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Tales from Here?!


VIETNAM | Thursday, 24 January 2013 | Views [1280]

26th December 2012

We leave Sapa and head back to Hanoi, we have decided to miss out Ha Long Bay, time and weather are not our our side.

We head for Dong Hoi to do the caves that are in this area.  Matt & I visited Dong Hoi on our way up to meet the girls,  so know that Dong Hoi it's self, is not worth a visit, but everyone we have spoke to, say the caves are a must!

We get our first night bus. What an experience that was. The buses have what could be described as 'reclining bunk beds'. The only problem is that they are made for Asian's, who are in general, about 5ft 5"!  So I 'rest' (can't say sleep really!) with my knees bent, for 12 hours.

The caves are 'AMAZING'. They are definitely worth a visit.  The first is Phong Nha cave, which you get to by boat.  It is pretty impressive, but Paradise cave is even more so. You walk 1 kilometre into it, I can only describe it as like being in a Cathedral. It was huge and the stalagmites etc, were enormous.

Next we get the train to Hue.  We think Rhian & Lucy will like it here, so thought it would be a good place to be for New Year.  New Years eve morning, we are up at 6 a.m. to do a day tour to the DMZ tunnels, which was a good, but very long day out. We return home at 7 p.m.  We meet up with a lady that we met in Dong Hoi and invite her to join us for a meal, as she is travelling on her own.  She's a lovely lady, in her late 60's called Ursula. Our meal is fine and we ask for the bill at 11.35 so we have time to move on somewhere a bit busier, as we are now the only table left in the restaurant. Five minutes to midnight and we are still waiting for the bill!  Midnight comes and goes, we pay our bill eventually, all feeling a little flat (especially Matt, who loves New Year), and that the moment has passed and we may as well go back to the hotel. It had been a long day.

1st January 2013

Off to the beautiful town of Hoi An today, a 4 hour bus ride away.  It lyes on a river and is full of narrow streets, lined with wooden buildings. It's very touristy, but wander down the side roads and you see the locals going about their daily routines.

Rhian wants to do a cooking class, so I agree to do it with her.  We choose one that has a 2 hour bike ride around some herb gardens to start with and en route we also stop at a noodle making shop, it has been run from a family home for the last 5 generations.  It was very interesting.  To be honest the actual 'cooking' class was a bit of a let down, compared to the one we did in Chiang Mai.  The teacher had 5 restaurants and apparently we were honoured to be taught by her!  She was the lady who showed Gorden Ramsay around, when he did his program's on cooking in Asia.

Hoi An is the sort of town you could easily spend a week or so in, but unfortunately, time doesn't allow us this privilege.  The girls have to be Ho Chi Minh City on the 10th for their flight home. So, after just 2 days here we have to move on again.  Nha Trang is calling.  Well, I think the beach is calling. The girls only have 3 weeks in Vietnam and so far, they have had a couple of hours on the beach. (The weather has not been kind). Nha Trang is suppose to have a nice beach, so we get on the night  bus (12 hours) to see what it has to offer.  The girls head off to the beach for the day!  The hotel recommend a place to eat at the other end of town.  We are only here for one night, so we walk down there for supper.  It is a 'cook your own'. You order your meat and veggies which come to the table raw and then you get your mini BBQ placed on the table with your cooked rice. n It's such a fun way to eat.  This place is particularly famous for it's beef, which was very good.  (Tried my first mouthful of red meat in 6 months!) Lucy ordered a vodka and got half a bottle delivered to the table! Her face was a picture and it was so cheap.

5th January

We get the early train to HCM city, it's another 8 hours travelling, so arrive mid afternoon. Our hotel is in District 1, a very busy part of the city. (Manic, might be another word for it!).  We spend a day walking to and around China Town, in search of Pagoda's for Lucy to look at!  We also find "Herb Street". A whole street selling sackfuls dried herbs, the smell was unbelievable.  Then we just have enough energy left to have a wander around the night market. I must say, the girls know how to shop!!  We have booked a one night tour to the Mekong Delta for the following day, so we have decided that we will take our rucksacks with us and we'll carry on to Cambodia from there, rather than travelling back with the girls.

The tour guide was a nice chap called Gung.  The tour was 'OK'! - Very touristy, as these things always are. First stop, an island where they make coconut candy and snake wine! The second island we have lunch and then get taken down the river on a narrow rowing boat, this was only spoiled by the passing boat people asking for tips!    The floating market was interesting and manic.  Kids jumping on & off our boat trying to sell us fruit and drinks.  Lucy summed up our trip by saying that she felt like she had been on a school trip.  This was so true.

We say our farewells to the girls.  They will have two nights in HCM city before flying home.  Time for them to do more shopping!

We have had a great few weeks with them, it has been good to share a part of our travels with someone else.  Thanks girls!

CCountry 14 - Cambodia here we come!



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