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  1. #1
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    Butterfly's Avatar
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    Vietnam: The Chic Hippie Tour

    So I returned last week from my 2 weeks trip to Vietnam.

    I had a choice between Singapore and Malaysia for a visa run but decided to do something different and tried Vietnam. I had a number of ill-conceived ideas about Vietmam and it turned out that many were wrong, and that was good. I was expecting some shitholes like in Northern China, Burma, Cambodia or even Laos 10 years ago. Even though some aspects of the country are still very backward, overall my idea of Vietnam has changed a lot for the better. I see a lot of good potential for that country now, and it seems that the Vietnamese are getting with the program after ripping-off tourists and expat businessmen for years.

    I started with HoChiMin City (SAIGON) and this was by far an exciting and very busy city. It's changing fast. They are building 5 stars hotels and shopping malls everywhere, nice little "Parisian" sidewalk cafes, colonial house restaurants etc... the city is moving fast and is quite nice. A lot to visit there, and a lot to eat. The reason I also chose Vietnam was because I love Vietnamese food so much. In Paris where I used to live, we have a huge community of Vietnamese refugees, and we get to have the best Vietnamese food. Luckily I was able to find those same dishes in the streets and restaurants and they tasted the same, even though some tasted better in France, probably because of the lack of quality ingredients locally.

    Then because I was meeting someone in Hanoi for a night out 1 week later, I decided to go up to Hanoi by train with a few stops in between. But looking at the train schedule and my budget, I decided to change options and went with the VIP bus route with a lot of stops in between. Because I wanted to travel on budget to be closer to the "real" thing, I went in some kind of a hippie Khao San trip and decided to spend no more than 20 USD per night in hotels (ok Chic Hippie, not really cheap hippie hotels), and no more than a few more USD per day for the rest. With the VIP bus option, this was perfect as I could spend the night sleeping in the bus, and visit the different cities during the day where I stopped. Overall the trip was difficult and a bit tiring, but I had a great time. I made just in time in Hanoi to have a night out with a friend. No whoring though, surprisingly, as I didn't find anything tempting or worth it. The only georgous looking girls were those sweet girls on their bycicle in the country side, but they were kind of young and innocent so no point really, unless you are into kidnapping young country girls, which I wasn't, so I passed the whole whoring trip altogether.

    My trip to Hanoi happened in less than 7 days:

    HoChiMin City -> Dang Nan
    Dang Nan -> Hoi Han
    Hoi Han -> Hue
    Hue -> Hanoi
    Hanoi -> Halong Bay
    Halong Bay -> Hanoi

    The distance between Hanoi and HoChiMin is 1800km and the average speed of the bus was 50km/h not because it couldn't go faster but because speed limit in Vietnam is 50km/h for buses and the police is everywhere to enforce the speed limit (corruption)

    I didn't take my camera as I was expecting some dangerous shithole, which proved to be wrong. Luckily I had my mobile camera so I did manage taking a few pics.

    Next I will post about each city I stopped by and what I liked about them.

    (to be continued...)
    Last edited by Butterfly; 17-12-2006 at 11:00 AM.

  2. #2
    I don't know barbaro's Avatar
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    Where did you stay in Saigon?

    (If I may ask.)

  3. #3
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    good place i like it.

    i was first there 10 years ago and i tell ya its changed heaps since then.

  4. #4
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    What a lazy fuck I am, almost forgot about this

  5. #5
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    SAIGON: 3 days 2 nights

    From the airport, I made the mistake of taking a freelance taxi. I thought first he was official and wanted only 6 USD to go to the city. Fuck it I am tired, and it's late (around 9pm) and I need to find an hotel. Outside the airport, I see a horde of nice limo service, with good cars etc... but my driver take me to his car, a real dump. Ok, I said, maybe 6 USD is too expensive, but let's be nice with the locals, they need to make a living and I have no idea how it works here, meter, no meter, no idea ? Ok then, so I took him anyway. I ask him to take me in some area famous for the cheap hotels and hordes of backpakers living there. Kinda of a Vietnamese Khao San Road. He drops me there and ask for 10 USD as tip. Try to argue with him, ready to walk out. What a nice way to start your trip, fighting your ride from the Airport. Little did I know that the whole trip should have cost me no more than 4 USD with meter taxi, and that guy was trying to rip me off. Anyway he got a ticket from the local police guy (everywhere in Saigon) for parking too long in the street while we were arguing, so to cut it short, I let him go with the 10 USD ride (ticket was about 10 USD).

