Showing posts from 2007

Saigon, the Mekong Delta and beyond.

We had heard horror stories about Saigon, or as it is correctly referred to nowadays, Ho Chi Minh City. Although Ho Chi Minh City has been the city's official name since 1976, it is still often referred to as Saigon. We had heard that it was dangerous, full of pick pockets, that you would be easily robbed, that it was dirty and that it was a waste of time. We actually really enjoyed it, and had no problems whatsoever. Having said that, after 15 months on the road, Alex and I have a small array of combat moves, both physical and verbal, in order to disarm anyone who challenges us. Our recent blogs have most possibly demonstrated this. If Alex is Bruce Lee, I am Madam Lash (as in tongue)! My tongue is quicker than the speed of light. Again, many of my family and friends will attest to this. I can see my Dad nodding his head in agreement!

We thoroughly enjoyed the food in Saigon, and I want to make a special mention of the street food: the iced coffee (I chose to ignore the …

Swimming through Central Vietnam.

We woke up bright and early the next morning..upon the insistence of the bus driver! For some reason, we were being subjected to Vietnamese music, up full boar, at 5.30 in the morning. Go figure! I was not about to psychoanalyse this as well, but I did go and politely ask him to turn it down. On the bright side, it couldn't possibly get worse than the night before (recall the kung-fu fighting).....or could it?
I had read that Hue boasts some of Vietnam's most aggressive touts, but I was not really prepared for what was about to happen upon our arrival. It was mid-morning when we arrived, and we were virtually mauled as we stepped off the bus, with a range of people trying to sell us accommodation at their hotel. Have I previously mentioned how very difficult it is to listen to a multitude of people all at once? One man was tranquilly telling us about his hotel, when another almost bowled him over, wedging himself between us, and then placing himself almost on top of me, as he b…

Everybody was kung fu fighting.......ha!

Vietnam is surprisingly "easy" to travel in. Perhaps too easy! There are so many organised tours and buses, that if not careful, your whole time here could potentially turn into one big, extended tour! Tam Coc, although only a couple of hours south of Hanoi, is no exception, and is definitely a popular day trip from Hanoi. Not to be deterred, the aim was to do it ourselves!

Thu Giang Guesthouse (brilliant to the very end!) organised for a couple of motorbike drivers, to take us to the local bus station, which was a good fifteen minute ride away, from where we took a bus the short two hours to NinhBinh (not to be confused with Nimbin!). Even on the back of those two bikes, we were stunned at the amount of other motorbikes we saw! Zipping and weaving as they were doing, it's anyone's guess as to why more accidents do not occur! Before we knew it, we were in NinhBinh, which is the jumping off point for Tam Coc, which has been poetically coined, "Halong Bay on the ri…

Conical hats and stampeding motorbikes.

After a week or so in the quiet and more tranquil northern part of Vietnam, we found ourselves suddenly being thrust into the buzzing and very loud capital of Hanoi. What a contrast! We arrived at the train station rather early, 5.30am to be exact. We hung around the station for a while trying to get our bearings, as well as deciding what to do. We knew that looking for a place to stay this early would be a waste of time, so we decided to get ourselves to the Old Quarter, and hang around in a cafe over a slow breakfast. At least that way, by the time we started looking for a place to stay, some others might be checking out, thus giving us the opportunity to check in.

It's in your face and it's very full on! This is how I would describe Hanoi! It's loud, it's buzzing, there are motorbikes and bicycles everywhere, and to a lesser degree cars, and the incessant honking (emanating from anything that moves) is simply part of the backdrop. Get used to it or get out! No sooner…