Walking the streets of Ho Chi Minh City – Vietnam

Walking the streets of Ho Chi Minh City – Vietnam

In this, the second edition of the walking the streets series, I am taking you to crazy Saigon, dodging the traffic and I’m busy walking the streets of Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.

If you blink in this city, you could miss it, or otherwise be floored by the many rampaging motorbikes that are roaming about the roads, the walkways, alley-ways and even the markets. Ho Chi Minh City is that congested with traffic and pedestrians that anywhere goes for the locals. 

 

Ho CHi Minh City

A little chaotic in Ho CHi Minh City.

 

It was obvious from the moment I Left the departure gates at Tan Son Nhat International Airport and caught my Uber ride to the previously booked Airbnb Apartment. Chaos, lived in this city.   

Bumper to bumper, cars nudging bikes, bikes nudging cars and vehicles nudging into pedestrians, it seemed to be one big circle of life in the world of madness that is Saigon, a city like no other I have ever visited.

Crossing the road was an art in the ever-flowing maze of traffic, slow and steady was the only way to negotiate the traffic and get to the other side of the road, often giving a little fist pump when you made a successful attempt.

 

Vietnam

A laugh a minute in Vietnam.

 

Fear needed to be brushed aside when making every attempt to cross the street, but having the kids by my side made that ordeal a little more terrifying, but the good news is, we lived to tell the story.

Beyond the traffic that is unavoidable on your travels to the Southern city of Vietnam, this unique city needs to be explored to every inch with so many things going on. I like to think of it as a city that is divided in three, that has a modern touch, a proud tradition of history and still a hint of third world in areas of Ho Chi Minh City.

 

Ho Chi Minh City

Eating right off the plate.

 

A modern touch

 

I say modern, because this booming city is on the rise, literally, and is continuing to build with skyscrapers all over the place. You only need to go to the viewing area of the Bitexco Financial Building to see how the city’s development is advancing. Either that or get the best view in the house of this incredible city, it is quite stunning.

Bitexco Financial Building

Bitexco Financial Building

 

Ho Chi Minh City has amazing modern shopping centres and often when walking the streets, you’ll stumble across some beauties. Saigon Centre is the best of the lot and is situate in the heart of District 1 where the action happens and the tourist flock to, it is a mall that is a city with in a city, that has popular retail lines, café’s and unbelievable food courts. 

I can only marvel when I look upon this city at far it has come since that devastating war a half a century ago, and how much I am sure it will continue to surge forward.

 

Saigon Centre

Inside the amazing Saigon Centre.

 

A proud tradition of History

 

Tradition is well and truly on full display, especially in the District 1 area of Saigon, thanks largely to its large French presence in the 19th Century.

It’s wonderful to walk the streets of Ho Chi Minh City and find some truly mesmerising French designed buildings. The Notre Dame Cathedral and The Old Post Office are a click frenzy with the camera as you get your great shot of these wonderful buildings, but the festivities in the area is alive and it’s easy to get caught up in the party and see a few locals in their traditional Vietnamese dress.

 

Notre Dame Cathedral

Notre Dame Cathedral

 

The War Remnants Museum was a great history lesson of the Vietnam War, but keep in mind they call it American War in this country. A real eye opener and I am so glad I ventured through the gates, and was able to spend a full morning reading up on details of the war.

Although the ache in the heart really kicked in when devastating photos and learnt about the Agent Orange chemical destroyed many lives.

 

War Remnants Museum

At the War Remnants Museum.

 

 

A hint of third world

 

I took a picture in Ho Chi Minh City, one that will feature below and one that I thought summed up the city. With all the modern features on the rise and beautifully designed buildings that were built long ago, it surprised me to still see broken down housing over the river and even a hint of third world about the city.

thousand words

A picture tells a thousand words

 

It’s not uncommon for a city to have poverty throughout the world and Ho Chi Minh City is no different, it is a city that has admirably come along way and in saying that I mean a positive direction. Although it will fascinate you that you can one moment be looking at a flush building, then the next a broken-down pile of bricks that is unsafe for anyone to be living in.

 

Ho Chi Minh City

A sad sight of some houses.

 

Walking the streets of Ho Chi Minh City

 

There were so many fascinating things I saw when walking the streets of this chaotic city, whether it was strolling into a temple, or getting lost in the crowd of the Ben Thanh Markets, or any markets for that matter, while getting pestered by the store owner.

Ho CHi Minh City

Beautiful Temples in the city

 

It was only my first visit to Ho Chi Minh City and being with my kids I found it a challenge to navigate the streets, especially with their lack of walkways, public transport, and even traffic lights to have a stress-free attempt at crossing the road.

