Vietnam

Hanoi, a city full of vibrance

Hanoi, has such a vibrant atmosphere, from the early hours through to midnight, this city is busling. The best way to explore is by foot its such a fascinating place.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Reaching Hanoi, in the early hours we found ourselves wandering around trying to find a bus station which actually wasnt open due to being under construction. We had planned to visit Cat Ba island for a few days and return to Hanoi before we departed Vietnam.

We only experienced a few days in this city, but it would be one place I would consider to visit again.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Hanoi has some lovely parks where you can easily spent an afternoon walking around and relaxing beside the lake. It is also home to so many temples and pagodas. The Quan Thanh Temple in particular was a place of beauty.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Accommodation in Hanoi is very reasonable and lots of it. We stayed in the Old quarter for several nights, at the Hang My Hotel this included a private bathroom and buffet breakfast. The old quarter is situated in the heart of the city. Rich in Character, we found ourselves wandering around the streets so often, and I loved how everything was in good walking distance.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Full of souvenier and cafes, you are always drawn in by something.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Spoilt for choice when it comes to eating out, we discovered many narrow alley ways filled with local cusine. I heard the egg coffee is very popular, but not something I was prepared to try.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADSC_0367

After several days exploring this city, we caught a flight to the Philippines.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vietnam

The Hai Van Pass motorbike road trip

Riding a motorbike whilst soaking in the breathaking mountain and coastal views, was one memorable experience.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Starting our roadtrip from Hoi An we found a reasonable motorbike hire company. Which was perfectly set up for travellers, to hire a bike in one town and finish the route in another town, including a luggage transfer. Perfect for ourselves as we could take a day backpack and not have the hassle of travelling with our addtional luggage.

Leaving Hoi An in the early morning, we decided to make a few stops on route visiting the Marble Mountain was one of them.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Situated in Da Nang, the mountains are comprised of 5 limestone outcrops. Each of them is made up of shrines, padgoas amongst the caves. The views looking out over Da Nang and the marble mountains are spectacular. If you one for exploring and into climbing this place should not be missed.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

After spending several hours exploring the caves, we decided to continue our motorbike trip north. Heading towards the Hai Van pass, we were faced with strong winds. This didnt stop us for enjoying ourselves. Stopping at look out points where possible, to admire the coastal views and take the opportunity to photograph the scene.

DSC_0151

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

DSC_0160

We soon were climbing higher up the pass, the weather did turn for the worse once we reached the other side, facing a down pour of rain and strong winds. Literally the rest of the stretch to Hue was horrible. With no turning back we literally had to battle the last 40 kms in rain.

Stopping very briefly to rearrange our backpack, we also purchased some very attractive rain jackets to protect ourselves from the rain.

Eventually arriving into Hue, we checked into our guest house for the night. With great relief they had hot water and a hair dryer. The small things become very appeciated.

Our backpacks were also delivered to our guesthouse saving us the hassle of going back out in the rain and returning the bike. I would consider Motorvina in the future for motorhire. Providing a great range of vechicles at reasonible prices.

We decided to spend one night in Hue, giving us the following day to explore the city.

Hue formally once the captial of vietnam it is situated along the perfume river. Known today for being a  UNESCO World Heritage site. We decided to walk around the city, passing lots of shops selling replicas of well known brands, including North Face. We did actually purchase a few bargains whilst here.

DSC_0182

We did ventured into the Citdel, but didnt want to pay the fees to enter.

In the evening we caught a sleeping bus further north to Hanoi. This was going to be one long ride.

 

 

 

Vietnam

Hoi An, full of historic charm

Hoi An town is a exceptionally well preserved placed, filled with a mix of Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese and European architecture charm. It is one place not to be missed whilst on a visit to Vietnam. With silk lanterns, rice fields and beautiful old buildings its a hertiage site which will touch your heart.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Flying directly from Ho Chin Minh City we arrived into Da nang airport. Hoi An doesnt have its own airport or train station. So catching a 45 minute taxi from the neighbouring town is the most convient way to access this charmed town.

DSC_9897

We have booked to stay 4 nights in Hoi An, in a newly built homestay just outside of the main area. Our first impressions, of Hoi An were very postitive, coming from a very busy city filled with vechicles. It was nice to step away from the hectic city life and experience a more slower pace of life.

golden bee final-16

We recieved a warm welcome at Golden Bee homestay, ran by a family with a cute little dog called Wing. They provided us with free breakfast, towels and bicycles whilst staying there. Its a fresh clean modern place and they are really willing to help you out in any possible way. We even provided aerial footage from our drone whilst there.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Teaching English in Vietnam

On foot we explored what the town had to offer, discovering a great street full of low priced resturants. We decided to sample some vietnam coffee, Can Lau and wontons Hoi An tradtional dishes. The coffee especially soon became a daily addiction.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

DSC_0089

I can see why Hoi An is famous for its food. Cooking classes are also on offer in many resturants. This was something I would of love to have experienced and would be a reason to go back.

