Sitting in front of the Reunification Palace.
After spending a few days in a near comatose state on the beach, we decided to wrap up our trip in Ho Chi Minh City, or as it’s known to pretty much everyone who lives there, Saigon (the name was changed in 1976 shortly after southern forces fell to the Vietnam’s Peoples Army). Muggy as ever and overflowing with motorbikes, we visited a few of the city’s historical sites, most notably The Reunification Palace and The Vietnam War Remnants Museum, both of which offered a unique perspective to a conflict that usually is only delivered from one side in our hometown history books. For instance, something I never considered is that the war is referred to as the “American War” by the Vietnamese. Just goes to show that there really are two sides to every story. Continue reading
…I had to post twice. Here’s a little video I put together featuring clips from Ha Long Bay. Man, that place was awesome.
Related Listening: “Amber” – 311
Doc Let Beach, where I joined the ranks of thousands of other tourists who upon seeing the view probably said to themselves, half-jokingly, “I could get used to this.”
The guide book said it all. “If you come here, be prepared to do nothing but lay around.” It sounded simple enough, so after returning home from Ha Long Bay, Derek and I hopped on a plane and made the 1.5 hour flight to Nha Trang, a large beach resort town on the southern coast of Vietnam. From there, we took a 50 kilometer taxi ride north to Doc Let. As we drove the cities and buildings started disappearing. Houses turned into shacks, paved roads into gravel. We started getting a little anxious. What had we done? Where were we going? And why were there so many godforsaken water buffalo in the street? Suddenly we turned the corner and up a long driveway. Palm trees and an ocean breeze greeted us, and we could hear waves breaking in the distance. We quickly made our way to the shore. The guidebook was right. Within seconds of looking out on the clear blue water of the South China Sea, our engines powered down and our brains kicked in to low gear. The beers were opened and the preparation was complete – commence lying around. Continue reading
Sunset at Ha Long Bay
There’s an easy way to tell you’re in the presence of sublime beauty: take a picture. If you’re a hack photographer like me with a cheap point-and-shoot camera and your photos still come out looking as good as the one above, you can be sure you’re in a special place. This method works every time, and it works especially well in Vietnam’s Ha Long Bay. Resting on the northeastern coast, this UNESCO World Heritage Site truly is a place that must be seen to be believed. Click for more… Continue reading
An alley way in Hanoi
The problem with most vacations is that by the time you start really enjoying yourself it’s already time to go home. So it is true for my recent trip to Vietnam, except that I was thoroughly enjoying myself the moment I stepped off the plane. From seeing a city seething with scooters, lush green landscapes, unique architecture, and a population bustling in streets that didn’t seem capable of containing their energy, Vietnam is a sensory overload from start to finish. Since my first stop was Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam and home to about 3.3 million residents, the re-cap will start there. Click for pics and stories:
Vietnam Here We Come: Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is most definitely on the itinerary.
To all the dedicated readers out there (read: Mom) I’ll be taking some time off from the ol’ blog to spend my all too brief summer vacation in Vietnam. Why Vietnam? Why the hell not. My friend Derek and I will arrive in Hanoi and be traveling southward via train until we reach Ho Chi Minh City. We hope to visit many cities and sites along the way, especially Ha Long Bay and Nha Trang. From what I’ve heard it’s an incredible place to visit and it is rapidly becoming a must-see tourist destination. Plus there’s Pho – need I say more? I’m sure there will be some amazing stories, and I’ll be sure to share them all as soon as I get back (not that you’ll be waiting or anything, but still). For now, enjoy this list of other post-conflict travel destinations courtesy of Pro Traveler.
“Holiday” – Weezer
“Fortunate Son” – CCR