Good morning, Vietnam!

Thursday February 15th, 2007 by edvar

After a loooong but fine flight, we finally arrived in Hanoi (or to be precise: Ha Noi) in Vietnam. It started yesterday, when we woke up at 6:30 AM to take our train to Schiphol, followed by a 12-hour flight to Singapore. We arrived at 6 AM (local time) and decided to walk around and to grab a cup of coffee/chocolate. Around 10 AM we had our flight to Ha Noi, where we arrived at 12:30 PM, local time. No problems with our luggage or with customs, so that was perfect.

We were picked up from the airport and brought to our hotel in the centre of Ha Noi. Renting your own car (or even crossing a street!) is almost equal to commiting suicide, as there are thousands of motorcycles racing on the streets. Ha Noi has 3+ million inhabitants and probably a lot more motorcycles …

Our hotel (A to Z Queen Hostel) is simple but OK. After a refreshing shower we went into town through the maze of small alleys, including the thousands of motorcycles which created a crazy chaos.

The ATMs first didn’t work, but after a while we could call ourselves real millionaires. The Vietnamese Dong isn’t worth ****, so 50 euro will give you around 1.000.000 Dong. We used a part of that fortune to buy some water. Tampons were also on the list (no, not for Edvar ;) ), but apparently they don’t know them over here …

In the evening we had a nice Vietnamese meal and as Daniëlle almost fell asleep, she quickly went to bed. Edvar decided to read some stuff and to type this message. By the way, see the “Where are we now?” page (menu at the right) for the local weather …

Tomorrow we will explore the town and we will probably book a trip to Sapa (Sa Pa) and/or Halong Bay. We will see! And now …
Edvar will also go to bed … :)

6 Responses to “Good morning, Vietnam!”

  1. Carbon wrote:

    This is fantastic…! A very funny update and I’m glad to hear your flight was uneventful. I look forward to further updates. I felt like I was right there with you reading this. Have fun…! Edvar, good luck finding those, um, tampons… :)

  2. Agata en Dion wrote:

    Edvar & Daniëlle, ‘t kan nog net : GOEDE REIS, EN GENIET ! WIJ LEZEN JULLIE BERICHTEN GRAAG. Take care. Agata en Dion.

  3. Hein wrote:

    Hee eddy, zet je jungle-pet op en veel plezier daaro.
    Zijn de loempia’s daar net zo lekker als op de markt van almelo?

  4. John Kottier wrote:

    Hoi Edvar en Danielle,

    maak een goede trip!

    maarre
    ik lees nog niks over auto’s????

    JK

  5. Judith en Gerben wrote:

    He kanjer,

    Fijn dat jullie goed zijn aangekomen.

    Ja wij werken wel door haha. De mannen zijn hier druk met de verbouwing. Hoop kabaal maar het begint ergens op te lijken. Nog 2 weken en dan gaan we een weekje naar de sneeuw tenminste als er wat ligt. We zijn er in ieder geval even tussen uit. En dan nog maar hopen dat het evenwichtspunt nog een beetje op zijn plek zit, zodat ik gewoon kan op de skies kan… Anders maar lekker met een stapel boeken de zon in!

    De kilo’s blijven er maar aan komen, ja lach maar snik zo leuk vind ik het niet. Ik hoop echt dat ik alles er weer af krijg straks. Mijn buik begint nu vorm te krijgen. Heb alweer een stap in de goede richting gemaakt, alle kleren die te klein waren uit de kast gegooid en de kleren van mijn zus er in. Wauw…ben trots op mezelf!!!

    Trouwen krijgt ook steeds meer vorm en we krijgen er steeds meer zin in. We hebben inmiddels de lokatie gevonden. Herberg Molecaten te Hattem. zegt het jullie wat? Het ligt midden in het bos heerlijk romantisch hmmmmmm. Het eerste gedeelte van de kaarten is besteld ze zijn echt gaaf geworden….jullie zullen het zien bij thuiskomst haha.

    Voor de rest hier geen bijzonder nieuws. We kijken uit naar jullie volgende bericht.

    Veel liefs
    juger en wonder

  6. Jan en Ariena wrote:

    Hoi friends,

    Mooie foto’s en mooie verhalen.
    bedankt voor jullie verjaardagskaartje. Ik heb een leuke verjaardag gehad.
    Mooie ketting van Jan en een vrachtwagen rijles van mama.
    Ben vanavond met de kaarten aan het schrijven voor de bruiloft. Die van jullie schrijven natuurlijk ook. Het huisje is mooi geworden. De keuken en kamer zijn echt super gezellig.

    Dit is een klein verhaaltje van de nederlandse bodum. Ga nu snel naar bed. Jan ligt er al bijna, die is niet lekker.

    Veel plezier en ik kijk gauw eens weer op jullie mooie site.

    Dikke kus Jan en Ariena

Chuc Mung Nam Moi!

Saturday February 17th, 2007 by Daniëlle

With other words: Happy New Year! A little late you might think? This is not the case, since the Chinese New Year was celebrated in Vietnam yesterday. Abba with their well known song “Happy New Year” was played all day long. During the evening there were some festivities like acrobats and at midnight wonderfull fireworks. The latter is forbidden and therefore the gouvernment arranges the fireworks. Fireworks are therefore very special and were welcomed with a lot of ahhh’s and ohh’s and applause by the people…..

Yesterday we relaxed and had a simple, but oke breakfast and booked our tours to Sa Pa and Halong bay and walked through the old town (Old Quarter). Enjoying the little shops with all kinds of merchandises such as: Tin cans, Red Lampoons, Shoes etc. At the end of the day we were cursing the honking of the horns and thousands of scooters rushing by to get the last merchandises before New Years Eve.

Edvar has succeeded to put the first pictures of Ha Noi on our website (Please click on Photo Gallery on the right menu and enjoy). Here you can find the different New Year trees, that are transported on the scooters by the Vietnamese people. Some of them really have difficulty to see the street through the branches :D .

Tomorrow we will visit the Mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh and will visit the water puppets theatre in the afternoon. At night we will catch the nighttrain to Sa Pa (close to the Chinese border), where we will stay for two days before we go to Halong Bay (Shores with Limerock Islands)

Thank you for the reactions from all around the world, we really enjoy reading them. Dear Ju I am sure you will be very slim again, everything will be fine and remember you will receive a lovely little treasure back for this inconvenience.

Dad did you already receive a message from the broker from the person who would come and see my house today? Was it the same guy whose parents visited my house during the open house route?

Neither one of us already has the feeling we have started a trip around the world, but it feels more like the start of a long holiday, but maybe this will change….

We will keep you posted about our adventures!

New Year's Tree                      New Year's Tree

Tin Cans   Fireworks

11 Responses to “Chuc Mung Nam Moi!”

  1. Wan wrote:

    Hoi Edvar en Danielle!

    Kung he fat choi!!!! (Gelukkig nieuwjaar in het Chinees) :-) Goed om te horen dat jullie goed zijn aangekomen. Hopelijk niet al te veel last van jetlag? Nou ben benieuwd naar jullie vervolg- verhalen en foto’s.

    gr. Wan

  2. Rik Jan wrote:

    Hoi Danielle en Edvar!

