- Published on Monday, 13 May 2013 06:35
I left Ninh Binh bound for the mountain village of Sapa just South of the Chinese border and about twelve hours from Hanoi. I again had to over night in Hanoi due to my arrival time and their being no night buses available for me to take to Sapa. Since I had been in the city before I was able to confidently hop onto the public bus and make my way to the Hoan Kiem Lake District and easily find a room for the night. Always nice when you actually know what you are doing. After an uneventful and expensive ($380,000VND) twelve hour ride overnight on the bus I found myself high in the clouds of Sapa and the sights and people of this region were straight out of the pages of an ancient history book.
- Published on Saturday, 04 May 2013 17:12
Every so often when you are international jet-setting (or in my case International Bus Riding) you get caught up in the storm that is the local holiday season. I was in the thick of it here in Vietnam which was a five day, no work, no holds barred, party to celebrate "Reunification" or "Independence" if you will of the North and South of this country. I scrambled to get out of Hanoi and chose to go to Cat Ba Island three hours to the East in the Gulf of Tonkin. Cat Ba Island is a National Protected Park and gateway to the less toursited part of world famous Ha Long Bay. A miscalculation on my part thinking I would escape the madness, but as always things just seem to work out.
- Published on Sunday, 28 April 2013 22:14
I left Hue once again heading North and again via train in the economy section ($60,000VND) for a four hour journey to the coastal city of Dong Hoi which was to serve as my base for exploring Phong Nga-Ka Beng National Park. The National Park is about 50km outside of the city and is home to some massive limestone caverns and cave systems just recently discovered in the early 2000s. Some of the caves are so big they are still being mapped out and are not yet accessible to the public. The ones that are accessible are an incredible sight to behold. I've been in some caves in my day and "Paradise Cave" that I was to visit in the park was one of the most impressive I've seen. Ya, it's not true spelunking as their was a walkway and the cave is lit up, but with this infrastructure in place I was really able to appreciate the size and natural wonder that filled my eyes.
- Published on Wednesday, 24 April 2013 20:13
Leaving Hoi An I was bound for the Imperial City of Hue - home to the ruling Nguyen Dynasty of these lands until 1945 when the emperor decided to side with the revolutionary Ho Chi Minh and his government. I decided to take the train as I enjoy train travel and the opportunity does not come along all that often. I would need to make my way to Da Nang Train Station 20km to the North. So I walked the 2km to the bus station in Hoi An. Unfortunately this bus station only served long destination travel like Saigon or Hanoi. So I had to bite the bullet and pay $10,000VND (negotiated down from $60,000VND) to get to the proper bus station. Here on the bus the nasty old Vietnamese lady informed me that the fare would be $50,000VND to Da Nang. I pointed out that on the door the fare is clearly stated at $20,000VND ($1). She would have none of it and I refused to pay the exorbitant cost. I was made to leave the bus after a few choice words by both parties.