Tag Archive: photos


Hue

Got on a bus from Hoi An for 4 (turned 3) hours to Hue stopping at a lookout point called Thua Thien Hue but didn’t get enough time to go to the top (so I didn’t see the point in stopping at all). Yes, nice views, but if there is a hike why not give us time to do it? The sells were very pushy and touched me twice L we also saw a truck full of dogs three times which smelt terrible. The last time we saw them they were getting sprayed down.

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Upon arriving in Hue, we went to lunch at Ushi where I got vegetable soup that ended up being just morning glory in water…only 15,000 though. Walked to central market (went over Truong Tien Bridge which is an ugly color and has construction) which was a lot like Goje market in Busan with souvenirs because it had vegetables and cooking things and housework items. We then walked through a park next to Perfume river and I told a guy I was Korean just for him to go away. On to the Imperial Citadel (palace) which cost 105,000 (which is much more than 55,000 as advertised in lonely planet). It’s pretty much the only thing to see in the city.

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It was mostly construction and trash which makes me question Vietnamese people–why not take care of your history? This was not the first thing we had seen like this. We’re not even sure what we saw because there were no signs. Their map and the lonely planet map didn’t add up either.

The pagoda/rest area-gondola was really nice as were the bushes made like turtles which were both inside the Purple Forbidden City. There was a nice dragon statue just beyond the main gate too, but we could not get over the trash. Closed at 5:30 and one in our group was very concerned we would not get out. Just then, matt found the temples and Hien Lam Pavilion which all looked beautiful. We then walked back to the Ngo Mon gate to find it was closed…so we went around to the next gate (Hien Hhom) to leave. I tried to go in that one at first but it is only an exit. The palace is a lot smaller than it seems. Back to the hotel for 6:30 for dinner at 7:30.

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Dinner at Le’s was good food with good drinks (but really standard drink deals) but the staff were too ‘helpful’. I don’t need someone behind me the whole time or chatting to me about my water bottle and such. They gave us jenga after dinner and asked if we were too tired because we didn’t want to play. Weird. 39,000 for fried rice with vegetables but really good. They were very on top of clearing plates too. Walked to Brown Eyes for free shots after but I went home because I was tired.

In the morning, some of us decided to go to Thin Mu. It was supposed to be 3km from a bridge that was 1 km away but it turned out to be 6.4km total so someone messed up on the map.

The walk was interesting because there was no sidewalk and lots of rundown temples and trash. Another sign of the Vietnamese not taking care of their country and history. Eventually found the pagoda at 11:40 meaning we had to go straight back so 4 of the group could check out and we all could eat. Got some good pics and saw the car a monk rode in before he burned himself because of abuses the government took on monks.

Haggled from 40,000 each to 22,000 each for a boat and then she dropped us at a different spot than she said she would (1 bridge early) because of police (?)

Back to the hotel to find a good restaurant and it turned out DMZ was supposed to be good, based on Trip Advisor. Service had no idea what was going on and food was okay. #5 on trip advisor? Not anymore…Our server could hardly take our orders but she understood when I said their ranking was about to go down. Most got pizza or pasta to bulk up for a 14 hour train ride.

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Ready at 9 for the bike ride which ended up being fantastic. Beautiful view the whole time and it was not hilly. The worst part was not really being able to see because of concentrating on the tiny path.

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Our first stop was to look at rice but myself and another ran to the baby ducks. Then we had the chance to do traditional garden watering (aka someone else’s yard work), then water buffalo riding which was a lot of fun even though it kept hitting you with its tail. At least he didn’t sit when I was on him, like he did with one of the others. Next was the beach for an hour and a half of which we were (mostly) in the water. Beautiful beach, sand, water and waves except for he bit of trash we saw (which was a lot less than we saw on the rest of the trip). Next we went back to the bikes for a bit to get to a boat which many people fell asleep on, not a lot to see at times but coming back to Hoi an that way as nice.