    Ziet er geweldig uit op de foto’s. Lijkt wel een beetje op Nepal, alleen iets drukker en smeriger. Maar dat kunnen jullie zelf wel gaan vergelijken. Heel veel plezier verder en rust maar lekker uit op jullie lange vakantie!

    Groetjes Rik Jan

  3. Anja wrote:

    Hé travellers!

    Zucht, als ik die foto’s zo zie, dan is het moeilijk om niet jaloers te worden…

    Hebben jullie de oliebollen gemist met oud & nieuw of hebben ze in Viernam ook iets wat daar op lijkt??

    Vulle wille nog! Ik ga me nu maar eens voorbereiden op de carnavalsoptocht waar ik vanmiddag aan mee ga doen als Katrien Duck..

    ALAAF!

    X
    Anja

  4. Anja en Roel wrote:

    Hallo Danielle en Edvar,
    Het ziet er daar bijna….zo mooi uit als hier in Hermanus ZA. Wij genieten van de zomer, jullie ook? Het is allemaal een beetje vreemd als ze in NL carnaval vieren in de kou en je hier wat andere omstandigheden hebt.
    Het is weer even wat anders dat Vietnam. We blijven jullie volgen.
    Groet,
    Anja & Roel
    NB.: Het huis zal dit jaar nog niet af zijn, dus plan maar weer een reis voor volgend jaar!

  5. Judith en Gerben wrote:

    he kanjers,

    Zo en nu voor de laatste keer want dan weet ik het zeker dat de s bij he kanjers wegvalt. Ik ben er namelijk heilig van overtuigd dat ik toch echt wel kanjers intik keer op keer. Hier lig ik dan ziek in mijn bed jullie belevingen te lezen, geeft me tenminste nog wat afleiding. Ik heb medelijden met wonder, die wordt door mijn gehoest heen en weer geslingerd in mijn buik, straks krijg ik een stuiterbal… Veel heb ik dus niet beleefd de afgelopen dagen, bed bed bed en nog eens bed hoop er morgen toch wel weer eens uit te kunnen. Dat vakantiegevoel verdwijnt vanzelf wel…gewoon lekker blijven genieten en beleven. Hoe waren de excursies?

    liefs juger en wonder

  6. Corné wrote:

    Hoi Danielle en Edvar,

    Wat een mooie site en wat leuk om te zien en lezen hoe goed jullie het hebben.
    Geniet er lekker van en hartelijke groet van

    Corné Ligthart

  7. Erna wrote:

    Hoi!

    Chuc Mung Nam Moi!
    Vorig jaar was ik met TET ook in Vietnam. In Nha Trang. Dus leuke herinneringen als ik jullie verhaal lees. Sapa en Halong Bay vond ik echt helemaal geweldig, dus ik ben benieuwd naar het vervolgverhaal.
    Ook herken ik de opmerking dat je nog niet het idee hebt dat je op wereldreis bent. Het kan voor jullie natuurlijk anders gaan, maar ik verwacht dat het nog een maandje duurt totdat je beseft dat het géén korte vakantie is en je gewoon niet naar huis hoeft. :-) :-)

    Heel erg veel plezier!!
    Erna

  8. Frank wrote:

    Ziet er allemaal leuk uit hoor! Tjonge krijg weer heimwee naar VietNam :| Ook leuk om de bekende dingen te horen waar jullie ook heen gaan of al zijn geweest. Zoals dat waterpoppentheater, even een “oh ja!” moment.

    Ik wens jullie veel plezier in VietNam (en de daarop volgende landen uiteraard), zal regelmatig deze site bezoeken, ook al is het soms even kot om de foto snel te kijken.

    Groeten Frank

  9. Natalja Marcuk wrote:

    Danielltje, Edvar,

    ik ben eruuuuuuuuuuuuuugggggggggg jaloes op jullie, hoor! Lekker met ze 2 ver weg van realiteit en elke dag brengt iets nieuw aan jullie.

    Ik kijk regelmatig deze site en ik ben erg benieuwd naar jullie volgende destinatie!

    Groeten uit zonnige, warme (+14graden) Nederland!

    Natalja Marcuk

  10. Moniek wrote:

    Hé hallo Daan en Edvar,

    Erg leuk om al jullie verhalen te lezen. Klinkt wel heerlijk en mooi allemaal en wij genieten lekker op afstand mee. Ik ben eigenlijk ook wel een beetje jaloers.
    Hier lijkt het gelukkig lente te worden. De afgelopen dagen waren heerlijk zonnig en je voelt je humeur met elk zonnestraaltje gewoon beter worden. Vrijdag over een week gaan we ook nog heerlijk op wintersport, dus dat is helemaal goed. Er zal wel niet veel sneeuw meer liggen, maar dan zoeken we gewoon de terrasjes op. Verder maken wij in vergelijking met jullie natuurlijk weinig spannends mee en zal ik jullie niet vermoeien met hoe wij onze dagen doorkomen.
    Nou, heel veel plezier in Nieuw-Zeeland (en de volgende landen) en ik kijk uit naar jullie volgende berichten.

    Liefs Moniek (ook namens Rob en Lisanne)

  11. Mirella Kowalski wrote:

    Lieve Danielle en Edvar,

    Wat een super foto’s en verhalen en ik ben het met de andere eens ben ook echt jaloers! Geniet ervan want volgens mij kan je dit maar één keer meemaken. Ik mis je knuffels heel erg dus moeten over een aantal maanden zekers afspreken om te knuffelen maar ook om al je verhalen “live” te horen. Hopelijk heb je ondertussen je huisje verkocht … Hier bij Serono z’n gangetje, lekker druk en bevalt mij nog prima.
    Nog de groetjes van Jack en veel plezier en geniet ervan.

    Dikke knuffel Mirella

Sapa and Halong Bay

Saturday February 24th, 2007 by Daniëlle

After some fun trips to Sapa and Halong Bay, we have arrived back in Hanoi! We really enjoyed it, had some good weather and although we had some problems with our stomachs and also had to use our First Aid Kit twice (don’t worry ;) ), our health is very good again. Let’s update you about the things we did in the last week …

Last Sunday morning, we took a cyclo (a kind of riksja) to the Mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh, who is very famous here in Vietnam. He looked good, although there are plenty of stories that Madame Tussaud is having a good deal here ;) . We continued to a small temple (One-Pillar Pagoda) and to a museum about Ho Chi Minh. We also relaxed a bit at the Botanical Gardens, spotting squirrels and a few monkeys in cages.

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum    Edvar

Afterwards we walked back to the Old Quarter, we visited the Waterpuppets Theatre. Very funny!

Waterpuppets, Hanoi

We took a shower in our hotel and went to the trainstation to catch the night train to Lao Cai (close to the Chinese border). It seemed that they put us in different cabins, but somehow they arranged it that we could sleep together. The Vietnamese way to arange things is still a bit new to us (you only hear “it’s OK”), which made us after a while a little nervous, but somehow it works …

On the train we met Vuong, a Vietnamese guy from Ho Chi Minh City, who spoke English very well (he studied in Australia) and who had some nice music with him. We enjoyed that very much.