As I have constantly said, this is a city on the rise as is Vietnam, and I got no doubt whenever I revisit Saigon and its markets, the traffic, it’s historic building and flush shopping centres again in the future, I know Ho Chi Minh City will be entirely different city and hopefully next time it may be a little easier to navigate the streets.  

Check out my article on walking the streets of Vientiane in Laos.

 

Vietnam

The locals dressed up in dradtional dress.

 

 

 

Ho CHi Minh

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About Your fair Dinkum Traveller

Anthony Jury

Anthony Jury

Your Aussie - Asia Adventure
G'day mate, it's your Fair Dinkum traveller who ventures into Asia and around Australia. Stay tuned for epic destinations, great tips and awesome travel stories.Read more...
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Is Your Traveller’s Heart Taking You To South-East Asia?

Is Your Traveller’s Heart Taking You To South-East Asia?

Contributed to Fair Dinkum Traveller

When it comes to planning a weekend break, a lot of people don’t need to invest more than a few hours to research the perfect location and the ideal flight to get there. It’s easy to understand why. Between last minute deals and a getaway that doesn’t require a lot of planning, the click and buy generation is taking over the short holiday market.

There’s no shame about it. After all, sometimes all you need is a quick escape out of everyday routine to recharge your batteries. It doesn’t really matter where you’re going if you’re only going to spend a couple of days there. It’s all about not being at home – or at work for that matter – and instead enjoying the taste of life elsewhere, far away from your daily worries. It’s the quick beach break, the cultural city getaway, or the outlandish countryside weekend.

However, there comes a time when you want something else from your holiday, when it needs to be more than a quick bubble of peace. You know the feeling: You’re drained and you want to rethink your life priorities and set things in the right order for you. That’s the kind of life crisis that calls for a long holiday where you can immerse yourself in a new culture, mindset and landscape. You can’t just click and book a long holiday without considering the destination carefully. If you want to come back feeling refreshed and enlightened, you need to aim for south-east Asia. The Far East, as it used to be called, is rich in history, adventures and flavours. More importantly, it offers the perfect spiritual platform to question your motives and redefine your life.

 

Time in Laos

Enjoy South-East Asia at its finest like at Patuxai War Monument in Vientiane, Laos.

 

The countries of south-east Asia

If you haven’t got a map of the world at hand, south-east Asia is a subregion of Asia that refers to all countries that are situated in a region south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. For simplicity, it’s said to consists of what used to be Indochina, and the historical East Indies and Malay Archipelago. Geographically, it’s the equivalent of about 8.5% of the world’s population, which makes it the third most populous region in the world – the two others being south Asia and east Asia. In other words, if you’re going to south-east Asia for a taste of isolation, you might have picked the wrong part of the world for that. But the region has a lot to offer in terms of tourism, history and even business if you’re looking to start a new life elsewhere.

 

South-East Asia travellers heart

Lara Croft’s temple in Cambodia

 

INDOCHINA

The French influence in Vietnam

Vietnam was one of France’s most profitable colonial possessions after the country gain control over the North of Vietnam as a result of a victory in the Sino-French War of 1883-1884. As with any colony around the world; the themes of exploitation of raw materials, workforce and other natural resources are to be expected. But the French rule has left in Vietnam a variety of historical architecture and customs that give the country its particular attitude. In fact, French architecture is so dominant that the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Hoi An and Hanoi. More interestingly, this isn’t the only vestige of a colonialist past in Vietnam. Indeed, according to https://theculturetrip.com, you can find a culinary influence from patisseries to restaurants in most of the country. In fact, if you’re looking to start your career in the gastronomy industry and learn from the best chefs, Vietnam is definitely the place to be.

 

Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh City – Vietnam.

 

Thailand, a beautiful country that is shut to foreign opportunities

If you want to enjoy more beaches and less colonialist guilt, take a trip to wild Thailand, and especially Khao Lak. Why there? Because it’s a little less than two hours’ drive from the Island of Phuket, but it benefits from a peaceful and relaxing environment. You won’t find the crowd of tourists you expect so that you can have the sunset, the sandy beaches and the resorts almost to yourself. It’s a little bubble of paradise that awaits you every year between November and May in this area of Thailand. However, you may find it difficult to make a living in Thailand, even if you fall in love with the country and decide to stay. There are very little business opportunities for non-native citizens as a Thai-born person has to own the majority of a company. Only US citizens can own up to 100% of a company in Thailand, but they still need a minimum capital first.

 

Koh Samui

Koh Samui – Thailand.

