Vietnam – Why There?
Do you think which destination is the right one for you? Where is something interesting and unusual? Where you can find beautiful landscape, excellent cuisine, and pleasant locals? Well, I know where to go. My favorite place is... Vietnam and I will try to convince you in the next few articles that even for you this is the right choice.
Asia has been very popular in recent time. The choice where to travel is unprecedented. In my case I chose a country I did not really know not that long ago. First, I browse the Internet and search for some interesting places, gather information, and then turn to my Vietnamese acquitances who helped me with my first trip there.
I did not travel much about at that time. Intuitively I supposed that one makes a vaction in summer. Hence my first visit to Vietnam took place in July. Well, not the best idea to be honest. The heat is terrible and the same applies to humidity - up to 80%.
Moreover, in the north, which has attracted me personally the, is the rains period at that time. The most precipitation occur in August. But the rain also has its advantages, rice fields after rain or before the storm are incredibly photogenic. If you decide to go there, look at the map and choose what is most appealing to you. Landscapes, monuments, or maybe local dwellers? Do you plan a single visit and do you intend to see everything there? Do you prefer to enjoy every spot at slower pace insted? All these aspects are important when choosing which the right month for a visit.
Our first encounter with Asia was a bit of a shock to me. We arrived in Hanoi, and just as we were leaving the airport hall would make a use of cold shower. Unfortunately, our guide held different opinion so we went to see the city. We walked down through the narrow streets of the metropolis as our guide suddenly show us to the plastic tables on the opposite side of the sidewalk - here we are going to have breakfast.
There are different thoughts inonmy mind. Will the table be clean? What about the dishes? Chopsticks? Still, let's make sure. We sit on thelittle chairs, let us explain what is waiting for us and how we can improve this local specialty. Our first encounter with Pho Bo soup eventually exceeds our expectations. Siply put it is great and almost irreplaceable in that great heat. It adds energy, fluids, and makes you feel saturated almost all day. There is a variety of flavors on each small table. Pickled garlic, chilli peppers, spring onion, fresh leaves of various herbs, of which we know almost none. Do not miss out on fish sauce. Yet beware! We used it all the time on our first visit there. But now it is different. Tourists don't like it that much so it has been replaced by soy sauce. Now you have to ask for fish sauce. They have it everywhere yet they do not force it. Normally the Vietnamese are very adaptable and react immediately to market demand. When people don't like it, we will not push them ...
It was a really gourmet experience, probably one of the finest noodle soups I've ever tasted. Besides special noodles, it can also contain rice rolls filled with minced meat and mushrooms. Finally, one more warning - it's not you classic plate, but really super serving, nothing more - another course - you will not need.
Originally I wanted to write to you how beautiful Hanoi is and where you can got, so let's get back there next time. We will walk on foot, but we will try the local taxi and, of course, see the sights.
GPS: (letiště) 21°12'59.8"N 105°47'58.1"E
Text and photos: Magdaléna Radostová
Today we are about to enjoy our last amazing trip in Vietnam, we originally intended to visit the Ba Vi National Park, but for time constraints we had to change our program because we need to reserve at least two days for this park. So we had a hotel counseling and planned a trip to a place that was not even mentioned in our book guide, although it is very popular for tourists (even for local people). Today, we go to visit the largest Vietnamese pagoda Bai Dinh and then explore the beautiful complex Trang An.
Upon an hour of waiting for a visa I was free to explore the capital of the country I really looked forward to exploring. First of all, I somehow let a cab driver to make a 300 crown rip off. Sometimes things like this happen. But honestly – this happens in Prague as well. Aboard the airplane I could see streets where millions of bikes stream in all directions. And “down” here the traffic is even more crazy. If I compare Ho Chi Minh city to Bangkok, a city of comparable size, in the former there are much less traffic jams. One must add that there is no subway, or rail that would go above the ground. It seems that high taxes on car is working.
Upon our arrival and first impressions of Vietnam, we take a tour of Hanoi. The guide first takes us to Ba Dinh Square, which is famous especially for Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.
