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July 21st 2006
Published: August 11th 2006
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We arrived in Chau Doc in a boat, having travelled down the Mekong River. Chau Doc is a traditional Mekong town with floating houses and people wearing conical hats (called Poem hats).

From Chau Doc we went to Ho Chi Minh City, or Saigon as the locals call it. We visited markets, the Reunification Palace and Notre Dame Cathedral (not THE Notre Dame, obviously). On the way back from one of the markets we got in a cyclo which was very cosy and very scary, weaving in and out of the manic motorcyclists!

We took a trip to the Cu Chi Tunnels from which the Viet Cong fought during the war. We saw the way of life for those people and Mark went into the cramped tunnels to see what they were like. For westerners like ourselves the tunnels were very small.

When we left Saigon we spent a few days in Nha Trang, relaxing on the beach and working on our fading suntans.

After that we took the Reunification Express to Hoi An, the best place to get tailored clothes. We spent hour upon hour in three tailors shops having clothes fitted. We bought far too much! While in Hoi An we did also manage to fit in a trip to My Son to see the Hindu temples of the Cham people which were similar to Angkor but on a much smaller scale.

We then travelled up to Hanoi from where we took a boat trip to Ha Long Bay. We cruised around the islets, spent the night on the boat and then kayaked through caves in the bay. It was very beautiful.

Back in Hanoi we bought some last minute souvenirs, visited the grounds of Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum and watched the Water Puppets, a Vietnamese tradition. Then sadly it was time to leave Vietnam.

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