Hoi An - Nah Trang - Mui Ne - Saigon (HCMC)
16.01.2012 - 26.01.2012 35 °C
Helloo so our 3 weeks in Vietnam has come to an end! We can't believe how quickly its gone ( scary!) but we've had a great time. Since the last time we did our blog we've managed to make our way down the southern coast of Vietnam. After 3 days in Hoi An we jumped on yet another bus and headed to Nah Trang ( another over night job!) but this time we actually arrived on time! 6am we pulled into Nah Trang bay, we'd heard lots of mixed reviews on Nah Trang but we were just happy to be by the sea... so we checked into our hotel which was in the centre of Nah Trang , 2 minute walk to the beach. It was a nice enough hotel, it had a bed and a shower.. oh and a balconey!!! ( check us out) for $12 we couldnt complain. Unfortunatley Nah Trang isnt the most atmospheric city. It consists of hundreds of multi story hotels and buildings slapped right on a long stretch of beach... from far away it looks gorgeous but we were soon to find out that that wasnt the case, there was alot of rubbish in the sea and on the beach which we had to try and avoid but that put us off quite quickly ( didnt help finding a washed up used syringe either) Anyway , we found ourselves a tiny little spot under a palm tree as far away as possible from the massive crowds of roudy tourists ( when we say roudy we mean it, we felt like we were outside of Kingston Oceana at 3am....except it was 11am and on a beach!..in Vietnam)
Over the next 2 days we got some sight seeing in, which was good Mike found out about a local Photographer who had a gallery just outside of the city centre. It was abit of a mission to get to but well worth it. We went to see the Nah Trang cathederal which was closed.... typical ... found a small little market and spent most of the day wondering around the small streets seeing the locals do their day to day thing! On our last night we managed to find a greek taverna actually run by a greek couple and the food was amazing!! I know your all probably thinking why eat greek food when your in vietnam? seriously...after nearly 2 months of asian food your taste buds are ready for a change! We decided that 2 days was enough for us in Nah Trang, it was good to see but not somewhere we would want to go back to , after being in Hoi An where it had such charm and character Nah Trang just felt like quite a sad city. So we booked our bus for the next morning, packed our bags ready for Mui Ne our next destination on the map!
Mui Ne was great. 6 hours away from Nah Trang it couldnt be any more different! Mui Ne in a small seaside town, everything is based on the beach..and its become famous for its kite surfing and windsurfing due to the amazing beaches and wind speeds. The atmosphere was great, our hotel was right on the beach. Dad and mum ( glenn and deb) the only way i can describe this place is to say its exactly like Skinia but smaller. Anyway we spent most of our time in the sea watching the kite surfers ( we've decided thats our next sport to try!) if we'd had enough cash/time we would have got ourselves onto a course but as it was Vietnams New Year holiday everything was jam packed and fully booked. It sounds silly because we've been away for 2 months now but we both felt for the first time like we were on "holiday" here. Mui Ne is also well known for its massive sand dunes, you can hire a sley and ride down the dunes which looked great but we didnt fancy it as it was 36 degrees all day and we were too tempted with the sea 2 steps away to venture out to the sand dunes. The seafood in Mui Ne was amazing. We ate in the seafood resturants most of the time, they have all of their freshly caught fish displayed in freezers where you can choose what you want and they cook it on a massive outdoor bbq in front of you. Luckily for mike they did do other meats aswell...phew. So everything over the 4 days in Mui Ne was great, we had a brilliant time. But as our visas were slowly coming to an end we packed up ( we are now pro packers by the way! we might offer our servises when we get home, only a small fee for your suitcases to be packed in 5 minutes ) Our last bus ride was to Saigon ( HO CHI MINH CITY ) the final stop of our month in Vietnam.
