Arrival in Ho-Chi-Minh-City
I continued my travel towards East from Cambodia to Vietnam. With my 4 week visa in my passport, the first stop was Ho-chi-Minh-City, better known as Saigon. Like in Cambodia, I got shown the cruel past of this war-torn country. I visited the Independent Palace and the war museum, where they present (naturally from a subjective view) the crimes of the USA during the Vietnam War.
To complete the Vietnamese (war-) history, we went on a tour to the Chu-Chi-Tunnels, a bit outside of Saigon, the day later. In this three-floor tunnel system the Vietcong successfully hid from the US-Armee for years. Just unbelievable how the Vietnamese were able to live in this ultra tight and pitch-black tunnels for such a long time.
They were especially clever and lethal in defending themselves against the US-attacks. They recognized intruders on their smell. The Vietcong wore sandals made from old tires, which were relatively odorless comparing to the leather boots of the US-soldiers. They wore them also “the wrong way up” to set the enemy on the wrong track. Simple but ingenious. Around the tunnel areal they hide almost invisible ground traps from where you couldn’t escape. The wood- and metal tips were additionally soaked in a poison mix. 100% deathly.
A short part of the tunnels is open for tourists (and made a bit wider and higher). I tried to walked the gangway. For a 6,2 (1,89m) guy like me almost impossible. I still, almost reached the end. But the last part was that tight, that I had to give up.
Next stop: Mui Ne
2 days Vietnam War were enough. In Mui Ne a alternative program was on the agenda. My hostel had a marvelous pool and a great, familiar atmosphere. I met a bunch of new friends, I will have spent the rest of my Vietnam-time with.
The tourist attraction in Mui Ne are the white and red sanddunes. But before my visit, it was time to party. I was finally about to reach the last year in my twenties. We touched glasses at the pool bar in the hostel (no worries: I heard the thirties are the new twenties 😉 ). I even got a “birthday-melon-cake” and the typical Vietnamese hat with birthday wishes on it. After midnight we moved on to a beach club and continued celebrating. Thank you guys again to make my birthday unforgettable so far from home!!!
Sanddunes at birthday
I went on a tour to the dunes together with Alessia on my birthday. Still a bit tired, I eventually didn’t get younger, we hit the road. The white dunes were pretty impressive. We rented a quad for 30min and speeded through the dessert landscape. The tour ended with the sunset at the red dunes, which were not that spectacular because of the overcast sky.
In the mountains of Dalat
From Mui Nes coast I moved into the altitude of Dalat. Especially pleasant were the cooler temperatures over there. My homestay/hostel had a cozy atmosphere. Together with Alessia, Dom, Danny und Kelly I stayed 3 nights. My stay got marred by my second bed bugs infestation (the 1st was in Costa Rica). Those devil-creatures are itchy like hell.
Dalats landscape on the motorbike – Easy Rider-Tour
With our tour guide “Jackie Chan”, Alessia and I explored the picturesque surrounding of Dalat. I took a seat on the back of Jackies bike, while Alessia rented her own scooter. We saw a lot of different places, like the Buddhist temple with the huge silver Buddha staue and the Elefant-Waterfall. We were able to look over the shoulder of the production process in the silk factory and learned more about an ancient Vietnamese tribe, living in the surrounding of Dalat. My highlights were the rice wine factory and the weasel coffee. They put snakes, spiders, birds and some other death stuff in some of the rice wine bottles. The high percentage liquor gets a pretty unsavory yellow color. The Vietnamese believe that this brew increase the mens sexual qualities. 😀
The weasel coffee is a Vietnamese delicacy. It is a pretty simple process: The coffee beans get eaten by weasel, they shit them out, which is supposed to give the beans a special flavor and voila, ready is the weasel coffee. Literally a “shit-coffee”. No idea how one could get this idea. All right! It was really delicious. In Europe you have to pay a small fortune for that… By the way, the life of the weasels is not too bad. Sleeping, making love (for propagation) and shitting the whole day.
To finish that beautiful day, Alessia, Dom, Danny, Kelly and I went out to a bar. A very special one. I never saw something like this before. It has serval floors built like a kind of cave-maze-system. I wonder how many visitors got lost.
Fortunately, I found the way out and continued my Vietnam adventure…