 

A taste of Lara Croft in Cambodia

If you still remember Angelina Jolie exploring the ruins of a temple in Tomb Raider, then you’ll be pleased to know that you can find these temples in Cambodia. Admittedly; since Angelina went running there in her tiny shorts, the place is crawling with tourists. But with a good guide, you can still see everything and revive your old Lara Croft’s memories. If you’re ready to get up early, you can visit the magnificent Sunrise at Angkor Wat – although be ready to be there before 5:30 am. You can find the famous Tomb Raider’s temple, Ta Prohm, with its intertwined tree roots too. You won’t have much difficulty to imagine life in Cambodia if you’re not afraid to downsize a bit. In fact, a couple of American tourists have made Cambodia their home since 2015 and despite low earnings – less than $35,000 a year – they have all they need. They’re the happiest they’ve ever been in Phnom Penh.

 

Start your spiritual journey in Laos

What if you just want a spiritual awakening for your holiday? Laos is often described as a mystical country by those who have visited it. The most important thing that tourists will tell you about the country is that it remains completely outside the spotlight. There’s barely any tourists in Laos, which means that you can take a good look at ancient Buddhist temples without getting up at dawn to avoid the crowd. Consequently, it’s a great place to find out more about Buddhism and exploring your spiritual side at your own pace. Make sure to attend the Luang Prabang ceremony in northern Laos before you leave. Every morning the monks walk in town to collect the food offerings. You can ask the locals how to participate.

 

South-East Asia - Laos

Temple in Laos

 

The city of the many pagodas and temples in Myanmar

Another great place to explore your spiritual side is Myanmar, and especially Yangon, the city that has some of the oldest pagodas and temples in the country. Some are even believed to date back to the lifetime of Gautama Buddha over 2500 years ago. The oldest pagoda in Burma, the Shwedagon is a 99 metre-high stupa that is entirely covered in gold. It’s a place of pilgrimage for many Buddhists as it enshrines a hair relic of Siddhartha Gautama. You can see it from anywhere in town, and it’s impossible not to feel its aura. If you find your calling in Myanmar and are wondering about staying and embracing a new lifestyle, you might be interested in reading this interview http://www.goaway.sg/life-in-myanmar that explains how the expat life feels like in Yangon. As a general rule, locals are friendly and will go out of their way to help you. Besides, you can experience a frontier market in a Buddhist culture, which makes it both challenging and peaceful at the same time.

 

EAST INDIES & MALAY ARCHIPELAGO

Indonesia, the melting pot of cuisines and cultures

There is no bigger melting pot in south-east Asian than in Indonesia. Jakarta, home to 10 million people, offers a tour of colonial architectures, live music venues and fine dining restaurants, all within a few yards from each other. Needless to say that there’s a lot to see and experience in Indonesia, from a metropole culture in Jakarta to UNESCO-listed national parks and volcanoes to hike up on Java. If you love the creative juxtaposition of cultures, wildlife, and without mentioning the world’s biggest Buddhist temple, you’ll be happy to know that the house prices are low: https://rumahdijual.com/. In fact, you can buy a manor house with garden for the price of a small family home in the UK.

 

South-East Asia - Java

Buddhist temple on Java

 

The country of the thousands of islands

With over 7,000 islands to choose from, you know that visiting the Philippines will be an adventurous experience. In fact, for most people, it can be difficult to know where to start, but here’s a little overview of the best sites to see. El Nido, for Pinoy travellers, offers one of the world’s most picture-perfect seascapes, without mentioning its fantastic limestone cliffs. If you’re wondering what Heaven looks like, El Nido might be the closest thing you’ll find to it. If you want a feel for the old history of the place, spend some time in the UNESCO-listed town, Vigan where the Spanish architecture continues to tell the tales of the past. However, you can forget any dream of making your life in the Philippines: Foreigners are not allowed to own property.

Whether you want to reboot your life or just to clear your mind, south-east Asia offers a multitude of landscapes, spiritual encounters, fascinating cultural backgrounds and exciting business opportunities to help you on the way. All you need is to pack your luggage and start your self-discovery tour.

 

Bang Nieng Khoa Lak

Enjoy South-East Asia at its best like at this Khao Lak Markets.

About Your fair Dinkum Traveller

Anthony Jury

Anthony Jury

Your Aussie - Asia Adventure
G'day mate, it's your Fair Dinkum traveller who ventures into Asia and around Australia. Stay tuned for epic destinations, great tips and awesome travel stories.Read more...
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3 Awesome Inland Destinations to Visit in Southeast Asia

3 Awesome Inland Destinations to Visit in Southeast Asia

When you think of Southeast Asia the instant thought process is beautiful beaches, palms trees and sipping cocktails all day long without a single care in the world. However, there is no need to exclude those inland destinations that often get neglected when planning your next holiday to the famous tourist region of Asia.

