My Son is a World Heritage Site and Vietnam's most important site of the kingdom of Champa. Indian-influenced much like Angkor in Cambodia and Bagan in Mynamar, this smaller Cham counterpart is nonetheless interesting and having been occupied for nine centuries from the end of the 4th to the 13th, ranks as much longer lasting than Angkor or Bagan.
My Son is easily visited as a day trip from Hoi An and the cheapest, though a bit rushed, way is to take a tour bus for as little as $2. Alternatively, you can hire a car and driver for $20 if you want to have the place nearly to yourself.
Follow a backpacker's journeys to Vietnam from Hanoi to Cu Chi, with many stops. Its heads up for Hoi An, the tailor's city via poetic and romantic Dalat. It is a must city to behold, don't miss it. Relive your own excursions, or underground parties for some of you or preview your future itinerary for others.
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There are fifty ethnic minority groups, or Montagnards, in the mountainous regions of Vietnam. Most of them are in the northern half of the country.
The most important minority peoples include the Tay of whom there are 1.2 million, the Muong who number 900,00, the 700,000 Nung and the Hmong or Meo, of whom there are nearly half a million. They live high up in the mountains, mostly in the Lao and Chinese border zones. There are also 700,000 Khmers living near the Cambodian border.
Most of these minorites have their own languages and religions, including animism and ancestor worship. Some of them cultivate poppies and smoke opium pipes. They often have elaborate clothes, including embroidered sarongs and dresses and silver jewellery. Many live in wooden houses on stilts.
These pictures were taken at a Bru village in northern Quang Tri province.
Well, I guess you could say that IT IS a beaten path. Anway, It's mostly overgrown nowadays, so there's really not much left to see.
This picture was taken from Dakrong Bridge, near the border with Laos. The Vietnamese guide pointed ahead and said, "There's the Ho Chi Minh Trail."
The Ho Chi Minh Trail was acually a a whole complex of thousands of miles of different trails, through the jungle along Vietnam's borders with Laos and Cambodia. It was used by the Vietcong from 1960 to 1975 for the movement of personnel and supplies.
The mangrove swamps are still peaceful and atmospheric.
The 2-day trip departs Sinh Cafe at 7.45 am and returns at 6.30 pm the following day. It only costs US$14, including accommodation.
It takes in Cai Be, Vinh Long, Can Tho and Cai Rang.
You need to take the 2-day trip, if you want to see an active floating market.
Most of Vietnam's 85 million people are concentrated in the flat areas of the Mekong and Red River deltas and the narrow coastal strip. Much of the rest of the country is sparsely-populated, forested upland, including the Central Highlands and the Tonkinese Alps in the north, which include the country's highest peak, the 3,134m-high, Mount Fansipan. These areas are where the Montagnards or hill tribes live.
When we hear there would be a festival going on in the town, we(and almost everyone on the journey) want to skip this place by spending a short time there.
It is true that the price of many guesthouses and hotels are all double than the past. There are just tons of vietnamese people swarming into the town to see the festival. But you also have many chances than ever before to deeply get immersed with Vietnamese culture, which there is only one time a year.
In this pavilion, a scarlet just pierces into my eyes in the dark night with the music vibrating out from its inside. A western DJ plays a modern electronic drum and several locals play traditional music instruments, which creating an overwhelming mixture between western and oriental music.
Nationality and music, always the word to speak with the world.
Dragonboat, a traditional Chinese game represents the power, harmony, union and hardworking towards the champion.
It is the one now hardly seen in many Chinese cities and towns, but i feel fortunated to watch this during the festival.
When the game starts, all the men boats at the same time with the same direction. At the same time, the crowd sitting on the bank waves for cheering all the teams on.
Before I went to Vietnam, I thought the landscape would be dominated by paddy fields. It's not. Much of the country is mountainous and forested. And the flat areas near the roads are so built up that there is not much space left. I saw surprisingly few great expanses of paddy fields. You really need to wander off the roads to see them.
These ones were north of Hue.
In Da Lat we engaged a private guide, a driver and a jeep and went on a 7 day trip in the highlands, minority villages and the Mekong delta. It was expensive ( compared with the extreme low prices in Vietnam) but very much worth the extra cost. We came too see so many things we wouldn´t have seen otherwise. These guides is all over in the south and are mostly men who was on the "wrong" side at the War. They were after the war imprisoned and "reprogrammed" and have had difficulties in finding other jobs. Mostley they offer tours om motorbikes but since we were a family we went by jeep. The often have a book in which earlier clients have written their thoughts about this guide. Our experience of this was very good, much better than the official guided tours you can buy every where. But you can bargain!!!!!! We cut the price down about 40 %!!
What is it like to be poor in the Mekong Delta?
My mother's family lives within the tribunaries of the Mekong Delta and I was lucky enough to have the change to experience her family's everyday life in Vinh Long, a province south of HCMC that took 3 hours on a minibus to get to.
As our long and narrow little motorised canoe disturbingly roared through the cool and calm river, I saw kids swimming, ladies doing their laundry, got a glimpse of another cooking in her river edge stilt house. I finally got to see the pretty purple Luc Binh water plants I so often heard in folk songs about this part of the world.
you wouldn't see this picture in an brochure that claims to let you see the "real" mekong delta would you?
I've been told that the government is trying to phase these out due to health and hygene concerns.
Anyway, this is not something pleasant to see or... smell... but I find it real and interesting and if you didn't know, there are fish in that home dug pond and they are there to consume anything that you leave behind.. of course the locals wouldn't eat these fish!!!
On Approach the the cambodia border, you will start to notice that people there are of a different eithnic group and their facial features are different to city slickers in HCMC.
I felt so terrible even though the scenery was really nice and green because these people seem so poor!
Chau Doc is a place that is visited by every supertitious people in south Vietnam (all of them) no matter what religion they are. It is a long 6 hours drive through most of the famous towns in Mieng Tay - West Vietnam, passing villages and the Mekong River. This poor monkey found itself at a little stall located in the valleys beneath the Chau Doc temples.
Chau doc is still quite a tourist-y place. our driver suggested we go to "bat temple". It is called that because lots of bats live there. The buildings that make up this temple site is not like other buddhist temples in vietnam. its architecture is reminisent of those is cambodia or even thailand which golden (yellow) and blue trimmings.
The Marble Mountains are five limestone peaks named after the elements of Earth, Water, Wood, Metal and Fire. Marble has been quarried here for generations, mainly for making tombstones. But, nowadays, there are numerous marble shops selling souvenirs. Be warned: the children employed to drag visitors into the shops can be a real nuisance.
The Marble Mountains are about 25 km north of Hoi An on Highway 1, near China Beach.
Actually, the Mekong Delta is not so much off the beaten path nowadays. There are regular 1, 2 and 3-day boat trips organised by Sinh Cafe and Kim Cafe amongst others.
I took the 1-day trip to My Tho and Ben Tre, departing Sinh Cafe at 8.15am and returning at 6.30pm. It cost US$7, including lunch. There is another 1-day trip, to Cai Be and Hoa Kanh, departing at 7.45 am and returning at 6pm. It costs the same.
When U travel by bus in Vietnam you will surely stop several times for lunch, drinks and so. I found it very interesting looking at the many strange and colourful products you can find in those road stalls.
There are of course some international items (Sunsilk, Nestle...) but some little local products are really interesting, and most totally unknown for me. I tried a can of watermelon drink and I found it delicious, though it was the first time I saw a similar drink...
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