Vietnam in Motion

IMG_3478We kept up with the somewhat frenetic energy of Vietnam and managed to see a good chunk of the country in 3 weeks. In 21 days, we travelled from the Northern town of Sapa to the Southern tip of the Me Kong Delta, stopping to visit Halong Bay, Hanoi, Hue, Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) along the way.

After a night train returning from Sapa we were back in Hanoi for a quick stop before we headed for Halong Bay where we enjoyed a two day cruise.

Halong Bay boat cruise with Our Halong excursion was with V’Spirit and was an action packed, fun filled, great two days. During our time on board the V’Spirit, we had 4 outstanding meals, excursions to visit caves, beaches and mountain lookouts, kayaking, cooking classes, squid fishing, a Magic show and even a morning Tai Chi class.

Excellent staff from V'Spirit Cruise Line on Halong Bay VietnamAll the staff were absolutely fabulous, but our favorite was this guy. He reminded us all of my nephew. Couldn’t help but love him…seemed like such a genuine kind person.

Stunning views of Halong Bay VietnamOf course, the views were stunning no matter which way you looked.

Spring roll cooking class on board the V'spirit cruise ship Halong Bay vietnamEven the spring rolls we made ourselves were great. Callum is totally hooked on Vietnamese spring rolls now. I expect we will be eating at Saigon Kitchen more often when we get home.

Once back in Hanoi from Halong, we hopped on yet another night train and headed South for three days in Hue. Glad to have the three night trains behind us, we all loved our stay at the Romance Hotel that included a bathtub, which we had not seen since Canada. That’s 4 months without a tub…words can not express how good that felt.

Imperial Citadel of Hue VietnamOn our second day in Hue we toured the city with our guide Sunny. The tour included the Imperial Citadel of Hue with the Purple Forbidden City, some of which had sustained a substantial amount of damage during the war and is under reconstruction.

Imperial Citadel of Hue with the Purple Forbidden City VietnamYour Royal Highness, King Paul with his beloved, princess Lydia.

Imperial Citadel of Hue with the Purple Fobidden City Vietnam

a stop for frog coffee with sunny before we head to Hue Market in VietnamA quick stop for frog coffee (cheap coffee sitting on low stools) with Sunny before we head over to the market.

Thien Mu Pagoda or Heavenly Lady Pagoda in Hue VietnamAfter the market we stopped to see the Heavenly Lady Pagoda. One of the oldest religious structures in Hue dating back to 1601. Today, The Pagoda grounds are still used as an active Buddhist Monastery.

Boat ride down the Perfume River in Hue VietnamThen we were off on a boat tour of the Perfume River.

Perfume River Hue VietnamOur cute little companion as we see the sights of the Perfume River.

Tu Duc Tomb in Hue VietnamOur last stop took us to Tu Duc Tomb where the Emperor of the Imperial City built his own Tomb. On route to see Tu Duc Tomb, Sunny asked if we would like to listen to songs. Of course we all said sure, as a little music when you’re cruising down the road is always nice. But instead of fiddling with the drivers radio he turns to face us in the back seat and starts singing “I miss you like crazy” by Natalie Cole. A true fan of karaoke Sunny is and a pretty good singer as well. Gotta give him props…I could never do that.

The Scenic Hai Van Pass on route to Hoian from Hue VietnamThe next day Sunny accompanied us on our drive over the scenic Hai Van Pass on route to Hoi An. Having his company was great, not only for his singing voice, but also because of his knowledge of the local area.

Da Nang Beach VietnamA quick stop at the beach in Da Nang to stretch our legs.

Hoi An city of lanterns in VietnamThen we reached historic Hoi An. The lovely little city of Lanterns, which is beautiful both by day and by night, when the lanterns are all aglow.

Hoi an city river Vietnam

Hoi an city river Vietnam

street of Hoi An Vietnam

street food in Hoi An Vietnam

streets of Hoi An Vietnam

Japanese covered Bridge dog and Monkey statues in Hoi An VietanmThe Japanese Covered Bridge.

Hoi An Beach Vietnam with traditional boatsBike riding through rice fields in Hoi An to spend a day at the beach.

From Hoi An we took a flight to Ho Chi Minh. Unfortunately, Lydia and I were both sick for our visit to Ho Chi Minh so we stayed pretty close to our hotel. After a two night stay we drove down to our Homestay in the Me Kong Delta.

Me Kong river cruise VietnamWhen we arrived in Cho Lach (village in the Me Kong) we started our visit of the area with a boat tour.

Me Kong Delta River Boats Viietnam

Me Kong delta Lunch with fish and fried BananaFollowed by lunch which included fried Banana Flower (a first for me) and Fish. After a quick bite we headed off on our first of 3 bike tours of the area.

Le Jardin in the Me kong, Cho Lach, Ben Tre Province VietnamAfter our first bike and river tour, we made it to our home for the next three days, Le Jardin Homestay with Vinh and his family. We had our own villa at this homestay and a little doogie named Na that liked to hang out with us on the veranda. We were all very comfortable here and did not want to say good-bye.

Le Jardin Homestay cooking lessons with Vinh and his family Shortly after arriving at Vinhs we did a cooking class with the women of the house. Not sure what they are called in Vietnamese, but we made curry flavored crepes with shrimp, pork and bean sprouts. The women are preparing the veg and spices while Paul is “Churn’in up the Batter”.

Le Jardin Homestay cooking classOnce Paul was finished preparing the batter, Vinh’s sister-in-law helped us make the delicious crepes.

Birthday cake in Vietnam

For desert, the family surprised us with a birthday cake for Lydia. Still not sure how they pulled it off, as we only told them it was Lydia’s birthday when we were doing our cooking class. A nice Surprise indeed.

Cho Lach village market in the Ben Tre province of the Me Kong Delta Vietnam

Cho Lach village market in the Ben Tre province of the Me Kong Delta Vietnam

Cho Lach village market in the Ben Tre province of the Me Kong Delta VietnamOn one of our bike tours, we visited the Cho Lach local market. Definitely saw some things you would never see in Canada.

Motorbike carry in VietnamOne thing is for certain in Vietnam, you can pretty much transport anything you need on a motorbike.

Motorbike carry Vietnam

Motorbike carry VietnamWe saw it all. Anything from fruits and vegetables, fishing gear, chicken cages, chickens, pigs, a family of 5, building materials and birds to beer.

riding a bicycle in rice fields VietnamEven though the pace was quick, we had a great time in Vietnam and found the people very friendly. The fast pace of our tour however,  left us poor, small town folk from Canada, feeling a little over stimulated so we decided to skip our planned visit to Cambodia. Paul and I have been before and the kids were ready for some beach time so we headed straight for an ocean front condo in Thailand. A little holiday from our holiday you might say.

2 comments

  1. I think, it is such a great trip and I love the way, you are keeping us up to date. You guys seem to be traveling around with ease. I would be so over welled.

  2. Colleen, your photography is amazing! How great to be able to change plans should the need arise. What an incredible experience so far 🙂

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