10 days, a new country and now its my turn to fill you all in on our wee trip lets see if I can live up to Rhiannons last blog. Well the last time we left you we were in Phnom Penh for the first time, we had a couple of days there and then it was off to Kratie up the Mekong River. A long but surprisingly good journey which seemed to fly by, the best type I reckon. Kratie is a small town but well worth the visit, running parallel to the Mekong river its a relaxed little town with some amazing sunsets (check out the pic). We ended up having two or three days there, in a lovely little hostel overlooking the river allowing us to sit on the balcony and watch the sun go down, not forgetting the puppies that lived there as Rhiannon has just reminded me and told me i had to tell you about them. On our first day in Kratie we went on the hunt for the elusive Mekong river dolphins, expecting to maybe spot a fin at the most we were greeted by maybe 10 or 15 dolphins popping in and out of the water as we paddled along on our little river boat. A great day, certainly not what we expected. The next day we took a little trip across on bikes to an island in the middle of the Mekong, a little 9km trip through padi fields, past pagodas and through lovely little villages with every kid shouting hello and waving. We'd started so well on the bikes we carried on into the afternoon, taking a little trip to Sambok mountain (our bums regretted it though, bikes in Cambodia are not made for there comfort! ha). So after 45mins on the bike in the blistering heat we were confronted by stairs and not just one set but three, 361 stairs to be exact! The top was amazing though-great views across the area and the temples at the top were pretty damm cool and well, very colourful.
We were coming to the end of our stay in Cambodia, and it was time to find our way across to Vietnam with many routes and a number of crossings we thought the easiest way would be too make our way back to Phnom Penh, it also meant i could go to a great bakery selling some of the best cookies i've tasted! Cinnamon ummmm! To break up the journey we stayed in a little town (well actually not that little its the third biggest in Cambodia) for the night, not the best place to stay as I think we shared that night with a number of bugs. We left for Vietnam on the morning of the 12th and after a hassle free and good journey we reached Ho Chi Minh just after lunch!
Which brings me to now, i'm lying on our bed in our hotel with air con and cable, don't get me wrong we don't usually splash out on accommodation (even though in the grand scheme of things its still cheap) but there aren't that many other choices in Ho Chi Minh and also who really wants to be trailing all over town to save a pound or two. Ho Chi Minh or Saigon as most of the Vietemese call it is a cool city full of life and around 3 million motobikes. You litterely take your life in your hands when crossing the road dodging moto after moto, everyone just seems to go without thinking there must be some unwritten rule thats says you can merge into traffic and weave in and out without looking or signalling. But hey that just adds to the fun of the city check out our night time photos of the bikes flying by. We've had one day seeing the sights of the city, where I had my own personal tour guide, Rhiannon's her name, the main sight along the way was the War Remanents museum which showed some of the many atrocities of the Vietnam war. With picture upon picture showing both sides and the ordeals they had to go through an interesting but at the same time disturbing experience! Today we carried on the same theme and visted the Cu Chi Tunnels. A huge underground maze of tunnels used by the Viet Cong to protect themsleves from the overhead american bombardment. They had underground villages from maternity clinics to artillary factories. We spent the afternoon crawling through tunnels that have been westernized, double the size from what they were but required us to crawl on our knees, unable to turn around and for a lot of the time unable to see as there are only a few lights along the way. The tunnels are on 3 levels all together. The first at 3 metres deep, the second at 6 and third at 10. All in all the tunnels spanned about 200km around the village of Cu Chi demonstrating incredible engineering during the war. The booby traps devised by the villagers were also incredible although brutal! These used to be made out of various pieces of schrapnel and old bombs dropped in the village. We finished the afternoon with a bit of snake wine (check out the snake in the bottle) really strong alcholol made from fermenting a cobra in rice wine....not exactly a wine for fine dining! Our next installment will come from the central regions, see you then. Loads of love me x