Gili Meno, how we got stuck in paradise

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This is the nicest beach in Gili Meno with sand

I guess that’s not bad to be stuck in Paradise …  And this is what happened:    After finally leaving Nusa Dua we were craving to see some authenticity of the Balinese life, beaches and people.  We always dreamed about Gili Islands and taking a trip to Komodo Islands ( yes, to see the biggest lizards  on a earth , Komodos ) . Once we realized this is the rainy / monsoon season we knew we aren’t going to see the famous Komodos, we started to question ourselves whether we should go to Gili islands as well.    We changed our minds influenced by our son’s best friend Nikki , the avid traveler who we love and trust her opinion.  The tickets to Gili islands by all means aren’t cheap so isn’t the accommodation there. But who knows if we will have a chance to come back again.   We chosen Gili Mano the smallest of the Gili islands mainly because our good friend’s cousin lives on that island… talking about small world.  We took the Indra Jaya Fast Boat (this is the only boat that stops at Gili Meno).  The trip took only about 2 hours but without a doubt couple times I had my stomach turning around. The waves were quite big, and the small boat caring 60 passengers was going very fast.

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This small boat carried 60 passengers
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Thank God for so many motors
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This is actually Gili T harbor …. the boat stops on a beach, wear sandals !

Once we arrived to the island, Livia was waiting for us and we had no more doubts we made the right decision.  The island was beautiful and our accommodation was exactly as we were imagining… a small bungalow directly on a beach , with a covered porch great  to sit outside during rain.  Almost perfect…our accommodation didn’t  have  AC,  internet and even hot water.   We didn’t care about it as  we were waking up everyday to this view.   Thank you Livia !

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Our view !
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Newly open Sunset Beach cottages
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View of the Adeng Volcano, Bali

The weather was sunny and windy.   Just the  perfect vacation.  We were planning to spend 4 days there. On our third day we learned all fast boats for the next 5 days got cancelled.  Not a bad place to get stuck. Likely we didn’t have any immediate reservation in our next place.   Peter took this extended stay as an opportunity to take the PADI certification.  Something he always wanted but never had time to do it .

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Peter and James
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After a dive

I got my snorkeling fix, as I was able to snorkel from the beach each day.   Most beaches on Gili Meno are coral beaches, that said it’s hard to walk barefoot.   The biggest attraction there are the big turtles.  This is the perfect environment for them, the dead coral. There are also abundance of fish, many of them we’ve seen for the first time.

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Last dinner with friends
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Me and Livia
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Gili Meno

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The time on the island went fast and it was time so say Good Bye to our new friends.  We got to the harbor in the morning just to learned the fast boat got cancelled again!    At first we thought that was a joke, but it wasn’t .  Since this time we really had to go , the company offered us to take us to Lembar, Lombok to get to Bali by slow public ferry.   There were many people in  similar situation.  The transportation from Gili Meno to Lembar, Lombok went really fast and well organized.  Just in two hours we got to the port and an hour later we boarded the slow ferry.   During the time in port local people flooded the ferry selling everything and I mean everything… It was just crazy.

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Waiting for the slow ferry. There wasn’t much too eat there… Peter enjoys his cup of soup
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Passengers and local vendors awaiting embarkation

Finally our boat left the port.  Probably 95% passengers were tourists, as aparently all fast boast got cancelled that day.   The trip on the slow ferry took much longer than we were expecting. Let’s just say we wouldn’t recommend to take the slow ferry to anyone.

It was almost eleven o’clock by the time we got to the hotel.

Nusa Dua, another lesson learned

We always knew we wanted to spend Christmas and New Year in a very special place during our journey.   When we choose Bali for our destination, we thought we made the best decision,  envision Bali with sandy white beaches,  lush landscaping, wonderful food and travel memoirs like Eat Pary Love.   Probably it  was true years ago.  In the end all worked for us, but we felt we were  lucky…

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Beautiful pool at Mercure Hotel, Nusa Dua

We have to admit, we didn’t do too much homework before booking our 12 night accommodation  in Nusa Dua.   We booked the hotel  in advance, before even we booked  our flight to Asia.  We ended in a place that felt  like a resort bubble with not too many things to do.  Truly we didn’t feel like we were in Bali.  Having said that, Nusa Dua offers luxurious accommodations, golf resorts, fine dining and clean beaches.   Bali Collection is the place where the streets are wide and paved, beautifully landscaped and almost without any traffic (so opposite to the rest of Bali ).    Our hotel was located about 2 miles from the beach but it offered a free shuttle to the beach along with a free shuttle to Bali Collection.

