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Vietnam

Hoi An

all seasons in one day 100 °F
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My first impression of Hoi An is that it reminds me of Cuba, simply beautiful. Well for me Hoi An was first and for most about the shopping. So you guessed it I shopped till I dropped. The place is just amazing and the quality of things which you can get made in such a short space of time leave you just speechless. Suits made in a day, jewellery made in a matter of hours, shoes, glasses (yes precripton ones...) you name it they do it.

Of course I have had a field day, let's just say all my friends will certainly notice the difference in me when I eventually return home. Apart from shopping Hoi An has things to see and do, we cycled along the river, we took a boat to visit the local area which was just stunning once, you left the main busy area.

My tour guide has been fantastic making sure that we do not miss out on anything in each city from trying the local food, and visiting all the important places, which without him I would not have been able to see. We even managed to squeeze in a BBQ on the beach, which was very different to say the least, started out with beautiful sunshine, which ended with us running for shelter from the thunder and lighting which happended in a matter of seconds. Good job I remembered my rain mac... We packed a lot in for the short time we were in Hoi An but it was enough for us to see all the major sights and have a fab time.

Next stop Hue.....

Posted by djAsia2010 07:29 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Vietnam

Hue

sunny 102 °F
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We arrived in the afternoon, hit the ground running straight away with a cyclo tour, which was fast easy, covenient and cheap to get a good feel for the place. Given this is the place we will be spending the shortest time!!!! NO time to waste, so much to see and so much to explore.

Group dinner was in order followed, by drinks at one of the busy local places, where a few of us danced the night away, whilst others myself included slopped off to bed due to the early start in the morning, travelling around by motorbike, so we can cover much more ground and really see the true Hue, and experience a little of local life. Only reason for the early night, the drivers are crazy in this place, so really need to have your wits about you.

The motorbike ride I will remember for as long as I live the driver was very experienced, if you have ever been to Vietnam you will know why..... just crazy, zebra crossings do not mean anything, bikes, cars, trucks, just keep driving traffic lights which deemed to be nothing more than extra street lighting...lol...... it is almost like you are invisable. Have to say I have become accustomed to just walking slowly across the road, and letting the locals miss me, rather than worrying about them....just have to remember that in the UK it is totally different, as I will most likely be knocked over in a second of returning home. Oh and in the US I could get locked up for 'J' Walking... lol

So what did I get in Hue or what do they specialise in...... precription Sunglasses and glasses!!! I went to the most amazing place to get mine, managed to turn my glasses around in such a short space of time, which was just bliss. Why is it that we can't do such a fast turn around in the UK, plus they cost a fortune, ok so are you ready for this a set of precription glasses and sunglasses for just 100 pounds... yes sterling... you are not seeing things. Those of you that may be passing through, I recommend you stop at.... Kinh Duc, 05 Hung Vuong, Hue www.kinhduc.com.vn well worth the money and yes of course I brought myself some glasses at this place, I would have been an idoit not to. So if you stop by tell them that Dee from the UK recommended the place to you.

Next stop Hanoi/Ha Long Bay (one of the 7 wonders of the world)......

Posted by djAsia2010 07:48 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Vietnam

Hanoi

sunny 95 °F
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Hanoi is just as beautiful as ever. This time I am staying in the Old Quarter, which is busy and busting with motorbikes of course, Vietnam is the same everywhere you go. Unlike the South the people in the North like to dress sharp and things are more expensive and we have moved from the local currency to everything being priced up in US dollars, no real surprise there!!!! This time I am going to make sure, that I use up all the local currency, after having problems at the airport the last time in Hanoi and them wanting US dollars only. Hence my return within less than a year.

Anyway the usual cyclo tour had to be done, cheapest and easiest way to get to know a place and see what it has to offer, you must have that drummed in by now..... Ok the evening was mapped out in advance with a Water Puppet show followed by dinner, all nice and straight forward finishing off with a few beers in the backpacking area..... sitting on a dusty street corner, drinking cheap larger and watchinig the world go by. Backpackers paradise.........

Good thing about Hanoi is that shopping is easy, given they have streets for everything, shoe street, bag/suitcase street, chemist street, toy street what a brillant idea, surprises me that it is not the same in a lot more destinations around the world.

We are slowly coming to the end of the Vietnam Experience tour, next stop Ha Long Bay... one of the seven wonders of the world... just amazing... loved it so much last year, lets hope the sun is shining this year, so I get to take some amazing pictures....

