A Travellerspoint blog

Vietnam

The Million'dong'er Man

rain 19 °C
View World Wide Wander on millfred's travel map.

Last amount withdrawn from cash machine = 4 million dong (another country with inflation through the roof)
Cost of draught beer in Hoi An, Vietnam = 10p
No. of Laughing Cow sandwiches procured = 4 (quite popular in Vietnam)
Weight of Mulberry sweets consumed = 1kg

We are now 10 days into our journey through Vietnam and it's a great place to be. Beautiful mountains, beaches, rivers along with freindly people and above all cheap accomodation and great food!

We crossed the Cambodia - Vietnam border by boat along the Mekong River. The customs procedure was a bit of hassle. We had to endure a 5 minute boat swap with travellers going the other way then sit and eat noodles while our guide sorted out the details with the officials! Nice. The local people use the river for everything - transport, fishing, trading and even washing their hair.

Our first destination in Vietnam was Chau Doc. Our first accommodation, included as part of the Mekong tour, was a bit grotty (putting it mildly since my ma is subscribed to this). As if the gecko poo on the bed wasn't bad enough it had a stale stench, hole in the roof and looked like it hadn't been swept in a week. The response from the manager when I complained was "You can use my shoes" meaning his manky flip flops! We half made up for it that night by sitting in the poshest hotel in town and using internet for free for 2 hours. I think the receptionist thought all white people were guests! Later that night I (Richard) sampled my first Vietnamese cuisine - Shakin' beef which i'm guessing was a reference to the fact it was fairly raw and you could make it wobble if you tried hard enough!

After Chau Doc we went back to big city life in Ho Chi Minh (Saigon). Like all the Asian cities we've seen it was busy but had some smart colonial architecture and decent parks. We 'endured' the war museums which are hard going due to the visual portrayal of the victims of the Vietnam War but interesting too. We weren't much luckier with our hotel here having thought we'd found a bargain ourselves. The second morning Pauline was forced to go sit in the park at 8am after feeling sick due to the non-stop drilling next door. Apparently I mumbled a few words before dropping back off. We also got scammed in a cafe when sitting down for coffee's. When we came to pay the lady decided to show us an 'amended' menu where the price had pretty much doubled! It was much better to sit on stools on the pavement with the Vietnamese workers and drink good coffee for half the price.

Getting back out to the countryside and the Vietnamese highlands we took a sleeper bus to Dalat which was surprisingly comfy and I was slightly annoyed to get woken up in the end when we arrived.
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The place was chilled out and picturesque even though after the first day the weather took a turn for the worse and its pretty much rained ever since! On our first day here we happened to come across a gaming centre where I got hammered at pro-evo by the owner (since when was Ronaldo at centre back for Chelsea). The second day we joined the tourist trail and took a tour round some of the sights, the best of which involved taking a single seat toboggan down to a cracking waterfall.
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Not so good was the tapestry museum with its weird phrases written above every doorway like "Stage for children to argue". Bizarre.

For our next destination we took a day bus through the stunning mountains to beachside Nha trang. Our hotel standard seemed to have drastically improved and we even had a flat screen TV. Luxury! I think we got a few hours sunshine on the beach before the clouds rolled in.
After two nights we took another night bus to Hoi An were we sit now. This is another small, chilled out town with a reputation for tailoring, something Pauline couldn't resist as she picked up a pair of her own design Tiger trainers and made to measure jeans.
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I spent most of my spare change on extra food (Chocolate Werthers original and fried peanut pasties!). On the topic of food we even got the chance to cook our own dinner last night with a cookery course in one of Hoi An's finest eateries. We knocked up a fabulous Pho noodle soup with peanut sauce as the evidence below shows.
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So we travel to the capital (Hanoi) tonight on yet another sleeper bus hoping that its not too cold and wet up north. Not that we're getting soft or anything!

Posted by millfred 08:51 Archived in Vietnam Comments (1)

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