A Travellerspoint blog

Joy Ride (Ho Chi Minh Trail)

Day 8

On the road, while riding on a motorcycle I feel the sweat and the heat is burning my skin. I have to ask Heather, Alex and our Vietnamese guide to make a stop. I notice Heather and Alex are turning red so we have to put a lot of sunscreen on and drink a lot of water.

We reached our first destination spot, which is the City of Vinh. Vinh has a unique position to which captains of any age pay attention to. It is surrounded by rivers and mountains, close to the East Sea. We will spend a night here in Vinh.

While in Vinh City, we visit the Hong Son Temple. We visit this temple because it offered tons of history and is very unique architeturally. Hong Son Temple is an excellent architectural relic influenced by Nguyen Dynasty's architectural style. It still holds a valuable collection of statues. The temple was classified as a national cultural historical site.

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After visiting the temple, our stomach are demanding for food. We dine in a local restaurant located near vinh market place. It was a great feeling after a long track of highway and visiting the temple. We end up with amazing cold and fresh coconut juice with a special oriential foods.

Its seems after that big heavy meals and refresfments I felt a little bit sleepy but forget it we are continuing exploring Vinh city. We are now headed to a place called Can Linh Pagoda. This Pagoda is one of the most famous temples in the Nghe An province. Dedicated to Shakyamuni Buddha, it is recognized as a national heritage site.

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After we visit the Can Linh Pagoda. Its seems that we need to go to the hotel to check-in. We arrived in a local hotel that is very affordable, convienent and 5 minute walk to the Vinh Market Places. While in the hotel we decided to freshen up. Our Vietnamese guide, named Vhan Nguyen went to buy a gas. So the three of us had a quick snack after a cold shower. So Vhan finally arrived and Alex wants to go to Vihn Market Place. Of course it will be shopping time for us!

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We enjoy the night visiting the Vinh Market. Vietnamese People are very hard workers. This Market has lots to offer. We saw beautiful man made handicrafts, fresh seafood, flowers and many more unique products. We bought a lot of souvenirs like vietnamese hats, charms bracelets, key chains and blankets. We also created many memories with some of the Vietnamese vendors who sells foods and clothes on the streets.

Thats it for Vinh City. Tommorow we will start early in the morning, heading to Mai Chau and will end up in Hanoi..
See you bright and early!
Downnie

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

We Ride ( Ho Chi Minh Trail)

Day 9

Good Day...

I don't want to get up but unfortunately Heather made a loud wake-up call. While Heather is almost ready, Alex is having a concert shower in the washroom. I went up and looked at the time, it is 4:30am and still dark out side. I was wondering where is Vhan? Heather said he went outside to check the motorcycle also called Tuk-Tuk.

Anyways,
We left the hotel at 5:30am. Vhan said that it is good to travel in the morning so that we will see the sun rise and smell the fresh air.

We are going to Mai Chau.

From the top of Cun Mountain, one can admire the superb panorama of Mai Chau surrounded by a green valley and stilt houses. Many people, including the Thai ethnic group, live in Mai Chau.
Everything is green here in Mai Chau. Surrounded by the mountains and rivers. Lets go picture taking or maybe hiking I said, but Heather said no way to hiking but she would like to go close to the mountains and river. Mai Chau is the perfect escape from the hectic cities and really ought to be visited even if you are on a tight schedule. It is easily accessible by bus, car or motorbike.

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Gifts of Mai Chau for visitors are sincere, rustic, pristine, but always to everyone. The View here in Mai Chau is breath taking. There are very unique terrace feilds and peaceful villages.

Vhan suggest to have lunch in the Sunday market. We all agree and are excited about it.
The Sunday market brings a lot of people into town. People from different minorities living in the mountains come to Mai Chau market to sell their specific products: honey, bananas, corn, and Tho Cam made by skilled Thai women. The Sunday market is also an occasion to enjoy traditional Thai dishes and to participate in traditional dances.

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Here in the market, we decide to eat in the street not in a local restaurant. Simply because there is a lot of great foods selling here in the street. We dont know how safe it is to eat in the street but given advice by Vhan, we know what what is safe and we trust him. It ends up being the best lunch ever on our journey.

