<<胡志明市 Ho Chi Minh city>>
<<美奈 Mui Ne>>
<<大叻 Da Lat>>
大叻有一個全國最古老的火車站,我們不止參觀了火車站,還坐了一趟火車到Trai Mat鎮,這個火車現時只剩這一段了,我想只有遊客會坐。火車到了 Trai Mat 逗留40分鐘就回程,在這時間,我們到訪靈褔寺,這寺廟絶對是出奇的漂亮,全寺是用玻璃和缸瓦片砌成的,艷麗非常。
<<芽莊 Nha Trang>>
我們的行程有點繞,我想其他計劃到芽莊的旅客會把美奈放棄掉,因為(也是到了才知道)芽莊的沙灘實在是太漂亮了!! 而且,長長的沙灘全是公眾的,酒店都建在大馬路的另一邊,旅客可以在沙灘上隨意走,如果想在太陽傘下躺一下,就光顧任何一家,每張沙灘椅收費HKD15,任坐,也可以帶食物飲品,沙灘上還有各式小販,想吃龍蝦也可以! 這讓享受一個下午,也很愉快,不過,亮說:只有我們沒有去過這種陽光海灘的旅遊點,其他香港人大概覺得這些很普通。
行程中我們會在一個點浮潛,當然不能跟大堡礁比較,但也算是有些珊瑚礁和魚可看看,也看到長得像水蛇般的海參和超級海星。午飯在船上安排好,船泊在漁排,如果想食海鮮,可自費,但價錢就有點坑遊客感覺了,我們這些港人食慣海鮮當然不上當。午飯過後船上的水手搖身一變成為boy band,最正斗的是用寫著 ”YAMAHA” 的兩個煲做的鼓!! 樂隊邀請各國旅客上台合唱,他們當然是準備了各國語言的一首名曲,和大家一起歡樂一番!!
讓大家的胃都休息了一下,船已開到沙灘邊,這時,水手帶頭,從船頂一躍下水,把大家都淋濕如落水雞….既然如此,大家也一湧以上,跳到水裡,水手會拋一個大水泡給你,躺在水泡上,享受floating bar!! 這可是我的第一次跳水啊!!! 感覺好爽!!
<<會安 Hoi An>>
第二天,我只有一個目的,就是要到Thanh Ha 陶藝村,這個村是某些到美山的團會途經之地,但絶對不是主要景點,但我又豈能放過(因為資料上說是可以試玩…),所有書都是互相抄襲的,但這一次估不到連google map的地點都點不對,幸好我們錯有錯着,誤打誤撞,再問一下路才找到村落。
Thanh Ha pottery village 的確是比較純樸,村內有約廿多戶,每戶都是一個家庭式陶藝工作坊,很多都歡迎旅客進內參觀。用的轉盤都是人手操作的,安裝在地上,由另一個人用腳轉動。在第一個工作坊,老太太熱情招待我,强迫我完成一件東東,弄得我哭笑不得。到了另一家,因為大家正在午飯,我自由地玩,自得其樂,爽得很。當然要多謝幫我踩轉盤的助手,才能讓我順利完成一件作品,過一過癮….不枉此行。
It’s been two weeks into the journey and I have not written any proper travel blog. These days, it feels like photos tell more and you simply lack the motivation to write. It’s a shame, I wish I can continue writing.
When I was travelling in SA for 11 weeks, I did not bring a laptop and wifi was not everywhere back then. I had to go to internet cafes every few days to update my blog. Nowadays, everyone has a smartphone and you have the whole world in your palm.
OK, let’s get back on track…
We started our trip from the South, from Ho Chi Minh city, travelled up North to Hoi An. Although we have no time limit, the visa only allows us to stay for 30 days. Spending 2 weeks up to Hoi An sounds about right. We will continue to head North and hope to finish up to Sapa in a total of 30 days. What’s next? not sure yet.
<<Ho Chi Minh city>>
The first burst of happiness when we arrived in HCMC is that we can now wear our summer clothes, I wanted to throw my jeans away immediately. Next, it is the Vietnamese cuisine that I have longed for! Every day, we picked a few places of interests to visit, we walk as much as we can and have never been on a taxi. After lunch, we went back for a nap as it was really too hot. We wondered out again around 3, 4 pm. We eat pho, spring roll, baguette and Vietnamese ca phe everyday. We even bought ca phe so we can make it whenever we like.
