Blogs from North Central Coast, Vietnam, Asia

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Asia » Vietnam » North Central Coast » Nghe An » Vinh June 16th 2014

Central Vietnam, 29 May to 1 June 2014 - We traveled by train from Hanoi to Vinh city and stayed a night there. I used to visit this city in the past, but it was just a day trip on business for submitting tender documents of my company. There was a place that I had not been to in Vietnam yet. It was the home village of President Hồ Chí Minh (1890 - 1969) which is 15km away from Vinh city. The purpose of our trip this time was to visit his home village and Cửa Lò beach. On 30 May, we made a day trip to Sen village which was the place where President Hồ Chí Minh lived from 1901 to 1906 during his teenage. This is also the home village of his father. We ... read more
Students from Sơn La province visiting Sen village
Súp lươn (Eel soup)
Fishing village in Cửa Lò town

Asia » Vietnam » North Central Coast June 15th 2014

After a marvellous swedish massage we boarded the flight to Vietnam and landed at 12:30pm. Jumped on a bus with some very loud locals and headed to Ha noi old town. Once we arrived we soon had a challenge to find a place to stay as all guest houses and hotels close at midnight. Thankfully we found a place with the help of a taxi. The next day we spent a relaxing day in the city wondering around eating lots of summer rolls and went to a traditional water puppet show. The shows originate from the rice farmers in northern Vietnam 1000 years ago. We booked an open bus to take us around vietnam the first stop was a two day boat cruise around Halong bay. There are around 3000 rocky islands wich We sailed between ... read more


Leaving Hanoi was hard as we'd had a lovely time eating and drinking our way through all the streets of the old town, and wandering around the lake of an evening. Our next stop was the famous Phong Nha caves, home to the very recently discovered biggest cave in the world. To get there we took a tour to the "Halong Bay of the rice paddies" at Ninh Binh (Tam Coc). It was a beautiful trip in a small canoe along a central canal in the rice paddies with spectacular karst mountains rising up all around you. We also went through a few caves on the boat. It was very touristy however, with boats waiting for us at the end of the river to sell souvenirs, food and drinks, and pretty incessant "tip, tip sir, tip ... read more
Beautiful Tam Coc
Heading towards cave 1
Out the other side with beverage boats waiting


The whole point of heading north to Huế was to eventually make our way to Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park and one of Asia's largest cave systems. Our homestay was in Cu Nam, a rural village surrounded by rice paddies, about 180km north of Huế near the Laotian border. Cu Nam is off the beaten path and the tourist industry is pretty undeveloped so the people we met were extra-friendly and curious. The following morning we were picked up early for the 90 minute drive to the caves and met our fellow trekkers which included an experienced caver and photographer from Calgary named Joseph. Just our luck as Matt doesn't have a tripod and knew that the low light situation in the caves would make photography challenging. Luckily Joseph most generously gave us permission to use some ... read more
Leashed Cattle
Ready to Go!
Roberta descending into the first Cavern

Asia » Vietnam » North Central Coast » Thua Thien - Huế » Hué March 31st 2014

From Huế we bussed north toward Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng, with a stop at the Demilitarized zone that formerly divided Vietnam between north and south. There we stood on a bridge over the Ben Hai river and visited the war museum and some of the underground tunnels the North Vietnamese lived in during the war. Such a complicated mythology surrounds the Vietnam war in America; my generation has grown up with the questions it raised. It entered our popular culture, especially through films and books written by ex-POWs and men that fought there. And we have family members and close friends that served during that war. Decades after it ended pundits still discuss the repercussions and legacy of American's involvement; we are immersed in it. So much so that when we first arrived in Vietnam we weren't ... read more
Ho Chi Minh
Ben Hai River
Inside the tunnels at Vịnh Mốc

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Asia » Vietnam » North Central Coast » Thua Thien - Huế » Hué March 29th 2014

hue unter erbarmungsloser sonne. nach ausgezeichnetem frühstück mit riesiger obst-auswahl, alles was das herz begehrt, machen wir uns auf den weg, ein moped für den tag zu mieten. das ist hier irre billig und nachdem markus bereits bekanntschafft mit dem wuselig-unorthodoxen verkehr machte, ist es ihm ein leichtes uns durch hue zu schaukeln. unser plan ist, zwei der berühmten grabmäler der nguyen dynastie zu besichtigen. was laut plan anfangs ganz einfach schien, erweist sich aber mangels genauer straßenkarte als äußerst hoffnungslos. völlig ahnungslos treffen wir dann aber unter dem fahren auf eine einheimische bäuerin mit unglaublichen (für vietnam…) englisch-kenntnissen, welche gleich neben einem der gräber wohnt. wir folgen ihr also auf aufforderung durch den hektischen morgenverkehr, vorbei an ganzen familien auf einem moped (die kinder sind zeitweis... read more
Minh mang
Inside farm house
Khai dinh

