Showing posts with label Exodus. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Exodus. Show all posts

Friday, March 22, 2013

Day 27 - last day in Hanoi

Dad caught the overnight sleeper bus back to Hanoi. He'd ask for a bottom bunk but they'd tried to put him on the top, but he dug his heels in and got a bottom bunk. The bus had two toilet stops. Dad said he slept well and was back in Hanoi by 6.00 am - so a 12 hour journey. It cost £18.00.  He wasn't able to get a taxi so had to take a scooter taxi with his luggage! Dad sad it was a scary ride and he was glad it wasn't rush hour! Scooter bloke wanted £18 off Dad for the 1/2 hour scooter ride - Dad said he gave him £6.00 ! Got to the hotel at 10.00 am.

Today he has been to see Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre which was really good.

Today is his last day in Vietnam.  Exodus are sending a car for Dad to take him to the airport.

I've tried swapping his coach ticket (he'd booked Saturday instead of Sunday) but National Express wanted £51.00 to change - it only cost £37.00 to buy a single ticket. A bit of a Rip-off if you ask me! Shame on you National Express.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Chilling in Halong Bay

I received this photo from Naomi who had been on the Exodus trip with Dad.

Great photo of Dad "chilling" on the boat around the Halong Bay.

Looks like he's also sipping a cocktail ! ? What a life.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Day 13 - Cruising and Hanoi

Received a short text off Dad first thing but he was texting off the bus. He'd had a good time on the boat and three good meals. They'd been inside a big cave and done some canoeing off the boat. I received another text later to say it was hard texting on the bus (crumbs knows what sort of bus they are on!). They are now back in the hotel in Hanoi. En-route back they'd been on a tour of Hoa Lo Prison which the US prisoners called Hanoi Hilton! They'd also visited the Temple of Literature. Tonight is their last night together as a group, so they are out for a farewell meal. That two weeks has gone by real quick.

Not sure yet what Dad has planned for the next couple of weeks, but he did say he'd text me with the details.

Details of the day from Exodus
Day 13 (Day 14 Ex London) Cruise in Halong Bay & return to Hanoi

We continue to cruise around Halong Bay this morning before
returning to port. We then drive back to Hanoi, and take a sightseeing
tour of the city: this will include visits to the Temple of Literature, Hoa
Lo Prison and the Old Quarter of the city. This charming city contains
many beautiful old buildings, and the atmosphere is completely
different from that in Saigon in the south mainly due to the much
more conservative nature of the North Vietnamese. Also, unlike its
industrial counterpart, the centre of Hanoi has a faded charm with
broad tree-lined avenues dating from the French period as well as
some attractive lakes and pagodas. In the evening there is the option
to enjoy a performance of Hanoi's famous water puppets.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Day 11 - overnight train to Hanoi

Got an early morning text off Dad. They've spent the day in Hue.  They've visited the tombs and Nguyen dynasty, the Imperial City, the Citadel and finished off with a boat trip on Huong River (Perfume River).  Found this great photo of the river at sunset.

Perfume river

It was then back to hotel to pack their bags as they were catching the overnight train - Reunification Express to Hanoi

Details of the itinerary from Exodus

Day 1l (Day 12 Ex London) Hue to Hanoi

Hue claims to be the cultural and historic centre of Vietnam| and there is plenty to see. We take a guided tour of the city and surrounding tombs. The most memorable site is the Citadel, with walls six miles in length: inside are the palaces and halls of the Mandarins, and the remains of the Forbidden Purple City. where only the emperor and his eunuchs and concubines were allowed. Then we take a boat along the Perfume River to the elaborate tombs of the Nguyen emperors, who ruled Vietnam from Hue. Tu Duc's Tomb is very elaborate and set in beautiful gardens, along the way we will visit the famous Thien Mu Pagoda. The pagoda was a centre for anti-government protest in the early 19605 and it houses the Austin car that transported a monk, Thich Quang Duc, to Saigon in 1963 where he burned himself as a protest against the president. The photograph of his self-immolation
was printed in newspapers all around the world.

In the afternoon we will board the,Reunification Express for the overnight ride to Hanoi, 600km to the north. Ride approx. 25 km

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Day 10 - Hue

Dad text this morning to say they are now in Hue City and are staying at the Gold Hotel. Just looked the hotel up and it looks pretty impressive. They've cycled around 40 kms today and 10 kms of that was climbing up Hai Van pass which is 487 metres about sea level. Fastest to the top was 35 minutes and bringing up the rear was Dad at one hour.  On arrival at the top Dad received rapturous applause from all the coach parties. Thanks to Naomi for this action shot of Dad arriving at the top.