After HCMC, we went to a small beach town Mui Ne. Unless you go to the seafood places at night, Mui Ne is not touristic at all and everything is so cheap. The only downside is that the road to the beach are pretty much blocked by private resorts. But if you manage to find the alleys, you can still walk down to the beach which is open for public. Apart from beach, the red sand dunes and white sand dunes are special places in Mui Ne worth a visit. The white sand dunes are a long way so you will have to join a tour to go there. Although the sand dunes are pretty small, I am very attracted by the scenery esp. when wind blows.
All of a sudden, we went from a hot desert to the cool highland of Da Lat, a complete change of scenery – lakes and waterfalls. One thing about our trip is that we have not done much homework ahead. It came to our surprise that Da Lat is such a big town and full of people. Da Lat is in the high land, so, the weather is much cooler and spring like all year round. As such, it is a very popular destination for Vietnamese people. We arrived on a Saturday and the Da Lat market was so heat up with hawkers and food stalls. With the change of weather, we very much enjoyed the hot food and drinks!
The Da Lat train station is the oldest in Vietnam. We didn’t only visit the train station, we also took a ride to Trai Mat, which is the only section left in operation, only for tourists. The train stops for 40 min at Trai Mat and returns. We spent the 40 min seeing a very splendid temple, all the decorations in the temple are made out
of broken glasses and ceramics.
Our route is a bit unusual as most people who plan to be at Nha Trang would skip Mui Ne. We came to find out (when we arrived) that the beach at Nha Trang is so pretty!! The best thing is this long beach is all public, hotels are on the other side of the main road, and you can freely wonder along the beach. If you feel like having a seat on the beach under the shade, you can pay HKD15 and get a beach chair. You can bring your own food and drinks, and maybe choose to buy from hawkers on the beach. Well, if you want a lobster, you can! Spending an afternoon on the Nha Trang beach is so relaxing. But, Mat said this is so common for HK people to have beach vacation, it is only the two of us who will find this special….
The next day, we spent a day on a popular 4-island boat trip. It costs only USD 10 for a full day boat trip. Since we had to take a night bus, might as well spend the day on a boat trip.
During the trip, we have one snorkeling spot. You cannot compare this to the GBR, but it still have some nice coral reef and some fishes. We got to see some snake-long sea cucumbers and some huge star fishes. Lunch was included, but you can also order sea food from the floating seafood market. The prices are a rip off though. After lunch, the sailors turned themselves into a boy band. Haha, they used two cooking pans labelled “YAMAHA” as drums, it was so funny. They invited visitors from every country onto the stage to sing and dance with them. I am sure they have one song for each country which they can perform!
After your stomachs are settled, the boat already arrived at a beach. The sailors led by jumping from the boat deck into water, splashing everyone wet. The tourists followed and everyone jumped. You got a life buoy and enjoyed the floating bar! This was actually the first time I jump from this height into water, felt good!
At night, we took a night bus to Hoi An.
Hoi An is an ancient town, one of the oldest town with settlement in Vietnam. It was the biggest port of Vietnam until late 19s, when it was replaced by Da Nang. The town is truly old, buildings and hotels are the same. The weather here is hot and humid, we went to a few hotels and they all had this moldy smell. You need a room with good ventilation to get away with the smell but the moldy walls are everywhere, cannot hide.
The old town is too commercialized, and I do not find the houses very attractive neither, a bit disappointed to be honest. Without any kind of shopping in mind, we finished walking the old town in half a day. We arrived from a night bus, still pretty tired, and chose to take a nap to recover. At the evening, we wondered out again, the night in the old town actually feels better. The scene after lighting up is quite pretty, less heat and humidity, replaced by a bit of a breeze.
On the second day, I only have one mission to accomplish – to visit the Thanh Ha pottery village. Some tours to My Son will stop by the village but it is certainly not a popular spot for tourists. But I cannot have missed it because info indicated that tourists can try on the wheels. Google map got this place mapped wrongly, we only found it because of some luck and we have to ask around.
The Thanh Ha pottery village is indeed less touristic. There are about twenty family run pottery workshops in the village, they all welcome tourists to go in and look. They are all using manual throwing wheels mounted on the floor, have to be pushed by foot by another person. At the first workshop that I sit at the wheel, the old lady was being too helpful and forced me to get something done. At the next one, since everyone were at lunch, I got the wheel to myself and took my own time. I had the time to finish one pot on the manual wheel!! Thanks to my wheel boy, job very well done. This has made my day!
P.S. see the earlier blog entry for photo album sharing.