Published: October 8th 2011October 8th 2011
Spent the first day in Saigon on a bit of a sightseeing frenzy. We went to see the market, the art gallery, the opera house and the war remnants museum. It was a really hot day and we were boiling because we'd given all our usual clothes to a laundry place the day before (clean clothes - yay!) so we were forced to wear jumpers.. All the sights were really interesting and the city was lovely to walk around. The war museum was particularly good. There were old tanks, planes and assorted weaponry along with loads of photos about the war. It really put everything into perspective and taught us a lot about what has happened here. The aftermath of the chemical warfare used by the Americans was particularly shocking.
Unfortunately, I got sick that night so that was pretty much the only day I spent out of bed in Saigon. Joe had a much better time :) He managed to meet up with some local bboys and chilled with them a bit. He also went on the Chi Chi Tunnels tour. He says: It was really interesting to see the battlegrounds and the way the Viet Cong operated against the US soldiers - even if it was a bit weird being shown around by a US veteran (e.g. being shown the man traps by someone who had been caught in them). After a couple of days I was feeling much better and we both caught the bus to Mui Ne.
Mui Ne is a pretty cool beach with a long strip of bars and hotels along one road. We stayed in a hostel with a swimming pool which was right next to the beach. Very nice to relax in and we met some great people in the bars. On Thursday we both hired mopeds. We drove to the 'Fairy Stream' which is this lovely stream running down from the sand dunes. It has a sandy bottom so we walked up it bare foot and enjoyed the warm water. Lovely scenery and rock formations either side. Im really glad we did it ourselves rather than going on a tour because we hardly saw anyone else there. Then we headed up to the big sand dunes. We stopped to have lunch and ended up playing this really confusing and manic card game with a bunch of kids. We did eventually make it to the sand dunes and climbed up a huge one (so tiring) which had beautiful views from the top of the coast line and the other dunes.
Friday morning was a very early start with a cramped, but beautiful, bus trip to Da Lat. The last 7km were pretty dramatic as the back left tyre burst (which sounded like a gun shot). The bus had two tyres on each wheel (if that makes sense) so the bus driver decided to carry on driving. It was all getting very hot and smelt awful and we were worried that the wheel would catch on fire with all the friction. We made it into Da Lat but it was pretty scary for a while!
We're staying in Dreams Hotel which is WONDERFUL. It has a fantastic shower, a sauna on the roof and a buffet breakfast with everything. Accomodation is so cheap here, we're splashing out a bit before we get to Australia and our money is worth so much less. Walked around the market and the lake the first day. Da Lat is a really European feeling city (they call it the little Paris) and its very beautiful and charming. I really like it. Joe says thats just because the rain is my natural habitat and, to be fair, it rains a lot here.
Today we hired mopeds again and drove down a really beautiful mountain pass to the Elephant waterfall. Its a huge waterfall and fantastic to visit because you can climb into a cave behind the water which is scary and very wet but so exhilerating. We stayed there for a while playing cards with some people and waiting for a thunderstorm to pass. On the way back we went to the 'Crazy House' which is a hostel thats been designed in a really over the top, art deco way. It was creepy and weird and probably not worth the money to get in but an interesting way to spend an hour.
Its our last night in Da Lat tonight as we're getting the bus to Nah Trang tomorrow - back to the beach :)
Take care xxx