A Travellerspoint blog

tạm biệt Vietnam

Vietnam

overcast 22 °C
View Vietnam on GT Travel's travel map.

tạm biệt Vietnam (Goodbye Vietnam).

This is just for a short while. I will be back, very soon. Vietnam is an amazing place and all the people I met from around the world will confirm this. Everybody I spoke to said this is one of the most beautiful countries they ever visited. You won't find many Supermarkets in Vietnam. I asked a guide one day why this is? I got a very simple answer: "Where will the people meet and exchange gossip?". That and the government is supporting free trade in order for everyone to make a living.

To all my Vietnamese friends, Vinh, Peter, Alex, Tinh, Kien , Tahn, the twins (Sun and Jen), Julia, Mao, the terrible trio from Bana Hills and all the amazing and funny tour guides, thanks for making everyone feel welcome in your wonderful country.

My fellow traveling friends: Uncle Brian, the Scot who married the lovely Philippine lady, Mui. Good luck with the operation. I still say, to have worked in 65 countries must be some kind of record. The friends Peter (Bruce Lee) and Kim from Korea, enjoy your world trip, I will book the trip to Table Mountain when you there. To all the other friends from New Zealand, Australia, Russia, UK, Chezch Republic, Singapore, Spain, Colombia, Scotland and the USA, Bon Voyage, you rock.

For the new traveler some tips and advise (use it, don't use it):
Don't plan any trips, go to Vietnam and book your trips there. Eat the local food. Observe to see the most popular spots where the locals go and join in. They will make you feel welcome very quick. Be friendly, it is amazing to see what a hello with a smile can do. Don't get angry (I have seen this with some foreigners) when they want to sell you something, they also want to make a living, you won't survive with $50 a month, will you? (Average income). Walk wherever you can. This is when you see and experience the most of this country.

In the words of Uncle Ho (Ho Chi Minh) "Trong Trai Tim Toi" - Vietnam is in my heart.

Sapa_139.jpgSapa_091.jpg
Hanoi_City_058.jpgHanoi_City_004.jpg
Hoa_Luc_Tam_Coc_108.jpgHoa_Luc_Tam_Coc_090.jpg
Hoa_Luc_Tam_Coc_049.jpgHalong_Bay_082.jpg
Halong_Bay_051.jpgBana_Hills_113.jpg
Bana_Hills_063.jpgDaNang_072.jpg
Vung_Tay__..et_Show_072.jpgVung_Tay__..et_Show_076.jpg
Vung_Tay__..et_Show_023.jpg

Posted by GT Travel 00:08 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Odds and Evens 2 (Hanoi)

Hanoi

sunny 24 °C
View Vietnam on GT Travel's travel map.

Whenever you go to Hanoi and you visit Hoan Kiem Lake (best area to stay), there is a little sidewalk restaurant at the lake called Ho Guom Cafe. Ask for Bun Cha (pork hot pot, fresh greens and rice noodles). This is one of the best dishes I had on my visit to Vietnam.
SAM_0380.jpg
SAM_0381.jpg

This one is for my dad, new Mazda 6, and its white
SAM_0383.jpg
SAM_0384.jpg

These tables were everywhere in Sapa. This is there BBQ table. You pick what you want and they BBQ it for you. There is some amazing meat and dishes here.
SAM_0385.jpg
SAM_0386.jpg

Children are very helpful and respectful towards their parents and the elderly. Most children will help their parents in the restaurants or like below, sell products on street on the days they not working. Because this is a very poor country, every person in the family works to earn a living. Most children learn to cook from the age of 4 years in order to look after their younger siblings. This assists the parents because they have to work through the day.
SAM_0387.jpg
SAM_0411.jpg

Some more pictures of the fresh market in Sapa, yes those are goat testicles and no, I did not try these.
SAM_0390.jpg
SAM_0391.jpg

Everywhere in Vietnam you see people sitting on the sidewalk having a meal. They love food and you can even buy your meat from these vendors (second pic). Like the ladies in Sapa, this is also a social gathering and meeting place. And of course you can spot the popular hang outs. Sometimes there is no walking space and you have to walk in the road, facing the traffic of course. The streets are named after the product that is sold in that street. This one "pho" is named after the famous dish in Vietnam. There is literally only eating places in this street.
SAM_0395.jpg
SAM_0396.jpg
SAM_0397.jpg
SAM_0406.jpg

This is an awesome drink. Fresh passion fruit with black jelly. It is like drinking desert. Friendly people in Vietnam, you just need to smile. The last pic is some franchise in Vietnam that sells fast food. For my international friends, the word "Doner" in Afrikaans means to hit somebody very hard or is sometimes used for expression when you are very angry.
SAM_0402.jpg
SAM_0403.jpg
SAM_0404.jpg

