Monday, November 23, 2009


I am going to Vietnam, at the wrong time when the monsoon is still around, it will be expected to be wet, windy and cold Vietnam. The climate change and the wind from the North will result in unexpected climate. There may be still flooding around.

Anyhow, rain or shine; I am going to enjoy Vietnam. As most tour members are from the East Coast, the group should know how to enjoy the wet season.

Rain drops keep falling on my head, ya, Vietnam.

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Vietnam used to be very familiar name during my school days in 60s and early 70s. The familiar Vietnam War, Uncle Ho Chih Minh, the bombing at Danang, the tunnel, the R&R of the American GI at Penang, the anti-war demonstration, and the withdrawal of the American was cold war, an unnecessary war, the mistrust of the global politician, the proxy war of Capitalist USA and Communist Russia, the domino theory..... and the suffering of the normal ordinary people. That was the history.

One of my childhood friends married a Vietnamese girl in Melbourne, Australia. During my visit to Melbourne during the Chinese New Year time, I have opportunity to fellowship with them, talking about Vietnam, and the escape in South China Sea, and how they reached Mersing in Johore. It is also time I have Vietnamese food in Australia. The beef noodles soup is good and the steam boat dinner.......and I still remember fondly of the time with them.

Still remember the refugee camp when I was in east coast of Malaysia; the island off the coast of Trengannu, and the camp at Kuantan prior to departure to the 3rd countries. Each days the arrival of the refugee, the stories, it was close to the heart; and yet we are separate by the barbed wires......

The coming of the development to Vietnam, and the Vietnamese foreign workers in Malaysia. We now can see the female Vietnamese beauty wearing hat, walking in the street of Penang, the Viet become very familiar.........

and of course Vietnam is the 2nd largest producer of coffee in the world. Being a coffee drinker, I will need to know their coffee better.

Such a close and familiar country, I should not wait too long to visit them; whether rain or shine. It is an amazing country, very similar to China in their economic development and cultural spirit, and the influence of Hindu and Cham culture, yet maintain distinct difference of its own unique way........

My travel will be from the North to the South. Starting from Hanoi,the capital of Vietnam to the UNESCO listed Halong Bay, and to the mountain at the Chinese /Vietnam border, Sapa. That is very cold now, may be snowing at time, but fog should be common at this time of the year for trekking in Sapa. So it will be challenging against the tough climate.

Leaving Hanoi, a plane will take us to the third largest city, Danang. We will explore the cultural part of Central Vietnam, Hue and Hoi-an. It will be walking in the rain, under the Vietnamese umbrella in the ancient town, looking for their history.

When we have enough of culture and rains, it is time for some change. We will travel by train to the coastal Vietnam. The storm will still be around Nha Trang, a very tourist scuba heaven in Vietnam. We will just drop in to say hello, and go straight to the central highland of Dalat, a retreat for French and American during the colonial and Vietnam war days. A night stay to cool down the chilly body before we go for the real sun shine in Mui Ne, the desert of white and red color will warm us up. We will leave Mui Ne by open bus or if time allow, by ordinary bus with the locals......

Then we will end the Vietnam trip with the excitement and noise of Ho Chich Minh City or HCMC. If time allowed there will be Mekong River tour, or little Cham culture or Chinese culture at Mekong valley.

I personally prefer not to visit the DMZ zone, or the tunnel as I am not interested in the very tourist war zone; and the bad memory of the war. The past should be left only with war memorials for the brave soldiers from the either sides, and the memorial hall to tell the ugly side of the war. It will be more meaningful for the future generations. Ironically, the tour expenses will be paid by American dollars, that Vietnamese like to attract from tourist's pockets. That is tourism..... and Vietnam is following the pseudo-capitalist style of China..... or should be pseudo-communist....

We will experience the cold of the north, the rain of the central Vietnam, and the sum of the south; the coastal and the mountain; the different mode of transport; the food; the culture; the people.....and Vietnam as a whole.

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