Vietnam travel food hotel sight seeing full guide 2021

Vietnam travel full guide 2021

Hello, Hello! So many twists and turns since the last time we left each other. First of all, I would like to point out that we are very far from the Coronavirus and very far from the psychosis that reigns in France (that’s the nurse speaking…) since we are in New Zealand.

However, the measures of the world authorities, as well as the financial crisis of the airlines, have put a lot of sticks on the wheels to continue our adventure. Whatever, the hardest part is behind us since we left Asia.

In the previous “chapter”, we left Cambodia for Vietnam! New country, a new moment of general culture… And not the least, since it is a country with a very eventful history.

About Vietnam

Vietnam has an area of ​​approximately 330,000 km², the equivalent of Finland or Italy. Its “S” shape and coastal to the sea gives it a maritime border of nearly 3200 km². It is surrounded on the west by Cambodia and Laos, and on the north by China. We linger a few seconds on the 3 regions of Vietnam because I’m sure you have already heard their name somewhere: In the north Tonkin, in the center Annam, and the south Cochinchina.

History of vietnam

Vietnam’s history is made up of wars, foreign occupations, and resistance. We consider the creation of the national identity of Vietnam long before JC (The famous Jesus Christ), founded by the Viet of the Red River. For lack of written history, a very beautiful legend tells of the creation of the Viet people and today is authentic, mixing supernatural and historical facts.

Then in the first millennium of our era, the Chinese neighbor, inconvenient, will occupy Vietnam for nearly 1000 years. This period was composed of many insurrections and will end with a revolt in 939, giving independence to Vietnam (which will however remain a vassal state to China). Then for 900 years, it will be national independence.

In 1862, France landed and imposed a guardianship of Vietnam. Subsequently, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia will be integrated into a new geographical entity: “French Indochina”. Many revolts followed one another during the French colonization but all were easily repressed for lack of organization of the protagonists.

Then comes the Second World War, Vietnam will be invaded by Japanese troops until the Japanese army surrenders.

At the end of the war, Vietnam wishes to acquire independence. Negotiations with the French government fail and the Indochina war begins in 1946: opposing the French colonial army against the Viet Minh of Ho-Chi-Minh (The leader not the city!). In 1954, following the defeat of Dien Bien Phu, the French government proclaimed the independence of Vietnam.

A month later, the Geneva Conference decreed the division of the territory into two equal portions: In the north “The Democratic Republic of Vietnam” was supported by China and the Soviet Union and in the south “The Republic of Vietnam” was supported by the States -United.

The war will end in 1975, following the capture of Saigon renamed Ho-Chi-Minh today. The outcome of this war is the death of millions of Vietnamese, soil contaminated by defoliant (“Agent Orange”) still causing serious health problems (Malformations, cancers, rickets, blindness, etc …) not to mention thousands of cluster munitions, mines, and unexploded bombs still present on Vietnamese soil.

After 1975 and the reunification of Vietnam, the country turned in on itself until it opened up to the outside in 1986. Since then, economic and diplomatic relations with other countries have greatly improved, especially with the United States. It is now asserting itself as a dynamic emerging country in South East Asia. The population enjoys day by day more rights and freedoms.

However, the political regime remains authoritarian, the Vietnamese Communist Party is the only one authorized.

Travel guide Vietnam

Following the adventures of the border crossing and visa (Cf: Article on Cambodia), we are finally in Vietnam! A minibus was supposed to pick us up on the other side of the border to bring us to our hotel…

We will finally arrive at our first destination Ha Tien by Taxi, in question the diligence of our driver who did not want to come to pick us up. as expected (True…). Ha Tien is a border town, without much tourist interest. However, we will appreciate the kindness of our hosts and their inhabitants. We will only be passing through here to get to Châu Dôc!

View of the hotel 
Cassandra teaches, even in Vietnam!

The road leading us to Châu Dôc is magnificent. We are crossing the Mekong Delta for the first time. Basin of life and rice granary of Vietnam, we glimpse green fields as far as the eye can see, lush orchards and a beating agricultural activity are full. Châu Dôc is a commercial crossroads with Cambodia and we can tell you that things are moving!

It is best known for its variety of fish sauces: Mais si le Nu’oc Màm! Through an elderly couple who speak French (Thank you colonization…) we will sail on the Vinh Tê canal to participate in the floating market early in the morning.

