Trip in Vietnam

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Trip in Vietnam

Postby MegJodie » Fri 03 Feb 2017, 06:08

We had seen a lot of travel bloggers talking about Vietnam, we did a 3 week trip through Vietnam through a local travel agency ( Yes there is quite a bit of driving but a lot of it is very scenic and there are then free days to recover. It gave me the opportunity to meet other nationalities on my trip and not only did i learn about the country i was visiting but also the cultures of other nationalities of the people in my group. It enhanced the entire experience by being able to share my memories with an amazing bunch of people. Well I guess the first big thing for me when I arrived was a bit of culture shock. I knew it was coming and somewhat prepared myself but after our flight to Hanoi we basically got dropped in the middle of the Old Quarter because our hotel was there and it was fucking crazy. The heat, scooters everywhere, all honking, no one obeys any road rules :lol: . Then you've got all the street sellers trying to sell you crap and because we look like we do we stick out like a sore thumb.

So that takes a bit of getting used to, but once you do it's fine and even crossing the road isn't that bad, you just have to do it with confidence. We just wandered around the town the first day, found some awesome food etc (if you go to the right places you can get awesome feeds for like $1, even just on the side of the street and a beer for under $1 (I think the cheapest beer I got was like 24 cents). Beer is available everywhere including just random street side stalls but the interesting thing I observed is that considering it's availability and the fact that no one bats an eyelid if you walk down the street sipping a beer, there is basically no one stumbling around drunk or causing alcohol-related trouble on every corner. In fact if anything instead of sitting around drinking at every place to eat, the majority of which spill onto the street, it's more common particularly in the bigger centres to see young people sitting around in groups drinking coffee at night.

From Hanoi we gradually headed south every couple of days, saw some amazing scenery particularly in Halong Bay, and basically just soaked up the culture and the differences from home. Nha Trang is more like a beachey, resort town so we just chilled there rather than visit musems, tourist attractions etc. The place is absolutely full of Russians though which is interesting. Then we went to Danang and Hoi An which are pretty westernized, especially Hoi An which is full of tourists. There's a big block of streets next to the water with shops, restaurants, bars etc that are clearly all aimed at tourists but that didn't affect my enjoyment at all, it was still really nice there. Because we had almost 3 days there I was able to get a tailor to take my measurements and whip me up a suit in like a 24 hour turnaround, which turned out great.

The bartering thing is also an experience in itself, not being used to it I basically had to force myself to be a bit of a prick and drive a hard bargain :lol: . Again like everything, you get used to it after a while though. If you stay firm and even start walking away if you're not happy with the price it's amazing how little you can get them down to compared to the original price (which are obviously ridiculously over-inflated). I picked up quite a few NBA singlets which are probably not authentic but are that close to the real thing that I didn't really mind (I also saw some hilariously poor knock-offs).

We finished our Vietnam section of the trip in Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon which TBH I didn't really care for although that may be a bit of a snap judgment. It had all the bad things about a big third-world city but little of the charm of cities like Hanoi. We went to the Cu Chi Tunnels which show you the sort of strategies and living conditions that the Viet Cong had during the war, and also went to the War Remnants museum which was a pretty harrowing experience. They don't really hold back at all, there's just heaps of photos of war victims and victims of Agent Orange etc. Oh yeah, we were warned about the possibility of a bit more crime in Ho Chi Minh than the other smaller cities and then literally about 2 minutes after we walked out of our hotel for the first time there we saw an attempting drive-by bag snatching which turned into a little bit of a fist fight. I stopped and watched from afar for a couple of seconds as you do when it's just a fist fight, but then one of the dudes pulled out a giant machete and obviously I was like 'fuck this I'm out of here'. I turned around and the missus had already dived behind a row of scooters :lol: . I grabbed her and luckily because we were basically on a corner we were able to shoot down the adjacent street pretty easily.

I loved Vietnam though, it's just the little things that I got enjoyment out of mostly, like walking out of your hotel in the morning and being able to get a delicious pho at a streetside stall for like $1 for breakfast. Another highlight was a "motorbike" tour of Hue which went for like 5 hours and we were weaving through all these backstreets and basically saw a large portion of not just the city but also the villages and backstreets.
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