Friday, 9 May 2014

Contiki Tour: Ho Chi Minh City and Nha Trang

DAY 1: 08/05

Ho Chi Minh City

Our Contiki tour began in the evening with our first group meeting. We met our tour manager, Adam, and the rest of the newbies that were to join the tour. Our Vietnam tour joined in with a bigger Indochina tour that had been going through Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. Adam (or Dad, as he was later affectionately known) gave us a rundown of the tour rules and the agenda for the next 10 days. Rox and I were excited to meet the rest of the group and start this new chapter. 
The first activity was a walking tour of Saigon city. We had been in Saigon for quite a while so we knew our way around, but it was great to get a bit of history and some insight into some of the buildings and statues from our 'all knowing friend'. We then went out for dinner where we got the opportunity to get to know some of our fellow travellers.

Enjoying some beer towers on the streets of Saigon
(Clockwise: Eddie, Jack, Richard, Andrea, Roxy, Joy and Ryano)

DAY 2: 09/05 (Happy birthday Gran)

Ho Chi Minh to Nha Trang

Our morning began with a bus trip around HCMC. We stopped outside the Reunification Palace, Cathedral and Post Office. We had a local guide who took us around and gave us a little history on Vietnam.


 Went to the War Remnants Museum. It was very emotional and hard to be faced with the realities of war. Struggled to understand how people could be so heartless towards one another.

Outside the prison where prisoners of war were held




It was time to say our final farewell to Saigon, a city we had come to know and love. We jumped on a plane to our second destination, the beach town of Nha Trang.
Our new travel mascot, Harold, enjoying the view from our toilet seat on the plane


 Arrived with a rather bumpy (life flashing before my eyes) landing in Nha Trang. There was a pool at our hotel so we had our first,long anticipated swim! So refreshing!

A cable car takes visitors across to Vinpearl where there is an amusement park. 

DAY 3: 10/05

 Nha Trang

We were ready for a day at sea! Checking out a few islands around Nha Trang.

Boarding the party vessel


Safety first: Ooh...that orange really brings out your eyes!


Andrea and Jordy
Ryano giving Jack Attack a little massage...he seems to like it! 
In front: Justine and Lisa (fellow South Africans)
Behind: Joy and Grace 

Our first stop on the little island of Mun.
Absolutely breathtaking views! (and I don't just mean Roxy)

We got our snorkeling gear on and we were ready to go!

The water was so warm and really calm. No big crashing waves that we are accustomed to. The coral reef wasn't that impressive but we did get to see some really pretty fish. It was quite a struggle swimming back as we were going against the current, but luckily our overwhelming athletic ability helped us get back to the shallow paddle pools.

After baking in the sun for a little bit, we jumped back onto the boat for some lunch! Hmm...seafood for days!

Jordy, Grace, Chelsey and Andrea

Adam (Dad) and Ryano 
Canadian sisters: Kim and Annie
Lisa, Justine, Chris and Joy                                                                    

Ryano, Jack, Pricilla and Crystal
                                             Melissa and Brianna                               Sam

We joined up with another two party vessels and it was then time for some post-lunch entertainment. It came in the form of a four piece Vietnamese rock band with a ladyboy lead singer!

Now that's what I call entertainment!!!
Our very own, Ryano, was called up to assist in an interesting rendition of 'I come from a land down under'

We continued to party on the deck, our moves were definitely enhanced by the gentle rocking of the boat. We then jumped overboard where we were served cocktails in the ocean and watched some crazy Aussies do back flips off the top deck.


Roxy enjoying the fresh sea air 
Once safely back on shore, we went to explore the markets and meet up with some friends we met in Saigon (Kristi and Nay). We decided to be a little adventurous and try frog and snails for dinner. The snails were definitely not to my taste...far too slimy/chewy, but Roxy really enjoyed the frog. I guess you never know until you try!
We went for a walk on the beach and stumbled across a Vietnamese birthday party. We were beckoned over, given beer and told to sit down. We had such a great time trying to chat and singing songs, we even sang 'happy birthday' and got some delicious coconut birthday cake! We then continued down the beach to the Sailing club where we were to have a big party for our last night in Nha Trang. Despite some earlier threats of rain, there was a fire poi demonstration along with some good music and the beach as our dancefloor! Thank you Nha Trang, we shall come again. =)

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