A Travellerspoint blog

Day 8-Bike Tour

overcast 21 °C

This morning we all went our separate ways. Lyn & Bill, Paul & Kath went to organise some tailoring of clothes. Jean & Craig walked further out from the centre of town, exploring.
After lunch, Paul, Craig & Jean took off on a 'Heaven & Earth' bicycle tour. It started with a 45min boat ride through fishing areas in the delta region onto our first island, where we cycled through traditional, self sufficient Vietnamese farming settlements.
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Our boat
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Net fishing

We rode through rice paddy fields, water coconut plantations(fronds used for housing), vegetable gardens, tiny village streets & crossed over to another island.

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Water Coconuts
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Riding through rice paddies
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Locals

We visited private homes to view the making of rice wine, wood carving artist, reed mat weaving, wooden boat building and traditional cane basket boat making. It was FANTASTIC! Our guide was very informative & we learned a lot about traditional Vietnamese life.
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Making of a reed mat.

We even got to try paddling our own basket boat with the aid of a very nimble 66yo woman who entertained us with 'Gangnam Style' dancing while on the tiny boat & constantly playing tricks on us.
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Thoroughly enjoyed it!
Kath had a lazy afternoon & Lyn & Bill ventured out on their own to discover more of the town & shop some more!

🍹

Posted by warnerc5 15:43 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Day 7 Hoi An

overcast 21 °C

Today was basically a transfer to and settle in Hoi An day so no specific highlights. Left Saigon (or Ho Chi Min City, they are used fairly interchangibily by the locals) in the morning, very much enjoyed our time and did not get to see it all.
Simple 1hour flight to DaNang (4th biggest city in Vietnam about 1million people) and a 45 min drive to Hoi An. DaNang busy but nowhere near as hectic as Siagon and then Hoi An even quieter again. We are staying in the old town part of Hoi An with narrow streets and intermingled among the locals very different from where we have been so far.
Went for a walk and some lunch (except Jean who is suffering a headache, cause unknown) after we settled in. Quiet streets and not many tourists about. Enjoyed lunch at a side walk 'restaurant' with a $1 half litre beer. After trying out some local foods and learning how to make Vietnamese coffee (both put on by our resort) we headed into the old town for some preliminary shopping and dinner.
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Local Fare

Well don't know where everybody was earlier in the day but the streets are flooded with thousands of tourists thankfully streets are basically closed to traffic so we are able to wander our way through the crowds and get a feel for the place, definitely like the vibe here. Lanterns are the name of the game with hundreds floating in the river and thousands hanging in the streets which coincides with the end of the lunar new year celebrations in Vietnam.
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Hoi An at night

Another delightful Asian meal for dinner accompanied by 30c beer by the glass for a local brew which goes down a treat.
So with a small sample of Hoi An I can understand why so many people enjoy and look forward to our next few days here.

🍼

Posted by warnerc5 07:17 Comments (0)

Day 6 Cu Chi tunnels

overcast 31 °C

  • Left early for Cu Chi Tunnel Tour minus Kath & Lyn
  • Visited Art 'factory' where victims of agent orange create beautiful art pieces-a highlight

Jean & Bill purchased a piece each

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  • Tour guide gave good discussion of Vietnam's history over thousands of years (over 1.5 hrs)
  • Very crowded at tunnels -guide not impressed (couldn't continue his lengthy explanations)
  • Lots of examples of vietcong activities
  • Booby traps very frightening
  • Not over impresed by tour. Too many tourists spoilt atmosphere
  • Poor lunch- vietcong equivalent of boiled tapioca dipped in crushed peanuts, sugar & salt
  • Some of us went down tunnel-Jean 20m, Craig & Paul 80m.

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  • Same Italian couple as yesterday -very active esp young one & held us up many times,2 Danes & 2 Cihllians. Tour went 2hrs overtime
  • Usual hectic drive back-Scooters have right of way over everything. Pleased to get back to hotel afternoon tea after missing lunch
  • Evening at Golden Dragon Water Puppet Show.Thoroughly enjoyable! Dinner at Saigon Street Food Market

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  • Lyn & Kath went shopping!