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Beach in Nusa Dua

Note:  Later on our trip we visited Kuta beach, that we also considered  for our Christmas /New Year destination.    Kuta Beach is one of the filthiest places we ever been or seen.    The beach is lined with beautiful resorts….it was beyond our imagination how would anyone wanted to vacation here.

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During our stay in Nusa Dua, we met a Balinese girl that spoke some Polish .  We became  instant friends and enjoyed our daily conversation with Kadek.   She recommended to visit another beach, located south of Nusa Dua.   It supposed to be the most beautiful beach aka Secret Beach.    She probably was correct, except we went there during big Balinese celebration and the beach was flooded with local people.    It wasn’t that secret after all.

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Since we were spending Christmas alone we decided to treat ourselves to a visit to Club Med  (our favorite all inclusive resort, and yes they offer daily and evening passes for outside visitors).    It was just perfect day filled with activities like snorkeling, paddle boarding, food and drinks.

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Us, at Club Med
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Amazing grounds
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Where are the people ?
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We love fresh coconut juice
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One more drink please
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Just perfect
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Walking the Club Med grounds
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Fantastic food

We decided to  spend New Year’s Eve at Club Med as well.  We embraced the Polish tradition and  stayed at the club there till the end.  We got back to the hotel at 4am.   During the evening/night  we enjoyed  beautiful performances, great music, dancing, fireworks, fantastic  food and super cocktails.   We couldn’t asked for a better way to celebrate the New Year.

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Happy New Year !
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We met Polish group at the Club Med
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Amazing presentation of all food
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Great performance with fire
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Ice bar
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Peter in his “Sunday’s best” clothes

Practical Information

Club Med day passes prices aren’t cheap.   Our Christmas Day pass cost 695 IDR / person  (that was the regular rate) and the New Year pass cost  price of 1,500.000 IDR /person.  The regular evening rate is 910 IDR/person.   The exchange during our visit 1$ /12,500 IDR

 

 

 

 

Stunning Angkor Wat, a photo essay

As our trip continues the travel photography became huge part of our daily life.   Without a doubt, Angkor Wat was a visual feast and we had so much fun photographing all the temples.   Here are the highlights.

The Angkor Wat

This is the largest,  best preserved and the most impressive of the monuments.  The temple complex covers an area  0.9 mile by 0.8 mile.

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South Gate.

Beautifully preserved  with 54 gods  and 54 demons  pulling on a giant snake on each side.

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Bayon

One of our favorite temple, the Bayon is known for its huge stone faces with the  enigmatic smiles of the Bodhisattva of Universal Compassion. No one is sure exactly how many faces there are… we didn’t attempt to count them.

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Bayon Temple

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Ta Prohm

The infamous Tomb Raider’s temple, Ta Prohm where nature took over the remnants of a once mighty civilization. Man-made objects coexist beautifully with nature. Truly amazing

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 Phreah Khan

Another of our favorite temple as we visited this temple on the first day and  last day.  There are well preserved frescoes with a lot of detail.  It is an amazing and  is very unique in its own way and still in very condition.   We loved it so much.

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Getting to Siem Reap, so glad we didn’t take the night bus

After a very relaxing week in Kampot it was time to move to our next and last destination in Cambodia, Siem Reap.   There isn’t a direct bus from Kampot  to Siem Reap, and we had to go back to Phnom Penh, to take the next bus .   We decided to do the whole trip in one day, starting at 8am and finishing at 7pm.  We used Giant Ibis bus company again as it is the most reliable and it  has the best safety records.  Travelling by bus is cheap as we paid $8.00/each for the first part and $15.00/each for the second part.

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The first leg was quite enjoyable, easy and smooth ride with an internet on board.  The next leg that was something else.  We knew it supposed to be a bumpy road, but we didn’t expect to be that  bumpy and so dusty the whole road.   There are many parts of the road under construction, but it will be a while before all will be done.   There is also an option to take a boat or plane  from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap.

We arrived in the city at dark, and hired tuk-tuk to take us tour hotel.  The hotel  was a good find and we stayed there for the remaining time in Cambodia.

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Each night we were heading to the Pub street. Pub Street is easily one of the most  busy place in Siem Reap.  There are many  pubs, restaurants, cafes, boutiques.

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Otherwise there isn’t too much to do in Siem Reap .  Most people come to Siem Reap is to visit Angkor Wat.   This is an actually big complex with many different temples around the area, with  Angkor Wat as the largest and the most preserved.

