Thursday, October 25, 2012

Lost in the Mekong Delta

Leaving Saigon was pretty easy we left just before sun rise, streets were quite with only a few shops beginning their day and ladies with their Vietnamese hats sweeping and collecting what ever they can recycle for cash. We made our first stop in My Tho for the night, its really hot this time of year but lucky for us the Delta region is pretty much flat which made riding alot more enjoyable.

can't get enough of these
love these sugar cane ice crushes
not a big fan coconut water but when its hot these really help 

so that way to Can Tho?
After leaving My Tho for Can Tho things started to get interesting, roads started to get narrow from all the rivers, we rode on dirt roads crossed bridges and took ferries while resting as often to hydrating ourselves as much as we could while taking in life and work on the Mekong. Make shift homes lined the small towns while factories dominated the main Mekong river outskirts. We were lost in this maze of water ways dirt roads and ferries asking directions from locals that seem to lead us to more ferries and dead ends but we finally saw hope in the form of a bridge, the longest cabled bridge in south east asia that would lead us to Can Tho. 

hot, lost and confused 

Mekong provides transportation and food for the region

happy we found Can Tho just before night fall
Can Tho is a modern city and very touristy. People on the streets tried to bait us to their hotels but we wouldn't have it and found our own place just outside the lively water front district but we should have looked longer because their were loads of places to stay all round that area. I would recommend anyone travelling to stay near the water front because thats where all the action happens plus the all important restaurants and cafes.
saying good by to Vietnam and uncle Ho Chi Minh
Our last stop in Vietnam was Chau Doc, about 30 kms from the boarder of Cambodia. Phnom Penh, here we come. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Saigon a steaming hot city too bad I was sick would have liked to try more foods

On our last day in Mui Ne, my stomach wasn't feeling very good and it was pretty much the same for our weekend in Ho Chi Minh city, I know thats its name but the locals we asked including myself still like the old name of Saigon. We had arranged our second couch surfing experience with Hang Dinh. Can't say enough of this young girl she works as a TV news reporter, writes for travel websites, travels herself and still has time to host complete strangers in her downtown flat in Saigon's centre. Every night after a long hot day of work she still managed the energy to take us out, showing the city and telling us great stories of her life and travels. 

bike parking at our host apartment, can you spot mine?

famous Ben Thanh Market, in the centre of Saigon has everything, but don't forget to bargain
checking out the War Remnants museum 
Ji, riding our host scooter was exciting. just for the picture Hang did the driving 
enjoying ice cold Saigon beer, with seafood along the river

were not coffee drinkers, but we loved Vietnam's strong sweet ice coffee
During the hot afternoons Ji and I would venture out to see the city ourselves and also did some last minute repair to my bike. One of the pedals were acting funny had them both replaced for $6, cheap. Saigon has had its troubles in the past and you can see evidence at the War Remnants Museum but from what we saw the future looks bright for Ho Chi Minh City. Loads of great restaurants, cafes, shopping new buildings and felt safe, but what stands out most was our time with our CS'rs host, thanks Hang for a great time.

Next we will ride the Mekong Delta while making our way to Cambodia.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

3 days of scorching sun but made it to Mui Ne for much need rest

We caught the 10 hour sleeper bus from Hoi An to Nha Trang cost us about $17 each. The bus was full with backpackers and some of the packs were larger than our folding bikes. When we arrived in Nha Trang, there was lots of people trying to get us to stay at their hotel showing us photos and pricing some guys even promote multiple hotels. Jieun already knew which hotel to stay at but we still let one guy take us to the place so he could make some cash. Nha Trang is clean modern beach city, nice to see has high end to budget accommodations and loads of bars and restaurants also it an interesting night market street off the main part of the boardwalk. 

Nha Trang harbour
Po Nagar temple over looking Nha Trang
mud spa just outside Nha Trang

night market street short and full of Vietnamese sweets
Next 3 days were spent riding down hwy 1 during the hottest time of the year. Temperatures were in the mid 30's add in the scorching sun, we found ourselves stopping every hour to rest in the shade lucky Vietnam has plenty of resting areas along the road equipped with hammocks and the people selling sugarcane ice drinks were also a god sent. I like to say those 3 days were worth it when we reached Mui Ne, nothing against Mui Ne, its beautiful but getting there was hot and hard as hell. In Mui Ne we treated ourselves for 3 nights at relaxing resort with a pool overlooking the sea. It was $35 usd a night included breakfast and afternoon tea and fruits, its the most expensive place we have stayed since arriving in Asia but totally worth it. 

road to Mui Ne

often saw farmers dry their rice on the roads
water was crystal clear
exhausted but made we it Mui Ne, 3 days later
After a few days of doing nothing we did manage to check out the local sites, like the sand dunes, but the most interesting site was the Fairy stream walk with its unique eroded banks and while on the trail we found a place where you can ride an ostrich. Jieun got an short ride for $2 but I think I would have been too heavy for the big bird. Next up Ho Chi Minh city but we like to call it by its old French colonial name Saigon. 

we quickly checked into the Sunrise Resort
thats says it all of what we did the next few days
the narrow strip of sand beach in front of the our resort
unique strawberry spring rolls tasted sweet and savory
fish we ate almost everyday while in Mui Ne

small fishing village outside Mui Ne, look like a fleet of battle ships
sand dunes was too hot to even walk on in the afternoon
strolling down the fairy stream 

looks like chocolate milk 
at the end of the fairy stream was a refreshing waterfall
reminds me of old Atari video game Joust where people ride flying ostriches