Asia » Vietnam » North Central Coast » Thua Thien - Huế » Hué March 28th 2014

früh morgens geht es heute vom gemütlichen pepperhouse homestay mit dem bus über die dmz-tunnel nach hue (wird wie das englische “way” ausgesprochen). die dmz-tunnel sind mehrere kilometer lange, 1,6-1,8m hohe und etwa 90cm breite schächte unter der erde, in denen 300-600 menschen bis zu 2 ½ jahre während des american war gelebt haben. 17 kinder wurden darin geboren, es gab eigene wasser- und belüftungssysteme. mit einem guide steigen wir einige meter unter die erde und drängen uns für 20 minuten in die erschreckend kleinen tunnel. ich bin ja schon wirklich klein, komme aber nicht umhin über die gesamte strecke den kopf einzuziehen, der markus haut sich kopf und schultern mehrmals an den engen gängen auf. bereits nach wenigen minuten lässt sich erahnen, was das geheißen haben musste - jahrelang ohne licht, ohne privatsphäre, ohne die ... read more
rice cake
veggie market
meat market


vietnam von unten, ist das tages thema von heute. wir haben neue freunde: esther aus vorarlberg und ben aus neuseeland, die jetzt in schottland leben. zu viert mieten wir uns zwei mopeds um unter strahlend sonnigem vietnamesischen himmel eine tour zu zwei weiteren höhlen zu machen. vietnam lässt sich ja angeblich am besten via moped erkunden und unterwegs wird uns klar, warum. es fahren ohnehin beinahe ausschließlich mopeds, was es zum puren vergnügen macht, über die breiten straßen und ohne störende autos zu cruisen. rechts und links weitreichende reisfelder, kleine dörfer und immer die wundersamen berge in unmittelbarer nähe. nach kurzer strecke erreichen wir den nationalpark, zahlen völlig zurecht eine kleine gebühr, um dann durch irre grüntöne, entlang von türkisen flüssen und beeindruckenden kalkfelsen zu kurven. die straße ist in bestem zustan... read more
paradise cave
paradise cave II
paradise cave III


heute zeigt sich vietnam so, wie man es sich vorstellt. mit endlosen reisfeldern unter durch eine milde brise durchbrochener schwüle und abwechselnd bewölktem himmel. in aller frühe kommen wir mit unserem open bus in dong hoi an und stärken uns gleich mal mit wunderbrau frisch gebrautem vietnamesischen kaffee. dieser wird in eigenen kleinen aufsetzen direkt in die gläser gefiltert und schmeckt herrlich karamellig. mit händen und füßen verständigen wir uns mit dem cafe-inhaber und schlussendlich bringen wir ein zielführendes telefongespräch mit unserer homestay lady zu stande. wir werden abgeholt und durch herrlich grünes landleben zum pepperhouse homestay gebracht. das sehr authentische homestay (betten sind nur durch vorhänge getrennt) inmitten von pfeffer, reis und bananenfeldern ist unter vietnamesisch-australischer führung (die chefin hat einen austra... read more
höhlen impressionen
höhlen impressionen II
river road

Asia » Vietnam » North Central Coast » Thua Thien - Huế » Hué March 23rd 2014

It's Matt's (and his twin sister Kristin's) birthday! So the celebratory trip was his choice. He decided we should spend a few days in Huế, then tour the The Demilitarized Zone between North and South Vietnam before continuing on to Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park to tour its caves and grottos. A place we are sure to encounter leeches again. Sigh. We took a bus to Đà Nẵng and then the Reunification Express train north to Huế. Queuing for tickets was as stressful as we expected - in Vietnam the person that pushes, prods or otherwise tramples his way to the front of the line gets served first, so people don't hesitate to force their way in front of you, even thrusting money around you to the clerk and calling out destinations from behind. There is ... read more
Nhu Y River Bridge
Cyclist crossing Moat
Koi in the Palace Pond




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