The entrance tickets cost $20.00 for one day, $40.00 for three days and $60.00 for a week.   We bought a three day pass, however two days would be sufficient time for us.   You can visit the temples by bus, tuk-tuk or bicycle.   We did the big circuit  by tuk-tuk the first day and the remaining two days we were on the bicycles.  The bicycle ride  was actually quite easy.   There is about 7 km from the town to the Angkor Watts and the small loop is about 10 km.   The weather was perfect , with cool mornings and very comfortable temperatures throughout the day.

We took many, many pictures of the Ankgor Wat, to be posted in the next blog.

 

 

 

Kampot, why this sleepy town became our favorite place in Cambodia

We absolutely loved  Kampot, the small riverside fishing town.  There are still not too many tourists there, as most people are heading to the famous Siem Reap (Angkor Wat) or beachside town of Sihanoukville.   We found Kampot to be an excellent value for accommodation and food.   We were planning to stay there for 4 days, but ended up to stay there for 7 days.  To get to Kampot from Phnom Penh was easy.  We took the Giant Ibis bus.  The ride took about 4 hours ( there was more traffic outside Phnom Penh) and it cost $8.00/person.

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The mix of French and Chinese architecture truly grabbed our  heart.   Majority of the  buildings are without a doubt dilapidated, but few of them have been already beautifully renovated.

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All we could see was buying a property and doing another renovation until we realized how expensive these old building were.  The real estate prices ended our dreams of buying any place there. We enjoyed our stay in Kampot  with just taking pictures, enjoying meals and cheap drinks in restaurants with gorgeous river  view.

There is not much to see in Kampot, but here is plenty to do in the surrounding countryside.   We made few trips outside the town by motorbike and by bicycle.

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The bicycle trip was an interesting one, as we biked all the way to Kep,  about 16 miles one way.  The bike ride there was easy ….until we had to go back, riding against the wind.    Forgot to mention, the bikes we rode were the free bikes from our guesthouse.   Let’s just say these bikes had seen better days…

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Kep is mostly famous for its seafood.   We had a fantastic lunch there:  grilled fish and squid.  There is also a nice beach in Kep, where most accommodation is located.

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For our next trips we decided to stick to a motorbike.

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During our trips we visited:

Salt Fields.   Salt, that’s what Kampot is really famous for.  There are many salt fields just outside the town.  It’s a quite an interesting process to make the salt, as the water is let in from the ocean to the fields.  The fields are then blocked, and the water is allowed to evaporate, leaving salty crystals.   We found many salt fields, but during the time we were there,  we didn’t see any salt collection taking place.

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Pepper Farms.    We visited pepper farms by a motorbike, however there are many tour operators or tuk tuk drivers offering to get there.  All pepper farms were located in the same area.   We stopped at the Vine Retreat and Pepper Farm.   Truly we didn’t know much about pepper, but after a tour we learned about different types of pepper and its process.  Harvest takes place from February to April.  Since we visited the farm in December, the fruit wasn’t ready to be picked up.  We tasted one and it already had a quite nice pepper taste.

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Amazing sunsets.  The sun sets behind a beautiful mountain range.   It truly a remarkable view with a river in front of it.   We spend many evenings and took many pictures.  Simple we couldn’t have enough of it.

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During our stay in Kampot we stayed in three different hotels.

Hotel Mea Kulpa.  I came across this hotel in one of my favorite blogs.  We spend two nights there and paid $25.00/night.  The rate didn’t include breakfast.  The hotel is located about 10 minutes from the town center.

Hotel Moliden.  We loved the style of the hotel, but we only spend one night there, as the room was too noisy from early morning. The cost $20.00/ night including breakfast.

Hotel Little Garden.   We spend last 4 nights.  This  hotel worked for us, with simple but quiet room.  The cost was only $15.00/ night , without breakfast.

Phnom Penh, learning the Cambodia history

Our first city we stopped in Cambodia was Phnom Penh. The visit was short as we stayed only for two nights, but oh boy it was so educational, so heart breaking while we learned about recent Cambodia history. We started our day by hiring a tuk tuk driver to take us to see the Killing Fields also known as Choeung Ek Genocidal Center. When we arrived at first, the fields looked beautiful and peaceful, but as time went on, we walked in silent, learning the horrific history of Cambodia people. During the visit we weren’t taking many pictures, but just walked slowly through the field listening to our audio guide. The only picture we took is the memorial stupa, looking very beautiful from the distance. As we reached the tower we realized it was full of human skulls and bones behind the acrylic glass windows.

