Vietnam
Nha Hat Thanh pho

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53 travelers at this place:

  • Day76

    Ho Chi Minh city

    February 3 in Vietnam

    Eindelijk is het zover. Hier heb ik zolang naar uitgekeken. Ik ben in Vietnam. Eerste stop: Ho Chi Minh city of Saigon, zoals de stad heette voor de oorlog. Het contrast met Phnom Penh is groot. De stad is hypermodern en Westers met hippe coffeeshops, brede voetpaden, propere straten, veel grote kledingwinkels en groene stukjes doorheen de ganse stad. Saigon is wel overdreven druk en hectisch. Het verkeer is een hel. Overal rijden brommers en auto’s kris-kras door elkaar. Het is telkens weer vol spanning afwachten of je de straat in één stuk zal over geraken...Wonder bij wonder blijkt het nog te werken ook. De massa’s brommers slalommen zo om je heen terwijl je langzaam de straat oversteekt. Verkeerslichten tellen hier ook niet mee. De algemene ongeschreven regel luidt: rood betekent dat je mag oversteken als je denk de tegenliggers te kunnen vermijden.
    Mijn dagen zijn voornamelijk gevuld met ontdekkingstochten door de stad. De architectuur is zeer uiteenlopend: Van wolkenkrabbers tot het Franse neoklassieke operagebouw. Tussendoor stop ik voor een heerlijke koffie met gebak in één van de duizenden hippe en gezellige coffeeshops doorheen de stad. Mijn favoriete plek in de stad zijn “the apartement cafés”, een kluwen van leuke winkeltjes en coffeeshops verstopt in een oud appartementsgebouw. Ik ga er shoppen, drink de lekkerste koffie en eet mijn buikje rond. Dit is leven in luxe. De “eggcoffee”, koffie op basis van opgeklopt eiwit en suiker, is een aanrader.
    Verder bezoek ik het War Revenants Museum, waar ik meer leer over de oorlog tussen Vietnam en de Verenigde Staten. Om deze indrukken te verzachten en de dag met een leuke noot te beëindigen, gaan we ‘s avonds naar een water puppet show kijken. Dit authentieke poppenspel in water verteld eeuwenoude Vietnamese legendes op begleiding van een traditioneel orkest. We begrijpen geen snars van het verhaal, aangezien het spel in het Vietnamees wordt gebracht, maar het is toch leuk om zien. Vooral de techniek achter het poppenspel intrigeerde mij enorm: Een groep van 10 mensen besturen de poppen terwijl ze in het water staan achter een doek.
    Met het Chinese nieuwjaar in zicht zijn de voorbereidingen in de stad overal aan gang. Uit het niets rijzen er overal bloemenstukken en grote decoratiestukken op. Het is een mooi gezicht. Ik kijk al uit naar het Chinese nieuwjaar, dat wordt volgens mij een geweldige ervaring. Ik zal niet in Saigon zijn, maar in Hoi An en dat is minstens evengoed, of misschien zelfs beter!
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  • Day61

    I had a great time on the beach in Mui Ne, but I'm glad to be able to escape the sand flies and stay in the air con again. I'm in Saigon, now called Ho Chi Minh City, in a very nice hostel. I'm having a nice like in with YouTube (Steven Wright, Bill Engvall, Craig Ferguson, etc.), but will be on the prowl for a haircut and mani/pedi this afternoon.

    I hit the Hard Rock Cafe last night to buy a pin, passing the beautiful Opera House on the way. There was a great band playing at the HRC, so I stayed for some food and drinks. Really great.

    Out for now. ✌️

    P.S.: "There's a pizza guy nearby that only sells slices. When you go there, you can watch the guy tossing up little triangles of dough." 😂😂😂 I love Steven Wright.
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  • Day63

    Sunday is a Hashing Day!

    August 5 in Vietnam

    Getting ready to meet up with the Saigon Hash House Harriers. Yay!

    Yesterday was a lot of walking, but I got new shoes--I'm afraid what the Hash will do about that--so it was better than it would have been in flip-flops. By around 3 pm, I couldn't take anymore of the heat, so I spent a couple hours in the hostel before heading to the World of Heineken. Amazing!

    First stop, floor 49 for the observation deck. Next, floor 60 to begin the tour, which includes my first use of Virual Reality goggles in a kind of mini-ride where you are made into beer, bottled, and sent to a party, all while you sitting in racing seats while he deck below you moves and cool or heat fans blow on you. Cool.

