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Sapa to Ho Chi Min City  
  Gooooooood Morning Vietnam
Our Trip to Vietnam

Beach cleaning Vietnam style. "Darling" the elephant working

Local hilltribes ladies in Sa Pa, North Vietnam

DARLING- the Victoria Hotel, Hoy An hotel pet

Caves in Ho Long Bay

Local Fishermen in Hoy An

From "Hanoi Holton"

Ho Long Bay

More Ho Long Bay. On UNESCO's world hetritage site

Hot dog anyone ?

Yes, Vietnam is still comunist country.

Local hilltribe girl in Sa Pa

Turtle Isand Ho Long Bay

Breakfast for Darling

Waterfall in Sa Pa

Hanoi Taxi

Vicoria Hotel, Sa Pa

Rice Paddies in Sa Pa

Spot the tourist 1

Spot the tourist 2

Tourch salesmen

  North And South Vietnam

June 2004

We arrived Hanoi on Friday afternoon and went for a quick walk around town. Had a day room at the hotel, so we played in the pool and got ready for the night train to Lao Cai right on the Vietnam / China border in Northern Vietnam. About 8 hours by train up the Red River and arrived at 0515 AM. And like in Good Morning Vietnam: What is the 0 for in 0515, O’h my god it’s early. From there a busride for an hour up to Sa Pa. It is a small town up in 1800M elevation and quite cool after a rather hot day in Hanoi.

It was raining hard when we got here, but cleared up during the day. We went on a village trip in the afternoon. Red and Black Moi hill-tribes. Very basic living conditions with mud-floors and one light bulb. No running water and chickens running around their houses. They were selling traditional embroidery stuff and jewellery. Good prices. We particularly liked the walk inn the rice-fields and the people following us around. What fantastic people.

Today it is raining again, but we will venture out to a waterfall and a hike in a mountain pass. Probarbly will not be so good as we cannot see anything begause of the cloudes and rain, but better than sitting in the hotel all day. Cannot really complain about the rain. There is a reason it is called rainy season and we are in the rain forest, so it should only be expected. We take the train back to Hanoi at 2100 tonigth and ho to Ho Long bay to stay on a boat tomorrow.

Part 2

Since last time we went to see the waterfall in Sa Pa and up to a mountain pass 2000 m elevation. It was in the clouds, so the great view over the valley was limited to about 20 m.

We went for a walk in the Sa Pa village to have a look at the week-end market. Very interesting with all the hill-tribe people coming in to town to sell their stuff. A bit of hassle and purchasing pressure, but that comes with the colour of our skin in this part of the world. Lynne bought a lot of stuff of course and we are already filling up the second “overflow” bag. I tell you  - Those female genes are so easily fooled once they start flashing local handicraft. I must admit they are unique and the prices are crazy low.

We took the night-train back to Hanoi and straight drive to Ha Long bay. Oh my God it’s early to get off the train at 0500 again. After the drive we went on-board at about noon and headed out into the bay. Very nice limestone structured carved our by the Red River over millions of years. We visited a cave and went swimming on Igor Beach (named by Ho Chi Min after a Russian Cosmonaut). Warm water !!!!!.

We then anchored for the night and had a lovely dinner before retiring early. Bianca fell out of the bed at 0400, so she is supporting some boo-boo band-aids today. Not so bad she could not go swimming, so we shall survive. After breakfast another trip around the island and a little swim before lunch and now we are heading back to Hanoi. About a 3 hour drive through rice-fields, so it is quite nice.

Part 3

Since my last report we have had a more quiet time than the first couple of days. We spent Tuesday / Wednesday and part of Thursday in Hanoi. Went to see Ho Chi Min mausoleum and a couple of museums. The famous “Hanoi Hilton”, so called by American POWs during the Vietnam war, is now a museum. Not a very nice place. That is where the attached picture of the guillotine is from. That is from the French time when no-French-friendly locals were put in there. Right next to our hotel was a local market that put a new meaning to the term hot dog. See attached Hot Dog picture. Apparently good luck having dog for dinner at full moon. We did not partake, so all you K9 friends can keep us on your Christmas card list for another year. .

Thursday afternoon we flew to Da Nang and drove south to Hoi An. A small village on the beach with a nice hotel in the same chain we stayed in the mountains, Victoria. Very nice hotel with a room right on the beach. Girls loved the waves and playing in the pool for a day or two. As you can see from the pictures they had “Darling” the elephant hanging around. We could ride it, but already done that in Thailand this year, so skipped the riding and went for feeding only instead. Saturday night we went to Ho Chi Min City and spent Sunday shopping in the markets there. Got a lion mask for next Tet (Chinese new-year) We were still under our allowance on the plane home, so we did good considering the opportunities.

We are now enjoying Singapore Airline in-flight service and watching 4 different movies on the 1:45 hour flight back to Singapore. We should be home about 21:00 local time.