We are now on our 4 day tour with Mr Lam Motorbike and Van Tour Guide “The real Vietnam” (Proposed title for tripadviser.
What is wrong here?
yes, there are no other vehicles on the road! Unheard of.
Now we try “the real Vietnam”.
Sleeping in a long-house by a lake.
See Facebook: Mr Lam’s Motorbike Tours
Hotel Hoi An : thanhbinh3
We first though, the bus took a wrong turn and we ended up somewhere north.
Where are we?
Na, still in Vietnam.
Nha Trang, a beach destination. Developped by the french, then used by the US GI and now a Russian favorite.
We went snorkeling (OK), some Cham temple (no arch, but 6 m span) and to the beach.
Now a first: a multi day booked tour, to the highlands ho chi minh trail and such.
(für Leser die es besser wissen, der Titel ist nicht phonetisch geschrieben, ev. nicht mal russischer Skript)
Leaving Saigon. We try a night sleeper bus. Leaves now 20:00 Arrives 6:00. Ada has 1 of just 2 places with a TV.
PS: arrived. The problem with the night sleeper. We kind of had wait and could not do much until it left. When arriving early morning we were not sure we could check into hotel. We could.
Sleeping was OK.
We now have to think about how to go to Hanoi. Originally we planned to not fly till Vientiane.
Saigon or HCMC Ho Chi Minh City.
Well, it is as chaotic as the guide book makes it.
Crossing a road is an experience of another kind and we are used to Asia by now.
Nobody is stopping at all, the only chance it to start walking an hoping the motorcycles really are going around you.
It is said the city has 8 Million inhabitants and 5 Million motorcycles.
We are also missing the TucTuc. The only thing below a taxi are motorcycle taxi and that is impractical with the kids and dangerous.
With our good luck for being at the right place at the right time we visited the reunification palace 30-April, the day Saigon Fell (or was liberated) at precisely that place. Tank 843 crashed through a gate of that palace which marks the end of the war.
So half of Vietnam was at that place too.
The place is now only used for tourists.
We also went to the basement, there is a large bunker.
Compare this (check sign on left!)
War-Room Doctor Strangelove
In case you do not know the scene, listen to the last words (spoken by the president of the USA).
Went onto a city tour to see all in one day, here the central post office. The kids wanted to do another search picture. Make it bigger before you search.
You have to find:
-Lena (difficult, you can only see her hair)
-Uncle Ho (very difficult because in plain sight)
A must do in Saigon are the Cu Chi Tunnels, where there are over 220 km of underground tunnels system from the American (Vietnam) War. The system is explained one can see traps, other stuff and pass through one of the tunnels (enlarged for tourist). Lena could walk upright. They would not let me go in the smaller tunnels.
Ada in einem stylish Restaurant : “ich würd’ nöd schöön choche, sondern guat”
We then went to the Vietnam Water Puppet Show, very neat.
That is also where the following took place:
Lena : “warum händ di da Saili um de Chopf?” (why do they have ropes around their head?)
Here is what she saw:
Nui Sam is the highest mountain in the Mekong. We just had to climb it. So we took 2 Bikes including driver. Visited a strange cave temple first, Buddhas with glasses and statues with a Mother Mary likeness.
A granite monolith 200 m high.
The way up the stairs was halfway inside Restaurants (had no chairs just hammocks) and the other half inside shrines and temples.
Stayed till sunset.
Following and old tradition we tried to reduce our luggage by sending home some stuff. 15 kg, new record.
The total amount sent home is about 50 kg and we still have substantial luggage left. But it is now greatly reduced.
And now a challenge. What is the package that has the maximum Volume matching this criteria:
Astrid found a better solution then I did.
We then embarked on a ship to Vietnam down the mighty Mekong. Here the promise
and what we got
Mekong, bye bye Phnom Penh
Finally in Vietnam, Chau Doc
bye now, have to brush the kids teeth.
It is not possible to visit Cambodia without a mental encounter with the Khmer Rouge.
We did not go to the killing fields near Phnom Penh, that is a touristy place and somehow did not sound just right.
Near Battambang is a killing field that is not even mentioned in tripadviser so we finally decided to go there.
It is set in a poor neighborhood with a Buddhist temple close by, in fact it was a Buddhist temple where the Khmer Rouge imprisoned many people. Not a tourist there and no one tries to sell something. Just the right place.
It is a small pagoda with the remains of people in it and concrete panels on two levels around it explaining the story of the region during the Khmer Rouge horror.
At first I was not sure if it is appropriate to take pictures but my heart tells me that the dead would not mind.
This is the horror of all parents and somehow I feel that is the right picture to post.
