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Mekong Delta Tour day 1: Border crossing from Cambodia to Vietnam

How do I know where to go & what to do? I browse adventure tour operators websites & pretty much just follow their itinerary independently. Hehe. Saves a lot of time researching. But still, having traveling as a lifestyle involves serious amount of research. So I was trying to figure out the best way to get to Vietnam. At the hotel I stayed at in Phnom Penh, they were selling a variety of Mekong delta tours to cross the border. So I was like, screw it- I need to go tomorrow. I'll just book it.

Highlights: I got the most number of mosquito bites in my whole life. A positive highlight may be the easy hassle free border crossing into Vietnam. Didn't need to worry about getting scammed.
Cast of Characters: Just me. I joined a tour. I think there was around 15 folks in our group. They can't make it too large because of the boat capacity. I mostly hung out with Sonia & Thomas fromHong Kong. 
Logistics/ Links: It's pretty cool how the guesthouses also function as travel agents in Asia. Sunday guesthouse in Phnom Penh partnered with Delta Adventures. I booked the 3 day Mekong delta border crossing. They picked me up from the guesthouse & took care of everything. See also my post on Mekong Delta tour day 2, day 3

When: I went around early March, 2012. The weather is fine. A bit warm but not too unpleasant. It gets a bit stuffy inside the boat. So when you're in Cambodia, make sure you head straight towards the end of the boat where they have a little shaded deck with tables and chairs. That's the best spot.  
Location: The first day of the trip starts in Phnom Penh. The trip ends in Chau Doc. Day trippers don't really get a tour, they just get boat transfers ending in Chau Doc. 
Cost: $60 for the 3 day Mekong Delta border crossing tour. Breakfast is included on day 2 & 3. No other meals included despite what your brochure says. No drinks also. Actually, it was a good thing I ate a heavy breakfast because we did not eat at all till around 2:30pm when we got to the Vietnam immigration office (where they were selling snacks). Good thing I brought a huge bottle of water. I felt bad for the other travelers. Hotel is included and 'all' transfers till I got to Ho Chi Minh. 
Trip Report:think the bus ride to get to HCMH will still take them a good  6-7 hrs or so. I don't think the 1 day tour was really a tour. It was just a border crossing service.

We got onto this boat below. We cruised for a few hours. Got our passports stamped at Cambodia side.We stopped at a small island with a village. Walked around & waited for another boat to take us the rest of the way. Not much to see around the island. I guess you get to see how their life is like (but its really nothing new for me, coming from the Philippines and all). There were some cute little kids asking for money or treats. I took their picture but I didn't give them anything...mwahahaha. I'm cold. When the (much smaller) boat finally arrived with another group of tourists, we swapped. I was soooo hungry by then. I was dreaming of some hot pho bowls. The weather is hot, but I don't care. I'm finally gonna be able to taste some authentic pho bowls!!!

We got to the Vietnamese border, got our passports stamped. Then proceeded onto the floating hotel. That was pretty much it for Mekong delta tour day 1. The hotel is dark & filled with mosquitoes. I have never had so many bites in my life. They had a net around the bed but I still got feasted on. Sonia & Thomas walked around (not very charming) Chau Doc. Nothing much to see.

I was starved for some real food. I walked around (with very little local currency). Not too many restaurants around the area I ventured out to. I found a little food stand with tiny plastic chairs and tables. Nobody spoke English. I tried to ask how much the food is & if they will take dollars. Hm. There was a couple who were just smiling & motioning for me to sit down & eat. So I did. They were kind of motioning for me to sit with them. But the tables and chairs were soo tiny!! I just sat to the one next to them and waited for my food. It was a very delicious dish of fried noodles with beef. When I finished my meal I was getting ready to pay but the cook refused my payment. Huh? I turned to another lady with him but she also refused my payment. Turns out the nice couple inviting me to sit with them earlier had paid for my meal! =O  It was so nice of them! Definitely an excellent welcome into Vietnam!

Boat terminal at Phnom Penh. I thought all major cities in the world would have tall buildings and stuff. Phnom Penh is kind of a mid-rise development type of place. Interesting.
Our boat to (halfway) Vietnam. Head straight to the back deck outside where there is a steady breeze. It's a bit stuffy inside.

Little cooking thing at the small village in the island halfway

Village homes. Very similar to Philippine's bahay kubo

Cute kids. The one on the left will not stop begging for money. The one on the right did not at all. She's cuter too.
At the floating hotel. This is the walkway leading out to town.

Mosquito sanctuary a.k.a. Delta Adventure Tours hotel
Yeah I don't need to enlarge this one

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