The sprawling riverside market at the town center, a crossroads for goods to and from nearby Cambodia, is the real attraction. A stroll in the central market on any given morning is a feast for the eyes (and the nose), and there are some small temples to visit in the small downtown area. Even the most budget tour will take you to the floating villages in wooden sampans rowed in the unique "forward stroke" Vietnamese style (give it a try). You'll get to see a unique way of life and visit one of the many catfish farms that, collectively, are taking the world market by storm.
About 7km (4 1/4 miles) out of town to the north, and not a bad day trip by bicycle, is the Sam Mountain, a popular local pilgrimage peak. There's a colorful temple at the base of the mountain, and the path up is dotted with smaller spots for worship and shade-giving awnings where you can buy a Coke, stretch out in a hammock, and enjoy the view. It's a tough hike that might have you saying, "What in the Sam Hill?" But this is the only high spot -- some 230m (755 ft.) -- for miles and the view is like looking at a map of the Mekong's overflowing tributaries.
Easily arranged at any hotel or tour desk in Chau Doc, a visit to Tuc Dup Hill is a revisiting of some of the delta's worst history. Here, U.S. forces tried -- but failed -- to put a stop to small-time insurgencies and logistical support from Cambodia. Called the "Two Million Dollar Hill" for the kind of resources the U.S. poured into taking the hill, Tuc Dup was successfully defended by the Viet Cong throughout a 4-month U.S. assault. Near Tuc Dup, you'll see graves and memorials to later skirmishes, some very bloody, between Vietnamese and Cambodian soldiers and villagers.
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