Vietnam

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In 2000 arriveren we vanuit Vientiane in Laos in Hanoi Vanaf hier gaan we Vietnam verkennen. Eerst naar de schitterende Halong bay waar we een boottrip maken naar Cat Ba eiland. En dan met de bus naar beneden langs plaatsen als Hue, Hoi an en Nha Trang tot in Ho Chi Minh City. Van hier uit gaan we o.a. nog drie dagen de Mekong delta in. Vietnam is een fascinerend land, de natuur en cultuur zijn uitbundig en de recente geschiedenis indrukwekkend. Al met al een fantastisch bezoek. Hieronder een overzicht van de plaatsen die we hebben aangedaan met onze ervaringen van toendertijd, het komt nog van de oude site en is dan ook nog in het Engels...

 

 

vietnam airlines boarding pass

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

30/05/2000 - Hanoi   Ex. rate USD 1=14000 Vietnam dong
Flight Vientiane - Hanoi by Thai Airways  
     
30/05/2000 - Hanoi

Stay:

Time Hotel 9 US$

Located centrally in the old quarter.

Eat:

So many little restaurants in the old quarter. Also the usual backpackfood at the cafe's.

Other:

From Hanoi airport to the center (old quarter), about 30 min. by airportbus price 1.60 $

all your arrangements can be made in the cafe's. trips, trains etc. Many deals come with 30 min. free internet use.

We booked the 3 day Halong bay trip at A-Z Queen cafe. It turned out to be a very good trip, well arranged and a nice guide.

31/05/2000 - Hanoi
   

Visits:

Best thing to do is just hang out in town, the city life is exiting enough. The old quarter is well worth spending a day. It's an amazing part of town were anything is sold. All products and branches have their own street; Shoestreet, flowerstreet, motor-parts-street, gravestonestreet etc.

Ho Chi Minh mausoleum

One-pillar-pagoda

The water puppet show at the waterpuppet theatre. Is very nice, 20000 Dong

01/06/2000 Halong bay
 

Eat:

Cat Ba restaurants, a bit touristic but fun to watch people on the boulevard from behind your Halida beer.

Other:

We booked the 3 day Halong bay trip at A-Z Queen cafe. 26 US$ all-in

07.00 left Hanoi 11.30 Halong bay 13.00 start boattrip

The Halong bay is extraordinary, very special.

Also a great stop are the Hang Dau Go caves in one of the islands.

02/06/2000 - Cat Ba
   

Other:

Cat Ba national park with beautiful views from the park watchtower.

Vietcong army hospital, located in cave.

Cat Ba beach, (7000 Dong) great waves. Nice "cliffhanging walkway" to get to beach no. 2

03/06/2000 - Halong Bay - Hanoi

Stay:

Thanh Long Hotel 8 US$

Bit of an old place but large rooms with fan.

In the old quarter.

Eat:

Got our dinner and beer at the Queen cafe. Very busy but good food. Pretty fast net connection as well...

Other:

About 4 hrs boattrip back to Halong city.

04/06/2000 - Perfume pagoda

Stay:

Thanh Long Hotel 8 US$

Bit of an old place but large rooms with fan. In the old quarter.

Eat:

No dinner today, only 10 minutes left when we got back from our perfume trip until the bus to Hue left... Talking about a quick shower ....

Other:

Today we went to the Perfume pagoda. 2 hrs by bus, 1.5 hr by rowing boat. The rowing is done by local woman.

Very beautiful scenery from the rowing boat.

Perfume pagoda is a complex of several pagodas, the main temple is located in a cave which is a 1 hr climb up the mountain.

we arranged our busticket to Hue the night before, bus left Hanoi at 7 PM.

05/06/2000 - Bustrip to Hue

Stay:

Hoang Ngoc Hotel 7 US$, at duong truong street. Clean, nice rooms

Eat:

Xuang Tran cafe, probably our best meal in Vietnam so far. Very tasty local dishes.

Mandarin cafe, also tasty but not as good as Xuang Tran.

