Visiting Vietnam, part 2
Trip Start Oct 30, 2011
24Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
Saigon backpackers hostel
This time the second half of my blog about Vietnam! Last time I left you guys after Hue in central Vietnam. After Hue, i took a bus to Hoi An, a city famous for the old city centre, the beach, tailors and the proximity of My Son, an archaeological park. The first two days I basically hung.out on the beach, had coconuts and good food and in the end I also had a shirt and a pair of pants custom made :) while there I rented a scooter and went to a famous beach nearby, called China beach. Apparently i featured in a tv show about the Vietnam war or something. There was no one there :) i don't know what happened but I just noticed that the picture of china beach ended up in the blog from last time... my last day in Hoi An I joined a tour to My Son (pronounced mee son). It is a temple complex build by the Cham people around the 11 th century or so. It served as a Hindu temple. Unfortunately there is not a lot left. Time and American bombs in the Vietnam war reduced most of the buildings to a pile of stones
After Hoi An I left for Nha Trang, famous for its beach, the sun, bars, snorkeling and the beach. My first day, I went on a boat trip to some of the islands of the coast, we did some snorkeling, jumping of the boat and getting stung by lots of tiny jellyfish while swimming.. I also went to a waterpark on one of the islands with a whole hunch of others. There were lots of slides, slides with tubes, a small aquarium and a couple of small rollercoasters and other rides. Not very cultural, but really a lot of fun!
my last day I just wandered around again and went to some other Cham-era towers. What I noticed in these couple of days is that there are really a lot of Russians in Nha Trang. Menus will even be in Russian and some of the store fronts as well! I have no idea why all the Russians choose to go to Nha Trang (and Mui Ne) in Vietnam and nowhere else in Vietnam. I was told Russians don't need a visa, while most other nationalities do need to get one, but else I can not think of reason why they are all there.
Because I had enough of the beach and really hot weather, I went to a city more away from the coast, up in the mountains called Dalat
After the mountain city of Dalat, I went back to the coast again, to a city called Mui Ne. It is famous for kitesurfing. There is not much of a beach and it is windy everyday (hence the kitesurfing), so not a really cool place to hang out if you are not into watersports. While in town I decided to take some kitesurfing lessons. It was extremely hard but also lots of fun, so maybe I will try it again some day! Besides kitesurfing, people also go to the red and white sanddunes, a bit outside of town. The sanddunes looked pretty cool, just sand everywhere and not a lot else. What I always imagined a desert would look like.. Unfortunately I also had my worst experience in Vietnam here. Three children wanted to show me where the sanddunes were, after letting me drive around for 20 minutes I turned around. When we got back they wanted to have quite a lot of money, when I tried to give them a bit, they wanted a lot more and started swearing at threatening. After saying 'no' a couple of times and walking away, they decided to follow while swearing and threatening. I offered again to give them some money, when they said yes, I took out my money and started looking for the bill I promised them. One of the kids tried to grab all my money and make a run for it
After Mui Ne I made it to the second largest city in Vietnam: Ho Chi Minh city or Saigon. One of the most impressing things to visit here is the war remnants museum. Inside are tanks, helicopters and airplane left by the Americans, some proof of war crimes committed (see the tiger cages in the picture), weapons and a detailed account of what Agent Orange (the defoliation chemical) does to people. Even in the next generation children are born with deformities, really awful. Nearby is the former presidential palace. It was not used for very long, and only by 3 presidents. It stopped being used when the southern Vietnamese president was thrown out. Inside you can see the old living quarters, banquet hall and meeting rooms used by the president. Some are underground and still have maps in them used in the war.
Because I did not want to take another boring overnight bus ride into Cambodia, I booked a Mekong Delta tour with a drop-off in Phonm Penh, Cambodia. On the tour we visited some village, saw rice noodles, rice paper and coconut candy being made and best of all we visited one of the floating markets. Farmers sell their products here to shop owners. They bring their merchandise on a big boat and buyers go around with small boats to buy the vegetables or fruit. The sellers will tie one of the fruit of veggies to a mast so people see what they sell. It was really colorful and busy and interesting to watch the people maneuver all the boats around. As I mentioned before after this I left Vietnam and entered Cambodia. But more about this next time!
Again if you have questions/comments please leave a message below!