A Travellerspoint blog

Ho Chi Minh city (Siagon)

James and I are currently on our way to Phnom Penh on Cambodia as we finish up our time in Vietnam. We spent about two days in Ho Chi Minh city and it was a great way to Vietnam on. A huge very modern city that has stretches that look like any city in the US (and stretches that look very foreign).

The first day we went to the war museum here. It's a really great and disturbing museum they plays like a US war crimes museum. It has photos from both sides military photographers. It also goes into detail about where we bombed, civilians killed, where agent Orange (and agent blue, white, green etc) were used and the long term effects that those chemical weapons had on both the environment and the Vietnamese people. There is a section about how north Vietnamese prisoners were treated.... Not great.
But comically enough, the South Vietnamese were almost never mentioned and the few times they were it was "South Vietnamese puppets".

We also explored the city and went to the bar on top Bitexco Finical tower, which looks lifted from a sci Fi movie.

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The next day we went to the Cu Chi tunnels. A tunnel system that spanned the country and allowed the viet Kong to move unnoticed. Tour was not great but tunnels were interesting. They also had some odd subtext, where immediately after being shown all the traps used to kill soldiers, and being shown all the bunkers they would shoot out from... We were brought to a firing range and pressured to pay to shoot some AK 47s.

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Vietnam has been great and super easy to get around in. The national language is essentially Englis and everyone spoke it.

Posted by BrianMader 17:06 Comments (0)

Dalat, Vietnam

James and I are just finishing up our time in Dalat. A mountain town at about 5,000 ft of elevation. Tonight we fly to Ho Chi Minh city, and we are currently holed up in a coffee shop as it monsooning outside, but luckily this is the first major rain we have seen.

We started our trip by visiting the "crazy house". A house with narrow stairs and walkways everywhere forming a maze. It was interesting but swamped with tourists.

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The next day we rented mopeds and explored the waterfalls around the city. Oddly enough, Vietnam has turned it's waterfalls into launching points for essentially theme parks. There were rides, petting zoos, animal rides, "museums" (for example"the crazy animal museum", but real ones) all next to the falls.
One such waterfall had some pretty miserable looking elephants and other animals that didn't look well treated, but were all ridable (which we did not do).

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At one of the waterfalls was a series of Buddhist temples at stages up a mountain. The "ride" was closed that day, so you had to hike it. Luckily, that meant no one else did it. Along the path was statues of all the zodiac animals with a very decorated rooster.

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We also explored the country side a bit.

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Yesterday we went canyoning. Very cool and we got to really see the "jungles of Vietnam" when we were several miles into the canyon and away from tourists points. We couldn't bring our own cameras so not many photos. It included one 36 foot cliff dive and a 2 person natural water slide.

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Posted by BrianMader 21:18 Comments (0)

Hue ->Hoi An and Hoi An itself

On the 28th James and I rented scooters and drove the mountain pass between North and South Vietnam. It was stunning and apperently the South side of the pass is 20 degrees warmer. So we finally got some warm weather. The pass was a narrow road with crazy switchbacks and giant your buses going full speed. And in Vietnam: the bigger car wins. So we spent a good part of the drive dodging buses.

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We stopped at the Marble Mountains. Which is an impressive Buddhist temple built into a mountain.

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We finally got into Hoi An just in time for Chinese New year. Which had the city packed with families and tourists.

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We spent the next couple days getting tailored suits and exploring the city.

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We also went to a terracotta museum. Which was odd beyond explaining and was blasting smooth jazz but:

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Finally we went to My Son, a UNESCO world heritage site that the US heavily bombed during the world. Note the bomb Crater in the first picture.

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We are currently on a night bus bound for Dalat a mountain town in the South.

Posted by BrianMader 05:58 Comments (0)

Hue

1270615.jpg After James and I encountered a viscous bout of food poisoning on Tuesday night and had a travel day Wednesday, which vengeful stomachs made a bit more exciting, we made it to Hue. The old capital of Vietnam and home to plenty of tombs of old emperor's.

We started by exploring the old forbidden city. Which was half refurbished and nice:

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And half was run down and abandoned. It was odd, but cool to see some original buildings.

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The next day, we rented mopeds and explored some tombs and an abandoned water park. The water park was actually full (10-15) other backpackers and was very cool.

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And James picked a fight with a cow in the middle of the road.

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Tomorrow we will bike (moped) over a mountain pass (sorry mom!) Which is supposed to be one of the most spectacular views in the country. We will be in Hoi An at the end of the day.

Posted by BrianMader 07:35 Archived in Vietnam Tagged hue Comments (0)

Hanoi -> Halong Bay


View SE Asia on BrianMader's travel map.

Explored Hanoi and went to the resting place of Ho Chi Minh. Then we went to Halong Bay. Kayaked, we went to fish farms in the middle of the bay.

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Posted by BrianMader 07:18 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

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