Visiting towns away from the coast line does not mean paradise is instantly taken away, in fact, at times it could be the preferred option. When it comes to choosing any amounts of Inland Destinations in Southeast Asia, the choices are plentiful and you are quite spoilt for options when doing your research. How about a lending hand, below are three inland destinations that must be given every consideration amongst many other splendid locations in Southeast Asia.

A man and his bull

Inland Destinations in Southeast Asia.

3 Awesome Inland Destinations to visit in Southeast Asia

Da Lat, Vietnam

Vietnam is full of chaotic cities and glorious coastlines but in the Central Highlands of Southern Vietnam there is another little secret that’s ready to be explored. Da Lat, is the city I am referring to and it is the picturesque scenery, beautiful lakes and a unique township that makes Da Lat a city that needs every traveller’s attention.

Inland Destination

Inland Destination – Da lat, Vietnam.

What’s to like about Da Lat

–          The picturesque scenery –

Within the Da Lat area or the outskirts, the region is full stunning scenery that gives Da Lat its breathtaking views, add the abundance of natural water features and it becomes a photographer’s dream.

Day tours are naturally very popular in the area and a full day exploring the region is the best way to make the most of the outdoors in Da Lat. Hiring a personal driver is the cheapest and most efficient option to get full value in the day.

Da Lat

Ho Xuan Lake in Da Lat.

Where to go

There are plenty of attractions in Da Lat to go and see, like an amazing bakery in down town Da Lat, a host of Buddhist temples and a magnificent flower centre for those who love colour in their life. Here are a few priorities whenever you reach destination Da Lat.

–          Explore the waterfalls –

Da Lat is full of lively waterfalls with many falls situated far and wide in the surrounding region. Grab a personal driver or hire a car and see as many waterfalls as time allows. The popular falls are the Elephant and Datanla Waterfalls, but take a pick.

Da Lat, Vietnam

Elephant Waterfalls in Da Lat, Vietnam.

–          The Da Lat Flower Centre –

Buzzing with glamor and colour, the Da Lat Flower Centre needs no convincing to be on the list of attractions. A short taxi ride or a decent stroll (preferred) from the city centre, the flower centre is full of various plants, flowers and inside attractions.

–          Da Lat Cathedral –

Even if you are not religious, you will love the light coloured Cathedral of Da Lat, that is a popular attractions for all travellers. No entrance fee is required to go inside the grounds of the Cathedral and a few pictures are bound to be taken, for good reason too.

Da Lat Cathedral

Da Lat Cathedral

Where to Stay

Budget stays and boutique hotels are everywhere in Da Lat and if you are travelling with a family, you can save heaps of dollars by staying at the Nguyen Minh Hostel, the hostel contains private rooms, good location, reasonable bedding and all for only $20-dollars a night.

Inland destinations - Da lat

Ngyuyen Minh Hostel in Da Lat.

Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Ubud in Bali is bustling town that is full of life and character. About an hour inland from the tourist hotspot in Kuta, you don’t always need a beach to enjoy paradise in Bali, not when you have epic shopping, lively streets and stunning resorts with gorgeous pools take in the Bali heat.

Ubud

Inland Destinations – Ubud, Bali.

What’s to like

–          A vibrant cultural township –

A vibrant culture hits you at once upon reaching your destination. Fine temples, an abundance of rice fields, traditional dances and busy streets with lots going on, is the masterpiece that makes Ubud popular for all tourists.

inland destinations Ubud

The markets in Ubud Bali.

Where to go

Culture shows, market places, temples and many more places to see in Ubud, below is a list that is a must in this vibrant, Balinese town.

–          Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary –

Flock to the Sanctuary where the monkeys are out in full force and will at times attempt to jump on you. Not only a nice stroll in a magical forest with monkeys, inside there are wonderful temple structures to gaze your eyes upon as well. All for a small entrance fee.

Monkey forest temple

Temple with in the forest

–          Tegallalang Rice Terrace –

The gorgeous rice paddies fields and the surrounding scenery will get your camera clicking frantically as capture images so beautiful. No beaches in Ubud, but the Tegallalang is more than a fitting alternative.

–          Balinese Legong Dance –

Nothing says culture in Ubud like the traditional Balinese Legong Dances, that has all sorts of costumes and creatures coming out at night, including beautiful women in a traditional Bali dress. These performances can be found in a couple of locations at different times in the evening and locals are giving away flyers at every corner.

Inland destinations

Balinese Legong dance.

Where to Stay

Magnificent Resorts make up most of the accommodations in Ubud and it can be quite costly. Anyway, do your homework and you will find suitable accommodation for any required budget. A stunner of a resort in Ubud is the Alaya Resort, great restaurants, stunning gardens and beautifully interior designed rooms that makes Alaya the pick of the crop when seeking a luxury stay.

inland destinations

The Alaya Resort in Ubud, Bali.

