In the small fishing villages I watch the fishermen fixing their nets and preparing for fishing. At this part of the coast there are a few resorts. Some are closed or have no guests. An insider tip for peace seekers.
I take a swim during my longer breaks at noon in the beautiful turquoise sea. Sometimes I stay until the evening and spend the night on the beach.
The owner of a resort told me that they are preparing for the season beginning with Christmas, and that then all bungalows are fully booked. The main season goes until the end of April. Which is fine for me; I have all the wonderful beaches for myself.
In the outback behind the coast they cultivate the dragon fruit.
Just now they are harvested and collected in big fruit centres run by the Chinese. There they are packed and sent to places all over the world. The dragon fruit is harvested throughout the whole year. There are fields with ripe fruits and some that are blossoming.
Phan Thiet is a tourist place. I look for a stay near the ocean for a few days and discover the area.
In the dunes of Mui Ne I meet Patrick and Natali from Germany being on their backpacking tour for some months.
Food here is excellent and the selection is large. Most of the time I eat in the street kitchens for a low price. On small streets I move inland where hardly any tourists can be found. Many rubber forests, palm trees, a huge lake, the Tri An Reservoir. It would make 700 kilometers to surround it.
In Vinh An I have a nice contact with locals. They give me useful hints about what is interesting for me in the area.
Before I go back to Cambodia I visit the religious centre of the Cao Dai religion, something like the Vatican which is in Tay Ninh.
Many tourists visit this place around noon to attend the divine service from the gallery of the temple. I visit the temple at 6 pm for the evening prayer, a time when the tourists are gone. I am introduced to the rituals of the service and am allowed into the temple area. These are the most shrill and gaily coloured church buildings in the world. This religion is widely spread in Vietnam. It is too complex to talk about it here; good information is available on the internet.
The temple area has a beautifully designed park in which women dressed in white do their work. After my meditation on a bench a woman serves an ice-cold drink. Soon some more women come and serve something to eat.
To get to Cambodia again I can choose between two border crossings. I choose the less known Tan Binh-Xa Mat which gives me the opportunity to ride on side-roads.