The “merchant captains” tie their products to the end of a pole erected high up, and buyers just have to come and tie up to the boat! Once the market is finished, we went to visit a fish farm and visit an ethnic minority in Vietnam:

Muslims. Good how to say… After having visited Morocco, the visit made us smile. Before leaving Châu Dôc, we left our dear guides to visit Mont Sam and the Cajeputiers forest. The first is a natural curiosity since it is the only relief overlooking the gigantic plain of this region. As for the second, it is a protected reserve, preserved from mass tourism: An air of Poitou marshes with mangroves in addition.

The myriad of herons, the bamboo bridge (the longest in the world!), The boat trip, the silence, and the beauty of the place got the better of the heat. the visit made us smile. Before leaving Châu Dôc, we left our dear guides to visit Mont Sam and the Cajeputiers forest. The first is a natural curiosity since it is the only relief overlooking the gigantic plain of this region.

As for the second, it is a protected reserve, preserved from mass tourism: An air of Poitou marshes with mangroves in addition. The myriad of herons, the bamboo bridge (the longest in the world!), The boat trip, the silence, and the beauty of the place got the better of the heat. the visit made us smile. Before leaving Châu Dôc, we left our dear guides to visit Mont Sam and the Cajeputiers forest.

The first is a natural curiosity since it is the only relief overlooking the gigantic plain of this region. As for the second, it is a protected reserve, preserved from mass tourism: An air of Poitou marshes with mangroves in addition. The myriad of herons, the bamboo bridge (the longest in the world!), The boat trip, the silence, and the beauty of the place got the better of the heat.

it is a protected reserve, preserved from mass tourism: An air of Poitou marshes with mangroves in addition. The myriad of herons, the bamboo bridge (the longest in the world!),

The boat trip, the silence, and the beauty of the place got the better of the heat. it is a protected reserve, preserved from mass tourism: An air of Poitou marshes with mangroves in addition. The myriad of herons, the bamboo bridge (the longest in the world!), The boat trip, the silence, and the beauty of the place got the better of the heat.

At the market
Sunrise over the water
At the floating market
Our great “guide”
 The paths are sometimes made of odds and ends
The longest bamboo bridge in the world!
 Lentils from the “Tra Su” forest
A heron is hiding in this photo!
 We think we are locals
Rice fields grow in silence here

Vinh long city

Our next stop will be the small island of An Binh in Vinh Long. The roads are very pleasant compared to Laos or Cambodia. We will be “dumped” at the side of the road to get to our destination.

The town of Vinh Long is noisy and uninviting. We will eat that day in a boui-boui, the best Bun Bo Nam Bo of our trip. Then we boarded the ferry and docked on the island. The first surprise was severe:

No taxi, only motorcycle taxis! No choice, we get on the bikes and cross the island in search of our guesthouse. Once the fear of departure has been unleashed, we take pleasure in admiring the landscapes.

There is not much to do on the island apart from lazing around, cycling, enjoying the flowery orchards, and answering the “hello” of all the children you meet!

A few more grams of goods and it sinks.
Bananas
And mangoes!
 The trip is tiring …
Moto-Taxi ahead!
 Some roosters are kept in kind of wire cages… We see one here
One of the arms of the Mekong

We will leave Vinh Long to go to the town of Soc Trang, where no western tourists go. The journey is long but above all distressing. During the preparation of the trip, we read somewhere that there was a boat that went to the island of Con Dao at a very low price. However, no English-speaking site confirms this good plan.

It is therefore with the nerve that we showed up in Soc Trang. And BINGO! The luck is with us and we embark the next day for the island of Con Dao for a handful of euros. The crossing is very hectic and some Vietnamese do not seem to stand it … It will be several garbage bags that will solve their seasickness problem.

Once on the island, the weather is not really with us. It will be gray throughout our stay. Whatever the island is incredible. It is an old French prison that we will not have time to visit, unfortunately.

The sea, on the other hand, is translucent, agitated, and of a bluish tone. We will travel the island up and down thanks to our superb motorbike! We take advantage of the landscapes with the air of Brittany. Time seems to have stood still here and once again we are very touched by the generosity of the Vietnamese.

That’s it, let’s get on board …
Here is a Bao (Whitebread, eggs, and meat …)
In memory of “Caramel”

Ho-Chi-Minh City

Well, we couldn’t go to Vietnam without going through Ho-Chi-Minh (Formerly called Saigon), the economic capital of this country. This giant anthill really did not know how to seduce us. Our previous destinations have accustomed us to peace. Quite the opposite of this megalopolis.