Reading about that strange and confusing time I am especially flabbergasted by the role some of the western governments played, supporting the Khmer Rough long after the Genocide was known to them. Shameful.
The inscription on the backside however ends with the words:
The remains of some of the victims of this genocide may never be recovered nor their murderers identified. But the gentle and forgiving Khmer, and energetic and optimistic people will not walk confidently through the will of shadows to reclaim their ancient culture and restore this beautiful land to become again the legendary paradise of celestial Apsaras.
Der Bambuszug ist eine kleine nette Touristenattraktion 3 km von Battambang entfernt.
Diese wird bald geschlossen, da nächstens mal wieder eine richtige Bahn fahren soll. Das Ding fährt ziemlich schnell und rattert fürchterlich, man hat zuerst Angst, es springt aus den Schienen.
Dann kommt auch noch ein Zug entgegen.
Auseinandernehmen und wieder zusammensetzen.
Take a seat
An Ende kauft man ein paar Dinge und kann eine Ziegelei besichtigen. Befeuert wird mit Reisstreu.
Danach war eine Dusche in einer der Hütten fällig.
Danach ging es weiter zum letzten Khmer Tempel “Banan”. Ziemlich wakelig aber schön auf einem Berg gelegen. Danch hat uns der TucTuc Fahrer noch durchs Hinterland gefahren und das “wahre” Cambodia gezeigt und viel erklärt. Auch hier scheint die Entwicklungshilfe grösstenteils in schöne Villen zu fliessen.
Jetzt geht es auf allgemeinen Wunsch der Kinder in den Zirkus.
PS: ein sehe lebendiger Tanz/Theater/Artistik Zirkus, cool.
Es wird dunkel, die Artisten kommen rein, man sieht nur ihre Schemen. Lena : “Das isch ja dunkel, me gset gar nüt”
Angkor. We did a lot of additional Temples (9) and sites (3) in Angkor. Unfortunately I was too occupied to do more blogs. To do Angkor right every temple would be worth a blog. Two Temples we visited even twice (Bayon and Ankor Wat).
We also did a tour to the close by mountains to see 1000 Lingas and some Yoni. Uphill 1500 m through the jungle, neat. Lena hurt her knee there.
We now moved to Battambang, the name means “lost stick”.
The same day we arrived we drove to the bat-caves some 20 km away. There every evening around 18.00h millions (really millions) of bats emerge from a cave. The fly out for an hour.
Even some distance from the cave they still fly in formation:
Eine paar Chinesen stehen herum und machen ein Foto; Ada : “Lueged die kriminelli Gruppe deht”. Auf Nachfrage hin, Ada weiss gar nicht, was das heisst : “ich findä s’Wort kriminell eifach luschtig.”
Im Agkor Wat gefiert gibt es ein buddhistisches Kloster, davor 5 Pyramiden aus Sand, was zuerst nicht gut zu erkennen war. Sieht grob wie ein Abbild von Ankor Wat Level 3 aus (Berg Meruh). Ada : “die sind us Sand, damit si iri Röicherschtäbli chönd inästeckä”
Ada rührt Astrid den Kaffee um : “ich bi de rooomsörwis wo alles macht”
Astrid zu Lena : “dä Jonas isch din Cousin.
Lena : “dänn isch d’Julia mini Cousäni”
Ada : “Warum händ d’Schlangä so lang zum äs tier verdaue?”
Papa : “Wais nöd”
Ada : “Da chönt mär dä Boris fröge”
Lena hält mir eine dieser kleinen Hotelseifen unter die Nase und fragt : “dörf mär die is Fluugzüg nä?”
Tonle Sap Lake is the biggest Lake in this part of the world 30% the size of Switzerland. In the rainy season. Now probably not much left. Anyway, we took a boattour. There are virtually 100s of these boats driving up and down a narrow channel just knee deep. Worse than rush hour in Kuala Lupur. Some drivers are young boys. Bumping is normal procedure.
Not sure, if we ever gonna make it to the lake. Or back. Might be last post. At least one cannot drown.
Lenas Kommentar : “wieso mached si nöd meh wassär ine?” (why do they not pour more water in)
we made it to the lake (and back). The floating village was indeed a strange/puzzeling/??? view.
We docked unto one of the houses to see the “fish farm” -> some catfish 3×3 m pond and the “crocodile farm” even smaller. Ridiculous.
Should have read trip adviser.
There also a scam on the same tour is described. You can visit an orphenage but should bring a bag of rice that you can conveniently buy at a shop for a mere 60$. Even in Switzerland you can get one for 15$ I guess. The bag then makes it back to the store for resale and on and on (this was not tried on us, but the boat driver asked for 10$ “for study”).
Astrid yelled at the operators manager who took it like a (very small) man and only said “no refund”.