Hanoi city
SAM_0398.jpg
SAM_0399.jpg
SAM_0405.jpg
SAM_0408.jpg
SAM_0409.jpg
SAM_0410.jpg
SAM_0424.jpg
SAM_0425.jpg
SAM_0426.jpg
SAM_0427.jpg

This is the size of chairs that you find on the street. Yes, one has to sit on this to have a drink or eat. Then there was this, certain places in Hanoi serves these beers (Bia). A draft cost only $0.25 or R2.50 in my country. You have to drink this before 10 am otherwise the locals would finish it without you even a have a chance to taste. The other pic was my companions at this particular establishment.
SAM_0429.jpg
SAM_0430.jpg
SAM_0431.jpg
SAM_0432.jpg
SAM_0434.jpg

Pencil sketches:
SAM_0423.jpg

At night, families go out to enjoy time with each other. Children play in the park and parents enjoy exercise. You still think it is a bad idea that facebook was only allowed since this year? The 3 elderly men is waiting to spot one of the sacred turtles at Hoan Kiem Lake.
SAM_0416.jpg
SAM_0417.jpg
SAM_0421.jpg

The friendly staff at Thaison Palace. The staff is extremely friendly and professional. I can definitely vouch for this hotel, excellent. Richie and Peter in first pic, the second pic: Joe, Henry, Loan and Nancy.
SAM_0413.jpg
SAM_0435.jpg

Posted by GT Travel 23:32 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Sapa (Trekking) Day 2 - Cat Cat Waterfall

Sapa

semi-overcast 23 °C
View Vietnam on GT Travel's travel map.

So the first day was misty and overcast but the second day started with a stunning view from my room, a glimpse of mount Fransipan in the background:
Sapa_134.jpgSapa_136.jpgSapa_138.jpgSapa_140.jpgSapa_144.jpgSapa_145.jpg

The trek to Cat Cat Waterfall. It was easy 3km walk down, a different walk back, not for the weak. This was all worthwhile.
Sapa_152.jpgSapa_167.jpgSapa_170.jpgSapa_171.jpgSapa_175.jpgSapa_178.jpgSapa_181.jpgSapa_182.jpgSapa_185.jpg

We were treated to dance and music. The one guy was playing the funny looking flute and moving around. He never once stopped playing.
Sapa_193.jpgSapa_194.jpgSapa_196.jpgSapa_199.jpg

Yes, they even sold biltong. Not bad tasting at all. They actually put the biltong back on the fire to braai the meat. The lady was quite taken back when I took a piece of biltong and ate it (raw, according to them) without braai.
Sapa_200.jpg

The walk back:
Sapa_201.jpgSapa_204.jpgSapa_211.jpg

Ornaments made from bamboo:
Sapa_155.jpg

Sapa people is extremely handy and they only use nature to make natural colors for their handicraft (I know my mother is now saying "Oo Adoons look here"):
Sapa_160.jpgSapa_163.jpgSapa_164.jpg

The Banana tree's flower is very beautiful but also edible.
Sapa_209.jpg

Back in Sapa town, excellent coffee, again.
Sapa_212.jpgSapa_213.jpgSapa_223.jpgSapa_226.jpgSapa_228.jpg

The fresh market, frogs, eels, chicken hearts and bamboo worms. The hoofs are kept for the people to see what animal it is:
Sapa_214.jpgSapa_215.jpgSapa_216.jpgSapa_217.jpgSapa_218.jpgSapa_219.jpg

I was watching these ladies for a while. I came to the conclusion that because there is no internet and very few of them has got phones, the market is the place where they share new patterns, colors etc:
Sapa_224.jpg

This needs no explanation, it means the same in any language:
Sapa_237.jpg

The train back to Hanoi. The first photo - someone really needs to put the keys where it can be found. Tommy (Italy) and Jane (Australia) that shared the berth.
Sapa_244.jpgSapa_246.jpg

Posted by GT Travel 02:27 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Sapa (Trekking)

Sapa

overcast 23 °C
View Vietnam on GT Travel's travel map.

On the border of China lies a beautiful place called Sapa. This is one of the main areas for growing rice and is situated high up the hills. The Fansipan Mountain, which is the highest mountain in Indochina at 3143 metres, borders Sapa. It was very misty but still was the perfect day for a 12km trek. The trip started in Hanoi on Friday night when I caught the train to Sapa. It is a 9 hour drive but there is now busses running from Hanoi to Sapa, 5 hours.
Sapa_001.jpgSapa_002.jpg
270_Sapa_003.jpg
270_Sapa_004.jpg

