The Mekong Delta provides many treats to a traveller: the abundance of river waters, the friendly people, the less-touristy cities, and the freshly grown tropical fruits. We decided to indulge in the latter. If you enjoy this article and want to learn more about Vietnam’s amazing food, we recommend checking out Vietnamenu: A Food Lover’s Travel Guide to Vietnam
The Story – Nha Trang, Vietnam
From Quy Nhon‘s nearest train station, Dieu Tri, we took SE5 (220,000d/$10.50) at 3:09pm and arrived in Nha Trang around 8pm. That night Ryan vowed never to ride a Vietnamese train at night again, after witnessing a mouse run out from under our seats, across the aisle, and towards an adjacent lady’s bag of corn that she had on the floor.
The Story – Quy Nhon, Vietnam
Quy Nhon, Vietnam doesn’t see a lot of tourists and it breaks up a trip from Da Nang or Hoi An to Nha Trang nicely. The train ride from Da Nang was about 6 hours long, cost 180,000d/$8.60 and took us to Dieu Tri where we had to take a taxi to Quy Nhon which cost the same as the train despite it only be about 10km.
We thought about skipping Da Nang, Vietnam but decided against it. It was a good decision. Our first train ride in Vietnam was a pleasant one. We took train SE1 (70,000d/$3.30) departing Hue at 8:02am and, one Scrabble game later, we arrived in Da Nang around 10:45am.
The Story – Hue, Vietnam
We arrived in Hue at around 7:30PM, after a gruelling bus ride, and jumped into a taxi. It cost us 150,000d/$7.10 to get from the bus station to the guesthouse area. We felt we were paying too much but no one was willing to negotiate, they refused to use their meters, and it was dark out so navigating the city ourselves would have been difficult and intimidating. We always try to arrive in a new city during the daytime. It’s easier to find a guesthouse, the taxis are cheaper, and if you need to walk out of the bus station and find a cheaper taxi, you can do it without having to worry about walking into a dangerous neighborhood in the dark of the night. We took our overpriced taxi to the Original Binh Duong 3 Hotel (now known as the Sunny B Hotel) where we got a decent room with AC, TV, mini-fridge, and a private bathroom (250,000d/$12 per night).
We took a bus from Vientiane to Savannakhet which was a killer nine-hour ride. Our butts were sore but we headed to Leena Guest House for the night.The next day we were up early to catch the 9am bus going from Savannakhet to Hue, Vietnam. It was a sleeper bus. A new experience for us. We had middle seats; not the best. I had the coffin-like bottom bunk, but Ryan was pretty comfortable on the top rack.
Every year the people of Laos take three days off of work and get crazy. Water is used to clean homes, wash Buddha statues, and completely soak each other.
Sara and I didn’t know exactly what to expect on the first day. We soon found out it was a celebration where you had to let yourself go.
Given its geographical position, it’s not surprising that Lao cuisine is heavily influenced by its neighbours. It is easy to find a Chinese, Thai, and Vietnamese flair in their dishes. However, there are delicious eats that are Laotian in origin: larb, papaya salad, and their penchant for sticky rice cooked in bamboo to name a few. Of course, don’t forget to wash it all down with a glass of national pride: Beerlao.
We left Ban Nahin and bumped down beautiful highway 8 then headed north up highway 13 to Pak Kading. The bus was packed, cost us 50,000 Kip/$6.15, and was about 3 hours long. We were the only ones getting off at Pak Kading and were dropped off at the bridge that crosses the Kading River — not convenient since it was about a km from the centre of town (which the bus would be driving by anyway), but the river and its bridge is about the only sight in the town so we didn’t mind the sweaty trek across it.
We took a bus from the Savannakhet bus station to Thakhek for 30,000k/$3.70.
Thakhek Travel Lodge is a good place to stay as it gives travellers an opportunity to speak to people who’ve done “the loop” (or find people who need travel buddies). “The Loop” is a 400km, three- or four-day motorcycle tour of the natural beauty of the area: limestone karsts, lakes, and some caves including the 7.5km long Kong Lor Cave. This cave is traversed by hired motorboat and takes about two to three hours.