Posted by djAsia2010 03:07 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Vietnam

Ha Long Bay

sunny 110 °F
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After a 4 hour bus trip from Hanoi, we finally arrived at the amazing 7 wonders of the world Ha Long Bay... the place is more beautiful than I remembered... maybe it was due to the sun shining it was truly amazing. I feel so lucky and blessed to have had this experience twice in my life.

The fishing village and the people who live there, most of whom have never left the bay, were as happy as ever with the simple things in life and there simple living conditions. A reminder that you do not need to have lots of things to be happy, just simple basics, life is what you make it after all. Plus I guess these people do not know anything different. They are very good at using resources and making things, nothing goes to waste that's for sure.

I managed to get lots of pictures of the bay, yes I am very happy with them all....last year my trip was not so good as the weather was not as good to me as this time around. I am very grateful for that....

The boat experience this time was different, I thought we would be on a shared boat, but it was just the group which I have been touring with from the beginning of my Vietnam experience, I was looking forward to meeting new people, but never mind, I still have plenty of time left on my adventure, will be in a new location next week, meeting new people. Have been very lucky with the group, everyone is nice, in particular my two new friends for life Kerry and Christine, we have all had such a laugh.. we have had early mornings and late nights, nothing gets us down, it has been a pleasure sharing this experience with them. Ladies I hope you get to read this one day and know that I appreciate the times we shared on this trip. Oh and yes I have not forgot my promise of visiting you both in Australia at some point.

So after two days and one night in Ha Long Bay we covered it all, The Caves; Fishing Village; Swimming and Canoeing.... all fantastic fun. On the way back we visited the Pearl Factor where lots of us of course brought pearls, I did not buy any... think I have brought enough... still have other places to go... plus have to admit I did not want to start struggling with the luggage allowance. Why is it that different airlines, have different weight all so annoying... as I have already had to pay excess luggage twice... stop laughing.... no I did not take the kitchen sink with me.

Posted by djAsia2010 03:19 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Vietnam

Goodbye

sunny 103 °F
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Ok this evening is my last night.... I have done and seen so much in such a short space of time. Vietnam will always hold a special place in my heart, people are amazing, I have packed in so much it is hard to remember everything. So my highlights of this trip are:-

  • Shooting an AK47, yes I have a photo to prove it....
  • Going through the war tunnels
  • Spending the day on the back of a motorbike touring... would definatley recommond
  • Mekong Visit... staying with the locals (love Mrs Moi)
  • Shopping in Hoi An (having clothes, shoes and jewellery made....)
  • Meeting new people some of whom I will never forget.

After dinner this evening, goodbye Hanoi/Vietnam.... next stop Bangkok.....

Last group dinner was at Koto such a lovely place which helps children in the community......will tell you more about Koto another time.

I will not be forgetting last night in a hurry, Christine, Kerry and I all left the group early as I for one had to be up at 5:00am in the morning to head to the airport for my flight. Well in good old Vietnamese style the taxi driver even after being told by our tour guide decided in his local language where we were going.... yes you guessed it - to drive around in circles for ages.... I talked to him straight away and informed the girls... He can drive around as much as he likes....he will be paid 50 Vietnamese dong which is how much it should cost. After stopping and making out he was really lost even after me telling him to turn off the meter the three times he got out the cab...he did not listen. In fact he took the time to stop and chat to what appeared to be his friends on the street, pointing all the time, like he was trying to get directions.

When I told him enough was enough, and the meter was now at 97 Vietnamese dong and still increasing... , he decided to pull up at the hotel down the road from ours which was on the same street.... I gave him the 50 Vietnamese dong and we all left the taxi where he chased us into our hotel reception shouting in his mother tongue.... Thank heavens for the guys on reception speaking good English, I told them our side of the story, and then asked if they could kindly tell the driver due to him trying to take advantage of us, he was not getting a penny more, with this we made a swift exit to our rooms. After 30 mins, I called reception to see if he had left and the guys were ok, they informed me they had to give driver another 40 Vietnamese dong before he would leave. Vu our excellent tour guide to the rescue, was left to deal with our final part of our trip upsets. What would we have done without him.

Vu a huge thanks for looking after us so well. Have learnt a lot from you that will serve me well on the rest of my advanture.

Looking forward to see what the rest of my trip has to offer.

Posted by djAsia2010 03:38 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

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