Vietnam 2010

A whistle-stop trip from north to south (and a hop next door)

Trip overview

Our route by plane, train, automobile and water craft

Day 1  – We met up in Hanoi after Chris’s trips finished, spent the afternoon and evening exploring the French quarter and introducing me to phơ.

Day 2 – Explored Hanoi on foot.

Day 3 – Explored Hanoi, shopped, caught the overnight King Express to Lao Cai, on the Chinese border.

Day 4 – Arrived in Lao Cai and transferred to Sa Pa; afternoon trek to the Black H’mong village, Cat Cat.

Day 5 – Full day trek to Black H’mong village of Lao Chai (different from Lao Cai!) and Zay village, Ta Van; return to Lao Cai to board King Express back to Hanoi.

Day 6 – Our first super-crazy travel day! Arrive Hanoi at 4.30am, bus to Hai Phong, ferry to Cat Ba Island, bus to Cat Ba town, moped to jetty, to board junk before lunch. Afternoon kayaking in Lan Ha Bay.

Day 7 – A full day of kayaking in Ha Long Bay

Day 8 – Early return to Cat Ba for the second super-crazy travel day… Caught the Huang Long bus back to the Phu Long pier to catch the ferry back to Hai Phong. Bus to Hanoi, taxi to the French quarter to pick up a stored bag, taxi to airport for flight to Da Nang. Met on arrival in Da Nang and driven to Hoi An, to arrive around 7pm, 12 hours after leaving the  junk. Dinner and tailors’ consultation in the market

Day 9 – Morning market visit, biking around the outskirts of Hoi An (35km), afternoon garment fitting in the market, exploration of the temples and buildings of the old town.

Day 10 – Early departure for Da Nang to catch flight to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), connecting to Siem Reap, Cambodia. Arrival at hotel, bike ride into town to explore the market. Drinks and dinner in town.

Day 11 – Full day 2-wheeled exploration of the Angkor temple complex (+/- 40 km).

Day 12 – Early departure for flight to HCMC. Afternoon visit to the War Museum (…wow!), drinks on the rooftop bar of the Rex hotel, sushi dinner.

Day 13 – Tour to the Cu Chi tunnels, return to the city for last minute shopping before fighting traffic on the way to the airport. Evening flight via Singapore

Day 14 – Twenty four (actual) hours after leaving HCMC, we arrived in Cape Town.

(Map courtesy of the CIA World Factbook, 2007)

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