( OVER TO MIKE!! X )
wow saigon secretly i had been waiting for this moment for a while but im not sure why and what we were to expect. hopefully more than the first impression we got from our guesthouse. located on what can only be described as the Koh San Road of Vietnam. but actually after being here for a couple of days it has grown on us. we arrived on the 22nd which just so happened to coincide with Vietnams Lunar New Year. so we decided to get fully involved. mark these words closely. when day light had faded we headed out onto the streets of HCMC, to discover that about a million other locals had the same idea. quite a sight. massive street light displays and yellow and pink blossom trees lined the streets. a very very happy ambience could be felt but nothing could have prepared us for when we reached the river saigon. a massive fire work display had been arranged and thousands of people had gathered and were sitting around waiting for it. When i say thousands of people i mean thousands of people AND their mopeds. luckily the majority of tourists had decided to stay at bay in the comfort of there loud pumping music bars which left us able to enjoy the evening with the locals. the firework display which kicked off at 12:03 am (asia times and without any real count down..) brought in there new year with quite literally a bang. probably one of the best firework displays we have ever seen and it was completely FREE! non-stop chemical reactions provided us with 3D like imagery of butterfly/hearts/flowers/PLANETS! with out the need for any 3D glasses. after standing in awe for 25 minutes the fireworks finished and was only really met with a few happy new year shouts from the locals nothing like how we celebrate in the west arguably a nice change. just smiles and warmth and happiness. HOWEVER. the walk home can only be described as something that could have jeopardised the whole event. quite literally we were lucky to have escaped with our lives ( maybe a little exadurated). the fireworks finished and everyone and remember its everyone and there mopeds decided they would leave at the same time. the so called soldiers and police sat back on there motorbikes on their mobile phones, while behind them the streets of traffic ripped through a sea of people. with no clear action plan for major public events we were left to witness scenes 10 times worse than in hanoi at the beginning of our trip. luckily though my natural organic shape helped us push a way through to a safer area where we were able to walk home. the next morning we got on a bus at 7 am to the cao dai temples & chu chi tunnels. at first i was regretting that i had booked us onto a bus that was just going to be driving around the whole day but as soon as we arrived at the cao dai temples some 3.5 hours from saigon that regretting feeling just subsided completely. the Cao Dai relgion was founded in 1926 but only became legally recognised in 1997. Cao dai is a combination of Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam. We were allowed to go in for there pray time which was interesting, the followers all wear white and the teachers wear different colours we only saw 3 types of teachers; red christianity, yellow buddhism, blue islam. it was quite a peaceful place even if we didn't completely get our heads around the idea of a religion of all religions. we were then whisked off on another 1.5 hour drive to Chu chi. where we were to see some extremely crafty and sneaky work of some very determined local Vietnamesse or Viet Congs.but the whole place was nothing more than experienced organised locals who knew how to protect and respect there green lushious paradise. we pulled in to what can be seen from all the vietnam war films palm trees and real high levels of humidity.The Chu chi tunnels were built by the vietnamise during the war with america, they used the tunnels to get from village to village without the americans knowing about it. Part of the tour allowed us to go down into the tunnels, an amazing experience, we both found it so clostraphobic luckily we werent down there for long! i could probably write for another hour about this place but i wont to save you all. we really enjoyed this day trip and will fill you in more when we return home.
Yesterday we took it a little easier and headed back on foot around the city again. we managed to find vietnams equivalent to tate modern. FINALLY! or not... we found a national art gallery which was situated in the most amaizing building, high ceilings with ornate original floor tiles of an exotic nature and a minute amount of art works. but still it was refreshing to get my eyes back on some art work. after that we found a small cafe where we taught ourselves how to play chinese chess. something we had seen a lot of vietnamese locals playing all over our travels and i for one am a sucker for a good board game. its very strange at first and extremely hard. were about to play another game after we have finished this. its a great way of killing time. something we have quite a bit of between now and tomorrow, when your all waking up we will be on a bus to cambodia. 24$'s + 6 hours of bus journey and 50$'s worth of visas we shall find ourselves in phnom penh.
Were both very excited about cambodia we have heard some great things. Hopefully we will manage to catch up with you all soon on skype.
Lots of Love
Char and Mike xxxxx