    Next, down the stairs to Floor 59 for a lesson on how to pull properly a glass of Heineken. Then we got to drink it. 🍺 The bar was a big red star! Next was getting behind the wheel...of a video game. Formula 1 racing thing with gas and brake pedals. Very cool. The last stop was down the stairs again to Floor 58 where we tasted two new beers named Wild Lager. Instead of using the Heineken yeast, they use one found in the Himalayan Mountains and another found in the Argentinian Patagonian Forrest. The Himalayan one was better. We also had two free beers 🍺🍺 and a water 💧(responsible drinking) and I spent a few minutes speaking with a Irish couple. Back on the ground floor, I got my personalized bottle of beer 🍺. Yay! Although I'm going to have to figure out a way to get it cold so I can drink it before I have to pack again (Tuesday).

    Got get dressed! ON ON! Out for now. ✌️
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  • Day64

    Monday is a Hashing Day!

    August 6 in Vietnam

    I had a great time with the hashers yesterday. We took a hired bus about an hour southwest of the city. The trail had mostly been washed away, so the hare went along with the pack to remark it. Semi-live trail, I suppose. I did a lot of searching, so I wound up doing about 6 miles. Anyway, it rained buckets down pretty much the whole day, and we wound up having circle inside the bus. It was great fun. Aussies, Dutch, a Kiwi, an Israeli, a few Americans, a German and is daughter who was named, an Indonesian, Brits, Vietnamese...good mix. Afterwards a few of us went for dinner back in the city. Very nice evening with new friends.

    Today's hash is in the evening after work on the east side of the city across the Mekong River. There should be many of the same people, and I'm looking forward to it. Until then, I'm engrossed in an odd novel by Michael Palin, of Monty Python notoriety, about a English post office employee who is obsessed with Ernest Hemingway.

    Out for now. ✌️
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  • Day156

    Ho Chi Mihn, Vietnam

    October 16, 2017 in Vietnam

    Our main event in Ho Chi Mihn city was visiting the Vietnam War Remnants museum. It was a very sobering experience seeing the atrocities committed against the Vietnamese people. It was surprising to see Americans portrayed as the villain with pictures to back it up. There are fourth generation children still being deformed by Agent Orange. After the saddening experience of the museum, we cheered ourselves up with a flight of craft beers! Also, check out our passports, they are filling with stamps!

    This was our last stop in Southeast Asia, next stop Nepal.
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  • Day3

    Having had only 4 hours sleep I dragged Will out of bed to watch the performance. We were the only tourists there and it was a really lovely start to the day. They played a mix of classical, Disney and even New a York New York 😊 I think it was a bit too early for Will though... We are now unbelievably shattered so nap time for us!

    In the afternoon we went to get the famous Banh Mi which is a Vietnamese sandwich. We ordered 2 and they were huge!! Nowadays we just can't eat big portions mainly due to the heat but also because in restaurants they don't generally overfeed you. The sandwich got us in a bit of a food coma, but as it was 2:30pm and dinner was at 7pm we realised it might have been a mistake! Ah well it was very yummy all the same 😊 Then we walked around the city to a see the French colonial architecture of the post office, city Hall, Notre Dame Cathedral and then walked along the river to find a secret bar selling craft beer I had read about. When there we read more about the area and its actually where all the hip jazz bars and coffee shops are so I think we will be back! We tried the Cashew Cream Ale which was pretty nice and practised some more Vietnamese before walking back for dinner.

    As it was Sunday Yu, our host, cooked up a feast!! (We really shouldn't have had dinner!) we had spring rolls wrapped in rice paper and we all genuinely thought that was the main dinner... Nope that was just the starter and we were already super full! Then out came huge bowls of chicken noodle soup. When we were half way and truly struggling to eat she asked if we wanted more, everyone said no thank you and she came round to each of us with more food! It's really lovely but myself and Will were on the floor! For dessert she served green lentils with water chestnut. It was a bit odd, but honestly we just couldn't eat anymore! So had to waste it 😔 Over dinner we sat and chatted to Pao who we met the night before also staying in the homestay. He's from the Philippines and his English is truly excellent! I wish we were better at languages. He was so lovely and really reminds me why we love travelling so much. We don't meet new people everyday but when we do they are so incredible and you create a very close bond very quickly almost like being in a family. Unfortunately he's off back to the Philippines tomorrow but I'm sure we will meet again!

