S: VIETNAM JAN 21 - FEB 5, 2012
BC: Made by Derie 2012
FC: Vietnam | Hanoi Halong Bay Hue Hoi An Nha Trang Dalat Ho Chi Minh City | Jan 21 - Feb 5, 2012
1: is a nation reborn, we discovered the depths of its beauty on this Asian adventure. Traversing the entire country from north to south, we journeyed from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City. | ITINERARY: | Day 8: Fly to & explore Hanoi Day 9: Explore Hanoi Day 10: Explore Hanoi/Tho Ha Day 11: Overland to Halong Bay Day 12: Fly to & explore Hue Day 13: Explore Hue Day 14: Overland to Hoi An Day 15: Explore Hoi An Day 16: Fly to & explore Nha Trang Day 17: Explore Nha Trang Day 18: Overland to Dalat Day 19: Explore Dalat Day 20 Fly to & explore Ho Chi - 21: Minh City Day 22: HCM/Cruise Mekong River Day 23: Fly to Siem Reap | (continuation from Laos) | Vietnam | $20,000 Dong = $1 USD | 2011 population: 90 Million
2: Hanoi | Jan. 21-24 | Our Hotel | Lee, our Vietnam Guide | Hanoi, | the capital of Vietnam, and also its second largest city, is a fascinating blend of East and West, with Chinese influence from centuries of dominance, and French design from its colonial past. It is now going through a modernization that is making it a rising star in Southeast Asia.
3: Happy Buddha | Flower Market | in the Old Quarter - Everyone was preparing for TET! Buying flowers, food, clothes, balloons, and decorations for the holiday!
4: Temple of Literature | HO CHI MINH MAUSOLEUM | the Temple of Literature was built in 1070 and is one of the oldest sights in Hanoi. It is dedicated to the Chinese philosopher, Confucius. | The flag of five colors: represents the elements for nature - metal, wood, water, fire & earth. | Our Vietnam Group Dave, Bonnie, Jaap, Julie, Dan, Bob, Steve, Joel | Derie, Judy, Emily, Irene, Steve, Donna, Julie & Marci | is located in the centre of Ba Dinh Square, which is the place where Vietminh leader Ho Chi Minh read the Declaration of Independence on Sept. 2, 1945, establishing the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. | Jan 22/Day 9 | A Buddhist flag in Hanoi
5: One Pillar Pagoda | Hanoi Cathedral | similar to the architecture of Notra Dame Cathedral in Paris | Hoa Lo Prison- known to American POW's as the "Hanoi Hilton" during the Vietnam War. It was built in 1886 by the French. | Jan.22/Day 9 | John McCain's flight suit | Presidential Palace | Ho Chi Minh's house-on-stilts
6: We were fortunate to be in Vietnam during Tet. | TeT- or Vietnamese Lunar New Year, is the most important and popular holiday and festival in Vietnam. It marks the arrival of spring. There are a lot of customs practiced during Tet, such as visiting a person's house on the first day of the new year, ancestral worshiping, wishing New Year's greetings, giving lucky money to children and the elderly. Most all businesses are closed during Tet. | Jan 22-Midnight | lucky money | apricot tree | kumquat tree
7: Typical Middle class family home- the husband makes bricks for a living. We were invited in for tea on New Years Day. | The Huc, Sunbeam Bridge | over the Hoan Kiem Lake | Jan 23/Day 10 | In the afternoon on the road to Tho Ha, we stopped in the town of Bac Ninh and was given a tour of this home.
8: Elephant tooth | Twenty miles north of Hanoi, the Nhu Nguyet River surrounds this traditional village. A brief ferry ride on New Years Day, brought us to this area of hard-working, friendly people. The main industries here are making rice paper and pig farming. | rural life in Tho Ha | Nhu Nguyet River | Steve Making rice paper. | Home-hosted lunch | Rural woman headed to place offerings at the local temple | Playing music with the host. | Jan 23/Day 10 | Host- Mr.Viet
9: Local teenagers. | Betel Nut - a unique custom in Vietnam. Chewing it stains your teeth black over time and seems to be habit forming. | Steve trying Betel Nut. | Well respected Vietnamese Herbal Doctor. | The doctors mother, a user of betel nut.
