are here : Chez Pierre >>
Vietnam >> VN Discovery 1
Vietnam, part 1
These three pages are about a tourist trip I made around
with my mother and two friends in December 1998 and January
while I was already living there.
A little introduction is
necessary here : while the ladies you see besides me call themselves "the
bobonnes", once I joined them in Hanoi on Dec. 23, we were "the Daltons"
(look closely, you'll see).
Left to right : me, Fanny, Anne-Marie
"Mom") and Françoise.
This trip was scheduled
a year ago and finally came to reality. We had a lot of fun ! They
saw Viet Nam with an "expat'" (an experience that is probably way different
than a classic tourist trip), while I finally had a chance to visit more deeply
my marvelous adoptive country.
December 23 and 24
beginning : after the bank and the airline agency... Christmas Eve !
one of the best we ever had : Gérard, owner of the Café
des Arts (11b Ngo Bao Khanh, Hanoi) and his wife prepared a "table d'hôtes"
(everybody share the same big table). We enjoyed fresh (raw) oysters, Turkey
with maroons, and much more delicious things that will probably disgust many well-born
December 25 and 26
Can't miss that one : Ha Long
bay. Can't screw up either, so we'll trust
the EXOTISSIMO agency.
guide (French speaking, but they have English speaking guides too) is always there
when we need him but very discreet as well. He knows a lot (even the length
of the bridges we pass) and we get to Ha Long with (not much) trouble.
After unloading our luggages at the
luxurious hotel (Ha Long 1) from our private minibus,
we are gone for a 6-hours trip on the bay,
with our private junk.
in words or in pictures, the beauty and the athmosphere of the bay.
Some have had a deceiving experience, but
giving it two days and a bit more money (a little more than
100 USD, everything included) we found there what we couldn't
have imagined in our best dreams...
following day, after a good night (included), we took a junk again (included -
this became our favorite joke, since absolutely everything was included) for another
6-hours trip on the bay. Again, we were served a gargantuous seafood meal
No way we stop here. After such a good experience,
we continue with the same agency : direction Hoa Lu, "Ha Long inland"
for a day.
Our new guide is Ha, and she's really too much
! She took us on small boats on these little canals, which we appreciated
a lot even though this place is awfully spoiled by touristic exploitation (I've
never seen photographers so quick and so insistant vendors).
can't stay quiet : she puts the vietnamese rowers on strike (for their greatest
Allez, hop !
We continue with Ha the following day, direction
: ethnic tribes.
No time to go to Sa Pa, so we'll go visit the Dao and the
OK, I understand, we all have to sip the
rice alcohol until the jar is empty. But nothing is transparent
here, I'm sure some are faking it... Hips !
Of course, we didn't do just that in the North, and we visited
the good places of Hanoi : Temple of Literacy, pagodas,
Uncle Ho's Mausoleum, etc.
to Vietnam Airlines, here we are in Hue. Empty : this will be the impression
we'll keep of the Imperial City, even if it is probably the major touristy place
of Viet Nam. This will not steal any of our pleasure, like the one we had
during this trip (one day) on the Perfume river, and even if the crew
turned out to be very antipathic at the end of the day : pagode de la Dame Céleste,
tombeau de Minh Mang (my favorite, even if it is in a scandalous abandoned condition)
and tombeau de Tu Duc of course, all under a slight rain.
attitude (sometimes clearly aggressive) of these people can be explained (but
not forgiven) : we didn't buy anything and we refused to go on the moto-taxis,
even though they told us the tombeau was more than 10 kilometers away (which
we made on foot in 20 minutes, so we decided to sign up for the Olympics without
even thinking about doping).
Mom on a cyclo in front of the Citadel,
it was unavoidable (and by the way the best place to try the cyclos in Viet Nam)
hotel to recommend in Hue, but a restaurant where we had a wonderful New Year's
Eve : Que Huong (75 Thuan An), and the well known restaurant of the deaf and mute
Page créée le 20 février 1999 - Mise
à jour le 27 avril 2014
Pierre Gieling - tous droits réservés