A stop in Saigon and up the Mekong

29 10 2009
Headed up the Mekong River

Headed up the Mekong River

We made a quick stop in the modern, bustling city of Saigon and/or Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC). We visited the stark War Remnants Museum and made travel plans to move on to Chau Doc, further up the Mekong Delta on the border with Cambodia. The museum included an extensive tribute to photographers from the war, for those who took photos from the perspective of both sides and some of their personal stories. We learned that many of the iconic photos from the Vietnam War that are ingrained in our American consciousness are from photographers who died during the war. Read the rest of this entry »





Mui Ne

27 10 2009
Mui Ne beach

Mui Ne beach

On our way from Dalat to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), we stopped for a few days of pure beach escapism in the resort town of Mui Ne.  The road down from the mountains and Dalat was rough, but as we got closer to the coast we drove through fields of dragon fruit.  We finally reached the beach resort town of Mui Ne, and stopped for a few days to eat good seafood and read on the beach before pressing onwards. Read the rest of this entry »





Dalat, Vietnam

24 10 2009
Dalat

Dalat

Our next stop as we traveled south through Vietnam was Dalat.  This highland town was a French resort area, and is known for its many French villas and the nice climate (not too hot and humid).  They also grow many fruits and vegetables, with the agricultural areas on the outskirts covered with green-houses.  It is also a base for many tours into the surrounding highlands, which are a mix of pine forests and productive  agricultural lands (coffee, fruit, etc.).  Here we did some adventurous canyon trekking.

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Hoi An

19 10 2009
Hoi An

Hoi An

We made it to the unique town of Hoi An, a UNESCO World Heritage town with old architecture that was not bombed during Vietnam’s turbulent past.  The other great thing is that as a UNESCO designated town, the local government has restricted vehicle access in the historic quarter.  The result is a very nice town that has become a mecca for tourists coming to visit the town and the many tailors that thrive on the steady stream of tourists. Read the rest of this entry »





Hue, Vietnam

17 10 2009
Imperial palace

Imperial palace

We made it to the ancient imperial city of Hue.  The city contains is a big citadel and a run-down forbidden city that housed the former royalty of Vietnam. We also visited tomb complexes for the royals and puttered around the countryside on a scooter.  Hue is also near the former “demilitarized zone” (DMZ) from the war with America (as opposed to the previous wars with the French, Japanese, and Chinese) .  Contrary to the name “Demilitarized Zone”, this area had a heavy concentration of weaponry and saw the heaviest fighting during the conflict with American forces and contains many historical sites associated with the American phase of the war here. Read the rest of this entry »





Halong Bay

14 10 2009
Halong Bay

Halong Bay

We booked a tour of Halong Bay to spend a few days on a boat floating around the beautiful karst scenery of the Halong Bay area in north Vietnam.  It was Jason’s birthday so we spent a little extra money to get on a slightly fancier boat than our budget would normally allow.  We also signed up for extra kayaking, in order to enjoy more of our time out in the water. Read the rest of this entry »





Hanoi, Part I and II

9 10 2009
Hanoi market

Hanoi market

We made it to the city of Hanoi in northern Vietnam.  We have visited many of the museums and spent time in the old historic quarter.  The museums have a noticeable “revolutionary” bias, but provide an interesting Vietnamese perspective nonetheless.  The ‘Chinese Invaders’, ‘Fascist Japanese’, ‘Imperialist French’ and ‘American Aggressors’ turned Vietnam in a battlefield for the majority of the 1900s.  The bottom line is that this country has seen too much conflict and the people here today are very happy not to have any war.  Aside from all the wars and conflict of the last century, Vietnam also has a rich and complex ancient history with various ethnic groups and previous civilizations. Read the rest of this entry »