The night was not fantastic for Daniëlle, as she didn’t sleep well and had to throw up probably because of a rotten banana. A bit sleepy, we arrived at Lao Cai (map: [GP:VT Sapa]) at 7 AM, where a small bus was waiting for us to bring us to Sapa in one hour.

In Sapa we took another shower and had some breakfast, before we started with our walking tour, together with our guide Sumiya. The weather was beautiful, a bit foggy, but warm. We enjoyed walking through all the rice fields. There’s not much to see regarding nature (just some farm animals, but lovely little chicks and puppydogs), but a bit more regarding culture, as there are several hilltribes in the area, including the Black H’mong, Tay and the Dzao. They all have their own customs and clothes. It was nice to see, although we went crazy because of their “stalking”, just to sell stuff to us … (What’s your name? Ah beautiful name! How old are you? Ah very young! Where are you from? Ah Holland small country!)

Sapa     Dzao people

In a small village called Ta Van we had arranged a homestay. The house was simple, just with the necessary stuff to sleep and eat, but also with a TV (?!). We didn’t feel very welcome all the time, because sometime we were ignored a little bit. At least the dogs and cats liked us ;) . But the homestay still was fun, also beacuse of the fantastic dinner. Ten plates with different kind of food and some ricewine as desert. After that, we were both tired, so we quickly went to the attic to sleep on some simple matrasses.

The next day we had a nice breakfast and gave a small tip to the family, who were quite surprised to see that. We continued with some more walking and again visited a Tay local house, where our guide told us about their customs. We also tasted some local spice, which is also being used as medicine against stomachache and headache. Around noon a bus picked us up to go to Sapa, where we could take a shower again. While waiting for the next bus, a man from France had cut himself in his fingers, so we took our First Aid Kit and helped him a little bit. So, Daniëlle could play doctor ;) .

Then we took the bus to Lao Cai and waited at a restaurant for our train tickets. Again, this happened on the Vietnamese way, but now we got used to it, so just “go with the flow” …

While entering the train, Daniëlle had a small accident, which resulted in a small wound on her leg. So, we took our First Aid Kit again, bit everything was quite OK. This time the train ride was a bit better, as we could sleep quite well. Around 5 AM we arrived in Hanoi to be picked up by the hotel staff. Surprise, nobody was there, so after 30 minutes we took a cab (paid too much for it). Back at the hotel, they were still asleep (lazy guys!), but we were soon given a chamber for another shower.

Around 8 AM we already left again, now to Halong Bay (map: [GP:VT Halong Bay]). The trip took three hours. We got onto a classic boat (junk), together with 15 other persons and headed for the islands. It was a bit foggy, but still very beautiful. Between the different boat rides, we visited a large cave, did some kayaking and several persons decided to swim for a couple of minutes. After dinner we played some poker with five other people and around 11 PM we went to our “honeymoon suite” for a good night of sleep.

Halong Bay

The next morning we picked up some persons from another boat, including some Dutch persons from Holland (Gerrit and Annie) living in …. Borne (near where we live)! Sometimes it’s a small world …

We headed to the island of Cat Ba, where we visited a nice cave, this time including some bats. Had a great lunch and at that same spot Daniëlle saw some beautiful Kingfishers, with beautiful colours, just like in Europe.

We drove to a small town, checked in at the luxury hotel and left immediately by boat to a small beach where we could swim for an hour or so. After the swimming, we returned to the hotel and were surprised by a large amount of fog.

At the hotel we had another shower (almost no water pressure, so hardly any water coming out of it on the sixth floor), had a nice dinner and in the evening joined the rest of the group for some beer, rice wine and karaoke (Edvar didn’t participated in the last part). And then some sleep again …

On friday, we only drove back to Hanoi, where we arrived at 4 PM. The ride in the bus made Daniëlle very sleepy ;) .

Zzzzz ...

In Hanoi we had a great pizza, together with Marc and Lisa, whom we met on the boat at Halong Bay. They are travelling for 6 months already and still have 7 months to go! Read about their adventures on the great website at : 2HeadedTurtle.com.

Today, we just relaxed a bit here in Hanoi. Sleeping, reading, writing our diary and updating our website. Don’t forget to visit the Photo Gallery for 50 new pictures.

This evening we will take the night train to Hue (map: [GP:VT Hue]), where we will stay a day or two. Then we will continue to Hoi An and Nha Trang. And as usual, we will do our best to keep you updated about our stories!

6 Responses to “Sapa and Halong Bay”

  1. Marc wrote:

    Woo-hoo! Cat Ba Crew 4-ever!

  2. ma&pa wrote:

    laatste mail gezien.Dank en goad goan.meer volgt

  3. Barry, Timon en Joyce wrote:

    Hoi avonturiers,

    Leuk om jullie verhalen te lezen en foto’s te zien.
    Zo kunnen we vanuit het regenachtige Deventer een beetje mee genieten.
    Veel plezier, groetjes Barry, Timon en Joyce

  4. Sandra wrote:

    Hoi,
    Bedankt weer voor een mooi verslag en de mooie foto’s
    Gelukkig maar dat jullie een EHBO-kit bij jullie hebben, want het komt zo te lezen wel van pas. Hier gaat het allemaal zijn gang, het voorjaar wil nog niet echt komen….
    Take care,
    Sandra

  5. hans en erna wrote:

    Hallo edvar en daniëlle
    Nog maar 14 dagen op pad en nu al zoveel gezien!
    Prachtig jullie foto’s. We genieten mee.
    De goede raad van Hans:…..uitkijken bij het oversteken!!!!!!……
    komt wel héél …goed van pas daar in Hanoi met al die oorverdovende
    brommers!!
    Edvar en Daniëlle, good luck en zonnig spoor.
    Heb het goed en houd het goed!!!!!…
    Hartelijke groeten Hans …. en Erna

  6. Ira Schwartz wrote:

    Good to hear that there’s good pizza to be had, even in Hanoi! Perhaps not as good as Pizzaria Monegasque used to be, but . . .
    By the way- excellent stuff in the Photo Gallery!

How to rip of tourists in Vietnam?

Tuesday February 27th, 2007 by Daniëlle

Hello everyone,

Again an update from Vietnam, this time from Hoi An a little city in the central part of Vietnam. We both have a little bit mixed feelings about Vietnam, some people are very friendly and some have really discovered how they can squeeze the maxium amount of money out of tourists staying in Vietnam for their holidays. In the following summary we will explain this statement with a few examples.

Typing our last update on the website in our hotel in Hanoi, we overheard (hard not to with the screaming) a fierce discussion between the manager of the hotel and a girl from Spain regarding the laundry service. According to her she paid 12 dollars for the washing of three skirts, four tops, 12 pair of underwear and a short. When her clothes were returned to her she only received one top, one pair of underwear and one short and the top that once had been lovely white now was grey and ruined. She wanted a solution for this problem and her money back.

