Vietnam Map

 

You are planning a trip to Vietnam and are having difficulties deciding where to go and what to do, what you cannot miss and what to skip. From the feedbacks of our customers, Cheap Vietnam Holidays would like to recommend some activities considered by travellers as must-do's when you are in Vietnam....

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Mekong and Tonle Sap Rivers, Chau Doc and Saigon

 

Had a relaxing morning in Phnom Penh before heading out with the group and our backbacks to get on a boat into Vietnam. We were lucky that it is the beginning of high season as we got a boat large enought to actually have a toilet! Hanging off the back didn't sound too inviting! There were a mixture of benches and proper cushion seats with large windows and a strong breeze as we headed out onto the Tonle Sap and then onto the Mekong. As the rivers converged the muddy waters of the 
Mekong overwhelmed the other river and created an interesting pattern in the sunlight. Spent most of the 5 hour boat ride in the cushion seats but managed to sneak out to the front of the boat deck and hang my feet and legs over the edge as we sped through the water. It was exhilirating!

The boat pulled in and let us out in Cambodia for out exit procedures, children and others rushing to sell us anything we might need. Quickly we headed back to the boat, motored for a few minutes, then pulled into Vietnam for our entry procedures. Multitudes of vendors including small children rushed to sell us things, change our money in the local currency (Dong) and act as porters for our bags. A young boy grabbed my bag in spite of my objections and ran away with it to the waiting area. He wasn't happy with the tip I gave him, but then, I wasn't happy that he had grabbed my bag without my consent!

We arrived in Chau Doc at dusk, docked up to a floating restaurant, and got in our usual a/c bus. The streets were crawling with scooters, bike taxis and a few unlucky vehicles larger than that. It was quite a bit like Katmandu, but on a smaller scale. Traffic, rushing at each other with no regard for lanes or anything...chaos. After about 5 minutes we arrived at our hotel which was cute and like a small European Boutique hotel...with robust hot showers and a balcony! We set out for the internet but found that it was horribly slow, kept crashing and that most of the spaces were taken up by young uniformed school kids playing video games...the popular one being a dance video game.

There's definately a Chinese influence here not felt in Cambodia. Many people wearing the typical Vietnamese conical straw hats. Had a nice group dinner then played cards and drank beer with some of my tourmates. We played Gin, Golf and Bullshit...which never seemed to end! Bullshit is like that, eh?

This morning we woke up early and headed out on the road towards
Ho Chi Minh City (formerly known as Saigon). The bus ride was about 8 hours and very easy. There is a liberal use of horns here on the road. Had lunch at this resort like restaurant (reminded me of Bali). We had two ferry crossings and traveled fairly decent roads amongst many branches of different rivers/canals. The houses made of tin, wood and 
sometimes concrete, usually set on stilts, visually precarious but surely more sturdy than they seemed. Vietnam seems to be developing and modernizing at a rapid pace. Driving into Saigon reminded me of driving into a much smaller scale Shanghai...except lots of motor bikes in lieu of cars. (Note to America, we all need to buy motor bikes to relieve some of the street congestion. It seems to work great here!) More exciting than our sturdy, safe large vehicles!

Tonight we take a bicycle/rickshaw tour of the city and then have our final group dinner of the trip...very sad. I will miss my tourmates quite a bit after we part ways but am really looking forward to my next tour in India.

 

 

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