Vida and Lynette from Singapore, joining on the trip
Sapa_005.jpg

Sapa and one of the the ethnic groups, the black H'mong.
Sapa_012.jpg
Sapa_013.jpg
Sapa_014.jpg
The Bamboo tree can grow 10m and higher within a year.
270_Sapa_019.jpg
Sapa_024.jpg
Sapa_027.jpg
Sapa_035.jpg
Sapa_039.jpg
Sapa_047.jpg
Sapa_048.jpg
Sapa_053.jpg
Sapa_056.jpg
Sapa_060.jpg
Sapa_061.jpg
Sapa_073.jpg
Sapa_064.jpg
Sapa_067.jpg
Sapa_077.jpg
Sapa_090.jpg
Sapa_091.jpg
Sapa_093.jpg
270_Sapa_097.jpg
Sapa_098.jpg
270_Sapa_110.jpg
Sapa_113.jpg
Sapa_114.jpg
Sapa_129.jpg
Sapa_130.jpg

Beautiful tour guide, Mao
Sapa_016.jpg

A plant that is used to make Indigo colour
Sapa_082.jpg

A house of a local farmer. The children all share one bed. The bags are rice.
Sapa_085.jpg
270_Sapa_086.jpg
Sapa_087.jpg
Sapa_088.jpg

Day ended with dance and lunch (Sweet & Sour prawn, honey basted duck, beef & mushroom, greens and corn soup)
Sapa_118.jpg
Sapa_120.jpg
Sapa_123.jpg
270_Sapa_121.jpg
Sapa_122.jpg

Posted by GT Travel 03:03 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Hanoi City

Hanoi

sunny 24 °C
View Vietnam on GT Travel's travel map.

Hanoi city, the capital of Vietnam, has about 7 million people plus another 3 million in the close surroundings. I walked to all the sight seeings today. Starting at St. Josephs Cathedral (Hanoi Cathedral), I must say, more breathtaking than the Notre Dame one in Saigon:

Hanoi_City_001.jpgHanoi_City_003.jpgHanoi_City_005.jpgHanoi_City_008.jpgHanoi_City_014.jpgHanoi_City_015.jpg

Following this I stopped at the famous Huong Mai Coffee shop in Hang Manh street. They do make the best Kopi Luwak and Weasel Coffee. Tam and Nga is very helpful and friendly and these ladies know their coffee:
Hanoi_City_016.jpgHanoi_City_017.jpgHanoi_City_018.jpgHanoi_City_019.jpg

Hao La prison, ironically nicknamed the ‘Hanoi Hilton’ by US POWs during the American War. Most exhibits relate to the prison’s use up to the mid-1950s, focusing on the Vietnamese struggle for independence from France. One of the most famous people that was in this prison is Senator McCain. Why called the "Hilton"? The American troops were treated as if they were in a hotel. Excellent food and the freedom inside the prison to do basically anything, from playing pool to raising chickens. For the Vietnamese it was the complete opposite:
Hanoi_City_021.jpgHanoi_City_022.jpgHanoi_City_023.jpgHanoi_City_026.jpgHanoi_City_027.jpgHanoi_City_030.jpgHanoi_City_031.jpgHanoi_City_032.jpgHanoi_City_035.jpgHanoi_City_036.jpgHanoi_City_037.jpgHanoi_City_038.jpgHanoi_City_039.jpgHanoi_City_040.jpg

Vases for sale in the local market. From $600 - $12000.
Hanoi_City_048.jpgHanoi_City_049.jpgHanoi_City_050.jpg

Hanoi
Hanoi_City_052.jpgHanoi_City_055.jpgHanoi_City_056.jpg

When you walk to Ho Chi Minh's Colloseum, you pass this cafe. They do make some of the best Vietnamese coffee, Kevol, this is what coffee looks like.
Hanoi_City_058.jpgHanoi_City_060.jpgHanoi_City_061.jpg

Uncle Ho's (yes, that is what he is called) resting place. I could not go in because every year for 3 months they restore and clean his resting place.
Hanoi_City_064.jpg

The city line of Hanoi
Hanoi_City_066.jpgHanoi_City_067.jpg

Old Houses and Bonsai trees, this is for my mother. Willie, yours must still go a long way (the tree).
Hanoi_City_068.jpgHanoi_City_073.jpgHanoi_City_076.jpgHanoi_City_077.jpgHanoi_City_078.jpgHanoi_City_079.jpgHanoi_City_081.jpgHanoi_City_085.jpgHanoi_City_086.jpg

While I visited one of the ancient houses, there was a wedding, these are made out of balloons:
Hanoi_City_083.jpgHanoi_City_084.jpg

Hanoi continues:
Hanoi_City_087.jpgHanoi_City_092.jpgHanoi_City_098.jpgHanoi_City_105.jpgHanoi_City_107.jpg

Yes, they do give beer as an offer. And I must say this, it can not be any beer, only Heineken.
Hanoi_City_100.jpg

Motorcycles are used for everything:
Hanoi_City_110.jpgHanoi_City_112.jpg

The flower market:
Hanoi_City_111.jpg

Posted by GT Travel 03:14 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 5 of 39) Page [1] 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 »