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Cath's travels

Down the dragon

VIETNAM | Wednesday, 25 June 2008 | Views [537]

Well, am one week and a bit into my Vietnam odyssey and have been soooo lucky with everything - weather, friends, being shafted by touts, not to mention the motorbikes....

Arrived well excited in Hanoi, and spent a happy day there, wandering the streets, every step bringing me to within an inch of my life - the vietnamese are the CRAZIEST drivers I have ever known. Have had one or two near death 'incidents' on a bike myself over the years - knocked over, 8 storey pot plant, Chiang Mai moat at 4.00 am... but none of them compare to a ten minute ride on a motorvike in Hanoi. Anyway, went to a few museums and saw Uncle Ho's body )wax work they say.)and a crappy museum of Ho Chi Minh (hope this isn't screened). Hanoi very nice, especially the old quarter - nice colonial street, but the motorbikes and lack of pavement make it a 'potential deeeeth traaaap'.

Spent three days in Halong Bay oh my word!!!!!! Swimming, kayaking, cycling, endless squid munching, sunbathing....so many fabulous moments!!! Weather crappy on first day, but booootiful on second and third day. Spend first night on boat and second in Cat Ba Island. Gorgeous clear blue seas with huge limestone karsts everywhere. Awsome.

Then, with my new fab friend, Nicole, went on an overnighter to Hue. Coolio little city - visited mini Forbidden Palace, a few tombs, went to a 100% vietnamese beach (lots of stares and calls) we were like celebs I tell you! Or mabye more like freaks. Then Demilitarized zone (Vietnam War US army base) - a no-man's land strip dividing North and South - most time spent on a hot non AC bus, but saw some cool things like the tunnels which the locals lived in for 5 years. I think it deepened my understanding of the Vietnam war a bit.

Have just returned now from a two day motorbike adventure in Bach Ma National park about 40k south of Jue along the DANGEROUS highway 1. Shitting hell we nearly died! but twas soo exciting! Feel like a true asian driver now - no rules and no worries, Woohoo!!

Bach Ma was gorge as!!! After a HOT and difficult 17k walk up (started in the midday sun oops!) we had a great view of the South China sea and the central highlands. Blue and misty with lots of butterflies. Woke up at 4.00 to walk to the summit to see the sunries. Nice! Cheers for the tip Lauren! Back in Hue now for a slap up meal and some much needed AC and HBO.

Off to Hoi-an tommorrow - the final leg of Vietnam boo! Hopefully will be a treat with lots of shopping and beach bumming, plus more motorbike driving. Love love love!!

Have found Vietnam a hard edged place - less 'pretty' than Thailand, what with history I guess. But people v friendly in the countryside.

Trying to upload pikkies and phone mum and dad through skype but none are happening. Mabye will give up and head for some 20p beer.

 Till next time in Laos .............

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