07-Feb-2004 -- Our recent holiday trip through Viet Nam, specifically pre-planned for 4 of us with minibus, local driver and guide passed not far from 2 unexplored confluences : N10°E106° and N21°E107° and we were quite confident in our success, as we considered, having built the program by ourselves and for our sole use, that asking some short diversion of the route was not a problem.
This was poor understanding of the Vietnamese state of mind and of the fact that even when a country is "now" open to tourists, it takes a longer time for guides there to come to the idea that tourists programs drawn by tourists can by modified by sole tourists wishes.
Our guide took photocopies of our program on our arrival day, and it soon became a continuous fight to get the right to divert from more than walking distance out of the main road linking the steps shown on the program…
We had no more chance trying to involve our guide in the hunt, as even seeing the GPS in the car during 10 days, he never understood the use, nor showed interest in records of our track of the trip !
So our first "request for confluence", when arriving to Can Tho in South Vietnam, to divert on the way back to Vinh Long through the small road leading not far from N10°E106° was a firm, formal and final rejection (Reason given being danger, or problems in case of accident). We discovered, coming back to France, that this point has in fact been successfully visited 12 days after our visit in Can Tho aerea !
Our second confluence target was N21°E107°, not far from the famous Halong Bay, but… of course… not in the touristic aerea. It was shown on the confluence site "in the water" and we could check on a marine chart found on a boat we used in the Halong bay, that the spot seemed to be in a mangrove aerea.
It was not so easy to decide if our unique trial (we only had some hours for this) would be more successful with a boat our with our minibus and final walk.
Due to the weather (rain,) we decided to try by ground transportation, and finally obtained from our guide to divert 5 km away from the main road "to have a look at Gieng Day", closest village of the spot ! Our track is shown on picture 6.
We could pull out of the car at the end of the village, only 1.4 km from the point, and left the ladies waiting us looking at the guide and driver so that they didn't get mad, alone and abandoned by their customers.
The walk to the point needed 30 minutes through gardens, paddy fields and shrimp reservoirs. It brought us to a small dog breeding ("Thit Cho" is a famous dish in North Vietnam).
Unfortunately this small building was on the embankment of a quite broad estuary.
The only visible boat there was at ours feet, 2 meters long, but full of water and lying in fact underwater more than floating !
So it was the end of the trip for us, 249 meters far from the confluence point, clearly on the other bank.
For those who will try next time, start from the north side of the river, and you can probably get to the spot without any boat.