Vientiane, Laos

When Laos is a landlocked country, any city or town within the borders will obviously be an inland destination. Vientiane is the pick of a lot, mainly because it is such a fascination to visit a Southeast Asian capital city where the population is modest and the streets are not saturated with pedestrians and motor-bikes.

inland destinations Southeast Asia

Inland destinations – Vientiane Laos

What’s to like about Vientiane

–          The Laid-back Nature of a City –

Being a less populated city, it is enjoyable to be able to walk down the streets with freedom, unlike other over populated cities in Southeast Asia. In Vientiane, you can cross the road without any major fears of getting run down and walk the markets without every shop owner begging you to buy their items.

The Laidback nature of Vientiane allows you to cool off with a relaxing beer in the bar, easy access throughout the city either by foot or a tuc-tuc and enjoy local cuisine without the need to rush. It’s Vientiane and you are in their time now.

Morning prayer in Laos

Morning prayer in a Laos Buddhist Temple in Vientiane, Laos.

Where to go

Lots to see and do in Vientiane, Laos with many temples, palaces, parks and attractions on offer, below is a list of many of must see attractions.

–          Patuxai War Monument –

The Patuxai War Monument stands proud in central Vientiane for all to see. A monument built to celebrate the country’s independence from France in the 1950’s, gather to the fine landmark and capture 360-views of the city from the top.

Inland destinations

The Patuxai War Monument in Vientiane, Laos.

–          Ban Anou Night Markets –

Opened from five every evening of the day, The Night Markets are one of the finest you’ll see. A vibrant atmosphere with good affordable products on offer, where you can also local street food and enjoy river walks by the Mekong River.

–          The Golden Palace –

One of the finest Buddhist temples in the city with plenty of historical buildings that will occupy the photo album. The Golden Palace will take most of your attention with its stunning colour and large presence a clear standout.

The Golden Palace

The Golden Palace in Vientiane, Laos.

Where to Stay

Vientiane is full of affordable hotels or cheap hostels spread out through the city. The Inter City Hotel has spacious rooms and comfortable beds and is as good as it gets if you want a hotel room with all the comforts. The Hotel overlooks the Mekong River and Night Markets, with café’s, Bor Pen Yang rooftop bar and restaurants within close vicinity.

Intercity Hotel

Intercity Hotel, Vientiane, Laos

inland destinations

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About Your fair Dinkum Traveller

Anthony Jury

Anthony Jury

Your Aussie - Asia Adventure
G'day mate, it's your Fair Dinkum traveller who ventures into Asia and around Australia. Stay tuned for epic destinations, great tips and awesome travel stories.Read more...

Adventure by the Youth: Ho Chi Minh City through the eyes on an 11 year old

Adventure by the Youth: Ho Chi Minh City through the eyes on an 11 year old

Welcome to a new segment “Adventure by the youth,” articles written by the youth, which was inspired by my oldest son, who just insisted to be involved in this travel blog. Why not I thought, it can’t be a bad thing to encourage kids to write. So Corey Jury kicks of this new segment with his version on Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City.

Written By Corey Jury

Xin Chào! (Hello in Vietnamese)

Ho Chi Minh was an amazing experience. It is a big city so there are several things to do, with lots of things to see. From my point of view, an 11-year-old kid, here is what I thought of Ho Chi Minh city in Vietnam.

Ho Chi Minh City Post office

G’day, it’s me Corey telling you my story.

Vietnam’s Language

The language is not quite the best thing ‘about Vietnam’.  In my opinion, it is one of the hardest languages to learn. For someone to learn the language to seems physically impossible (of course it is not). In Vietnam, there is hardly any Vietnamese person that can speak English.  It is seriously hard to communicate with a local, especially when driving with UBER or taxi to communicate with the driver.

 

  Vietnamese Food

 Ho Chi Minh is overflowing with tasty food. The most popular meal you can buy is a nice, tasty bowl of soup, which is full of delicious fresh noodles. If I had to choose which country to have soup from a single country I would choose Vietnam out of all the other countries.

 

Vietnamese food.

Sharing Vietnamese food with my younger and cheekier brother Lucas.

 

 

Vietnam, the land of boring temples

As an eleven-year-old kid, I find it confusing to have fun in a temple. Before we went to the fun, Mekong river where it is fun to cruise over and have tours, we went to boring temples, where people take photos and worship their religious religions (which was mainly Buddhism) while I just think, when are we getting out of here.

 Of course, the temple looks awesome but that doesn’t mean it’s fun for an eleven-year-old kid like me.

 

Old Post office

Lots of cool old stuff in Vietnam.

