Sunday, October 17, 2010

Delta over

The Mekong Delta adventure is over. We got back into Phnom Penh in late afternoon today after setting out from Ha Tien at midday. We'd originally thought about a night in Kep or Kampot but once we found out about the bus trip straight to the capital, we chose that in order to get back as soon as our stint in the Delta had come to an end. Ha Tien was a pleasant stop for a night and our room overlooking the river at the Long Chau Hotel was easily worth the $10 we paid for it. The previous night we'd spent at the An Hai Son Hotel at the seaside resort of Hon Chong, about 30kms from Ha Tien, which is popular with Vietnamese tourists looking for a beach break. The opportunity to use the overland border at Xa Xia, some 7kms from Ha Tien, was one of the reasons for coming to this corner of the Delta. The bus company, Ha Tien Tourism, made all the arrangements and had their man on-hand to guide us through the border formalities, at both borders, including arrival at Prek Chak on the Cambodian side. They started up the cross-border bus service to Phnom Penh or to Kampot, Kep and Sihanoukville about a year ago and hope to open an office in the capital very soon. Their aim is to offer the trip to Phu Quoc Island, just off the coast of both countries, in less than a day from Phnom Penh by way of a combination of bus and speedboat. The sight of three large casino buildings in no-man's land between the two border posts was a little incongruous, surrounded by green paddy fields and serviced by locals wearing typical Vietnamese pointed hats. Casino gambling is illegal in Vietnam, so the casinos do a roaring trade for the rich Vietnamese gamblers who are prepared to part with their cash. Back in Phnom Penh, we decided to enjoy the cottage pie specials at the Gym Bar whilst watching some Barclays Premier League football. Tim has a couple more days in-country before he has to return to the UK.

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