285km (177 miles) SW of Saigon; 75km (47 miles) SW of Can Tho; 180km (112 miles) SW of My Tho
This little riverside border town -- worth a visit in and of itself -- is the main stopover for travelers going to and from Cambodia. Chau Doc is a bustling center of trade and river transport, yet also a lazy, riverside burg and a throwback to another time. You'll still see old-style Ho Chi Minh surreys, called xe loi, a two-wheel cart on the back of a regular bicycle, instead of the standard cyclo. And though most boats have long-tail motors, many fishermen and small-time traders still row their own boats in the standing, forward-pushing style. A large floating market and nearby ethnic Cham villages are popular for early morning tours (usually part of a larger Mekong Delta package), as well as the small pilgrimage peak called Sam Mountain just outside of town. There are a few good hotel options (best is the Victoria), and dining is at alfresco eateries near the market, as you take in the busy comings and goings.