Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Vietnam (Việt Nam) 2 week holiday - Quick peek

Mum and dad just got back from a 2 week vacation in Vietnam. They looked drained arriving at home after midnight yesterday. Lets have a quick peek at their journey.

Hanoi -> Sapa -> Hanoi -> Hue -> Danang -> Hoi An -> Dalat -> HCMC (Ho Chi Min City)

Hanoi skyline from the Rooftop balcony on top of Pacific Place (next to Movenpick Hotel

Hanoi 河內 - if the traffic doesn't drive you over the wall, the constant fear of getting fleeced or led down the wrong alley would certainly get to you. Find comfort and peace before 6 am around Hoan Kiem Lake.

Sapa 沙壩 - lovely landscaping by the indigenous people living there. But the same people are changing their lifestyle rapidly so that charm you might read in guidebooks from a few years back is short on offer. Another 5 years, you might not find anything resembling the guidebooks.

Hue 順化  - 38C was the temperature when mum and dad were walking around the ancient Citadel. Riding on a moped around the city was stressful but well-worth it. Perfume river was pretty, perhaps because they evicted all the boat people from the river so as to qualify for World Heritage Site status (yet another wonderful feat by the United Nation. bravo for the poor!!)

Danang 峴港 - a whole strip of coast being developed into a super-size resort for rich foreigners, including the most famous visitors, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie in Nam Hai resort. The walk up Marble Mountain wasn't easy and some of the caves were worth seeing. But the most memorable was the car journey along the Hai Van Pass, whose natural beauty rival some of the other coastlines we mentioned before, Big Sur in California and New Zealand.

Hoi An 會安 - another World Heritage Site. If you consider hundreds of tailor shops sprung up in the last few years are World Heritage, then you've hit the jackpot. A huge disappointment, don't go unless you want to get yourself cheap bespoke clothes made in dubious style.

Dalat 大叻 - most friendly people, lovely weather (3-4 seasons in one day). Great produce. Could do with some better restaurants given the quality of fruits and vegetables.

HCMC 胡志明市  - Independence day holiday meant that the streets were relatively quiet other than the celebration spots. Taxi scams were still everywhere. 5 minute ride for 1.5m VND (USD75)!!

More to follow!!

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