Tết Trung thu đến, đàn ông nên học hỏi người Thái, khi phụ nữ nhìn thấy món đồ mình thích thì hẳn là không nên do dự chắp tay cúi chào và nói: Quẹt thẻ của tôi. (Shuā wǒ dī kǎ)
As the Mid-Autumn Festival approaches, men should learn from the Thai people. When a woman looks at something she likes, he should not hesitate to bow with his hands clasped together and say: Swipe my card.
Thật may mắn, rất biết ơn những người bạn chân thành nhiều năm quen biết, thái độ đối với mình một mực không thay đổi, chẳng hạn như quà Tết Trung thu năm ngoái, không có, quà Tết trung thu năm nay, vẫn không có.
I am really lucky and grateful to know these sincere friends for many years. Their attitude towards me has remained unchanged. For example, there were no Mid-Autumn Festival gifts last year, and there are still no Mid-Autumn Festival gifts this year.
I woke up early at around 4AM to be present at the nearest metro early. Turned out I was a lil bit early because I was there at 5:50AM just to find out that the metro would only be open at 6:06.
Took more than half an hour to reach the Chadianzi Bus Station at 6:45. My destination of Songpan didn’t appear in the ticket machines, then I had to ask for help from the help desk.
7 hours on the bus without any traffic delay, I was at Songpan around 3PM. Earlier than I thought. As we descended from the bus, a lot of drivers asked to take us to a nearby hostel, or to Huanglong or Mounigou. But I decided that I should spend the rest of the afternoon strolling the Songzhou Ancient City nearby first.
As I booked the Youranju Hostel while on the bus, the hostel owner thought I was Thai. (Maybe it was because I used a Thai sim card for roaming here). I arranged with her for the 4 of us to visit Mounigou tomorrow in a rented car with other 2 British travelers living in the same hostel. This place had a nice garden with blossom flowers, flag decoration, and some maps on the wall. Especially, some tables and chairs outside were really inviting people to sit down and enjoy the atmosphere.
As we were all hungry, we decided to have a late lunch with the hostel restaurant beside.
When we headed for the ancient wall, the main gate was closed for renovation(?!) so we took a longer way around the wall. Some of the wall look rusty and a bit scary. Along the way, there was even a close gate which made us turned around. Too much walking until we went inside and saw some touristy shopping streets near the Songpan Bridge. It must be the busiest place of this town. But there weren’t many travelers around here. (In fact, from the hostel, I saw more people leaving than coming).
Inside the ancient city was a big playground. Here I saw the largest crowd of people square dancing at the same time in my life. 3 of my companions joined them in some parts. Next to it was some kids playing basketballs and other sport activities. Maybe you could learn why middle-aged and old women liked plaza dancing so much in my video below:
On the way back, I saw sunset around 8PM. When it got dark, it got colder, too. My body was too tired that I took a Tibetan massage at a place next to the hostel with a price of 78 yuans for 1 hour, much cheaper than I thought. To my surprise, the girl didn’t apply any oil in my skin. There was no hot stone, either. In fact, she didn’t even ask me to take my clothes off. She massaged kind of every millimeter of my skin and comforted me to relax when she knew I was hurt. I hoped I’d feel better tomorrow.
15 degrees celsius outside and in order to sleep, I had to put on my hat with ear flaps, 2 layers of shirts, 2 layers of blankets and even had to turn on the electric mattress.
What I feared the most was the weather as forecast. It rained in the morning again today, and my exploration of Fenghuang Old Town was disrupted somehow. Because I wore the Thai flip flop, I walked slowly and slipped when I got off a boat. I borrowed an umbrella because my jacket wasn’t completely waterproof.
The stoned bridge, the most famous part of the town, was wet so I only stepped on several stones and didn’t get to the middle. However, the boat trip was quite good.
I tried a boba milk tea and thought it was as good as the Vietnamese one.
After lunch, we departed Fenghuang for Changde. After checking in, all of us (except 1) walked to the supermarket called Lian Hua. It was quite big. I bought some gifts for my family and friends. What I loved about China’s summer is the peach season. I’d buy some on the last day to bring back to Vietnam.
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”.
It was raining in the morning which prevented us from going outside early as we expected. However, we were lucky that the rain stopped around 9 AM. We headed out to rent 2 motorbikes at a nearby hotel, then straight to the Ô Quý Hồ peak.
We passed “Thác Bạc” (Silver Waterfall) but then we didn’t stop long because all the beauty could be seen from outside. I heard that “Thác Tình Yêu”(Love Waterfall) was more beautiful, but someone didn’t stop on the way to the peak. So we reached the peak at around 10 AM. We took so many photos here because my lil bro always wanted to reach the top of the highest place of Vietnam where a bike is accessible, of course.
We went back to “Thác Bạc” for a salmon lunch. The price was quite okay, and we had a square meal with 3 dishes (salad, roast an hotpot) of 1.5 kgs of salmon.
Following a local or tourist advice, we went back to “Thác Tình Yêu” (Love Waterfall) for sightseeing. Someone opted out as he was too full to walk. The 3 of us (my siblings and I) could only walk to “Suối Vàng” (Golden Stream) because we were afraid of a possible rain.
We went back to Quoc Thai Inn, checked out then walked back to Auberge Dang Trung Hotel for dinner. We caught the coach there to the Lao Cai train station.
We did nothing while on board the train tonight. We silently went to sleep early.
We had breakfast and checked out of the hotel. The trek to Cát Cát Village started at 9:30 AM. The village was quite far from the center of Sapa as we leisurely walked for about 45 minutes to reach the place where the guide had to buy tickets. Around 11 AM, we reached the waterfall after passing through many ethnic display and sale points. I loved the place though it was fully exploited for the benefits of tourists. I was standing very close to the famous rice terraces of the Northwest.
It was blacked out in the morning, and when we were back, there was no electricity. I asked the hotel owner and he said it would be back around 4 PM. What a town!
At noon, we had lunch and then left Auberge Dang Trung Hotel for Quoc Thai Inn. I called it motel because it seemed you could bring your bike or even a car. But I wasn’t so sure. We took a rest.
In the late afternoon, we went out to visit the Sapa market and shopped a bit. Then we went to the Hàm Rồng Mountain area for a barbecue dinner. As there was another black out when we finished the meal, we went to a cafe called T-Bone Steak House which has a balcony overlooking the Cầu Mây Street. A very relaxing time for us all!
Then we went back to sleep early as we expected to wake up early for the Ô Quý Hồ Mountain Pass the next morning.