Posts Tagged ‘Vietnam’

Do Miss Mekong

July 16, 2010

We had decided to take a two-day tour through the Mekong Delta on our way to our last stop in Vietnam, the fabled Phu Quoc island. Over the next two days we would watch local dwellers throw huge bags of rubbish into the river then bathe and cook in the same water. We would hold our breath as various bloated animal carcasses floated perilously close to our boat. And we would discover the armpit of Vietnam, a town called Rach Gia where no tourist should ever find themselves. Clearly, the Mekong Delta tour was not the best part of our trip.

Muddy waters



Don’t Miss Saigon

July 15, 2010

Thankfully, Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) was a lot less hectic than Hanoi and lot more organised. It even had a supermarket where you can buy items for the price that is written on them rather than having to haggle for every product as we had done until now.

We didn’t stay too long in the city but we enjoyed it nonetheless. Whilst there we visited the War Remnants Museum, a haunting reminder of the atrocities committed by the Americans on the Vietnamese people. It is an exhibition that every person in the US should see but probably won’t. The museum also offered a stunning picture gallery from photographers who died during the war and who took an array of brutal yet beautiful images of battle in the countryside.

The US military vehicles outside the War Remnants Museum offer an ominous introduction to the exhibition


Recipe for Relaxation

July 15, 2010

(Preface: We were so busy making bubbles and chilling out in Nha Trang that we only remembered to bring out the camera for the cooking class, pictures of which you will find interspersed throughout the following post.)

We had originally planned to follow Hoi An with a lazy few days in Mui Ne, a beachside resort town with sand dunes and wind. But with our newly acquired PADI certificates in our salty hands, we decided that some more scuba diving was in order and we opted to head to Nha Trang, Vietnam’s diving hub, for a few days instead.

Our cooking teacher, Madame Chuon.


Hot in Hue

July 7, 2010

Following our unexpectedly picturesque interlude in Ninh Binh, we continued our southward journey down the curvy Vietnamese coast to the old imperial capital of Hue (pronounced hoo-ay), which sits on the banks of the poetically named Perfume River.

The Hue Citadel by night


The Real Deal

June 28, 2010

Our Mekong region Lonely Planet, unlike our great Footprint South America Handbook, has not been of much use – in fact, more often than not, it has got things completely wrong, causing us to adopt a policy of using its accommodation listings as a guide of what to avoid. But it does suggest going to Ninh Binh, a small town south of Halong, as a way of seeing “the real Vietnam” and a gateway to Tam Coc, or “Halong on the rice paddies”. We heeded its advice and, for once, we were not disappointed. 

Limestone and rice paddies -- Vietnamese beauty as expected.



Halong Amazes (but for how long?)

June 21, 2010

Halong Bay is one of the most beautiful places on earth. So it is a shame it is ruined by tourists. Being two of those tourists we were both delighted to be there and sad to be contributing to the many problems in the area – mainly due to pollution from the boats and rubbish from the visitors.

Bays and boats



June 21, 2010

The best thing about Hanoi was our hotel room. It boasted two double beds, a large plasma screen TV, a Jacuzzi bath tub and a strong wifi signal (a rare commodity in Vietnamese hotels). We were served with delicious Pho soup and fresh mango juice every morning and the hotel owner, Mr Tung, was incredibly welcoming and helpful.

Outside our sanctuary lay chaos and confusion, which crawled across all corners of central Hanoi. The first thing you notice about Vietnam’s capital city is that there are no rules of the road. The streets swarm with motorbikes, buses, trucks, taxis, bicycles, cycle-rickshaws and the occasional horse-drawn cart, none of them obeying any consistent approach to driving.

Beware of the bikes!