Sunday, September 11, 2016

Vietnam Adventures--2002

Vietnam was the last country in our Wilderness Travel adventure through Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam in Spring 2002.  We started in Hanoi, a thousand year old city that lies on the banks of the Red River and still retains much of its French colonial atmosphere. 

We visited Ho Chi Minh’s residence, tomb and surrounding grounds.  

We wended our way through the heavy traffic to visit the Turtle Shrine, the Chinese Shrine, the War Museum, and the Centrale Maison, better known as the Hanoi Hilton.  American fighter pilots, such as Senator John McCain, were held prisoners.  But for the Vietnamese it is a cruel reminder of the harsh treatment they suffered under French rule.

We toured the Old Quarters where you will see some of the stores in the video such as the lacquer stores, the metal works and basket shops.  We attended the famous Hanoi Water Puppet show, which also featured some wonderful music
Under a light rain in Hue, we toured the Citadel.  This was Vietnam’s political capital from 1802 to 1945 under the reign of 13 emperors of the Nguyen Dynasty, and was also the site of some of the bloodiest battles in the 1968 Tet Offensive. 

We also enjoyed a wonderful walk through the Hue market, which had everything imaginable for sale.  

We took a boat cruise down the Perfume River past boat villages and workers dredging sand from the river bottom until we arrived at the Thien Mu Pagoda.


We met the monk that tends all of the beautiful gardens, which include many bonsai trees and displays.  There was also a display of the car the monk, Tich Quang Duc, used to drive to Saigon to protest the Diem’s regime’s repression of Buddhists in 1963. 

Our group is posing with the monk in the garden he tends.


We visited the Luong Kheim Temple and the Khai Din Tomb while in Hue.


I released these captured birds to gain merit---also to provide the vendor with some income--another form of gaining merit.

Visitors to the tomb can dress up as royalty for the moment. 

Some of us went to a snake restaurant where we “played” with our food before eating it.  One of our travelers had the “honor” of drinking a shot of blood rice whiskey along with the still beating heart of the cobra.  

We were served up a four course meal of the entire snake which included cracklings, mint spiced ground snake meat, steamed, spring rolls, a casserole of liver, stomach, and intestines washed down with the blood rice whiskey. 

From Hue to Danang and Hoi An we saw fishermen, the Cham Museum, China Beach, and the Marble Mountains. 

Some things are still done the old ways.  Fishermen are hauling shrimp to market.

The Amazing Race featured these round boats in one of their challenges.

Marble Mountain has a sanctuary and was also used by the Viet Kong to shoot down aircraft leaving the Danang airport nearby.  It also served as their hospital.

Our visit to Hoi An included a tour of a factory that grew and harvested silkworms, made silk and then sold the silk clothing and artwork.  We also visited many other arts and crafts shops as well. 

Some of our group purchased clothing at this silk factory where they would fit you in the morning, by noon you would try on what they had made and then the final finished clothing was done by dinner.

They are making embroidered art panels at this factory.

We saw the launch of a boat and then further down the river we watched a fisherman catch fish with suspension nets.

The Thu Bon River is the primary way for many people to get to Hoi An and the riverside market.  Notice the eyes painted on the front of the boats which are suppose to chase away evil spirits.

The Japanese Bridge is nearby and was built in 1593 to connect the Japanese trading community with the Chinese.  Here is a view from the bridge to the river.

Quang Cong Temple was built and named after a famous general in 1653.  

An early morning flight brought us to bustling Ho Chi Minh City.  

We visited the Reunification Palace and toured a lacquer factory that sold some beautiful furniture and accessories. 

The following day was a trip out to the countryside and to some of the Cu Chi tunnel network.

I try out one of the tunnels, but several of the entrances were too small to fit into because my hips were too large.

Nearby this woman was making some of those transparent rice rolls for our snack.

Trip Cost
The total cost for this Indochine trip to Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam was $5,200 for an average daily cost of $173 per day, and excluding airfare the average daily cost was $144.

The air costs were 60,000 United Frequent Flyer miles for business class round trip international flights from Seattle to Bangkok, Thailand and $770 for flights in Asia.

The land costs were $4,335 for accommodations, meals, tour guide services, sight seeing and entrance fees, surface transportation, and airport transfers and baggage handling.

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