    Now I need to find a hotel and it's not going to be a picnic at 10pm when most small guest houses are closing for the night and there are only drunk farans wondering in the streets. Luckily I found one decent one for 22 USD per night. Very nice room with SAT TV, fridge, A/C etc... the girl at the reception is hitting on me (not sure if they are players), she gives me great smiles and is very friendly. Then I see a fat farang woman giving me the look at the reception when I am talking with that sweet Vietnamese little thing. Fuck her, what's her problem ? too fat maybe ?
    Last edited by Butterfly; 15-04-2007 at 10:17 PM.

  6. #6
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    I go to my room, unpack. Too early to go to bed, so I decide to visit the local bars downstair where all those farangs are getting drunk.

    Luckily my hotel is next to one of the famous hideout for hippies, a former GI R&R, with a setting and an atmosphere that take you back to the 70s. Great music (Rock), good ambiance, a lot of "hippies" and quite a few "chic bohemian" couples. A nice place. Beer is not cheap at 100 THB but I like the place. Can't remember exactly the name of the place, will try to look it up. Something "Agogo" but it wasn't. There was a nice pool table and a disco upstair. A few local freelancers but nothing to make your head turn.


  7. #7
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    Just get the whore part for us degenerates

  8. #8
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    I fear that Viet is going to swamp Los, commercially speaking. They are much more like Chinese than Thai. Glad to hear they are getting with the plot- ten years back I thought it was a bit of a nightmare for foreign investors, and a pleasant nonstop hassle for tourists.

  9. #9
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    Hell, I used to hang out at Louie the Greeks down on the waterfront, Get more steamed clams than 3 guys could eat for 100 dong, nice french resturant close, but a fancy bastid.

  10. #10
    Thailand Expat Boon Mee's Avatar
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    I want to do a road trip into VN but 'am not sure if it's possible to cut thru Cambodia across to Saigon (fok that HCMC crap) or you still gotta go up thru Vientiane and across into Hanoi and down.

    Anyone got a clue?
    Cheers

  11. #11
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    good interesting post!

    par hazard waz you having a Pernod or two with some relative of Claude Monet?

    Jeez Butty! what you took this colored impressionistic daguerreotype pic with?

    Quote Originally Posted by Butterfly View Post


  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boon Mee
    to Saigon (fok that HCMC crap)
    You are going to love Saigon, above all the War Museum and the Presidential Palace. Definitely the things to do. Almost missed it and that would have been a shame.

    More pics and comments on this later. Going to the beach for a few days now that Songkran is over.

  13. #13
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    Vung Tau

    As another destination would be Vung Tau for a 1 day or 2 escape from Saigon...

    Take a boat a the pier, few dollars and the Vung Tau express Hydrofoil runs you down to the sea in 1 hour, nice scenery and can be done in a single day, go visit around, have a lunch and few foamy drinks and come back...

  14. #14
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    Vung Tau



    Seen the bad quality of picture earlier seen in this thread, i allowed myself to input this one...

    View to the Vung Tau Pier, they are actually building a new arrival house, looking a bit like the Sydney opera house, to the rigth and side but ouf of the pic range, was nearly completed in January 2007...

  15. #15
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    Amazing. I was in Vung Tau back in 1988 or 89 and it was a sleepy little village with no tall buildings and just a few restaurants populated mainly by Russian offshore oil men on R&R. And, of course, quite a few locals who patronized the bathing suit rental stands.

  16. #16
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    Any drugs around?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by mad_dog
    Any drugs around?
    Surly you jest. We were there in violation of US Treasury regulations, we had a "minder" with us all the time and the only TV you could get was from Moscow.

    Granted, we did have a few adventurous evenings on our own after ditching the minder; the most amazing of which was on Tet. But, that may be for another thread and another time.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by mad_dog View Post
    Any drugs around?
    shit loads now......

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