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Hoi An

Took the “8:30” train from Nah Trang but it was quite late. We had a person who was there to help yell if people were still in our room but we didn’t need to use her, sadly as we all wanted to see it happen.

Jill saw a mouse but I didn’t, again sadly because I wanted to see how big they were. Sit always calls them Mickey Mouse and one of the girls sings ‘Hey Mickey’. Woke pretty early because others were talking saying it must be soon but it wasn’t for another hour and a half. Got good pics of sunrise though.

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Arrived in DaNang and took a bus for 40 minutes to Hoi An.

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We couldn’t check in so we went to breakfast at Banana Leaf where I got a great omelet and crunchy baguette for 35,000. Next others went to the tailors but I didn’t want to buy anything so I just came back and did laundry and showered. Then I saw some of the boys who said they were going to the pool so I went there. It was fun especially because they didn’t pull me under, as they joked they would.

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Around 1:30 I went with Jill to explore the town. I didn’t realize that inside the ‘town’ there were no bikes or cars, making it seem even touristier. People are quite pushy to sell which I dislike. Walked to what I thought was the Japanese Bridge looking at the G Adventures wrong map again. Then to Central Market which was smelly and dirty and filled with sleeping people who were very very pushy to sell their food when they woke up—why would I buy food to cook? Next we wandered and I found a painting for mom for 100,000 dong. She asked 7USD, I said 5USD, which she then said was 120,000 dong. Nope. (She’s correct really but no one gets that rate.) Then back to the hotel for a little break before the cooking class.

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When we were fishing the cooking class everyone else showed up for Pete’s birthday dinner. Then we went upstairs and had some drinks and Sit brought in a huge cake with a dragon. We couldn’t eat it all and left the dragon head with the restaurant. Really good for an Asian cake. Lots of frosting 🙂 Then Sit took us to the Japanese bridge (not the one I saw earlier) which was beautiful at night and showed us a good ice cream shop.

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We then went to Hong Phuc 2 for drinks which were buy one get one for cocktail sand buy two get one for beer. The cocktails were quite strong. We got to control the music which was nice again and some people put lanterns in the water. Earlier we were told people do have jobs to pick up the lanterns. They closed at around 12:30 so we went home and as a massive rat.

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Ready at 9 for the bike ride which ended up being fantastic.

Myself and 2 others got ice cream from Enjoy, the place Sit showed us, which was 600,000 for 1 kg of ice cream. I ended up paying 70,000 which was still expensive but it was very nice. The milk is imported from France. Then we went back to Hong Phuc 2 because we needed more food. I got a sandwich for 32,000 which was warm and very nice because of the crunchy bread. Sit then took us to look for funny shirts but I didn’t have any money so I came back to the pool to be joined shortly by most of the group.

Left to go to the post office and paid 15,000 dong for the Americas and 13,000 dong for Asia and Europe. Found some people from the group right away and did a bit of shopping. 2 shirts for $10—one Vietnamese telecom and 1 ‘same same but different’. A friend paid $7.50 for one so I got a deal. Wandered a bit trying to find others and went to a buy one get one bar for 2 drinks. Found some but they had to go home and when we saw them again they didn’t want to eat anymore. Went to Hong Phuc 2 for dinner (same as lunch) and got 3 beers (1 free) and vegetables and rice for $10.50. I then got really tired and went home.

Cooking class started at the hotel at 4 and we walked to Hong Phuc which was right next to where we had breakfast. I was worried because many reviews online said that multiple cooking classes here have you cut vegetables and stuff spring rolls and nothing else. First we went to the market I went to earlier and looked at banana leaves, shredded leaves in salt water (many things were in salt water for pickling but this was to preserve it), hot chilies, garlic, shallots, 3 types of ginger, lemongrass, Vietnamese celery, how they get mixed greens (just an old lady mixing it), a strange round green thing that tastes like cucumber, live eels, fish balls and patties for soup, crabs, and lotus seeds/nuts.I was worried because we looked at many of the same foods from the Thai class.

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The first thing we made was fish stuffed with green onions and fried shallots which was wrapped in banana leaf and grilled.

