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tappers’s Travel Diary

Saturday, 16 Sep 2006

Location: Hue, Hoi An, My Son, Vietnam

MapFrom Hanoi we travelled South to the town of Hue. This place was rich in historical importance containing the tombs of emperors, many beautiful pagodas, and a charming riverside location. We took a river cruise on a dragon boat, and perused through the towns ancient citadel - but unfortunately for us the weather has been bad so we soon moved futher south.

Hoi An was our next location, which is a beautiful town preserved by UNESCO world heritage: http://www.world-heritage-tour.org/asia/vn/hoiA...

The town consists of many narrow streets lined with traditional wooden houses where life goes on as it has for many hundreds of years. The town is a preserved site and therefore no motorised traffic is allowed onto the streets which means that you are able to wonder around freely. The town doesn't contain any sights as such but is just a generally nice place with a good ambiance, the architecture of the houses is beautiful, as are a handful of pagodas and the famous Japanese covered bridge. You could literally spend hours in the maze of narrow streets taking in everday life in Vietnam - from the men in the wood working factoris, to the woman making Chinese lanterns which fill the streets at night. The market is a hub of activity selling everything from homeware to fresh produce, whilst the river is filled with mythical dragon images, and the women here still wear the elegant traditional costume of the Vietnamese.

From Hoi An we took a daytrip to the ancient Cham ruins of My Son which is a sister site to other places that i have visited this trip: Angkor (Cambodia), Bagan (Myanmar), and Sukothai (Thailand) - though the architecture is the same, this site though impressive has been severley destroyed by bombs from teh American war. On the way back from My Son we cruised the river observing the various fishing techniques and the local men building boats.

On our original trip down to Hoi An we passed through Danang which is one of the most depressing places i have ever seen in my life - the effects of the American war are ever present here as battle ships line the harbour, and many of the buildings are still damaged from bombs or are destroyed altogether! What remains is a shell of a town consisting of prison-like buildings amongst the rubble - the impact of war is in your face here and truly distressing! After seeing Cambodia and Vietnam, the realities of war really begin to play on your mind - to witness the impact, consequences and devastation first hand is heart-wrenching. To see our world turn on itself is ditsressing, especially considering all of the innocent lives destroyed or severley effected by napalm and agent orange. War is something that you can't escape from in Asia.

On a more positive note i am now at the beachside resort of Nha Trang - after a week of crappy weather i am glad to see the sun and have the oppurtunity to chill out on a sandy, palm lined beach. This place is beautiful and has few tourists, though development means that is will unfortunately look like southern Spain within a few years. We plan to spend another day at the beach before heading back inland to the mountains of Dalat.

With our current progress through south east Asia, myself and Lana have decided that we are going to take two weeks out to go to Bali before we seperate! This will be great as i ahev always wanted to visit Indonesia, and the fact that we get a few days stopover in Malaysia is even better!!!