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Travel through Vietnam.

 

You can travel by local train easily down through Vietnam for a fraction of the cost of flying and really see the country and experience local life and tradition.

 

Your life in your hands when you cross a Hanoi street, the secret, just Walk!!

Great backstreets in Hanoi

Everything fits on the street sellers bicycle

Everything but the kitchen sink on the bamboo shoulder pole.

The water puppets

 

Hanoi is great but be prepared for the traffic which is relentless and comes at you from all angles.

 

The only way to cross the road is to decide to walk and just do it! One hesitation and the motor bikes and cars head straight for you.

 

Whilst in Hanoi be sure to visit a performance of the famous Water Puppets, lovely theatre znd you can get reserved seats for $5 each. The show is great, the puppets come out from the back of the stage and 'dsance' on the water, it gives you us a lot of Vietnam's history and how the peasants lived in its storytelling.

 

Watch out for the little man who proceeds to point at your feet as if your shoes have a 'flat tyre', he carries a squeegy and oil can type plastic bottle.

 

He wants to clean your shoes, but he even offers to clean sandals on bare feet!!....so funny.

 

From Hanoii there is an option to travel by train to Halong Bay and Sapa, which is an overnight train with shared sleeper berth, an uncomfortable trip as the train rocks around and stops at every opportunity making it near impossible to sleep.

 

It is possible to travel DIY to Sapa by train, however, you need to obtain transport to Sapa village after the train trip, which can work out as much as a guided tour, be aware that Sapa village itself has changed from a colourful traditional North Vietnamese experience to a touristy market, however the trekking is still well worth the experience but you do need a guide.

 

Halong bay is very commercialised with 'tourist' fake junks at high prices'

 

An alternative to Halong Bay, is to take the train south to a place called Ninh Binh, which is known as the Halong bay of Vietnam on rice paddy fields.

 

It has the same amazing rock formations as Halong Bay, but rising out of thr rice paddy fields instead of the ocean, take a boat trip and travel along the canals with local villagers.

 

The train pulls into Hanoi station

Be prepared for the seating crush

Great bathroom facilities, note the handy shower attachment on the right (not for showering where you think!).

Take a boat trip along the Ngo Dong River at Tam Coc where the locals row with their feet!

The Ngo Dong River at Tam Coc.l

 

Take the train south, only a 3hr run and you can reserve seats at a cost of about $3 pp.

 

Be aware that if you are carrying bags, the challenging thing is getting off at the station! So try to pick the carriage as near to the front as possible as carriage 9 near the end of the train doesn't make the platform & the drop down can be about about 1.5 metres.

 

Ninh Binh is a small town with a few hotels and few tourists, so book a hotel using tripadvisor.com.,

 

The Tam Coc canal winds its way through The rock formations rising out of the rice paddy fields

The Tam Coc canal through rock formations toward cave grottos.

The Ngo Dong River at Tam Coc winds through rock formations toward cave grottos

Ngo Dong River beautiful scenery.

The rock formations rise out of the rice paddy fields.

Approaching the Tam Coc cave grotto.

Inside the Tam Coc cave grotto.

Back out of the Tam Coc cave grotto along the Ngo Dong River.

 

The Ngo Dong River can be reached by local bus, but it is much easier to book a car & driver at your hotel for about $15 pp.

 

Our driver picked us up after brekky & drove us to the "100 step Pagoda" where after climbing steps you can visist the Pagoda, there is a climb higher up rugged terrain for about 20 min, which leads to the upper Pagoda where you can enjoy the fabulous view as your reward for the climb.

 

Then take the boat trip along the Ngo Dong River for fabulous views and local colour as your boat is rowed using the feet, it's a 2hr trip through tranquil rice paddies & 3 cave grottos that are stunning.

 

Jump back on the train for a few dollars and arrive at Hue the one time ancient capital in the centre of Vietnam, it's a great way to see the countryside.

 

The view from the upper Pagoda near the Ngo Dong River, after a steep climb.

The ancient citadel at Hue surrounded still by a moat.

The moat round the citadel is handy for gathering lunch, best to remove your motorbike gear before you do though!

Inside the citadel, the nine Nine Dynastic Urns

 

Take a boat trip across the Perfume river.

On the Perfume river trip.

a 'rustic' walk on the other side of the Perfume river takes you to the Hue market.

The local market at Hue on the Perfume river.

 

Hue is great for trips along the perfume river and a great local market to pickup some bargains.

 

Back on the train and take the 3hr train trip to Danang, heading for Hoi An, no need to join in the rush to board train as the locals do, as everyone has reserved seats and the train won't leave until everyone is on board.

 

On arrival at Danang, the nearest station to Hoi An ,it's a 30 min cab ride into Hoi An town. Chat with other travellers at the station who are also going to Hoi An and share a taxi , it works out at $10 per couple, virtually the price of the local bus without the hassle.

 

Hoi An is a lovely old town area with two pretty beaches nearby.

 

Our new passenger friend on the train to Hoi An

Vietnamese national dress walking by.

The Japanese bridge in the old town

Playing Bingo Vietnamese style

 

The Old town was only 10 min walk from our hotel & the beaches about 10 min in cab for $2,

Views from the restuarant as we while away the hours on mango ice-cream yum!

Cost me 50c for the photograph, but well worth it for this old vietnamese street seller.

Delivering lunchtime smoko to the cycle taxi drivers

Outside a Vitnamese temple in old city.

 

Fishing in the old style in Hoi An. The net is lowered into the water with a pulley system and lays flat in a rectangle on the bottom of the river.

The net is then pulled up by a clever system of bamboo poles all connected to the main pulley.

Street cafes and restuarants in the old city by the river.

Boating on the river in a very wobbly row boat

Hoi An Old city

 

 Lovely shop in Old City

Old City shopfront

Japanese bridge

    English lesson on beach

The beach at Hoi An where the beach games are about to begin

 

After Hoi An, you can continue by train to Ho Chi Minh another 18+ hour journey with more interesting stops on the way, we chose to fly on to Ho Chi Minh on Jetstar at this point for about $50 each.

 

Ho Chi Minh which was known as Saigon, is a large city of over 6 million people, a real change after smaller places we had been to with traffic, traffic traffic!

 

However crossing the road is still much easier than Hanoi as they did seem to have some road rules here and traffic lights.

 

Quay at Ho Chi Minh

City Hall Ho Chi Minh

Operatic performer

       Opera House Ho Chi Minh

 


 

 

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