We will visit the essentials and replenish our supplies of necessities that we lack, without however going on forever. We would like to reach Hoi-An by train (30h journey …), but the prices charged are exorbitant, we will then fall back on the plane, much cheaper and much faster despite its 6 hours delay.

Our Lady of Ho Chi Minh
Small anecdote: We wanted to go to the Decathlon store to buy some things and Google Map sent us to this address. After some difficulty in finding, someone from the building staff took us and opened the doors… not to the store but the Decathlon head office in Vietnam! Dressed from top to bottom in Quechua and speaking French, they took us for employees! We had a good laugh!
 We have returned to French territory! Citizen obligation, proxy vote for municipal authorities.
The central post office
Our low-cost Homestays! Well in truth, there was only the dirty stairwell …

Hoi An city

Hoi An is one of the most unspoiled cities in Vietnam. As its port could not accommodate warships, it was not affected by the war. Which makes it one of the most touristic and prettiest destinations in this country. On our arrival, we are amazed by the colors and the atypical and unique architectural style of this city with a Sino-Japanese past.

The city center is only authorized for vehicles at certain times, which makes it a perfect place to stroll and stroll. At nightfall, we will take great pleasure in continuing the visit to the sounds of vendors and the lights of the lanterns. Obviously, we will go to enjoy the beach and surf a few waves despite the total lack of experience and technicality.

The paper lanterns
Food at the market
The Japanese Bridge

Halong Bay

We will then go to Halong Bay on land (not to be confused with Halong Bay). We will stay near the natural park, in the small village of Tam Coc. The weather is harsh. Winter has set in here for some time. We got too used to the hot weather in South East Asia.

Halong Bay on land looks like Halong Bay (Surprising not?) Except that instead of having sugar loaves (Cf Article from China) in the middle of the sea, they are in the middle of the land and rice fields. The region is well known for its small boats where boatmen row with their feet! Jérôme wanted to try… Well, he managed to move forward a few meters after 10 minutes. The region is really pleasant despite the grayness, we will briefly continue our visits aboard a “motorbike” so as not to miss anything.

Special meal: Goat!

Following Tam Coc, we will go to an island (again!). It is called Cat Ba Island. It is a very large island, located a few kilometers from the famous Halong Bay. It is less known and yet it offers many excursions, far from mass tourism, to visit Halong Bay.

Well, that’s what we read in our books. In practice, it was so cold and we were so tired that we left for Hanoi. Well, we will make the effort to visit a minimum before leaving, but we were in the middle of the holidays and all tourist attractions were closed. We could have done kayaking, but when it’s 10 ° C it makes you less inclined!

When you have the styles!

Hanoi

We arrive at our last stop in Vietnam: Hanoi. A real crush during a previous trip by Jérôme was shared by Cassandra on this trip. The city is “teeming” with life. We will stay in its old quarter and we will be amazed by the activity that reigns there.

We will get lost a lot of times because the streets are intertwined and so similar. We will not miss any visit, even that of the war museum: A true propaganda instrument of the Vietnamese Communist Party, it is laughable and must be visited for this reason alone.

Unfortunately, it loses all its historical interest which has so much to say. We will also discover some typical culinary specialties of northern Vietnam. The day before our departure, we will spend the day with Huyen Tran. school teacher (same director) in Hanoi (met thanks to the intermediary of Patrick, ps: Thank you!). The day was long but so rich in emotions!

We talked at length, exchanged views on our cultures, shared too many beers, we had the chance to participate in a real Vietnamese family meal and to be pampered like distinguished guests (despite our redneck quickdraws!) As if we were doing a family party.

The day was one of the most exceptional moments of our trip around the world. we had the chance to participate in a real Vietnamese family meal and to be pampered like distinguished guests (despite our quickdraws of rednecks!) as if we were part of the family.

The day was one of the most exceptional moments of our trip around the world. we had the chance to participate in a real Vietnamese family meal and to be pampered like distinguished guests (despite our quickdraws of rednecks!) as if we were part of the family. The day was one of the most exceptional moments of our trip around the world.

The place that gave its image to the post …
Bun Bo Nam Bo
The war museum
Egg coffee!
 people don’t drink water here! haha

We will leave Vietnam very sad with the feeling of having seen only a tiny part of its wealth. This time we will take the plane to Mandalay without any hassle. Phew. The rest of the trip will take place in Myanmar (Ex Burma) but we will tell you about that next time.

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