Other:

The supposed to be 11 hrs. trip took us 17 hrs. Very bad roads on the ninh Binh - Vinh track. Mainly due to the flooding of 1999. Road construction is taking place all over this track, making it a stop-and-go ride for over 200 Km.

Only one stop (22.00 hrs) Arrival at Hue around 11.45. Bus was driven by "robo-driver" I guess.

Hue has a interesting local market where the best conical hats of Vietnam are sold. (as they say themselves)

06/06/2000 - Bustrip to Hue

Stay:

Hoang Ngoc Hotel

7 US$, at duong truong street, Clean, nice rooms

Eat:

Xuang Tran again, very tasty! And Hue serves Huda beer !

Other:

Perfume river boat trip

Only 2 US$ including lunch (but none of the entrance fees are included!) with visits to:

Thien Mu Pagoda this one is free, Pagoda at the riversidenice Buddha statues in the back.

Tomb of Tu Duc 55000 dong. Very interesting and beautiful place. No need to hire a Honda om (motorbike) to get there, it's only 15 min. walk from the river.

Two more tomb area's are visited on this trip, each 55000 Dong entrance fee. We skipped both.

07/06/2000 - Hue - Hoi An

Stay:

Pho Hoi 2 Hotel, 8 US$ for a room with fan. Located next to the river at the bridge into town.

Eat:

Wan Lu restaurant. Wonderful local dishes very tasty, the best so far !

Other:

Transport by minivan. On the way stop at marble mountain and marble handicraft shops. Beautiful scenery on the way.

Hoi An is very picturesque and has a very relaxed approach. Also very touristy though.

A LOT of clothing shops, all tailor-made ... With shorts and dresses made for only 2 - 5 US$.

08/06/2000 - Hoi An    

Stay:

Pho Hoi 2 Hotel, 8 US$ for a room with fan. Located next to the river at the bridge into town.

Eat:

Dong An restaurant, nice spot at the riverside.

Other:

Today we rented a bike (5000 Dong a day) and visited the area. Many temples and tomb's in the ricepaddies.

In the afternoon some swimming and relaxing on the beach. The beach itself is nothing special.

09/06/2000 - Hoi An - Nha Trang

Stay:

Hoang Loi Hotel, 7 US$ for a room with fan. Located at duong Hung Vuong street. Great value in expensive Nha Trang.

Eat:

In one of the touristy spots, nothing special.

Other:

Bus left at 06:00, arrival at 17:00

10/06/2000 Nha Trang    

Stay:

Hoang Loi Hotel, 7 US$ for a room with fan. Located at duong Hung Vuong street. Great value in expensive Nha Trang.

 

Other:

Rented bikes again and biked ourselves through downtown Nha Trang to get to the Po Nagar Cham towers. An old site with nice views at the city and harbour.

Nice beach

11/06/2000 Nha Trang    

Stay:

Hoang Loi Hotel, 7 US$ for a room with fan. Located at duong Hung Vuong street. Great value in expensive Nha Trang.

Eat:

At TM Brothers, backpackcafe with internet access.

Other:

Boattrip by the TM Brothers cafe

4 visits to islands around Nha Trang. With some snorkeling, a great seafood lunch on the boat. With lots of food for us as all the Vietnamese people on board got seasick....

And the main attraction; the floating bar at sea with Vietnamese wine!

It was a great trip with a very nice guide, Mr. Strong from TM Brothers.

12/06/2000 Nha Trang - Da laat

Stay:

Pacific hotel, 7 USD, for a large luxery room. But ... very noisy at night ... karaoke all over the place

Eat:

At the local market, spring rolls and rice. .. Delicious!

Other:

Left at 08:00 from Nha Trang.

Stop at the Po Klong Garai Cham Towers. Beautiful old Cham towers in a very hot and dry area.

Dalaat is cool, you can easily wear long trousers and a sweater here. It was only 18 C when we visited.

13/06/2000 - Da laat    

Stay:

Thuy Tien hotel, 8 US$ for a very small room, but at least no karaoke.

