Our wonderful vacation in vietnam

Jan 27th, 2019, 05:49 PM
  #1  
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Our wonderful vacation in vietnam

They don't like top sheets in Vietnam. Something else. If you arrive just before tet the whole country is at the airport to meet you. Many, many people. Millions of people. If you're lucky your son and his girlfriend will be amongst them. And they will take you back to Saigon in a Grab Taxi, which is the vietnamese Lyft or Uber. You should put that app on your phone. But first you should unlock your phone so you can buy a sim card at the airport. Then put the app on your phone. Or maybe the order doesn't matter.

Vietnam is complicated but the food is really good.

And you can use Grab to order a motorcycle to take you places which is incredibly fun. Grab motorcycle drivers have green helmets. But the car is better for the ride from the airport. The best thing would be to have one of your kids who's tall and has red hair meet you at the airport.

We stayed at an Airbnb at the Rivergate Residence to be near aforementioned kid but a hotel would be nice too. You could stay at the Rex where daily press briefings were held in the rooftop bar to report progress in the war (five o'clock follies). Other hotels would be cheaper.

The first several days in Saigon we got a massage (temple leaf), ate wonderful seafood outdoors on a foodie street (vinh kinh street, see internet guide Vietnam Coracle), toured the reunification palace where north vietnamese tanks broke through the gates ending the war over 40 years ago, ate lunch at the propaganda restaurant and bought some napkins, looked inside the old post office building, shopped, took Grab taxis and motorcycles, picked up our younger son and his girlfriend at the airport and two other couples who traveled with us, went swimming in the apartment pool, had dinner on a pavilion over the water (van thanh), had dim sum breakfast in China town (tien phat), drinks at the Rex, saw the Saigon art museum, learned how to cross streets filled with millions of motorbikes, had eggs over noodles every morning for breakfast (Express Cafe), had drinks in a brewery (pasteur street brewing), had coffee on the walking street in a building filled with coffee shops, saw a little girl try to catch a butterfly in a pagoda, had dinner at a beautiful big restaurant (Ngon restaurant), and listened to Vietnam beat Jordan in soccer.

People in Vietnam are big soccer fans.

On Monday January 21st we rented a van for the 10 of us and headed to the Mekong Delta. After 3 hours we stopped for lunch at a nature refuge near Can Tho, and then another 3 hours to chau doc and the victoria nui sam, a beautiful hotel on a sacred mountain.

We went to a wonderful bird refuge (tra su cajuput forest) where we had boats and lunch and a nap (water reflection shimmering on the thatch ceiling).

January 23 we're off to phu quoc island. Van, then ferry. One hour 15 minutes. Taxi to chez carole hotel. Beautiful beach. Tv and hammock missing from my room but I dont let a little thing like that bother me. Children and I take motorbikes to other beaches. We have dinner at a restaurant over the river, listen to karaoke, and watch Vietnam lose to Japan. 1-0. Good breakfast buffet at Chez Carole. DW, kids and I do more motorbike exploring. Do spreadsheet of expenses because two other couples leaving. Doing a spreadsheet on a phone is annoying. Writing a trip report on a phone isn't that easy either. Perhaps you feel the same way about reading the trip report.

Anyway, after 3 nights left we flew to saigon where our four friends left us, and we flew on to Da Lat, a town in the mountains where there's a lake and French villas and a waterfall and a cool rollercoaster bobsled thing that's really fun. Driving rented motorbikes here has been really fun and not fatal yet. The roundabouts are tricky.

Older son got a dog bite so he's had to go off this morning and get tetanus shots. That's the story where we are now.

Tomorrow we go to mui ne on the coast where there are big sand dunes.

