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  #1  
Old 12-10-2006, 10:22 AM
chipsncheese chipsncheese is offline
 
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Default Vietnam

im going there in jan for my honeymoon.has anyone been there b4 and whats it like basically.whats the story with vaccinations for the place?is it cheap?what sites are there to see???
going to some of the islands off thailand aswell.would like to get a full moon party in while im there cos ive heard they are brill.

any info please?????
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  #2  
Old 12-10-2006, 10:59 AM
Fnif Fnif is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
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I'm in Vietnam at the moment.

Hanoi was our first stop. It is incredible exhilirating disgusting aromatic and noisy and after five days we were both mad. To get out of there. Was great. The hub of pleasure for us in Hanoi was the eating of the food. Everybody eats everywhere all the time.

The food like the city is disgustingly excitingly delicously aromatic but unlike the city it is good for you. We sweated our way around the city's old quarter which is apparently one of the most densley populated regions of any city in the World. Including Sneem. Kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms, all spill onto the side of the street in a mad edible chaos as families sell some of their sunday lunch to you as you pass by, sweating. God, my palms were sweaty. So was my forehead. And also my ankles and my elbows and the bottom of my knees and between my nails and my fingers and inside my ears. Id swear my eyeballs were sweating. But it was just the heat. Nothing to worry about.

So then we left Hanoi in a little tourbus with terrible gap year students with magnificent complextion and friendship bangles and awful enthusiasm. We took a trip with these lovely awful people to Halong Bay which could for the sake of explanation and because we are mostly Irish here be decribed Vietnams answer to the Cliffs of Moher. The place was enourmously beutiful, but the three day trip was for a large part tainted by a sense of being sheperded and looked after in a strangely numbing way. The strange thing was that the place had not much more reality than the pictures of the place that we saw in the guidebook, and I attribute this (and the old doll agrees, mind) to the school tourishness of the experience. It was lovely really, and if I put enough effort into it I could probably convey some sense of the surreal exceptional beauty of the place, but I lack the enthusiasm.

So back to Hanoi then and more decisions to be made. God we're so busy with this travelling that we hardly have any time. We are thinking of taking a little break, maybe two weeks in Cork. We really would like to get away you know.

So we took a night train to Sapa which was sopping for the three days we were there. These experiences sound alot less appealing when theyre summarized like this, I think, but they are in fact all delightful, even the rain and the buses. Sapa is a place where there are lots of the indiginous hill tribes of the area still living and breathing and working, even. They're sound out, and there's millions of them. They are not wax figures or museum exhibits. They are incredible strong looking and beautiful, and the people amoung them who have cottened on to the tourism thing have a real seductive charm and very good english. The town of Sapa is about 1500m up in the mountains, and even on the cloudy days its stunningly picturesque as the clouds roll in over the rice paddied fields. Rice, paddy?

Were getting close to the present. About two days ago we returned to Hanoi on a day train. A Whole Day train. We had slatted seats and slatted bums by the end. Trains are very cheap and very slow and land you right inside the lives of the Vietnamese in a way which is difficult otherwise because of the challenging language barrier. The kids in particular stand out for their absolute beauty and friendliness, and we had some lessons on how to eat small fruits on a train in return for being white. It is strange to be strange. I’m so used to other people being strange and not western. Sounds obvious, but the experience of it is so much more effecting than the thought.

So from Hanoi then to the place we are now, Ninh Binh. You don’t pronounce the h's. This place feels like a real find. The luxury of having a long time to spend in this place is that we can afford to have three days under tarpaulin and then still know we'll find the likes of ninh binh (silent h). We have spent the past two days exploring the surround countryside which is like the kind of dream landscape that I never thought Id pass through. This is one of the poorest areas in Vietnam apparently, but its is choc a bloc with happy looking people farming tiny holdings with bamboo tools and rusty bikes and plastic flip flops and no real interest in tour busses. We have been exploring the tiny roads and stopping for iced coffees in little family run family houses with coffee to sell. Today a storm threatened our sunny discovery but I think that we will stay here and see it through if it comes.
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  #3  
Old 12-10-2006, 10:30 PM
Superdave Superdave is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chipsncheese
im going there in jan for my honeymoon.has anyone been there b4 and whats it like basically.whats the story with vaccinations for the place?is it cheap?what sites are there to see???
going to some of the islands off thailand aswell.would like to get a full moon party in while im there cos ive heard they are brill.

any info please?????