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The tower has 12 levels with over 5000 skulls, broken bones and blood soaked clothes of the people who were brutally slaughtered by Khmer Rouge regime. This site of mass genocide used to be a Chinese cemetery but between the year of 1975 and 1979 around 17 thousand men, women and children were killed here. There are many, many killing sites likes this throughout the country. We learned there was an estimated death toll of around 3,000,000, due to executions, starvation, diseases , or hard work. That was almost 25-30 percent of the total population of Cambodia.

Note: Later on our trip we watched an amazing movie “The Killing Fields” made by a director, Ronal Jaffe in 1984. This movie shows the terror of the Khmer Rouge. It based on the real experiences of two journalists: Cambodian Dith Pran and an American Sydney Schanberg. We highly recommend to watch the movie for anyone who would like to learn more about Khmer Roug regime.

`The next stop was Tuol Sleng Detention Center also known as S21. It is a former school converted to a torture center during Khmer Rouge.

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Each prisoner who passed through S-21 was photographed. The museum displays include rooms of harrowing black-and-white photographs of all men, women and children that were killed . Without a doubt a visit to Tuol Sleng is a profoundly depressing experience, but we were glad we’ve done it.

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Other things to do in Phonm Penh:

Independence Monument.   We stopped there with our tuk-tuk driver.

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This is an important landmark for Cambodian people, as it was build to celebrate the independence from French people.

The Royal Palace, this a major attraction in the city. There are many buildings to visit there, but the Royal family doesn’t live there. We decided to “skip” this attraction .

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On a lighter note, Phnom Penh isn’t  a shopping mecca like Bangkok, but there many great places to shop.  The most architecturally interesting market is the Central Market, also called the New Market.

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Russian Market, the market got its name in 1980s where the only tourists were Russian. Today you can buy all sort of things: clothes, watches, shoes. The prices were cheap , but the quality adequately cheap and low. We didn’t buy anything there.

During our stay in Phnom Penh we stayed in a beautiful Green Lime hotel . The hotel has a nice swimming pool with a cool sitting area around it.

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Our room at Green Lime hotel

 

The breakfast was really good and it was included in the price. It is located close to city attractions, but about 50 yards from the main road, giving the peaceful setting at the pool and quite sleep at night. We booked this hotel via Booking.com. It cost around $50.00/night. Practical Information: There isn’t a public transportation in the city, therefore we hired a tuk tuk. The driver took us to both sites at $15.00 and waited for us while we visited both places. The entrance fee for foreign tourists is $6.00 for Killing Fields and $2.00 for S21 Museum

Mekong Delta Tour with Delta Adventures

To finish up our stay  in Vietnam, we decided to go on a 3 day,  2 night  Mekong delta tour starting in Ho Chi Minh City and  ending in Phnom Penh, Cambodia with Delta Adventures.  We didn’t have a good experience with an organized tours  and we were a bit hesitant to try it again.   However this was an inexpensive tour and it covered the area we actually wanted to see.  Without much expectation, we began the tour in the morning, when we got picked up by a representative from Delta Adventures.  The company organizes 1 day / 2 days or 3 days Mekong tours.   Everyone started together in the morning by taking a bus to Cai Ba.  Later in a day everyone got split up into different groups, but somewhere everything miraculously worked.   Well at least it worked for us.  The next three days we spent on a small boat visiting various Vietnamese places, traveling by bus and mini buses, ending the trip in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.   During the trip we visited  local villages in the area and learn more about the traditional lifestyles, culture, and customs of people who call the Delta their home.   Yes, it felt quite touristy and in every place we visited they tried to sell “something” to us, but overall it was an interesting trip.  Here are the highlights of our trip:

Visiting A Floating Market in Can Tho

It’s a must see during the tour.   The market is more like a wholesale market as most of the boats are selling just one fruit or vegetable.  They advertised their product  by a sample vegetable mounted on a bamboo stick on the front of the boat.  There were also smaller boats mostly geared towards tourists bringing different goods (coffee/ fruits / sandwiches ) to our boat.

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Feeding Catfish at a Fish Farm

The fish farm looked like a floating house.  Each of these farms can hold up to 50,000 fish in the water beneath the floor.   Our guide throw pellets of fish food into a tiny open space of water, while we watched plethora of catfish fight over it.    Needles to say, I’m glad we stopped at the farm, and  without a doubt I will never buy an imported fish again.

