After a few days on Phú Quốc Island, I took the ferry back to Hà Tiên. Then it was time to ride through the Mekong delta back to Saigon. But rather than take the most direct route, I would take a scenic route that followed the Cambodian border.

We tend to think of the Mekong delta as a small place that can be visited on a short trip from Saigon. But it’s actually a huge area, the size of a small state like Connecticut. It’s a flat, fertile area full of rice and wheat fields, sort of the breadbasket of Vietnam. It’s crisscrossed by rivers and canals.

It also has some surprisingly big cities in them, almost like miniature Saigons. I would be taking my time on the ride, staying overnight in the city of Long Xuyên.

My route first headed towards the Cambodian border and ran parallel to it for quite a ways. This was a quiet, idyllic place, following a canal. There was no evidence that I was practically in Cambodia.

The idyllic countryside.
The idyllic countryside.

The route cut away from the border and went around a small mountain, towards the big town of Tri Tôn. Google Maps does not even show these towns, but I learned that Google Earth does. I would think they would be the same, but they are not. Google Earth is a good resource for studying the terrain you will be passing through when traveling on small roads.

Tri Tôn was interesting to drive through because it had many Cambodian temples. There were no Cambodian temples near the border. They all seem to be concentrated in this one town.

The mountains of Cambodia aren't too far away.
The mountains of Cambodia aren’t too far away.

I continued to follow canals through small towns and past farmers working in their fields. The great thing about traveling in Vietnam is that little cafes are everywhere, so you can get an iced coffee any time you want.

Arriving in the big city of Long Xuyên was a shock after being in the countryside. I found a guesthouse near the first of the ferries I would be taking tomorrow.

A colorful bridge over a canal.
A colorful bridge over a canal.
Canal, boat, field, and mountains.
Canal, boat, field, and mountains.
Over a small bridge to the small mountain.
Over a small bridge to the small mountain.
A colorful temple.
A colorful temple.
Funky temple in Tri Tôn.
Funky temple in Tri Tôn.
Even back roads are dangerous.
Even back roads are dangerous.
A temple on the canal.
A temple on the canal.
Life on the canal.
Life on the canal.
Past fields and mountains.
Past fields and mountains.
Terry
I'm Terry, former cubicle-dweller, and now traveler, photographer, writer, and entrepreneur. I quit my job in 2014 to travel to US national parks, then to South East Asia. I write about independent, flexible, long-term, budget travel. Sign up to my newsletter to get the latest news on what I'm up to. I hope you join me on my trek around the world.

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