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Old 22nd July 2010, 10:12   #16
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Thats exactly the deterrent for Vietnam's Growth. Other countries are investing on that, but not sure, what these guys are doing.

Nice perspective Pramod.
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Old 22nd July 2010, 10:29   #17
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@ampere/Ajmat : talent and skills are present for sure. But i agree that, the exposure to outside world is reduced a bit. Unlike the old times, not many Vietnamese go abroad for studies or seeking work. Most of them stay back in Vietnam .
And i repeat, its the 2nd fastest growing economy now.

@LukeSkywalker - Thnx! Will provide more details about the travel expenses and stuff, further ahead.

Last edited by pramod : 22nd July 2010 at 10:30.
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Old 22nd July 2010, 11:15   #18
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In the city center, there is this huge square area, where most of the Government buildings and Presidential palace is present. It also has a few nicely maintained parks, the Single pillar Pagoda and the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.

The street from West Lake to the Presidential palace in Hanoi.

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One of the Government buildings

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Presidential Palace
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Ho Chi Minh Square & Mausoleum. Here, everymorning at 5 AM, people gather and play badminton, have a nice morning walk from the lake to this square and back. A lot of old Vietnamese practice "Tai Chi". A Traditional martial art i guess. Every lake, every park would have a few 50 year olds practising it.
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Entrance of Single Pillar Pagoda
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Single pillar Pagoda.Name:  38.jpg
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A Pagoda and a "kutub minar" like Tower on the West lake.
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Hoan Kiem Lake. And the famous red bridge across it to a pagoda at the center of the lake.
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Tuc Tuc -- One can take this ride, to see the city in a leasurely manner. The Tuc Tuc ride.
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Last edited by pramod : 22nd July 2010 at 11:25.
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Old 22nd July 2010, 11:40   #19
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Pramod,

Thanks a million for this travalogue, lovely photos and narration, exactly what I was looking for.

For November holidays, I'm evaluating Vietnam / Thailand circuit. Have a close friend in Ho Chi Minh with a 3 bhk house, can stay with him, said taxis on hire are around 5000 dong/km ( 1 usd = 19000 dong). I think the river cruise/market in mekong delta region are very famous. I am blind on the region, just started my research.

Looks like I can't drive there, driving permit takes time with a long process. If you are stationed there, some information would be of great use:
  1. Would 7 days be OK for Vietnam?
  2. What are the most popular places for tourists?
If you're going to cover these questions, I'd wait till they unfold, take your time. Awaiting the rest of the photos and story.....

--Ramky
=====

Last edited by ramkya1 : 22nd July 2010 at 11:44.
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Old 22nd July 2010, 11:46   #20
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Ramkya. Why don't you add Cambodia to your itinerary as well? I wanted to visit the Angkor wat in Cambodia, when I was in Singapore. But then decided against it due to monetary constraints. Was so close yet so far. May be I can see them through your logues.
Pramod. Good stuff with 'Nam. Is it true that you are adviced not to wander off in unknown areas as there are still mines that are live and unearthed?
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Old 22nd July 2010, 11:57   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ramkya1 View Post
For November holidays, I'm evaluating Vietnam / Thailand circuit. Have a close friend in Ho Chi Minh with a 3 bhk house, can stay with him, said taxis on hire are around 5000 dong/km ( 1 usd = 19000 dong). I think the river cruise/market in mekong delta region are very famous. I am blind on the region, just started my research.
Would 7 days be OK for Vietnam?
  1. What are the most popular places for tourists?
ramkya1 --
1. Vietnam in November will be very nice. The rains would be over and done.
2. There are 3 main regions to cover in Vietnam.
a. The Mekong delta and Ho Chi Minh area.

b. Central DaLat, DaNang and highlands.
Beaches at DaNang.
The world's highest cable car on tropical jungles

c. North Vietnam
Hanoi
Halong Bay
Tam Coc - river cruise in beautiful settings and cave exploration.
A few national parks
Sapa valley (night train from hanoi)

But then, if u plan for 7 days, it is better to cover North. This is not just my perspective. This is how all travellers plan to vietnam, if they have less time to cover. North Vietnam is more beautiful and more varity to see.

I would cover mainly north. I did visit HCM city and its museums when i visited it for a few days. But couldnt try the Mekong river cruise and stuff.
I believe Mekong delta is awesome for its greenery.

I am travelling to Tam Coc this saturday and Halong bay, the next weekend. Halong bay deserves a 1 night/2 day to really enjoy the natural settings there. But $350 to $400 for a boat house over night stay is a bit steep for my budget. So, i plan to do it as a one day trip. But i recommend highly to go to Halong bay for a 2 day trip. (3 hrs from Hanoi city).

I dint do much travel until now, as i waited for my wife to join me. Dint want to spend twice u know.

