Life as seen by Jason A. Rice. China based photographer.

SE Asia

Vietnam (Siagon and Mui Ne)

Mui Ne is a fishing village in the morning and tourist town by night.

Mui Ne is a fishing village in the morning and tourist town by night.

So it has been forever since my last post…. busy busy.  About a month ago one of my Wuhan friends and I decided to get out of the busy Chinese city life and head down to relax on the beaches of Vietnam.  The planning was a whirlwind, as I was scheduled to fly back to the US in about three weeks.  In order to get our ten day trip in we had to leave only a few days after we decided to actually go.  In my opinion, travel in Asia and most other places in the world is just so much easier than the States.  If we were trying to plan something for departure in a few days in the States we would be paying an arm and a leg for limited transportation options and finding a suitable hotel at the right price could be trouble.   But this time we had to decide on transportation: long cheap bus ride through amazing scenery, medium long train ride through equally amazing scenery, or moderate to semi-high airfare which would land us in south Vietnam in about four hours.  See… in many places they don’t shoot the prices up as time gets closer.  They stick true to the cost and demand of it all.  If tickets have not been sold out in the price category and you are leaving tomorrow, you get the regular price.  Same goes for train or bus tickets.  This is good news for us spur of the moment travelers or travelers who travel on a whim because the surf is good, or a concert is in town, or you just get a wild hair.  It is a great thing to one day feel caged in your surroundings and with only a little effort and not too much a dent out of your budget you can be exercising those demons out of you system on a beach or mountain a few days later.  And this is just what we planned to do.  After throwing money down on two seats from Wuhan-Guangzhou-Siagon and scoring a visa which would be waiting for us in the Siagon airport for our arrival just two days later we would be trading our re gan mian for big bowls of pho.  Another great aspect of traveling in other countries is the ability to arrive without a hotel reservation or a sure schedule to stick with.  You just need to find a general area you want to be and start talking to other travelers about what could fit your needs… eventually you will bounce right into the place you’d been dreaming of all along.  Us?  We found a little dream spot fifteen feet from front door to beach, hot water, air condition, sound of lapping waves from the bed, perfect reading porch and short sandaled walks to top notch cheap daily catch fresh food.  Our guest house offered all this, and more, for only $22 a night (we paid more to be on the beach and to have a second bed).  The joys of Vietnam still fill my belly and my mind.  A nice little retreat if your sweating to death in polluted crowded Chinese city.

Pham Ngu Lao backpacker area.  Not a true portrait of Saigon but a true portrait of touristy Siagon.  Full of bars, shops and ladies of the night.

Pham Ngu Lao backpacker area. Not a true portrait of Saigon but a true portrait of touristy Siagon. Full of bars, shops and ladies of the night.

A look out the guest house window over the rooftops of Siagon.

A look out the guest house window over the rooftops of Siagon.

Motobikes take up most of the road in downtown Siagon.  Helmet laws make for some pretty fantastic protective fashion.  Quite a difference from the silent sweeping noises of Chinese electric scooter as these guys hum all around the city.

Motorbikes take up most of the road in downtown Siagon. Helmet laws make for some pretty fantastic protective fashion. Quite a difference from the silent sweeping noises of Chinese electric scooter as these guys hum all around the city.

The coastal town of Mui Ne.  In the off season this a quiet little village.  South of town is a strip of guest houses, hotels, eateries and massage establishments.  Further south it gets more resorty and Russian.  Yep, it is a big Russian vacation spot from back in the days when the communist tries were stronger.

The coastal town of Mui Ne. In the off season this a quiet little village. South of town is a strip of guest houses, hotels, eateries and massage establishments. Further south it gets more resorty and Russian. Yep, it is a big Russian vacation spot from back in the days when the communist tries were stronger.

Can pho be a reason to travel to a place?  Of course!  Vietnam has long since been on my list of places to visit, one of those reasons was to taste pho from its source.  Pho Goa is heavily lauded by many travel books and website the place serves up a good bowl of pho, but the real treat is the Chinese bread.  This was my first time with pho and the dipping bread.  Other establishments need to pick up on this little nugget of goodness.

Can pho be a reason to travel to a place? Of course! Vietnam has long since been on my list of places to visit, one of those reasons was to taste pho from its source. Pho Goa is heavily lauded by many travel books and website the place serves up a good bowl of pho, but the real treat is the Chinese bread. This was my first time with pho and the dipping bread. Other establishments need to pick up on this little nugget of goodness.