 Vietnam’s River, the Mekong

(More boring stuff, HUHHH!) The Mekong River flows from the Himalayas, then (sorry, I couldn’t figure out anything other than the word “then”) flows to the shores of Southern Vietnam. Vietnam’s River tours are a fun experience, there are four islands that we travelled to in the Mekong, one of the islands, you could buy coconut candy, wrapped in rice paper. The Mekong River is a good for tours.

Mekong

On the Mekong River with my dad, thankfully I got my mother’s good looks.

 

The Tunnels of Cu Chi 

After an extreme, fun trip to Da Lat (I wish I could talk about Da Lat, but this has to be mainly about Ho Chi Minh, so keep reading!) we went to another fun (well, actually a lot fun-ner) trip to the secret hideout place of Vietnam called Cu Chi, a couple of hours away from the big city. It is a very, very popular place to travel for tourist. The Vietnamese people had a long, big, sad, harsh war against the United States of America. 

The Vietnamese hid in a safe place away from the Americans, in the Cu Chi tunnels, to protect themselves from the harsh air-raids, which frankly effected everyone from the war and the children. Therefore, the Vietnamese created a small, narrow tunnel to protect themselves from the harsh war. the tunnels are still around in the modern world of today. Cu Chi tunnels was a fun experience in my currently short life. Definitely a ten out of ten!

Cu Chi Tunnels

My brohter and I Inside the Cu Chi Tunnels

 

Vietnamese Shopping

Markets are big in every way in Ho Chi Minh and is unbelievably cheap and are overflowing with large crowds, it is hard to move around. The stuff is not the best of quality, but it’s still pretty good. If you want to pay for anything, then everything is cheap. I bought my Manchester United kit at a big market in Ho Chi Minh for about 10 AUD, it wasn’t original, but still it was better than nothing and I did not care. The second tallest building in Vietnam is the Bitexco Financial Tower, is a nice place for shopping and is the perfect place to view of the fantastic Ho Chi Minh City.

 

Vietnam donut hat

On the streets with some guy who thinks its cool to wear a donut hat.

 

Vietnamese Water Parks

I don’t have much to say about this one (well type). Ho Chi Minh is a hot, tropical city and there is only one place you should most definitely go to, to cool off and have fun with a bit of a splash. The Dam Sem waterpark in Vietnam is cool and full of excitement, with thrilling water slides and a massive wave pool. Again,  unfortunately not everyone speaks English at the waterpark and it is hard to listen to important safety instructions.

Flying fox at Dam Sem Water Park.

 

 

Vietnamese Transportation

Transportation is cheap and easy. My suggestion around Ho Chi Minh is UBER, it is cheaper and easier. The roads of Ho Chi Minh are crowded, with thousands of motorbikes and there are hardly any traffic lights. To make it worse, when you cross the road, you must just keep on walking and hope that the motorbikes will just drive around you, but watch out! The cars wont!

 

traffic in Ho Chi Minh

Lots of bikes in Ho Chi Minh.

 

Even though Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City is still developing from the tragic war, I still reckon it is a good destination to travel. There is much more about Ho Chi Minh City I still don’t know, but hopefully I can get back there someday and see more of Vietnam.

What did you think of my story of Ho Chi Minh City, through an eye of an eleven year old? Please tell me in the comments.

Mekong Tour

Lucas and I at 4 Islands Mekong tour.

About Your fair Dinkum Traveller

Anthony Jury

Anthony Jury

Your Aussie - Asia Adventure
G'day mate, it's your Fair Dinkum traveller who ventures into Asia and around Australia. Stay tuned for epic destinations, great tips and awesome travel stories.Read more...

Travel Report: Jan to June 2017 – Six Countries in 6 Months

Travel Report: Jan to June 2017 – Six Countries in 6 Months

Six countries in six months won’t break any records but it was good to get out and explore the world and see different cultures at every opportunity. It started with Vietnam and ended with a brief trip to Bangkok. Every country had its own unique difference but each six countries were as unique and special as the next.

Let’s take a peek at the travel report for January to June 2017 –  Six countries in six months.

Patuxai Monument, Laos

The stunning Patuxai War Monument.

Vietnam

The year in 2017 started with little madness in chaotic Ho Chi Minh City. The first visit to the Vietnamese city, it was a real eye opener from the moment we arrived, grabbed our Visas, luggage and made our way on to the streets of the city using Uber. The chaos had well and truly begun.

A family trip and our first visit to Vietnam, we didn’t waste any time checking out the great attractions of Ho Chi Minh City, visiting great locations such as the four islands on the Mekong River, Cu Chi Tunnels, the War Museum, Ben Thanh Markets and stunning French architected buildings like the Cathedral and the Old Post Office. BTW the Vietnamese food is the real winner around these parts, especially the rice noodle soups and so cheap.