Second was squid with lots of spices. Third was spring rolls (making them) which was quite different from Thai ones as the paper was a lot thicker and we didn’t cook the inside and put egg inside. Fourth we made a sauce for the wontons which I knew I wouldn’t like because of the pineapple but, since it was cooked, it wasn’t bad. We then fried the wontons and fried the spring rolls, cutting them partway though (Hoi An specialty) to make the inside crispy too.

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My favorite was the wontons followed far behind by the squid and fish—Gemma made the point that it would be a lot better with a more flavorful fish and a less bony fish. I didn’t like the wonton itself because it was bland but I guess the pork ones were good. They were Hoi An special as well and were flat with a little circle to one side, which I thought was strange.

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Arrived at the hotel in record time from the homestay (3.5 hours instead of 4.5).

A mini walk around town with no one dying due to motorbike. Lunch at Pho 2000 where bill Clinton ate when we came to Vietnam as president to talk about the war. I got Pho Chey and it was flavorless. 65000 dong for that 3000 dong for tea and 3000 dong for a napkin which we thought was free. Pay for napkin? Another person had vegetable curry which was much better.

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Walked though Ben Thanh Market just to be grabbed and touched a lot which I don’t like. We left shortly after and walked to the War Remnants Museum, thinking we were lost and got helped by a nice man with little English.

Some of us then walked to Cathedral Notre-Dame next which closed an hour before we got there. It was still pretty and their patron saint is Regina (just like a girl on our tour).

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Across the street was a mid-autumn festival with lots of drumming and kids watching (because I think it was at a school). Some kids played badminton outside too. The drummers were famous in their town/suburb.

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Next we talked to Independence Palace which was closed for the day but a guy said it would be open tomorrow. He then offered to take the 5 of us back to our hotel on his one motorbike. Haha.

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Dinner was bland spring rolls and 2 beers for 115,000 dong.

We then went to the bar street and walked awhile looking for cheap places. Went to one that said better deals than they really had and we tried to get a better price (we were in a group of 14, we’re going to spend a lot of money, so most places have given us discounts) and they said no, so we left. The server grabbed me and pulled me back into the seat so I slapped his arm. Went to a place we knew was cheaper and were given a private room because there was too many of us for the street. It was the lobby of a hostel and they let us use the computer for music. Cold beer for $0.50. in big-ish bottles too. Everywhere is supposed to close at midnight but we left at 12:30 and most places were still going strong.

Woke at 8 to pack and be ready to go for 9 and have everything out of the room because checkout was 12.

We went to the Cu Chi Tunnels in the morning.

When we got back I went to the ‘revolutionary’ museum alone—it was really the Ho Chi Minh City Museum.

I then tried to walk to city hall but it seemed busy and not exciting to take photos of so I left.

Bought food for the train ride of an orange, chocolate digestives fruit bars and nuts and a chocolate pastry for about 130,000 total. I plan to have it for 2 days except the pastry and orange.

Got back around 5:15pm to leave at 6:00pm to get on the train at 7:30pm and leaves at 8:00pm. So much waiting. The first overnight train of the trip.

When we got back I went to the ‘revolutionary’ museum alone—it was really the Ho Chi Minh City Museum and our map from G Adventures was wrong. I walked in the wrong room first (side door as there was no sign to tell me otherwise) so I saw the culture 19th-20th century.

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Then I walked to the start and saw the nature, then the history of foundation and development which had a ton of maps (which I love) then commercial part which was a lot of info about imports and exports then industry which seemed to have a lot of weapons. Then I got back to the 19th-20th but into another room with instruments and wine casks and masks.

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The next floor had wedding photos going on (kind of strange but they did get a good view of the city) and the big rooms had revolutionary struggles 1930-1975 which included an award for burning down a building, a horn to call people to protest, a saw that was used to cut trees to block the French from going into cities. A statue was made for a boy (under 18) who went to jail but gave up no information. Many protests happened during 1930-1931, more than any other time. The last bit was about the Ho Chi Minh Campaign which liberated Saigon and reunified the country.

