Vietnam

We spent about a month in Vietnam. The original plan was to fly from Bangkok into Hanoi and then travel south down to Ho Chi Minh City from where we would fly back to Bangkok.

Well, things didn't work out like that.

In fact we spent more or less the entire month in Hanoi, with only a couple of excursions outside the city. Roy managed a two day tour of Halong Bay and we both rented motorcycles for a day in order to go and visit the village of one of our friends.

Now, I know you probably think that this is terribly lazy, or that this can hardly be described as 'traveling'. However, we managed to justify it to ourselves on the following basis; we feel that there are two ways to travel, the first is to see the sights while the other is to meet the people. In order to do the latter sometimes it is necessary to stay around for a while in order to make some connections.

Despite rumours to the contrary, the fact that our hotel had the first hot shower we have seen since we left England had nothing what-so-ever to do with our reluctance to leave Hanoi!

Instead we found the people of Hanoi so engaging we simply didn't feel the need to move on.

It started when we arrived at the airport with neither Dong nor Dollar having convinced ourselves that money changing facilities would be available at the airport. Wrong!

Our flight was severely delayed (one and a half days!) and we finally arrived at the airport long after all the sensible people had gone home to bed. We would have been stranded but for a young cutie named Thu who rescued us. She allowed us to share her taxi knowing we had no money and dropped us off at the guest house mentioned in our guide book at about 2am.

Naturally the guest house was full. The girl, Thom, at the guest house immediately began phoning around other guest houses in order to find us a place to stay, and finally led us by the hand to another place a few streets away.

This was a great first impression of Vietnam and it's people for us. And the more we got to meet the locals of Hanoi, and the better we got to know them the more enamoured we were. So we stayed. In fact I think we left only because our visas were due to expire, and much as we like the Vietnamese, I have no desire to see the inside of one of their jails!

We acclimatised to life in Hanoi so well that with the guidance of some of our friends we were soon enjoying eating at the street corner restaurants after singing karaoke!

The family at the Manh Dung guest house (very highly recommend, just off Hang Bong in the old quarter) deserve a special mention because they were very good to us and made us feel very at home. Thanks guys!

Oh! And Thom, stop sleeping you lazy girl and get on with your homework!

Here are the some of the people and places we visited. You can see the appropriate photographs by following the links. We decided not to have a separate section for people on this page as we think that for us, the people were the place!

And also because it's two thirty in the morning and I've got a cold and I want to go to bed

Vietnam, we salute you!

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Thanh caught unawares
Roy salutes Vietnam

Return to Vietnam

After our adventures in Koh Chang and Cambodia we returned to Vietnam. We visited Ning Binh before Roy returned to Thailand. Ninh Binh many thousands of years ago was under the sea so it has some wonderful scenery with natural caves and rock formations. Here are just a few of our photos:

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After which Thanh and I went to visit her family in Vinh:

Thanh's parents Thanh & Son #01 Thanh & Son #02

In Vinh we also visited the family home of Ho Chi Minh, which was nothing more than a peasants cottage, unfortantely in their efforts to commemorate the great man there are also a number of statues in his honor, one of which depciting him as a Buddha I feel very sure he would not have liked. Still people wre encouraged to pray in front of it.

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From there we then went on to see Hue. Here there are a number of magnificent royal tombs and Pogadas. Here are a few photos that I managed to take before running out of film for the camera. Signfifcantly there are no photos of the royal Citadel in the center of Hue city, which was home to the last king of Vietnam and is very beautiful and well worth a visit!

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Having spent a month in Vietnam with Thanh, I then flew back to Bangkok to meet Roy and to begin the next leg of our journey; Bali and then Australia, Mate! Naturally I expect to be returning to Vietnam as I am a bit of a lovesick puppy......

See you the Bali page in about a week or so!