Egil’s Travel Log

Travelling Asia, one country at a time

Same same ! ( - but different... )

Same same ! ( - but different... )

Everywhere you go in Viet Nam, people are explaining most things by comparing things with other things... and most of the time you get the comparison " Same, same... or Same, same - but different... so the whole expression becomes a big internal joke, - both between travellers, and between travellers and locals. i.e. a GuestHouse is Same, same as a Hotel, while having to sit on the backseat of a moto instead of the bus you already paid for is Same, same - but different...

After shipping home my two tailormade suits from Hoi An it was time to move on... I met some really nice irish people at a bar there, and the last morning became a lot earlier than I had planned :( hehe

We (me and Matthew, whom I travelled with much of Viet Nam) took the morningbus to Hue, including a stop at the Marble Mountains - whitch were really a nice surprice... If you ever get the chance, bring a tourch/lights and wander around in the caves here, and explore both the caves and the marble statues inside it :)

In Hue we matched up with a couple of german girls, and used the days there to relax, eat, and walk around the city, and have a couple of beers in the evening. Next day we arranged for an local guide on a moto + 3 motoes, and we went arond Hue to see some of the local attractions, among others we visited a buddist temple in the morning seromony/services/prayers. and some american bunkers from the war, and others sights... And I got finaly to rida a moto, whitch I actually NEVER had ridden before... but after 50 meters of practice I was ready for the vietnameese traffic :-) hehe
( Mother ! - I promice - I did NOT hurt my self... ;p )

After Hue we took the nighttrain to Hanoi where Matt had a cousin he'd stay at, and me and the girls had an agreement with a guethouse/Hotel for free pickup, whitch we actually had to pay for, and I had to pay for more than agreed, and had no hot water, and thay put on 10% tax at the bill in the end, even I did not even stay a night there! ( I decided I wanted to trekk 3 days in the north Vietnamees mountains in stead of one night in Hanoi, - and I had to leave Viet Nam the 16th (no Visa)) I really had a good impression about Hanoi, and people there - but this hotelexperience really ruined a lot of my mood there...

I bought a organiced tour (usd 70,-) for nighttrains+bustransportation to and from Sa Pa + 3 days of trekking with 2 homestays included. it was great to use my legs for walking of track again, as I have not had the chance to do it home in Norway yet in 2006. We were 6 people in the group, 4 swiss people, an irish girl and me. The first day was were nice except for a lot of "pressure" from all the tribemembers to sell us things from their handcraft production. It became so "bad" that we ended up not wanting to meet their eyes / talk to them, because that only ment they would try to sell you things... even outside the first homestay we got "run over" by the sellers :( this ruined a little of the else very nice experience. The evening at the home stay was great, - all seven sitting around the table, playing an easy cardgame, and all the time the looser had to sing a song, or take a drink... :)

The next morning it was raining a lot, and the trail was very slippery, and most had a couple of turnes down in the dirt :)

After we finally got to our lunshplace, the 4 swisses took the bus back to the hotel, and me and Rose (the Irish girl) contingued with the guide to anouther village and homestay. And this part became the best part of the tour. No sellers, and great landscape, no more rain, and nice colder temperature... and then we got to our homestay family, they even had a natural hot spring SPA ! near the river... ! Great ! So both me and Rose had ou almost an hour untill it was really dark, plungeing in the sap, and in the cold river, in the Spa, and in the cold river, and in the Spa again :D

I also have to mention that on our way down to the final village on this day, we passed a young family started to building their house that same day, and they asked us if we could take a photo of them, and a memory of this special day for them - and send to them... Of course we did that :) Very nice moment.

This night it rained again, and we decided to walk the longer mainroad up to our pickup place, instead of take the long slippery train up again. I'm glad we did this, - as 2 hours of uphill on grouble road was pretty good excercise enougth :)

After comming home to Sa Pa we had a lunch, a shower, and a little walk in Sa Pa, before takeing the nighttrain back to Hanoi, where my morningflight to Vientiene, Laos was due 9 am..

but thats next story...

Good morning Viet Nam...

Good morning Viet Nam...

Eveningmood over the fishingboats
Well, now its finally Viet Nam, which actually was my main country to visit in my Asia journey... and I'm really not sure what to expect, all though my expectations are quite high... so I was a little afraid I might be dissapointed because of this...

So, what do I feel now after less than a week here... both dissapointed and positively surpriced :)

View over the fishingvillage at Nda Trang
Actually - many things were different from my expectations, but it goes both ways.... First impression (in Chou Duc) was that all the smiles we were used to see all over Cambodia, were missing in Viet Nam, and in Saigon the people were friendly and busy in rushhours, but later on the evening not very interesting... (just another big city...) but then in Nda Trang and Hoi An we found both the general smiles and happiness we expected from the start... and plenty of it :-)

Of course, we found many smiles all along Saigon ( and Chou Duc) as well, but not so plentyful as here in Hoi an, and in Nda Trang...

and the girls... well their big (and sometimes shy...) smiles make them even prettier...

In general it feels like the vietnameese peaople is growing on you, and you start to feel the attraction more and more for this country, and the people... Basicly we like it here, and want to come back again... better soon than later.

On the Mekongdelta
I'd like to write a lot, but its hard to know how to explain, so here is some key words...
Mekong Delta - mighty, wet and impressive.
Cu Chi Tunnels - historical, impressive and narrow
Saigon - big city - busy(partly), hectic and diversed
Nda Trang - beachtow - beautiful, gentle and friendly
Hoi An - small city of tailors - busy with a smile

People are generally really friendly... no big problem at all, and many speak really ok english.

SO i've done some walking in Chou Duc, sightseeing and dancing in Saigon, beaches in Nda Trang, and now its some shopping and relaxing in Hoi An :)

I'll tell you more about the north of Viet Nam later...

take care
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