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Showing posts from August, 2018

Hanoi & Bai Tu Bay

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I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before but the traffic in the major cities of Vietnam is crazy and Hanoi was of course no exception. After an uneventful train journey in more drizzling rain we arrived at Hanoi about mid-day and got a Grab taxi to our hotel in the Old Quarter. Our hotel was called Golden Moon, a very nice mid-range place with not much character but really comfy beds. First impressions of Hanoi were obviously of the traffic but that there was also a cool, quirky undercurrent that you felt as you walked past art shops, egg coffee cafes and weird looking food places. There is a huge lake at the bottom of the old quarter with a busy road that they shut off to traffic on a Sunday. It then fills with families, children doing surveys, young pop acts making music videos, circus performers, young couples and older generations all just enjoying their Sunday together.

Obviously one of the first things we did was find pub street as we had heard this was a source of the Bir Hoi that w…

Ninh Binh

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4am and our alarm clock went off. Great!

That went down well with our hangovers as we quickly packed the final few bits and made our way down to reception to check out and get a taxi. Except no one was about, but as we chatted about what to do, a voice popped up from behind the reception desk and a young lad who had obviously been on the floor sleeping, popped his head up and said Good Morning.
After telling him we were checking out, he remembered the call we made to reception last night to advise them of our early check out, and he called someone to bring our breakfast boxes down to us and called us a taxi. The taxi arrived before the breakfast boxes, probably the guy who was to make them was sleeping too.

Anyway we got to the station on time, and the ticket counter was closed. There was a girl sleeping behind the desk on the floor (bit of a theme occurring here for nightshift workers), and a short while later she awoke as we went to speak to her to get our tickets printed off that…

Hue

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I was quite excited about our next method of transport as we were heading over the Hai Van Pass on the back of motorbikes. Our guides Phu & Rin arrived just after 8am, strapped our bags on the back and then we were off. Phu took us through the vegetable village in town which is where all the veg is grown for market. It looks like a neat, tidy and huge allotment…. very impressive.
We’d asked for our first stop to be at the Linh Ung Pagoda on the Da Nang peninsula, as this is where the large statue of Lady Buddha is located. This is the largest statue of lady buddha in Vietnam, at 67m and bright white she can be seen from anywhere in Da Nang, gazing over the bay. Although early in the morning there was still a lot of tourists and worshipers but as it’s well away from the town and the traffic it was still quite peaceful. They also have the most amazing display of huge bonsai trees in front of the pagoda, which used to be a very time-consuming hobby of my own and it was lovely to see…

Hoi An

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Our bus arrived on time for a 7pm departure and we were shown round to it by one of the reps. This bus was a 41-bed sleeper coach, which is basically 3 rows of small reclined seats the full length of the bus, with them also being bunk bed style. There is not a lot of room to move, made even harder if you are on the bottom like we were with the ladders for the top bunks getting in the way. Your feet go into a small enclosure which is under the person in front. We chose the bottom and right at the back, hoping for it to be quieter as less people walking past you. You can recline the chair up a bit, but pointless when on bottom as can’t sit properly due to the top bunk.
Despite having air con on the coach, we found the lower bunks have a poorer flow, and the middle row doesn’t even have any above it at all, which made this an uncomfortable and warm journey. It also didn’t help that we picked the back of the bus, nearest the engine so we got heat coming in from there too.


I had read tha…

Nha Trang

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Oh my! The heat which had slowly been getting hotter the further north we went in Vietnam, was pretty unbearable by the time we hit Nha Trang.

Nha Trang is a fairly built up seaside town but you have long white sandy beaches with well maintained park areas offering some shade, big city malls with delicious air conditioning, skyscraper resorts and expensive beach bars rubbing shoulders with grubby street food shacks, karaoke bars and a lot of building work. We were staying at a place called Funny House and had booked an apartment with balcony for 5 nights, which was perfect as we got the luxury of a fridge and freezer in the room. The owners also run the café downstairs which is where breakfast is served, and you can always get a warm ginger tea or cold beer. The breakfast choice was good with options of eggs any way with the baguette style rolls, French toast, fresh fruit and the drip coffee with condensed milk was lovely, which you could have hot or iced.
As I mentioned the heat a…