Around the world. (Part 4)

Traveling to Asia was  fantastic . I hope to go back again. Today I will share a few shots taken in Thailand and  Vietnam. In the next post, I will share about  Cambodia and Hong Kong.

Let’s start with Northern Thailand . We visited Chiang Mai and many little villages. We discovered  temples and lovely architecture. We saw people working at markets.   I took lots and lots of photos.

Driving in the countryside , we could see smoke as the farmers burn the land to help the  future crops. We were traveling during the dry season but we have to assume there was no danger with the fires.

This is the White temple we can see in Chiang Rai. Very spectacular.

One week in this part of Thailand was not enough  but we were very happy with our visit. We had to fly to Bangkok and then to Hanoi in Vietnam  where we would meet our cycling group.   We visited Hanoi and  Halong Bay  before starting our 11 days cycling days. We did  around 450 km . With my photos you will get a sense of my trip in Vietnam. Motorbikes, bicycles, people everywhere…

We enjoyed the scenery on our way to Halong Bay. We did not  have great weather in the Bay but it was a great experience to see the floating villages.

We had an educational tour as we cycled in different areas of Vietnam. The weather was not that great to start but it got warmer as we got in the southern part of the country. We learned so much and people were friendly .

In 2 weeks, I had been in 2 countries I did not know at all before I got there. Now I look back at the photos and I appreciate so much this experience. Asia is so different than America  and for us it is an amazing discovery for all  our senses. I even tried to learn a few words in thai and vietnamese !

Next week, you will see  more photos taken in Cambodia and Hong Kong. Thanks for visiting.

 

 

 

 

 

Vietnam (part 9)

Leaving Dalat  with the van . Busy road with motorcycles transporting anything  they have to. Most people don’t own a car.

On this post  it will be again more photos than text. Take time to look at them and imagine the life over there.  On the first photo you see a gray van. This is one of the two van our group use while traveling between places when we are not cycling.

We passed a  smoky landfill.

After about 2 hours, we started our cycling day.

We had lunch in a small restaurant. In the middle of nowhere.

After that lunch,  it was a ride downhill for 10 km ! I will never forget that ride.  And then another 5 km. It was then very hot : 40C. We shuttled to Phan Thiet  where we would be spending 2 nights.

Facing the sea. Very windy  but charming area !

Are you thinking it would be  fun to explore this country ?  I heard that more people want to go in Vietnam than a few years a go .  More on this area on my   next post ! Thanks for reading and leaving a comment.

 

 

Vietnam (part 7)

The story continues… but first I must say Happy New Year to all of you!!

Our 7th day of cycling  in Vietnam.   Always something interesting to see. Like this lady walking behind the water buffaloes.

Trying to  read the billboard.

We  also stopped to see this man ( injured by a land mine) making tools with old steel rods.

We  left the sea side. Vietnamese do not say “China Sea”,  they prefer to say :”Eastern Sea”. The lunch was typically Vietnamese with soup, rice, vegetables, tofu, meat and fruits. Always so much food  !

Only 5 people from the tour (including me) and 2 guides did the  23 rolling km of the afternoon ride. It was a challenge for me but at the end, I was  very happy I did.  It showed me I was  in good shape.  I ended only few minutes behind the others. We were getting close to another city : Dalat.  “The little Paris” is the nickname of this city on the mountains. We were going up to the mountains.

It is such a great part of the country to see. So much green, coffee plantations, strawberries and so many  green houses for growing flowers and vegetables.

The climate around Dalat is quite different than other parts of Vietnam. We are now in Central Highlands. Warm days but cool nights.  Our guide told us they have 4 seasons in one day here ! A little bit like Vancouver !!  I will tell more about Dalat on my next post.

Thanks for reading !

Vietnam ( part 6)

For you readers it is the end of 2017 but my story here is from February 2014.

After our time in Hoi An, we took a short  flight from Danang to Nha Trang. This is the beach by our resort.

After lunch, we left the resort for a 34 km ride. 17 km to go until we reached a fishing village and then we returned to the hotel.

The very last few km was in the city and we had to make our way through the bikes, the motorbikes, the cars, the trucks and also the pedestrians. I had to stay focus and indicate where I was going. I think people in those big cities in Vietnam get used to that type of circulation. Less honking here than in Hanoi or Hue , maybe less honking the further south we go?

The next morning, we traveled by mini-bus for about 45 minutes and then we started riding. Only 2 hours of bike- around 35 km. We got to see the rice almost ready to be harvested and  taste some milk apple or milk fruit. It was  good.

We cycled mostly on small and quiet roads along fields , crossing few villages and once a bigger city where it was  market day.  Warm but a bit humid. The temperature of the day was around 28 C with 59% humidity.

In the afternoon we visited  the Cham Towers dedicated to the Hindu godness Po-Negar.

