October 28, 2006

Hoi An before the storm

Hoi An 29 September Calm before the storm

What a beaut day - shopping, eating, meeting people, walking and swimming! Walked around the Old Town, over the Japanese Bridge, down the river until stopping for shopping - shoes!!! Had lunch at the Cafe Can - nice, but a lot of beggars, etc, right inside the restaurant.

Then walked some more, till going back to the hotel, swimming in the pool, and for dinner walked to the White Rose, near the beach. Tim bought a T-shirt, and the owner said he could come back and pay the next door - gorgeous!

Danang to Hoi An

By plane from HCM City to DaNang, and then by mini bus to Hoi An. This was quite different to HCM City! Much more serene, as is to be expected.

The Hoi An Beach Resort rooms were beautiful - anybody (ie, me!) who says they don't like a bit of luxury might be having themselves on :-) For US$293 for 4 nights, it was right on the river - the chairs shown in the photo below faced the river on your own pretty private small patio, and the beach was across the road. Breakfast was superb, and enough to keep you going all day till dinner.

For $293 US, which could be for 4 nights, or free candlelight dinner (take the former!) at http://www.vietnamstay.com, this was great value. Great pool, which after getting the free shuttle bus into town for a superb dinner of scallops and fish, plus drinks for A$25 at the Phung Phuc by the river, the kids swam in, whilst I swanned by the side of the pool.

At the Phung Phuc!

October 27, 2006

From the Museum....28 September

We finally got in a taxi, about 10 km of 38 degree walking later :-), and wimped up to the Department Store - truly astonding. I had a bowl of Pho for lunch. Room service again for dinner, and watching the river in all it's glory again!

We started this day with a taxi directly to the Reunification Palace and the best guide in the world. We learnt more in two hours than you could in a year at school, or reading 10 books.

We needed to be at the ariport to get the plane to DaNang, and of course got a taxi which tried to inflate the fare - which would have been okay, but to do this he needed to take more than half an hour to get back :-) Finally at the hotel, and the staff of the tiny dress shop were very taken with Tim's hair.

On our way to DaNang, and then the Hoi An Beach Resort.

On with the show 27 September 2006

Enough of the Mekong Delta, even though it was great! But first, the lacquer factory, near the Women's Museum - fantastic, and even though the prices are inflated, you know you're getting the genuine article. The plates and paintings, etc, were things I used to think of as junk, but am now very enamoured of them.

Breakfast at the Riverside was fabulous - omelettes made specially for each person. After that we had a very big walk, I'm estimating 10 km, and most of that up and down the same street :-) Just as we were reaching frustration in trying to find the War Remnants Museum, and after seeing Notre Dame and the Post Office (a monument in itself!), a lovely man took us across the road and there it was. We tried to tip him, but he refused, and I wondered if he was perhaps a "displaced" person from the American War.

The Museum was astounding - one of the simplest but most moving places I've been. The bias of the commentary is accepted, the pictures tell their own story. We spent about an hour and a half looking - that is everybody, kids and all.

October 25, 2006

A few more photos from that enthusiastic phtographer, Mike :-)

Still in the Mekong Delta today! Tim and Jenni shelter from the rain with the elephant ear fish wrappers....

The speed sign is a little ironic - perhaps there was a bridge out?

October 16, 2006

More on the Mekong Delta and HCM City

After an hour and a half drive with the tour guide who had everything - an apartment, Chinese husband, baby, nanny, plasma TV, etc, etc, we got on a sort of big tour boat (just the five of us!). Next was the bee farm, to sample fruits and watch singing and a small band play, as well as sample coconut sweets.

After this we got into a small "canoe" and then paddled to a larger canoe, and then to Unicorn Island. This is where we got an even bigger boat again. Then back in the boat and back to the bus for lunch in a torrential downpour. The restaurant was by the river, and was spectacular in all ways. The lovely tour guide gave Tim a cyclo made from coconut shell for his birthday.

When we got back to the riverside, Tim and I went for a walk, where we got a bit lost near the riverside. A man on a motorbike speaking to another man on a motorbike decided to try and mug us, but we ran through the puring rain to escape. Something to remember turning 14, I guess! We had room service :-)

October 15, 2006

HCM and the Mekong Delta

On our first day, after a short rest, we went to Pham Ngu Lao, looked at the markets and walked around for a bit. The markets are on Tran Nguyen Hue. We also saw this statue, the name of which I will find out, any minute now.

We had dinner at a place called Guerlays, although it was probably just a safe rather than good choice. On the way back to the hotel we booked for the Mekong Delta, which turned out to be something like the Raiders of the Lost Ark ride in Disneyland!

Very surreal, and moving from boat to boat to boat, a story better told in pictures!

The lunch we had was fantastic - rice wrappers with Elephant Ear Fish. The bees looked scary, but apparently had no stingers, although I'm glad we never had to find out :-)

We went to Unicorn Island, and Tim received a coconut shell cyclo from the tour guide as he turned 14 on 26 September. This was his only gift, poor child, beside being on a three week holiday in Asia!

October 13, 2006

Ho Chi Minh City Saigon!

After a short trip from the airport, viewing the sights, very wide-eyed because there are no traffic rules. There probably are traffic rules, but no-one takes one jot of notice of them :-) Saw lots of schools with children.

Most families will only have two children in the cities, so the whole family can fit on the one motorbike. In rural areas like Sapa, eight children are not unusual.

Got to the Riverside Hotel, right on the river, which is very brown. Had to pass the Renaissance Riverside, which looks glorious, but our Riverside had a great ambience. We had two rooms, as a family suite. Mike can be seen below testing the bed, and Elly and Tim to the right.

The river at night was fantastic! All different colours.


A story of a trip to Vietnam, with a lot of photos and some candid observations. I had a great time there, and would love to go back.