South to north
15.11.2011 - 03.12.2011 20 °C
It's been a while since our last update; we have experienced quite a bit and met many interesting people on our way.
We spent our last days in Saigon just walking through the nice city and admiring the fabulous markets as well as visiting the War Museum. It's har not to be touched by the pictures and stories describing the atrocities that Vietnam had to endure during the 20 years of war as well as the (still today) ongoing suffering caused by landmines and chemicals that were spread over the country.
When we had had enough of the city life we headed on to Mui Ne to enjoy the last november sun and to visit the famous sand dunes. After checking in, we found a driver of an old army jeep who offered transportation out to the deserts. Later the same day we met two Spanish and an American backpacker to split the costs with and the next day we met up and headed out.
There are two different deserts
outside of Mui Ne and we first
visited the one with very white,
Sahara-like sand, which was too
fine for the jeep to get through
so instead we rented a quad and
continued to explore on our own.
After meating up with our fellow backpackers again, we carried on to the second desert, which had likewise fine sand, but of a reddish colour. Once there, we found and climbed the biggest dune by foot in order to get as good a view as possible of the amazing sunset.
Though sometimes it was hard to get good pictures due to the desert wind...
Something that enhanced the picturesqueness of the red desert was the contrast to the efflorescent forest that lay directly adjacent.
Two days later we took the open bus to Nha Trang but the city and its surroundings had little to offer and it was raining a lot in the region so we continued to Hoi An after just one and a half day. Hoi An on the other hand is a beutiful and charming old city, especially in the evenings with its countless multicoloured paper lanterns hanging between the 15th century houses, and it is even listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Furthermore, this old trade port is the tailor and shoemaking capital of Vietnam so we took the opportunity and had some winterclothes made to measure while we were there.
After Hoi An, Hue was our next and last stop before reaching the capital Hanoi and offered a good nights sleep as well as a beautiful walk along the Perfume River (which got its name from the smell caused by the many flowers that during the autumn fall into the river from the surrounding orchards); a nice and relaxing stop before the 16-hour bus ride up north.
Hanoi was our last destination here in Vietnam and is where we've spent the last three nights. Its getting pretty chilly now, around twenty degrees and in the evening and our winterclothes come to good use as the thermometer sometimes plummets to 15. The Vietnamese are in good spirit though and are preparing for christmas with all the fake snow they can find.
Tomorrow evening we will board a night train which will take us to Nanning, China and after that the planned route is Guangzhou and Hong Kong (also to be covered by train.)
We promise to keep you posted on a more regular basis during the last two weeks, until then!
PS I will start to take away the photos at the end of previous posts so that the page will load faster, nonetheless they will still be availible through the photography link on the right side of the page.