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Experiences with travel

My recommendations for Saigon

19:35, 21/9/2012 .. 0 comments .. 1 trackbacks .. Link
If you are in Saigon, almost every tourist attraction is on walk distance or you can rent a motobike. The one i rented was very good, no trouble at all. At the Motorbike For Service 219 Pham Ngu Lao Only 100.000 Vnd (or $ 5) for 24 hours, everywhere in the city you`ll find monitored parking places for the motobike. Doesn`t cost a thing Other places to visit: War museum Vo Van Tran Notre Dame Cathedral/ Big Postoffice Hai Ba Trung Independence Palace Huyen Tran Cong Chua Opera House (in the evening it is enlightened) Dong Khoi Ben Thanh Market (also in the evening open) Le Loi Water Puppet Show Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Zoo Nguyen Binh Khiem On many sites where they give information about South-Vietnam there`s a entire list of vaccinations you have to have, but you don`t need malaria pills because they don`t have malaria in South-Vietnam. We didn`t take and pills or injections, it cost you a lot of money and if you are careful you won`t get sick. Buy water, don`t buy fruit from stands or if you do wash the fruit very good, be careful with eating an icecream or milkshake. And make sure the meat you eat is really well done. If you take these precautions nothing will happen to you and you won`t get sick.

Experiences with travel 3) Vietnam

18:23, 21/9/2012 .. 0 comments .. 0 trackbacks .. Link
That sunday we rented a motobike (scooter) at Motorbike For Rent at Pham Ngu Lao, that is so cheap 24hours for only $5 and went off to see more of the districts. Monday we went to another hotel Viet Dream Travel, bigger rooms/seperate beds/t.v./airco/shower hot & cold water and a big closet for the clothes for $12 a night. And we had a balcony which was very nice. Later on we went with a friend to the Cu Chi Tunnels (something you may not miss) stood up at 6.30 and went by public bus to Cu Chi and arrived there at 10.30pm. After a walk we went to the VC-traps and they are scary, three other vietnamese people joined us and we went through a small VC-corridor.They other three went away and the three of us went to the real tunnels but we had to wait for a guide because some parts are still dangerous. He showed us some more traps and then we could enter the real tunnels. These tunnels where inside very very hot and you couldn`t see anything you had to crawl on hands and knees, there where also bats, in the first tunnel my friend and i crouched under the bats butmy son didn`t and he had one against his head. In those tunnels they did everything they had meetings/schools/hospital and "bedrooms", we turned our flashlight on from our phones and sat down for a while, we crawled about 25/30meter before we went up. When we left the tunnels it was cold outside because in the tunnels it was so hot. I like hot but my son melted almost. The people who worked there offerd us guerilla food which was very nice, some kind potato with a mix of nuts. Very yummie !! She showed us the temple which was very impressive and my son shot on a target (that is also one thing you can do). Back by public bus and we were home (at the hotel) at 6.00pm.

Experiences with travel 5) Vietnam

18:18, 21/9/2012 .. 0 comments .. 4 trackbacks .. Link
After more then two months in South-Vietnam i can tell you, just rent a motobike go your own way, that`s the way you see the most of this beautiful country. Go to districts they never tell you about, you will see much more and experience the real Vietnam. You have to bargain very good, otherwise you pay way to much, we bought Vietnamese hads for $0,50 but we saw other tourists pay $8. (But i can bargain very well, if i may say so :-) ) I never got ripped off, and paid the same prices as vietnamese people did. Even when i took a motobike- taxi i had to pay the same price as everyone else about 10.000 Vnd (€ 0.50, $0.65) for several kilometers. But the time had come that we had to leave, so to the airport on our way to Guangzhou, we left around 15.15 and arrived at Guangzhou at 7pm (chinese time) and there started all again, all the passports controls, empty all our handluggage, body search and deliver all our souveniers. Yes they were gone :-( their english was even worse than on our way too Saigon and they never heard the word friendly. Worst of all we had too wait in Guangzhou for 15 hours yes you read it correct. So what do you do?, just walking around, played some shuttle cock outside and surdging for a good place to sleep on. And we found that, it was nice and quite there so i went to sleep. My son couldn`t sleep and walked around, sit and doing nothing. The next morning at 8am we could start boarding, i felt broken but we took off at 10.00am for a long flight to Beijing, finally there is was done within an hour and we could go back to the plane. At 14.30pm we left Beijing on our way to Amsterdam. Worst of all is that i (and my son) didn`t want to leave Saigon we had such a great time there and back in the airplane i felt terrible, back to The Netherlands the worst thing i could think of. After a very long flight we landed around 8.30pm in Amsterdam, back to reality, in a cold depressive country, where no one eat on the street, no one plays sports in the park in the evening, and no one walks around with a smile.

