Phu Yen – Binh Dinh, Day 5: Ghenh Rang

We went to see the tomb of Han Mac Tu (a famous Vietnamese poet) at Ghenh Rang. This place was kinda old and not worth visiting. However, I thought a leisure walk to see the beach was okayish.

This Phu Yen – Binh Dinh tour was kinda more expensive than others that I could search for online, but the meals were all tasty. I was kinda sad I couldn’t enjoy the last two dinners with the other members. Actually, they were among the best tour groups I’ve traveled with so far.

At noon, after lunch, I parted ways with the tour as they dropped me off at Quy Nhon Railway Station. I had to stay in the stay there for 1 and a half hours before the train started for HCMC. Another long endurance but this time I had quite a good view of the Vietnam land and beach outside the train window.

Phu Yen – Binh Dinh, Day 4: Dry Islet, Wind Strait, And Ky Co Beach

We went on a boat tour to Hon Kho (Dry Islet) where I took another dip in the Binh Dinh Sea and others enjoyed scuba diving to seek for some corals.

After taking a rest and having a long lunch, we came to Eo Gio (Wind Strait) and Ky Co Beach. I must admit that these places were better operated than the sightseeing spots in Phu Yen.

I really liked the white sand beach of Ky Co with beautifully decorated houses on the hill.

I skipped another dinner with the tour because my friend’s friend just flew here from HCMC. He treated us quite a square meal.

Phu Yen – Binh Dinh, Day 3: Mang Lang Church And Da Dia Reef

This morning, I had an opportunity to visit Mang Lang Church. Actually, this church was beyond my expectation because it had the look of Notre Dame de Paris. I thought this was more like a replica than the Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon. The old wooden windows reminded me with my secondary school’s architecture which was also from the French colonial time.

Then we headed for Da Dia Reef (also called Gành Đá Dĩa or Ghềnh Đá Đĩa), the prominent tourist attraction of Phu Yen. The area was smaller than I thought though it had quite an impressive gate at the front.

I had another delicious lunch with seafood before leaving for Binh Dinh. We checked in Quy Nhon hotel around 2:30pm. My friends went out but I was too tired so I stayed in for a warm bath to relax my muscles.

Around 4pm, my friend convinced me to take a dip in the sea. It was fun, but my legs were still hurt.

My friend had an acquaintance in Quy Nhon so we skipped the tour dinner and ate out together. He took us to a restaurant by the river(?!). When we came back, the others joined us on a beach side cafe to enjoy the night.

P.s.:
Later I heard that other people had quite a good meal with chicken. I’d rather stay with them.

Phu Yen – Binh Dinh, Day 2: Nhan Mountain And Dien Cape

The train reached Tuy Hoa Station at 9:10am, just in time the flight from Hanoi landed in Tuy Hoa Airport. The bus came to pick me up and I made friends with 3 new girls: 2 were my friend’s colleagues and 1 was kinda the tour leader.

We came to the Nhan Mountain first. The Cham tower looked just like other Cham towers I have seen in Nha Trang, but the overview of Phu Yen land and sky from the mountain was majestic.

Then the tour bus took us to a pagoda before we had an early lunch at 10:40am. Delicious one. Then we had a long rest after checking in Saigon – Phu Yen hotel.

Around 3pm we departed for the Dai Lanh aka Dien Cape. I climbed up to the lighthouse with so many steps and found out I was still scared of heights after all. From there I went down to see the beautiful beach.

The tuna sushi at dinner was so delicious. Just two meals and I realized that Vietnamese food was so good. Thai, Singaporean, and Australian can’t hold a candle to Vietnamese cuisine.

The tour guide was very helpful. He went with us to try the tuna big eye dish, a specialty of Phu Yen. He also called it “ocean headlight”.

Phu Yen – Binh Dinh, Day 1: On The Train To Phu Yen

After long discussion with a friend who lived in Hanoi, I decided to take the train to Phu Yen to join her and her friends on this trip.

I went to the Saigon Railway Station around 8:30pm to catch the train. I booked a hard seat and turned out it was a wrong choice. Even the train gave me a blanket and I used it as a bed sheet, the narrow width of the seat prevented me from a good night sleep. The guy next to me gave up his seat and stayed elsewhere. Other people had to sleep under seat or on the aisle.

It would take me about 12 hours to reach Tuy Hoa Station in Phu Yen Province.

Trekking Ta Nang (Lam Dong)

My company organized a 2-day trip to trek Ta Nang for managers. Despite advice to practice before the trip, I didn’t think it would be as hard a the hikes/treks I did in Kangding, Danba, or Garzê in 2009. Turned out I was wrong somehow.

The day before the trek, we finished our work early and left the office for the Tan Son Nhat airport. We flew to Lien Khuong Airport at Dalat and then checked in to the hotel.