10: Halong Bay- | Our overnight vessel, a junk, is a wooden sailboat in the traditional Vietnamese style. (Only we never used the sails!) | Resting peacefully across the Gulf of Tonkin near the Chinese border, this region-literally "the bay of the descending dragon"-is dotted with more than 3,000 mountain islands, whose jagged profiles seem to rise out of nowhere. | "the Emerald Bay of Vietnam " | Jan. 24-25:/Day 11 & 12
11: the western end of Halong Bay is now a national park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The region offers one of the most diverse ecosystems in Vietnam, with lush forest and marine spectacle showcasing steep spines of mountains, narrow valleys, cascading waterfalls, and golden beaches. | Our room on the Junk | dinner table - pretty nice!
12: Hue | is the former imperial capital, built by the first king of the Nguyen Dynasty during a time recognized as the golden age of Vietnam. For centuries, Hue has been a main cultural, religious, and educational center of Vietnam. | Jan 25-27 | Huong "Perfume "River | The Citadel | "City of the dead" | luxurious tomb | tofu soup | in the province of Tha Thien -Hue
13: Water Puppets | Camellia Hotel | My Birthday! | Jan 25/Day 12 | 52nd sh-h-h-h... | Card and flowers from our group | CAKE FROM THE HOTEL | "to you....!"
14: Thien Mu Pagoda - | seven-stories tall-the un- official symbol of Hue | A Visit and a vegetarian lunch at Dieu Thanh Monastery | Minh Tu Orphanage | Jan 26/Day 13 | This facility provides a home for almost 200 children. | Us with the Buddhist nun who founded this monastery. | Built 1601
15: Designated aWorld Heritage Site, this moated, walled citadel, is surrounded by eleven stone gates. This huge fortress comprises three enclosures - the Civic, Imperil, an Forbidden Purple Cities. Horrific damage was caused by the Indochina Wars. Currently restoration work is being done. | Halls of the Mandarins | Hue Citadel: Imperial City | Built 1802-1833 | One of the Nine brass Dynastic Urns
17: Water Puppetry Show | an art form in which puppets are suspended over water, directed by puppet masters who must sit semi-submerged for hours at a time. The tradition of water puppetry is at least 1,000 years old, originating with peasants in the Red River Delta of the north. The puppets are made of the water-resistant wood of the fig tree. | Jan 26/evening
18: Road trip from Hue - Hoi An | Our challenge: to shop for produce items at a local market speaking only Vietnamese ! | Vietnamese military cemetery
19: Jan 27/Day 14 | China beach | Water proofing basket boats | former U.S . military hangers at DaNang | rice paddies | Rice paddies | showing off
20: Japanese Bridge | HOI AN Jan 27-29 | an ancient, well-preserved port town that has changed little in the past two centuries. | nighttime | local artists wife | Our Hotel
21: Evening of Jan 27 | Cooking Class | VIETTOWN RESTAURANT | 1. Spring Rolls | 2. Grilled Fish in Banana Leaf | 3. Squid Salad
22: My Son Sanctuary & Champa Ruins | Jan 28/Day 15 | My Son was established as a religious center in the 4th Century in a lush, isolated valley overlooked by Hon Qua(/Cat's Tooth Mountain) Red-brick ruins with delicate masonry. | Performing a traditional Champa dance. | Vietnam's most significant ruin from the Champa kingdom, which prospered from the second to the 15th centuries.
