For the first time in a while we have actual activities to tell you about! We’ve been in Vietnam for 10 days now and have had a fab time, here’s what we’ve been up to:
Ho Chi Minh City / Saigon
We arrived here from Cambodia after a decent bus journey and were able to quickly get checked in with only minor directional assistance from a kind passer by, our room at Quoc Minh Guesthouse was nice with some great AC which was greatly appreciated in the afternoon heat. Location wise it was in a quiet alley near the backpacker streets which have tons of restaurants and bars and we quickly got to sample some Saigon beer to cool off. Food wise we had Pho for the first time (tasty) and tried some BBQ deer which may or may not have been pork in disguise we also tried a street vendor baguette too with roast pork and veg, it was delicious and only 15000 dong or about 50p.
We visited the Cu Chi tunnels, we only managed 20 metres ourselves though as it was incredibly hot and claustrophobic and that was in the bigger tunnel for tourists, it was really interesting to hear about the history of the area, we visited the War Remnants Museum too which was sobering.
We spent a couple of hours up at the viewing platform of the Bitexco Tower as well, the view was great and it gave an overview of the development of the city too which was interesting, we got here by taxi and despite warnings about how crooked they can be we had no problems with any of the several we uses over a few day plus they were incredibly cheap.
Overall we enjoyed our few days in the city, everyone we met was incredibly friendly and eager to help us out the only problem we found was deciding where to eat!
Mui Ne was our next stop and we arrived after a comfy and cool train journey, it’s a seaside town insomuch as it’s beside the sea but there isn’t too much beach but still plenty to see and do.
Our guesthouse, Sea Winds, was just off the main strip that I runs for several miles along the coast, no beach nearby but some nice places to eat including Sindbads that did amazing gyros and shawarmas for a pittance and a big selection of fresh seafood restaurants, the area is known for quality fish and lobster so it would have been rude not to partake and we enjoyed some lovely steamed lobster and BBQ fish.
The area is famous for its sand dunes so we booked ourselves on a day trip to check them out by Jeep, we thought we’d got lucky when we first got in and thought we might be the only ones going but we stopped at another hotel and managed to squeeze in another 6 people including 3 in the boot!
The first stop on the itinerary was the fairy stream which is basically a little river that runs through some lush vegetation on one side and dunes on the other, the pictures don’t really do it justice as there were some really vivid flowers and plants further up.
From here we stopped a the fisherman village for a quick photo op before heading for the white dunes around 30 kms away. We were a little disappointed here as the dunes themselves were spectacular but we didn’t have too much time to enjoy them, the drop off point is a fair walk to the main dunes and we didn’t want to pay £20 to hire a buggy to take us up there, we made it by foot though and enjoyed the views as best we could despite the myriad of ATVs buzzin around.
Last stop was sunset at the red dunes which was a beautiful end to a tiring day.
Sharlie was really keen to take an Easy Rider trip while in Vietnam so we decided to get to our next location, Dalat, by bike and it was awesome!
Our riders picked us up around 8;30 am and after securing our bags on the back we set off on the 8 hour journey, we zoomed out of Mui Ne. we stopped for a break after an hour and we got to have our first traditional vietnamese coffee, it was really strong and mixed with some sweet milk and ice just delicious. It got hot really quickly so we stopped regularly to have a drink or for the guys to point out various things grown in the area such as coffee beans, peanuts and dragon fruit.
We rode through some spectacular scenery once we started the twisty climb into the mountains, the air was noticeably cooler too which made things comfier.
We made it safely in to Dalat late in the afternoon having thoroughly enjoyed the trip despite having slightly sore bums!
Dalat wasn’t quite what we were expecting, we imagined a quaint little town in the hills but it’s a busy little city and not too easy to navigate by foot. We had a wander around for a bit and got a bit lost before getting to grips with where we were.
We visited to Crazy House – a complex of weirdly designed rooms connected by bridges and tunnels, and the Truc Lam Monastery where we admired the beautiful gardens and enjoyed the peace and quiet before hopping on the cable car across the trees which had some great views of the city.
Our guesthouse was ok, our room was a bit noisy but we forgave this due to the fantastic communal dinner put on by our host, Tri. For only $4 each we had spring rolls, seafood hotpot, BBQ chicken and mango for dessert – yum!
The number one thing to do in Dalat is canyoning which basically involves abseiling down cliffs and waterfalls, cliff jumping, floating around and other general adrenaline inducing activities so naturally we thought we’d give it a go! We had the best time, it was scary at times and we have a few bumps and bruises as souvenirs along with some cool pictures taken by the guides.
That was Dalat, our next stop is the beach once more at Nha Trang.