Vietnam: Tales from the South

After Hoi An we took the bus to Nha Trang. Our bus driver was so incredibly stoked to get there as soon as possible that he drove like mad and we arrived 2,5 h early at our destination. Nha Trang is Russia. There are mostly Russian tourists and all menus are in Vietnamese ánd Russian. Lovely. We stayed here just one night to enjoy a day at the beach and then quickly left to Dalat, an idylic village in the highlands of Vietnam.

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The quickly needs a sideword since we missed our bus (although we were there more then an hour too early) and had to wait another 5 hours to take the next and last bus of the day. The scenery was lovely, our state of health a bit less. Another crazy driver made from a 5 hour trip a 3,5 hour trip. And this in steep mountains with only serpentines. What a man! 😉 But no moaning. We got there. We were alive and most importantly: we managed not to puke! Jiha.

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Dalat itself is just a city. But the area and villages around it are lovely. There are two big lakes around Dalat. To recover a bit from the bumpy ride we rented a beautiful swan pedalo and romanticly watercycled around the lake. The view was good. The weather and company were good. The beer was cold. What else can you wish for. 🙂

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The next day we rented a motorbike. It was the first day of Têt (Vietnamese Lunar New Year, which lasts around 4 days) and drove around the countryside. On our first stop we arrived in the middle of a big Têt-celebration. All people gathered around the major temple and pagoda. They took family pictures and prayed for a good and fortunate new year. Or ‘Chuc Mung Nam Moi’ as they say. It was really nice to be there and celebrate with local people. Not only because it was so unexpected but also because you really felt the happiness radiating in the air.

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After Dalat we took the bus to Ho Chi Minh aka Saigon. The cool mountain air made place for a pleasant 32 degrees. The first day we strolled around the city, to start the real sightseeing the next day. An absolute highlight was ‘The War Remnants Museum’. It’s actually the first thing you should see after arriving in Vietnam. Ofcourse we know history and what happened more or less during the Vietnam war. But seeing in detail how it really went, the cruelty and for once!! not from the perspective of the US, was highly impressive. A history class everyone should take.

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The next day we went with local buses to see the Cu Chi tunnels, 70 km northwest of Saigon. Next to crawling in the narrow tunnels, you can also fire a machine gun or if you like a bazooka at a shooting range. We kindly thanked for that experience. We also heard from other travellers that they were offered to try to hit a cow with a bazooka. If you hit the cow you only pay the munition, if not you have to pay for the whole cow as well. The cow is a real cash machine since nobody ever managed to hit her.

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Apart from Saigon, Vietnam was not exactly what we hoped for. Everything went a bit too easy, if you follow blindly what you were offered you don’t have to travel anymore. There’s no challenge whatsoever. You want to take a bus? Then you get picked up at the hotel by a minibus to drop you of at the real bus. When you arrive at your destination, your bags are dropped off straight in a hotel. Once staying in a hotel/hostel/homestay they try to sell you tours -because they’re all travel agencies as well- you’re offered bustickets to your next destination and everything starts again. Anyway it’s not that we always travelled like this, we also took local buses and searched accomodation ourselves. But yeah. Some annoyances.

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Really happy to have been there though. And really beautiful spots to discover. Phong Nha National Park for example has some amazing caves that only have been discovered very recently. One that’s definitely on our list to explore in the future. Also really stoked about what’s coming next: Cambodia. ❤️

Ok. And we also spend two days in a luxurious pool that wasn’t from our hotel. ?

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