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Old 12-10-2006, 05:25 PM   #1
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Travel Trips from Vietnam

I lived in Vietnam for most of 2005. I thought Iíd offer some recommendations. If you like adventure, I highly recommend traveling central Vietnam on motorcycle. You need not drive yourself but can ride on the back of the bike. This is not for the faint of heart as the winding mountain roads, which offer some breathtaking views of the country, can be dangerous. However, with a good English speaking guide (many are available in Nha Trang) it can be an amazing experience allowing you to meet local people and visit places that rarely see tourists. I recommend visiting Buon Ma Thuot, where I stayed in a long house by a lake. The ride from Pleiku to Kontum is stunning! The most memorable travel experience Iíve ever had.

Dalat is wonderful. I was rarely bothered by people trying to sell things. Itís a quiet college town with little traffic and beautiful views. The cool temperature and hills make it starkly different from other cities south of it. Some people also come this way by motorcycle from Nha Trang. Although I didnít do this, judging by the view from the bus, it would probably be pretty great.

The Northern mountains of Vietnam are also fantastic. If you plan to visit Sapa, brace yourself for tourism central. However, itís quite beautiful on the local walking trails. A nice alternative is Bac Ha, which has a fantastic once a week local market where locals sell everything from oxen and pigs to noodle soup and tea. It was not accessible by tourist bus when I last went so prepare for a local bus ride (they stop to load cargo).

I crossed into Laos overland and it was a long and arduous but interesting journey. Worth it if you have time to burn. Seeing the differences between Vietnam and Laos on passing over the border was a standout for me. I highly recommend Laos but not any river trips by speedboat. Itís gorgeous but hell. Luang Probang is wonderful.

As friendly as Vietnamese people are, they are great capitalists. Youíll be given a stiff sales pitch in most places except local veggie markets away from tourist areas. Some places, like Hue, will leave you exhausted from being hounded. Then there are those who will downright lie to you. Check all tickets (plane, bus, etc) you buy to be sure youíre being given what you were charged for. Check your guesthouse bill for overcharging or charging for waters, tours you didnít buy. This might have less to do with scamming than the fact that everything is being tracked in a way that leaves room for honest error. Watch out in the train station in Hanoi where someone ďfriendlyĒ will try to escort you to your train car and carry your bags and then demand $5. Little children near tourist areas may ask you to buy them a coke only to sell it back to the vendor unopened for a small fee. Pre-arranging bus tickets through tour operators (Linh Travel on Pham Ngu Lao is great) works well. If you donít have a ticket and have to grab a minivan ad hoc at a station, try to get in the one with the most passengers already in it. Otherwise the driver will drive around town in circles trying to get more people on board. This can take anywhere from 15 minutes to 60 (no joke).

Youíll see many poor people, some street children, and many beggars. If you wish to help, there are several wonderful local organizations. In Saigon, thereís the Christina Noble Foundation (www.cncf.org). Prostitutes abound in Vietnam as well although not as openly as in Thailand. Unfortunately, many foreigners visit SE Asia to victimize local children who are trapped in sex tourism. As tourism increases in the area, so will the crimes against children. Air France has signed onto The Code of Conduct (www.thecode.org), a program working to help stamp out child sex tourism. The Accor hotel chain (owners of Sofitel, Novotel) and Carlson Companies hotels (owners of Radisson) have also signed on. Signatories to the program agree to a six point plan meant to discourage this horrific behavior and inform the public. You can find more information and a list of program participants on the website. As yet Carlson is the only American company on board and no US airlines have agreed. Please try to encourage their good work by bringing your business to those helping to eradicate child sex tourism.
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Old 10-26-2007, 01:02 AM   #2
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travel

I went to Spain in winter the year before last year, where I spent nearly half month with my friends. The beautiful scenery, centuries-old cultural and enthusiasm of its people bring me an extraordinary feeling. Alhambra Palace gives me a felling of ancient and grand; The Picasso Museum where is located at No.15, Moncada Road in the old urban areas, bring an atmosphere of artistic individuality position. Bull Museum attracts all visitors to there and where I experienced a primitive blood. This trip really make me a different impression from the past. Iíve arranged my journey carefully before setting up. Meanwhile, I also recommend several useful sites: car hire in barcelona, cadiz . I hope that can help those friends who would like to travel to Spain
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