The manager on the other hand, just said it was not his fault since he did not do the laundry and he could not give her her money back. In the end she was near to tears and said to him that if he offered laundry service at his hotel he was responsible for the outcome, but he just got angry and walked away ……

Saturday evening we took the nighttrain from Hanoi to Hue. We were dropped off at the trainstation and the guy (about twelve years old) from the hotel said we should pay for the taxi, because he had no money. After an angry look from Edvar and a “No way we are going to pay for the taxi. You are paying!”, he quickly paid the taxi ……, this same guy should have picked us up after we returned from Sapa and did not show up. He probably gets a large amount of pocket money this way everytime this little scam succeeds …

Edvar did not sleep very well in the train, because he had a cold and had to blow his nose every ten minutes. When we arrived in Hue we were harassed by taxi drivers and cyclo guys insisting to offer us a ride. With our sleepy heads we got so irritated by them that we got rid of our irritation by walking from the station to our hotel Thai Binh Hotel number II. The hotel was recommended to us by a guy who promoted it in the train.

The prices in Hue were raised a lot compared to the ones stated in the Lonely Planet. For example a hotel which according to the Lonely Planet should be between 5-20 dollar now had her cheapest room for 50 dollar. The bus from Hue to Hoi An was supposed to be 2 dollar, on the signs the price was 3 dollars, but according to the three places we checked the price was raised to 5 dollars since the starting of the new year, nice increase ……

The first day in Hue we visited the Citadel, which was quite impressive, we spent about 4 hours over there. Some parts were very well restaurated with help from the Canadians, which gave you a good impression how it should have been in the time of the emperrors. Other parts were very old and not restaurated at all and supported by wooden poles to prevent the buildings from caving in, which gave a mystic impression of old glory faded away due to the test of time.

Gate, Citadel, Hue    Restauration, Citadel, Hue

The second day we rented bikes, not for the 10.000 vietnamese dong expected, but for 15.000 dong with a map of the area, at least cheaper than the first offer of 20.000 dong. Slowly we are getting the hang of lowering prices. With the bikes we visited an old japanese covered footbridge, Thanh Toan bridge, the bridge was nice and so was the road through the ricefields with beautiful white egrets. People were very helpfull in showing us the way and we were greeted everytime by a nice hello, sometimes with some Vietnamese words followed by laughter, which of course we could not understand, but might have been a little less nice … We talked for a while with a vietnamese man who now lives for about six years in the United States and got lovely ginger and small nuts with our drinks.

Rice Fields, Hue    Temple

After that we visited a temple Nam Giao. The entrance was free or at least it seemed to be, we should park our bike and a guard gave us a metal thing and wrote a number with chalk on our saddles. Stupid tourists, of course the alarm bells should have gone of, but it didn’t. There was not much to see since the temple was completely destroyed, after five minutes we came back and had to pay 4000 dongs for the parking of our bikes …… At least we tried to make clear that it was not very polite that he did not mention that before, but maybe we should have asked …

After that we visited one of the tombs just outside the city: the tomb of Tu Duc, which was very nice. Edvar spotted another kingfisher. We also saw Tim again, one of the guys from the poker game in Halong Bay and in the evening we had a few drinks with him and Isabel, who had been ill that day. The whole area around the tombs consists of graveyards, which is quite impressive. Bundles of incense can easily be bought in this area. After that we returned to Hue and visited the little island north of the citadel, but there was not much to see.

Incense    Tu Duc Tomb
Mandarin Guards    Elephant

This morning we took the bus from Hue to Hoi An and were again ripped of because the busride should have been 6 hours with at least four stops, with one of them at the marble mountains, but we were already in Hoi An after three hours with only one stop in Danang to let some people off …… no return of the money, of course still 5 dollars ……

In Vietnam people do not seem to take the responsiblity, or feel like they, as a service to customers, need to help them. One thing is sure, do not get angry at them, because then they just walk away … Luckily we did not experience this ourselves, but have seen a few examples during our stay in Vietnam.

Sometimes it seems silly to get angry about a few bucks (for your information: 20.000 dong is equal to 1 euro), but it is just the principle that you do not want to be scammed. Since we are not only on holiday for a few weeks, these few bucks will sum up to be a lot of bucks in the end, which might in the make the difference during our 8 to 9 months trip.

Oke thank you for your listening ear, writing this has relieved us from our irratation. So Hoi An, here we come we are ready to explore the old town! Again 34 new pictures for people who are interested in the photo gallery!

7 Responses to “How to rip of tourists in Vietnam?”

  1. Ivo wrote:

    Hoi Daan & Edvar,

    Nou zo beleef je nog eens wat; zeker geen saai land -:)

    De foto’s zijn schitterend en ik ben helemaal niet jaloers hahaha

    Veel plezier en ik ben benieuwd naar jullie volgende verslag!

    Groeten Ivo & Gienia

  2. Pauline wrote:

    Hallo Edvar en Danielle,

    Leuk om jullie ervaringen te lezen. Vrienden van ons zijn net terug uit Vietnam en zij hadden vergelijkbare ervaringen. Daarbij komt dat ik steeds meer mensen hoor die die kant op gaan. Blijkbaar is het “hot” om daarheen te gaan. De mensen daar zullen wel bedenken dat het makkelijk geld verdienen is. Ze moeten alleen nog even leren dat je met vriendelijkheid en behulpzaamheid soms veel meer verdiend (lees “tips” krijgt) ;)

    Pauline, Erik en Maarten

  3. Marieken wrote:

    Hoi Daan en Edvar,

    Zo te horen komen jullie terug als ervaren pingelaars. Het is heel gewoon voor die mensen om meer te vragen, en waarom ook niet, het valt altijd te proberen of er weer zo’n “gek”in trapt. Hebben ze toch weer een mooi centje erbij verdient (behalve dan van het wasgoed). Laat je van je beste kant zien en ga afdingen die hap! Op een gegeven moment is dat gewoon de uitdaging en ze doen het ook onder elkaar hoor…

    Ik hoop dat jullie een geweldige voortzetting van de wereldreis hebben en laat je niet kisten!

    Veel liefs,
    Mariek

  4. Frank en Audrey wrote:

    Hoi hoi,

    Leuke ervaringen. De verhalen komen ons bekend voor. Ook de kleine irritaties die ontstaan als je zelf net niet helemaal Fit of moe bent. Toerisme is nog vrij nieuw daar, en iedereen kan op een dag aan een tourist een salaris verdienen gelijk aan een maand op het platte land werken. Van klantvriendelijkheid of klantbinding hebben ze nog niet gehoord. Als je je goed voelt lach je er om!!!

    Voor de rest zie ik weer de schitterende plaatjes van Sapa, halong, en HUE. Geweldig….ontsnappen aan de drukte van de stad, prachtige natuur en cultuur.
    Ik ga onze eigen foto’s er snel maar weer eens bij halen….

