Blogs from North Central Coast, Vietnam, Asia


Vietnamese transport has been pretty easy so far; many buses will pick you up from your hostel meaning that you save money and time on a transfer to a bus station and with my bus to Phong Nha, the bus dropped us off right outside the hostel too! Door to door - brilliant. And sometimes there is a hostel so legendary that everyone just simply ends up there. Its legend spreads by word-of-mouth and it often isn't on any booking website. Its reputation comes before it and is all it needs to pull in business. In Phong Nha, that place is called Easy Tiger. Therefore it was no surprise that I bumped into so many people that I had met previously in both Ho Chi Minh City and Hoi An at the hostel. The place had ... read more
Stalactites & Stalagmites
Entrance To Paradise Cave
Along The Boardwalk

It is happening again. Of course it happened again. I guess I spoke too soon! I wasn't as drunk in the morning as I was on my journey to Bangkok but running on three hours sleep after one last night out in Ho Chi Minh City, I should've been tired. As it turned out, I was awake for most of the first leg of my 23-hour bus to Hoi An, on board a a sleeper bus the like of which I have never seen before. Three rows of bunks are separated by two aisles barely wide enough to let people through but rather than having a bench to sleep on like you do in India, you instead get a reclinable seat that almost goes all the way down. You have a cubby hole in front of ... read more
Hoi An By Night
Tomb Of Minh Mang, Hue
Japanese Covered Bridge

Asia » Vietnam » North Central Coast » Thua Thien - Huế April 29th 2017

Our flight landed in Hue after dark and we were met by the driver from our hotel. One of the benefits of travelling with a bit more cash and slightly more advanced years are airport pickups - gone are the days of trying to sort public transport to our accommodation. From the taxi it was obvious that Hue had changed dramatically since our last visit. At our hotel we were greeted with a big plate of fresh fruit which was very welcome as I was feeling dreadful and had no desire to face the busy streets to look for a meal. I woke next morning feeling no better but after breakfast at the hotel we heard out to walk the couple of blocks to the Perfume River. I promptly fell flat on my face after tripping ... read more
A row of dragons on the river.
A small temple on a tiny island in the Perfume River
Washing clothes in the waters of the Perfume River

I left Hue once again heading North and again via train in the economy section ($60,000VND) for a four hour journey to the coastal city of Dong Hoi which was to serve as my base for exploring Phong Nga-Ka Beng National Park. The National Park is about 50km outside of the city and is home to some massive limestone caverns and cave systems just recently discovered in the early 2000s. Some of the caves are so big they are still being mapped out and are not yet accessible to the public. The ones that are accessible are an incredible sight to behold. I've been in some caves in my day and "Paradise Cave" that I was to visit in the park was one of the most impressive I've seen. Ya, it's not true spelunking as their ... read more

Asia » Vietnam » North Central Coast » Thua Thien - Huế April 24th 2017

Leaving Hoi An I was bound for the Imperial City of Hue - home to the ruling Nguyen Dynasty of these lands until 1945 when the emperor decided to side with the revolutionary Ho Chi Minh and his government. I decided to take the train as I enjoy train travel and the opportunity does not come along all that often. I would need to make my way to Da Nang Train Station 20km to the North. So I walked the 2km to the bus station in Hoi An. Unfortunately this bus station only served long destination travel like Saigon or Hanoi. So I had to bite the bullet and pay $10,000VND (negotiated down from $60,000VND) to get to the proper bus station. Here on the bus the nasty old Vietnamese lady informed me that the fare ... read more

Asia » Vietnam » North Central Coast » Quang Tri » Dong Ha April 3rd 2017

We’re now in Dong Hoi, known among travelers mostly for its nearness to the Phong Nam caves in the national park. Yesterday, we visited Paradise Cave, which was amazing. I’ve attached photographs, but they don’t do the cave justice. It’s huge and better than any cave we’ve visited in the US (mostly commercial caves for me, but Tom’s been a caver for many years in the eastern US). No gaudy lights (Ruby Falls) either. If you’re really interested in caves, look up Son Doong cave on Google or check It’s the largest cave in the world, in an area of at least 150 caves near the Vietnam-Laos border. It was discovered by a farmer in 1991, but he forgot where the entran... read more
Paradise Cave Entrance
More Formations

Asia » Vietnam » North Central Coast » Thua Thien - Huế March 19th 2017

We were sitting on the balcony of our hotel in Hue, when Tom said, "Look at that man!" He was repairing a window on a building a few blocks away. This was not the only time we saw such daring, but usually the worker wore some sort of safety harness. Not this guy.... read more
Middle View
Can you believe this?

Asia » Vietnam » North Central Coast » Thua Thien - Huế March 12th 2017

We stopped for a couple of days at the Takalau Resort in the beach resort area of Phan Thiet (fan-teet) and Mui Ne. As we’d just managed to drag ourselves out of the resort on Phu Quoc Island, we needed a respite from a single day in chaotic Ho Chi Minh City. (Yeah, right …) Actually, the resort and these two towns showed us the real impact of European tourism on a “normal” Vietnamese town. We thought we were taking the easy, luxury way when we asked the hotel to have a driver meet us at the train station, but the guest relations lady, a Frenchwoman, was surprised that we had actually taken the Vietnamese train. When asked, she said that their guests arrive via luxury bus, and she herself had never taken the train though ... read more
Danang's Aircraft Bunkers
More Hangers

Asia » Vietnam » North Central Coast » Thua Thien - Huế March 11th 2017

Had a good night sleep in the Jade Hotel. Quite a nice little property with excellent staff who make up for the lack of elevator and a few other fancy features. Simple breakfast - fresh fruit, toast, omelette, tea, coffee. Our first stop this morning was at the Elephant and Tiger arena (Ho Quyen) just a short distance from the centre. During the mid 19th and early 20th century there were annual "till death" battles between Elephants (noble) and Tigers (evil) for the entertainment of the Emperor and Lords. As the tigers (and sometimes leopards) were often tethered and de-clawed and their teeth filed down - it was inevitable that the elephant would win - often by trampling the tiger to death. Nearby is a shrine where the elephants are buried. From here we continued north-west ... read more
Elephant Shrine and Grave Yard
Elephant Shrine getting some renovation
Steps to the Elephant Shrine and Grave Yard

Nous habitons la citadelle, une petite chambre à côté du siège du parti communiste du quartier. Super sécuritaire, mais réveil à 5.30h le matin quand il y a un groupe de femmes qui font de l'exercice devant notre maison, dans le parc.! Il faut s' habituer. Le marché du quartier est à côté, on peut donc acheter tous les matins nos fruits, crèmes brûlées et baguettes aux oeufs. Toute ville traversée par une rivière a un gros atout. Hué est traversée par la Rivière des parfums et en plus elle est sillonnée par de nombreux canaux. Très romantique. L'ancienne ville est formée par plusieurs carrés imbriqués l'un dans l'autre, formant les différentes classes de la citadelle. Chaque carré est délimité de l'autre par un canal, jusqu'au coeur de la citadelle, la "Cité rouge interdite", exactement comme ... read more
bateau dragon
la pagode octogonale Thien Mu
pavillon dans le parc mausolée de Ming Mang

Tot: 0.306s; Tpl: 0.032s; cc: 12; qc: 83; dbt: 0.0668s; 1; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 2; ; mem: 1.6mb