Mekong Delta

Written by Michael Zangerle on . Posted in Vietnam

From Saigon we made our way three days into the Mekong Delta. We met two German travellers, again…. We met them already in Cat Ba and Hue. Sometimes the wirld is a village…. Our first masstourism tour with 45 people started in My Tho where we discovered four island by boat – Elephant, Dragon, Turtle und Unicorn Island. 20 Mio. people living in the Mekong Delta, in My Tho about 2 Mio. Crazy.

On one of the islands we jumped on a bike. We drove around for 45 minutes. As we are really curious we left the main street within minutes. Even if the mainstreet is small, not even two cars could pass each other. We drove on a small cravel road through ricefields an basic houses. It was really wonderful cause the kids greeted us like they hav enevern seen any western people. It was just pretty.

Later on we went to a noodlefarm on small boats with four people. We watched the progress of making noodles. They do everything by hands. That’s faszinating. Back on the big boats we drove to Cantho where we spend the night. We had dinner with a couple from Poland and two girls from the States. It’s interesting that you have such good conversations. It was a long night.

Next day started at 6 am again. We went to see the floating market where you can buy anything to eat. The kids don’t go to school and help their parents from 4.30 am till 5.30 pm. So, where is the future of this kids going to be?

Then we went to a beefarm and fruit plantage, where we could try some fresh fruits. A hugh jack fruit had to be on the picture. Right next to it was a little splash of water.

Nadine stood next to it, but anothe tourist just stepped into it and disappeared. The water was so deep that he did not hit the ground, other people helped him out of the hole. Then he was awake!

Before we went to our hotel in Chao Doc we went up onto the Sam mountaine. It was such a marvelous view to Cambodia. We went to bed early because 6 am is not our time. Even if the Vietnames are already awake since one hour. Early birds! Day three started again at 6 am.

We went to a fishfarm, where they have 100.000 fishes in a pool 20 by 10 by 6 m. They get around 1,50 US each fish when they sell them after 10 month. The pools are underneath their houses. For the transport they have special boats filled with water.

Before we took the boat to the border we visited the Cham. They are a minority, because they are muslims.

After six hours boat dirve with a short stop at the border we jumped into a car to Phnom Phen. We had top changed this car because of a engine failure, but we survived even that.


Phu Quoc

Written by Michael Zangerle on . Posted in Vietnam

After 6 hours bus ride (on a minivan) we reached Rach Gia. The hotel we had booked in advance because we knew it would be late.

The next morning we went to our ferry to go over to Phu Quoc. There we wanted to relax 3 days with sun, beach and sea. Unfortunately we had booked the hotel also via travel agency and had been very disappointed. It wasn’t worth 20 bucks.

But we wanted to relax and therefore we didn’t want to think about it too long. Wandering through this strange ugly sculpture garden went went to the beach. We really had to look out cause after such a long time without UV rays the sun was burning.

We found a really nice restaurant and decided to go there for our lunchtime. Long Beach deserved the name. We walked for hours and looked at beautiful little bungalow resorts as well as big ugly hotels. All the dirt on the beach made us really sad and we tried to see the little paradise between those dirty beaches and big hotels.

We missed our little Island – calm, clean – it really is paradise. Yes Perhentian, we are coming back.

In the evening we really enjoyed sitting at the beach, eating grilled fish from the BBQ. The last evening we decided to try a white wine. It was a Vietnamese white wine from Dalat and we were surprised – it was really tasty.

The days went by and on our way back we had the „best“ place. Just kidding. Couldn’t be worse. All the way in the front just in front of this noisy TV. Vietnamese love this heartbreaking songs and you can hear this music everywhere. In the train, bus or even on the ferry. You can’t escape. And you can imagine how the videos look like to those songs. Hello vietnamese Bolliwood...

Suddenly our ferry stopped. The engine was dead and we waited 25 minutes until we moived again. As our bus should pick us up at 11 o’clock and we wouldn’t arrive before 11:30 o’clock the steward called our agency. Yes they have stewards in every transport section. Maybe not on the motorcycle but on the train, bus and ferries you will find them. Ok, than lets go back to Saigon.

Accommodation: Thousand Star Resort
Price: US$ 20
Comment: double room with bathroom (not clean) and TV. not worth it. don't book accommodation via travel agency.



Written by Michael Zangerle on . Posted in Vietnam

Right now we are in a traffic jam on our way to Rich Gia. From there we take a boat to Phu Quoc which is the biggest of Vietnamese Islands. We want to relax some days at the beautiful beaches.

Saigon is very hectic and loud. Take around 10 million people and about 6 million motorcycles put this into a square mile. Then you have Saigon. This is very tough especially with the nervous manner of honking all the time. Vietnamese honk in every situation. If somebody crosses the street, if you overtake, if you stop, there is always a possibility, even if you just honk because you feel like it.

When we arrived in the backpacker quarter we found very fast a cheap hotel to stay. Back on the streets the fight of the restaurant employees started. Everybody tried to get us into their place. They offered many promotion deals. Who starts a trip through Vietnam in Saigon need to fade these guys. Otherwise they are really annoying.

We looked for a restaurant which served steak cause Michael longed to have one. We choose cheap hotels so we don’t always look for the cheapest restaurants. Whenever we feel like eating something special, we do it. Even if it is quite expensive according to asian prices. So having a steak and some beers for 15 US we call it expensive.

Anyway it is incredible what some things cost here. A Northface jacket for the winter including a fleece inlet perfectly manufactured you can have for less than 50 US. It doesn’t matter if it is an original with a small mistake in it or a fake. They are just perfectly made. In Germany you pay at least 500 US. We even found a Burton Snowboard jacket for 45 US. Still, this is unbelievable.

We passed 40 shipping containers in one street in two stories. In front of them they have small plastic chairs and tables as their desks where they sell the stock. Directly from the container, that’s where you can make a deal and find a real good price.

But we weren’t here for shopping so we went to see some highlight of Saigon. You need to see the Reunification Palace and the War Museum. The Palace is a massive block made of steel in a style what you expect in a communistic country. It was built 1962 till 1966. Early in the morning April 30th 1975 tanks from the communists drove into the Palace and brought the end of the Vietnam War.

Inside the building we could visit reception rooms and conference rooms. In the basement where nobody went except of us we found the combat commando center of the military and the presidential rooms during the Vietnam War. A short movie introduced us in the history of the war.

Then we went to visit the War Museum which opens your mind with its cruel and realistic pictures and information. During the Vietnam War the USA uses almost 15 million tons of bombs. This is three times as much as in the World War II. They uses 70 million liters of toxic chemicals (around 44 million liter of Agent Orange). Till today women give birth to handicapped children. 3 million Vietnamese died, 2 million were civilists. 

Our stomachs cramped when we saw the information about torturing methods in the prisons, especially in Phu Quoc. We don’t understand how humans can do things like that. These are no humans anymore. Captured deep in our minds we left the museum. We are glad that we could gain more details about the history and the war in Viet Nam.

They are proud people, proud to be Vietnamese. On the same evening we got prove of this. Viet Nam won a football game during the SEA Games (which is a small world games just for South East Asia. A big crowd with banners, tee shirts and whatever they had ran through the street, dancing and celebrating. We just remembered how we celebrated every victory during the football championship 2006 in Germany. We anticipated their happiness.

Now its time to relax three days at Phu Quoc before our trip to the Mekong Delta which will end in the capital of Cambodia, Phnom Phen. So far so good. More news soon.