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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Travel to Vietnam Part I

16 June 2008

I was really excited to know that I was going to Vietnam. I'd never been to Vietnam which was recovering fast from war. All I knew when I was kid, Vietnamese were refugees and sought shelter at an island in Terengganu, Malaysia called Pulau Bidong. Locals used to call them 'drift people'. A famous picture portraying a young girl running naked, looked terrified was also still fresh in my mind.

I also remembered a story from a worker at an oil rig telling me that when he just started working there, he saw a mother was hugging her crying baby while she was struggling to keep afloat after her boat crashed onto oil rig pillar. Being under huge stress, the poor mother threw her baby into the sea. The baby was fast carried by raging wave and had not been seen again. The mother kept crying even after she was saved and he couldn't even say a word to see the most terrifying yet sad incident in his life. He wished he did not see that incident.

That was one of the sad stories of Vietnam. However, now everything has changed. Vietnam has awaken up and never looked back. Those years Vietnamese came to Malaysia as refugees, then they came to work and now they went back to contribute to their nation.

Our journey started in the morning. As usual, I pre-booked a taxi with a driver which I normally called. He came sharp at 6.30AM and we reached KLIA at about 7.30AM after going through usual morning rush.

Actually my e-ticket was kept by my colleague. Unluckily, she still hadn't arrived yet as she was still trapped in traffic jam. I was becoming anxious, worried about expected long queues during this morning rush hours at the security check point. After half an hour waiting anxiously, she then arrived, looking tired.

Queues at check-in counters were long. We split into two lanes to gamble if one of us could get to the front first. However, after waiting for so long, the queues still did want to move. Seemed at this time everybody was having problems while checking in. We were nervous, afraid that we might not catch the flight.

Then, I saw an airline guy was walking around to see the situation. I was quickly appeal to him if he could help us. He then asked for the e-ticket and agreed to help us. He brought us to the furthest empty counter from the queues and processed our check-in. We were so relief..

Our problem did not end there. We still had to catch other long queues at the security check point and perhaps the immigration check point as well! At the security check point, we had to ask permission from other people there so that we could cut the queue. However, at the immigration check point, the queues for Malaysian were not long and we could get through very fast.

While we were briskly walking to the departure gate, we saw other friends walking towards us. They already had breakfast. I was a little bit disappointed as we had no time for our morning meal. I was unfortunate but still could have my breakfast in the flight later.

The weather was very clear and our flight took off without any glitches. I could see the greens underneath. Our flight cut across the Titiwangsa Mountains, the backbone of Peninsular Malaysia. While our flight moving Northeast, I could also see Kenyir Lake in Terengganu, which is the biggest man-made lake in South East Asia. I've been there few years back and that was one of the best place for fishing and camping.

From Vietnam Trip - Ho Chi Minh City

Terengganu Highlands


From Vietnam Trip - Ho Chi Minh City

Kenyir Lake, Terengganu.


After few minutes enjoying spectacular view of Kenyir Lake from above, the pilot announced that the passengers could view Kuala Terengganu city on our right hand side. However, I couldn't see as I was seated on the left hand side. Nevertheless, I was lucky as on the left, I could also view beautiful beach at Merang, Terengganu. There was a white line of sand separating blue South China Sea and the green land of Terengganu. After a while, there was another surprise. Our plane was flying over Redang Island! The view was spectacular. We could see white sands at the beach. In shallow water, the water was green and it's where corals lived. Redang Island was one of diving heavens among Terengganu islands.

From Vietnam Trip - Ho Chi Minh City

Merang Beach, Terengganu


From Vietnam Trip - Ho Chi Minh City

Redang Island, Terengganu


While enjoying the beautiful scenery below, my breakfast arrived. I almost forgot that I was hungry. After finishing meal, our plane had actually reached Vietnam shore. There were big rivers flowing between paddy fields. Along the river banks, there were houses. Believed they used rivers as their main tranportation.

..to be continued..

From Vietnam Trip - Ho Chi Minh City

We are flying into Viet Nam.


From Vietnam Trip - Ho Chi Minh City

A wide river in Viet Nam


From Vietnam Trip - Ho Chi Minh City

Agricultural area and river in Viet Nam


From Vietnam Trip - Ho Chi Minh City

Paddy fields in Viet Nam


From Vietnam Trip - Ho Chi Minh City

More and more inhabited areas in Viet Nam
Posted by stROZze at 10:01 AM |  
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