We visited the citadel here (modeled on the Forbidden city in China) and took a bike tour.This was definately a highlight of the trip. We were meant to have a driver but Ste insisted he drove me and the others thought they would do the same. After 2 fell off they weren’t allowed so we all drove around the countryside and saw loads of good things.We visited a girl with one hand (affected by agent orange during the war) making conical hats, made incense sticks, went to a nunnery for lunch and had a sleep on some mats, went on a boat down the perfume river, explored some bunkers used in the war ,a collaseum where elephants and tigers used to fight (the elephants were made to win as they are the royal symbol. They used to make lots of women live nearby and and feed them their breast milk- how disgusting), Mu pagoda and the emperors tomb and visited some monks. All this only cost 31 us dollars for both of us!
We then took a 4 hours bus to Hoi An. We had a pool in our hotel (which is good for intrepid basix tour- tight gits). It’s nice here. Troung took us on a bicycle ride through the countryside and we would stop at so many things of interest about the locals that we would never had known about without him! We saw how rice and sesame seeds grow and he watched our bags whilst we all jumped in the sea as it was red hot. The cemetaries are a sight. They are very pretty. After 3 years they dig up the body, scrape off the flesh if any so the spirit can go free and bury the bones again.
We had some clothes made here at the tailors (as there are hardly any shops to buy clothes here but millions of tailors!) and did a cooking class. The food we made was delicious (especially the tuna steak in banana leaf) don’t suppose we have too many banana leaves banging around at home though.We went with the lads to have their hair cut at this bashed up little hut which was the barbers. I sat chatting to his wife for about 2 hours she was lovely and spoke good English. They all have their ears cleaned here so the lads had theirs done. It was so funny when he was sticking all these huge rods in and pulling all this stuff out. They were petrified!
We caught a bus to Dang Nang then took a 10 hour overnight train to Nha Trang. The trains are much scruffier in Vietnam than in China (there was a mouse in the food cabin!) and so wobbly. We went on another boat trip, did some snorkling, visited a fishing village and spent some time on the beach.We all went out drinking and ”vodka Steve” got so drunk i had the pleasure of cleaning up his sick all night and watching him sleep to make sure he was ok! We went to a bar on the beach and Ste thought he would jump over the fire, burn his foot and break 2 toes. LESSON- remind Ste drinking neat vodka is better left to the younger members of the group!
We went to a mud bath which was such good fun. There are hot springs and a hot pool and waterfalls and with a massage only cost 180vnd each! then caught an overnight train to Ho Chi Minh city (10hours- Ste was still being sick) This used to be called Saigon. We arrived about 3 30am and and crashed in a day room with 3 other lads till 7 for a sleep and went on a trip to the Mekong Delta. We visited an island which grew tropical fruit, watched coconut sweets being made on another and went to a bee farm where Ste held a python. We were told the bees were friendly ones?! and drank some honey tea (after picking the friendly bees out of it).We went on a horse and carriage to another area and went on a lovely peaceful rowing boat down the Mekong. They then fed us an elephant ear fish lunch (supposed to look like one) the lady makes you rolls with the fish and shells your king prawns for you and other lovely things till you are stuffed. Well nice.