Nha Trang is practically the most famous tourist resort in Vietnam, not so much for some landmarks, this coastal city of Khanh Hoa province is famous for its seven kilometers long sandy beach with adjacent islands. The city of approximately 392,000 inhabitants and this number is growing steadily.
In the evening we arrive at the airport in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly known as Saigon). We are already busy only to lodge for a quick dinner in the busy streets of this largest Vietnamese city and sleep. The next day a very exciting war trip is waiting for us - we go to the Cu Chi tunnels.
Omnipresent honking, grandmas pulling bikes with flowers, Vietnamese sitting on small chairs, food, bikes, wires, bikes, French cafes, bikes with food, bikes with chairs, bike transporting part of another bike… Welcome to Hanoi! It is a city crazy beyond believe. You either love it or you hate it eternally.
Upon we explore Hanoi a bit we planned to see other places which are must see in the capital. The first one was the Ho Chi Minh Museum (Lăng Chủ tịch Hồ Chí Minh).
We reached Hanoi (Hà Nội in Vietnamese) by train, again. Friends had been waiting for us at the train station already. Hospitable as they were they took us on their bikes to their place. Founded in the 11th century, Hanoi’s original name was Thăng Long – Soaring Dragon. The legend says the emperor saw a dragon soaring at this place so he founded the city there.
Vietnam is no destination where climbers would travel intentionally. Yet once you are there you should try its climbing areas. We travelled to Cat Ba island which I highly recommend to any climber.
Last year already, we brought you a video of the "wedding" town of Dat Lat, Vietnam. Our reporteur made a return there to ride down one of the best roads in Vietnam for a road trip on motorbike.
Da Nang (a city almost in the geographic center of Vietnam) is largely unknown. Which is unfortunate. An average tourist usually passes by there in a taxi on his way from the airport to his favorite Hoi An hotel…. I spent three weeks in Da Nang. And the city got on the list of my favorite places in Southeast Asia (right next to Chiang Mai). In Top Gear, Jeremy Clarkson called the old road to Hue as the “abandoned fragment of perfection.” I absolutely agree.
Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) is often regarded economic heart of Vietnam. It is not as hold as Hanoi (Hà Nội) but still it has some magic.
Our journey continued to Hue (Huế), the former capital of Vietnamese emperors situated in the central Vietnam.
Even though the title suggest some offensive connotations we were did not intend to disgrace royal tombs as if we were in an action movie. A rented bike, however, solved our problems. The tombs around Hue are scattered along vast area. Before relying on public transportation it is better to pay couple of crowns to rent a bike.
Phu Quoc is the name of the largest Vietnamese island situated in the Gulf of Thailand close to Cambodia. Islands in the Gulf of Thailand are beautiful this one is no difference. The island is mere 50 kilometers long (from north to south). In the north the island is wide and it narrows down towards the south. Majority of the island is covered in green but this will not be the case in the future. The island features beautiful sand and palms. Who would love this?
Cat Ba is an island southeast of Vietnam. It was very difficult to get there until recently. In September, a new road featuring a bridge made it easier to travel to the island. Hence, Cat Ba is a popular tourist resort. You may buy a ticket to Cat Ba town in Hanoi and Ninh Binhu zakoupit. It takes 4 hours to get there from Ninh Binhu and 3 hours from Hanoi.
As much as I hate to travel by bus, I would repeat the ride from Nha Trang and Da Lat. The former is the city of two hundred thousand. It is the most popular spot to spend honeymoon at in Vietnam. It is situated at 1500 meters in the Central Highlands. You can enjoy a number of great views while on the road. And it gets even better on bike …
I have always longed to see a large desert with sand dunes. However, neither in Europe nor in Southeast Asia (the places where I spend most of my time) is one. Once I first saw pictures of Mui Ne, Vietnam I knew for sure that I want to go there. Okay, it is not a desert per se but sand dunes there are huge.
Someone loves it. Someone swears to not to come again. There is nothing in between. I am with the first group. From the first day on in Saigon, a hectic city, and I turned into a side street. We are about to introduce you to a new series where we tell you about interesting places in the city and the country. First of all, let’s talk some important facts about the country.
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