Despite the fact that Vietnam has spent a great deal of time in wars, there is so much more to this country than horrid stories of violence. A days boat trip in and around the majestic Mekong River will open you eyes to the
country’s natural beauty. Whilst cruising around River and its many lakes that branch off it, we popped watering. The one thing that we had to get used to was the way that the food was all piled up at the same time. If you want an entree followed by a main – order them separately. If you want a feast just tell the waiter to look after you.past an island with a population of around 200 that was totally devoted to making sweets from coconuts! We also caught up with a very friendly local family. Neither of us understood one another, but after a few homemade banana wines we were all smiling. It didn’t even bother my wife that we were sitting next to a 10-foot snake; he was actually rather friendly. We spent another day walking around Saigon. Due to the heat it was extremely tiring, but well worth it. The city’s architecture, with its French colonial influence is simply amazing. The hustle and bustle, tooting of car horns all adds to the character.
Then at the end of the day, there’s the food. Don’t be frightened to explore. The quality in most places is exceptionally high, and there is something to get everyone mouths
Travelling up the coast to the Beach town of Nha Trang is mesmerising. This was the perfect place to forget about the worries of home. Crystal clear beaches, with blue skies (it rains very little here) that are filled with colourful kites controlled by the local kids. There are some fantastic restaurants along here and a nightlife that is slowly beginning to develop. We spent a day on a cyclo exploring temples markets and back streets. Another day was spent scuba diving amongst colourful tropical fish and coral. The rest of our time there was spent by being purely indulgence, lazing on the beach eating alcoholic ice cream, gazing across the water to other islands, and catching up on some reading.
Travelling further up the coast we hit the Capital City Hanoi. This city was just amazing. Far more attractive than Ho Chi Mihn, and much less chaotic. There are plenty of museums, markets, and restaurants here that are all worth checking out. From Hanoi we caught a taxi (very expensive) to Halong Bay, where thousands of little islands spurt from the picturesque bay. The boat trip though these islands and rock is inspiring and would have to be my fondest memories of our entire trip.
In the end the only piece of advice that I can offer is to seriously consider pre planning a group tour, put any fears or preconceptions aside and relax and absorb the natural wonders of Vietnam, before it is converted into a trashy tourist spot. Accommodation throughout our trip thankfully was all pre arranged for us by Harvey World Travel, Cranbourne, who will assist you with all your arrangements.
Steve and Maria Scheloske.
To read more travel articles