Experiences with travel 2) Vietnam

17:55, 21/9/2012 .. 0 comments .. 0 trackbacks .. Link
The next day we went to the park and it started to rain (monsoon) so we found a shelter, two girls started to talking to us and when the rain stopped the four of us went to the Ben Tanh Market. This is a place filled with tourists and it`s very very crowded. So we left very fast, back in the park we met other students and exchanged phone numbers. To use your mobile phone (with vietnamese number) is so cheap specially with Mobi phone. In the evening we ate at Pro-Kebeb very nive. Few days later a girlfriend of us came with her boyfriend and showed us around Saigon, we went to the Diamond Plaza (were the rich vietnamese/western people buy) and went bowling, that was fun. After bowling we went to another park in district seven (the rich district) that was so beautiful and just relaxed there. At 10pm we came back at the hotel, so we went for a walk through the park and we saw so many rats (size Chihuahua) but you get used to that. The next day we all went to the Reunification Palace or Independence Palace it was oké for once not for a second time. After a good night sleep the builders next to the hotel started with jack hamers at 7 in the morning, so bye bye sleep. On Tuesday my son and i went by public bus to Binh Tanh Market (Chinatown), but we didn`t like it so much there, just walked around and went back. In the bus all the people where looking at us, because two tourists who take the public bus is rare. We wanted to go to the big postoffice (near Notre Dame Cathedral) but along the way we ran into some skaters, so we stopt and start talking with them. By the time we were finished the postoffice was closed. On one day we were getting a bit bored so we took just a bus and it went to district 8, it was very clean and quiet there. We walked around drunk something and just relaxed the people where very nice, friendly. I had to go to the bathroom so badly so i saw some people standing in front of their house and i ask if i could use the bathroom, first they didn`t understand me but their daughter did and it was oké. Which i think that is so incredible kind of them, they had caught some salamanders to eat, but the man warned us that they could bite very hard. This conversation was done with hands and a bit english and our vietnamese but we could understand eachother.

Experiences with travel 4) Vietnam

17:43, 21/9/2012 .. 0 comments .. 2 trackbacks .. Link
Later on our holiday my son found out that the vietnamese were playing shuttle cock in the park so we went to the park in the evening and everfbody was playing it. So my son joined in and it went well. It was very nice to watch. We also went to the swimming pool with a friend of us, and again they were looking at us like "Huh tourists, here?" but it was fun. There was a big difference between our swimming skills and theirs, though my son or i are not professional swimmers we could still beat them easily. Which is a pity (i think so) if they have better trainers they would have a change in the world, but the training was bad i could have done better. And ofcourse we are privileged here in The Netherlands, because we have to learn how to swim at the age of four, but oké we have a lot of water everywhere you go you will see water. A few days later we went to the Mekong Delta, that was fun with a boat over the Mekong river it was beautiful and calm. On one of the islands they sold candy which was delicious. We also went to Monkey island with three other people, but the monkeys were not nice at all, in one word scary, just walked around and saw crocodiles. They had have build a bridge over the water and beneath us where the crocs. I though it was a bit scary because the crocs where looking up like "Hmm yummie" so i went off the bridge very fast. After we left we went to a resort and could swim and had a fantastic meal Monkey Island was $ 25 p.p.but it is from UNESCO and there is so much flora & fauna. Later in our holiday we went to Mui Ne, beautiful beach but the trip takes more than 4 hours by bus to get there. And it`s getting dark quite fast so the time you can spend on the beach is minimal, that was the down site and you have to wait for the bus back to Saigon. That`s the worst part because that bus will pick you up around 2am and there is nothing you can do in Mui Ne, it`s just one street and that`s it. The best thing you can do is stay there for the night and take the bus the next day. We were sitting in the nightbus back to Saigon but i couldn`t sleep and saw how they were driving, on a two lane road. Two busses on one site of the road and two on the other site that`s the reason i didn`t slept, i still wonder that we made it back safe to Saigon it was madness.

