A seemingly massive amount of time is spent whilst travelling figuring out our route; where are we going next, how do we get there, where do we stay? Information on the internet is impressively sketchy, with sites like wikitravel being particularly poor (yet also useful).
So, to try and help anyone else who stumbles upon this page in the future, here is out trip in detail. Where we stayed, how we got there. I hope this helps you figure out your way around.
We’re here in June/July. It’s rainy season and it’s low season, which meant a lot of stuff we’ve been able to do last minute as there’s a lot of availability. We’ve booked mostly through hotels.com, because for every 10 nights booked you get 1 night free, and airbnb, because it’s just really awesome for finding unique places and being able to communicate directly with the owners (really helpful when navigating to new places).
If you click here to sign up to airbnb, you can get $25 for free to use on your accommodation.
Ho Chi Minh City
Common Room Project (booked via AirBnB)
$15 a night
Ho Chi Minh City to Vinh Long, Mekong Delta
We turned up at the bus station (Ben Xe Mien Tay) and found the MaLinh ticket booth (far right of the booths, pretty obvious) and booked 2 tickets on the next bus (ours departed at 10am, we arrived at 9:45 and got on fine). Bus was a sleeper bus despite being daytime and was very cool. Cost about $5 each.
Happy Family Guest House (Booked via AirBnB)
$15 a night
The guesthouse is a bit of a journey from Vinh Long. Supposedly there is a free shuttle bus provided by Ma Linh to take you anywhere but after an hour and much hand waving nothing materialised. We took a taxi to the An Binh ferry (about 150k dong), went on the ferry by foot, then we were met by Tong and someone else on the other side who scootered us to the guesthouse on what was quite a nervewracking (but enjoyable journey) along thin paths.
On the reverse leg, we paid to get biked all the way to the bus terminal; this was marginally more expensive (think 150k dong each) but compared to taxi ended up cheaper and much easier. Would recommend doing it both directions.
Vinh Long to Can Tho
Not sure which bus station this went from as the xe om took us directly in. The bus clearly said “Vinh Long to Can Tho” on it and was a pay-on-bus affair. It was quite reasonably priced at a few dollars each.
Nguyen Shack Can Tho (booked via agoda)
Again, a bit out of town. As soon as we stepped off the bus we were jumped on by a xe om driver. With the help of his English speaking friend they figured out where we were heading, and took us for 60,000 dong each.
The manager organised a taxi back for us (a proper, 4 wheel, air con taxi) which dropped us off at the bus station.
Can Tho to Chau Doc
We got our accommodation to book the bus for us, going with the bright orange bus company. Despite being harassed by an old lady who wanted us to go with her cheaper (and less appealing) bus, we just headed straight to the offices, claimed our ticket and waited for the bus to turn up.
Victoria Nui Sam Lodge (Booked via hotels.com)
$30 a night
Although out of town, it was really easy to get to. The Chau Doc bus station is out of town, so there is a free transfer minibus. This took us to the Victoria hotel in town, which then had a free shuttle up to Nui Sam.
Chau Doc to Phnom Penh
There are a number of boat options at different price levels, but they’re all effectively the same (some may offer lunch for a huge added price to the ticket). We booked through our hotel which was an error as it cost us an extra $9 for nothing. We went with Hang Chau which, if you book with them, will cost you $25.
They will slightly overcharge you for the Visa for a “handling” charge, but it’s not worth fighting (think we paid $34 each).
The boat leaves from the dock right behind (and slightly to left) of the Victoria riverside hotel. Even in low season the boat was overbooked; we had to sit out back. I’m glad we did because we got great views and natural air conditioning, but the wooden seats are hard: we had travel cushions so it wasn’t so bad. A lot of people were angry about having to sit out back. If you would be one of them, get to the front so it doesn’t happen. Boat leaves at 7.15.
Don’t forget a passport sized photo.
To Be Continued…