    Het is leuk om jullie verhalen te lezen. Heel veel plezier in Hoi an en Nha Trang (duiken daar Edvar????) erg mooi. En als jullie echt ff tot rust willen komen….Mui ne een eindje zuidelijker richting Ho chi minh, is geweldig. Wel iets duurder, maar schattige hutjes aan het strand…dus je wordt sochtends wakker en rent zo de zee in…super. Het was een van onze meest fijne plekjes. In weekenden is het wel druk.

    We zijn maar een klein beetje jaloers (hahahaha)…geniet ervan…
    Liefs Frank en Audrey

  5. martijn wrote:

    hallo danielle en edvar, leuke fotos en berichten van jullie, wou dat ik er bij was, maar ja gaat niet he.
    hier in enschede gaat nog alles prima, dus ik hoop voor de komende tijd ook voor jullie.
    Reis ze nog en veel plezier.
    groetjes martijn

  6. Erik wrote:

    Hoi Daneilel en Edvar,

    Ben zelf geen reiziger maar als ik deze verhalen lees dan ga ik er toch maar eens over nadenken. Net gedaan, maar wordt niks, veel te lang van huis.
    Maar ga zeker jullie website bezoeken om de leuke verhalen te lezen op welke mooie plekken jullie allemaal komen. Zeer mooie foto’s.
    Edvar, Ferrari heeft zijn eerste prijs al weer binnen, Kimi (Melbourne)

    Heel veel plezier en geniet er lekker van!!

    Groeten,
    Erik

  7. Bart Vanruymbeke wrote:

    Hallo Danielle & Edvar,
    Great jullie ervaringen Vietnam te kunnen volgen. Temeer daar wij in juli-augustus ook een trekking vietnam doen is/was jullie verhaal héél welkom.
    Mochten jullie nog info of webadressen van vrienden hebben die momenteel Vietnam doorkruisen zou dit zéér aangenaam en welkom zijn. Momenteel grootse problemen om via het net onze binnenlandse vluchten te boeken… Dit stoppen en terplaatse boeken of toch vanuit Belgie?.?.? Alvast heel veel fun in Nieuw Zeeland en alle geluk toegewenst.
    Groetjes uit Belgie! Bart & Hilde (eveneens bezeten duikers…..)

Sun, ocean, beach and diving in Nha Trang

Sunday March 4th, 2007 by Daniëlle

After a day wandering around in Hoi An and buying our souvenir from Vietnam (Vietnamese chopsticks) we took the nightbus to Nha Trang.

According to the little travel agency, where we bought our busticket, the seats would not be adjustable, the bus would be without airconditioning and a video would not be available, but except for the video everything was there anyway. The bus was fourtyfive minutes late and they booked our ticket on the wrong day, but after a telephone call from the lovely receptionist at our hotel we were able to catch our bus as planned afterall. The bustrip was fine except for a flat tire.

Flat Tire

Shortly after our arrival in Nha Trang we found a nice little hotel were we will be staying for six nights, so Edvar will be able to get his Open Water diving license, which will take four days. The first day we just relaxed and wandered around Nha Trang a bit. Yesterday and today Edvar will learn the theorie of diving and will practice his skills in the swimming pool. Monday and Tuesday we will go for the real deal diving in the ocean. We will leave from the diving school at 7:00 AM. I will also join the boat and do a dive each day to practice my own diving.

Nha Trang

During the time Edvar is diving, I have the time to relax and read a book. Yesterday I spent all day on the beach. The weather is lovely, pretty warm in the sun, but with the breeze coming in from the ocean it stays nice and cool. Beware because even in the shadow you get lobstered alive, that’s why I will stay out of the sun for today :) .

The people in the south of Vietnam are much more friendly and do not have the tendency to stalk you as much as the people in the north of Vietnam. If everything goes well with the diving, we want to visit Ho Lao (Monkey Island) and travel to Dalat and book a tour to the Cat Tien National Park. After that we will travel to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) to visit the Cu Chi Tunnels and a full day to explore Ho Chi Minh City. After that our time is running out in Vietnam and we will fly on March 14th from Ho Chi Minh City to Christchurch in New Zealand.

3 Responses to “Sun, ocean, beach and diving in Nha Trang”

  1. Marieke wrote:

    Hallo harde werker en luie zonaanbidster!

    Ben net een half uur bezig geweest om alle verhalen door te lezen en dan moet ik nog aan de foto’s beginnen. Wat kan een mens veel meemaken in zo’n korte tijd! Ik ben blij dat jullie het zo naar je zin hebben maar…… Edvar: haal Danielle eens snel uit die zon! Ze is altijd al de bruinste en als ik deze verhalen lees dan kunnen we over 8 maanden niet meer met goed fatsoen in de korte broek naast haar gaan staan. Allemaal onzin natuurlijk. Geniet er lekker van, dan doen wij dat hier in het koude en natte Holland ook via jullie site.

    Dikke knuffel!

    Marieke en Bas

  2. Carbon wrote:

    Hello, Danielle. It sounds like you and Edvar are having a great time. I look forward to hearing more updates. Good luck with the diving…!

  3. pa en ma wrote:

    Gelezen in Hong Kong. Geniet er verder van. Morgen wij naar Auckland.

Rain in Dalat

Thursday March 8th, 2007 by Daniëlle

Indeed even in Vietnam rain can fall down. We just arrived in Dalat ([GP:VT Dalat]). The rain gives us the opportunity to update you about everything and upload our photos so you will be able to admire them again.

In Hue we noticed them for the first time, but after that we have seen them everywhere. Little geckos hanging upside down on the wall. At dusk they appear and start to catch flies, which they are by the way very good at. Interesting to watch for a while.

In Nha Trang Edvar has been very busy to get his Open Water diving license. Honey I want to congratulate you, because you made it without drowning! In the future you can take care of me above and below the surface of the water ;) . I myself also have made four dives which was a great experience. The only thing I was a little less excited about, was my little cave adventure, since our Belgium diving instructor neglected to brief us about it.

The fauna of the ocean is nice, I have seen better (for instance in Egypt), but it is worthwhile to take a peak under the surface. Beautiful blue starfish, Sea urchins with long stings, lots of colourful fish, including Nemo, a few Morays and I have even seen a Seasnake, that was very cool.

The following people were in the dive team of Edvar: Pete from England, Cheryl from Scotland and Akihiro from Japan. Clara and Sven tought them all their diving skills. In the beginning, Edvar was still a little bit insecure, but this got better after a while. The first day my diving buddy was Danny from Nijmegen the Netherlands. Very nice girl, we did some headrolls under the water :) . The second day I have been diving with an Australian couple Kellie and Jason.

Rainbow Divers Dive mates

I also spent some time trying to provide a dating service for some people, but discovered I do not know a good match for Pete yet. We thought about letting Vanessa, a girl from Australia, who works in Tokyo get a drink with Tom, but we can only arrange this if she puts a message on our blog!

It’s a shame that people in Vietnam throw away their garbage everywhere, on the street and in the water. Maybe they only do this to create jobs for the streetsweepers and the people in boats, cleaning the streets and the water? During our last afternoon in Nha Trang we experienced this ourselves during our swim in the ocean. Hats, coconuts, all kinds of things slithering and sliding past your legs, when you get out of the water.

