Monday, February 6, 2017

Off the beaten path



Riverside dwellings 




Flowers for 'Tet'


Bonsai trees




Boats docked at the river


Flowers lined up at the riverfront park











Fruit vendor

Pagoda in the town centre 







A beautiful sunset in Chau Doc
 Students dressed up for new year celebrations 

 The riverfront park



 Art exhibition in park



Comparing the size of the bonsai trees

After our experience of overly- touristy Phu Quoc island, we decided to get off the beaten path back on mainland Vietnam. The Lunar New year celebration was coming up, so we decided to stay put for a while in Chau Doc, which lies close to the Cambodian border. Chau Doc is not a very touristy town, with most people stopping there either on their way from or heading to Cambodia. However, we found it quite a nice town to hang out in for a while, and enjoyed all of the good food the town has to offer.

Just around the corner from our hotel was a big selection of street restaurants, literally just tables and chairs set up on the road, and one person grilling meat, or serving up soup from massive pots. You wouldn't go hungry in Chau Doc, unless you were vegetarian perhaps, as we were faced with a choice of pork or beef skewers, pork liver soups, pork belly with crackling, duck and much more. In fact, our main activities in Chau Doc were eating and drinking!

We also watched as the city prepared themselves for the new year celebrations, by spring cleaning, cleaning out any bad spirits from the past year. It was a flurry of activity in the days leading up to Tet, the Vietnamese name for the Lunar New Year.  Flowers were being transported around the city to people's homes, as symbols of the start of spring, as well as bonsai trees of apricot blossoms.
The city was full of colour and activity until new years day, when most of the shops were closed, and the city streets were emptied as people went home to be with their families.

Apart from enjoying the good selection of food, we didn't do that much in Chau Doc,  because there aren't a lot of touristy sites to see anyway. The riverfront area is quite pretty, and we enjoyed a few walks here.  There was a nice art gallery set up by the river,  with photographs and paintings done by local artists. I think this might have been just a temporary display, maybe for the start of the new year.

So our start to heading off the beaten path was pretty good, and we think we're going to stick to checking out more of these smaller towns :)

Thanks for reading :)

Hannah




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