    After dinner we went to Beu Vien to meet the Chiang Mai family before they all move on. Having had a crazy long day already we were pretty shattered so decided to get an uber home. When we arrived home we realised we hadn't paid so had to trek all the way back to the pub. Bit of a nightmare, especially as the total cost of the uber was the same as the drinks but hey these things happen! I think we might take it easy tomorrow 😊 Although we probably won't!
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  • Day319

    Ho Chi Minh

    February 12 in Vietnam

    Next we crossed the border into Vietnam, our first stop was Ho Chi Minh or Saigon. With more people in this city than the whole of Cambodia it was a bit of a shock going back to the urban life style and placing your life in danger every time you tried to cross a road! Apparently it's best to close you eyes and just walk, at least that way you don't see the near misses.
    We went on 2 day trips from here. One to the Mekong delta which is meant to be amazing... we were both underwhelmed. Maybe we should have gone for a 2 day tour which a lot of people were doing. We felt it was more aimed at selling us things rather than showing us the delta. The best part was getting a boat ride through the small canals of the delta which had some nice scenery.
    We also went to the Cu Chi tunnels which were used in the French/American Vietnamese war. We both found these amazing. Three floors of underground tunnels 3, 7 and 12-15 meters underground. With places for people to live and in total all the tunnels combined were over 200km in length. We got to go down into the first floor. It was hot sweaty and small, not something I would want to live in for years at a time.
    On the last day we wandered around the city itself looking at cathedrals etc, we also went to the museum dedicated to the Vietnamese war. Again apparently we are uneducated on the topic but I'm fairly sure this was a one sided view if things. However there was a lot we hadn't really appreciated before. In particular that the wars within Vietnam had lasted about 30 years non stop which included the French colonial war and the American wars which had been back to back. There is a particular anti American feel about the place. On the bright side, there are baguettes and crepes on every street corner to eat!! Susie was happy!
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  • Day18

    Ho Chi Minh City

    July 18, 2017 in Vietnam

    First stop in Vietnam!

    Day 18- Arrived in the evening and the City was really busy, it comes alive at night here!! We dropped our bags off, showered after a long few days of travelling and went for an explore of what's close to where we were staying- we were right in the middle of everything :)

    Day 19- We walked so far today! Got a map from the hostel and headed out for the day. Stopped at a local bakery for croissants and chocolate muffins for breakfast which were amazing! Then carried on to Ben Thanh Markets which were massive and like a maze but sold everything. We carried on to find the War Remnants Museum, something we are glad we saw as learned a lot about the history of the country but have to say it was very hard hitting and emotional.
    Finished off with our first proper date night at a local bar for food and drinks :)
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  • Day90

    Xin Chào South Vietnam!

    June 29 in Vietnam

    Day 1 (Tam Coc)

    I arrived in Tam Coc that evening after a short two hour bus ride. It’s a small village in the greater Ninh Binh area and is a known as the “Halong Bay of the land” due to similar rock formations surrounded by fields. I was staying in Tam Coc Nature lodge which was located at the end of a dirt track through the fields. I was reminded of my journey to Nuts Huts in the Philippines. And like that journey the hostel was just as lovely. I was pretty tired after the long day so I checked in and went straight to bed.
    The next morning I woke up early so that I could enjoy as much of what Tam Coc had to offer as I was getting the sleeper bus that night to Phong Na (this pattern would repeat itself for the next week). I decided to start my day by getting the highly recommended boat trip along the river. As it was so early I had the boat to myself so I could fully enjoy the views and peaceful surroundings. The boat is just a small row boat steered by a single person, who start off rowing by hand but after a few minutes they swap over to rowing with their feet, kind of like peddling on a bike. The trip takes about two hours and goes through three limestone caves on the way up the river. We stopped briefly at a small gathering of ladies in boats selling drinks and snacks and then turned around and rowed back along the river to where we started. It was such a nice way to start the day. After the boat I stopped for an early lunch and then hires a bike to explore the rest of the area. I cycled to the base of Hang Mua Peak and proceeded to climb the 500 steps to the peak. Unfortunately I found myself doing this climb at mid day so was basically a puddle of water by the time I reached the top, but the view was definitely worth it. At the base of the peak there is also a cave to explore which most people seem to miss, so relieved they reached the top probably. After my cardio work out I headed to the north of Tam Coc to see the Bich Dong Pagoda which is a cluster of temples and caves in the side of a rock face. The pagoda is set over three levels accessed by stairs and caves (some with bats in residence) and makes for a pretty cool site. What was not cool was the guy at the entrance who decided to move my bike to his “parking” area after left it by a tree just to make me pay him 50p. Not a chance mate! I just walked up to it, saying that he moved it so I wasn’t paying and just peddled off. It’s the principle folks. After a busy day it was now time to head back to the lodge and pack for the night bus, next stop Phong Nha.