Da Lat was the next little city we visited in Vietnam, a short plane ride and we were in greener pastures with divine mountain ranges. The city centre of Da Lat still packed a punch, it’s what’s on the outside that delivers its real beauty with lovely lakes, stunning waterfalls and epic scenic nature.

Bitexco Financial Building

Bitexco Financial Building in Ho Chi Minh City.

Da Lat

Beautiful Da Lat

 

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

One night in Kuala Lumpur, certainly not enough time in the Malaysian city, but enough to get a little tease. A modern city that delivers on all fronts, with shopping, food stalls and of course famous high-rise buildings known around the world. This great city left such a positive reflection on me, that I will be back in April 2018 for a longer stay.

K tower

Kuala Lumpur Tower in all its lights

 

Bali, Indonesia

An accidental trip to Bali but I will take it any way I can, especially when I got the opportunity to work with two luxury resorts on the Indonesian Island. It started on the white sands of Tanjung Benoa, a real hit with the water sports. I stayed at the Sakala Resort, a perfect stay for any luxury escape in paradise, with a stunning beach club, swimming pools and restaurants.

Check out the link to Sakala Resort post.

Sakala Resort

The Sakala Resort

 

Next stop in Bali was inland to Ubud, a pretty tourist township known for its rice fields and monkeys. I stayed at the incredible Alaya Resort, beautiful in many ways with its stunning rice fields being the back drop to the Manisan Restaurant. The resort has lovey lovely outdoor setting with large palm trees and boutique swimming pools as well as the decorative Indonesian theme throughout Alaya. It was a pleasure to stay in a fine resort such as the Alaya.

Check out the link to the Alaya Resort post.

Bali

Alaya Resort.

 

Perth, Western Australia

A quick trip to Perth for a camping in a slightly different environment away from the woods and in the vicinity of the CBD. The time in Perth during this Easter break was not wasted at all, exploring the city centre and the beautiful Elizabeth Quay, discovering Whiteman Park and getting up close and personal to a few Australian Native Animals and we even stopped in at NIB stadium to watch Perth Glory play a little soccer.

City of Perth

City of Perth, so close you can touch it.

 

Vientiane, Laos

A journey of a different type, this time volunteering to school kids and Monks in Laos. It was an incredible experience like no other in my life. The proud feeling of giving back to travel and helping a community in need gave a great strength of personal satisfaction. The trip was not cheap but it was fulfilling nonetheless.

Obviously, there was a time to do some sightseeing, checking out Vientiane and the attractions it had on offer such as various temples, markets, shopping malls and the Patuxai War Monument. It is a smaller city but it is steep in culture and tradition.

Vang Vieng was another little city that I visited in Laos. A pretty city with lovely mountain ranges and the Nam Song River giving I is picturesque scenic look. The city itself is full of foreigners looking for a good time, with a range of bars and clubs that keeps the party going all night.

Golden Palace

Golden Palace, Vientiane, Laos

Blue Lagoon

The blue Lagoon in Vang Vieng, Laos.

 

Bangkok, Thailand

Another one night transit stay and another tease. Not too far away from Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, I stayed at the Thong Ta Resort, perfect for transit stay. In the brief visit, I explored the streets of Bangkok, wandered through some markets and tasted some delicious food from the streets of Thailand.

artwork of Thong Ta

Great artwork at the Thong Ta resort in Bangkok.

 

What’s next in 2017?

Right now, the second half of 2017 is a little low key, but that’s what I initially thought of the first of 2017 when in planning. As of this stage, travel plans for the rest of the year are planned around the great state of Western Australia and another trip to Thailand where I will visit Phuket and Khao Lak. Stay tuned for some great travel stories to come and who knows where I will land next.

Six countries

Six countries in Six months

About Your fair Dinkum Traveller

Anthony Jury

Anthony Jury

Your Aussie - Asia Adventure
G'day mate, it's your Fair Dinkum traveller who ventures into Asia and around Australia. Stay tuned for epic destinations, great tips and awesome travel stories.Read more...

The Four Islands Mekong Day Tour – Vietnam

The Four Islands Mekong Day Tour – Vietnam

When time is not on your side to take a lengthy trip down to the Mekong Delta and the famous floating Markets. The Four Island Mekong Tour is the next best option, it’s a great day out and within close vicinity to Ho Chi Minh City.

In a single day, you can cruise the mighty Mekong River, marvel at the four Islands (although you don’t stop at them all) and divulge in some Vietnamese Food. It’s a hectic trip done in around 10 hours and one that must be considered for all travellers who venture into Southern Vietnam.

Four Islands Mekong, Vietnam.

Get ready for an action packed Four Islands Mekong Tour.