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There were two balconies but only the back had a nice view outside were some tanks plants and helicopters.

Law was our guide of the Cu Chi Tunnels—he seemed rich, looked Korean and was way too excited about killing Americans in the war.

The first things we saw was a secret entry. A guy showed us how to go in and then I went and most others. It was a wooden plank that they use to cover the hole and put leaves on top (so no one sees it) and a bomb under (so if they do see it and open it, it will explode). Then saw one of the bamboo traps, holes with mounds to hide the Vietnamese when shooting, a 4 person shooting hole, a 2 person shooting hole, a mound which looked like termites but was really a breathing hole with bamboo shoots that were at an angle to help catch wind. Vietnam used to put chilies in the dirt to throw off the smell but it made the dogs sneeze, so the US soldiers still knew where they were and then the Vietnamese started to use American soap in the piles and the dogs never found them. Then was a M41 Tank that was destroyed by a mine in 1970.

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We then saw a ton of traps like the metal sheet, clamping armpit, rolling window, foot fish, see saw, ones that women make because ‘they’re easy’ (according to Law), durian, and door (which would swing in two places, so if you grabbed it to stop it, it would still hit you).

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After this we went though some of the tunnels which had been expanded to accommodate tourists, you could chose to get out at 20 meters, 40 meters, and 60 meters (it went for 100 meters but the guy would not let anyone go further than 60 as it got ‘too small’)

Then was a diorama about how to saw a bomb to get the powder. Then we saw a diorama of how they made the holes. And then the outfit that they wore. Next was the dining room and kitchen which had a separate area for smoke so the bombs would be dropped in the wrong spot.

Last was a super-propaganda video where everyone was happy to do back breaking work of planting rice and making hats.

This tour cost $15 and we didn’t tip because Law had ‘too much money’ which made sense because he was a bit tubby (and people in asia don’t get fat unless they have money). Myself and some others didn’t want to tip him because of how happy he was in explaining how the Vietnamese killed Americans. Yeah, it’s great how creative the Vietnamese were–but they were still killing people, and no one should be happy about anything that happened.

15000 dong entry into the museum and I felt I should give more to help those suffering but there were no boxes for that. I think I did the museum backwards, but the map on the wall was hard to follow.

The ‘world in support of resistance’ room was impressive because I didn’t realize just how many people in so many countries opposed the war. One thing I liked was that it specified it was the US government and not the people and showed our protests as well. Ho Chi Minh wrote a very nice letter to the American people which I didn’t know of either. There was also an old poster of what to do if an American troop landed in your yard and it basically said to be nice to them.

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The ‘DOVE children education’ room is on the top floor but there were some cute paintings and drawings on the bottom like “my hometown” in the new day”, “we visit the soldiers:, “life in the open sea”, “ dream of peace”, “wars please don’t take our mothers away!” and “road mountain in con ado” . There were 4 themes and one theme that not much was drawn on was ‘Uncle Minh’ (that theme creeps me out a bit anyway).

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Next I saw the ‘aggressive war crimes’ room which was graphic and disturbing. Some great messages from soldiers though. Also some great photos, even if they are of terrible things. Some wreckage tin from planes is in there too.

Next was the ‘Agent Orange’ room which made me ill twice. I didn’t realize it was having such horrible remedial effects. A fantastic letter was written to Obama asking for monetary support for those suffering. Not sure if it got a response. The letter was very deftest. Written by a man with no legs and 1 hand who wanted to help those LESS fortunate.

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Next were brilliant before and after photos.

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Next were ‘historical truths’ which I thought would be warped but were not too bad. Except for one of Johnson excitedly yelling to attack–I don’t think he was as excited as they depicted, or exited at all to order bombing.. I didn’t realize we broke UN resolutions then as well.

Next I saw ‘requiem’ which are photos journalists took, but were not able to bring home as they died during a battle. Can’t take photos because they are all under glass and its very bright inside. They were great photos though.