I can provide you with some credible travel shops and their websites here. You can converse with them and make some deals.
www.vietnamExplorerTravel.com

Last edited by pramod : 22nd July 2010 at 12:01.
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Old 22nd July 2010, 12:16   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MX6 View Post
Pramod. Good stuff with 'Nam. Is it true that you are adviced not to wander off in unknown areas as there are still mines that are live and unearthed?
Even to this day, i believe people die from mines. But rare. Not any tourists for sure. Btw, it is not easy to travel to remote areas here. Even though transportation is decent, the roads on the hills arent frequented.

Recently, USA provided a fund with a few million dollars, for clean up of war stiken areas. Chemicals mainly.
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Old 22nd July 2010, 12:21   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pramod View Post

Vietnam is not famous for Electronics, unlike Taiwan.
Vietnam is known more for Rice, Sea produce, Textile (Silk, Cotton), Young Hardworking population and ofcourse some natural wonders like "Halong bay area", "Tam Coc river cruise", Pagodas, and a host of other tourist attractions.
Ho Chi Minh city (formerly called Saigon) is a vibrant city and a very modern city. Known for its Business and commercial advantage for setting up businesses.
You probably forgot coffee. Vietnam is a major coffee producing country and it stands ahead of India in coffee production.

Now, I'm sure this is the first Vietnam travelogue in t-bhp. Thank you Pramod for bringing this infamous (for the war) and yet unknown country in pictures. It really is nice to see such places (atleast in pictures)
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Old 22nd July 2010, 12:45   #24
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All the roads in your pics (even the small gallis) and the pavements look in much better condition than India!!

Can't help but talk about cars!

I thought I saw a toyota camry in one of the snaps... could not recognize any other brand! Which are the common car brands in Vietnam?
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Old 22nd July 2010, 13:19   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MX6 View Post
Ramkya. Why don't you add Cambodia to your itinerary as well? I wanted to visit the Angkor wat in Cambodia, when I was in Singapore. .........................and unearthed?

So much to see and so little time...... the story of my life

With just 2 weeks choice is difficult. What are the leading sights of Cambodia? Don't really know the region well, except Singapore and Malaysia which we did 2 years back.

@ Pramod: Looks like North Vietnam is the way to go with just 7 days. I saw Hong Kong is so near to Ha Noi, another possibility? Just sent an exploratiory mail to Vietnam Explore Travel, let's see what comes out.

========

Last edited by ramkya1 : 22nd July 2010 at 13:22.
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Old 22nd July 2010, 13:29   #26
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Interesting place it is. I had a client from Vietnam. I feel they must improve on English.
It was extremely difficult to communicate with them.

BTW, I noticed a santro and a Matiz in couple of pics.
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Old 22nd July 2010, 13:55   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vasanthn21 View Post
Can't help but talk about cars!
Which are the common car brands in Vietnam?
Taxis are of the following brands:
1. Toyota Innovas
2. Daewoo Matiz
3. Toyota mid segment (dont remember its name) -- fiesta size
4. Aveo (But here it is Daewoo model). Not Chevy.

Personal cars are all high end, from Indian perspective:
1. Ford Endevour
2. Toyota Yaris (hatch)
3. camry
4. Honda accord v6
5. Mazda M3
6. BMW 325i
7. Hyundai i30
8. Toyota Fortuner
9. Ford Escape. -- Liked this man. This sized SUV can run well in India for 10 lakhs.

I also see a few bentleys, s-class.
Also have a seen some junk mini SUVs (the one fiat is launching)

@Addy -- Spot on! i missed coffee.

@ramkya1 -- I am not sure about HK. I know that its a 1.5 Hr flight from Hanoi.
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Old 22nd July 2010, 14:27   #28
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Ramkya. Just google for Angkor Wat. You'd spend a week in Cambodia itself then.
Sorry for the OT.

And the Ford Escape is a cute vehicle. I drove it from Libertyville, IL to Gatlinburg, TN and back. I hear that we have a hybrid version of that now. If Ford Escape comes to India, that's the vehicle I'd be upgrading too!

Last edited by MX6 : 22nd July 2010 at 14:29.
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Old 22nd July 2010, 14:38   #29
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Default Hanoi City Center

Central Hanoi - Around Hoan Kiem lake.

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Old 22nd July 2010, 15:33   #30
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From the snaps one thing is for sure! They know how to keep their places clean.
I was in Malta couple of years back. I noticed that folks do create muck all around on weekends, but the next week day its all spic and span!

This was how it was on a weekend
VietNam - A BackPacker's view-dsc01138.jpg

VietNam - A BackPacker's view-dsc01141.jpg

This is how it transformed the next weekday!
VietNam - A BackPacker's view-dsc01152.jpg
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