Experiences with travel 1) Vietnam

16:40, 20/9/2012 .. Posted in Trip to South-Asia .. 0 comments .. 1 trackbacks .. Link
When it was my son`s birthday he could choose, a scooter or a trip to South-Asia, he choose the trip. So after a long preperation we went the end of June 2011 to South Vietnam with China Southern Airlines. The plane would leave at 20.55 but we where already at Schiphol, Amsterdam at 13.30 so we just had to wait. Finally at 20.10 the boarding began, through security and into the plane, where our holiday instead begun, we where welcomed with "Ni hao" so the feeling of going to South-East Asia was there already.We took off pretty fast and once in the air they started straight away with dinner (chinese). The food was very good and a few hours later we could sleep, so i slept but my son didn`t he was playing games and watching movies. We had a very good flight, the stewardesses where very kind but couldn`t speak english that well but we didn`t care. With two hours left to fly we had breakfast, in the mean time we had already eaten and drinks where served often. The night was very short because we where going to Asia it lasted only two hours so that was a short night. We landed in Beijing around 12.40 (CET + 6 hours) went into a bus who brought us to the customs because we were all transitters. The customs were easy, stamp into our passport and off we went to a little place where we had to wait. A lady from the customs apologized for the delay, they were very kind in Beijing. Finally at 14.30 we went into the bus and back to the same airplane, for another flight of three hours to Guangzhou. Just into the air we had another meal, couldn`t eat it anymore so much food we had have. And there was a lot of turbulence on our way to Guangzhou. But arrived in Guangzhou it was a whole different story, we had to check in for the flight to Saigon but no one could tell us where we had to check in and their english was very bad. Finally we had found the check in, then customs (Tip: Keep your passport in your hand, you have to show it many times) total check and 100 meters further another check. They weren`t nice or friendly and it all looked very unprofessional, my son had to take his shoes off, they went through the scanner we went through the portal. And his shoes back and another check from customs. Finally we where ready, so we had to wait for the next airplane to Saigon it would take us three hours, at last the plane was there and back on the bus to the plane on our way to Saigon (so we thought). We all checked in and all on board we couldn`t leave because the plane had technical problems (i don`t like that, can be everything :-( ) and we had to wait on the plane for 1 1/2 hour. My son finally slept because he didn`t sleep from the time we left Amsterdam `till now, at least we took off, my son woke up and didn`t sleep for the whole flight. It is a four hour flight to Saigon and again we were eating but i was stuffed. And around 00.45 we arrived in Saigon, the weather was humid and it was very busy at the airport so all we had to do is wait for our bags get a stamp and we could go. We had arranged a pick up from the airport to the hotel so the man who was picking us up was waiting there already for two hours. So we drove to the hotel, just 15/20 minutes ride and we finally arrived in Saigon at our hotel.The Thien Hong Hotel, very nice people, shower with cold and hot water/t.v./airco/ seperate beds and a small closet for the clothes. We went straight away to bed, my son was broken because he only slept for 1/2 hour since Amsterdam and we arrived in Saigon the next day at 00.45. Later we found out that there where cheaper hotels but we were glad that we could sleep right away. The pick-up was $12 and the room was $18 at the The Thien Hong Hotel, Pham Ngu Lao 241/34. The next day we changed some money in another hotel and went around the neighborhood and searching for a supermarket which we found.

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