March 2011 - Vikingess Voyages

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Delay in blogposting

9:18:00 PM
Due to extremely slow internet I guess my blogposts will be a little bit (more) delayed..

Right now I am in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and I'm still not finished writing about Thailand or Vietnam, so I guess there will be a lot of writing to do later..


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sightseeing in Vietnam: The Củ Chi Tunnels

8:29:00 PM
On our third day in Vietnam me and Adoara went to see the so-called Củ Chi tunnels, situated a little bit outside of Ho Chi Minh city. These tunnels were used by the local Vietnameese guerrillas under the Vietnam War; not only did they use these tunnels to escape attacks by the Americans, but they also served other purposes such as living quarters etc. Normally the tunnels were being used mostly by daytime, but at times the guerrillas were forced to stay in the tunnels for days in row..
In the Củ Chi area there are a lot of holes in the ground which leads you down to the tunnel system. Obviously a lot of them has been closed down or destroyed by heavy rainfalls, bombings during the war and so on, but some of them remains more or less intact (or modified to be more fitted for tourist..) so that you still have the chance to go down there for yourself and see what it looks like.

One of the entrances to the tunnel.

Our guide talking about the tunnel system..

.. and by moving away some of the leaves on the ground he revealed to us on of the openings to the tunnels. This one, however, is not a regular entrance but was instead only being used as a point of reference: the guerrillas stuck their head up to orient themselves or to check that the surroundings were safe.

Besides the tunnels Củ Chi also has a lot of booby traps to show off. Here you have the classical one where you take a step onto what seems to be normal land, but in reality it is a pit of death..

In fact there are so many different traps to display that they have made a tiny "self made weapon gallery" where you can check out a whole loads of different types of booby traps..

And trust me; you do not want to run into one of these while you're out walking in the park or something..

The picture in the background shows how the American soldiers ended their lives (or got damaged for life) in various booby traps..

Our guide seemed to have a good time demonstrating traps and declairing: Tis is haw we kill Americans!". Adaora on the other hand did not look all that happy... :p

The Củ Chi tunnels has different levels, and the upper levels was used as living quarters not only for the warriors but also for women and children.

If you take a trip to the tunnels you also have the chance to do some shooting at the place the tourist groups stop for lunch (not included in the price of the trip).

And after lunch it is time for the real thing (for those who dares); a trip down to the tunnel itself.

And I can guarantee that the number of people who waited outside was larger than the number of people who went through all of the tunnel area. At first I thought it would be a rather claustrophobic experience, but it was not as worse as I would have thought. There are lights most of the way (the last part did however not have any light at all and I had to crawl on my knees too), and every 10 meters or so there are new stairs going up to the surface and I somehow felt a little bit secured by that.
Anyway, it was a really fun experience! (I mean, I was so proud of myself that I made it through whole of the tunnel xD!!)

Picture taken inside the tunnels. A little bit further inside the tunnel you can see another tourist as well..
Me and Adaora at the exit of the tunnel.

Some remaining bombshells from the American attacks

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Exploring Asia: Ho Chi Minh City - Vietnam

12:56:00 AM
We left Thailand by plane going straight to Vietnam's capital Ho Chi Minh (formerly known by the name Saigon) on the 18th of March. The weather was nice and the city looked appealing, but even though we arrived early in the afternoon I had caught a fever, and did not feel like doing much that day. But after some rest and a good nights sleep we were ready to check out the city!

One of the first sights that met us in the capital, was one of the many Vietnamese people wearing their traditional  hat and carrying their baskets with mostly food or beverages.

 There are some nice small parks in the city, and we found it quite refreshing to take a short walk through one of them.

 On our way to the palace we also encountered a guy selling coconuts, and we got to try holding the thing he used to carry them around. A bit heavy if I must say so, at least considered the fact that he is walking around with that thing all day..

 Anyway, the fresh coconuts were really good and cheap too..! 

 Walking from our hotel to the Reunification Palace did not take too long. Everything worth seeing in the city was in walking  distance, cause the city is not that big.

 A picture from inside the palace.

 This one shows me on the roof of the palace, with some helicopters in the background.

 And this.. thing.. in the background is actually a car! Haha.. Fancy. As you can see there are also loads of motorbikes here..

The War Museum

On our exploration of the city we also decided to stop by the Vietnamese War Museum. And the first thing that met us was the sight of some huge American aircrafts..

