A Travellerspoint blog

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

First day, and we're are so excited!

So we just got to Ho Chi Minh City and the culture shock is already incredible! Just so everyone knows before you leave for Vietnam, you not only need a VALID CANADIAN PASSPORT, but you also need a Visa, regardless if it is for business, pleasure, or as a student.

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We actually took a bus from Ho Chi Minh City, but we saw a lot of different types of transportation like; taxis, motorcycles, cyclos, and you can even take a boat if you need to.

It's a good thing we converted our Canadian Dollars to Vietnamese Dongs, because we asked our bus driver if he took Canadian currency and he said he didn't. It's also a good thing that Downnie can understand a little bit of Vietnam's official language; Vietnamese, because I think the driver was giving us a hard time. I do have to tell you all that the people have been very welcoming, and kind.

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We also wanted to do a little bit of shopping so we went to District 1, we bought a bunch of designer stuff on Dong Khoi Street, but we also found a lot of great bargains!. We all went a little mad and bought a bunch souvenirs like those conical Vietnamese Hats and fans. I bought a few meters of gorgeous silk, and a few trinkets made of bamboo.

It doesn't seem like we've done a lot, but we are extremely exhausted. We will write of our adventures soon!

Here's a quick fact list:

The weather is pretty tropical, and the monsoon season in the north, which makes the weather hot, and rainy from mid-May to mid-September, and pretty warm, dry season from mid-October to mid-March. Sometimes there are typhoons that can cause flooding, so make sure to check the weather frequently before you leave.

Population: About 78 Million People
Capital: Hanoi
Flag: The flag of Vietman is red with a large yellow five-pointed star in the center.
Shop Hours: Shops run from 7 or 8am to 11 or 11:30pm. Some are open from 1 or 2pm to 4 or 5pm.
Bank Hours: Most banks are opened from 7am or 8am to 11am or 11:30am Some are open from 1pm or 2pm to 4pm or 5pm.

Things to say:
Greetings - Chao ong (ba)
How are you? - Ong (ba) co khoe khong?
Fine, thanks - Cam on rat tot
Alex

Posted by HAD2010 16:00 Archived in Vietnam Comments (1)

Bánh hỏi, Bún chả, and Cao lầu

Day 2 + 3

Wandering the streets of Ho Chi Minh City is always very interesting, we are all fairly open to trying new things so we were all really excited to ty authentic Vietnamese cuisine.

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Fish sauce, soy sauce, rice, fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables are all important ingrediants; most of which are usually used when cooking. Lemongrass, mint, Vietnamese mint, long coriander and Thai basil leaves ad and amazing explosion of flavor in the food. Of course the most important part to any meal would the fresh pork, chicken, fish, and seafood. Bánh hỏi, Bún chả, and Cao lầu, are popular dishes which we all tried and enjoyed very much!

We finally stopped procrastinating and went to the War Remnants Museum located in District 3. It disgusts me to think that there are people in this world that would purposely want to inflict such distruction and manipulation in this world. It's all split up into several different rooms. There was one that was filled with military equipment, we even saw a A-1 attack bomber. There were also graphic photographs of the effect of agent orange (a herbicide and defoliant that resulted in 400,000 deaths and dissabilities, and also 500,000 birth defects due to agent orange.) Which reminds me... there were 3 jars of fetuses that were deformed due to agent orange. We even saw a guillontine which apparently was last used in 1960!!!

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I have to admit after that I'm very thankful and appreciative to live in a country like Canada. Well after that we decided that we would go to the Ho Chi Minh Municipal Theatre. It was originally built by the French as an Opera House, and is a fantastic example of French Colonial Architecture. We'll be posting some pictures of this beautiful Opera House. It is host to a variety of events like; concerts, operas, and ballets. It is also known as the Saigon Opera House. You should have seen Downnie's excitement. She's never experienced a live performance like this before. If you every pass through Ho Chi Minh City you must go see it! Even if you aren't interesting in performing arts, you must go see it!

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Posted by HAD2010 16:00 Archived in Vietnam Comments (2)

Mekong River Ahoy!

Day 3-4, 2-Day River Cruise

Hey everybody!

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So we went on an amazing river cruise on the Mekong River, for those of you who may not be aware the Mekong River is one of the largest rivers in the world. It is also the world's 12th longest river. We went on a 2-day Mekong Delta Cruise, with Mekong Eyes. Our tour began in Can Tho. We visited villages, and rice fields, and even a floating market. There was even four meals included.

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Mekong Eyes also offers many different river cruises that visit places, such as; Phnom Penh and Phu Quonc.

Did you know that Mekong means "Motherwater"?

So we're off to do a bunch of other stuff, so I gotta go!

Talk to you all soon!

Ps I think we're all starting to pick Vietnamese! Slowly but surely! Chao Han! :)

PPS If you guys would like some information on Vietnam, here is a website you guys can check out!

http://www.asiatravel.com/vietinfo.html

Alex

Posted by HAD2010 16:00 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Ho Chi Minh City, Continues!

Day 5

We also wanted to do a little bit of shopping so we went to District 1, we bought a bunch of designer stuff on Dong Khoi Street, but we also found a lot of great bargains!. We all went a little mad and bought a bunch souvenirs like those conical Vietnamese Hats and fans. I bought a few meters of gorgeous silk, and a few trinkets made of bamboo.

It doesn't seem like we've done a lot, but we are extremely exhausted. We will write of our adventures soon!

H,A,D

Posted by HAD2010 16:00 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Lets go Ho Chi Minh Trail

Day 6 - 7

HO CHI MINH Trail here we come.

First of all Ho Chi Minh Trail is an elaborate system of mountain and jungle trails linking North Vietnam, South Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos during the Vietnam War against the United States. While looking for some history on this trail, according to the Vietnamese people many of the troops marched here and risked the lives of people during the Vietnam war.

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Lets go test our Endurance!
Here on our journey Heather, Alex and I decided to rent a motorcycle. We decided to test our strengths to go motorcycling in Ho Chi Minh Trail. Along with a guide we will experience the heat and scenery of Vietnam. The wide, smooth undulating highway is a bikers dream as there is little traffic on the road and it conveniently will take us through many farms, orchards, tribal villages and offers us easy access to some of the country's top attractions. One of Vietnam’s most spectacular caves, the ancient royal seat of Hue, the picturesque trading port of Hoi An and South China Sea beaches.

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Along the way, we saw people riding on bikes heading into small villages. They were delivering products such as herbs and spices, sugar cane and a lot more!

Talk to you guys soon!
Downnie

Ps - If you guys want to take a escorted motorcycle tour down the Ho Chi Minh Trail here is a great website!
http://www.offroadvietnam.com/eng/2-4.php

Posted by HAD2010 16:00 Archived in Vietnam Comments (2)

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