Posts Tagged ‘Vietnam travel’

Vietnam travels – Hanoi

Posted by Martin Field on 10 May 2012 in Wine Travel

Old Quarter – Hanoi

A short flight with Vietnam Airlines takes us from Hue to Hanoi – the capital of Vietnam.

Compared to hot and steamy Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi in mid-February is cold, overcast and drizzly – one morning it gets down to 11 degrees C and we’re still cold, even wearing four layers of clothing. Other Australians in the Hanoi cold are identifiable by their outfits of shorts, T-shirts and thongs.

Our hotel is in the Old Quarter and the surrounding area is more crowded and has more dangerous traffic than Ho Chi Minh City – which is saying something. It is impossible to walk directly along any footpath or roadside due to myriad motorcycles and motor scooters.

Sweatshop counterfeits?

Wall-to-wall tiny shops line the footpaths, selling clothes, footwear, camping gear, electronics – you name it. There is no noticeable copyright law in Vietnam so many of them stock well-known brand name products, cheap. A local tells us the goods are often sourced from the same sweatshops that the big brand names use.

And there is even a relic of French colonialism as on the street corners old ladies sell baguettes by the dozen.

Fresh baguettes

In the shopping areas, it is surprising to see that Australia’s ANZ Bank supplies most of the ATMs. Read the rest of this entry

Vietnam – Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi – Part I

Posted by Martin Field on 16 March 2012 in Wine Travel

Early February 2012, we arrive in Ho Chi Minh City, a place we visited briefly in 2008.

Only 36 years have passed since the end of the Vietnam War, and, while we are not there as war tourists, we can’t ignore the evidence of that recent past.

For example, in the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City; in the nearby Cu Chi tunnels; in shops selling reproduction propaganda posters; in reafforestation projects still revegetating land recovering from Agent Orange defoliation.

Against that sombre background, we set out on a 10 day tour from hot and steamy Ho Chi Minh City (AKA Saigon), heading north to Hanoi.

8/2/12 – 9/2/12. Saigon is a mad house of traffic as usual.

At the Cu Chi Tunnels, some 40 km from Saigon, our Intrepid Travel guide, Son Le, (“Call me Sunny.”) tells us that a few of the passageways were widened – so that fat tourists can see where the Viet Cong lived and fought during the war.

Cu Chi tunnel entrance

I venture underground. The tunnel is narrow and as black as night. I have to stoop doubled over to proceed. Not normally claustrophobic, after about 10 metres I’m glad to get out. Read the rest of this entry