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Asia » Vietnam » Southeast » Ho Chi Minh City June 24th 2019

What a thrill to have the opportunity of revisiting Vietnam, after a long absence of 18 years. My previous trip in 2001 has always had a special place in my heart, and it seems every second person you bump into in Australia has recently visited, or is planning to visit Vietnam. The buzz became so great I could no longer resist the charms of this wonderful country. The memories from all those years ago are becoming a distant memory, so it's great to be back in Vietnam amongst the friendly people, wonderful culture, and delicious food for a three week return visit. What's particularly surprising is the prices don't seem to have changed over the years. Travellers will struggle to find a cheaper destination, and there's plenty on offer to make the most of visiting this ... read more
Lovely park
City life
Lovely park

Asia » Vietnam June 16th 2019

For a long time, the enjoyment of sipping a hot cup of coffee while watching the hustle and bustle of life on the busy streets has been popular for Vietnamese people. This habit has gradually become a part of culture, and is today a lifestyle which is known as “the coffee culture”. This kind of drink originated from the Western World, brought by the French to Vietnam during colonial times. At first, this drink was only made for aristocrats, French officials, or the intellectual class in the cities. It then gradually became a popular drink among ordinary people. Today, Vietnamese coffee is not only known for being one of the most produced in the world, but it has also created its own particular character through the way it is enjoyed by drinkers. Vietnamese people don’t consider ... read more
Coffee with yogurt, black rice and ice
A coffee shop near my parent's house in Hanoi
Coffee filter (black coffee, sugar and ice)

Asia » Vietnam » Southeast » Ho Chi Minh City » District 1 June 4th 2019

Pete and I, it would appear, still have itchy feet so this time we chose to explore some Asian countries that we have never visited before, opting to do it our own way rather than an organised tour. (There were some days when we both thought it would have been better to be herded around by a tour guide and especially when we seemed to be spending too much time organising internal buses, flights, trains and accommodation but on the whole we think our way was better as we could stay as long as we wished and move on when we were ready.) Hong Kong was amazing with its neon lights everywhere and hundreds of people on the streets which made me feel very much like a sheep being moved along! We visited the major tourist ... read more
View from Victoria peak on Hong Kong Island.
Bronze Buddha,  Lantau Island.
Fishing village on bamboo stilts

Asia » Vietnam » Northwest » Lao Cai » Fansipan May 25th 2019

5 May to 7 May 2019 - I travelled to Sapa on a 3-day trip for the purpose of visiting the Fansipan summit. At an altitude of 3,143m, Fansipan is the highest peak of Indochina (the old name given by the French for Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia during its colonial time). This is the first time that I went to Sapa alone. On my previous trips I travelled with my friends and parents, and that was many years ago (1998, 2008 and 2012). I have had a dream of seeing the summit of Fansipan for a long time, and at last I made it. In the past, I had to travel at least 12 hours by bus or train between Hanoi and Sapa but now, thanks to the new expressway, the travel time has been shortened ... read more
View from Fansipan summit
Sapa cathedral at night
Paintings at Fansipan cable car station

Asia » Vietnam » Northeast » Quang Ninh » Halong Bay May 23rd 2019

An overnight trip through Halong Bay was a highlight of the trip. The pictures will speak for themselves and show the natural beauty of the area. I was also able to visit the Surprising Cave system, one of the biggest in Vietnam (though the biggest cave system in the world is south of here). Absolutely beautiful views, fun fellow passengers, and a cute ship made for an interesting trip.... read more
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Asia » Vietnam May 22nd 2019

The Vietnamese traditional dress, "Áo Dài", is one of the most elegant and beautiful dresses for women. It’s very simple, consisting of a close-fitting blouse, with long panels in the front and back, that is worn over loose white trousers. As a Vietnamese girl who loves to travel abroad, sometimes I bring an Áo Dài to travel with me. Whenever I wear it, my Áo Dài always attracts friendly looks from both locals and travelers. I once got a message from an Irish poster in the Thorn Tree travel forum. He wrote to me "You must get a wonderful reaction from the local people when you wear your Áo Dài. I think you would stop the traffic, if you were to wear it walking down a street in Ireland." An Áo Dài can be worn with ... read more
Mỹ Sơn Holy Land in Central Vietnam
Sunset over the sea in Brunei
The Taj Mahal - India

Asia » Vietnam » South Central Coast » Binh Dinh » Quy Nhon May 22nd 2019

In July 2017, I travelled with my family back to my father's home town in Central Vietnam. During our week trip, myself and my sister took this opportunity to visit another beach city further south called Quy Nhơn. We spent two days in this city and everyone had a great time. It was my second visit to Quy Nhơn. On my first trip in 2010, I was sponsored by a Vietnamese organisation based in the US (Viettelco). I spent a day in the city and rented a taxi to go towards the countryside as I wanted to see the old Chàm brick towers of the Champa Kingdom. These towers were built during the 11th to the 13th century, and they are scattered around the countryside (about 40km away from the city). On this trip I did ... read more
At FLC Safari Zoo (wall of monkey cages)
A local dish made from rice, prawn and pork skin
Egg shaped stones at Ghềnh Ráng, Quy Nhơn

Asia » Vietnam » South Central Coast » Da Nang May 20th 2019

Today I woke up in a beautiful hotel. I was only able to enjoy it for a few sleeping hours, but I felt classy staying there! Made me feel better after the plane ride - let's just say that a-holes exist in every part of the planet. I think that's an understated hard part of travel - you are constantly putting yourself out there for public inspection. Rising above can be difficult. Ah well, I'm on an adventure! Today we went to My Son Sanctuary, a UNESCO site outside of Da Nong. The site was created by the Champa people over a thousand years ago. The French looted the place, Americans bombed it, and yet much if it still exists in its original form. In fact, in places where rehab is present are crumbling much more ... read more
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Asia » Vietnam » South Central Coast » Da Nang May 20th 2019

Just a quick stop over in Hue to see what the city had to offer. We saw a couple Royal tombs - Tu Duc and Minh Mang and the Hue Citadel. We also saw the Thien Mu Pagoda, which is a symbol for the city and took a ride on a dragon boat. Lotus flowers were present throughout the city and are the Vietnamese national flower. We stopped at an incense and conical hat making collective and I've discovered a new talent - I'll go into incense making if this whole prof thing doesn't work out!... read more
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Asia » Vietnam » Southeast » Ho Chi Minh City May 19th 2019

Just outside of Saigon are tunnels used by the Vietnamese people to fight the French and then later the Americans and Allies during the Vietnam war. The tunnels were used extensively, and have been widened to allow for the passage of tourists (even local Vietnamese, with more nutrition and different lifestyles, need wider tunnels than those used in previous time periods). We saw several of the traps used and learned some more about guerrilla warfare. It's quite strange to look at war through the eyes of the other side.... read more
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