Even on Monkey Island you can find monkeys poking between the garbage. To get to Monkey Island we jumped on the motorbikes of Dan and Bamboo, the Vietnamese Riders of Nha Trang, this is a group who separeted themselves from the Easy Riders of Dalat. Very nice guys, who are very capable to drive safely through the traffic chaos of Vietnam.

On the way to Monkey Island we were dropped of at a Cham Tower (Po Nagar), so our helmets could be arranged, which are required by law on the highways. Nice to view, but watch out not to choke because of the smoke of the incense sticks, which are lit here continuously.

Cham Tower       Smokey

Monkey Island was a funny nice alernative after our diving adventure. The show with the bears we avoided deliberately. The monkeys are clever little fellows, since they know exactly how to spot the people with ’monkeyfood’. Some monkeys even try to snatch the food if you lower your guard for a short moment. One tried this with me, but this monkey was launched through the air and I still had my monkeyfood. Another impatient dominant male monkey, tried to steal my corn. In the end he used my head to launch himself on the steel bar above our heads from the bench we were sitting on trying to show off. But we were not impressed.

Garbage Monkey   Baby

Feeding the monkeys   Monkey

Our bustrip to Dalat went well and we found a small hotel to stay the night. Tomorrow we will travel to Cat Tien National Park, hopefully to spot a lot of wildlife.

7 Responses to “Rain in Dalat”

  1. John Kottier wrote:

    Heel veel plezier op het vervolg van jullie reis

    ik ben benieuwd naar de spots in het National Park

    groetjes

    John

  2. Pete from England wrote:

    The guy in the red bull t-shirt in your picture looks like a hottie… you should fix him up with some nice girl! :-) Oh, ok, so I can’t say that about myself. Fair enough.

    Yes, this is Pete who was on the diving course with Edvar… I have to say it was a pleasure to meet you both. I loved the course and your company wasn’t so bad either… especially when I kept bumping into you and interrupting what could’ve been a number of romantic dinners for you!

    I’m still in Nha Trang with an ear infection, so haven’t been diving again yet. Not to worry though, I’m thinking of heading to Phu Quoc island for my 30th birthday (10 days from now) and getting in some diving there. I believe it’s not the best place for a party so the decision isn’t cast in stone yet.
    You’ll be glad to know we also had rain in Nha Trang. I stood out in it looking out to sea getting soaking wet. I was the only one on the beach not hunched up under a parasol… well, there was me and a small crab which came running up out of the sea and checked me out before digging himself a little hole and sealing himself under the ground. Along with the gecko’s, it’s quite cool to watch.

  3. Emelia & Wendy wrote:

    Hoi!

    We hebben jullie ontmoet op de boot van de duikschool, leuk om even jullie verhalen te lezen en te zien dat jullie nog gedoken hebben!
    Wij wensen jullie nog een fijne reis toe!
    groetjes Emelia en wendy (vrienden van Danny, je buddy)

  4. Marion, Sven en Jarno wrote:

    Ha die mede duiker, van harte gefeliciteerd met je brevet. Hoop dat jullie zo door blijven genieten. Ik heb net de hele auto vol gepakt voor onze wintersport en heb nog nooit zo veel zooi meegenomen. We hebben er wel erg zin en er ligt een mooi pak sneeuw.

    Groetjes,

    Je broertje

  5. Marieke wrote:

    Hi There!

    Edvar, gefeliciteerd met het behalen van je brevet en heel veel mooie duikervaringen toegewenst! Even om jullie een beetje gek te maken. Het is hier schitterend weer!!!!!! Na een hele week regen, schijnt de zon nu al het hele weekend. Ga dan ook snel weer naar buiten en log wel weer een keertje in als het weer weer wat minder is. Veel plezier in Nieuw Zeeland. Blijf doorgaan met de leuke verhalen want dan is ons leven ook weer een stukje spannender!

    Liefs Marieke (en ik denk ook wel van Bas maar die ligt ziek in bed)

  6. Judith en Gerben wrote:

    He kanjers,

    Net een dagje terug van de heerlijke wintersport in Serfaus. Volgens mij hebben we geluk gehad met de sneeuw en het weer. We hebben 1 slechte dag gehad voor de rest heerlijk genoten van de latten en de zon. Van vermoeidheid helaas niet alle avonden kunnen après skiën, wonder vond de inspanning op de latten wel voldoende haha. Ze hadden voor wonder ook geen ski’s en schoenen dus maar gewoon met mij mee. De sneeuw bovenin was nog erg goed. Beneden was het gewoon pap, maar daar hoefden we maar 1x per dag overheen. Er was nog een stroomstoring geweest in het gebied waardoor geen enkele lift meer draaide. Ja en daar zaten we dan heerlijk met onze kop in de zon. Er kwamen sneeuwbollies aan om de mensen op te halen. Net toen het zonnetje begon te verdwijnen ging de lift het weer doen. Nog net op tijd hebben we de lift naar Serfaus kunnen halen. En ja natuurlijk zijn we allemaal weer eens flink onderuit gegaan. Gerben mag morgen weer aan het werk en ik kan nog genieten van een dagje zon voordat ik op mag naar het werk. Ach ik begin alweer af te tellen nog 16 weken en ik denk dat ik er 14 van maak.

    Edvar, gefeliciteerd en goed op Daan passen onder water offe moet het omgekeerd zijn?

    Wij wensen jullie veel plezier in Nieuw Zeeland! (als jullie de familie Brom tegenkomen doe ze maar de groeten, met een beetje geluk spreken ze nog een beetje Nederlands)

    Liefs juger en wonder

  7. hans en erna wrote:

    hallo diepzeeduikers
    die edvar……hij is weer een hele ervaring rijker… proficiat met je brevet… en nu samen duiken … ook gezellig toch? dank voor al jullie mooie foto’s en mailtjes vanuit Vietnam en wensen jullie een goeie vlucht naar Nieuw-Zeeland
    prettige voortzetting van julie wereldreis en… houd jullie goed
    hartelijke groeten….. hans en erna

Oh boy, oh boy, we have already been travelling for a month!

Friday March 16th, 2007 by Daniëlle

No, we can no longer use the phrase: “Good Morning Vietnam” (nice cocktail by the way), because we arrived yesterday in a wonderful, very friendly and sunny New Zealand!

You can hardly believe it, but we have already been travelling for a month, time flies when you’re having fun. First of all, we would like to thank everyone for all nice, lovely, and informative messages and of course for the congratulations to Edvar for his diving license. We enjoy it very much when there is a message from friends and family. Mom and Dad and of course also the rest of you: I am really starting to miss you. But to be honest, in general we have hardly the time to dwell with homesickness, so luckily it is not really an issue :) .

We will meet the parents of Edvar soon in New Zealand and we are really looking forward to see them, because it will be nice to see some familiar faces! Spoke to my own Mom and Dad this morning and it was really nice to hear your voices again.

