Hello from Vietnam. What a country. Starting in the north from the bustling city of Hanoi where motorbikes were the only considered mode of transport. Bikes literally everywhere as foreigners ran the gauntlet of trying to cross the roads whether the lights were green or not. The capital provided the ideal base to acclimatise to the frantic north and as a base to head out to Halong Bay where limestone islands jutted out of the calm green waters of the South China Sea. A 3 day junk boat trip into the mist provided the idyllic and mysterious oriental setting famous in northern Vietnam.
From here we headed south to the old capital Hue, a city built around an ancient Citadel and many historical emporer tombs. The cloud still not lifting until we reached the halfway point of Vietnam to a town called Hoi An - a shopping trap where you could get fitted for a tailored suit with tailored shoes, shirts, T-shirts, dresses, skirts, shorts, you name it. The town had alot of charm and a relaxing Chinese artistic feel where it was virtually impossible to spend money even for the most anti-shopper. Markets were also a great site in
Vietnam and anything and everything was sold at them - dried squid, snakes, turtles, dragon fruit, jack fruit, crabs, quid, eels, rats all for local consumption and the odd brave tourist.
Now that the sun was shining the next port, was Nha Trang - our first site of a beach so far on the trip and the obligatory sunburn came with it whilst snorkelling in the turquoise blue waters and the best dive sites in Vietnam. We were also lucky to experience the 35th anniversary of Vietnam Independence and treated to the most frantic and lengthy fireworks display on the beach. These people really knew how to make noise... From here we headed to the hills to a place called Dalat and Easy Rider experience jumping on the back of an old war veterans bike and heading up into the mountains for the freshest mountains food and the scenic views of forests and palm trees as far as the eye could see. The bike ride itself led us wanting more and in the next town - Mui Ne - A fishing and beach town we were back on the bikes driving out to sand dunes and sampling the freshest
shellfish you could get.
Our final destination to round off this amazing country was the infamous Ho Chi Minh City - formerly Saigon - to learn the recent history this country had been involved in and the death and destruction this particular region had had inflicted upon itself - a very sobering experience. Lastly we took a trip to the Mekong Delta from which we would enter Cambodia - floating markets, confrontations with snakes and the most bizarre menus we had seen - rats with garlic??? although the snake was surprisingly nice.
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