Thursday, December 15, 2011

Vietnam, Part One

Here we are in Thailand. In keeping with this blog's theme of being several weeks and at least one country behind schedule, here's an update on Vietnam.  We met up with Craig, Matt, and Dustin and travelled with them from Saigon to Hanoi. Saigon wasn't terribly exciting but did give us our first taste of Vietnamese street food.We tried some tasty steamed pork buns and banh mi, a Vietnamese baguette stuffed with veges and surprisingly delicious mystery meats.

Next we went to Mui Ne, home to a sandy beach full of kite boarders, a massive reclining Buddha, a nice little fishing village, and some huge sand dunes. We hired scooters and cruised around the sights. The fishing village was especially interesting, full of hundreds of small round boats that looked like big wicker baskets bobbing around on the water. We didn't actually find the big dunes, but settled for some deserted ones down a dirt rod that was interesting going on our city scooters.

After Mui Ne we went to Dalat, a small hill town on a lake. The highlight here was a game of soccer with some local kids. They were really good and ran circles around us, but 'm going to blame that on the altitude. Dalat also had a coffee house where we learnt to play Chinese chess. They also played pumping dance music at high volume, even at eight in the morning. 

Nha Trang is another beach town where we went on the standard tourist boat trip, visiting several small islands, snorkeling, and floating around in the ocean on tubes drinking mysterious orange cocktails. There are dozens of other boats doing the same thing but it was fun nonetheless. A rather festive night in Nha Trang was followed by an early morning ride in a ridiculously overloaded transit van up the coast to Hoi An.

Luckily Hoi An was worth the unpleasant ride for its spectacular scenery and cheap tailored clothes. The town is on a beautiful river full of boats and a lot of old buildings have been preserved. Anna bought some skirts and dresses and I got a custom made suit, extra trousers, and five shirts for NZ$260. Sweet!   

I have to go now and catch a train, more on Vietnam soon.