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Asia » Vietnam » Southeast April 16th 2019

Time for another holiday! The purpose of revisiting Vietnam was to see the parentals but as I had a few days to myself, I decided to hit up Da Lat, a beautiful French settlement 3 hours bus from Nha Trang. After a picturesque bus journey through the hills, I managed to get to my hostel in Da Lat; Mooka's Home Backpackers which was a bit of town but with the use of a scooter on hire it was fine to get around. As I only had two full days here, I wanted to make the most of my time here so based on an itinerary provided by my hostel, I manage to cover a fair bit for my short stay. Starting the day with a delicious breakfast of yoghurt, fruits and chia seeds, I hired out ... read more
Cable Car Adventures
Elephant Waterfall
Elephant Waterfall

Asia » Vietnam » South Central Coast » Binh Thuan » Phan Thiet April 14th 2019

So we’re into the final stage of our Vietnam holiday. The bit where we kick back and relax after ten or so days of intense tourism. We’re at The Cliff holiday resort at Phan Thiet about 5 hours away from Saigon. Its a self-contained complex with all the luxury and garnish you'd expect from such a place. With a couple of glistening blue pools, a terraced restaurant for an extensive breakfast complete with an egg bar. There are lush green lawns replete with palm trees and plenty of colourful plant life to enjoy. There’s even a ‘swim up’ bar in the main pool for those who want to enjoy a cooling drink in their cossie! In many ways, a picture postcard example of an idealised holiday paradise. The rooms here are lovely. Spacious, clean and served ... read more
The Cliff Resort Phan Thiet
The Cliff Resort Phan Thiet
Welcoming towel dog thingie

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. In many ways it’s like the Forbidden City 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 that add yet more insanity to the traffic mix in Vietnam. They are a languid form of transport able to travel at no more than 5mph or so. The fact that you are sat forward of the driver and effectively become the ... 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. ... read more
Just show me the brake again
Is that your finger or mine?
Modorbikin’

Asia » Vietnam » South Central Coast » Da Nang April 7th 2019

Loyal readers will have noticed there’s one person in our party who’s been a little low-key in our recent adventures. Alas, Wendy’s been a little under the weather and although still game, has found the going a bit tough over the last few days. Yesterday, Wendy decided to take a little time to chill out and catch up on some sleep. Don't worry, she’s on the road to recovery and raring to go as we travel to Hue to look at this iconic city and its historic citadel. We’re going to learn a little more about one of the most infamous battles of the American War and some of the distinctly unsavoury stuff that was done in the name of so-called peace. Brace yourself; it’s going to be a bumpy ride in more ways than one! ... read more
Living the Hai Van Dream.
Hai Van Views In Orange
Hai Van View

Asia » Vietnam » South Central Coast » Quảng Nam April 6th 2019

My Son or ’beautiful mountain’ is a UNESCO world heritage site a one hour drive from Hoi An. We heard about it on our last visit to Vietnam but couldn’t fit in a trip to see it. That's why we were especially determined to pop by this time around. It is a sacred site built by the ancient Cham people. They are a distinct ethnographic group in Southeast Asia with origins in Indonesia. From the eighth to fifteenth centuries they built their Hindu shrines deep in the Vietnamese jungle. Each temple is dedicated to a different god including; Ganesh, Shiva and Vishnu. The temples lay hidden for nearly six centuries before their rediscovery by French explorers in 1895. Then began the not inconsiderable task of clearing a route to the site and making it available to ... read more
Cham Hindu Temple
A Lingum
Traditional Cham Crafts

Asia » Vietnam April 5th 2019

Our journey from Halong Bay to Hoi An was certainly efficient but no less of a malarkey. It started with torrential rain requiring us to don hastily-distributed rain macs as we transferred from our Halong Bay vessel . Then a coach to some anonymous motorway service station, a change of vehicle then off to Noi Bai Airport for a flight to Da Nang and yet another van for the connection to the Silk Village Hotel in Hoi An. Like I said, a malarkey but done without any significant issues or ’help I’m confused’ moments. Phew! The resort in Hoi An is very smart. An exotic leafy enclave hidden away from the hurly-burly outside. Like an imperial colony from yesteryear; all French shutters and manicured lawns. Yet, it’s only a 10-minute drive to Hoi An’s old town. ... read more
Now that's what you call a bed!
Old Town Bridge
River View

Asia » Vietnam » Northeast » Phu Tho April 4th 2019

It’s often said you should strive to see “so and so” before you die. Usually by those who have recently been to “so and so” and really want to be acknowledged for their adventurousness in going to “so and so”. In that same spirit then, can I extol the virtues of Halong Bay in Northern Vietnam? Dare I mention it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the seven wonders of the natural world? Recognised for its outstanding beauty and it’s trademark network of limestone karst. Should I outline that not only will we see Halong Bay, we’ll experience it by cruising overnight on a specially designed tourist vessel. Journeying deep into the maze of vertical volcanic plugs and rock formations. Perhaps, I’ve said too much already. And when you know Carolyn and I have ... read more
Ahoy, you lubberly swabs.
Framed Karst
Wendy & Mark. - cave dwellers?

Asia » Vietnam » Red River Delta » Hanoi » Đống Đa District April 2nd 2019

Of course, there’s more to Hanoi than the HCM memorial gardens. The city fair boils with activity. People mill around constantly. Otherwise, they sit outside their little businesses on bizarre little chairs or stools. They eat, they chat, they smoke. But how they do it on one of those minuscule seats for hours on end I’ll never know. We made our way to the War Museum stopping to have a coffee near to the city’s ancient fortress and flag tower. Just behind we found a display of planes, tanks and guns. Arguably, these are the very things people associate with Vietnam even though it’s nearly 50 years since the conflict ended. I don’t think this country will ever fully shake off that unfortunate association. And maybe that’s as it should be. A reminder to us all ... read more
Not a DC2
Look a tank
War Museum & Flag Tower

Asia » Vietnam » Red River Delta » Hanoi April 2nd 2019

The route into the strangely angular Ho Chi Minh mausoleum is made up of a sober queue of people anxious to see the carefully conserved remains of Vietnam’s legendary leader. A line of curious tourists and locals nervously contemplating the idea that soon they are going to see the preserved body of the father of modern Vietnam. The shuffling throng is strictly policed by white uniformed attendants discretely admonishing people for not showing appropriate decorum in their wait to enter the sanctum. All to look upon the face of real, world-changing history. Entering the mausoleum is a uniquely eerie experience. The Stygian darkness, and the palpable feeling of awe lies heavy. Tourists know this is the one chance they’ll have to convene, however briefly, with a titan of twentieth century asian politico-history. And soon, as your ... read more
Official Cars
HCM’s Home On Stilts
One Pillar Pagoda




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