So it's been a while. After we left Goa we had the pleasure of waiting 18hours at the lovely Mumbai airport!!! We were pleasantly rewarded when we got to Vietnam, what a lovely country.
Our first stop was in the capital, Hanoi. We stayed in the Old Quarter where life evolves around Hoan Kiem lake. It is a wonderful city, we spent our days enjoying the local cuisine in the lovely cafes, strolling around the lake and of course there was a bit of shopping involved too!! The locals seem to spend their evenings exercising around the lake in their pyjamas which we found very entertaining. We also treated ourselves to luxury massages. Dan had a relaxing Holistic massage whereas I went for the bone-crunching Thai massage.
We booked a three day boat trip to Halong Bay and Cat Ba Island. First we stopped to look at some caves with stalactites and stalagmites. These were cool except the dodgy multi-coloured lighting in them took away the naturality of them. Then back to cruising around the bays and weaving around the limestone Islands and Islets. We spent the first night on the boat which was great, we had a really nice meal and drinks, our group were really nice. In the morning we set off for Cat Ba, it was quite windy as there was a typhoon nearby but it passed us. We then went for a light trek and at the summit ther was the ricketiest old viewing platform which consisted of mostly rusted metal and half rotten planks, Health and Safety would not be impressed! Back to the boat and we went to a floating fishing village from which we went kayaking around the bays, stopping off at a desserted beach inbetween, it was really beautiful. On the final morning we set sail for Halong City and enjoyed the last few hours on the boat lapping up the sun - or in Dan's case sleeping in the shade.
Next stop was Hue where we did a day tour along the perfume river and visited numerous tombs + temples.
Then we went to Hoi An, a pretty town with beautiful old colonial buildings. Tailored clothes is the speciality here and as much as we tried to resist I got myself a sharp suit and Dan got 3 dresses, 2 tops, 2 pairs of trousers, 2 pairs of shoes (that have since cut her feet so she cannot wear them!!). There were also numerous art galleries which we looked at but we didnt buy any - art that is, not the gallery!
Now to Nha Trang the most memorable part of our trip so far. We did our Open Water PADI diving course. This consisted of three intense days of theory, confined water (pool) skills and four open water (the sea) dives. Dan struggled on the first day but once we went out to sea it made it all worth while. It was quite scary at first breathing underwater and learning to trust the equipment, it didnt help that most of the skills required us to take the regulator out of our mouths + remove our masks at the bottom of the sea etc but thanks to our wonderful instructor Khuong and a bit of determination we passed and are now confident qualified scuba divers. It is the best experience swimming underwater with amazing coral + sea life and we cannot wait to do it again.
The beaches in Nha Trang were lovely but we didnt spend much time on them as we were busy with the diving. We met back up with Gordon + Sally who we met in India, it was really nice to see them again.
We then went to Dalat which is in the central highlands at 1475m above sea level. The locals go there for Honeymoon, part of the attraction is the climate there is very pleasant, warm sunny days follwed by cold crisp nights which were very appreciated by us.
We visited the sights which consisted of a waterfall, Chicken Village(which was a bit naff), presidential Summer Palace, flower gardens, crazy house + crazy monk (not really crazy, just artistic).
Now we are in Ho Chi Minh, it is very hot + sticky, we will attempt to catch some sights but more likely catch some bars.
We'll write again from Cambodia.
Tons of love
Mike + Dani