Today we give up the motorcycle for a bicycle.
We biked to Tu Duc's tomb. He was the Nguyen emperor that reigned for the longuest time. He had more than a hundred concubines but never got children, only an adopted son.
We spent 3 years building his tomb which is a lot more than a tomb, more like a recreational area with a palace, a théâtre, a pond and a lot of pine trees.
We got back to the city for lunch, where a lady was so nice and made Bun Thit Non just for us even if she didn't have anymore ready to be served.
After that, we biked another 15km to Thuan An beach, we biked through rice fields and catholic cemeteries. The beach was super nice!
5 April 2018
We took the train from Dong Hoi to Hué, with soft seats PREMIUM this time! We made it to hue, in a very nice hostel called Dreamers, where the girl showed us where to get very nice local food.
In the afternoon, we went to the citadelle which is pretty much Vietnam's equivalent of the Chateau de Versailles.
Hué was Vietnam's capital from 1802 to 1945 and the Nguyen dystany built a great home that includes a palace, amazing gardens and a recreational area. It was really great to visit. Unfortunately a bug part of it was destroyed during the war but they're doing a great job at renovating the entire site, renovations are still ongoing.
4 April 2018
We rented a scooter and drove to Son Trach, where Phong Nha park is, famous for its beautiful caves.
We first drove to Paradise cave, a little further from the city.
Paradise cave is the longest dry cave in the world and extends for 31km but only 1km is walkable without a guide. Stairs take you deep down and you get to explore the crazy rock formations. The cave was a little crowded though as ir is the most popular.
Then, we went for the boat ride to Phong Nha cave, where we explored the cave by bat and by foot. It was incredible. Then we walked a very big number of stairs to another dry cave, Tien Son, and this one was completely empty and so so quiet. The pictures don't give them justice.
We then tested our first real Vietnamese coffee and they're very different from what we know but quite good! You just have to be patient as it drips very slowly.
3 April 2018
Our great night train experience!
We leave HCMC at 10:00pm, arrival at Dong Hoi at 7:30pm so 21hrs in the train.
We arrived in the train only to find out we had booked the wrong type of seats and instead of getting the soft seats PREMIUM, we got regular soft seats. It made a big different as we ended up in a cart full of coachroaches and it smelled like piss.
No way we're spending the night here.
We tried to get upgraded, tough given that no one speaks English. We were saved by Google translate and one of the guys offered to upgrade us to real beds as there's no soft seats premium available.
We accept and pay him off. After a great night of sleep, we realize we're actually in the cart with all the train workers!
The captain was playing music pretty loud in his "room" and invites us for coffee and fruits and we have a google translate conversation.
They were really nice to us for the rest of the trip. The view around Danang and Hué was quite beautiful! We finally made it to Dong Hoi :)
1 April 2018
We went to the traditional medicine museum, very cute little museum in a wooden house. We tried some mushroom tea, good for a lot of different things. The house was moved piece by piece from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City.
At night, we went for dinner with Sophie, that kindly hosted us for 4 days. We went to Hum vegetarian and treated ourselves with good white wine that we had been craving for a long long time.
31 March 2018
First day we see the rain in a loooong time. This morning we go on an organised tour to the Cu Chi tunnels. They played an important roles during the Vietnam War and helped the locals fights against the Americans, that just couldn't compete with people that knew the land so much better. The site is becoming a little touristic but is very good to help understand more about the terrible war.
30 March 2018
After a smooth passage of immigration, apart from a custom officer asking for 5 USD each to print a piece of paper, we make it to Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam! We are hosted by Sophie, a family friend we had not seen since we lived in Millburn, New Jersey. She is hosting us in a beautiful apartment a bit outside of the center with a crazy view and killer pool! Our first day, we went to the War remnants Museum telling the story about the Vietnam War (1955-1975). After our first Vietnamese food in the Ben Thanh Market (Pho beed soup and Banh Mi) we did a little tour of the city and finished the day at the opera to see a beautiful contemporan dance/circus show called A O.