Republic of Vietnam
Thu Khoa Huan Street 273
Thanh Binh Hotel +84763562917
Clean double room with wifi for only VND 120,000.- or US$ 6.40 per night.
From the hotel's regulations: “Prostitutes are not allowed in the hotel...” (...agh shame).
Exploring the attractive markets and peaceful waterfront (floating houses where fish are raised underneath in suspended metal nets: the fish flourish in their natural river habitat, the family can feed them whatever scraps are handy, and catching the fish requires less exertion than fishing) at the rugged frontier town of Chao Doc, which lies perched on the banks of the Bassac River, with its sizable Chinese, Cham and Khmer communities, apparent in her diversity of Christian churches, Muslim mosques and Buddhist temples.
Visiting the lively Tay An Pagoda near the 230m-high Sam Mountain, about 7 km west-southwest of Chao Doc, and celebrating together with thousands of Vietnamese pilgrims the temple’s most important festival, the Sam Mount Lady Ceremony, on the 24th day of the fourth lunar month.
Taking the privately run Kim Ngan air-con express van from Chao Doc to Can Tho (120 km, 3 1/2 hours, US$ 4.- per person), thereafter a worn-out regional midi bus from Can Tho over the brand-new Mekong suspension bridge to Saigon’s Mien Tay Bus Station (c. 170 km, 6 hours, VND 52,000.- or US$ 2.75 per person) and lastly the city bus no. 102 (VND 4,000.- per person) to the Bến Thành Market, right in the heart of the city: Good Afternoon, Saigon!
“Nobody gives way to anybody. Everyone just angles, points, dives directly toward his destination, pretending it is an all-or-nothing gamble. People glare at one another and fight for maneuvering space. All parties are equally determined to get the right-of-way, insist on it. They swerve away at the last possible moment, giving scant inches to spare. The victor goes forwards, no time for a victory grin, already engaging in another contest of will. Saigon traffic is Vietnamese life, a continuous charade of posturing, bluffing, fast moves, tenacity and surrenders.”
Click below for a summary of this year's travels
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