I realised today that it has been nearly three weeks since my last blog and after spending a few days around Cambodia and already having so much to write about i better get on here and let you all know what i got up to in the last few weeks in Vietnam.
After Hoi An we travelled back up instead of down to do Hue for a few days, it had been somewhere i wanted to visit before but after all the trips we had done while Sam and Katy were out we all needed some much deserved beach action in Hoi an. Hue was nice but i am not sure we needed three days there.Whilst there we vistited the Citidel and me and Routh took a nice boat trip to see a nice Pagoda, whilst being entertained by the four year old who lived on the boat with his family. I actually think we spent more time paying him attention and watching him parade infront of us than we did taking in the sights anyway it was money well spent seeing it go to a family with very little. We went out a few nights whilst in Hue and again were greeted by such friednly Vietnamese staff in bars and restaraunts the people here have really made Vietnam for me they are amazingly friendly, welcoming and enquisitive every where you go.
From Hue we got the Sleeping bus to Nha trang to break up our journey south to Dalat. The sleeping bus was one of the strangest and most uncompfortble places i have slept so far and i could not wait to get off. We basically had a bed the width of a coffin with a lid over your legs and no personel space, plus there were loads of typical weaalthy travellers on there talking complete bull s*** and being extremely annoying. Nha Trang had a nice beach but there was alot of rubbish washed up and its upsetting that some of the locals dont respect there own land as much as vistors to it do. I am not taring everyone with the same brush here but just from what we have witnessed the people who litter tend to be the locals. Anyways whilst in Nha trang it rained so we enjoyed little of the beach but made most of the night life that night by cracking up our Snake wine. After sampling this in the room before we went out and realising how disgustingly vile it was we took this into the bar downstairs and it really did become a talking point. People from all over were coming up to sample it and it made for a really fun night. Later we smashed the bottle took out the snake and scorpian and convinced some travelling morons to have a bite of the scorpian some did and i got so much joy watching them squirm. MUHAAAAA! These were the annoying ones from the sleeping bus.
From there we headed to Dalat on what was another long bus ride. When we stepped off the bus we were greeted by the friedliest Man named Rot. He took us to his hotel, charged us cheap backpacker rates and that night we joined him for a meal at a restaraunt he recommended and booked a trip with him to go on the back of a motorbke through the hills and meet a local hill tribe. We wandered around Dalat the next day and took in the local sights including the Crazy house which is a kinda Gaudi inspired building designed by a Vietnamese Architect that studied in Russia who is trying to encourage people to get back to nature and be at one with it, if ya know what i mean man. The house was mental, you can stay the night and stop in a room with a 6 foot Kangaroo with flashing eyes or pick another theme of your choice. Not sure if this lady enjoyed a smoke but from walking around it seemed that way. We also enjoyed watching what the local markets sold, anything from a box of frogs yes a box of frogs to a bowl of eels. Butiful!
The next day in Dalat was one of my favorite trips in Vietnam after Halong and Sapa. Getting on a motorbike we rode through the hills and had deep fried crickets for breakfast, we went to a silk farm, mushroom farm, enjoyed fruits i have neer seen before, vistited a coffee plantation and met a local hill tribe where Rot had grown up and knew the local language spoked by them only. Whilst at Rots mothers house he sat and spoke to us about the Vitnamese language and traditions they follow from marriage to weddings and to death. It was very interseting and informative and we later learned a few hand signals that have come in very handy since.
So after leaving the pink house guest house in Dalat we made our way to Saigon. We arrived at Saigon quite late but were greeted by a very happy chap who offered to take us to a hotel that was a few kilometers away apparently. It wasnt until later that night when we went out that we realised he had drove us in a massive circle and we were two mins walking distance away. Anyway he was a good laugh and you cant blame him. Saigon reminded me very much of Bangkok it was very busy and in parts very touristy. It was a lot more westernised than other places in Vietnam and everyone spoke brill English. We spent our first day again wandering around and trying to take in the sheer size of the place. We got varied info on this but i think the population is 9 million and there are 8 million motorbikes as you can imagine the roads are a free for all. Crossing them is a skill in itself. We visited the war memorial museum and i was truly shocked at some of the things i read and the pictures i saw. I was far too upset to take pics in here and thought it was disrespectful to take pics of some of the things i saw. We all left there in complete silence and made our way back to the hotel. I knew bits about the war between Vietnam and America but have learnt alot since and have been truly disgusted at some of the things i have seen. Eye opening to say the least. It has only added to my admiration of the Vietnamese people and what they have been through.
Our next day was spent visting the tunnels. I couldnt believe how small these were compared to the ones we saw in Hue. In Hue families lived in them and they had wings for medical care and meetins etc, also 17 children were born in them and they manged to shoot down an American plane whilst hiding out in them, we had been able to walk through them whilst the guide who according to lonely planet was one of the occupants showed us around. The ones here i took one look at and freaked out. They were not designed for living in but just as a hide out and they had extended one tunnel for tourist to crawl through as appose to slide through but i couldnt do it, Panick set in and i opted out. Whilst there i also shot an AK47 with real bullets. It was deafening but loads of fun. On the last shot i managed to hit the target, Whoopla!
Our next stop was the Mekong. We had decided insted of getting a bus through to cambodia to travel this through the Mekong Delta by boat for three days and cross the border that way. I had a good time, but in hindsight because of the last day of travel on reflection i would have preffered an air conditioned bus. Whist on our tour of the Mekong we enjoyed a boat trip, some delicious honey tea, a local choir sang for us, a bike ride, a coconut sweet factory, a rice nood;e factory, a crocodile farm and some drunken english and Vietnamese Kareoke. We also stopped overnight in two different towns on the way both of which i cant remember the names of, il ask Rob! LOL.
Unfortunately the last day was too much. We had to get up stupidly early and were put straight on the boat where we spent most of that day with no Air con or Fan and sat on wooden slats, I have never been so uncompfortble in my entire life. A lovely Isreally couple doing the tour with us cooled me down with there fans and water as i watched sweat and last nights alcohol seep from my pours with no cash ion me to buy a drink. Not nice. We then were squeezed on to a mini bus again with no air con and spent another two hours on the bus to Phom pehn.
Anyway we are here now and its been great so far i have so much to write about but ill leave it until another blog about Cambodia as its brill.