A Travellerspoint blog

Vietnam

Cat Ba Island!

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We got a bus, moped and hydrofoil boat to get to Cat Ba. We left Hanoi at 5 in the morning and were in Cat Ba town by midday. P1060773.jpg There were slight complications with our hotel when we arrived and we ended up having to find somewhere else, but it got sorted in the end! Cat Ba is an island in the middle of Halong Bay, famous for being a set in several James Bond movies, with famous big rocky islands scattered around the bay. P1060775.jpg Unfortunatly, the weather has been a bit overcast, but its quite good as we dont burn as much! We didnt realise before coming to the island that its currently the school holidays in Vietnam and this is the place they all seem to come by the looks of it! The beaches were heaving this afternoon, so much so that we couldnt face it! We shall try again tomorrow. P1060776.jpg

We hired a moped today and went to explore the island as the harbour front where we are staying is over crowded to say the least! The rest of the island is so quiet and stunning its like a different world out there. We drove all the way to the north of the island and that took us 1hr and 30 mins to get that far, so we turned back as we didnt want to run out of petrol! Cat Ba is really pretty though, and we have the whole of tomorrow as well to go to the beach again! P1060790.jpgP1060799.jpg

We leave Cat Ba the day after and head back to Hanoi for one night before we get the bus the next morning to Nanning in China!

We hope you are all well,

Lots of Love,
Chris and Alex xxx

p.s. We may add something tomorrow depending on what we choose to do!!

Posted by chrisalex 03:45 Archived in Vietnam Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

Hanoi!!

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We got a really long train from Hue to Hanoi the other day, which took 14 hours. The air con wasn't as good as we would have hoped and the guy we had to share our compartment with kept playing his casette player really loud, but it could have been a lot worse! We got to Hanoi at night, so we went straight to bed. On the following day, we spent most of the morning booking our bus into China, and our mode of transport to Halong Bay and back. Both of which we managed to get sorted, the latter through an attendent at the bus station with whom we ended up speaking german to! Random! After this we visited a Confucious temple on an island in the middle of the city's lake! P1060742.jpgP1060747.jpg We finished off the day by visiting Hanoi's cathedral - very francais! P1060753.jpg

Today we got up very early and got a taxi moped (the only way to get around the gridlocked streets) to go and see Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum, which was absolutley heaving with people at 8am! P1060763.jpg We had to check in everything we were carrying and then were filed past the clear coffin in single file and in silence. After this we also went to see where he lived - in a little stilt house apparently! P1060767.jpg Chris and I have doubts as to whether he is real, lets just say he looked a bit rubbery! After that we got another moped to go to the famous Hanoi Hilton Prison (Hoa Low), which was where John McCain was tortured and held prisoner throughout the war. P1060769.jpg Quite an interesting place, but much of the complex of buildings have been knocked down, so you can only see a few cells. After that we got another scooter back through the winding streets to the air con of the hotel room! Hanoi is really great, its completly mad and hectic like any capital city! Each of the streets sells a different thing, so there is a whole street that just sells sunglasses, and one which sells cuddly toys and on and on...really traditional! It still looks very french with big road crossings and lots of lakes and trees everywhere. P1060740.jpg

We leave Hanoi tomorrow to get a bus to Cat Ba island, which is in Halong Bay (the James Bond islands). We will be there for a few days before coming back to Hanoi for a night and then leaving the next morning on our bus to Nanning in China!

Hope everyone is well,
Missing you all lots,
Lots of Love
Chris and Alex xxx

Posted by chrisalex 02:57 Archived in Vietnam Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

Hue!!

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We got a train from Hoi An the other day, which was only 4 hours long, but ended up being possibly the longest 4 hours of our lives! Just our luck that not only were we stuck in a carriage where everyone wanted to recline their seats on us and go to sleep, but the Air Con within the carriage decided to die halfway through the journey. Of course the train attendants didn’t notice and we melted away until they turned it back on 5 minutes before we landed in Hue! Just typical! Either way we were glad to get off the train, and we got our pick up to the hotel (which turned out to be 2 scooters) and flew through the streets of Hue to the hotel!

Hue is very pretty, and still quite French looking with big boulevards mixing with smaller narrower streets. It has somehow mixed French and Vietnamese culture quite easily, creating a very laid back town! It is pronounced her-whay, as there is supposed to be an accent on the e at the end a la Francais! We hired a scooter yesterday as it is the best way to see the town mainly because the main sights are quite spread out really. P1060739.jpg We started off going further down the river (called the perfume river...Chris and I have yet to detect that perfume scent, but its a pretty name nonetheless!) to go and see a famous old Thien Mu pagoda, which is now considered the symbol of Vietnam. P1060693.jpg Its on a hill and over looks the whole river and the town, a lovely site for such a relaxing temple.

After that we tootled back down into town and went to explore the famous citadel, which is massive! There are 3 bridges to get across the moat and through the wall, one for the emperor, one for his advisors (called Mandarins) and the other for the servants and soldiers!! The famous bit is the palace in the middle, so we went and saw how the other side used to live. P1060709.jpgP1060722.jpg It was very impressive despite the fact that it was heavily destroyed in both a massive earthquake in 1947 and the war in the 70s. After that we drove around the rest of the citadel, which was like another world, a lot quieter than the town on the other side of the wall!