    Day 2 (Phong Nha)

    Apart from the addition of cockroaches this time the night bus was fairly uneventful and we arrived in Phong Nha at 4:30am. We where greeted off the bus by the guest house owner who picked me and two other girls up and drove us back to the house, where we checked in and went straight to our dorm to sleep the last few hours of the night. I woke up at 8am to the sound of Irene, the Italian girl from the bus, talking to another girl about how she didn’t want to rent a scooter but wanted to see the caves in the area. I got up and said I didn’t want to get a scooter either but maybe we could find another way to see them. We had breakfast and then headed to another hostel where we met some other people who wanted to take the boat trip to Phong Nha cave, from the pier in town. The cave was only accessible by boat and was only a short ride downstream. The cave itself was pretty impressive (and did remind me somewhat of the cave from Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince where Dumbledore drinks the water and goes mad). After the cave, with no luck convincing anyone in our group to join us in hiring a car to take us to Paradise cave, we went to plan B and started asking in the guest houses if anyone would be willing to drive us on two bikes. We managed to find a really nice hotel manager who got her Dad and a friend to drive us to the cave where they would wait and then take us back. The drive was so picturesque and went straight trough the National park. We passed a few other caves on the way to Paradise cave (one of which you can zip line into it in the pitch black - no thanks!). Our drivers dropped us at the car park and we continued on foot to the cave entrance (a good 10 minute climb!). Paradise cave is one of the longest caves in the world and boy did it not disappoint. It was huge! (And nice and cool in there). We walked through the cave, taking pictures of all the stalactites and stalagmites, marvelling at its size (definitely more impressive than Kent’s cavern...). After enjoying the sights, and the cooler temperature we headed back down to meet our drivers (relieved that they were still there) and headed back to the town. On the drive back they slowed and stopped a few times to let us take pictures. Pretty good tour guides for two people we commandeered without notice. Back in town it was an early night for me as I needed to get up in time for the 4am bus headed to Hoi An (The poor guest house owner does the pick up and drop off at 4am nearly every day! - much appreciated though!).

    Day 3 (Hoi An)

    The bus to Hoi An took about 8 hours and I was able to sleep most of the way. We arrived at the bus station at lunch time and as luck would have it I had booked a homestay just around the corner so was able to avoid the posse of taxi drivers. The homestay was very much like our version of a B&B, run by a sweet family. They let be borrow one of their bikes for free so my first stop was to cycle to the nearby beach. The 15 minute journey itself was very picturesque as it crossed through some rice fields. As luck would also have it I managed to find a very cool vegan cafe right on the beach, complete with bean bags and sun loungers, where I set up camp for the afternoon. I enjoyed a very relaxing three hours there, having a late lunch, reading and finally being able to swim in a clean ocean with the sun shining. That was until the heavens opened. The entire beach ran to their respective bars and cafes and took shelter for the next hour. I am clearly cursed with the beach. It finally subsided enough for me to cycle back to my homestay where I showered and had an early night.

    Day 4 (Hoi An)

    After a much needed lie in I got up at 10am and had a very nice breakfast of banana pancakes (there is clearly some guest house rule book that says all tourists want banana pancakes for breakfast. Not that I’m complaining!). After breakfast I walked into the old town centre and spent the rest of the morning and afternoon meandering around the old streets. The old ochre coloured buildings and shop fronts filled with plants gives the town a charming atmosphere (ignoring the crowds of tourists and repetition of souvenir shops of course). I stopped for lunch at the oldest Banh Mi (Vietnamese sandwich) shop in town and joined the crowd of people enjoying the best banh mi in town (the crowds don’t lie). After enjoying the old town streets I headed back to the homestay to pack up my things and get ready for another night bus. This one heading to Nah Trang and then onto the mountain town of Dalat.

    Day 5 (Dalat)

