Category Archives: Vietnam

Our Story – Honeymoon Trip To Vietnam – Part 49

This is a continuation of my previous posts. Please read the previous posts here.

When we were planning our honeymoon, me and AS had different ideas on where we wanted to go. I always wanted to go to Greek Islands (Santorini) but AS wanted to go to Hawaii. But as AS couldn’t take more than a month off from work and our wedding took so many days, we couldn’t go to either of the places.

Anyway after a few discussions we decided on Vietnam as it would be on our way back from Nepal. But honeymoon was off to a rough start. Read about what happened even before we land in Vietnam here.

When we got off in Ho Chi Minh airport it was very hot and humid. We took a taxi and went to our hotel. I was praying for rest of the holidays to be incident free as the headache we had before we reached Vietnam was enough for one holiday that as well on our honeymoon.

Ho chin min (9)

The room was nicely decorated and we had a buffet breakfast every day. They had lots of things to choose from like toast and cheese or rice, Pho, noodles, varieties of eggs, salads, yogurt and all kinds of pastries. Ho chin min (10)

We booked trips that took us around the city and we went to churches, a Presidential palace, and museums. We also took a trip to the Mekong Delta, Cu Chi tunnel, and Cai Dao temple.

Ho Chi Minh city

Ho chin min (17)

Ho Chi Minh (formerly Saigon) is a fast paced city with a unique mix of French colonial architecture, Chinese influences, a modern entrepreneurial spirit and numerous temples.

Ho chin min (1) Ho chin min (2) Ho chin min (3)

During this tour, in the morning, we visited the historic Reunification Palace and War Remnants Museum. The tour continued to Ho Chi Minh’s finest examples of French colonial architecture with a visit to the Notre Dame cathedral and Post Office.

Ho chin min (4) Ho chin min (5) Ho chin min (11) Ho chin min (12)

We had a local lunch before visiting Giac Lam Pagoda, the bustling Chinese district of Cholon and Ben Thanh market.

Ho chin min (13) Ho chin min (15) Ho chin min (16)

Overall we had a great day and we loved everything we saw.

Ho chin min (18) Ho chin min

Cu Chi Tunnels

The tunnels of Củ Chi are an immense network of connecting underground tunnels located in the Củ Chi district of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) and are part of a much larger network of tunnels that underlie much of the country.

Cu Chi Tunnels  (6) Cu Chi Tunnels  (3)

We decided to do tour of the tunnel and it was a great place to visit.

Cu Chi Tunnels  (2) Cu Chi Tunnels  (4)

The Cu Chi tunnels were built by local fighters during the Indochina conflict as a base from which the Viet Cong could operate from close to the Southern Vietnamese capital. Initial construction started in 1948 when the Viet Minh required somewhere to hide from French air attacks and by 1965, the Cu Chi tunnel complex was estimated to consist of 200km’s of tunnels.

Cu Chi Tunnels  (5) Cu Chi Tunnels  (7)

It included, hospitals, schools, meeting rooms, kitchens and sleeping quarters. Life was difficult for the inhabitants and to protect against outside intruders bobby traps were laid throughout the complex.

Cu Chi Tunnels  (8) Cu Chi Tunnels  (9) Cu Chi Tunnels  (10)

We started the day with exploring the Cu Chu Tunnels and learning more about the courage & ingenuity of the inhabitants. We also learned about the conditions the Vietnamese people lived in, the hardships they faced and the amazing ingenuity employed to maintain life in the tunnels

Cu Chi Tunnels  (13) Cu Chi Tunnels  (12) Cu Chi Tunnels  (11)

Mekong Delta Discovery

Our day started with 2.5-hour journey, by air-conditioned mini-coach to the Mekong reason. At times, I thought I was in Nepal when I saw acers and acers of green fields with rice paddy.

Mekong Delta Discovery  (1) Mekong Delta Discovery  (6)

The Mekong is the region in south-western Vietnam where the Mekong River approaches and empties into the sea through a network of distributaries. The Mekong delta region encompasses a large portion of south-western Vietnam of 39,000 square kilometres (15,000 sq mi).

Mekong Delta Discovery  (2) Mekong Delta Discovery  (3) Mekong Delta Discovery  (4)

It is a water world where boats, houses, restaurants and even markets float upon the innumerable rivers, canals and streams that flow through the region like arteries. At times you can quite simply lose sight of land.

