Friday, 22 February 2013

Thank you for sharing my tour

When I retired in 2006 I pronounced “I don’t want to travel any more”.

Then I thought about it, and wondered why I had made such a silly pronouncement, potentially limiting my choices. (Maybe it’s because I am wont to making pronouncements!)

I have traveled

In recent years I have been to Ecuador, to Australia and to Vietnam.   I am amongst the most fortunate people in the world to have the inclination, the freedom,  and the resources for such adventures.


And I have fulfilled my dream of visiting the five major land continents: Europe, Asia, North America, South America and Australia.

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My visit to Vietnam was indeed a wonderful adventure.  I have memories stored up for years to come.

I will remember:

1. The grim air pollution in the cities; and trash everywhere in the small towns, villages and countryside.

2. The clear cutting of forests, and the resultant degradation of the land, and landslides.

3. The ubiquity of mobile phones, motor bikes, scooters and mopeds.

4. The youth.  Vietnam is a young country.

5. “Business”: The business of Vietnam is business.

(a)  In my HCMC Hotel there were only two English language stations (apart from sports channels) - they were an American business channel (CNBC) and a Pan-Asian business channel.

(b) In Da Nang I met a Malay man (of Indian ancestry) who was in Vietnam to set up a factory for Malay owned hi-tech company.

(c)   I met another Indian man who was selling Indian made furniture to the hug resort complexes.

(d) Every bit of vacant land by the roadways seems to be occupied by budding young Vietnamese entrepreneurs, selling everything “from ships to nuts”.

(e)  There are so many banks from so many countries in Hanoi and HCMC.

6. The odd moments:

(a) Discovering that I was flying from HCMC to Bangkok, but to the wrong airport.

(b) Taking a good wake-up shower in my hotel in Bangkok, only to find that there were no towels in the room.

(c) Being reunited with a jacket I had left in the business lounge at the Tokyo airport, only to be reunited with it two weeks later (Japanese efficiency eh?)

7. The sheer beauty of my favourite places. What a joy it was to be in Halong Bay; in the lovely mountain scenery of Sa Pa; and in the intriguing Mekong Delta.

8. Nor will I long forget the interesting home stay in the village of Suoi Thali, and the tender care of my local guide Sinh for who I was a grandfather figure (he guessed my age as 74!).

9. Despite the noise and bustle I would have liked to have more time in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

10. I could have forgone the visits to the ruined Hindu temples, to the Great Cao Dai Temple, and to the silk factory.


I’d love to return to Vietnam. There is so much more to see and appreciate than could happen in eleven days.

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I could not have enjoyed this adventure without the services of Origin Vietnam and Mr. Ruby in Hanoi. I recommend them without reserve.

I had a concierge holiday at budget prices.

6 hotel nights, two nights in a sleeper train, one night in a village, one night on a junk.

Hotel day rooms (to rest, shower and eat breakfast in Sa Pa, and twice in Hanoi)

Two internal flights: Hanoi to Da Nang, and Da Nang to Ho Chi Minh City.

Drivers and tour guides in every place.

Most lunches.

All admissions, local fees etc.

ALL OF THE ABOVE FOR THE PRINCELY SUM OF $2,300.

You are a lucky man jmp!

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Thank you all for sharing my tour.  I have uploaded all my photo’s to my Flickr account.  I will let you know when I have labelled them.

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