The next morning, we started off quite late, and only after the farm truck arrived at a small house did we begin to really walk off the paved area, around 10AM. It was very sunny, but I didn’t feel any tired in the morning because we only walked through a meadow. We were taking a rest real soon, around 1PM. After siesta, I began to realize that we had to climb over some steep slopes. Only at those places was I slower than others.

We reached to the tents at Ta Nang top at 4PM. Too early. I learned that we walked just about 8km today. My thighs hurt a bit.

I had a really fun night with my colleagues. We had a warm dinner by the fire, then we sang the night away. Though I brought my own backpack all the way up to the top, I had to admire the health of porters who brought almost everything that we needed.

This was the first time I slept in a tent on a mountain. It was a good experience though.

We woke up early the next morning, and helped unload the tents before going down. Because we had to take the flight home in Lam Dong, we didn’t have a chance to continue but go back. The road was not too difficult but there were many turns. Unluckily, I saw no waterfall.

Still I had the fear of crossing a very tiny tree bridge over a stream.

We were present at the small house around 10. I really walked slowly on the way back to talk with some female colleagues my age. The best thing about this trip was to connect with other managers.

I guessed I’d have a good tan now after the trek, and sore legs for a few days ahead.

The top wasn’t as high (as in China), my health wasn’t as good as I had been 9 years ago, but I wanna trek more mountains after this tiring trip.

My new pair of trekking shoes were a bit damaged after the trek. I’d have to bring them to the seller to repair soon.

Check out the video of the trip done by the organizer team:

Looking back at the trip, it was my most memorable moment in this company. The previous company trip wasn’t as delighted.

Dien Bien – Hai Phong, Day 8: Hai Phong To HCMC

So the trip was almost over. We had the last meal at a rice place near the bus station. First time I tried sour soup with a strange fruit. I had to ask for its name.

Then at noon, I took a xe om to the Cat Bi Airport. The electric board let me see a lot of flights cancelled due to the weather. The airport was as small as the bus station which made me surprised. I thought it would be larger as Hai Phong was considered the 3rd largest city of Vietnam. But I was wrong.

Luckily, I got on the plane just a lil bit later than expected.

I got home around 5 PM and waited for my sis news. At midnight, she told me she was home safe and sound.

Dien Bien – Hai Phong, Day 7: Hai Phong

The sleeper bus reached Hai Phong City 15 hours later. The day before must have been the longest day of my life. I thought it was no better when a “xe om” rider showed us a place which I thought was worse than a toilet. Luckily, we decided to get out of it and checked in into a hotel which was also near the Nem Nghia bus station.

It was cold outside but we still decided to take a taxi to the Hai Phong’s Opera House. From then we walked and found a place called “Bánh đa cua Bà Cụ” (famous for Hai Phong type of noodles).

After lunching, we went around to visit some temples and pagodas at Le Chan District.

In the evening, we had some snails for dinner, and enjoyed the hot dessert “sủi dìn” (a type of “chè trôi nước”, similar to the Chinese’s tangyuan).

Unluckily, my sis’ plane from Hai Phong back to HCMC was cancelled due to the weather. She was told to depart from Noi Bai Airport in Hanoi. Hope she would be fine on the bus back there.

Dien Bien – Hai Phong, Day 6: Dien Bien To Hai Phong

This must have been the worst day of our trip. In the morning, we had a terrible bread breakfast at a cafe nearby.

Just when we got on the sleeper bus to depart Dien Bien for Hai Phong, everything went from bad to worse. The coach reached the passes right away, and we had to endure a severe motion sickness. For my sis, it didn’t stop until she vomited twice. I had a severe headache.

The worst thing was that, at the first stop on the go, the coach left us behind. I had to phone the bus for them to come back. Dammit!

I swore to myself I would never get on a sleeper bus for such a long journey. My advice for people who would choose to travel by a sleeper bus is that never take the upper level where your vision is limited and motion sickness is enhanced.

Dien Bien – Hai Phong, Day 5: Museum Of Dien Bien Phu Victory And Him Lam Hill

As we saw almost everything that was worth seeing in Dien Bien, we decided to go back to the A1 Hill to visit the Museum of Dien Bien Phu Victory.

When we were back, we enjoyed “chè bưởi” (grapefruit sweet soup) on Nguyen Chi Thanh Street.

At lunch break, we saw that the Him Lam Hill was under restoration on Dien Bien TV. So we forced the taxi driver to take us there even though he (just like the 2 riders the day before) insisted that there was nothing to see. In fact, we saw some fixes on the make, and trekked up to some historic sites of the hill. We found no way to reach the memorial stones on top of the hills, but at least we could reach a place where Phan Dinh Giot covered a loophole with his body.

60 years ago today, Vietnamese troops fought the first battle here at the Him Lam Hill. I felt so proud to be here at this historic moment.

In the evening, we had another rice dinner at the place we ate yesterday. Another delicious meal.

Then we went back to the hostel to enjoy watching the “Ban Flower Festival” on TV.