 Rowing  in a sampan along the canals under the green canopy of water coconuts trees, to go deeper into the smaller canals of the Delta.

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Visiting coconut candy factory

We watched the process of making the sticky, toffee like coconut candy. .  This place seemed to be more touristy, but we all bought a yummy coconut sweets.

P1020218 DSC01444Visiting a bee farm

During the visit we sampled Vietnamese honey tea.  This seemed to be just a regular tea flavor with the juice of kumquats (a small citrusy fruit) and big spoon of homemade honey.   They served candied ginger, banana chips along with the tea.  In the end they had few items for sale and I ended up buying royal jelly.  It supposed to be good for skin!

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Visiting a rice vermicelli factory
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Visiting a crocodile farm.

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There were hundreds and hundreds of crocodiles being raised on this “farm”.  We didn’t think this type of business is allowed anymore.   I guess everything goes in Vietnam.

 Practical information:

The tour cost us $60.00/each.  The price included 2 nights accommodation.   The first night we spent in Can Tho, without a doubt in  the worst hotel on our trip.   The second night we spent in Long Xuyen.   Much better hotel than the previous night.  As a bonus the hotel was overlooking the river.   We captured beautiful pictures at the sunrise.

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A short visit to Ho Chi Minh City (aka Saigon or HCMC)

We arrived to Ho Chi Minh city ( aka Saigon or HCMC ) to the airport in the morning. Thanks to an advise from fellow travelers we took a local bus to our hotel instead of taking an overpriced taxi. The cost difference was huge and we were happy to save some money. When we arrived to the hotel we met another guests. They just got robbed in the middle of the day! Their experience made us to be aware of our surroundings and cautious . The hotel’s location was very good, and we were able to walk to District 1 where many notable Saigon’s attractions are located. During our short stay we visited Notre Dame Cathedral the French Catholic Church. Unfortunately the church was closed during the time.  The opening times are posted on the door if someone is interested in seeing it the inside.

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Literally next door there is a Saigon Central Post Office. It’s a beautifully restored building in a neoclassical architecture style. Walking inside felt like walking into a movie scene.

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Saigon Central Post Office
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Saigon Central Post Office
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Saigon Central Post Office

Not a far distance from it there is a The Municipal Theater of Ho Chi Minh City, also known as Saigon Opera House . We realized there was a show A O playing that night. What a better way to visit the opera building like during a performance. The show was only one hour and it was an interesting mix of elements of Vietnamese music, dance and acrobatics. The performers were young and very good. We enjoyed the show and the Opera building inside was worth a visit as well.

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Saigon Opera House
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Inside the Opera House
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Young performers

The District 1, is probably the most elegant in Ho Chi Minh City, with the high-end stores and hotels. All stores had beautiful Christmas decorations.

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Christmas decorations

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The visit wouldn’t be completed without stopping in the backpackers part of town to enjoy the local food and cheap beer. The next day we left for the Mekong River tour.

Practical information:

The Bus #152 cost 5000 Dongs ($0.25) and the bus stop is just outside the terminal. We heard the taxi can cost $25.00 despite the short distance to the city. The location of our guesthouse was good. The owner nice and very helpful. The hotel itself probably the worst we slept so far. The cost $25.00 including breakfast The A O show tickets are from 600 Dongs ($30) to 1600 Dongs. ($80.00) We got 20 % discount .

Falling in love with Hoi An

For our next leg from Hanoi to Hoi An we decided to take an overnight train. Not the best idea, taking into consideration the price of the ticket and the length of the trip.  The  train went all the way  to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), but we stopped in  Da Nang. The trip took 15 hours. We had the 1st class tickets with in the sleeping wagon  with 4 passenger compartments.  Overall the ride wasn’t comfortable as the train was filthy and very cold.   Fortunately, once we arrived to Da Nang, the driver from our little hotel was waiting for us.  The  distance from  Da Nang to Hoi An is about 30 kilometers.

Hoi An is all about the old town, the UNESCO Heritage Site.

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Beautifully picturesque town
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Vibrant colors

The Old Town is only a few blocks wide, perfect for simply wandering around and discovering the galleries, tailors, cafes and restaurants.  The town reflects a fusion of  Chinese, Japanese and French influences.  The  lack of cars makes it into a great place to relax and just soak up the special vibe of the town.

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Famous Japanese Bridge
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Ancient temples
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Old buildings
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Old buildings

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Despite the fact we had three of  four  rainy days (with breaks) we had a wonderful time.   We we spent most time  walking around the old streets, stopping at local cafes and restaurants.  The city is beautiful.  We couldn’t  stop taking  pictures, and every few moments admiring  the old yellow faded building, scenery and soaking up the relaxing atmosphere.

