia from Vietnam. Although there’s not much to see and do in this small town, it’s still a wonderful place to explore. It’s home to Khmer, Cham, and Chinese communities and has a large indoor market that’s truly fun to explore.
Aside from its large indoor market, Chau Doc is also known for its beautiful scenery and pilgrimage sites. If you’re thinking of visiting this town soon, here’s everything you need to know.
What To Do in Chau Doc?
Strolling along the riverside is already enough to appreciate the beauty of Chau Doc. You’ll discover a lot of fascinating things along the way, including religious and historical sites. It is actually in this region where the Muslim Cham first settled during the 18th century. So it’s not surprising to find mosques as you explore the town. There are also churches and temples and some pilgrimage sites.
You can also take a boat trip to visit the town where Cham communities live, which is just across the river. If you don’t want to venture outside the town, exploring the indoor market and walking along the scenic riverfront should be enough to keep you relaxed and entertained as you stay in the town for a few days.
What To See in Chau Doc
To fully enjoy your stay in Chau Doc, consider visiting these famous sights and attractions.
- Tra Su Bird Sanctuary – rent a motorbike and head towards the Tra Su bird sanctuary, an 800,000-hectare forest that’s home to thousands of bird species. Some of the wetlands are off-limits to visitors to allow the birds to breed without getting disturbed. But it’s possible to take a short boat ride towards the narrow channels to explore the sunken forest. The bird sanctuary is about 23 km west of the town center.
- Floating Houses – another fascinating place to explore in Chau Doc is the floating village where houses are built on top of empty drums that float along the river. Below these houses, fishes are raised on suspended metal nets, which is the main source of income of most families living there. There’s an abundance of fish that dwell in the river in their natural habitat and are fed by the villagers with whatever scraps they have. Hiring a tourist boat is the best way to explore the village and get a close-up view of the floating houses.
- Chau Phu Temple – built in 1926 during the Nguyen Dynasty, the Chau Phu temple features both Vietnamese and Chinese style of architecture. Inside, you’ll find funeral tablets with names of the deceased along with their biographical information. There’s also a shrine dedicated to Ho Chi Minh in this temple.
- 30 Thang 4 Park – this park is the city’s main public park that stretches from the main market towards the Victoria Chau Doc Hotel. It’s a great spot for people watching and river gazing. Here, you’ll find several interesting structures that include beautiful fountains framed by well-manicured paths and lawns.
- Mubarak Mosque – on the opposite side of the river bank from Chau Doc, there’s a mosque where you’ll find a number of Cham Muslim kids studying the Koran in Arabic. Visitors are allowed to explore the mosque except during the calls to prayer unless you’re practicing Islam. To reach the place, simply take the public ferry from the Chau Giang ferry landing.
- Hang Pagoda – also called the Phuoc Dien Pagoda, the Hang Pagoda is located at the slopes of the Sam Mountain, just outside the town of Chau Doc. Sam Mountain is a famous pilgrimage site in Vietnam and the Hang Pagoda is one of the religious sites that pilgrims would visit. It’s a stately decorated pagoda that was built around 1840 and 1845. The building was set against the scenic view of nature, which makes it a truly relaxing place to explore.
How to Get to Chau Doc?
Chau Doc is about 245 km away from Ho Chi Minh. The most popular way to reach the town is to take a bus from Ho Chi Minh, which takes around 6 hours. There are lots of bus companies that run the route so it should be easy to book your ticket at the Mien Tay Bus Station. It’s also possible to rent a car or motorbike from Ho Chi Minh and drive your way to Chau Doc.
Most tourists would choose to walk around Chau Doc as they explore the town. You can also rent a bike from your hotel and pedal your way towards the city’s attractions. There’s also a public bus coming from the center of the town that travels to Sam Mountain and other sites outside the town. It’s pretty easy to find the central bus station.
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