The next day   was our 7th day of cycling  in Vietnam.  We did 35 km before lunch and 23 km after. Nice sunny day. So much to see again. We first cycled in the countryside, we saw sugar cane plantations, fields of watermelon, trees of cashews and tapioca. We  left the sea side. Vietnamese do not say “China Sea”,  they prefer to say :”Eastern Sea”. The lunch was typically Vietnamese with soup, rice, vegetables, tofu, meat and fruits. Always so much food  !

I will tell more about  Vietnam and especially about Dalat on my next post. I hope you enjoy reading my story. Thanks for your comments. New Year is just around the corner so I will say to you today: Happy New Year. I hope your life is full of wonderful adventures.

 

 

 

Vietnam ( part 5)

Today December 21 is Winter solstice . We are getting close to Christmas. I wish you all a very Happy time during the holiday Season. Thanks for following my blog.

More on my trip in Vietnam. Today is a longer text and many photos.

It was still raining in the morning but we put on our clothes and our shoes (having tried to dry them as much as possible) and we started our ride after a short shuttle drive with the van to bring us outside the city of Hue. We rode mostly on flat road with rice fields and lagoons on each side. The road was not too busy. The occasional truck from time to time wanted to pass us .

Our first stop was at a little school for 4 and 5 years old. They were all smiley and sang for us.  There were two teachers. It was especially fun for me to see a school for little kids as I had been teaching in  preschools  for a few years.

Our second break was in a cemetery. Missed some explanations as I was trying to take photos  (my camera was OK but I tried my best to keep it out of the rain).

We had lunch (typical Vietnamese meal) in a small village called Lac Co. For the afternoon,  we had option to ride  or to stay in the van. I was so wet, didn’t feel like cycling. Only one guide and 3 participants (our friends from Mesa and my husband) went on their bike. Here is our Vietnamese guide , Tam. I took the pic through the window of the van.

We got to our wonderful accommodation.

Drop our dirty laundry ( including my running shoes). We would enjoy visiting Hoi An without the rain ! We walked around the market. So much great fruits. Interesting to see how they selling their produce and live chickens.

It was Valentine Day . We did not have dinner with the group but went out with another couple. Nice evening !

The next day, we rode in the outskirt of Hoi An. Left around 9 am and returned around 11:30. We did more or less 26 km. No rain, at last . Perfect weather. Flat road. We first biked on dikes (cement road). As usual, Tam was giving us lots of information. We stopped in a garden of a little village ( 250 families). Ladies and men were working their garden.It was a good opportunity for photography. They grow mostly greens.

We rode some more on quiet roads. Occasionally, we crossed a truck and they make sure they used their horn !! But, for sure, the area of Hoi An was less noisy than Hanoi.

We had a break at a house where we saw a woman making rice crackers. This is a small family business as she sells them to restaurants. She  cook the rice , it becomes quite liquid and then the batter  is cooked on both side.  Like a pancake. They will dry outside on this blue  sheet.

The last part of the ride was in a busy traffic as we went back to the city and our hotel for a relaxing afternoon. At night we had a cooking lesson.  Here is our teacher !

We learned to do a few simple recipes.  Like vegetable rolls with rice paper !! Then we ate the food !!

So much to discover in this amazing country.  Hoi An  will be my favorite  city during  our voyage in Vietnam. But I still have more to show you. So next week will be another part  of this trip. Thanks for reading !

Vietnam ( part 4)

After flying from Hanoi, we arrived in  Hue and got ready to do our first bike ride. It meant we had  to change in our cycling gear in the bathroom of the airport !! We did about 25 km that day. It was AMAZING to ride  on small roads with rice fields on each side, to see water buffaloes and many temples ( quite different than those seen in Thailand).

Everywhere we saw kids, they were shouting “HELLO, HELLO”.  Maybe the only English word they know ? We had to stop around 5:30 as it was getting dark. It was finally our first day of cycling and  such a great feeling. Having Tam, a local guide, answering all our questions was wonderful.

The next day, we had rain. It is not really what we  asked for but no matter what, we were  there and we would make the most of it.  We put some cheap poncho  ( given to us )and  we tried to stay cheerful. We visited The Citadel- UNESCO SITE since 1993- who was constructed for the Emperor in 1804. It contained the famed Imperial Forbidden city. This was quite impressive!

Unfortunately, the rain did not stop  but we still visited the area. All we could see was interesting: the morning market, the rice fields…  the kids going or coming for school.

I noticed there were many people sitting at the front of their house or in small public places. Must be  their life style.  Some people were working in the fields although it was raining. Quite a different life than what we know in North America. Most people were traveling  on bike or motorbike.

 

We saw again many cemeteries as Vietnam has been through many wars. These cemeteries look completely different than those we know in Canada. Their ancestors are very very important for them. We had lunch on a dragon boat on the Perfume river. The food was excellent. We visited a pagoda in Hue: Thien Mu Pagoda. Nice architecture. An impressive bell, 2052kg is said to be audible 10 km away. I had problem with my camera that day. I couldn’t take anymore photos ( because the humidity).

Anyway, it was a good day and we got to sleep in a wonderful room hoping for no rain the next day.  That will be the story of my next post.