Crispy rice paper, noodles, and ancient ruins… Our persons’ last day in Hoi An

Today was Kim and John’s last day in Hoi An before they move on to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon).  They had a bit of a later start today, so they took advantage of it and slept in.

Around 10:00 a.m. they met up with the group and headed to a local family’s house to learn how to make crispy rice paper and noodles.  The couple can make up to 500 per day and sell them for 3000 vd a piece….which works out to be about $75 cdn per day.  It is a lot of work, and they are very proud to be able to send their children to university.  They work hard for their kids to enable them  to have a better life.  They gave the group a demonstration, and then Kim and John tried it out….I think they did pretty good!

Next up…how to make the noodles, and of course lunch…boy they are eating a lot on their trip!

In the afternoon they had the opportunity to go on an optional excursion to visit the ancient ruins of My Son. The My Son temple complex is regarded as one of the foremost Hindu temple complexes in Southeast Asia and in 1999 My Son was recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage site. My Son is the longest inhabited archaeological site in Indochina, but a large majority of its architecture was destroyed by US bombing during a single week of the Vietnam/American war.

It was a busy day, but they still had time to meet up with the group for dinner at a restaurant in the old town called the Secret Garden.  Tomorrow they head to Ho Chi Minh Ciry (Saigon)

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until next post ….. 🐾 🐾

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Teddy…out….mic drop…lol

Cycling, Gardening, and Cooking in Hoi An…..bliss :)

 

Today was another great day in Hoi An….this time they spent a bit of time in the countryside on a cycling tour of gardens and headed back to the Morning Glory Cooking school.

But first, cocount coffee!  The group walked into the old town and stopped to sample the coffee…it tasted like a frozen latte- delicious!  I think Kim and John have decided that Vietnam has the best coffee they have ever tasted.  They are going to miss it when they come back home to Saskatoon….hey! Who is that dog in the pictures 😉

 

On to the bicycles and the countryside tour.

The food in Vietnam is amazing and part of this is because the food is so fresh and organic.  Kim said she wishes she had a garden like this!  Lots of herbs and veggies.  The local gardener showed them how they grow their gardens, and gave them chance to try it!

Next, the group cycled to a local family’s home where they grow bean sprouts to sell at the market.  A labor intensive job, that the daughter is responsible for.  She showed them how she does it….and they tasted the sprouts…so fresh!

Kim and John loved this tour, the people were amazing and the scenery incredible.  If only we had fresh veggies and herbs all year round!

Next they headed back to the Morning Glory Cooking school.  Kim and John made Bahn Xeo (Vietnamese pancake), mango salad, and marinated grilled pork salad rolls…they even got to make the rice paper for the spring rolls.  Kim said John needs to make this at home….he’s a natural 🙂

They also had a chance to watch a demonstration of the workers making the local noodles that are only found in Hoi An.   Kim tried to slice the noodles….I don’t think she will get hired anytime soon!  Lol 😂

The afternoon was then free time….so what did they do in their free time?  Massage for the low price of $14.  What a bargain, Kim said it was the best ever!  And then they went with another couple for beers…..sounds like the perfect way to end the day!

I wonder what they are up to tomorrow!

Have an amazing day folks!  🐾

 

From Hue to Hoi An….the old town..lanterns, dragons and shopping ..oh my!

 

 

Kim and John started off the day in Hue with a tour of the citadel before jumping on the bus and heading to the old town of Hoi An.

The citadel in Hue is huge!  They spent most of the morning here.  This is one of Vietnam’s seven UNESCO World Heritage sites.  The Imperial City of Hue was actually a walled fortress and palace belonging to the ancient city of Hue, which was a capital city of the Nguyen Dynasty for 140 years … from 1805 until 1945.

 

 

After the tour, everyone jumped on the bus to Hoi An, a 4 hour drive through the jungle and along the coast.  Of course, we stopped about half way to enjoy a Bahn Mi (Vietnamese baguette sandwich) and some desserts….which are tasty, but not overly sweet.

On our way to Hoi An, we travelled along the coast to Danang.  John was excited to see the beaches!

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Beaches on the way…..close to Danang

Once they reached their destination, they went on a walking tour with their guide of the old city of Hoi An.  In 1999 this was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Our amazing guide, Hue!

