We were an hour too late. The market at Vinh Long took place on the waters of the Mekong Delta, the dramatic labyrinth of rivers, canals and islets that signal the end of South East Asia’s longest river, the Mekong. Boats heavily laden with fresh produce congregated near Vinh Long. But it was over.
The houses in Hoi An ancient town were all painted in yellow, a washed, pale yellow. Rich, dark wooden beams and old sun-bleached timber planks built the shade, the support, the doorframes, the carved and ornate balcony railings. It was beautiful here.
Jeff and I were sunbaking under the hot Vietnamese sun, passing a large plastic bottle of clear liquid around the deck of the boat. Inside was tonic, with a considerable amount of cheap gin, and we were sharing it with the other passengers to celebrate my 26th birthday. What better way to celebrate than to … More Ha Long Bay: an illustrated visit to the limestone karsts
The streets of Hanoi rumbled into life in the morning like a great machine coughing into life, intoxicatingly fragrant with noodle soup, vibrating with motorbike engines, horns, shouting, conical straw hats, fruit and Buddhist shrines, pulsing and pumping like a heartbeat.
My first time backpacking in South East Asia made me analyze two standout countries. Part adventure, part relaxation, but mostly just sheer madness, here are some of the best and worst of Malaysia and Vietnam!
It was a hulking monster, the dark grey of a brooding storm, 45 tons of heavy steel, it’s hard unsmiling face festooned with a big white star. A war machine, angular, menacing, fearsome. It was an American tank, on display in front of Saigon’s War Remnants Museum.
It was hot in Hue. Really hot. Beads of sweat collected on my forehead. And yet here we were, choosing not to lie in air conditioned comfort with a cheap bottle of local beer, choosing instead to ride bicycles to explore the outskirts of the ancient town.
Jeff and I sat at the long, wooden table, set with chopsticks, chilli sauces and pieces of raw meat and bamboo shoots. I smiled at the H’mong tribeswoman sitting next to me, and she smiled back.