 Me and Adaora (and a bunch of other tourists) in front of the War Museum

 Some of the guns being displayed inside of the museum.

 The museum had a huge selection of photos which had been taken under and after the war.

 The photos really made a lasting impression; it was horrible to see what damages the war had cost not only to the landscape and the soldiers, but also not to mention the damages done to the civilians. The picture being displayed here is almost harmonic and peaceful compared to many of the other pictures we could see here, and the stories being told really strikes you in the hart (unless it is made of stone or something..)
 Because the Americans used strong chemicals when they bombed Vietnam there are still children today that are being born with defects and misshaped bodies. At the War Museum you can support some of the victims of the so-called Agent Orange by donations or by buying souvenirs made by some of the victims.

 One of many communist banners you can see when you walk through Ho Chi Minh city.

Our last stop for the day: the Notre Dame Cathedral

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Sightseeing in Bangkok: Chao Phraya and must-see temples by the riverside

11:25:00 PM
The river Chao Phraya goes straight through the western part of Bangkok, and from there it is easy to travel by boat to major tourist attractions for only a few Bath. This picture is taken at a small harbor close to our hotel, and shows the view towards the southern part of the city.
There are a couple of different boats you can take to get to the area with all the temples. Some are really cheap, but they also have a little bit more expensive tourist boat where a lady talks about buildings and attractions the boat passes by on the way (she even started singing on our trip..!).
From the boat we had a good view to some of Bangkok's most famous tourist spots, here represented by the temple of the Dawn; Wat Arun.

After getting of the boat we went toWat Phra Khaew which is said to be the most important Buddhist temple in Thailand.

There are a lot to see inside the temple area, and both the architecture, statues and paintings are really nice.

The details in the temple are also beautiful..!

The only thing I can complain about was that we unfortunately did not have much luck with the weather.. And neither had we brought umbrellas with us on this particular day, so the sightseeing was not as fun as we would have hoped. I am pretty certain we would have spent much more time there if it wasn't raining that much..

Some interesting statues..!

And a little close-up of one of the painted walls.

After seeing the Wat Phra Khaer temple we went next door to the palace. When you pay to see Wat Phra Khaer you actually have to pay for the entrance to the palace area as well, so even though it wasn't all too interesting we stopped by the place for a quick view.

... And since I did order a dress a couple of days ago we dropped by the tailor as well to try it on and to check if there was any necessary adjustments to be made.

The dress was a little bit to big, so one of the ladies had to help adjusting the size.

Agoda Partner Links

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Thai Massage Course in Bangkok!

6:15:00 PM
One of the things I really wanted to try out while in Thailand, was a course in thai massage!
After doing some research I discovered that most of the places however only offered 5 days courses, and since we didn't have that many days in Thailand 5 days were not possible for me.
But luckily the owner of Shiva Ashram Hoslistic Health & Thai Massage studio, Tieng, let me take the course over fewer days than normal.

His massage studio is situated really close to the airport, all I had to do was to take the train and get off at the Lat Krabang station, which is the stop next to the airport, and Tieng came and picked me up there.
A picture of the entrance to the massage studio

..And one of the reception.

This is the room used where my massage courses were being held.

But besides this they have some other nicely decorated massage rooms as well. The atmosphere was very relaxing and peacefull.

Not only did I got to learn a lot about Thai massage, but I also recived some myself as well!

Practicing some basic  Thai massage on one of the assistants.

Adaora also recieved some Thai massage.

And after working for many hours I got to try out some stuff that was a little bit advanced as well..!

The last day I got a diploma from my teacher for having finished the massage course!

I can really recommend taking a massage course in Thailand, I think it is an unique experience not only because it is something typical for Thailand, but also because it's something I most likely not would have done back in my own country. To go out of your own country and coming back with new experiences and skills really are some of the best things of travelling, in my opinion.

I also strongly recommend this place, everybody is so nice and friendly, both me and Adaora felt that we were being taken so good care of.! If you are interested in learning Thai massage you can check out their internet page. There you can see the different courses they offer as well as more info about Thai massage and so on.!

Also, the adress of the place is:
459/304 Romklao Rd.,Ladkabang Bangkok Thailand. (3.5 mins. from Suvarnabhumi airport)

About Me

Adventures ofAnette

A modern day shield-maiden who loves to explore the unbeaten paths of the world. From her base in Tokyo, Anette takes on both rural and urban challenges, and goes by the motto "No challenge too big, no adventure too small"!
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