Page 18 of pn76 Travel Blog Posts

Asia » Vietnam » Northeast » Quang Ninh » Halong Bay October 15th 2007

Shin chow! (phonetic hello in Vietnamese)... The morning of Oct 12th was spent commuting to Halong Bay by air con 12 seater mini-bus. Now the driving, let me rant for a bit - this is something I cannot get my Western head around (I am starting to get a complex for being Western!). In fact, I am sure Intrepid would love to now how terrible the majority of the Vietnamese drivers, cyclists, motor mower driven carts, buffalo-driven rice ploughs, and motorcyclists handle their vessels. That being, riding on the opposite side of the road on a two laned road, passing petrol tankers on blind corners, coming head-on to other buses and motorbikes only to miss them by inches......I could go on, but you get my idea. I am however becoming less affected by the chaos that ... read more
halong bay
halong bay 2

Asia » Vietnam October 11th 2007

Second time lucky perhaps with this unreliable internet connection.... Well, what a rickety old train ride that was. 12 of us squeezed into 3 cabine for the 12 hr journey from Hue to Vietnams northern capital and seat of government, Hanoi. Having been to Saigon, I wonder what Suzanne Paul was catastrophising about in the traffic stakes. It is certainly immense and overwhelming, but I have to say Saigon wins hands downh for inducing traveller anxiety and severe culture shock. There are some paralells between NZ traffic and here I think too - drivers cutting corners, whizzing past pedestrians like me, and maintaining that steely gaze that they are 'right' and you are 'wrong'. Interesting to watch the melding of every single vessel, 1, 2, 3 or 4 wheeled and then some, exist along the lovely ... read more

Asia » Vietnam » North Central Coast » Thua Thien - Huế » Hué October 10th 2007

Last I left it we were in the beautiful Hoi An about 4km inland from the beacf of Cau Dai, and the southern side of Marble mountain and Hai Van Pass. 'Twas an early start yesterday to make our way northwards, firstly stopping at China beach where soldiers spent time R&R'ing from the ravages of the Vietnam war. Then it was into the city of Danang again for the museum of sculpure from the Cham people. Cham island is near to Hoi An, and a feature of this central region. Many relics at this museum had been excavated from nearby archeological sites, largely as tributes to Shiva, Buddha, and much fertility symbolism. Yes, that means lots of curvy rounded objects and statues with elephant trunks and 20 breasts in circular formation. Interesting, but hard work with ... read more
Hue temple

Asia » Vietnam October 8th 2007

Hoi An is alight with lanterns at night, the hum of river boats, and sqealing kids riding double or triple on the back of oversized bikes. It has been a neat place to hang for 3 days. I ordered a new wardrobe of silk winter dress, and two shirts from Yalys, and it all became ready today after about 4 fittings! They really are perfectionists which is great when you playing with expensive fabrics. My seamstress Lynn spoke good English and was very obliging. She had worked there for 4 yrs and it sounds like her boss treats her well. Mr Xe around the corner has a dodge reputation for pilfering money from foreigners however, and is not recommended (Trip Advisor) to be meddled with! I had an interesting altercation with a member of the beige ... read more

Asia » Vietnam » Mekong River Delta October 5th 2007

The Delta was amazing. It took two to three hrs by bus to get out of town, past new housing estates 10 stories high, slender terraced houses on a small plot of land (which is very expensive), roadside rice planters (Vietnam is the 2nd largest rice grower in the world, sounds like my idea of heaven). The respite of the air con hotels, shops and bus was very much needed - the humidity sits at about 95% and a lot of the Delta region is at or slightly below sea level it seems, so sandflies and potentially Dengue carrying mossies are rife. Enter the obligatory Malaria pills and DEET 80% that will surely turn my body inside out if the disease itself does not. Travel dr recommended no greater than 30% but what the hell, NZ ... read more

Asia » Vietnam October 4th 2007

Hello to all interested and sundry parties and welcome to my inaugral travel blog on Vietnam! I am a new blogger as of tonight, so please bear with me as I recount some of the scetchier details (is that a word?) of the past 8 hazy days.... Ho Chi Mihn City, also called Saigon (officially changed about 30 yrs ago if my brief vietnamese history lesson serves me correctly?) was hectic. From the moment I stepped off the plane into the heavy humidity of early evening it was utter chaos. The driver for Intrepid who picked me up (thats the first time in a while...) spoke little English, and so began a sequence of gestures, smiles, and pigeon Vietnamese (mine) as we headed towards the Empress hotel. When I say chaos I mean drivers of all ... read more
cu chi tunnels
to market to market

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