Alright, lets start with the final update and photos of our last days in Vietnam. By Jeep we drove to Cat Tien National Park. Along the way we made a few stops, one at a coffeeplantage and a phony coffee factory, where we were served coffee and tea for free, which was very nice. When we arrived in the afternoon at the National Park we followed a trail through the jungle with our guide. Our guide was a real mountainbiker, who himself admitted that he preferred this above hiking. He was affraid of all big mammals and therefore very happy that they were not living in this area of the National Park :( . We on the other hand would have loved to see some rhinos, elephants or tigers. However, the area with big mammals doesn’t seem to be accessible for tourists.

Rhino

We did see a lot of beautiful birds (again kingfishers), large and small squirrels and lizards. At night we participated in a night spotting, where animals are tracked down by shining with a big torch so you can see the reflection of their eyes. Deers and Civetcats (I was not able to distinguish a cat … but well) showed themselves to us. The management of the park changes every three months and you can notice, that Vietnam has a lot to learn, also how to sell a National Park to tourists. The Vietnamese people experience nature in a completely different way than we do. They are just not brought up to admire the wonders of nature.

The next morning we took another trail through the jungle and had a break at the riverbank. Due to the dry season we could only see rocks and no water, but we could hear it at a short distance. With permission of our guide we climbed the rocks to reach the water and doing so had an encounter with a snake (some kind of Cobra snake), which was hiding in the shade against the sun.

Cat Tien National Park Snake

In the afternoon we left for Crocodile Lake, a hike of about 6 km. 50-60 Crocodiles have been released in this lake, since the original population was extinct. In the rainy season some of the animals dispers to the nearby rivers and therefore no one knows how many animals are still in the lake. The National Park hopes to find a nest with crocodile eggs one day, which would mean the population would be able to reproduce on their own. At the trail towards the lake we saw lizards, big old tropical trees and a yellow frog.

Tropical Forest Frog

After arriving at Crocodile Lake Edvar and I went kayaking and were able to spot a lot of birds up close (white egrets, sort of waterhens, kingfishers). In the distance we could see a group of monkeys close to the water. After the kayaking we strawled along the banks and again saw some monkeys near the treeline and almost stumbled over a deer with big antlers! Since we did not know the testosterone level of the deer we backed away and took a little detour to get back to the lodge.

Crocs Crocodile Lake

Kingfisher

At night we were able to follow the deer with a big spotlight and also saw the red eyes of about five crocodiles in the lake. In the morning we stood up early, but did not see much new things. Back at basecamp we were taken by boat and on the back of a motorbike to the mainroad to catch our bus to Ho Chi Minh City.

While driving to the mainroad my motorbike driver hit a dog. Stupid asshole, he had a lot of time to pass the animal on the left side. At least he could have lowered his speed or used his horn. He did not stop, but just kept on driving and the only thing he said was: “Me stupid”. Yes indeed, you can say that again! :x

In Ho Chi Minh City we quickly were able to find a hotel. The people in the South really are much friendlier, more modern and speak better English. The influence of the Western world is larger here. In the park we were approached by about five girls, who asked us friendly if they could practice their English pronunciation with us, really cute :) .

The first day we wandered around Ho Chi Minh City, the terraces are very nice, at some places you even get served water or ice tea extra for free. Edvar had some stomach problems so we took it easy that day.

Edvar not feeling well Ho Chi Minh City

Cao Dai

We booked a tour to a Cao Dai temple, where we were allowed to attend a mass, and to the Cu Chi Tunnels. The Cu Chi Tunnels were very impressive. You can hardly imagine that people can crawl through such narrow spaces. The American tunnelrats must have been tiny men. Edvar and I would get stuck for sure ;) .

Danielle, Cu Chi

A part of the tunnels has been enlarged especially for tourists (twice as big as the original ones), so they can get some idea how live in the tunnels must have been like. How shall I describe it …… Moist, difficult to breath, warm, little or no light, chance to encouter scorpions or snakes. Filled with boobytraps and emergency exits in the Saigon river. There’s no place like home …

Edvar, Cu Chi

The Vietnamese people were very inventive in making weapons and were supplied with food by the farmers. Women also were members of the Viet Cong, to cook, to sow clothes and to sharpen bamboospikes for the boobytraps. Women also carried a gun and were able to stand their ground.

At night we had a meet and greet with Pete, Edvar’s diving buddy. Had dinner together and updated each other with the final news. After four weeks of Vietnam we both had a little bit the feeling: “been there, done that”. To finalize our Vietnam adventure we will write a short summary about Vietnam in a different article …

4 Responses to “Oh boy, oh boy, we have already been travelling for a month!”

  1. Judith en Gerben wrote:

    he kanjers,

    ja nu je het over missen hebt, gewoon even de telefoon pakken om je te bellen en te zeggen ik heb wonder gevoeld is er helaas niet bij snik. Maar het was wel een fantatisch gevoel had gewoon een big smile van oor tot oor op mijn gezicht. Gisteren een beurs gehad en ben nu echt helemaal op heb me toch een paar benen dat wil je niet weten. Ben blij dat ik weekend heb. Morgen gaan we de trouwringen bestellen jaja het komt nu allemaal wel heel dicht bij. Moet mijn kleren nog kopen. Nu maar hopen dat er wat te vinden is, want die buik begint nu ook vorm te krijgen, wat zeg ik vorm ik heb gewoon een buik….

    Ben wel jaloers hoor als ik zo al die verhalen lees…ik wil ook. Geniet er lekker van en we kijken uit naar het volgende bericht.

    liefs juger en wonder

  2. Ira Schwartz wrote:

    Sorry about the dog (and the snake!), but the pictures are great, thanks. I’m not surprised that you’ve been too busy to get homesick- it sounds like a very full month! Speaking of family, I exchanged e-mails with Arvid yesterday and he sounds good. Take good care, and have a nice journey to NZ!

  3. Marieken wrote:

    Hoi Daan en Edvar,

    Wat gaat de tijd snel, inderdaad al weer een maand op pad. Van de week fietste ik nog langs het appartement van Daan, en ik moest mezelf toch nog even vertellen dat een bezoekje toch niet mogelijk was. Blijft gek… Jullie verhalen klinken erg mooi, en de foto’s zijn werkelijk prachtig! Het zal wel een heel verschil zijn met Nieuw Zeeland lijkt mij. Nu ben ik echt wel jaloers. Vietnam trekt mij persoonlijk niet zo, maar Nieuw Zeeland vind ik werkelijk prachtig! Wie weet kom ik er ooit ook nog eens. Kijk in ieder geval erg uit naar de verhalen!

    Met ons gaat alles goed. Janne maakt een enorm snelle ontwikkeling door en kletst werkelijk ons de oren van het hoofd. En soms versta je het ook nog! Hoe klein ze ook is ( nog geen eens 2), we moeten geen beloftes doen die we niet kunnen waarmaken, want mevrouw vergeet niets!
    Geniet verder van jullie reis en een hele dikke knuffel voor jullie beiden! Ook namens Steven en een dikke kus van Janne.