    The bus arrived in Nah Trang (the seaside town favoured by rich Russian tourists) at 5am. Unfortunately the bus to Dalat wasn’t due to leave until 7am and there wasn’t anything open that early so me and three Scottish girls I met on the bus had to just sit on the pavement and wait for the next two hours. At least I had them for company and we could pass the time chatting. Finally the bus arrived and we were able to continue the journey. Unfortunately that particular stretch of road was quite windy, and half our bus was filled with Chinese tourists, which meant the last two hours was spent listening to the sound of people being sick into plastic bags. We counted five in total. The only good thing is we managed to pick the seats right at the back so didn’t have to deal with any of the smells (as the bus driver just kept driving). After that joyful experience we finally reached Dalat at 12 and I headed straight to my homestay. Surprisingly spending two hours surrounded by people being sick didn’t put me off eating so I headed to a nearby vegan cafe for lunch. Brew and Breakfast was actually a cafe and B&B which was run by a British expat couple and also had a few english guests there so I almost felt like I was back in the UK as I sat enjoying my smoothie and hummus plate. After my trip to hipster England I decided to explore what all tourists come to Dalat to see, not the coffee plantations or the lake, Hằng Nga Guesthouse also known as the “Crazy House”. This guest house is best described as what would happen if Salavador Dalì and Antoni Gaudì got together to design a hotel for the Vietnamese market. At first glance it looks like a huge tree with staircases weaving in and out of the building like branches. Then there’s an underwater themed section in the main trunk complete with a giant shell opening for a door. Overall it’s exactly what it says it is, a crazy house. It was pretty cool spending time getting lost in all the weird stairways and rooms. And then like clockwork it rained, cutting the adventure short (not much cover under the staircases) so I took shelter in a nearby coffee shop for what was left of the afternoon. It was then back to the homestay for another early night as I was heading to my final destination in Vietnam in the morning, Ho Chi Minh. Although my stay in Dalat was very short it was pretty sweet seeing something as unique as the crazy house (see what I did there).

    Day 6 (Ho Chi Minh)

    The bus picked me up at 7am and after a very uneventful journey (no vomiting Chinese this time) we arrived in Ho Chi Minh just after lunch. On first glance the city seemed much bigger and more modern that Hanoi, with noticeably more expats in residence (tourists don’t go for runs in the park). Tired from the bus ride I headed straight to my hostel and had a quick power nap before venturing out for some food. Thanks to the my trusted Happy Cow I found a vegan food stall in the Ben Thanh street food market (HCM’s version of Borough Market in London) and had a bizarre yet tasty vegan version of American chicken and waffles. I even got a free brownie from the stall lady (us vegans stick together). After dinner I headed back to the hostel for an early night (seems to be a pattern for me) as I was doing a day tour of the Củ Chi tunnels the next day.

    Day 7 (Ho Chi Minh)

    The Củ Chi tunnels are about two hours north of HCM so we (me and a German couple from my dorm) got picked up at 8am. The tour bus was mainly all backpackers so most of the journey was spent listening to the people around me talk about their travels (there’s only so many times you can say “hi where are you from, how long have you been travelling for and where have you been”). We finally arrived at the tunnels and followed our guide off the bus and into the museum area to start the tour. Now the Củ Chi tunnels are a significant part of Vietnam’s history. They are one of many networks of tunnels across the country used during the war. This particular network were used by the Viet Cong soldiers was hiding spots, hospitals, living quarters etc and were important in the resistance against American troops. Above and below ground people were fighting a war. Today the tunnels have been turned into one of south Vietnam’s biggest tourist attractions. During the tour we were encouraged to take photos in one of the tunnels entries with the lid above our heads, shown fake versions of all the booby traps the guerrillas set to impale and kill the enemy and got to crawl through one of the tunnels (which has been widened for western tourists) all while hearing the sound of gun fire, as the icing on the cake is you can also shoot an AK47 during the tour. We then finished the tour by watching an old propaganda film by the Viet Cong. I found the whole place really disturbing, how they’ve turned it into a big photo opportunity for tourists. It was really hard walking around to even believe that a war had actually happened there and the seriousness of what the people had to deal with back then. I even asked the tour guide why they let people shoot guns there and he just said that the tourists like it. Clearly they don’t see anything wrong with it. Maybe it’s just me but it was a very weird experience. After the tour we got the bus back to the city. I had planned to go to the War Remnants Museum but after seeing the tunnels I didn’t feel like it. In hind sight I wish I’d gone to the museum instead as it was supposed to be very good. I decided to just get some dinner and head back to the hostel and get ready for tomorrow, my first land border crossing in south east Asia.

    So there you have my second and final week in Vietnam, a country filled with history, beautiful places and friendly people.
    Next stop Cambodia.

    Tạm biệt!
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  • Day140

    Saigon, Teil 2

    January 19, 2017 in Vietnam

    Nun begeben wir uns in die Zeit der französischen Vergangenheit der Stadt. Wir sehen eine Reihe von Prunkbauten aus der Kolonialzeit: Rathaus, Majestic Hotel, Hauptpostamt, Kathedrale Notre Dame, Opernhaus. Die schicke Dong Khoi Straße ist gesäumt von Edelboutiquen und Cafés und wir laufen sie bis zum Flussufer des Song Sai Gon ab (Saigonfluss). Hier wird uns gleich ganz geschäftstüchtig eine Rundfahrt angeboten, aber weder Fluss noch Umgebung sehen uns verlockend genug aus.Read more

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Nha Hat Thanh pho

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