A location within kilometres of the Cambodian border causes many to write off Chau Doc as just another nondescript border town. But built at the confluence of three strands of the Mekong, like the waters of the rivers that converge on this French-designed market town, so the peoples here are also from afar, bringing with them a veritable hotpot of colours, race and religion.
When most people think of Quang Ninh Province, Halong Bay often comes to mind. However, few people visit Quan Lan, a hidden island about an hour past the renowned bay, where the crowds are small, the beaches big and the seafood fresh.
It’s not every day people plan a trip to Ca Mau, the southernmost province in Vietnam. But lucky for me, I’m here on a work assignment — travelling dirt roads lined with coconut trees and meeting inspiring HIV-infected youths. It’s bound to be another of those unforgettable 48-hour tourist-free journeys in Vietnam.