Mekong Delta Discovery  (5) Mekong Delta Discovery  (9)

On this tour we were lucky to explore the villages and islands in a private long tail boat ride along the Mekong River.

Mekong Delta Discovery  (11)Mekong Delta Discovery  (10)

We loved our lunch at Diem Phuong Restaurant where we had one server on standby to peel our prawns and make us fresh rich paper rolls. We also tried fresh coconuts water other exotic fruits.

Mekong Delta Discovery  (8) Mekong Delta Discovery  (7)Mekong Delta Discovery  (13)Mekong Delta Discovery  (14)Mekong Delta Discovery  (16)

After lunch we were taken to another Island where we learned about cottage industry and the process of making coconut candy.

Mekong Delta Discovery  (12) Mekong Delta Discovery  (15) Mekong Delta Discovery  (17)

Cao Dai temple

Just outside Tay Nihn and 60 miles northwest of Ho Chi Minh City is the Great Temple or Holy See, the center of the intriguing Cao Dai sect. Cao Dai is a syncretist Vietnamese religious movement that incorporates aspect of Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism and even Catholicism.

Cao Dai Temple, Vietnam

Cao Dai Temple, Vietnam

The Cao Dai Temple (as it is more commonly known) was begun in 1933 in a unique architectural style that reflects its blended traditions. Most people visit on a day trip from Ho Chi Minh City.

The trips were fantastic. Once we were out of the city, there was more greenery and less traffic. There were acres of rice fields with lots of people with Vietnamese hats. I really loved it.

Constructed between 1933 and 1955, the Great Temple of Cao Dai closely resembles a Christian cathedral in its architecture – two square towers, a long central nave with upper gallery, and side aisles. The altar, an apse and ambulatory are at the opposite end from the entrance, just as in  a typical church.Cao Dai temple (1)Cao Dai temple (2)

The exterior and interior of the Cao Dai Temple are both extravagantly decorated, incorporating symbols, abstract designs and images of saints. The high ceiling is painted sky-blue with fluffy clouds and the floor tiles have busy patterns. The dragon-encrusted columns that run the length of the nave number 28, representing the 28 manifestations of the Buddha. Seven-headed cobras represent the seven human emotions.

Cao Dai temple (3) Cao Dai temple (4)

One of the most memorable sights at the Cao Dai temple is the sea of worshippers who dress in flowing robes and assemble in orderly rows during a ceremony. Men sit on the right and women on the left.

Cao Dai temple (5)

Shopping

As usual my holiday would not be complete without shopping and I was so glad that we had a good one in Vietnam. We went to the Ben Thanh Market as well as shopping malls.

I was glad that Vietnam is not as commercialised as Thailand and it was easier to shop.

I went to Zara and Mango stores where things were cheaper than Australia and bought heaps of dresses. Also at the market we bought some souvenirs.

I would have done more shopping but couldn’t as we had already brought lots of stuff from Nepal.

Photo-shoot

We also did post wedding photo-shoot there and we loved the end result. Here are some shots from the shoot.

Photoshoot (4) Photoshoot (3) Photoshoot (2) Photoshoot (1)

But the best part of the trip was the massage. It was very affordable and it was so good. We went for a massage every day. It cost us around AUD$15 for a whole body massage with aromatic oil and hot stones for over an hour.

The next best thing was that we felt like millionaires anywhere we went. We booked a private tour so we had the diver and the guide to ourselves all the time. The car they got for us had leather interior with air con. AUD $200 is equivalent to a million Vietnamese Dong so you are always paying in hundred thousands or millions.

Vietnamese 100,000 dong

Vietnamese 100,000 dong

Art

I found the people friendly and the staff of the hotel very helpful. Like most of the Asian countries I have visited, they always had a smile on their face.

Till then, take care.

M from nepaliaustralian

XOXO

P.S: Do not forget to vote your favorite blog . NEPALIAUSTRALIAN’s Blog Award 2014

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Our Honeymoon trip to Vietnam which almost didn’t happen

When we were planning our honeymoon, me and AS had different ideas on where we want to go. I always wanted to go to Greek Islands(Santorini) but AS wanted to go to Hawaii. But as AS couldn’t take more than a month off from work and our wedding took so many days, we couldn’t go to either of the places.