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Old Town Hội An, the city’s historic district, is recognized as an exceptionally well-preserved example of a South-East Asian trading port dating from the 15th to 19th century buildings and street plan reflecting a unique blend of influences, indigenous and foreign. Prominent in the city’s old town, is its covered “Japanese Bridge,” dating to the 16th-17th century.

It’s also a “lantern” city and is absolutely beautiful in the evenings with everything lit up! And there are opportunities to shop everywhere!

Kim and John have a couple of more days in Hoi An before heading to Ho Chi Min City (Saigon).

Stay tuned for the next update….Kim told me they went on a bicycle tour of herb gardens and learned how they grow bean sprouts, followed by another cooking class…..they really are eating their way across Vietnam!

 

See ya later!  Teddy 🐶👍

Hue, the ancient capital of Vietnam……when it rains, you just keep going!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Xin chao! (Hello!)

After their overnight train, Kim and John arrived in Hue, Vietnam.  Hue is in central Vietnam and was the capital between 1802 and 1945.  It is a beautiful, lush city, well known for its history, and has been named a Unesco World Heritage site.  It is on the banks of the Perfume River, along which lie many monuments.

Kim and John spent an action filled day and a half in Hue…..here are just some of the highlights!

Their transportation today….motorbikes! They love to travel this way!  You can see more of the city and sights.

 

 

 

 

 

First stop….the pagoda of the celestial lady….Linh Mu Pagoda.  The seven story pagoda is the unofficial symbol of the city.  People come here to meditate with the Buddhists who make this their home.  Also at this site is the car in which  the Buddhist Thich Quang Duce was driven in.  He burned himself to death in 1963 in Saigon,  He was the first of many others, bringing  international attention to the plight of buddhists, in protest against the Diem regime.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next…..a leisurely boat ride down the Perfume River,

 

 

 

 

 

Hue is known for their incense (because of the pagodas here) and their conical hats which the ladies wear.  They stopped for a demonstration and purchased some lemongrass incense.  The nice lady selling the incense had them at “good for mosquitoes”!  I think these might be burning on the patio this summer!

 

 

 

 

 

Next, they headed to the Tu Duc Tomb.  Tu Duc had the longest reign of all of the emperors, between 1848 and 1843.

 

 

 

 

And…..let’s not forget that this is a food tour!  They started the morning by having the Vietnamese traditional breakfast of Pho.  In Hue the soup is spicier, and they use bun, or vermicelli noodles…..Kim said she could have this everyday!  They sat outside at a local restaurant on teeny tiny chairs.

 

 

 

 

Lunch was at a monastery for a traditional vegetarian meal.  Many of the people in Hue are vegetarians.

And, last, but not least, dinner was at a local family’s home where our Intrepid group was welcomed to a traditional meal. This was very special and the food….amazing!

 

 

 

 

The meal capped off their day……they did have some rain in the afternoon during their city tour on the motorbikes, but as they say “the tour must go on…..so they put on some lovely (not waterproof) ponchos and headed out to see the beautiful Thanh Toan Bridge.  The Thanh Toan  covered bridge is a rare antique bridge with high artistic value in Vietnam. This is one of 2 bridges retaining the most unique architectures in the country today.

Lesson learned…..rain shouldn’t stop your day, and it made it a fun, local experience. An amazing time!

 

 

Okay folks, they are going to spend the morning in Hue and then it’s off to Hoi An for 3 nights…they have been busy!

Tam Biet (goodbye) ,  Hen gap lai (see you later)!

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From Ha Long Bay, rocking and rolling on the way to Hue :)

Hi everyone!  While we are enjoying our time at Marge’s, Kim and John are moving on to explore more parts of Vietnam with their Intrepid tour.   After a 4 hour bus ride, they made it to Ha Long Bay for their overnight boat cruise!  Ha Long Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a popular travel destination.  The Bay has thousands of limestone karsts and isles.  It is over 1500 km squared.  There were many boats, taking passengers to enjoy this natural wonder.

During their tour, Kim and John went on a kayaking excursion

They also saw how the fisherman make their catch…..very long nets, catching some very small fish.  Fishermen have a difficult life, living and working on the boats for a small income,

The next day, they went to a very large cave that has been developed for tourists to explore inside….steps, and boardwalks make this cave easily accessible.

They call this the “surprise cave”    Maybe you can see what the surprise is from the pictures?  I bet you can!

