Monthly Archives: December 2012

Hanoi – again

Decision was right. Took a flight from Sai Gon to Hanoi. Even we had to pay overweight (*sigh*) luggage. After 2 hrs in a fully booked A 320 (only local people) our driver was waiting (with a sign “Mr Mathias”) and carried us to our lovely Advisor hotel. The clothes from Hoi An tailor arrived already. Great. First topic – get our paintings. We did. Some french guys were there as well and Mandy said “I understand you …” You know what I mean :) Next topic – buy local coffee. We paid 20 $ for 0.5 kilogram but I guess it´s value for money. Smell and taste of the weasel coffee is awesome. A huge market was in the middle of the old quarter , like a weekend market and we bought some fancy stuff for our last Dong. And it´s the same old story, the last Pho Bo, last Bia Hoi, last Spring rolls. One more coffee. After all it was a good trip….

Ho Chi Minh City – Sai Gon

We arrived around 7 pm at Sai Gon. Sai Gon is a part of HCMC and not HCMC itself. Hotel is just around the corner where the bus dropped us. Well it is clean and nice but unfortunately the room was very small. Even I booked a Superior room in advanced we had some discussions with the owner and she promised us we´ll get a discount and a new room for the last night. Hotel is Seventy Hotel All hotels in the backpackers area seem very small (most of them are called mini hotels) coz they´re not made for being a hotel. We are lucky we have an elevator. Using the stairs is not easy for me as you might see :)

small stairs

But we had a good sleep after a local dinner. Next day starts with a walk for all highlights at 9 pm. The Ba Tenh market, the Notre Dame church and the main Post office. We saw the hotel Rex were all foreign journalists stayed during the war in Vietnam and the Palace of Independence war the war was ended. A tank (made in Russia , T 54) brake the fences as a symbol for the end of the agressive war. Documented in the War Museum which we visited as well. So many historical places to see. The building where american helicopters flu out the last CIA agents and US citizens (helicopters and tanks in the garden as well….) and a lot of monuments to remain the heroic fight.
Biggest challenge at all was the traffic. More motorbikes then in Hanoi (but most of them follow the regulations means stop at red traffic light…)
We hired a motorbike taxi and I made a video during the ride. Will share this later.

traffic @ Sai Gon

After dinner we were sitting in one of the parks watching people doing sport (inline skating, playing with a shuttle cock or doing Kung Fu like martial arts) It was quite to sit not far from the noisy roads but relaxed and quite. The backpackers area reminds me to Kao Sahrn road in Bangkok but more local people live here and it´s not so busy and commercialized like in BKK. Not too many bars with girls (just a few of them) but a lot of street dealers which offer sun glasses (“very cheap..”) or postcards and other tourist stuff. Means 500 times a day to say “no thanks already have/bought …”
Today we hired a bike taxi to see the pagode of the Jade Emperor the highest deity in Taoism. You will see what you get if the Jade Emperor decides that you lived your life well and honorable. And you see what will happen if not. The 10 hells of Taoism are symbolized by daemons. In front a small pond with lots of turtles. You can buy them, engrave your name and your wish and if your are lucky your turtle survives and grows and wishes come true. I saw a lot of broken dreams…..

HCMC is more the business capital. On each corner business, the city breathes business. And more structured than Hanoi. Pricing level is higher for most items. But more economical pulse in this city. Anyway 2 days are enough.

Mui Ne – Phan Thiet

Last day in Mui Ne. We had really lazy days and and great stay at Mui Ne hills. Mui Ne hills Erik runs this hotel which is really a place to relax. Everything satisfied us, room and pool, breakfast and the staff as well, especially the german manager. All of them were very helpful and attentively.

relax area

Mui Ne hills poolme @ Mui Ne hills pool – refreshing

We had a ride with our AirBlade motorbike :) to watch the famous dunes of Mui Ne. First the red ones than the white ones. And I must say it´s impressive to see a landscape which is can be find usually in a desert like Sahara or Gobi.

white dunes

Therefor we rented the bike for 24 hrs we went to Phan Thiet as well, as small town closed to the famous beach. A lot of new construction areas along the street and we heard that a Formula 1 race course is planned as well. The whole area will be a place for $$$ people within next years.

Today is the bus to Saigon or HCMC at 1 pm. So let´s see what the city has to offer :)

Mui Ne – more russians

We arrived in Mui Ne after 6 hrs ride by bus. Hotel is clean and may be 30 $ would be enough but staff is friendly and the atmosphere nice. However we thought that we had left the russian enclave Nah Trang but unfortunately even Mui Ne is 80 % russian occupied territory. *sigh*
We went out for dinner and found a valuable restaurant. Most other locations much to expensive and some of them have a russian menu only. Well you may understand that if there´s no vietnamese and no english language we feel not welcomed at those places. And while we had dinner we were discussing if either we are too old or the times have changed. Here in Vietnam we didn´t find a place like we know and have been in Thailand. Or may be we glorify the old days at Koh Payam when we were sitting around a table and talked about everything and anything. May be we saw enough places and we´re not made for those trips any longer. Next vacation brings us may be to the Harz (famous landscape in the middle of Germany) or to New Zealand or Canada. Too many “may be`s” right now. Let´s see what will happen.
Tomorrow we`ll rent a motorbike and go for the famous dunes and seeking for some smooth local areas nearby.