Ho Chi Minh City
We arrived after the smoothest bus journey so far, and it involved a boared crossing aswell, we were stunned. 8 million people, 5 million motorbikes, you can imagine the madness! The first road we crossed took about 5 minutes, and that was at a pedestrian crossing. We quickly learnt that the secret is just go, as long as you dodge the cars the bikes will swerve around you (or so you pray). We did really enjoy our time in HCMC, although hectic it is in a wierd way less chaotic than Phnom Penh, you get hasseled far less.
In the afternoon we visited the Reunification Palace, it was the south vietnamese presidential palace after independance and through the war. The city fell to the North in 1975 when tanks crashed through the gates of the palace. It is like stepping back in time, as it has been left exactly as it was when it was taken. It was really interesting.
We went down into the Mekong Delta region for two days including a one night homestay. We went on many different types of boats, our favourite was going down one of the cannals in a traditional rowing boat. We visited several islands and cycled around one of them. The paths were really narrow, and most of the time there was water either side, no room for wobbles on the bikes! At the homestay we helped prepare the food, being in the kitchen with the women of the family was really nice. An old lady came in and greated us with such warmth, she was really funny as she kept laughing at our attempts of preparing salad and making spring rolls. It was great to see life go by on and by the water.
We went back to HCMC for one night, before getting the bus north to Dalat.
A small city in the central highlands. The temperature is cooler due to the high altitude. The surrounding country side is stunning, and due to the climate the area is very difffernt to other parts of southern vietnam. Its famous for the strawberries, flowers and artichokes, all of which are not grown elsewhere. The drive from HCMC, involved hairpin turns through the mountains and scary moments passing trucks on very narrow roads, with shear drops to the side. We hired a guide and went on an 18km trek up a mountain and around. The climb up was taxing, but the views as we had lunch on the top, more than made up for it. Just as our noses were returning to normal colour, we have burnt them again. Looking forward to tomorrow, though dreading the leg ache!