    Liefs, Mariek

  4. Jan en Ariena wrote:

    He friends,

    Fantastische verhalen en jullie zien er goed uit allebei. Laats dacht ik ook even Daan, kon ik maar even bellen om te zeggen dat ik nu zin heb om even LLG te doen, haha.

    Huisje van ons is mooi geworden. Heb gisteren voor het eerst gebubbeld in het bad. Lekker hoor. Deze week staat in het teken van de tuin. Caravan heb ik al leeg gehaald. Nu nog schoonmaken. Ben druk in de opruim fase.

    Vandaag was het hier stralend weer. Ik dacht als we dit 25 mei hebben, ben ik blij. Voor de bruiloft is alles bijna geregeld. De mooie ringen zijn al uitgezocht. Jan is al geweest om zijn pak. Zaterdag ga ik kijken wat Henk van het boeket heeft gemaakt en dan wordt het straks tijd om de ambtenaar van de burgelijke stand maar eens te bellen.

    We gaan zo slapen. Bij jullie is het denk ik dag. Plezierige dag.
    Dikke kus Jan en Ariena

One more time about Vietnam

Friday March 16th, 2007 by edvar

To wrap up our visit to Vietnam, we would like to post one more message as a kind of “summary”, including tips for future travellers and a bit of humour to keep it funny ;) .

Vietnam has been involved in many, many wars (until 1980!) and is now working hard to get back up its feet again. Tourism is becoming more and more important and the Vietnamese people know that it’s a good way to quickly earn money. As most tourists won’t stay at a single spot for a long time, they don’t care about customer service, but just about a quick sale. An example:

“Shoe shine, sir?” (looking at your left shoe).
No thank you.
“Shoe shine number one!”
No thank you.
“Shoe shine, sir?” (looking at your right shoe, you never know!)
No thank you!
“But sir, look, I can repair this for you! Look, I have glue!”
NO THANK YOU!!!!!

Some tips:

  • Look them straight in the eyes (if possible, as they mainly keep looking at your shoes) and maybe they understand that you’re serious..
  • Say that you don’t have any money (they will quickly disappear)
  • Say you want to finish your book (to booksalesmen)
  • Say that you just want to read your book (to massages, food and drink at the beach)

We really believe you could earn some decent money if you could teach those salesmen some better sales techniques (focussed on western people) …

Traffic is a horrific. Crossing the road is dangerous, mainly because of the chaos caused by scooters. Daniëlle was hit by scooters two times (no injuries) and was a passenger on one when the driver hit a dog. Another thing that drives you crazy: drivers use their horns all the time! We really don’t want to see any scooters anymore ;) !

People are very friendly, just a bit unfamiliar and goofy when dealing with western persons. English is hard for them and is communication in general. In the north, people are less friendly and we had several occasions when persons tried to rip us off, in a “sneaky” way. And we’re not talking about bargaining, but about situations where you keep paying for all kinds of things.

Nature is almost absent Vietnam. They have no idea about nature, throwing their trash away just about everywhere and animals are only seen as food. The garbage produces terrible smells, and cockroaches and rats really like it.

The food is really delicious: Springrolls, but also noodle soup and meals with squid are fantastic. You can make your own coffee and they have dozens of types of vegetables and fruit that are unknown in The Netherlands.

Travelling in Vietnam is very cheap. A night at a simple hotel costs around US$ 10. A meal for two persons, including drinks, costs between US$ 5 and US$ 10. For most distances between touristic towns, a bus ticket costs around US$ 10, the train is a bit more expensive. However, everything seems to get a bit more expensive, as the prices in our Lonely Planet (edition 2006) are often too low. On average, we spent around US$ 30 per person per day, including (quite expensive) tours to Sapa, Halong Bay and Cat Tien National Park (mbut excluding the flights and the diving).

One more summary about the different locations in Vietnam (read our old messages for detailled info):

  • Hanoi: Nice town for a couple of days, a bit busy, but the Old Quarter, the Water Puppets and the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum are worth a visit.
  • Sapa: Fun to walk through the rice fields, but don’t expect great nature. The minority groups are mainly busy bothering you to sell stuff …
  • Halong Bay: Beautiful rocks rising up from the sea.
  • Hue: Nice old town (Citadel) and the surroundings of Hue are nice for cycling.
  • Hoi An: Interesting for many persons to buy custom made clothes (we didn’t do that), but also a nice cosy town.
  • Nha Trang: Good for some diving, but not much else to do.
  • Cat Tien National Park: Beautiful nature. Don’t expect rhinos, elephants or tigers, but focus on animals like deer, civet cats, monkeys, crocodiles, squirrels, snakes and lots of beautiful birds.
  • Ho Chi Minh City: The city itself is not so interesting, but certainly try to visit the Cao Dai temple and the Cu Chi tunnels. We don’t know anything about the Mekong Delta.

So, this was our last article about Vietnam. If you want to know more or if you want to ask some questions, just let us know. Add a comment to this article, or contact us by using the contact form …

4 Responses to “One more time about Vietnam”

  1. Ira Schwartz wrote:

    Speaking of travels, my son Forrest and his girlfriend Caroline are headed for Amsterdam tomorrow- just a brief visit to attend a concert (they’re flying back on Wednesday). I gave them Arvid’s phone number in case they have any hassles, and he kindly agreed to help out if any troubles arise. Forrest has been to Europe a number of times, but never to the Netherlands, so I think he’ll really enjoy it.

  2. Sandra wrote:

    Hoi reizigers,

    Leuk weer om over jullie verhalen te lezen. We zijn ontzettend benieuwd naar jullie verhalen over Nieuw-Zeeland. Gaan jullie daar nog meerdaagse tochten lopen? Daar heb ik (Sandra) ontzettend van genoten. Lekker met de rugzak op en dan in een hut primitief een maaltijdje in elkaar proberen te draaien en genieten van een zonsondergang. Vogels spotten kun je prachtig, op een eilandje onder het zuidereiland (weet even de naam niet meer).
    Take care!
    Liefs Sandra en Michiel

  3. Vincent wrote:

    Hoi Edvar en Danielle,

    Hartstikke leuk om jullie verhalen te lezen en de foto’s te bekijken. Tja dan blijf ik toch een beetje achter met alweer een wintersport. In Val Thorens uiteraard, net een week terug. Veel sneeuw (170 cm) en direct de eerste dag verbrand, dus ook voldoende zon. Merk wel dat moedertje natuur weer behoorlijk van slag is: tot begin maart smelt alle sneeuw onder de 2000 meter. En nu (bijna april) sneeuwt het zelfs in limburg. Straks krijgen we nog een elfstedentocht . . . ik hoop niet dat ‘t straks in Nieuw-Zeeland gaat vriezen, dat zou echt de wereld op z’n kop zijn.

    veel plezier in Nieuw-Zeeland,

    Vincent

  4. Egon wrote:

    Hallo Danielle en Edvar,

    Geweldig om van jullie reiservaringen op de hoogte te blijven. Dit is echt de natuur leren kennen. Veel plezier gewenst en ik blijf jullie zeker volgen.

    groet Egon

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