After lunch there was a further 20 kms ride in the wet. Not sure from Dad's text if he's been on the bus today.

Details of itinerary from Exodus

Day 10 (Day 11 Ex London) Hai Van Pass to Hue

Today we turn north again for the drive/cycle to Hue. The route passes over the spectacular Hai Van Pass the 'Pass of the Ocean Clouds'; the views are stunning though those who prefer to avoid the 580m climb can always take a lift in the support vehicle. Once at the top it will all seem worth it as you plummet back to the ocean, then continue through small villages and timeless rural scenes to the outskirts of Hue, from where we transfer to our city centre hotel. Approx 2.5 hours ín the bus today.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Day 9 - rest day in Hoi An

To make up for the fact that Dad didn't text me back yesterday, today he's sent me a couple of texts! Yesterday then had a stop at My Lai Memorial was was the site of the My Lai Massacre. Following that they had a 5 hours on the bus along Highway One - I'm sure Dad would have preferred to have cycled along it ! I found this map of the highway.

Monsoon rain accompanied last night's evening meal and they were given free ponchos to get back to the hotel. That'll be in Dad's bike bag for future use!  A few in the group also went to be measured for suits and dresses .... Dad must have declined. As he says there is still plenty of use in the suit he has and it does keep coming back into fashion !

Today has been a rest day, but a very wet rest day with lots of flooded areas. They've cycled approx 20 km around the local area. Some of the group have been for water buffalo rides, which apparently were good fun.They've also been and collected the dresses and suits there were measured up for last night. I wonder if they'll put on a fashion show.

Details of the itinerary from Exodus

Day 9 (Day 10 Ex London) Relaxing in Hoi An

This morning we take a guided walking tour of Hoi An to explore some of the structures of historical significance in the Old Town, including bridgesl temples, wells and houses. Those less interested
in architecture can cycle the 5km to the lovely Cua Dai beach or cycle to the Marble Mountains, which are 19 km from town. These five marble hills, formerly islandsI contain many caves, some of which were used as Buddhist (and Vietcong) sanctuaries. Also nearby is China beach, a famous US  spot in the war, and Danang where there is a Cham Museum, which despite being in poor condition, is very interesting. It is also possible to visit My Sonl one of the most important Cham temple sites in Vietnam where Cham kings were buried as early as the fourth century. Although wartime bombing has destroyed much of the site, there are a number of interesting stone towers and sanctuaries.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Day 7 - Quy Nhon

Got a text off Dad late morning. They are now in Quy Nhon staying at another posh hotel - the Seagull Hotel. This morning they had a 7.00 am start from the hotel in Nha Trang and headed off on their bikes. Cycled around 30 kms and then took the bus for 3 hours. After lunch they cycled another 53 kms through small lanes and villages. Lots of children around wanting to do high fives !

One week down and the total miles cycled so far is 208.

Received the following photo from Naomi - check out Dad's bike !

Nha Trang Bay

Detail of the itinerary from Exodus

Day 7 (Day 8 Ex London) Nha Trang to Quy Nhon

We set off early in the morning for the ride to the beautiful fishing
village of Dai Lanh. A short transfer out of town past the Po Nagar
Cham towers brings us to a high point and from here today's ride is
predominantly flat. The beautiful beach at Dai Lanh ls a perfect place
to stop for a swim and lunch before continuing by bus around the
spectacular coastal cliff road towards the town of Tuy Hoa and on
to Quy Nhon. (Approx 4 hours in the bus today). Ride up to 90 km
according to preference.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Day 6 - Rest Day in Nha Trang

Received a text off Dad this morning. Today is a rest day. They've been on a boat trip around the islands, been swimming and snorkeling. They had a good meal on the boat (I feel sea-sick even thinking about it !!).  He also said there are a lot Russians holidaying along the coast.

Many thanks to Damien for this photo of Dad following their evening meal on the beach.

Extract from Exodus itinerary

Day 6 (Day 7 Ex London) In Nha Trang and cruise around islands

Having a rest from the bikes today, we take a boat trip around the
islands offering a chance to swim and snorkel around the many reefs.
This is a wonderful experience with stunning views of the mountainous
coastline that lies to the north of Nha Trang and an opportunity to eat
some of the freshest seafood available. Those not fancying the boat
trip can relax on the beach, have a massage, go scuba diving or ride
off to other nearby beaches such as Hon Chong, a fishing village lined
with coconut palms, mango and banana plantations.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Day 5 - Nha Trang

Had a text off Dad this morning.They are now at Nha Trang and staying in the Asia Paradise Hotel ... normally when  see a hotel called Paradise it's far from it! However having checked this one out it looks pretty posh to me, swimming pools and close to the sea ! However on the downside it's next to the airport so it may be a bit noisy.