Outside are some US planes and imprisonment conditions which were (not surprisingly) terrible. One guy (who there was a photo of) was in jail for 10 years and looked like he was about to die of starvation.

The homestay (Phoungja Homestay) was a cute house and all the money they get they share with the village. Food was included but we had to pay for drinks–$0.75 for soda, $1 for beer and $0.50 for water—which were the cheapest were seen. Dinner was great and there was so much—pancake with beansprouts (then let people try to make them but after the first person they gave up half the work so I only poured), rice, meat, green beans, spring rolls and wantons. Desert of bananas and pineapple.

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We talked a lot especially about passports and Sit showed us a trick with paper and writing heaven and hell. One girl in the group had troubles remember peoples names so she gave everyone nicknames and mine was 2 legged lexicon (encyclopedia) which I quite like.

Slept under a mosquito net which I have no problem with but many were worried. One person kept hitting wall to kill bugs inside the net and said hers had holes and another was worried about the rat we saw. I had a grasshopper inside that I had to kick out and in the morning I saw he had been eaten by a lizard. Felt a bit bad about that.

Woke up early due to turkeys and rooster but fell back asleep until 6:45 or so. Took some pics around and after breakfast finally found the turkeys which were huge and I think intimidated by me because they blew up their bodies and then ran away. Breakfast was 2 eggs in omelet from a nice loaf of bread and bananas. I’m not a fan of their tea. They had many dogs (only one friendly), geese, chickens, roosters, turkeys and hammocks.

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Woke at 8:30 to leave at 9 for breakfast which was included in our day out boating and trekking for $20. We didn’t get to use the menu though (like we thought the day before when we booked it), just 2 eggs and a baguette (and a plate of bacon and fruit). Then a bus to where we got on the boat. The river we went down was Pre Toek Sap and we stopped at Ma Ou Ranger Station (I think) which would be a nice lookout if it was not raining. It was a fun building to go up because it was old and dangerous and the top floor had a hole from a fire which is stuck my legs though.

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Back on the boat Visna (our local guide) was cooking our BBQ barracuda/chicken which was interesting because it was a fire on our tiny boat. We saw lots of fishermen including ones looking for scallops or ones looking or clams and some diving birds. No dolphins though.

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Then we stopped at Thomor Tom beach dolphin station for lunch where the park rangers cooked (reheated) and were super nice. The barracuda was delicious. Coke in a glass bottle too. Beautiful looking beach but the smell was terrible once we go there probably because of the bathroom.

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From here we hiked to what is now Chinese beach but was Koh Sam Pouch beach (because of Chinese development even though it is a national park). We saw lots of water buffalo who made funny faces, a mother chicken and her babies, a huge pig (well, a few) and some colorful plants. It was raining and muddy the whole day, but that didn’t stop us!

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The beach was pretty nice and there were waves and pretty shells. Also a very long pier and a swing for fun pictures.  We were here about an hour.

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Next we drove to Kbal Chay Waterfall. One was massive! So many levels of the fall as well. A smaller one met up with it and this was less powerful so we got some pictures in it. Very slippery in the area because of moss on rocks underwater. We then walked a bit to a pool to swim in that lead to the small waterfall. It was cold and clear but didn’t look clear because of the rocks at the bottom. Such a strong current that when I did the breast stroke I didn’t move.

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Back into the van to go to Wat Leo Temple which is famous for monkeys. The temple itself was beautiful and had lots of decorations up. Sit, Visna and the bus driver made strange sounds and called the monkeys over for us to feed them and take photos. We then went to a lookout at the temple which, again, would be better on a clear day. Still great. Van back to the hotel.

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I sent postcards this morning for 3,000 each. Europe and Asia should have been cheaper but I’m not bother by 200 for the 3 that didn’t go to the Americas.

Dinner at the same place (Angkor Beach Bar) and I got veggie curry for $3 and fresh lime juice for $1 when it should have been $1.25. Woop. Leaving at 7 tomorrow for Vietnam.