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I’m writing this from central Vietnam not long after sunrise and feeling fantastic. Yesterday was one of those travel days where you know you’re going somewhere special and are completely taken back by the beauty in which you feel privileged to have had the opportunity to experience. Myself and my new friends spent the day exploring parts of the Truong Son mountains aka Annamite Range which is a place I had never heard of before and which played an important role in the Ho Chi Minh Highway…
We left the small village of Bho Hoong where we had spent the previous night and drove deeper into the Annamite mountain range. At one point, we were no more than six kilometres from the border of Laos. The views were endless and the highway was almost deserted besides the random herds of cattle who seemed to have no clue that they were actually hanging out on a highway.
The highway weaved through the mountains and all I could see was green, we passed small villages and stopped at a place called Prao to use some wifi and load up on even more delicious Vietnamese coffee. I’m not a huge coffee connoisseur but I will say that Vietnam has some of the best coffee I’ve had anywhere. Something I remembered from my first trip here in 2010 when I spent two months in Vietnam was the delicious coffee.
From there we entered the Ho Chi Minh Highway which was a vital supply route during the Vietnam war and finally made our way to where I’m writing this now in Hue. Before arriving in the city, we stopped at Minh Mang’s Tomb which is simply massive, sitting on 28 hectares of land and a UNESCO site for good reason. I will note that if you do go, try and hit it early in the morning or late in the afternoon, in the heat of the day it’s quite warm to say the least and it’s worth spending some time there. Also, your photos will be better if the sun isn’t directly above you.
Following that it was off to Bunker Hill which is an infamous location from the Vietnam war era. It was interesting to say the least and can’t imagine what was going through the minds of soldiers on either side while those epic battles were taking place. If you are into history, this is one of those spots not to miss and one that can make you feel something, even perhaps make the hair on your arms stand up.
Next it was into Hue, where we checked into La Residence Hotel and Spa where we enjoyed a quick massage after getting settled. I had the Vietnamese Cupping Massage which is something I had never seen before and it was great, a mix of an oil massage with some cupping treatment to remove toxins from the body. It had been ages since I’ve received a cupping treatment and if you do come here, it’s the one to choose as the others are available in most places around the world; this was unique.
Following that it was time for dinner. Myself and my new friend Chi met up with another friend of hers and we tried some local dishes which are unique to Hue. Following that, we jumped on cyclones which are basically bicycle taxis and headed to a small street stall selling another speciality called Com Hen. It’s made with all sorts of tasty ingredients including these tiny clams which are found in the nearby river; recommended.
To end the night we went on a small tour with our new cyclone driving friends, stopping for sugar cane and this dessert soup which involved fried pork. I know it sounds odd but it was one of the more delicious tasting desserts that I’ve had, ever. I’m not a dessert guy by any stretch of the imagination but I’d gladly have that again anytime. In fact, I liked it so much I was considering going for seconds but they were literally sold out.
In closing, it feels great being back in Vietnam and very grateful to have some local friends to show me around this time because I’m expanding my palate. I found that when I traveled alone, I used to have the same thing over and over to some extent because I didn’t speak the language, couldn’t read the menus and wasn’t sure what to try… I’ll tell you this, if you do come to Vietnam go on a food tour right away so the rest of your trip can have a wider array of dishes in it; I’m hooked on Vietnamese food.
In closing, I’d like to thank my friends at Cathay Pacific for inviting me to try their services as well as those of Dragonair and partake in their #lifewelltravelled campaign. I’d also like to thank the fine people from Central Coast Vietnam for their hospitality. That said, all thoughts and opinions are mine as they always have been and always will be.