Blogs from Northwest, Vietnam, Asia - page 8


Asia » Vietnam » Northwest October 19th 2012

Day 30 The sleeper train brought us into Hanoi around 5 and after a sleep back at the hostel we freshened up and went to the Temple of Literature. This was in a nice park area and was pretty to see but quite similar to a lot of the others! For lunch we stopped off for some local street food and had Bun Cha which was a local speciality of grilled pork and a Po noodle soup. It was tasty and we were glad we risked the not so clean looking restaurant! For the afternoon, we sat and people watched in an attempt to escape the motorbikes and busy streets. We liked Hanoi but navigating around the centre was exhausting! That evening we went to 'Snake Village' where we saw Cobras and held some grass snakes. ... read more
Suz holding dins
Tucking into a tasty snake heart
The snake banquet

Asia » Vietnam » Northwest » Lao Cai » Sapa October 19th 2012

I will first of all say, I am not made for the ocean (I just like to enjoy it from land)!! I just spent two days on a boat in the most beautiful places I've seen, Ha Long Bay. It is one of the new seven natural wonders of the world with around 200,000 islands (or thats what I could gather from the broken english from the 4'5 tour guide). How amazing!! But I will back up a few days... After Hoi An (sorry for the name drops, I know no one knows these names nor really cares, but I am writing them down now, so I don't forget), and went through DaNang to Hue. DaNang is the town where the American troops first landed way back when. It is really interested, because I went to ... read more
Marble mountain
City traffic
HaLong bay

Asia » Vietnam » Northwest » Lao Cai » Sapa October 17th 2012

A tribute to the hmong people of Sapa Our 10 day stay in Sapa has come to an end. A lot of people would think that 10 days in Sapa is way too much. We were in the same boat at the beginning of our stay. However as time passed by, we got deeper and deeper beneath the skin of this little community in the north of Vietnam and really got to appreciate this place and its people. This is a great privilege having plenty of time to explore. One of our many highlights was the encounter with the hmong people. In the beginning we found them rather annoying. They are eager sales people and really push it to the limit. They almost match the Egyptians in their effort to sell their stuff. However they do ... read more
Hmong girl on the market
Hmong childrens playground
Red Dzao woman in the ricefield

Asia » Vietnam » Northwest » Lao Cai » Sapa October 13th 2012

Well, finally we have started our big adventure :) After arrival in Singapore, we went straight to our hotel in the Geylang area where we stayed for 2 nights. Geylang is Singapore's red light distict but we didn't really notice. Quite a lively neighbourhood with so many small street kitchens. Since we are on a tight daily budget it suited us fine, and we ate well and didn't suffer any stomach problems. Our brief stay in Singapore gave us a good impression of a (hot) city full of contrasts. From the relative poor Geylang district, it is only a 10 minute ride on the MRT to the city center with all the business men (and women) and posh people. One minute you walk and watch the impressive skyline of Singapore and the next moment you walk ... read more
Singapore contrasts
Rice terraces
Rice terraces

Asia » Vietnam » Northwest » Lao Cai » Sapa October 13th 2012

On the eve of my departure, I got the worse call of my life. Pat Cullen, a great friend and even better person had just passed away in a motor bike accident in the streets of Hanoi. At the tender age of 19, Pat was due home in a week's time. This was not only a huge blow to our group of friends, but a larger than life reminder of our own mortality and the world we live in. I was devastated. Being able to pay your respects in some way is crucial after a loved one passes away... and I couldn't. There was no road side marker to take flowers to and no home or family to console. I was just left with a gaping hole in my heart and friends by my side. It ... read more
cramped quarters
Cat Cat village

Asia » Vietnam » Northwest » Yen Bai October 12th 2012

I am just back home after traveling 2,450km by local bus, taxi and motorbike in 7 provinces of the North West and the North East mountain regions of Vietnam. This was the longest road trip I’ve ever made. I had traveled for 27 days from 13 September to 9 October and it was also one of the most interesting trips of my life. I had a traveling companion on this trip and we shared some sections of the road. We visited more than 15 villages of the H’mong, Dzao, Thai, Mường, La Hủ, Tày, Nùng and Cống ethnic minority people. There were so many great memories and expriences on this trip. What made us remember most of all was the friendly people we met on the way. All began with a simple conversation or greetings which ... read more
Terraced rice fields in Chế Cu Nha commune
Terraced rice fields in La Pán Tẩn commune
H'mong women on the rice field

Asia » Vietnam » Northwest » Lai Chau October 11th 2012

19 Sep to 26 Sep 2012 – I was back to Lai Châu province. I just visited this province a couple of months ago and it was my first ever visit to the 60th province of Vietnam in my list. When I was in Lai Châu last July, it rained all the time, so I couldn’t go to Mường Tè, although I already saw the bus going on the route. I decided I would go back on my next trip to the North West. Mường Tè was my priority destination on this trip. Whenever the Vietnamese say “Mường Tè”, it always means a place far away in the mountain which is very poor and remote, although it’s located only 620km northwest of Hanoi. The travel companion and I went to the bus station at 5:30am, but ... read more
Tả Phìn village, Sìn Hồ commune
Sunset on the way to Sìn Hồ
At Tả Phìn village in Sìn Hồ commune

Asia » Vietnam » Northwest October 10th 2012

13 Sep to 18 Sep 2012 - Hòa Bình, Sơn La and Điện Biên are the first three provinces along the National Highway No. 6 which I visited on my 27-day trip to the North West. I have been to these provinces before, however some places were still new to me, so I wanted to see them on this visit. The travel companion and I left Hanoi early in the morning and we traveled 80km by mini bus. After we arrived in Hòa Bình city, we rented a taxi and traveled 12km to Bản Mỗ village of the Mường ethnic minority people. As soon as we arrived in the village, there were about 10 Mường ethnic women followed us and invited us to their stilt houses. We had to say “Thank you, we’ll come later” as ... read more
At a Thai ethnic minority house in Mộc Châu
Vietnamese & Thai traditional dresses
A Mường ethnic minority girl in Bản Mỗ village

Asia » Vietnam » Northwest » Lao Cai » Sapa September 20th 2012

Our journey started by getting the night train from Hanoi to Lao Cai. So we get into our bunks and this time we had one bunk on top of the other so no more Mike sleeping on top of another Vietnamese, ha ha. I had the bottom bunk so I left Mike in charge of the rucksacks. It was funny as the last night train trip we had I said to Mike you need to be really careful about your ruck sack as they get pinched from your bunk. I proved the point as when he was asleep I knicked his rucksack, ha ha. So Mike decided that he needed to keep his arms through each rucksack which did not help with him getting a good nights sleep to start with but the ruck sacks are ... read more
Cutting Rice
What a view
H'mong ladies

Asia » Vietnam » Northwest » Lao Cai » Sapa September 17th 2012

At the beginning of the week I took an overnight train from Hanoi to Sapa, a town just a 2 or 3 kilometres from the border with China. Sapa is one of the most popular tourist destinations in northern Vietnam and it's easy to see why. The scenery is beautiful- green rice paddies, mountains and waterfalls. We started our walk at about 9.30 with our guide who was a member of the local Hmong people. The walk took us through the town, up and down some fairly steep hills and alongside rice paddies. In one particularly rocky steep part I thought I'd use the bamboo trees that lined the path to help me down. Little did I know that they would cover my arms and hands with splinters. Probably some sort of survival mechanism to stop ... read more

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