Vietnam Part 1

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We’re now in our third country of the trip- Vietnam. We crossed over from Cambodia into Vietnam, via the Ha Tièn border checkpoint. After spending a day in Ha Tièn, we left for the city of Can Thô, the base to visit the floating markets of the Mekong delta.

To save time we took a bus to Can Thô and unfortunately Thomas’ cycle got damaged during the ride. However we were lucky to find a shop that repaired his cycle and in 15 minutes, it was as good as new!
The next morning we woke up early morning to visit the floating markets. (The market is only open from 6 am to 11 am) We had a really friendly guide called Giang, and we spent 5 hours cruising down the mighty Mekong, visited the floating markets at Cai Rang, a rice noodles factory and even had a scrumptious Vietnamese breakfast- the well loved Phô!

Click the pictures for more information about them.

 

(Soundtrack by Begum- Make it till four)
The next day we left for Ho Chi Minh city (HCMC). It was a journey that was to take us 2 days. But both of us were unwell, and after 43 kms of cycling we decided to continue the journey by bus to HCMC. We took a day to recover, and spend another 2 days in this power city in South Vietnam.

HCMC is like any other big city in Asia, except it has a million motorbikes on the road! While walking on the street, one has to be very aware and watch out for the motorists that are spilling out from every corner! While in HCMC we visited the War Remnants musuem. The Vietnam war is such a huge part of the country’s history and this excellently curated museum allows visitors to relive the war years through a series of poignant pictures. A must visit!

 

From HCMC, due to bad weather, we decided to skip central Vietnam and took a flight to Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. Now, Hanoi is a city with a soul! Even though it has all the trappings of a modern city, you can feel the city has a strong, relaxed and proud vibe. The city’s full lakes and is quite green. The city’s architecture is splendid and there are some wonderfully preserved colonial buildings. We spent 3 days in Hanoi, roaming the streets of the old Market area, eating lots of roadside fare ( grilled pork skewers were a favourite!) as well as some classic Vietnamese cuisine. We were lucky to be there on a weekend when we got to experience the night market.

We also visited Ha Long Bay, 4 hours from Hanoi on the north east coast of Vietnam. This superb UNESCO world heritage site is full of towering limestone pillars and tiny islets topped by forest rise from the emerald waters of the Gulf of Tonkin. “Halong Bay” means ‘Bay of the Descending Dragons’ and legend has it that the islands were formed from the jewels and jade dropped from the mouth of dragons sent by gods. We spent and entire day cruising on the bay, walked around a limestone cave and visited the “Teapot islands”.

And now begins the best part of the journey. As we write this we’re in Sapa, in the mountains of North Vietnam. From here we plan to cycle to 700 kms all the way to the city of Luang Prabang in Laos. Until next time!


Vietnam 1ère partie

Après avoir passé une journée à Ha Tièn nous sommes allés à Can Thô pour visiter les marchés flottants du Mékong.

Pour gagner du temps nous avons pris un bus pour Can Thô mais malheureusement le vélo de Thomas a été endommagé pendant le trajet, heureusement nous avons eu la chance de trouver un magasin qui l’a réparé en 15 minutes et gratuitement !

Le lendemain matin, nous nous sommes réveillés tôt pour visiter ces fameux marchés flottants. Nous avons fait 5 heures de croisière sur le Mékong avec notre guide Giang, nous avons également visité une usine de nouilles de riz et nous avons profité d’un délicieux petit-déjeuner Vietnamien.

Nous avons ensuite pris la route direction Ho Chi Minh. Le trajet aurait dû nous prendre 2 jours mais nous avons tous les 2 fait une indigestion alimentaire du coup après 50 km de vélo nous avons décidé de finir le trajet en bus.

Pendant notre séjour à Ho Chi Minh, nous avons visité le musée des vestiges de la guerre du Vietnam. Ce musée très intéressant retrace toute l’histoire de cette terrible guerre à travers photos et documents poignants.

En raison du mauvais temps dans le sud et centre du pays nous avons décidé de changer notre itinéraire et de nous rendre directement dans le Nord. Du coup nous avons pris l’avion direction Hanoi.

Hanoi est également une grosse ville mais plus calme et traditionnelle qu’Ho Chi Minh. Elle dispose de nombreux lacs et d’une belle architecture avec de nombreux bâtiments coloniaux très bien conservés. Nous y avons passé 3 jours et nous avons eu la chance d’être là un week-end où le marché de nuit a lieu, les rues du vieux quartier sont alors toutes piétonnes et pullulent de restaurants et marchands en tout genre.

Depuis Hanoi nous en avons profité pour aller visiter la baie d’Ha Long, sur la côte nord-est du Vietnam. Ce superbe site classé au patrimoine mondial de l’UNESCO est constitué de nombreux karsts et petits îlots recouverts de forêt émergeant des eaux émeraude du golfe du Tonkin et qui donnent un paysage époustouflant !

Baie de Ha Long signifie « baie où les dragons sont descendus », la légende raconte que ces îlots ont été formés à partir de joyaux et de jade tombés de la bouche de ces dragons envoyés par les dieux.

En ce moment nous nous dirigeons vers les montagnes au Nord-Ouest du Vietnam vers une ville appelée Sapa connue pour ces multiples ethnies qui y habitent. De là nous prévoyons de rejoindre le Laos et notamment Luang Prabang à 700 kms.

La suite au prochain épisode !

5 thoughts on “Vietnam Part 1

Add yours

  1. Hi Thomas and Adi,
    Review the pictures – it is look that you enjoy the country. Hope your visit Sa-Pa was awesome as other part of this beautiful and interesting country.
    As far understand that you will not pass through Quy Nhon, here at the last month is rain every day and storm \ windy weather almost 2-3 times a week, sure that biking it could not be big fun.
    Eventually you miss Hoi-An and Hue city \ area which is very nice and ancient city \ sites (Try in the future to visit this region).
    Wish you all the best visiting Laos and other country later.
    Yuval

    Like

    1. Hi Yuval,
      Yes we are really enjoying it ! We were planning at first to go through hoi an , hue and da nang but as the weather conditions were not really good we decided to skip the center it this time. Thanks for your message and sorry we couldn’t meet this time.

      Like

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