⚫️

Posted by warnerc5 00:08 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Day 5 Mekong Delta

overcast 31 °C

Early start to the day by making sure we had breakfast from the buffet so we were ready in time for our 7.30/8.00 pick up. Unfortunately bus had broken down and we weren't picked up till around 8.30.
Bus arrives with 2 Italian men on board. We then head off on our 2 hr journey with our guide "Dong" (as in the Vietnam money) which caused a few obvious jokes. On our journey Dong spoke to us about things such as schooling where going to Kindergarten is the most expensive year of them all costing about 200,000 Dong per month. The population of Ho Chi Mihn City which is just over 10 million where about 70% of them ride motorcycles. Why there are tomb stones in the middle of rice fields, which is so that the loved ones that have passed can be close to the families as they work. They are only buried in these tombs for 2 - 3 years before being moved to a cemetery.
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We then stopped for a toilet break before heading off to our destination.
Once we arrived, we hopped onto our boat and headed to our first stop being the floating markets which weren't very exciting but we hopped off our boat and onto another which carried all sorts of different fruits which we got to taste along with having a coconut drink which wasn't very tasty.
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Our next stop was a traditional workshop where we first tried some Snake Wine which was disgusting for some and liked by others. We then watched how the locals made Rice Paper, Pop Rice and Coconut Candy. Quite interesting and nice to be able to taste the end product.
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We then went a short distance to see the bees that made pollen granules, honey & Royal jelly which can perform all types of miracles from beautiful skin to helping with illnesses. Nin who volunteered to hold one of the bee hives got stung and needed ice to help with her throbbing, swollen finger. This stressed Dong slightly who advised this had never happened in the hundreds of times he has been doing this.
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We then made our way to a small island where we experienced a hand rowed sampan ride by Vietnamese women wearing their traditional hats. Once we got to the end of the sampan ride, we hopped out and walked to where we would have a refreshing drink and get entertained by the local farmers with their instruments and singing which was excruciatingly painful at times. We were glad to leave but not before being asked to tip.
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Lunch was made which was basically an omelette with pork, shrimp and mushrooms which was cut into quarters and wrapped in rice paper with lettuce. We then had spring rolls, pork balls in pumpkin flowers I think, vegetable soup, pork & rice and fish. It was a lot of food which was very tasty and enjoyable.

After filling our bellies, a few of us had a little lie down in some hammocks before hopping back on the bus for the 2 hour trip back to our hotel where one of the concierge guys again helped precious Nin (who doesn't like to be made feel old but loved the attention) up the stairs. Jean then dressed Nin's wound and then Craig, Jean, Paul and Kath headed out for dinner leaving Nin and Pop in their room as they were still stuffed from lunch and needed an early night.

All in all it was a good day had by all.

Posted by warnerc5 23:28 Comments (0)

Day 4-HCMC

Ho Chi Minh-push, pushy day

overcast 33 °C

Pushy, pushy day starts at airport leaving Cambodia. The complaining yank 'If the staff at the airport don't understand, why are they working there?'
Had to remind elder members of family not to undo safety belts while plane still taxiing!
Transfer bus at airport full, only 2 family members get on. No room for rest of family. Pushy, pushy Paul & Kath are on!
No smiles from airport staff on departure or arrival! Contrary to the rest of population.
On arrival at hotel in HCMC, lovely doorman Sam helps Nin down stairs each time we exit (not pushy, pushy)

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Sam the doorman aiding Nin

We thought scooter traffic was hectic in Siem Reap, but nothing compares to HCMC-10,000 people a year go to heaven!

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THOUSANDS of scooters!

Evening drinks on rooftop bar at Majestic Hotel (old war correspondent's hotel), then walk home. Girls full of confidence, leading the way, crossing the streets adventurously, up the stairs to the hotel. Oops! Wrong hotel! Boys waiting on steps of our hotel, laughing!

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Cocktails at The Majestic Hotel

Visited the Post Office (world reporters rang through their war news), Notre Dame cathedral, Ben Thanh markets)
Accommodation-Silverland Jolie $110/ n-fantastic breki & FREE afternoon tea with huge selection!

🎺

Posted by warnerc5 06:18 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

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