Eat:

Long Hoa, great food.

Other:

Rented a motorbike at the market, 5 US$. and went for a drive around Da laat.

It is indeed a bit like the Vietnamese version of Disneyland. All lakes, waterfalls and gardens are turned into some kind of kitsch circus.

The crazy house is worth a visit. A bizarre house made by a Vietnamese hippie.

14/06/2000 - Da laat - Saigon    

Stay:

Lan Anh, 7 US$. It's clean, has nice rooms, breakfast incl. Located central in Pham Ngu Lo (district 1) at Duong de tham.

Eat:

Zone C at your guide book has some small (vegetarian) restaurants with great food!

Other:

District 1 is the backpacker "place to be". It has all you need in a small area. Also the cheapest internet of all of Vietnam: 150 D/min.

15/06/2000 - Saigon    

Stay:

Lan Anh

Eat:

At the shops at Ben Trahn Market spicy chicken, the best !

Other:

Today we did a sightseeing of Saigon. All done by cyclo and some walking. The cyclos are very convenient to get around town, you just need to bargain hard (before leaving!)

The War Remnants Museum. Though one sided still very impressive.

Ben Trahn market

16/06/2000 - Saigon - Chau doc    

Stay:

Thanh Tra hotel, part of the trip but nothing special

Eat:

Somewhere

Other:

We went on a trip with the Sinh cafe. Only 5 people on the trip. The tried to charge us more because of the few people on the trip, but the "walk away" to another cafe made them reconsider and we paid the usual 30 US$ for a three day trip.

1 Hr by minibus to My hiep and on with a small boat to the Rung Tram forest a former VC army base.

From here with a bigger boat up the lower Mekong to a flower nursery.

Small advice: bring a raincoat or poncho or whatever because you will most likely encounter some heavy rains in your little tub.....

17/06/2000 - Chau doc - Can Tho

Stay:

Hau Giang B hotel, Part of the trip but large rooms and two (!) fans a room.

Eat:

We went to a small harbor restaurant for the local specialty: snake ! First as an appetizer some snake wine, from a bottle with a complete cobra in it and as dinner the "cobra saffron". The wine is more like whiskey than wine and the snake tastes most like pig meat. It's not that delicious ..

Other:

Today more Mekong Delta exploring;

Fish-farming on the Mekong river.

Visit to a Cham village

The Chua Xu Temple, also known as The temple of the "big lady"

Sam mountain, overlooking the Vietnam - Cambodian border.

Incense sticks making near Can Tho.

The stork sanctuary, a small protected forest area with a huge amount of storks.

18/06/2000 - Can Tho - Saigon

Stay:

Lan Ahn hotel again.

Eat:

Delicious Mekong fruits on the boats.

Other:

First we went to see the Can Tho floating market, one of the most fascinating events in the delta. Hundreds of boats with people selling all kinds of fruits and veggies.

A rice paper / noodles factory. An interesting site were they make the paper used to make noodles from broken rice.

Return by different boats to My Hiep, and another four hours by bus to Saigon.

19/06/2000 - Saigon    

Stay:

Lan Ahn hotel again.

Eat:

At on of the many vegetarian restaurants of Zone C in district one ...

Other:

We took a taxi to Cholon, the Chines quarter of Saigon.

Lots of markets to visit here.

From here by cyclo to the reunification palace.

20/06/2000 - Saigon - Tay Ninh - Saigon

Stay:

Lan Ahn hotel again.

Eat:

It's burrito time! at burgos restaurant. Mmmmm ...

Other:

Made a trip to the Cao Dai temple and Bin Dinh tunnels in Cu Chi.

The Cao Dai temple is a weird piece of architecture bringing some kind of new age religion. The procession starts daily at 12:00 sharp.

Though the VC tunnels of Cu Chi are made "suitable for westerners it is still very impressive.

20/06/2000- Saigon - Amsterdam
   

Other: Today just a day of shopping and eating before the return to Holland.

a quick shower at the hotel before we took the 20:30 Thai flight to Bangkok.