Stay tuned, gentle reader.
santamonica is offline  
Jan 28th, 2019, 12:01 AM
  #2  
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Rabies shots.
santamonica is offline  
Jan 28th, 2019, 06:13 AM
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Wow, sorry about the dog bite! Otherwise sounds like a good trip. Have been to Vietnam three times, but never made it to Phu Quoc (I don't care much for beaches) or Dalat (would be interested to read more about Dalat).
thursdaysd is offline  
Jan 29th, 2019, 06:55 AM
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I'm sorry I can't be more helpful about da lat. The Vietnam coracle guide talks about the city and surrounding area. Our group had 4 20 somethings. We enjoyed a roller coaster ride at the waterfall, outings to very popular local pizza on rice paper crusts, barbecue and hot pot restaurants that seemed next to impossible to find, and long rides on rented motorbikes to coffee plantations. Our older son's vietnamese girlfriend is a great unofficial guide.

http://vietnamcoracle.com/dalat-where-to-eat-drink/
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Jan 30th, 2019, 01:49 PM
  #5  
dcd
 
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Great writing style, sm. Good info, too. Thanks. Haven't put Vietnam on The List, yet. Maybe that's about to change.
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Feb 2nd, 2019, 10:25 PM
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But wait, there's more. Did I mention the outdoor barbecue place in da lat, and the pizza place, and the roller coaster? Oh. And the last queen of vietnam's palace, up on a hill, a big yellow house with sitting rooms and seating for dinner frozen in time, a nice park, quiet. And the coffee shop. And the weasel coffee (they feed beans to weasels and collect, clean and roast the beans after being processed by the weasels. Nice.

after da lat we took a van for the six of us to mui ne which is on the east coast of Vietnam and has waves, wind, and kite boarders. We stayed at the snazzy victoria mui ne where we played volleyball (my sons refused to be bullied off the court by some Russians who played much better than we do), tennis, ate at Joe's, and body surfed.

then we took a train to saigon which took 5 hours. Then we had another massage at temple leaf spa, with steam sauna, dry sauna, and hot, medium and cold baths. $25. And I got a haircut from a guy on the street. $2.50. Really short. Then dinner with my girlfriends parents who dont speak English. But it was ok. You just say "yo" and smile and have a sip of beer.

this morning before our flight home I discovered I had lost my passport. An emergency passport from the consulate normally takes several days. My wife proceeded to her flight to our overnight in incheon. But this is tet. The consulate is closed for the week. BAD! But, miraculously my son and his girlfriend went to the train station and my passport had been turned in (it fell out of my cargo pants pockets). The day has been saved. Back to the airport.

now I'm waiting for a later flight and will join wife at the Howard johnsons near the incheon airport after all. I hope she doesn't leave me for somebody with better pockets.
santamonica is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2019, 10:29 PM
  #7  
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Oh, at mui ne we drove our rented motorbikes to the red dunes at sunset through a very strong wind. The dunes are very big and very pretty at sunset. Now I only have about 20 minutes to wait for my new flight to Seoul. All in all, life is good.
santamonica is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2019, 11:48 PM
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Wow, good save on the passport issue. Enjoyed your report
sartoric is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2019, 12:37 AM
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Enjoying the report, sm. We love Vietnam but as yet, haven't gone to the south so I appreciate the story and info.
CounterClifton is offline  
Feb 4th, 2019, 07:40 PM
  #10  
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Everything worked out ok. Clearly an example of grace, an undeserved blessing. Korea air rescheduled my flight for the afternoon (no change fee), I joined dw for a lovely take out dinner of noodles and beef at the Howard johnson hotel near the airport in incheon around 10pm, and we continued on the next morning to washington DC, where I am right now, counting my blessings, but well aware that something can go wrong at any moment.
santamonica is offline  
Feb 5th, 2019, 05:54 AM
  #11  
 
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Really enjoyed your report santamonica. Glad you had such a wonderful time.
jerseysusan is offline  
Feb 19th, 2019, 09:38 AM
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Thanks for taking the time to do a TR, santa! OMG so glad your passport was turned in--was your new haircut too short to look like you? LOL. Eeeeeew to weasel coffee. Please say hey to Mrs. santa.
TDudette is offline  
Feb 20th, 2019, 08:25 AM
  #13  
 
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IMO, it is still a bit rushed in Mekong Delta (Less is more).
DinHo is offline  
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