The real name of this cave is Sung Sot Cave …. it is a very large cave,  the ceiling is 30 metres high!

The next morning, it was time to head back to Hanoi to catch the overnight train to their next destination, Hue.

Kim and John said this was quite the experience….small cabins for 4, with one sheet and a pillow….14 hours on the train rocking and rolling!  This is how the locals do it!

Even though it looks like Kim took the top bunk, John was nice and took it over :).  Fun experience, not sure if they will do it again.  Lol!  The guide asked everyone if they had a good sleep….they all said no and laughed!  Everyone still had a good time!

 

Have an awesome day everyone!  Catch ya later!

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Hanoi; postcards and pictures

Well folks it’s been a few days and Kim and John have been busy in Vietnam!  Today is the day that they start exploring other parts of this beautiful country.

They have loved Hanoi…..it is a very diverse city that combines the new and modern with  the traditional.   You might see some new cars and motorbikes on the streets, and iPhones everywhere, while at the same time you will see sights like the ones below.  So amazing!

Kim and John had a free day to explore the city….no planned tours.  They enjoyed walking along Hoan Kiem Lake, where some local students and their teacher asked them if they could practice English :).

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practicing English…..peace sign means hello….Xin chao:)

They visited the Ho Lo Prison Museum where many Vietnamese political prisoners were held by the French and it also held some American POWs from the Vietnam/American war.

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Entrance to the prison, built by the French…..housed mainly political prisoners and later American POWs 

And…they saw a cultural show at the water puppet theatre.  Dating back over a thousand years, puppeteers stand in waist deep water and manoeuvre the wooden puppets to music…..there were even fire breathing dragons!  All set to traditional music and songs…beautiful!

On Sunday night they officially met up with the tour group they will be on for the rest of their trip.  It is the Real Food Adventure, Vietnam with Intrepid.   They had a great cooking class at Hanoi Cooking Centre.

Before the class, they had some free time and explored the Temple of Literature.  This is the oldest architectural complex in Hanoi, founded in honour of Confuscious. It was a Center for higher learning, educating future mandarins.  Amazing architecture!

There you have it folks… Kim and John love Hanoi,  for the culture, for the food,  and most of all for the people!  The people are so friendly and welcoming and have such pride. They feel so privileged to have been able to visit here!

Hanoi Vietnam, the Good, the Bad, the Weird

 

 

Yep, that’s the saying of the tour Kim and John took today.  They absolutely loved this tour and if you are ever in Hanoi…..this is something that you need to do!   Kim found this on tripadvisor and it lived up to, and surpassed the excellent reviews.

This was a full day tour, on the backs of vintage Russian Morotcycles, circa 1940. They took the food, culture, and vintage motorbike adventures.  Kim and John said there is no better way to see Hanoi….they saw things that they never would have seen on their own, and they ate some amazing food along the way….this tour takes you where the locals go….and John was excited to be able to ride the motorcycle in the countryside…lucky guy!

Here are just a few of the highlights!

Right in the middle of chaos!  Hanoi is a city of 8 million people, and most get around on motorbikes.  Our guide Chin Chin said that there are driving rules in Hanoi, but no one follows them!  Everyone just drives everywhere!  Kim thought if this was Canada, there would be a lot of road rage!  But here, it all works!

 

 

A highlight of the tour included a visit to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.  This is an extremely important place for the Vietnamese people, and they will travel a long distance to come here.  The lineup to get in is 4 hours long.  Kim and John were lucky, because their guide Chin Chin had a former student who worked there, and he helped them skip part of the line.  They were very privileged to visit the site of “uncle Ho” as the locals call him, and who they attribute their country’s independence.

 

 

And…..this was also a food tour….Kim and John can’t get over how amazing the food is here!  They also explored some markets on the bikes too!

 

 

Travelling around Hanoi, they saw many things that only the locals might see.  This is a very big, diverse city with amazing people!  The countryside they visited is in the middle of town!

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Dragons are important symbols for Hanoi
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The countryside in the city
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They let John drive!
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Our guide, getting artistic!

john said Kim is crazy, because she stepped over the side of a bridge, and over a gap to stand in the middle of it….she said it was very scary….it was scarier getting back over to where he stayed behind…..but when you are in Hanoi, you have to do the things that scare you, just a little bit.  Don’t you?  Sounds like they are having some great adventures!  Later folks!