AS assured me, that we will do our Greek Islands honeymoon next year but for me it didn’t make sense. I wanted something right after the wedding so it is our honeymoon rather than just a holiday.

Anyway after a few discussions we decided on Vietnam as it would be on our way back from Nepal.

After the wedding, we had a few days to spend with the family. Then we were off to Vietnam via Bangkok and then to Sydney.

Our family in Kathmandu Airport

When we depart from Nepal that was the first time I didn’t have tears in my eyes. Every time when I return to Australia, my family would come to drop me to the airport. When it was time for me to depart, my mum would be teary and that always made me sad. I was always teary when I board the plane.

This time both mine and AS’s family were there to see us off.  I was surprised my mum didn’t cry when we entered the departure gate. She was talking to my MIL and waving us good-bye. And I was not crying either. I think as AS was with me, I felt better. I guess that is one of the perks of being married.

We were to go to Bangkok and then take an Air Asia flight to Ho Chin Minh. We were excited but as soon as we reached Bangkok our excitement turned into disappointment.

We found out only after we reached Bangkok that Air Asia flights depart from the domestic terminal.  When we bought our tickets, there was no mention of this so we never had the idea that we needed visa for Thailand to board our flights. The problem was, with Nepali passport they didn’t give visa on the spot so they didn’t allow AS to go out of the international terminal to go to the domestic airport. We were inside Bangkok international airport and our flight was departing from a few kilometres away. We tried to explain the situation to immigration officer, they just ignored us. Half the time, they didn’t speak good English and other half they didn’t care. I was really pissed with them but I couldn’t do anything.

What was supposed to be our great day was turning out to be a nightmare.

We talk to a few other people but they couldn’t help either. Finally a guy in the Thai airways counter was able to understand our situation (Thank God). He said as we can’t go out, it is best if we take another flight that departs from the international airport to Ho chin Min. So we did. We paid for Thai airways ticket to go to Vietnam(there went my shopping money) but did not fly untill the next morning. So we spent 12 hours in the airport. And the ticket was very expensive as we were buying them at the last-minute. But I was thankful that at least there was a solution, even if it was an expensive one.

Next morning we boarded our flight and we were off to Vietnam. Both Me and AS wanted the whole Air Asia thing behind us and enjoy our stay there. While we were in Nepal, lots of people told us their bad experience in Vietnam so I was really worried. I was even thinking all those problems were an Omen telling us not to go to Vietnam.

When we got off in Ho Chin Min airport it was very hot and humid. We took a taxi and went to our hotel. Thankfully there were no problems and we went to our room.

The room was nicely decorated and we had a buffet breakfast every day. They had lots of things to choose from like toast and cheese or rice, Pho, noodles, variety of eggs, salads, yogurt and all kinds of pastries.

Mingling with locals

We booked trips that took us around city and we went to churches, Presidential palace, museums. We also took a trip to the Mekong Delta, Cu Chi tunnel, Cai Dao temple. The trips were fantastic. Once we were out of the city, there was more greenery and less traffic. There were acres of rice fields with lots of people with Vietnamese hats. I really loved it.

The shopping was great as well. We bought lots of souvenirs and I bought some dresses too. We couldn’t buy much as we already had lots of stuff from Nepal. I loved the food too.

But the best part of the trip was the massage. It was very affordable and it was so good. We went for a massage every day. It cost us aroundAUD$15 for a whole body massage with aromatic oil and hot stones for over an hour. Ohoo, one of the best massages I ever had.

Vietnamese 100,000 dong

The next best thing was that we felt like millionaires anywhere we went. We booked a private tour so we had the diver and the guide to ourselves all the time. The car they got for us had leather interior with air con. AUD $200 is equivalent to a million Vietnamese Dong so you are always paying in hundred thousands or millions.

I found the people friendly and the staff of the hotel very helpful. Like most of the Asian countries I have visited, they always had a smile on their face.

On one of the lunch trip, we even ran into one of the famous Vietnamese actors (our guide told us that but I don’t know his name.) There were people queuing up to get a photo with him.

We spent all the time in South Vietnam so I will have to go back again to go to North Vietnam.

One item crossed from my bucket list for now.

More photos here.