Chau Doc’s main attraction is a three-hour boat tour that takes in the floating market, the floating village offshore, a Cham village across the river, and perhaps a peek at the Kinh Vinh Te (the canal that leads south to Ha Tien – not terribly exciting).
The floating market, busiest at 7am, is about 10 minutes downstream from the central market. In the morning, locals in row boats paddle out to stock up for a day at the market. Boats head off to pick up fruit in Sa Dec or Can Tho every few days, but there’s always plenty of business in the early hours.
The floating village is comprised of aluminum-roof-and-walled homes atop huge, netted ‘fish farms,’ where hundreds and hundreds of ca vo dem fish await canh chua bowls; some get shipped downriver to Can Tho and beyond; note the huge moored wooden boats, which flood their lower decks to keep the fish alive during the trip.
Another popular stop is Da Phuoc, a Cham village across the river on Con Tien island from Chau Doc’s center. Here you’ll see women wearing turbans made of Cham-style fabrics that they weave – during dry season – under their homes that stand on stilts. During the rainy season the water levels are too high. Cham women often put on conical non la hats when they go to Chau Doc market, to ‘blend in’ apparently. The 1992 mosque occasionally hosts wedding parites, as the village has no other building big enough to host the event; note the small cemetery behind the building.
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