The day is passing by really fast. Here in Mai Chau we did lots of picture taking and we also did a little bit of hiking. We ended up spending a night at a local house and leaving Mai Chau tomorrow morning and heading to Hanoi.

What a day, it has been so much fun doing motorcycling on the Ho Chi Minh Trail. It is more exciting doing it by motorcycle rather than car or airplane because I know that Heather and Alex might sleep on the trip. Thank you Vhan for your trust and guidance.

To all the people of Vietnam,
Cảm ơn bạn rất nhiều cho những kinh nghiệm.

Love Downnie.

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

Hangin' in Hanoi!

Day 10

sunny

Hey guys! We just arrived in Hanoi today, the capital of Vietnam and have already seen so much of the city! Hanoi has a medieval and modern feel to it and the first place we went to visit when we got here was the Municipal Water Puppet Theatre. We got the idea to go here when we watched the Amazing Race and just had to check it out for ourselves. This amazing form of puppetry is over 1,000 years old and is classically designed to look like the characters from Vietnamese fables. The coolest part was the fire breathing dragons that were launched across the stage by the 11 puppeteers.

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After the puppet show we went to the One Pillar Pagoda, one of the two most iconic Buddhist temples in Hanoi. It was built to represent a lotus flower that the childless Emperor Lý Thái Tông dreamt he saw Buddah sitting on holding a child. He then met a peasant girl who bore him a child and temple was built in gratitude.

We got to see some of the traditional stilt house’s today while walking down the streets in Hanoi. They were built to protect against floods, either made of wood, bamboo, cane or rattan. They are not only somewhere to eat, entertain and sleep, but a stilt house is where a family worships its ancestors and works. There are also hotels, hostels and beautiful beach resorts located on the coastline. Staying in Vietnam can be very cheap, affordable or expensive depending on how you want to stay. We didn’t get too crazy because we wanted to save most of our money for all the attractions! We better get to sleep though we have a busy day ahead of us tomorrow!

Heather

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

A day at the Mausoleum

Day 11

We are exhausted! We woke up so early this morning so we could fit in as much sightseeing as possible. Some of the places we visited today were the Temple of Literature which is one of the few remaining buildings of the old city and was made into the cities first university. As well we went to Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum which holds the body in a glass container of President Ho Chi Minh, a Vietnamese national hero. This Mausoleum has tight security, a strict dress code and it is imperative to maintain a respectful demeanor while inside.

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We also visited The Army museum which holds War relics and trophies to reminisce great periods of the armed struggle of the Vietnamese people. It was a lot to take in, but it was a great experience.

I better get going though, talk to everyone soon!

Heather

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

Goodbye Vietnam!

Day 12

Today was our last day here in Hanoi and we got to experience something not most people do. We met a family at Hoan Kiem Lake which is located in the center of the city. They invited us back to their house for supper. We brought them some sweets wrapped in colorful paper as a gift. (HINT: be careful when bringing a gift to a Vietnamese family not to bring a handkerchief, anything black or any yellow flowers.) They taught us a little bit about the Vietnamese dining etiquette when we were there such as the oldest person sits down and is served first out of respect and dishes should be passed with both hands.

Vietnamese life revolves around family and it is very common to see three generations living together which we saw at our new friend’s house. A couple other things we were taught when we were there were you should not pass anything over somebody’s head, touch anyone’s shoulder or stand with your hands on your hips which was hard for Downnie to adjust to because she always stands like that!

Anyways we better get going, we have to wake up at 1:00am to catch our plane and begin our trip back to Canada. This trip has been extraordinary and we all would come back in a second if we had the chance. There is so much history here as well as beauty and anyone would be crazy not to go! See you guys soon, we’ll be the ones in the sandals made of tire rubber, the traditional Ao Dai’s (dresses) and Non La’s (traditional conical hats made of straw)!

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Ps - Here is a website with a bunch of Hanoi attractions if you guys want to check it out!
http://www.wordtravels.com/Cities/Vietnam/Hanoi/Attractions

H,A,D

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

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