A Travellerspoint blog

2 weeks in Vietnam

One of the reasons Vietnam was the first Asian country I visited was that they use the Latin alphabet.
All in all everyone was very helpful. Even if they didn’t know English, they tried to make you understand with gestures. They also always smiled, at least to your face. If something went wrong, you could hear the raised voices in the other room.

The bad word: “Toilet”

Our Guide explained to us where to find the „Happy room“. After looking in our uncomprehending faces, she tried to explain, well you go there and when you leave you feel very happy. We still didn’t get it, so she whispered, looking quit embarrassed: ”the toilet”. Well I guess, if she had used the word relieved at least some of us might had gotten it, but happy?
While it was not a universal word, some seemed to know it.
I was told in another Asian country, that waving your hands in front of your front (well I guess you know which area) is a universal sign you search for a toilet, even if someone doesn’t speak a word of English. I never tried it out, but if you’re desperate enough it’s worth a shot.
Interesting enough there were some toilets, where the walls were only going to your shoulder. Though the word was embarrassing, watching foreigners was also acceptable on the toilet. Perhaps I just felt being watched.
It is indeed a strange feeling, trying to find the best way to use a squat toilet, while feeling/being watched. However I’m pretty sure, it was quite entertaining. I can also give the advice to any other female travellers to google the squat toilet and how to use it. It helps to be prepared and might help you not to be the laughing stock. Though no one outright loved, I’m not so sure about their real feelings…
Luckily if you don’t go too rural, you might not have to use a squat toilet.
Take tissue paper you might not find any in the public toilets. You might have to through it in a basket, though. I was also told to do a flushing test to insure the flushing is up to par, before using the toilet. Never had a problem, but might want to be sure.

The language:

While they do use the latin alphabet it is a tone language, I never felt comfortable to learn any words. I was too afraid I would insult someone, if I pronounce the words wrongly.

The weather:

As the country is very long stretched you don’t get a good weather guarantee in all parts of Vietnam.
I had lots of cloudy weather, but not much rain in October.

The food:

The food wasn’t entirely mine. They use lots of coriander and as I found out my sign language isn’t too great. Instead of a bread without coriander it felt more like an extra helping of coriander.

The trip itself

Saigon / Ho-Chi-Minh City

  • Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon

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  • Ho-Chi-Minh City Opera House

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  • People’s Committee of Ho-Chi-Minh City

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  • Ben Thanh Market

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Chuchi Tunnel and Mekong Delta

It’s an interesting part of the history. However it’s a little bit strange, for example you can use a machine gun on the ground.
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Flight from Ho-Chi-Minh City to Da Nang

Train from Da Nang to Hue

It is is well known for the amazing views.
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From Da Nang you can do a trip to My son is a complex of partly destroyed champ tempels. It’s smaller than Ankor Wat, but none the less suppost to be fascinating. I originally planned to do a sunrise tour, but the organisation didn’t turn up.

Hue

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  • Thanh Toan Bridge

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  • Tu Hieu Pagoda

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  • Thien Mu Pagoda

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  • Hue Imperial City with Thai Hao Palace

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  • Tu Duc Tomb

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  • Imperial War Flag

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Hanoi

Flight from Hue to Hanoi

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  • Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

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  • Ho Chi Minh Museum

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  • Hoa Lo Prison

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  • Hanoi Towers

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  • Hoan Kiem Lake

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  • Opera House

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  • Vietnam National Musuem of History

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  • The Temple of Literature

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Ninh Binh

Train Hanoi to Ninh Binh and return

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Ha Long Bay

Bus Hanoi to Hai Phong
Ferry Hai Phong to Cat Ba

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Sapa

Train Hanoi to Sapa (Lao Cai) and return

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Posted by Steffi Kay 08:04 Archived in Vietnam

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