23: A scenic afternoon cyclo-rickshaw tour of Cam Nam village. We stopped along the way and visited with a local villager. Then a cruise on the Thu Bon River. | The sons new modern home is next door to the mothers. | Jan. 28/Day 15
24: Jan 29/Day 16 | The village chief and his wife. | Xom Gio, a tranquil riverside community. We were guest of the village chief, for discussion about the village's history and culture, followed by lunch. | a South Central coastal city. | Basket making
25: Angella - Our hotel in Nha Trang | Jan 29/evening site seeing | Long Son Pagoda | Reclining Buddha
26: We boarded traditional wooden "drawing boats" to visit a local fishing village on Mieu Island. Then stopped and went for a basket boat adventure near a floating fish farm. After that we headed to Mini Beach for lunch and relaxation/swimming. | Jan 30/Day 17 | Mini | Our boat | Steve, Joel & Dan
27: Basket boat | Emily having a foot massage. | Beach | local girl
28: Po Nagar Cham Ponaga Tower Nha Trang | Jan. 30/Day 17 continued | Dinner at the Sailing Club. | Municipal Beach | Curry Chicken
29: "City of Eternal Spring" | We traveled overland from Nha Trang to Dalat. We saw a lot of rice paddies along the way. Dalat is nestled in the mountains and we rode a cable car overlooking the city and went to the hilltop Truc Lam Zen Buddhist Pagoda. | Jan. 31- Feb. 2 | Dalat | Our Hotel | Jan. 31/Day 18
30: Home hosted dinner | Touring the city of Dalat on Feb. 1 /Day 19 | Jan. 31/evening | Dr. Dang Viet Nga-owner & architect of Crazy House. She is the daughter of a former senior Communist Party leader. | Dalat Railway Station | Bao Dai's Palace | He was the 13th & last emperor.
31: Lat Village- K'ho people | Feb 1/Day 19 | Hill tribe dance performers | Dalat University professor sharing information about the Vietnamese system of education. | sharing the rice wine | making music & dancing
32: HO CHI MINH CITY | (formerly known as Saigon) | HCM, is a modern seaport and the country's largest city. The streets are full of mopeds. If you want to cross the road, very, very bravely put one foot in front of the other into the onslaught of oncoming bikes. Just don't make any sharp movements! | Feb. 2 - 5 | Our hotel
33: WAR REMNANTS MUSEUM | Opened in Sept, 1975. The museum exhibits the remnant proofs of Vietnam War crimes and their consequences. | Central Post Office | PHO - (Vietnamese Noodle Soup) | cyclo-rickshaw | Catholic Cathedral of Notre Dame | City Tour | Feb. 2/Day 20
34: Only tools used to dig the tunnels. | Joel- a Vietnam Vet & this man was Viet Cong. WOW! Memorable moment!
35: CU CHI TUNNELS! | Sketch of tunnels | THIS MAZE IS 125 MILES LONG UNDERGROUND AND THOUSANDS OF FIGHTERS AND VILLAGERS HID AND FOUGHT HERE DURING THE VIETNAM WAR. THE SOUTH VETNAMESE COMMUNISTS, OR VIET CONG, BUILT THIS VAST NEWTWORK OF TUNNELS IN AND AROUND THE VILLAGE OF CU CHI AND WORKED CONTINUALLY OVER 25 YEARS TO EXPAND THE MULTI-LEVEL NETWORK. | The thin black lines show the tunnels | Feb. 3/Day 21
36: We took a boat and cruised on the Mekong to board this sampan and headed down a narrow canal to a family owned coconut candy factory and had lunch on Con Quy Island. | Mekong Delta Cruise | Feb. 4/Day 22
37: Yes! We ate RAT!! | Riverside homes along the way. | Horse drawn cart ride through town. | Making coconut candy. | Yep! It's a real SNAKE! | Ate this fish too!
38: Baked Bananas w/sherbet | Fried Spring rolls | Stewed Duck w/ orange sauce | Who's hungry? | Curry Chicken | Sauteed Shrimp w/honey sauce | Mango & Chocolate ice cream
39: Fish in Tomato Sauce | Vegetable & Curry Soup | Deep Fried Shrimps in Young Rice | Grilled pork in guava leaf | Stir-fried boneless chicken | Fillet of Sole in dual sauces
40: Vietnamese iced coffee | Girls Win!! | BEER | Wine | MEMORIES
41: Bonus: We got to visit Lee's apartment and have tea with his two sons. | Farewell Dinner | Off to Siem Reap, Cambodia for our post trip adventure! | Feb. 4/Day 22 | Feb. 5/Day 23