Strolling through the old quarter, the evenings are the best time ti visit. Your eyes will be wandering everywhere. With affordable tailor and craft shops. You can definately get your hands on some great bargains. Just before dusk, the lanterns slowly come on, giving the town a real graceful feel. Along the Thu bon river front, many old ladies were offering boat trips for extreme prices aswell as small paper lanterns to place on the river. It was just blissful to walk along the river and admire the elegant lamps illunating.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

An easy bike ride you can reach Hoi Ans beach An bang, unfortunately we had arrived midday, only making us turn around and cycle away due to the mass of people on the beach. But we soon discovered access a little further north to a quiet area on the beach.

DSC_0062DSC_0025

We also spent a lovely day cycling along the rice fields, it was interesting seeing the locals doing their work in the fields, no matter what the weather is like.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Hoi An is a great place to visit, rich in character and great food, it has to be on your list of places.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

DSC_9922DSC_0143

 

Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh City, motorbike metropolis

Ho Chi Minh city a popular destination due to its culture, classic french architecture and skyscrapers aswell as ornate temples. Its the business hub of vietnam but also a budget friendly destination for travellers.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Welcomed by the hectic traffic of the city, we caught a taxi from the bus station to our hotel close to the airport but also quite close to the centre. Ho Chi Minh has an a great choice of budget guesthouses and some of the best cuisine in Vietnam, from cheap street food to some great haute dishes.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Full of Motorbikes on every street

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We had booked to stay in a small guest house for 2 nights in the airport district. Arriving early morning, we took the opportunity to explore by foot into the main centre. This was around 4 km, taxis run very regular but often they can be expensive especially if your unlucky to jump into one with a dogey meter.

Towering buildings were everywhere, with a huge selection of stores and coffee shops. This city is one of the fastest growing cities in Southeast asia.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We decided to spend a few hours in the War Remnants Museum this probably being the most popular of the HCMC’s museums.  The contents inside lay heavily related to the horror of the 30 year war between America and Vietnam. It was definately a eye opening and emotional experience. Not for the squeamish or faint hearted.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

After our hearts were filled with emotion we decided to get some fresh air and wander around the parks.

This city has much to offer, when its comes to sightseeing, rich in history, markets and beautiful buildings.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Visiting Ben Thanh market was one of the highlights in this city, from morning to night this market is full of life. You can literally discover what you heart desires. Sellers hustling with knock off designer items along with a great selection of local foods.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We found ourselves spending most days wandering around the streets. The city is made up of 19 districts, no two districts are the same, each offering a different experience. District 1 is the centre, where you have a great selection of cafes, bars and iconic landmarks.

District 1 containing most of the iconic sights, we visited the Notre Dame, built in the 1880s it is one of the remaining few of catholism. Next door is the beautiful Central post office, a glorious example of french colonial architecture.

After several days absorbing the history of this city, we had booked an early morning flight to Hoi An.

Ho Chin Minh city was one city which I actually had a liking too, Im not a city person but this one actually had a real buzz to it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Vietnam

Can Tho the home of the floating markets

Often referred to as the rice basket of Vietnam, Can Tho, well known for its floating markets dotted around the Mekong Delta.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAfter an early morning crossing from Cambodia we entered Vietnam on a visa free entry. Our time in this country was pretty short. So we decided to make the most by selecting several main places in the country to see. Can Tho being one of them.

We had been advised that land transport i.e. the buses can be a little intense, it was only in our nature to discover what people were going on about. The use of a horn is like a crucial device for the vietnamese, With motorbikes literally covering the roads, I swear the horn was pressed every few seconds. I never felt so on edge than on the roads in Vietnam.

Definately wouldnt use a bus whilst in Vietnam if you intend to be somewhere in a good time. Can Tho was surprisingly bigger than I expected. I had visually thought of a small fishing town, but to be welcomed by one of the largest cities in Vietnam. Home to over a million people.

We have planned to stay two nights in this city, in a simple but cosy guesthouse situated in walking distance to the centre. The following morning we had booked a very early boat tour down the Mekong to visit the floating markets. Rising at 5am to start our tour, we were slowly guided down the river as the sun started to rise. The colours were breathtaking.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe sheer volume and variety of boats didnt fail to amaze me, selling pineapples, potatoes and many other products it was fun to watch the daily market life. Drifting further down the delta, our guide stopped at a local rice noodle factory. Here we were able to walk around, and watch the whole processed of the noodle being made. A simple but delicate operation.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We had selected a half day tour, which was around 5 hours, our guide didnt speak much english so we had a hard time learning about the local culture. But it was still a great experience.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Can tho is a very modern and well developed city, with lots of skyscraper buildings, department stores, great supply of food places and some really cool parks to relax or even rollerskate in.

While the floating markets are the highlight of this city, the riverfront promenade itself is also pleasant with some great places to relax and eat. If you’ve got time for just one destination in the Delta, this is where you should be heading.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA