I travelled to Saigon (also known as Ho Chi Minh City) from Pnom Penh to meet up with Kiran who had come all the way from sunny Glasgow to join me on my travels for a couple of weeks. As he only had a bit less than two weeks to travel from Saigon to Hanoi, we were on a schedule (something I'm not used to anymore!) So day 1 was spent exploring Saigon, where we went to the market and the War Remnants museum, which displays some very disturbing evidence of the war with America. The next day we went on a tour to the Cu Chi tunnels, an amazing network of underground tunnels which thousands of people lived in during the war. In the evening, we go the bus to Dalat in the central highlands, expecting to arrive around 6am, instead getting there at 4.30am to find, not surprisingly, that nothing was open. So after a bit of time in the bus station, we headed off to the market, where hundreds of people were already buying and selling all the fruit, vegetables, meat and fish that you could imagine, definitely worth being up to see. The rest of the day
was spent sleeping and investigating the town once it had woken up properly. The next day we did a moto tour with an Australian girl we had met, hiring a motorbike driver (each, not between all 3 of us, that would have been in Cambodia) and did a tour of some of the highlights of the area, including the obligatory waterfall, coffee farms and temples. From there we went to the beach town of Nha Trang, quite a resorty type place, where we went to the mud baths and mineral pools, a nice way to spend the day, although it did bring on a 'cleansing' cold in me. From Nha Trang, we got our first sleeper bus (why does the rest of the world not have sleeper buses?) to Hoi An, a town with an old quarter of historic buildings. We did a trip from Hoi An to My Son, ruins which I can't remember anything about except it rained a lot while we were there and they're related to Angkor Wat. From Hoi An, we had a mammoth journey, leaving at 2pm to arrive in Hanoi at 7am and connect straight away with our trip to Halong Bay. By
Me, Kiran and Aussie Michelle on our bike tour near Dalat
now the weather pattern was evident, and unfortunately the rain and cold didn't disappear for our overnight boat trip. We didn't see Halong Bay at its best, but it was still pretty amazing. Then it was back to Hanoi for a museum day - the Women's Museum (mostly closed), the national history museum and the revolution museum (which I think had the same text as the revolution museum in Havana). We saw a traditional water puppet show in the evening and then I waved Kiran off the next morning. I'd planned to travel around the north of Vietnam for another couple of weeks before heading to Thailand, but it was just too cold...Thanks for coming to visit, Kiran!
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