With only a few days left now of our travels, we are still putting up all of the tour stories and pictures, please have a look at what we got up to in Vietnam.
After arriving in Ninh Binh, we had a relaxing evening before preparing for our boat trip in Halong Bay.
We boarded our boat and were very impressed with it, we had a sweet small cabin with an ensuite, a shared large eating area and a top deck for sun bathing. The weather was kind to us and we soaked up some rays as we sailed through the stunning Halong Bay. We stopped off at Halong Bay Caves, Dragons Bay and had a guided tour through some spectacular natural sights. We then had the chance to jump off the boat into the clear blue sea. That evening we enjoyed a beautiful sun set and ate a refreshing 3 course fish supper.
The following morning we sailed back to the harbour and took a short bus journey into Vietnam's capital Hanoi.
Hanoi was anything but peaceful, we'd both never seen so many motorbikes and were shocked by the crazy driving. Hanoi showed the difference between a developing South East Asian country such as Vietnam to an underdeveloped one, like Laos.
We spent three days in Hanoi. One evening we went on a cyclo tour of the city, where you sit on a small chair attached to the front of a bicycle. Riding the cyclos were old men of Vietnam, deceivingly agile. We were taken around the city in the rain at rush hour traffic, a very scary but memorable experience. That evening we then went to a water puppets show, which possibly was the most boring show we'd ever seen (it didn't help that it was all in Vietnamese).
Other highlights of Hanoi were dvd shopping, good market stalls, nice food (especially KOTOS (know one, teach one) a restaurant set up to help the street kids of Hanoi) and taking the opportunity to see Ho Chi Minh's dead body. This was quite fascinating with it hosting more guards than the Crown Jewels in the Tower of London. We also saw the Ho Chi Minh Museum. Ho Chi Minh is one of Vietnam's most famous people because he founded and headed their communist party. He was heavily involved in the victory of Vietnam against the US in the 1960's war, and his face is found on all their currency.
One night also to remember of Hanoi was when Danny had a few too many drinks with some others on our tour and found himself cycling a cyclo around the city at 2am, and yes he eventually crashed it, and now has his own wound from back in 'nam'!!
From Hanoi, we caught another overnight train, to Hue. This train had little cabins and sadly wasn't as clean as the first! We spent one evening in Hue, as it was more of a stop off point on tour, rather than a place to visit.
Our next stop was Hoi An, one of our favourite places of the tour. We spent three days here (possibly not long enough) and made the most of the cheap tailors. We both had a number of clothes made. One day we hired bicycles and cycled down to the beach. We also loved Hoi An's market and enjoyed a night out for a girl on tour's birthday.
Sadly our fun in Hoi An had to end and we flew to Saigon (also known as Ho Chi Minh City). This was similar to Hanoi, very busy, but we fortunately got out the city to visit the Cu Chi Tunnels. This was an underground village built by the Vietnamese to hide from the Americans during the Vietnam War. Here Danny got to fire a very loud, live round from a AK-47 rifle. We also experienced life as a Vietnam soldier by crawling through the tunnels. The tunnels were pitch black, as narrow as your body and were so low you had to crawl. Josie had only just got inside when she completely panicked and had to get out.
That evening we also tuned in for the FA Cup Final in our hotel room (Danny was very happy).
Our time in Vietnam then came to an end having had some amazing experiences. Next stop Cambodia!
Danny and Josie XXX