Monday, August 11

A week in Vietnam

It's been a long time since I was here last time! 2011 we drove across half the country with James and that was probably the best trip I have ever done. Now for a round 2 back but this time without a motorbike...Started with Hanoi for 1 day and rest of the time went in Ho Chi Minh City.

Shanghai airport lounge, what a feast! You can take noodles, coffee, soda water & bananas. 
In Hanoi I didn't really have time to see much, arrived in the night and went to sleep. Early wakeup at 6 am for a gym session and then for an amazing breakfast. They even had bee combs so fresh that the bees were still on it producing honey! Fruits were amazing and service one of the best I've had. I took CHEM out to see one of Hanois most famous attraction. Apart from that I didn't have much more time to spend it the city before it was time to fly back to Ho Chi Minh.
CHEM admiring the Hanoi scenery

The West Lake
Live bees making honey at the breakfast...
Healthy start with loads of fruit :)

Ho Chi Minh has about 9 million people but the actual area of the city where things happen is pretty small. There is district 1 & 7 where there are bars, restaurants, clubs, museums, historical sites and buildings. It's worth visiting the city just because of the amazing food & great people!

 After a long day an hour foot massage for just a few Euros...
 Finally weekend, time to chill on the roof :)
Reunification palace (South + North Vietnam)
Old train station build by the French

Replica of Norte Dam cathedral in Paris

Skyline of the city, I remember that me and James drove on this same roundabout few years back. 
bikes bikes bikes

Went to see a play one night in the old french opera house, like going to anywhere in Europe! 

AO Group, amazing performance. Must see in Saigon
 Had a very very local lunch for 1 euro. People were looking at me like "what is a white dude doing in a place like this?" Food was really amazing, best 1 euro lunch I've had in a long long time
War memorial museum that gets over 500.000 visitors a year

 A Finnish newspaper against the Vietnam war

Prison camp

US artillery...They used more bullets and firepower in the Vietnam war than Second World War, still lost. What do we learn? Never go to war with Vietnam. 
Range with the huge cannon over 33km! 
"Tiger Cages" on a hot summer day when it's almost 40 degree in the sun about 5-7 people was kept in each cage. Crazy inhumane. 
Went on a tour to the Mekong River Delta & War caves. Why not travel in style when it's cheap here. Had a Benz tour car :) 
The Vietkong guerilla build 250km of tunnels by hand just 60km outside of Saigon city where the USA bases were. The caves were build on random and had 3 levels of depth. 3 meters where they stored weapons, 6 meters where cooking and medical treatment was done and up to 9-10 meters where you could sleep and be protected from most bombs. There were all kinds of traps inside there caves and they were SMALL! I could barely fit into one, the smell was damp, there were all kinds of jungle animals like snakes and ants. Cannot imagine how they survived this year in year out...Vietnamese soldiers are hard as nails! 

Awful smell and all kinds of insects inside. NOPE! 
Going Vietkong style down
Inside the tunnels, very narrow and low. And this one has been modified a bit bigger because some tourist died in here few years back. 
Mines were made from the shells, the mines were used to destroy tanks. Genius. 

Some of the B52 bomber craters an still be found 

 Bikes bikes everywhere here, strange to think that I have been driving in this city. And it was the first place I ever did drive with a motorbike after I took my licence in 2005 haha. 
 Went on a boat at the Mekong Delta, like all those Rambo movies...
 Private tour
Muddy waters

 One Piece, ひさしぶり!
Went to a bee farm, never been surrounded by so many bees before. But none stung me. DON'T DROP the hive, just don't. Wasn't hard to take the guys advice...

Get the honey
After the tea tasting there was some "local" music
Coconut farm, the first ever soap in Vietnam was made out of soap in 1930's
 Found a small art shop with all kinds of cool stuff @ L'usine store

The L'usine shop is located in a cool building
 Cuc gach quan, one damn amazing restaurant!!!
Nha Hang Ngon had the best Vietnam dinner I ever eaten

Jeep sightseeing available around the city
Always sleep with the helmet on for maximum safety! 
 Sunset from Palace Hotel rooftop
By the river @ District 1 
 Nice rooftop pool here too...
 Saigon Finance Center
 Airport lounge was at least better than in Shanghai here...

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