 

Booking a tour

Booking a tour to the Four Islands Mekong can be found in most travel agencies on the streets of Ho Chi Minh City, especially the row of agencies near the Ben Thanh Market. For an affordable price you can have a fulfilled tour with lunch included.

Four Islands Mekong

Exploring the Four Islands Mekong with the family.

 

The Guide

The guide almost makes the trip, that is not an understatement. Great English, good sense of humour and very informative about the Mekong River and the 4-islands. Of course, which guide you get depends on which group you end up with on any given day. But I hear most go that extra effort to entertain their guest.

The guide of Four Islands Mekong

The guide is a hoot.

 

 

The Tour Rest Stop

After an hour on the manic bus drive, you stop for a rest at the Tour Rest Stop, specifically created for tour goers. A gorgeous area, with tropical style café’s and a lush garden with a fantastic water feature. You will want to get your camera out at this stop as there are pictures to be taken.

Tour Rest Stop, Vietnam

The Tour Rest Stop.

 

Tour Rest Stop, Vietnam.

The Cafe at Tour Rest Stop.

 

 

Ving Trang Pagoda Buddhist Temple

Another day, another large Budai. The Ving Trang Pagoda is one of many great Buddhist Temples that can be seen in Vietnam, or Southeast Asia for that matter. The Ving Trang Pagoda is no exception, with the State of Budai the main attraction amongst other popular statures.

Ving Trang Buddhist temple is on the Southern side of Ho Chi Minh City and is seen of the tour before reaching the boats. Take some pictures and marvel and the fine structures that Vietnam do so well, you can also do a little shopping at the nearby markets.

Ving Trang Pagoda

State of Budai at Ving Trang Pagoda, Vietnam.

 

Ving Trang Pagoda

Ving Trang Pagoda

 

 

Cruising the Mekong River

Cruising the Mighty Mekong River, that begins in the Himalayas and makes its way through Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, before finishing in Vietnam, is an experience just to be in its vicinity of the famous river in Southeast Asia.

The crocodile filled section of the river around the Four Islands Mekong may not have the most gorgeous scenery, the mucky waters and the commercial boats can be a little off putting. Look past it and admire the Mekong for what it is. Just don’t jump in.

Mekong River, Vietnam

Cruising the Mekong River.

 

Mekong River, Vietnam

Not the cleanest part of the river as you can see by the banks.

 

 

Coconut Candy

Check out the locals make their coconut candy without the luxuries of a factory is quite fascinating. From shredding the coconut into powder, to the mixing and the packaging. It is a detailed process with mainly female workers involved and they work quick and get the job done.

On the coconut candy itself, it’s okay, but they are cheap and why not reward those hard-working girls by purchasing a pack or six. They could make great gifts for any relative back home who love their candy.

Making candy, Vietnam.

Busy at work making candy on Unicorn Island.

 

Unicorn Island

Unicorn Island is where most of the tour activities take place. From making and trying their honey tea, to pictures with a python and the unfortunate horse and carriage ride (you don’t have to ride), the activities begin to add up in quick time.

A highlight of the day is local villagers taking the group on a canoe ride through the canals, which is surrounded by many palm trees and local housing, creating a welcome shade from the heat.

The canoe ride, while more than enjoyable, can get a little annoying when the villagers start spending more time begging for a tip, than letting their guest enjoy the experience.

Unicor Island, Vietnam

Canoe the canals on Unicorn Island, Vietnam.

 

The snake handler

The snake handler.

 

Food of the Tour

A basic lunch is served to the group on Tortoise Island. On this day, the group had marinated pork with rice and vegetables. You can purchase extra food and drinks at your own expense.

After lunch, you get a good hour to wander Tortoise Island, where resting crocodiles can be seen caged in large numbers, a few market places that sell local souvenirs and the best part is the hammocks, which gets a good workout with a few of the group getting a bit of a shut eye after a feed.

Toroise Island on the Mekong

Tortoise Island on the Mekong River.

Four Islands Mekong

Resting on the hammocks at Four Islands Mekong.

 

Fruit tour and a Vietnamese concert

A bit of fruit with some tea was the last on the list in the Four Islands Mekong tour. You are treated to a marvellous performance of Vietnamese music by the locals, the show runs for about fifteen minutes and has a variety of artist performing.

The enjoyable performance, contains a few basic instruments, their amazing soothing voices and beautiful women dressed in their traditional dress. It is a fantastic cultural experience to end a day, before heading back home.

Need accommodation in Ho Chi Minh City? Check out TripAdvisor.

 

 

About Your fair Dinkum Traveller

Anthony Jury

Anthony Jury

Your Aussie - Asia Adventure
G'day mate, it's your Fair Dinkum traveller who ventures into Asia and around Australia. Stay tuned for epic destinations, great tips and awesome travel stories.Read more...
Booking.com
Booking.com