Sunday, April 26, 2009

Travel to Vietnam Part VI

19 June 2008

Today was our last day in Vietnam. We started our journey back early in the morning to Ho Chi Minh City with Vietnam Airlines before continuing to our final destination, Kuala Lumpur via Malaysia Airlines. There was no direct flight from Kuala Lumpur to Da Nang yet. Hopefully Air Asia could add Da Nang as their new destination one day.

That morning, I was late to check out. I was the last person to be on a bus that would carry us to the airport. Luckily I managed to get it on time. Becoming the last person to be on the bus was an advantage though. I could sit at the front seat and in front of me, I could have a clear, wide view, similar to the driver's view.

There were a lot of motorcycles on the road in Da Nang. Everywhere were motorycles. The bus was moving slow and steady. I felt relaxed, no rush like in KL. The bus sometimes honked so that smaller vehicles gave way. Here, frequent honking while driving was accepted and was not considered as annoying. To certain places, honking might be considered rude.

While we were passing over a river through a newly built bridge, we could see that Vietnam was indeed fast developing and seemed nothing happened here few years back eventhough Vietnam had experienced bloody wars. There was a stadium being built by the side of the river. In the middle of the river, some boats were moving, a sign that lots of activities were happening here. Far behind, there were tall buildings rose above the rest. At the horizon, a series of blue mountains decorated the magnificent panorama view of Da Nang.

We arrived at the airport quite early. We has our light meal first. At the airport, the view was also beautiful. From here, we could see the same blue mountains from close range. There was also former US Air Force's depot over the other side of the drive way. Da Nang was one of the battle fields during Vietnam war and thus a lot of war legacies could still be seen in Da Nang.

From Vietnam Trip - Da Nang

Slow yet smooth traffic in Da Nang.

From Vietnam Trip - Da Nang

A new stadium is being built in Da Nang.

From Vietnam Trip - Da Nang

Among millions of motorcycles in Da Nang.

From Vietnam Trip - Da Nang

Aircrafts landed at beautiful Da Nang airport.

From Vietnam Trip - Da Nang

Beautiful panorama of Da Nang airport.

From Vietnam Trip - Da Nang

An aerial view of a dam in Da Nang.

The flight that we took to Ho Chi Minh City was quite full. As usual, I was quite bored in the flight. I had no mood to take pictures, just took one or two only. Didn't know why, perhaps it's time to go back and missed Da Nang or too tired.

We arrived Ho Chi Minh City airport around noon before taking our next flight in the late afternoon. Our plan today was to go shopping again at Ben Thanh market! Before we went to Ben Thanh, we went to a shopping mall which I forgot its name (perhaps Saigon Center). We hoped that we could find some good quality goods there but we were disappointed as there were not so many choices compared to Ben Thanh. This was typical shopping complex that could be found anywhere.

While we were there, I started to feel uncomfortable at my throat. Think I was going to get sore throat, then caught flu and finally got fever, as usual. Perhaps this came from outdoor activities yesterday at Hoi An. I drank less water because it was difficult to find toilet there. I asked for some sweets from my friend to relieve my sore throat.

The distance between the shopping complex and Ben Thanh market was not far. We just walked to Ben Thanh. Although the traffic here was quite heavy, we could easily cross the roads as the traffic speed was slow.

At Ben Thanh, we went straight to the same shops that we surveyed when we first arrived here. I went to a shop selling bed sheet with rose motive which was made from hand-woven thread. It was really beautiful. The seller could speak Malay and it was easy for me to speak to her. Perhaps she worked in Malaysia before or she's a Cham Malay who also lived here.

Few of my friends were looking for laptop bags. There were a lot of choices here and they looked alike original ones. When a seller was asked if bags sold were genuine or not, she replied,

"Same, same like original."

They straight away got their answer! Another friend bought a white gown with hand-woven rose motive, also made from thread for his daughter. It's awesome. Vietnam silk was also available here and it's considered cheap. I saw a lady from Malaysia too was trying few clothes, perhaps for a wedding ceremony. There were a lot of beautiful clothes here, yet at cheaper prices. You can shop till you drop here!

From Vietnam Trip - Ho Chi Minh City

An antic car found while I was walking to Ben Thanh market

After shopping at Ben Thanh market, we went to a restaurant that served halal Malay food for our lunch. The name of the restaurant was Bon Mua Four Seasons Restaurant (refer Google Map). The owner was a Malay, perhaps a Cham Malay or Cambodian Malay (refer previous entry regarding Cham Malay). She spoke fluent Malay and looking from a sweater hanging near the cashier counter, somebody might have been studying in a college in Malacca. However, it was sad to see younger generation of Malay here couldn't speak Malay anymore. One of them was a the owner's son there. This was because there were limited utilisation of the language here as well as Vietnamese language was used as medium of teaching in schools.

The foods here were very much similar to the ones in Malaysia. We ordered Tom Yam, Daging Gulai, Sambal Belacan, Ikan Tiga Rasa and among others we normally ate. This was the only time we could feel full! We're not get used to Vietnamese foods while it was also difficult to find foods that suited our halal diet. When we were eating, there was an Indonesian family also eating in the restaurant. When we about to move, another Malaysian family also patronising the restaurant.

Four Seasons Restaurant was located not far from a mosque called Dong Du Mosque or Jamia Al-Muslimin (refer Islamic Finder), which was located by the side of Sheraton Hotel. We went there for prayer. We met the community there which most of them spoke Malay. Some of them could be Malaysian who were working in Ho Chi Minh City. The mosque there did not just serve as a place for prayer. It was also used as community centre for Muslims. There was also a small restaurant there selling halal foods.

After that, we went to the airport. My body was getting worse. I felt very sleepy after taking flu pills at the restaurant. I slept all the way to the airport and then continued in the flight.

From Vietnam Trip - Ho Chi Minh City

The lounge Tan Son Nhat International Airport, Ho Chi Minh City.

From Vietnam Trip - Ho Chi Minh City

Leaving Vietnam.

We arrived KLIA almost dark. I went straight to a clinic there. I really felt uncomfortable at my throat. When the doctor asking me where I was returning from, I replied Vietnam. He said it was normal for people coming back from Vietnam to catch cold. It could be the weather difference there. So, be prepared by drinking a lot of water.

It was sad to leave Vietnam. Sometimes people would think that Vietnam was not a nice place. Ironically I found Vietnam an interesting place, unique and it's worth having trip there. The goods were cheap and the place was beautiful.

Vietnamese are not like before. In the past, they came to Malaysia as refugees, now they come to work here. It's no surprise that they will go back to serve their fast developing country and perhaps one day will come here again as tourists!

The end.

From Vietnam Trip - Ho Chi Minh City

Sunset at Port Dickson, right before we were landing at KLIA.

Previous entries:
Travel to Vietnam Part I
Travel to Vietnam Part II
Travel to Vietnam Part III
Travel to Vietnam Part IV
Travel to Vietnam Part V
Posted by stROZze at 11:00 PM |  
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