Blogs from North Central Coast, Vietnam, Asia


Now that I'm smack bang in the middle of the tourist trail, the Vietnam adventure just keeps getting better. After a fabulous spell on the beach at Nha Trang, it was time to keep on rolling. Although the famous resort town is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country, it's surprising how far one has to travel to get to Cam Ranh airport. Granted it's an accident of geography, but a taxi ride from Nha Trang is around 50 kilometres from town, including having to navigate a winding hill pass. But once travellers arrive at the clean and modern airport, it's easy to bliss out under the luxurious air conditioning. Vietjet airlines check in and subsequent flight proved smooth sailing, and before long I landed in wonderful Hoi An. As discussed in the ... read more
Gorgeous temple
Lovely Hoi An

Asia » Vietnam » North Central Coast April 8th 2019

Today is all about Hue. Correctly pronounced “hway’. Until 1945, this was the capital of Vietnam. The seat of power of the Vietnamese royal family. That’s why an ancient Citadel complex can be found here known as the Purple Forbidden City. In many ways, it’s like the one in Beijing. Today we will also be sampling an alternative form of transport. Just to mix things up a bit. So it was yet another early start for our visit to Hue’s forbidden city. And to add to our excitement, we decided to go by cyclo. These are three-wheeled, pedal-powered contraptions invented by the French as an alternative to the rickshaw. They also add yet more insanity to the traffic mix in Vietnam. They are a languid form of transport that travel at no more than 5mph or ... read more
More Cyclomaniacs
Welcome to the Citadel
A Long Corridor

When talking about this country, attention often focuses on Hanoi or Saigon as the predominant Vietnamese cities. Naturally, this is because they became the central loci of power during the famous north-south conflict. Sat between, though is Hue, the former capital city. In geographic terms, having the capital here makes sense given its central location. But Hue is more than a has-been from a vaguely remembered imperial age. Look under the skin, and you find it encapsulates as much about Vietnam as any of the other cities we have visited. Hue’s story tells of Vietnam’s ancient history, its feudal past, the French administration and, of course, some of the most poignant stories about the war. Today we learned about the formal strictures of Nguyen royal dynasty contrasting against the devastating intensity of the Tet Offensive. But ... read more
Just show me the brake again
Is that your finger or mine?

Asia » Vietnam » North Central Coast » Thua Thien - Huế March 15th 2019

so lets see.... i left you all as we were sailing towards kagoshima, japan. i have to refer back to my daily journal. the same evening after i posted my last blog, captain cook announced there was going to be an emergency helicopter evacuation by US coast guard of a passenger at 6 am the next day. i guess they had to wait until first light. all the decks were closed and we were instructed not to come out of our cabins. passengers with cabins at the back (aft) of the ship had to evacuate their cabins and be moved to alternative accommodation. the helicopter was going to hover over the back pool deck so the pool had to be drained because of the spray from the blades. it wasn't going to land on the ship, ... read more
my morning view
hong kong island

Asia » Vietnam » North Central Coast January 3rd 2019

Ha Noi, Viet Nam: Sau khi tham Bach Dang Giang toi di thang den Ha Noi va den Ha noi khoang 6:30Pm. Sau do toi cung 7 nguoi ban di den Bun Cha Hong Lien restaurant noi ma Tong Thong Obama den an khi ong den Vietnam land au tien cung la vi Tong Thong My den Vietnam lan dau tien sau 1975. Tu day toi dib o ra pho Hanoi rat nhon nhip va day xe co... read more

Asia » Vietnam » North Central Coast » Thua Thien - Huế November 19th 2018

We are off again today, with an 8.00 am departure for our trip by coach 80 miles north to the city of Hue (pronounced 'hway'), the ancestral home of the good old British comedy actor and 'Carry On' stalwart, Jack Douglas - those readers of a certain age might get what I'm on about! If not, Google: and perhaps you'll see what I mean. We are only one night in Hue (before moving on again to Hanoi), but we have a lot to pack in before our flight out of Hue tomorrow night. Our first stop, just outside Hoi An, was at The Marble Mountains, an outcrop of limestone promontories, of which the main ones are named after three key Vietnamese elements of fire, water and iron and the biggest of the three was 'water' ... read more
The Marble Mountains - 2
The Marble Mountains - 3
The Marble Mountains - 4

Asia » Vietnam » North Central Coast November 17th 2018

Ho Chi Minh City has been an amazing experience, a totally manic, frenzied and crazy place and a place that has definitely left its mark on us, almost literally with some of the near misses whilst crossing the road! But today we say our fond farewells and head off to pastures new. Today, we fly to the east coastal city of Danang about 1 hour and 500 miles away, and then a 20 mile drive down the coast to the very pretty town of Hoi An. Hoi An was a very important port over 400 years ago, when it was established by the Japanese as a trade route between Japan/China and the countries of Indochina. But, more recently, the town's importance as a port has been superseded by the much larger port of Danang and Hoi ... read more
The 'Danny'
Hoi An Stroll - 1
Hoi An Stroll - 2

Hué was hot - in more ways than one When we travelled south through Vietnam we made a stop in the city Hué. The main reason we went there, and the main reason most foreigners go there, was to visit the former royal palace or, as it is officially called, the Imperial City. This former royal palace is so large that it is not an exaggeration to call it "The Imperial City". It is in fact an incredibly large place. The main compound alone is so immense that it is hard to take it all in when you walk through it. But the Imperial City might be an even bigger area than what you see at first glance. Back when Vietnam was a monarchy and they had a royal family roaming around in Hué we think ... read more
It is a beautiful place
After the rain

Phong Nha is a National Park renowned for some of the largest, most amazing caves in the world. We’ve been super excited about coming here as it was recommended to me by my old friend. She was spot on; this is by far my favourite place in Vietnam so far. The sleeper bus wasn’t ideal though providing someone let out with a sinister scream in their sleep which woke us all up and scared the crap out of us. At least now we can see the funny side. We rented a moped and took it to the Botanical gardens, situated in the middle of the jungle with glistening waterfalls. We then drove to Paradise cave. It was phenomenal. I can’t describe how beautiful my day has been, and photos could never do this place any justice. ... read more

Asia » Vietnam » North Central Coast » Thua Thien - Huế November 30th 2017

After a fairly good sleep we arrived in Hue to a pretty bleak outlook but surprisingly it cleared up into a bright day (27c but much higher humidity than to date). After a late breakfast we were set up with our new bikes which will take us the rest of the way to HCMC (happy to return my old one as it had seen better days). Riding was restricted to a leisurely 40kms exploring the former imperial capital of Vietnam as well as getting used to our new bikes. Stops on the way included the war ruins of the Forbidden Purple City, the Imperial Citadel, temples, tombs and pagodas. The Forbidden City was hugely damaged by the French after they tried to reclaim the country after WW2 & further damaged during the Tet offensive. Some of ... read more

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