Can't remember off hand what i got vaccination wise man, but be careful with your malaria tablets. Firstly, they aren't necessary in my opinion. We spent 4 months in SEA and never came across it once. I stopped taking mine after India - it was a once a week tablet, can't remember the name. maybe larium? - because it was messing with my head. Making me (and my mate) extremely irritable, having seriously messed up dreams. Have since heard that it has a very bad reputation for permanently altering peoples attitudes. bad news so it is.

Advice - Hanoi is brilliant. Overnight buses are a winning option if you can sleep anywhere. if you cant then don't as you'll arrive k******ed and unable to do anything anyway hence rendering the whole idea of saving a days travel useless. Sapa is very pretty and Ha long bay was one of the highlights of SEA for me. Hoi An is a nice spot - best place in SEA for cheap clothes. ie. suits. Nha Trang is only ok for me, if you want beach resorts, stay in thailand. Ho Chi Minh (saigon) is another good bussling typically asian city. I found the people to be the least friendly in SEA, possibly because they've the most developed tourist industry and hence have had more exposure to obnoxious tourists!

Full moon is in ko (means island) Pang nang. Ko Tao and Ko Samui are either side of it. Tao was my fav spot in the whole of SEA. less developed, still reasonable untouched, great spots are night but not as busy. loads of swedish chicks! Samui is seedy. probably not the best place for a honeymoon.

Enjoy it. Fantastic part of the world.
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  #4  
Old 12-10-2006, 10:52 PM
k974 k974 is offline
 
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how much did 4 months cost you if you dont mind me asking???
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  #5  
Old 12-10-2006, 11:13 PM
Superdave Superdave is offline
 
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we were in asia for 6 months (2 months in china, tibet, nepal and india) and budgetted a grand a month. and we went nuts. Didn't really hold back on anything, flew some of the longer journeys but on the whole took the bus. Accomodation was basic but more often than not we had our own room. Food is cheap. booze - drink the buckets.

You could do it far cheaper if you were willing to truly back pack it, you could do it far more expensively if you really wanted to live it up in style. We were somewhere in between.
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  #6  
Old 12-10-2006, 11:36 PM
k974 k974 is offline
 
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ya i'd wanna do it the same as ye in between, i've been to singapore, thailand, indonesia and malayasia and hong kong but they've always only been for 3 or 4 days on the way to/from here, i've yet to go all over for a couple months something really looking forward to, at this stage working here is more or less the same as working anywhere mudane and boring.

so you reckon 1k euro a month to do it right
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  #7  
Old 12-10-2006, 11:44 PM
Superdave Superdave is offline
 
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yeah, a grand will do ya no bother. we got pissed most nights, did most sights and activities. Like i say, probably about half way on the comfort scales in terms on travel and accomodation. go above this level of spending anyway and i think you don't meet as many people. And as good as a place is, it's still the people you're with that make it.

Laos is a gem of a country.

You still over there in Brisbane? I'm starting to get very worn out from working here too - no matter where you are, once you're in a routine it's all the same. At least summer beckons.
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  #8  
Old 12-10-2006, 11:53 PM
storysham storysham is offline
 
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Mahon to Vietnam, ffs, mockery.
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  #9  
Old 13-10-2006, 12:04 AM
Superdave Superdave is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by storysham
Mahon to Vietnam, ffs, mockery.
as you drive along the dual carraigeway into Hanoi there's a sign saying "Hanoi, founded 1431. Twinned with Vladivostock, Sao Paolo, Addis Ababa and Mahon"

Fact.
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  #10  
Old 13-10-2006, 01:32 AM
k974 k974 is offline
 
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ya still here bit sick of it, now its grand and all but as you said routine is routine o matter where you are, its a great spot, but just need to get away for a couple months to break the routine, sure rarely take advantage of where i am by going up the coast or anything. resdency and that is sorted now so not really tied to staying like i was while sponsored and waitng for it so might go somewhere else for a bit for the change. nearly took a job in saudi for the change came to my senses tho!!!!

jesus that fiddler pub in auckland is some spot late at night was in there the weekend of the ireland all blacks game all weekend lunatic asylum!!!! great craic tho!
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