Published: August 4th 2012August 4th 2012
We booked a 4 stop sleeper bus from Hanoi down to Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC / Saigon), first leg was overnight on a sleeper bus down to Hue. Unfortunately for Jonny the bus seats are sized for the vietnamese! And our bus driver considered it necessary to hoot and brake suddenly every 50 yards throughout the night, but we made it alive!
After arriving in Hue we visited the imperial city, most of which is currently being renovated and is very much like a less famous version of the forbidden palace in Beijing. The heat was quite exhausting and after a brief tour, with little shade we had to retreat to the air conditioned hotel where wet socks were administered to overcome the episode. The following day we went on a boat trip along the perfume river to visit some temples. The insistance of the vietnamese on using toy furniture and a less than informative guide made for a rather slow and uncomfortable day.
4 Hour bus ride down to Hoi An; the second leg of the coastal tour. Hoi An is such a beautiful town that a whole section has been designated a UNESCO world heritage site.
The old town, like much of Vietnam we have seen so far has a strong colonial atmosphere created both by the architecture and the warm bustling streets in the evening. Thousands of colourful lanterns light the streets and small floating candles can be bought on every corner to place in the river. Whilst in Hoi An we had our most expensive day so far. The town is famous for bespoke tailoring and we made the most of the opportunity. We selected the designs and fabrics and had our measurments taken. 24 hours later we collected our custom made shoes, suits and coat. The swimming pool and close priximity of a beach made a nice holiday from our holiday. On the last day we went to another UNESCO site; the complex of temples that make up the Cham Ruins at My Son. The site was built between the 4th and 14th Centuries, but is now crumbling and has been under major renovation works since the Americans senslessly carpet bombed the lot. Unfortunately the sections that have been fully rebuilt are not yet open to the public.
Nha Trang was the next stop en route to Saigon. Arriving at 5am after
another nightbus and then being told we could not check in until midday was an uncomfortable start to the day. HOWEVER, it got infinately better when, after a hot morning on the beach we decided to rent a scooter to see some local sights. Jonny had 3 minutes of solid practice in a narrow street before Amy hopped on the back and we set off to tackle the busy streets of Nha Trang. We saw some local sights and headed out of town along the coastal road to a piece of heaven in the form of a hot springs spa. We donned out swimming cossies and with the help of about 15 members of staff were guided to a big stone tub where we were run a bath of naturally hot mud to wallow in. We washed off in a rain room (Which is exactly what it sounds like), before relaxing and swimming in an array of waterfalls, jacuzzis and pools of hot mineral rich water. Our second day in Nha Trang was occupied with a boat trip around some islands off the coast. After a brief introduction/ strip tease by the very multilingual tour guide we stopped for some
snorkling on a beach. After lunch the entertainments begun with the boat crew setting up a band and proceeding to perform karaoke in drag, whereupon a representitive of each nationality on the boat was required to perform a song of choice. Luckily we were the only British couple so the onus fell on Jonny to sing Yellow Submarine to a bemused crowd of mainly chinese tourists (Most likely bemused by Jonny's voice rather than the song). The boat crew then provided a floating bar while everyone jumped into the water - except Amy who gracefully dived and in the process lost just about everything she was wearing. Deep water meant rectification could be completed before resurfacing!
Next stop: Saigon - Watch this space!
There are more photos below