16 September 2016

Vietnam - A Land Divided - Part One

Ho Chi Minh City
There have been very few big cities that I have enjoyed and Ho Chi Minh City isn't one of them. Ho Chi Minh City suffers from 'capital cityitus' (I know it's no longer a capital city but it certainly felt like one with the sheer amount of people, traffic and noise), whereby everyone is simply out for their own gain, trapped in a system that only further entrenches itself, thereby devoiding itself of any possibility for real change. Tucked away inside the bustling city, and by bustling, I mean verging on the point of chaos, there is only a handful of interesting things to do, namely museums and places of interest.
The War Remnants Museum was an incredible opportunity to see a completely different perspective on the Vietnam War, one that isn't taught in schools. Including photographs and personal accounts from those most affected by the conflict opened by eyes further to the horrors of war.
The Independence Palace/Reunification Palace was an interesting piece of living recent history to explore. Walking around the same building that was raided by North Vietnam forces just over 40 years ago, imagining a tank crashing through its gates and the panic that ensued inside.
The rest of our time was spent wandering the streets, trying to find something to do before our flight. We were in Ho Chi Minh City for approximately 21 hours and that was by far plenty of time.

Even the flight out was horrible. Delays, multiple screaming babies and the woman behind me kept on putting her bare feet between the gaps in the seat, touching my elbows (for anyone who knows me, you know how much I hate bare feet!).

Hue was an interesting place to visit, somewhere much more tourist friendly relative to Ho Chi Minh City. I personally found the central imperial citadel a little underwhelming. I was expecting a bit more in regards to the scale of everything, yet it was still impressive. The intricate architecture and attention to detail are breathtaking.
In fact, the best part about Hue was leaving it. Not because I didn't like the place, but because we travelled down to Hoi An on the back of Motorbikes.
The entire journey was picturesque. Making multiple stops along the way at viewpoints and places of interest and traversing Hai Van pass on a motorbike is definitely the best way to do it.
Breaking out of the city was exactly what I needed and left me optimistic for what lay ahead... I was certainly not disappointed.

Part Two to come soon.

Luke T.

(Bonus picture of me on the motorbike)

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