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One of the things that spoiled the a bit  was a constant solicitation by sellers (with shops and street vendors) and constant calling: “buy something, cheap, cheap”

Walking through the old town, we stumbled upon “Kazik Square” (square Kazik). Initially we thought that it is a word that some Vietnamese accidentally spelled as “Kazik”. To our surprise, the square has monument dedicated to the Casimir Kwiatkowski, considered here as a providential man who saved the historic complex before liquidation and contributed to the success of the city. He attributed the main merit of Hoi An entry in the register of UNESCO World Heritage. This is perhaps the only “modern” monument in the old town.

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During our visit we  hopped on bicycles and headed towards the beach.  The beach (about 3-4 miles  from the city). The beaches are not the prettiest in this time of the year (small, eroded by the waves ..), but the most surprised us the number of newly built hotels and tourist complexes.    It looks awful, and in few years there will be no natural amphibians only  artificially made sand beaches surrounded by resorts.

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It was definitely the most beautiful city (at least for us) in Vietnam, character and charm that sets it apart from other cities.

Practical information:

  • Hotel (Guesthouse): Ngo Homestay – $ 22 /night
  • Bike rental – $1.5 /day
  • Boating on the River – $7 – $10/ per hour
  • Taxi from Da Nang to Hoi An – $16.00 (trains / planes arrive only to Da Nang)
  • Train from Hanoi to Da Nang (sleeping, soft beds) $59.00/ person

Halong Bay, beautiful trip but read the itinerary first …

Without a doubt Halong Bay is a must see for everyone visiting Vietnam.  This breathtaking UNESCO heritage site is also one of the  Seven Natural Wonders of the world and is not surprisingly one of the most popular attractions in Vietnam.

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Rows and rows of giant limestone hills poking out of the water
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They look like limestone icebergs

Most of the islands in the bay is in the form of limestone pillars emerging high above the water surface. In 1962, Vietnam established the bay ” the  monument landscape ” . In 1994, UNESCO has placed it on its World Heritage List .

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The pictures simple don’t make justice of the magnificent Halong Bay

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There are plenty of tour operators offering different cruise packages.   It was hard to make a decision so we decided to go with a recommendation from our hotel.    Needles to say it wasn’t the best choice and this was a good lesson for us to do more homework next time.   We got picked from our hotel early morning and after  4 hours of driving we arrived into a new marina in Halong Bay. Well our ship wasn’t exactly what t we were expecting, an  older  and worn out  wooden ship.   We tried to overlook that ,  in the end  we were there for the stunning views and spectacular scenery.   Fortunately, the weather was great, sunny with calm waters despite the beginning of the  winter.    The first day we had two stops .  First stop was to see the Surprise Cave . We’ve seen many caves in Thailand and Laos , so we did not expect anything special , but this cave  truly surprised us .  It was much larger than expected.  At first  the cave seemed like a narrow  one, but with just few more steps into the cave, it became bigger and bigger.     It was a truly a magnificent cave.

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The second stop was a small floating village where we hopped into a kayak.  We were able to paddle into two  lovely lagoons  through a limestone tunnels .

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It was very enjoyable , and lasted about an hour.

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We spend the night in a small harbor.

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Beautiful sunset

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The next morning, we learned we aren’t going to continue on a boat but we will take a bus through the Cat Ba island to our next destination, Monkey Island.    We were very disappointed,  after all we were there to see those beautiful limestone formations.    Unfortunately that supposed to be in the program (that we didn’t read it) prior to booking the trip.   In the morning on our way to the  island we went by a small fishing village.

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The Monkey Resort on the island with the same name was actually very nice, with picturesque white sandy beach.

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Our bungalow was large with a private balcony, situated directly on a beach.  In the afternoon we climbed over the “top” to the other side of the island.   We encountered several monkeys… not without a reason the island is named  Monkey Island.

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malpy

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The next day, we cruised again for couple hours through the beautiful Halong Bay back to the marina. We finished the cruising about 11am.

In conclusion we had a wonderful weather, but the time spent cruising wasn’t simply enough.   Well, that is a good reason to come back again…when, we don’t know, but hoping to be back Soon!

Practical Information:

Do your Homework!  Our 3 days / 2 nights Monkey cruise cost $170/person.   The fee included all transportation and meals, except drinks (not even water).