Part 3: Sihanoukville to Ho Chi Minh City via Chau Doc | A Photographer’s Travel Itinerary for Backpacking in Cambodia & Vietnam

Ntobeko Ntombela

Ntobeko Ntombela

September 12, 2018

We’re on to part three of our blog series with photographer Sian Owen. This time she takes us through her journey from Sinahoukville to Ho chi Minh via Chau Doc. In this episode of the series, she gives us great insight on accommodation, transport and a few tips about backpacking in the region. With so many people traveling and teaching English in Vietnam, this is definitely a useful memo to read.

← Part 2: Phnom Penh to Koh Rong        |       Sihanoukville to Ho Chi Minh City via Chau Doc: Part 4 →

A backpacking route through Cambodia and Vietnam

Backpacking route through Southeast Asia.



A stuning view of the Sihanoukville bay in Cambodia.

Serene views of the bay in Cambodia.


After a rather thrilling and relaxing stay in Koh Rong Sanloem, Sian traveled to Sihanoukville. This is where she organized her visa to go into Vietnam.  

“If you want to organize a Vietnamese visa, you must be aware it takes 24 hours, we did not know this.“


Monkey Republic

“We stayed here for the two nights we were in Sihanoukville. It’s super cheap and the staff were very helpful with anything you wanted to organize. Like organizing a motorbike to get around.”

Fresh, air, Vietnam and motorbike.


Otres Beach

“Rent a motorbike and go for a day out on the Otres beach – It’s quite a hidden gem.”

Perfect beach with a perfect view.

Perfect beach with a perfect view.


Crossing the border

crossing the Cambodia border.

Border crossings can be exciting too.

  • Pre approved visas can only be accessed when flying from an International airport.
  • Get your Vietnam visa in Sihanoukville and you can also exchange currencies here too (Riel to Dong), to avoid scams I wouldn’t recommend exchanging your currency with locals.
  • We crossed at the Southernmost border (Ha Tein), if you’re planning to get to Phuc Quoc Island, you can cross there too.
  • Beware of transport scams from locals (especially with busses and motorists)

Chau Doc

Sian travelled from Sihanoukville to Chau Doc with a company called “Ally Tours & Travel.

“The trip costs about $13 and we switched busses about 4 times – the last bus we were on was a local bus and we were the only tourists on it which was a very cool experience. They were so friendly to us”


Bus trip with Locals in Chau doc.

Festive bus trip with locals.


“Most people who go to the Mekong Delta want to see ‘Can Tho’, we read reviews about it and found that it was very touristy and the water was a bit dirty, so we went for a more rural experience at the off the beaten track Chau doc.”


Riding a locals bus in Vietnam.

Exciting ride on a locals only bus.


Dinh Thanh Cong

“It was the only option that came up on, it is seriously a cool spot. The staff didn’t speak any English so they had their relative come translate for us which was an experience not to forget.”

“We only stayed one night in Chau Doc, the hostel we stayed at had this awesome travel document which had English translations, it was the best find as we basically used it as our Bible for the rest of our time there because no one could speak a word of English ” 


Tru Su Forest tour

The magical Tra Su Forest.

All smiles on this magical floating forest.


beautiful ride on the Tra Su floating forest.

A somewhat spiritual and therapeutic experience.


Gorgeous views of the Tra Su Forest.

Gorgeous views of the Tra Su Forest.

“We just organized a tour to take us to the Tra Su Forest, It cost about $20”

To organize in advance you can email [email protected].

“The trip was very smooth, we had two guys on motorbikes collect us at 7am and dropped us back at the hotel at 12pm. I absolutely loved it! One of my personal favorite days on the whole trip”


View looking down on the Tra Su Forest.

Acres of lush evergreen forest.


Ho Chi Minh City

Sian took a sleeper bus for +/- 8 hours which cost about $7. The fee covered 230 km.

“The sleeper buses themselves are very comfy, but so slow. We were told that Ho Chi Minh City is a bit like Phnom Penh. Streets are a bit crazy and chaotic which is why we only stayed there one night.”

“Our bus only arrived at 11pm, so we didn’t really do much there, practically slept there the whole night and left first thing in the morning”

← Part 2: Phnom Penh to Koh Rong        |       Sihanoukville to Ho Chi Minh City via Chau Doc: Part 4 →


Sian Owen is a South African Business Science graduate and photographer. She specializes in wedding and lifestyle photography. This series of bog posts follows her recent trip through Cambodia and Vietnam, showcasing the incredible beauty of these two fascinating countries.

To see more of Sian’s amazing photography, here are her contact details:


Instagram: @sianowenphotography@sian_owen
Email: [email protected]
Phone: +27 79 981 0981

Interested in Teaching English, volunteering or interning abroad? We’ll send you more info!


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