They've been in the mountains all day and cycling through the Bidoup-Nui Ba National Park. They've cycled around 100 kms today and only had one and half hours on the bus. Dad will be happy about that.  Looks like it was a 30 km descent from Dalat at 1500 metres which took them best part of an hour. There would have been no pedalling from me and I'd have had the brakes on the bike ALL the way down.

The bay at Nha Trang is considered to be one of the most beautiful bays in the world so hopefully he's got a few photos. Saying that Dad hasn't really moved on into the digital age and he's taken two disposable cameras with him.

Details of the itinerary from Exodus

Day 5 (Day 6 Ex London) Dalat to Nha Trang through Bidoup N.P.

Today's ride is predominantly downhill through pine forests and
paddy fields as we descend nearly 1,500m travelling through the
Bidoup-Nui Ba National Park. This area is home to rare pine forests
as well as small villages inhabited by the ethnic minority people of
the central highlands. Once we arrive at the coast, we head by bus
(approx 1.5 hours) to Nha Trang. This beachside town is idyllic, with
swaying palms, golden sands and the beautiful deep blue water of the South China Sea. Ride up to 100km according to preference.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Day 4 - Dalat

Dad had a early start this morning. Up at 6.00 am and away by 7.00 ... so I doubt there was time for an early morning swim in that posh hotel !

Today they've had four hours on the bus and cycled around 80 km and a bit of a hilly ride. They stopped off for lunch at Di Linh .

They are now in Dalat  which is 1500 metres above sea level! I wonder if they had to cycle up to it or the bus took them. Reading up about Dalat it looks it might be a bit cooler which will suit Dad. The area is well known from it's flowers and confectionery - sounds like a girls dream. 

Tonight Dad is staying in Dalat du Parc Hotel which according to Dad isn't as posh as the last hotel. It looks pretty posh to me !

Received another photo of Dad today this time from Damien. Looks like Dad is admiring the view and what a great view !

Today's itinerary from Exodus.

Day 4 (Day 5 Ex London) Cycle to Dalat

We cycle towards Dalat; the route is undulating with occasional
climbs. Along the Way we pass coffee and tea plantations as well
as flower gardens and pine forests as we reach higher altitude. We
rejoin the bus before the road climbs steeply to the mountain town
of Dalat. We spend approx 3.5 hours on the bus today. Dalat is a
pleasant hill station, formerly known as Le Petit Parisl and has been
described as the most beautiful town in Vietnam. lt was favoured by
the French for its climate` and is now a popular honeymoon resort for the Vietnamese. Ride approx. 60 km.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Day 2 - Cu Chi Tunnels

Got a very brief text off Dad early this morning to say they'd cycled 20 miles to the Cu Chi tunnels. It was followed up a few hours later by another to say, sorry for the short text I was on the bus! To me an ideal opportunity to be texting. 

The Cu Chi tunnels  are an immense network of connecting underground tunnels located under part of Siagon.  My Dad did say I'd of hated them. Very small and loads of bats! My worst nightmare. 

Found a photo on Wikipedia of the tunnels.

Cu Chi Tunnels - Niels Aage

Weather is hot at 30 degrees. I text him back to say it's very cold here!

Below is the itinerary for the day from Exodus which gives a bit more detail than Dad's 140 character text.

Day 2 (Day 3 Ex London) Ride to Cu Chi Tunnels

This morning we drive out of the city, before riding to the Cu Chi
Tunnels. This offers a great introduction to cycling in Vietnam and a
chance to fine tune the bikes. The tunnels were Vietcong sanctuaries,
used by the guerrillas as living quarters and escape routes, the
network covers 3 levels and approximately 240 kms of tunnels.
Although originally very narrow, some parts have been widened for
tourists, but even so it is still necessary to crawl on hands and knees.
Claustrophobes may prefer to stay outside in the sunshine! lf you
prefer not to visit the tunnels you can have an unguided free day in
Saigon. Places of interest include: the Emperor of Jade and Giac Lam
pagodas, the former Presidential Palace (now the Reunificatíon Hall),
Ben Thanh market and the War Remnants Museum. Ride approx. 35