31 maj 2007

Vientiane and Vang Vien

After a cramped bus ride over night to Vientiane, the not so very busy capital of Laos, I spent a day there, to see some more temples and visiting the morning market.
There is not much to do in Vientiane, so I decided to go to Vang Vieng, a way more happening place north of the capital. The last few days have been filled by tubing in the river and in caves, caving and kayaking. The main attraction here besides the amazing landscape are the swings out in the river, where tourists who go tubing down stops by for a drink, smoke and to play around.

26 maj 2007

Laos - Savannakhet

After spending the whole day travelling from Hue I finally arrived in Savannakhet, Laos. Even that I had paid for air conditioned tourist bus, the one waiting on the other side of the boarder was the one in the picture. This small town, Savannakhet, in southern Laos looks like a ghosttown, with abandoned old buildings in french colonial style it could just have been an almost abandoned town in Lousiana.
The big difference from Vietnam is that people here are more friendly (not that aggressive when it comes to offering services or selling stuff) and they take every opportunity to speak some English with foreigners. Overall Laos feels more relaxed than Vietnam and will hopefully be a pleasant stay.

25 maj 2007

Hoi An and Hue

Yesterday was spent in Hoi An, a charming city filled with tailors. I spent the day walking Hoi An Old Town, a Unesco World Heritage site, followed by a bicycle trip on the country side, that eventually ended at the beach instead of the Pagodas.
Hoi An is a really nice city that I have to return to on my way back to Saigon, if not for the cheap tailors so for the ice cream and cafes.

Today I arrived in Hue, another historical city that used to be the political capital. I've been walking around the old citadel and seen the Imperial Enclosure, with the forbidden purple city and the old town.

23 maj 2007

Nha Trang - Diving

Yesterday was a good day, my cold got better so I could finally go diving. Diving around the islands outside of Nha Trang was a pleasant experience, the corals were quite nice and an abundance of smaller fishes.
Today I've spent the day at the beach waiting to take off for Hoi An, a ten hours bus ride up north during the night. I plan to spend a day or two there before I head for Hue then into Laos.

20 maj 2007

Nha Trang

Today I travelled from Mui Ne to Nha Trang, another beach resort. There are more people here than in Mui Ne, but still not crowded. Probably as many prostitutes as tourists roaming the streets, so one can definitely tell that it's not the peak season.
Nha Trang is supposed to be a good place for diving, and due to the lack of tourists the prices seem to be quite competitive. Unfortunately I got a cold or allergic reaction yesterday, so my nose is completely congested, so diving tomorrow is no option. Hopefully a good nights rest and vitamin cocktails will get me better until Thursday.

Another thing is that I found out that I'm only allowed to stay in Vietnam for 15 days instead of 30, meaning that I need to leave the country for a while. I haven't decided whether I'll go to China for a few days or doing a part of the back trace through Laos instead of back through Vietnam down to Saigon.

18 maj 2007

Mui Ne

Today I got to Mui Ne, a small town famous for windsurfing and kitesurfing. Unfortunately there is no wind now, and the forecast let us know that it wont come for the next days. The beach here is really nice and it's not crowded at all. So let's hope for a sunny day tomorrow.
(edit: The pictures from around Mui Neh, was taken during the 19th)

Cao Dai Temple and Cu Chi Tunnels

Today's been an intense day visiting a mass at the multi religious Cao Dai Temple and Viet Cong's Cu Chi Tunnels, which played an important role in the Vietnam war. Tomorrow I'm planning on travelling some four hours up the coast for some water sports and sun.

For those of you who don't really know where I've been, take a look at the map above and try to locate Ho Chi Minh City / Saigon in the south.

16 maj 2007

Vietnam - Saigon

After spending some really nice relaxing days in Singapore meeting up with all friends and tried to pick up windsurfing again it was finally time to get on, to Vietnam.

I arrived yesterday (15th) to Ho Chi Minh City, where I'm writing this right now.
The Vietnam rip off started off before arriving here, when Jetstar refused to check me in because I didn't have a return ticket, and thereby forced me to go buy one. This means that I have to come back to Saigon when going back to Singapore instead of taking off from Hanoi, but since my plans are quite flexible this should not be that much of a problem. Fortunately I arrived an hour in advance so I just made it before the gate closed.
I'm now staying in a fairly cheap mini hotel at Pham Ngu Lao, the backpacker place in Saigon, which is like a mini Th Khao San Road. Today I've been walking around the city center and been to the war remnant museum. I've also been to various markets: Ben Tanh Market, the Hong Kong Market and the Chinese Market. I took a cyclo tour to the Cholon area outside the city center, China town and to a lot of temples.
Once I find a computer that works better I'll try to upload some photos.

Finally I have to let you know that everything is great, and to spend five weeks in this country shouldn't be any problem at all.

03 maj 2007

Exam's Over

Now it's done, no more exams - finito. Unfortunately this also means that there will be no more Singapore. Without having too high expectations I think I did quite good on the papers, at least if they can read what I've been writing and can open the answer book that I accidentally soaked in coke.
The plan for the future is to travel more of Southeast Asia, probably Vietnam and maybe Myanmar (Burma). But until I find a cheap ticket I will enjoy my time here in Singapore.