Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Day 4: 18th January 2009

This day comes quickly..so fast..3 days have passed..is time to depart for Singapore..I have an urge to continune my journey to Hue and Hoi An..to have missed these destinations is reallie a pity..I will also like to explore the northern mountains of Sapa and be mesmerized by the beauty at Halong Bay..and walk aimlessly on the beaches of Nha Trang and sand dunes of Mui Ne…haha..when will that be?

Beautiful sunrise on the last Day

Reached airport and had our breakfast over there.delicious meal!

Waiting to go onboard our flight back to Singapore.

Breathtaking view of the clouds

Cloud Rays

Nearing Singapore and its skyline

Finally, after a short 2h journey..we were back in Singapore. Saw Joel after a rather long time haha..feel that he has yet again grow taller liaoz..haha..in no time I think he will be taller than me hehe…Am go glad to have visited HCM at the beginning of 2009…thanks to the great company of Sharon and Kawei who have accompanied me during this wonderful journey..haha..so where’s my next destination?...

Most likely is Beijing or Australia in May…

How about Vietnam again? Hmm..one thing to say for definite..this will not be the last time im visiting Vietnam. It is just the beginning… =)

Day 3: 17th January 2009

Yet to mention, we always have problems dealing and calculating our currencies in Dong and USD..haha..an interesting observation is that all of us will come together, calculate how much we have left or spend…in terms of Dong and USD..and sometimes at the end of the day when we were already so drained..such money problems become extraordinary difficult problem sums for us to solve haha…stil rmb the confused looks and puzzles tones which we have while doing the counting..is cute and farnie haha..

Jason met us earlie today too at about 730am..Our 1st stop was Cao Dai temple. Realised it’s a fusion of many religions for this particular religion..the temple which we visited was unique.heard that there’s even a bigger one..a pity is that we didn’t have the chance to see how the service is carried out.I must say is a challenge to climb the steep stairs of the temple to reach to the top and have a bird’s eye view of the scenery ard the temple.but all is worthwhile when we finallie made it to the top and captured beautiful memories of the scenery!

Next, we departed for this rice fields. It’s our 1st time being in a rice padi field.seeing farmers in action on harvesting rice, the rice seeds, I must say planting rice is a tough job.Never waste rice! Totally require huge effort to reap harvest.

I wonder if anyone has memories of a Planting Rice song which sounds like this:

“Planting rice is never fun,
Bend from morning till evening.
Cannot stand and cannot sit.
Cannot rest for a little bit…”

This song will always come into my mind when I bypass rice fields or farming activities.

We came upon this Mekong Delta rest along the journey to the pier. It’s very beautifully designed with fruit trees and lotus flowers.

Propaganda along the way.

And then, we finally reach the pier to take the boat ride with Ms Mekong(I suspect this is not her real name haha)as our boat driver to bring us to her house for lunch!

Scenes at the pier where tourists buy hats!

The motorboat ride was spectacular with scenery that I never imagine myself having a chance to be in.

Along motorboat ride.

Is like a survivor journey which I only get to see in reality shows or travel shows.The beauty of Mekong Delta is captivating.With nature, with the sea, I cant reallie ask for more.The air is fresh too.I witness the simple housing which the villagers live in, their lifestyle, their mode of transport..

Motorboat ride where each of us have an experience of driving a motorboat

We also passed by the Floating Market. Jason got us a big watermelon which he purchased from one of the sellers at the Floating Market..It was totally juicy!

Floating Market

Watermelon Bite

We also had a stop over the place where coconut candies and rice paper and pop rice were made..very interesting to witness these processes.
Coconut candy

Pop rice and rice paper.

Finally, we reached Cai Be Mainland Market. A microscopic view to see what is sold in the market..the stye of doing business..saw many intriguing matters in the market..up close and personal..we liked this part of the trip a lot!

Buying bananas from an old lady.

Saloon in Caibe.

Little boy who keep saying hello and very excited to see us!

Us on ferry

The following sepia and black white pics depicts a very authentic village life in Vietnam..We are definitely lucky to have a chance to have lunch in an authentic setting of Vietnam..not restaurant..but in the house of Vietnamese. Thank you Jason for arranging such experience for us in this itinerary.

Sepia look

Thank you to Ms Mekong and her mother-in-law for preparing a sumptuous meal for us. The delicacies and fruits were overwhelming for us. We enjoyed ourselves very much during this journey and the warm hospitatlity that the hosts display. Although we duno how to communicate in Vietnamese with them and only know how to say Xin chao/ Chao/Cam on, the smiles which the hosts display brought great warmth and displayed an unspoken friendliness in them.Totally heartwarming experience which we had!

After this late lunch, we went back to the city for shopping again@ Saigon Square and Ben Thanh market. Totally deadbeat acuallie..haha at night, we met Jason again for a short night tour on a floating cruise which is like Jumbo restarant..can eat dinner..see performance..listen to songs..song dedication etc..


