quarta-feira, 30 de novembro de 2011

Tam Coc (english)

Previous: Halong Bay

Well, we came to the last post about my last tour to Vietnam. My final destination was Tam Coc, but before we stopped in Hoa Lu, Vietnam's ancient capital. It's a relatively new touristic hot spot and lacks of the infra structure like Halong Bay, but even so there was some traffic jam in the templos' entrance. The area's ancient city is practically nonexistent since almost everything was destroyed during the US bombing. We took around 2 hours to go there from Hanoi. This region was called as Inland Halong Bay for its karst limestone formations.

After visiting Hoa Lu it was included a 1-2h bycicle ride to get to Tam Coc. Our tour started in some new roads build in the middle of the hills but we suddenly went through a small dirty road through the villages. Diferent from Hanoi but most likely Cambodia people are not that used to foreigners. That generated a lot of weird looks at us from the native people and many kinds saying "hello" and stopping for pictures. Even though the tour organisation was a little bit messy the fact that we crossed the villages let us to know more about the rural Vietnam, the real country. A relevant experience for sure!

I imagine that this road should be very beautiful usually. However, the mixture of smoke and fog, the "Smog", created a not that beautiful scenery when we were crossing there, everything was colored grey and a strong smell of something burned. Growing fast as a manufacturing place has its consequences...

As soon as we get to Tam Coc - which means The Three Caves - we went directly for lunch. We had a funny experience when we left the restaurant. A Spanish couple on our tour had their 2-year old little daughter with them, who was blonde and had very curved hair. That turned to be THE success with the native girls who were carrying the girl all the time and taking lots of pictures. After that, in the front of the restaurant started the traditional tour of the region. Get through the caves and the river and getting back inside of the small boat. That tour was extremely nice - the real reason that made me go to Tam Coc - and the scenery in the return was beautiful!

There's no maximum age limit, neither minimum, to be a boat rider. I also saw kids riding. Some of them were so skilled that they were able to conduct it just using their feet. 

This is the 1st cave - out of 3 - and it was huge. So huge that inside you can't see the end and it was very dark inside - the flash permitted me to take some pictures.

The end of the tours turns to be a commercial experience. The holy devoted boat rider starts to be helped by some other boat rider that jumps from other boat carrying some mysterious box. However, when we get to the end of the circuit, the "helper" reveal her intentions and suddenly converts into an annoying seller and out from hers silver box comes out everything that can be sold - T-shirts, bags, etc. But it doesn't stop there, she finds other commercial partners that sell drinks and sandwiches trying to put everything on the boat before you could say no. It wasn't easy and the Israeli that was with splitting the boat became very angry, but still. 

Back to the hard ground, this was the tiny road that we came from Hoa Lu and that's my picture to close the tour. After there we got back to Hanoi and the other day very early I went to catch my flight to Saigon - praying that JetStar doesn't weight neither take measures of my bag. On the arrival to Saigon something weird happened, and since I'm not friend from planes it was even worse. During the maneuver for landing our plane had some altitude loss giving some "theme park elevator effect" and after that a incredibly repetitive and loud noise started until the plane had completely stropped. Well, thank God nothing happened but made me to get vary anxious. Even though I had been to Saigon I only spent 2 hours so I could get the bus back to Phnom Penh. Therefore, a post about that city will wait for the time that I really travel around there.

This trip budget wasn't cheap, but ok, I made my calculations, saved even more money from my salary, paid for the tickets with some money I had in Brazil and I was able to make it with less than I had planed. Let's go (in US$):

1. Tickets: $ 242 (Phnom Penh-Hanoi) + $ 70 (Hanoi-Saigon) + $ 7 (bus Saigon-Phnom Penh)
2. Accommodation $ 10
3. Tours: $ 65 (Halong Bay) + $ 25 (Tam Coc)
4. Food: $ 40
5.Souvenir: $ 25
6. Tickets: $10

Total: $494

The cheapest way would be to go and get back by bus in the Phnom Penh-Saigon direction and then get a JetStar plane between Saigon and Hanoi. However, I would have to spend an extra day to follow my schedule. Since I didn't have this extra day I decided to pay for the ripped-off flight direct to Hanoi. If you have more time you can make all Vietnam's coastline in the Open Tour bus which you pay like $ 35 and take and leave how many times and places you want. It's the best way to know all Vietnam and it's a common route within the backpackers - who are many!

Um comentário:

  1. Como assim 0 comments???
    Blog do Jota me ajudando a procrastinar na noite de estudos! #ha
    Seu blog é ótimo! Keep posting!


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