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Vietnam



After a short stint back in Singapore Mike, Juliet and I headed for Vietnam. I found Vietnam to be an amazing place filled with warm and hard working people. However, most the people I talked to afterwards had a less than favorable opinion of the place, mainly due to the frequent harrasment by touts and the sense that everyone merely wanted money from you. Despite this, the place was definitely unique in South-East Asia and from what Juliet described is almost identical to China 15 years ago. Vietnam is still very much a communist country, which is only too obvious when the loudspeakers, mounted on power poles, start belting out the days dose of propoganda.
I started out in Hanoi in the north of Vietnam and experienced my first chilly weather since New Zealand. The first thing we did when arriving in Hanoi was book a three day tour of Halong bay.


Halong Bay

Halong Bay is a World Heritage listed sight with over 3000 tall limestone islands scattered around Tonkin bay in the north of Vietnam 3 hours by bus from Hanoi.


The boat


Halong bay cove near the caves

This is an area near a village on Cat Ba Island in the center of Halong Bay.

bull

This trail led up to the top of the mountain with a beautiful, albeit hazy, view of Halong Bay.

Mike and Juliet on the trail


The gnome

Hanoi

Hanoi is the main city in the North of Vietnam, much quieter and quaint than Saigon in the South. The Old Quarter is filled with tiny dead end streets and old French colonial architecture. One of the striking things about Hanoi was how each street seemed to have a speciality, be it Motorcycle seats, socks, fabric, you name it there is a street for it in Hanoi.

This is a lake near central Hanoi.

Hoan Kiem Lake


Vietnamese women taking her bananas to market


Burning ghost money

Oh sweet sweet Communist propoganda.

Work is glory

Saigon

Saigon is the largest city in Vietnam and much more modern than it's counter-part in the north. The people of Saigon have a sense of entrepreneurial spirit that seems lacking in the north, hence the dramatic growth and boom in business in this area.


Chinatown Saigon (Ayelet)


Rickshaw drivers (Ayelet)

Mekong

The Mekong Delta, one of the highlights of my trip, is one of the largest Delta's in the world and the bread basket of Vietnam.


Home on the river


Life in the market

The floating market is literally that, a bunch of boats that pull up to each other on the river and trade foods brought from all over the delta. The food is then sent by smaller boat to the land markets nearby.

Floating market

Here is some traditional Vietnamese singing, albeit probably not the best. The song you here if you click on the picture is not of the little girl, but is sung by an older woman doing the same performance, the little girl simply made for a better photograph.

Traditional Vietnamese music (Ayelet)


This is an interesting contraption used to make rice noodles.

Funky contraption


We found these beautiful flowers of incense drying alongside the road near Chau Doc.

Incense drying


Muslim village in Vietnam (Ayelet)


Kids at the muslim village


Monkey bridge


Fishing in the Mekong

The day before we entered Cambodia we went to the top of Sam Mountain where you could see the border.

Looking towards Cambodia at sunset from Sam Mountain

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