Staying at Holiday Inn Bangkok Sukhumvit in Bangkok

Flying back from 3 weeks Relaxed Vietnam I was arriving too late in Bangkok to take the last flight to Nan in North Thailand. So I had to stay 1 night in Bangkok. I did choose this time for Holiday Inn Sukhumvit, at the corner of Soi 22 and Sukhumvit road. Normally this type of hotel is too expensive for me, but I was offered a great promotion I could not refuse. Personally for me the location is perfect and after almost 4 weeks traveling I am in the mood for a comfortable hotel. So Holiday Inn Sukhumvit Bangkok it was! Of course all rooms have a safe, tv, air-conditioning, free drinking water, mini-bar, free wifi (and even lan connection), private bathroom with shower. And the hotel offers a swimming pool, gym, parking, a delicious breakfast buffet and a restaurant for lunch & dinner. For me the best 2 things were the most comfortable bed I had in the past 15 hotels and the wonderful breakfast buffet with a great bread selection & fresh home-made jam, tasteful orange jus and…

Arriving at Don Muang International Airport

Traveling back from Saigon to Bangkok I did fly with Air Asia to Don Muang International Airport. I had a smooth flight, although we were a bit delayed already when leaving. And also most of the arrival was smooth. First a transfer bus from the airplane to the arrival gate. Then to immigration. In the airplane I had received my Arrival & Departure card that in Thailand is still used and still old fashioned has to be filled-out by hand (actually wondering what the use is of this arrival card). But as I did not have a pen with me I thought "I will do that just before immigration". Wrong!

Although just before immigration are desk where you can fill-out your Arrival & Departure card there are NO pens. And of course the nearby exchange boots are not going to borrow you one. I was lucky that a fellow traveler did just give me his pen. For the rest immigration was a breeze. Although only 50% of the counters were open it took me about 10 min to get thru immigration. And tha…

Traveling 3 weeks Relaxed in Vietnam

In the past weeks you have (might) been following my footsteps while traveling 3 weeks Relaxed in Vietnam. My journey in Vietnam started in Hanoi and ended in Hoi Chi Min City. And I did visit all the highlight of Vietnam like Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hoi An, Hue, the famous tunnels from the Vietnam War, the Mekong Delta and finally Saigon. In hindsight the distance traveling from Hanoi to Saigon is huge and sometimes I did get the feeling that I was just traveling to get to Saigon. While it should be about the journey, not the distance travelled. So I would advice to just visit North or South Vietnam and travel more intensive in that area. Or take the train or airplane and skip a big part from going from North to South.
The Route
I started in Hanoi and travelled via Halong Bay, Ninh Binh, Dong Hoi, Hue, Hoi An, Qui Nhon, Nha Thrang, Phan Thiet to Saigon. See Route Hanoi 2 Phan Thiet on Google Maps. From Phan Thiet I travelled to Saigon and made the next day a day-trip to the famous Cu Chi…

Staying at La Felix Hotel in Saigon, Vietnam

I did stay for 1 night at La Felix Hotel and that was not really a pleasant experience. If you like the tourist area then it is at a great location but it is not my cup of tea. And some of the rooms are very small and have basically no window. So I upgraded to an better room. But still the rooms are old, not really clean and give me an unpleasant feeling. Breakfast was in the same category as the rooms. So I had my breakfast at The Legend Coffee Shop nearby. And would the room price now be accordingly to what you get .... but for this price you can get much better hotels. Even within 500m from this hotel. So I will never stay here again. That all said .... the staff was friendly and helpful. Nevertheless I would not recommend to stay at this hotel.

Staying at TTC Hotel in Can Tho, Vietnam

While traveling 3 weeks Relaxed Vietnam I did stay for 1 night at the TTC Hotel in Can Tho, conveniently located right along the Can Tho River. A great location to explore the riverside and Can Tho town. Of course all rooms have air-conditioning, mini-bar, free drinking water, private bathroom with shower, private balcony and TV. The hotels offers a great breakfast buffet, restaurant for lunch & dinner, a swimming pool and a kind of casino. Be aware that if you have a room at the riverside you might hear some music or people in the begin of the evening as the riverside is a bit busy in the evening. For more information see TTC Hotels Can Tho.

Right next to the hotel is a supermarket and ATM. About 500m to the right at the old Municipal Market is a wonderful open-air seaside restaurant serving Vietnamese and Western food. The latter is highly recommended.

Overlooking and walking in Can Tho, Vietnam

While traveling 3 weeks Relaxed Vietnam I did stay for 1 night along the riverside of Can Tho at the famous TTC Hotel. In the morning I made a few photos from and around my hotel. I love the riverside and wished I had more time to explore this area. Well next time maybe.

Visiting Cai Rang floating market at Can Tho, Vietnam

While traveling 3 weeks Relaxed Vietnam I did make a 2 days / 1 night side trip to the Mekong Delta to visit Ben Tre and Can Tho. And in the early morning I took a boat from Can Tho to the famous Cai Rang Floating Market. This floating market is a bit different as you might think. It is a location in the Can Tho River where bigger boats wait to load off their cargo. The cargo is moved into smaller boats who sell the products like fruit, rice and vegetables to markets. As the bigger boats are there for a long time there are also small boats coming along selling anything the family living on the bigger boats might need. Hence the floating market. Most boats are still beautiful wooden boats where an all family is living. Following are a few photos I took while waving between the waters of the Can Tho River.

