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Category: Vietnam

Trip to Vietnam 2015.

Vietnamese Water Opera

Vietnamese Water Opera

Or water puppets, as they call them.

First developed from bored peasants in the paddy fields of north Vietnam, this is one of the unique attractions you might find in Hanoi.

The main stage is locate by the north corner of Hoan Kiem lake.

Showings start at 3pm, so there is no point in showing up any earlier.

Chinese Hot Water

Chinese Hot Water

The Chinese firmly believe in hot water, or at least warm water. I’m not a great fan. I prefer mine chilled. Thankfully.

Visa for travel?

Looks like the woman at the Chinese embassy didn’t know what she was talking about and I actually DON’T have a valid visa for China.

Luckily, I’m one of those people that doesn’t believe what he’s told, and rather than chance it at the border, I decided to call it a day in SE Asia.

Leaving of Hanoi

Had a good look around this city. Seems a cool place – in many ways, not least because the weather was about 11 °C.

Pork dumplings
Vietnamese street food – Dumplings and egg

I took some photo’s and mooched the streets.

On many days it was raining, at least in the afternoon.

There are many places to eat in Hanoi. Perhaps too many.

Vietnamese Street Food
Vietnamese Street Food – Sausages and other offal

Shopping is also good. There are many nick-nacks to be had. Prices are cheap, bargains can be struck and there is an abundance of other shops to try if the price doesn’t suit.

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Hanoi – Visa extension

Hanoi – Visa extension

Turns out some of my calculations with regard to Visa extensions were incorrect.

It’s now No Longer Possible to get a 1-month extension without paying $100+. You can get a 7day extension for $50.

This has come as a surprise, and changed my plans –

I took a visit to the Chinese embassy this morning, to check things out there. They told me I still had a valid Visa for travel to China.

Having spoken to the agencies, I’m not totally optimistic that I’ll be able to find a job there AND sort things out within 30 days.

Alba Hot Springs/Thuan An Beach

Alba Hot Springs/Thuan An Beach

Got another motorbike for $4 and headed to Alba Hot Springs. These are located in Thahn Tan, 20km or so outside Hue – and made an interesting distraction for the day.

Alba Hot Springs - Hue
Thahn Tan Hot Springs

The road down there is particularly nice, and un-congested by Vietnamese standards.

When you get there, you can put your feet up and soak in amongst the hot water. There some cool springs and some hot springs – 5 pools in all in the complex I visited.

I jumped from the cold to the hot, this lasted about 40 mins. They recommend you don’t do any more than 45. I managed to stay in for stints of 10 minutes max.

I had an ice-cream, took a walk around the complex. There was a little park at the perimeter with pigs and deer – Vietnamese pot bellied pigs.

There are many other things to do in the park and apparently, the Vietnamese tourist board is trying to make it more attractive to tourists by reducing the prices.

It was 100,000 VND when I went or 170,000 if you wanted to pay for the luxury enclosure.

Thuan An Beach

The rest of the day, I spent looking around the beach. This was less spectacular, but I had some juice in the tank. I took this picture of a view over the bay.

Thanh Lam Lagoon
Thanh Lam Lagoon

Not actually the bay, but the view back – it’s a series of lagoons formed by the fisher people using the sand and the water from the rivers flowing toward the sea to create lagoons to farm fish and crustaceans.

Bus to Hanoi

Tonight I’m catching the bus to Hanoi, where I will renew my VISA and get out pronto.

Bus departs at 9.30pm so I’ve got some time to hang around.

Will have dinner, then go, I guess. My kidney is still dodgy. Still drinking plenty of water.

Hue tour

Hue tour

Today took the $8 tour of Hue, as suggested by my hotel.

This took in 5 paid for sites, 2 free sites and a cruise down the perfume river.

The day started at 7.30am with a little breakfast, scrambled egg and a cup of tea.

The pink bus is calling us…

Shortly after 8am, a pink bus pulled up outside the hotel and beeped it’s horn. Looked something like this.

Pink Bus

We were paying $8 for the tour, but the entrance fees work out a lot more.

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Ho Chi Minh to Huế

Ho Chi Minh to Huế

Spent 21 hours or so on the bus. Next to a crazy woman as it happens. She was about 60 odd – but mentally, like a puppy.

I offered her some of my drink, which she pinched off me and drank. So I offered her another one. And she drank that.

She then proceeded to start depositing money in my seat-back wallet which added up to a few dollars. No particular reason, just better there, I guess.

As we got going, she kept looking into my eyes, she was staring over at me and trying to play with the hairs on my arms muttering strange inanities, with wide eyes and an expectation that it was making some sense to me.

Sometimes, when I said the words back to her, this was very funny. Hilarious in fact.

I wondered what she was actually saying, because she seemed to make most other people laugh, the driver and the service station staff. And whether we would find her funny in England.

Not sure that we would.

So I soaked up some of this novel humor.


As we were coming out of Ho Chi Minh, the bus driver had a collision. Someone pulled out on him and he moved into the side of another vehicle.

After a while, this vehicle caught us up, and the two parties had a debacle on the side of the road. The crazy lady slept through it, but woke up shortly after and started ranting and raving and singing songs.


When we stopped for dinner, one of the other bus riders told me it would be better to stay away from her as she probably wanted to ‘turn me over’ as I believe the phrase is.

I said I thought she was crazy and a little funny, but I wasn’t intending on doing anything ‘with’ her. He said he thought that would be a good idea and that Vietnam was mostly ‘safe’, but you could still need to be careful.