We traveled through Vietnam from July 18th to August 18th 2003. First we stayed a few days in Ho Chi Minh City at a friend’s place, visiting the city and discovering the Vietnamese cuisine, which we found extremely delicious. From Ho Chi Minh, we explored the famous and really spectacular Cu Chi Tunnels dug by the Vietcong during the American War as it is called in Vietnam.
A two days tour through the Mekong Delta took us through villages surviving on cottage industry like 200 hundred years ago in Europe, producing noodles, toffees, etc … A busy river life and the floating markets make this a distinct and attractive destination. Unfortunately it rained a lot, more of a drizzle but still unpleasant and it disrupted the trade on the river.
Then we flew to Hoi An, definitely one of the highlights of the trip: a beautiful colonial city with XXXX of tailors making any piece of clothes you want, lots of great restaurants.Next step of our trip was Hue, the Imperial City, visiting the Imperial Tombs in even more unbearable heat. Don’t wait for the organized tours to leave at 09:00 am, rent one of the many guys on a motor-bike to take you around, and start around 06:00am when temperatures are still bearable.
Afterwards, we took the Reunification Express to Hanoi, where we unfortunately spent too much time in unbearable temperatures, two days, maximum three are enough. We then booked a boat tour around Halong Bay, another highlight, with THE party of the decade on the boat, followed by a trip to the Perfume Pagoda, the landscape is simple breathtaking.
Afterwards Gilles flew back to Europe whereas Heidi took the train to Sapa, where she did some serious trekking along with visiting various ethnic groups / villages. An unforgettable experience! For a single female traveler it seemed impossible to meet people in a big city like Hanoi, so Heidi flew to Nha Trang, a beach resort, to relax a bit and enjoy a little night life. There is was very easy to meet people, especially after participating in a scuba-diving trip. This trip was very well organized, but there is nothing to see, absolutely nothing, no corals, no fish, nada!