Found my draft blog ......
We're in the frame of mind at the mo where we would like to call Vietnam Vietscam....or Scamnam. Not so endearing...they are hellbent on outrageously overcharging you here (most evident between hoi an to hanoi....)
Life would be so much easier if there were price tags - haggling and negotiating the price is tiring! Travel reviews warn you that the route between Hoi An - Hanoi - to Halong bay are well known for hotel hustles and transport-excursion scams...those selling anything look truly upset if they can't wildly rip you off by 4 or 5 times too much the price! One stall actually refused selling us a coca cola because we weren't prepared to pay tourist price, but then the next stall along sold us for less (perhaps he had sold nothing that day!?).....Buying anything is a mission every time! The menu's in Hanoi are almost London prices without the quality.
Has shown us how Cambodia is a bit further behind on tourism money making....a cookery class there was 15 dollars in comparison to 30 dollars everywhere we've been in Vietnam.
Hoi An was the most charming ancient town we've stayed. The town was previously known as 'faifo' - used as a Japanese port in the 15th century. Besides being colourful and traditional, it is renowned for clothes tailoring (north face and other good brands of clothing and rucksacks are made in Vietnam and sold cheaper in the shops here). Hoi An was expensive and upmarket, but we didn't mind paying higher prices to stay and eat in such a beautiful little town. It's very geared towards tourism here in the way Cornwall is. The town has flooded seriously in the past - quite a few cafes and restaurants have recorded flood levels on the top of their walls close to the ceiling.
In Hoi An we stayed a few nights in a hotel called the wind bell home stay on Cam Nam island, along the Thu Bon river. Although further from Ang Ban beach, we picked this because it was closer to walk into the old quarter by the river and had a swimming pool. Unlike the UK, you get into a pool here to find it's too warm, and go inside and shut windows to cool down in the AC!
Food highlights in Hoi An were eating their cao lau for breakfast (rice noodles, fish sauce, mint and banana leaves with strips of pork and fistfuls of lime and chilli!) The cuisine here is a great mix of Chinese, Japanese and French!
The expats we met in hoi an had lovely pet doggies so of course we had to ask about the tradition of dog eating here and whether they worried about the safety of their pets. They told us that apparently around Tet is the worst time for dog napping. They have seen the locals bundle dogs off the street and into cages on the back of their mopeds then scooting off.
They also told us we wouldn't be likely to ever eat dog by accident because its kept as such a delicacy involving big money making potential - almost black market..
However, Having said that - we saw a whole cooked dog on a market stall table....looked how I'd expect a suckling pig to be presented but it was bearing its teeth. Hmmmmmm not so nice!!! I've since heard that like korea, its only one particular dog species that are bred for eating here.