Sunrise over Can Tho in Vietnam

While traveling 3 weeks Relaxed Vietnam I did make a 2 days / 1 night side trip to the Mekong Delta to visit Ben Tre and Can Tho. And in the early morning I made this photo from my room at TTC Hotel in Can Tho, overlooking the riverside. With a population of 1.251.809 people in 2017 Can Tho is not a small place. Originally Can Tho was just a harbour place as transit point in the Mekong Delta but nowadays more and more tourists are flocking to Can Tho to enjoy & experience the local way of life in the Mekong Delta. Can Tho town along the riverside is very popular with Vietnamese tourists. The new life of Can Tho is thanks to the building of new bridges over the many rivers in the Mekong Delta as in the old days you could only reach places here by boat. For more information about Can Tho see Can Tho Tourisme.

Visiting a traditional noodle factory in Ben Tre, Vietnam

While traveling 3 weeks Relaxed Vietnam I did make a 2 days & 1 night side trip to the Mekong Delta to visit Ben Tre and Can Tho. And in Ben Tre 1 made a small boat trip over de small canals of the Mekong Delta. In between I stopped at a small traditional noodle factory where a local family is still producing noodle the old fashioned way. And that involves a lot of manual work. Next time you are eating noodle think about that!

Crossing the mighty Mekong River at the Mekong Delta in Vietnam

While traveling 3 weeks Relaxed Vietnam I did make a 2 days / 1 night side trip to the Mekong Delta to visit Ben Tre and Can Tho. And on the way I did cross the mighty Mekong River that starts in China and passes Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and ends in Vietnam. My favourite river in Asia!

Another sunset over Saigon, Vietnam

While traveling 3 weeks Relaxed Vietnam I did stay at the Le Duy Grand Hotel in Saigon and they have a lovely, hardly used, rooftop. I love sunsets and this photo was taken from the rooftop of my hotel overlooking Saigon city.

Visiting the Holy See Temple in Tay Nihn, Vietnam

While traveling 3 weeks Relaxed Vietnam I did make a day-trip out of Ho Chi Min City to visit the famous Cu Chi Tunnels (sorry no photos) and the Holy See Temple, at Tay Nihn (80km northwest of Ho Chi Minh City), the center of the intriguing Cao Dai religion. Cao Dai is a syncretist Vietnamese religious movement that incorporates aspect of Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism and even Catholicism. The Cao Dai Temple (as it is more commonly known) was build in 1933 in a unique architectural style that reflects its blended traditions. Following are some photos I took at the mid-day mass.

Staying at Le Duy Grand Hotel in Saigon, Vietnam

While traveling 3 weeks Relaxed Vietnam I did stay 3 days in Saigon and found Le Duy Grand Hotel a great hotel to stay in Saigon. Not located in the tourist area but in the real local Vietnamese streets of Ho Chi Min City. Staff was always smiling, friendly and service minded. All rooms have private bathroom with bathtub with shower, TV, air-conditioning, mini-bar and free drinking water. The hotel offers a small swimming pool and a great breakfast buffet. And although hardly used the hotel has a rooftop garden on the 13th floor from where you have a great sunset view (but take your own drinks with you). Highly recommended! For more information see Le Duy Grand Hotel Saigon.

Near the hotel are ATM's, banks, restaurants, supermarket and a few pubs. Beer lover should have a look at Bia Craft Artisan Ales (about 500m from the hotel). About 100m from the hotel is Highlands Coffee, Vietnamese biggest coffee chain and serving besides coffee also cakes and snacks. Opposite of the hotel …

The memorial of Bodisattya Thich Quang Doc in Saigon, Vietnam

While traveling 3 weeks Relaxed Vietnam I did of course tried to get lost and "found" near my hotel the memorial of Bodisattya Thich Quang Doc or also called "The Venerable Thich Quảng Đức Monument" at the intersection where Quảng Đức performed his self-immolation on 11 June 1963. Communisme and religion are not a good mix and in Vietnam there was a persecution of Buddhists by the South Vietnamese government led by Ngô Đình Diệm. As protest and way of creating awareness Thích Quảng Đức, a Vietnamese Mahayana Buddhist monk, burned himself to death at a busy road intersection on 11 June 1963. His act worked and worldwide condemnation of the Diem government (a US puppet government) followed, resulting in the overthrowing of the Diem government and assassination of Diem (although followed up by a not much better government of Van Minh). The memorial consists of a beautiful sculpture of Thích Quảng Đức surrounded flames of love. Behind the sculpture is a wall with scul…

The Vietnam War and that famous photo by Hubert van Es

The photo above made by the Dutch photographer Hubert van Es has become iconic for the famous Fall of Saigon at the end of the tragic Vietnam War. And it was labelled as "Helicopter evacuee from the US Embassy in Saigon". And for me and most other people that is what I remember from this photo. That was until I was in Saigon and made a city tour with Ms. Sunny, one of the best guides of Vietnam. While we were walking towards the famous Notre Dame and General Post Office she said "And if you look over there, on top of the building you can see the famous rooftop where the famous photo about the rescue by helicopters was made. Yes, not at the US Embassy but here at the roof of an apartment building".

What is the story? In very short :
"At the almost end of the Vietnam War, the Dutch photo grapher Hubert van Es was staying at a building near the Notre Dame and saw helicopters landing on the rooftop of an apartment building used by the CIA. He did shoot the photo …

Getting lost in Saigon, Vietnam

While traveling 3 weeks Relaxed Vietnam I did of course tried to get lost. And in Saigon that is easy! The only thing that is a bit difficult is crossing the road with the 1000's of scooters riding on the streets of Ho Chi Min. There are 7.000.000 scooters riding in greater Ho Chi Min City! I love the simple street life of any city. Following are some photos I took while getting lost in Saigon.