Night cruise


Day 2: 16th January 2009

Here are some snapshots of the water puppet show we visited the day before.

Next morning comes early as we wake up at about 7am for the adventure to be revealed.In Vietnam, the day seems to brighten up much earlier than in Singapore.At about 4 to 5, I can see the sun rays illuminating into our room.

A picture of the sunrise from the room.

We had breakfast at the Hotel,which is inclusive, before meeting Jason and the driver.The streets of HCM was packed by then with motorbikes and cars.We also saw many Vietnamese sitting along the streets on small little stools and enjoying their coffee.Kind of a culture for them as we see such scenes everywhere. Very relaxed indeed..

Street scenes in HCM.

Along the way, I estimate that in every 10km, cows can be seen! Be it a brown one, black, white one..you can see them grazing the grassland freely. I cant help but feel excited seeing these cows!haha…

Cow pic.

Our 1st stop was to this handicraft centre where crafts are made frm egg shell..it’s brilliant art that egg shells can be utilized in such manner, producing many interesting work.I kinda regret not getting the artpiece as seen in the pic below..now I can only enjoy a photograph taken of it hehe..

The artwork which I like a lot

People in action.

Handicrafts galore.

The next stop was to the ever-famouS Cuchi Tunnels..there seem to be many changes since Sharon’s last visit as heard..they got a walkway to the Cuchi tunnels..seem much cleaner too!And so, we started to explore under Jason’s guide, seeing different man-traps which the Vietnamese has brilliantly designed to escape from the Americans eyes.

Traps everywhere!

Tunnels so small..all for us to try whether we can squeeze in..I rmb the 1st tunnel which we attempted to move in was a nightmare..there were bats on one side and frogs on the other side, making us unable to move through that we have to come out!hehe..definitely a unforgettable experience..heard say the tunnels were actually widened to facilitate tourists to move through..Vietnamese are not really big-sized, rather small-sized I feel..no wonder they can climb through these tunnels!

Us with the bombs.

Us eating Tapioca and drinking tea~

Posing with the tunnels!

Challenging ourselves with guns!

After visiting Cuchi tunnels, it was almost noon time. We embarked on the 2nd part of our itinerary..that is to My Tho Islands…along the way, we encounter water buffalo which is bathing and suntanning..is reallie おおき!since is the ox year, we need no reason to take pics with it!hehe..

Water Buffalo 写真集

Us with the water buffalo

Waterbuffalo and me

The My Tho trip comprises cruising through the Mekong Delta to visit the different islands around it.On each island, we explored the highlights like visiting the fruit plantation, hand rowing sampan, python encounter, monkey bridge, coconut candy making..

We also had a sumptuous lunch with the famous Elephant Ear Fish and also learnt how to prepare hand-made spring rolls..I tried the Saigon Beer..not bad!

Lunch on day2.

Jason and us on the boat.

Aesthetic beauty on Mekong Delta.

Coconut husks made to good use.

On the way to python encounter.

Python encounter.

Fruit plantation

The fruits are so yummy..i have never tasted so sweet papaya, watermelon, chiku, jackfruit before..it’s definitely a MUST to taste these fruits when you come to Vietnam!

Fruits galore.

I basically made a huge mess while rowing the boat..I feel im slowing down the boat sampan speed actuallie but I dun care haha..jus thinking to have fun..the ladies rowing in front and behind me look very pretty…with their typical long hair and slender figure, you can probably imagine how beautiful they look like when rowing the sampans..


Nearing evening time, we made our way to a famous pagoda in Mekong Delta..u can see that it’s very magnificent with the intricate designs of its sculptures…what makes it best is that the sun is setting down when we reach the pagoda.

The trip ended with a 1.5h journey back to the city..it was a rather bumby journey..regardless of which country I went to, I realize the outskirts have many beautiful attractions away from the city which take hours to ravel to and from..this is something tat reallie test my patience haha..果然,好的东西是要慢慢等待!

A trip to the villages made me create a poem along my way back to the city:


We made our way to makan dinner @ Dong Than. From our opinion, Thanh Binh’s food is a better choice than this..the food was rather oily..no doubt is very very cheap to have meals over there..I had a bad stomach upset after this dinner..sent me diarrhoeaing in the middle of that night..tough luck man..

Dinner on day2.

After dinner, we made our way to the night market nearby Ben Thanh Market…All of us were trying to use up our Dong haha..and so we went around scurrying for good deals..bought some sports apparels for Dear, souvenirs, shoes..food..im surprised they sell many shoes over there..quite good deal..and I was contemplating whether to get a cold wear over there..still contemplating haha..until the 3rd day comes when I let loose my pocket and spend whatever I have hehe..

It’s a pretty interesting day with many brand new experiences…looking forward to the next day’s adventure!