Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Vietnam – a short visit

I had the opportunity to visit Vietnam for three days and just couldn’t pass it up, having read and heard so many positive things about it. I knew three wouldn’t be nearly enough to do any kind of justice to the place, but it was better than nothing.

Basically, while based in Thailand I won a prize for a short holiday, hotel stay, guided tour etc. We were based in Ho Chi Minh City and followed what I presume is a standard tourist itinerary. Even doing this gives you a great insight into this fascinating country.

We had a look around what used to be called the “American War Crimes Museum” and did a walking tour around some of the city’s famous monuments like the Opera House, markets and Chinese temples.

The thing that really struck me about the city initially was the volume of motorcycle traffic and lack of traffic lights and pedestrian crossings. On the face of it the city is chaotic, actually there’s a kid of order to it all. Once you get past the initial culture shock, you can appreciate the diverse, historical nature of the city. Asian shop houses intermingle with French style architecture and a strong communist Chinese influence.

The food here is really fresh, often chickens and ducks are kept round the back of restaurants and killed to order. Vietnamese cuisine is fantastic and very subtle. I loved eating out in the city, so many choices. And if you tire of Asian food, of course here in Vietnam you can always pick up a fresh baguette!

After a day in the city, we had two day trips out to the countryside. One day was spent along the Mekong Delta, visiting local communities and factories.

The other day was a visit to the famous Cu Chi tunnels, were Viet Cong and civilians lived during the French occupation and the Vietnam War. This was another fascinating day, some of the tunnels have been widened to allow for visitors to crawl in! Most of the tunnels are so small, only Vietnamese people could fit in!

Vietnam is a really lively place, packed full of history and diversity. Of course its recent history is very sad, and this is reason enough to visit, to understand what happened here and ensure it doesn’t happen again.

You’ll love Vietnam!

You can see more photos on my website, linked below.

South East Asia photos on my website, www.matthewt.co.uk

My blog - http://matthewted.blogspot.com

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1 comment:

  1. I think the Cu Chi Tunnels might have been my favorite HCMC sight. Crawling through those tunnels was insane! (And sweaty and claustrophobic)