- 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.
- Published on Friday, 19 April 2013 08:44
I left Saigon and headed North to the mountain village of Da Lat in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. I came in search of a few things; respite from the heat and a motorcycle to ride through the interior of the country on the legendary Ho Chi Minh Trail. So I hopped a bus for eight hours and $180,000VND. Once at the station same story - push aside the taxi mafia and walk off into the darkness hoping for the best. And as usual someone came by and provided assistance in the way of a free ride to a nice guesthouse in the city centre. The man's name was Chilli. I asked him why he was called that and he said he liked his food extra spicy. I said we'd get along just fine.
- Published on Thursday, 11 April 2013 05:18
Once my Visa became valid to enter Vietnam I made a beeline for the border at the Ha Tien border crossing. The journey was about an hour and a half away from Kampot and cost me $7 for the pleasure. Once at the border the immigration was painless as my Visa was already in my passport. Stamp out, stamp in - easy. So in Ha Tien I had to make a decision of where to go next. I wanted to spend a couple of days in the Mekong Delta (the fertile plain of numerous islands, rice fields, and waterways before the mighty river spills into the South China Sea) and decided to hop another bus bound for Can Tho ($10). This journey took about six hours. Slow going here in The Nam. In Can Tho I would get my first taste of the rural and farming society that is the Mekong Delta. Welcome to Vietnam.
- Published on Sunday, 07 April 2013 02:08
I made my way further to the East closer to the Vietnamese border and found myself in a small, quaint, and relaxing old French Colonial town by the name of Kampot. While I was here an unlikely friendship developed around a game that I have not been around much of late, but that I used to play all of the time when I was younger - billiards. At a worn down and tattered type of bar right on the river front; myself, a very sweet German girl Lea, the Swiss owner of the bar Stephan, and an old traveling gypsy of sorts from England named Gary played the nights away shooting stick, heckling one another, and having a great time together with the rock and roll of The Rolling Stones playing in the air. We were an unusual group with different ages and backgrounds, but these tend to be the best type.