After visiting the citadel, we drove across the river and headed south along the river banks to find the famous royal tombs, where the emperor and his family were buried. After getting lost a couple of times we found them in the end, just before they closed! It was more of a small village complex than a tomb, but very impressive, with steps and bridges over water symbolising his journey! P1060736.jpg Very nice and peaceful. After that we headed back to town.

Today we haven’t really done that much, just some catching up with ourselves really. Tomorrow we get an early morning train to the capital, Hanoi, which is where we will be staying for a 3 days!

We hope everyone is well, missing you all lots,
Lots of Love
Chris and Alex xxx

Posted by chrisalex 01:56 Archived in Vietnam Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

Hoi An!!

and My Son...

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Our train from Nha Trang was ace, we had a little compartment with 4 beds in it and amazing air con all to ourselves for the first few hours of the journey - where there was also great scenary! P1060627.jpgP1060634.jpgP1060636.jpg We were joined by a quiet woman a few hours in, who just slept for the whole journey, which was fine by us! We got to Danang about 20 minutes late and then got a taxi the last hour to Hoi An (there is no train station in Hoi An, so this is the only way to get there!). Hoi An is so pretty, its like the Vietnam that time forgot! Firstly its very french with small windy streets and low rise houses all with shutters on them. P1060640.jpgP1060651.jpgP1060654.jpg The waterfront by the river is typically French, very open with lots of restaurants and stalls! P1060665.jpgP1060669.jpgP1060680.jpg We went walking around yesterday and went to see the few sights on offer here, including the Japanese covered bridge which was built in 1593 and some old other buildings! P1060641.jpg There are not that many sights on offer here, but its more of a place to absorb and just walk around the windy streets. Its quite hard to get lost as the French only build towns using the grid format, bravo! We are both totally in love with Hoi An, its so adorable - we even bought pointy hats!! P1060666.jpg Its famous for making clothes, as it costs about 60 - 70 pounds to get a suit custom made for you, maybe next time!

Today we went to the nearby ruins of My Son (pronounced Mee Sonn, much to our disappointment), which were really interesting! They are old Cham (ancient Hindu empire) ruins, which were unfortunatly badly damaged during the vietnam war, but are still pretty impressive nonetheless. P1060684.jpgP1060685.jpgP1060686.jpg We walked around for about an hour before getting a taxi back to Hoi An. We leave Hoi An tomorrow afternoon to get a short train further up the cost to Hue.

We hope you are all well,
Missing you lots,

Lots of Love,
Chris and Alex xxx

Posted by chrisalex 06:46 Archived in Vietnam Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

Nha Trang!!

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We got our first Vietnamese train from Ho Chi Minh City to Nha Trang the other day, and it was interesting to say the least. P1060595.jpg The trains here are very old and not in the best of condition. The AC was pretty dire and our carriage was full of children as well, joy of joys! We made it in the end, nearly 2 hours late and tired out. When we got here it turned out that our room had been double booked by accident, so they had booked us into a nearby hotel for one night until our orginal room was free. Not really a problem, and we moved back to original choice the following morning (where she gave us a bigger room for the same price - woohoo!). Theres not much to see and do here apart from laze around on the beach, which is exactly what we did. P1060596.jpgP1060600.jpgP1060602.jpgP1060611.jpg The beach is amazing, really good for swimming and very clear! We have basically spent 2 days just relaxing on the beach, good times! It's the school holidays over here as well, so the beach has been rather busy as well! We have had a really relaxing couple of days and we get a very early train tomorrow morning to go to Hoi An, which we are both looking forward to!

Hope you are all well,
Missing you lots,
Lots of Love,
Chris and Alex xxx

Posted by chrisalex 04:49 Archived in Vietnam Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

Ho Chi Minh City!!

HCMC

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Greetings from Vietnam! We got a bus from Phnom Penh, which took us all the way to Ho Chi Minh City, obviously stopping at the border. It was pretty quick and painless and we managed to get through the border in less than an hour. It took us another hour or so to make it through the sprawling suburbs of HCMC, but we got to the centre at about 3pm. So far we both really like Vietnam, the people are lovely and things are cheap! Its full of small windy roads and billions and billions of mopeds! P1060594.jpg They all walk around with the famous pointy hats on as well, its really ace! We just relaxed for the rest of yesterday and had a quick walk around. Today we went sightseeing and walked to see the colonial buildings and Cathedral which were left by the French, and very impressive they were to - including the post office which we only happened to stumble upon! P1060578.jpgP1060579.jpgP1060580.jpg

After that we went and had a look round the Reunification Palace, which is full of large stately rooms! P1060584.jpgP1060585.jpgP1060589.jpg From there we went to the War Museum, which was really interesting. A one-sided view of the Vietnam War (called The American War of Aggression in Vietnam). The museum was basically a collection of photos showing how cruel the Americans were, along with the obligatory tank, plane and bomb. P1060586.jpg It was very interesting nevertheless, a side of the war that we don't really see. Thats about it for HCMC, so we headed back to the Air-Con room after that, as it gets very hot here.!

We managed to book all our trains on the first afternoon here, so we are relieved that we can now stick to the schedule! Tomorrow afternoon we are geting on a train which will take about 6 hours to get to Nha Trang, which is a beachy place and where we will be for the next couple of days!

Hope you are all well,
Missing you all lots,
Lots of Love,

Chris and Alex xxx

Posted by chrisalex 05:46 Archived in Vietnam Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

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