Vietnam Holiday – Day Four – Part Three


The Flower Market


Khuc Bach Thanh

Before arriving at our next stop on the “foodie” motor bike tour, we drove through the alleys of the colourful flower market.


Eating Our Desert

This was the desert stop. We went to Khuc Bach Thanh, a popular stop for young locals. Their famous desert is a kind of fruit salad. It has been copied by many but the original  remains the most popular.


Our last stop for the evening was for coffee at  Mein Dong Thao Cafe.

Finally we were dropped back at the hotel,safe and sound, after a fabulous fun evening. about 11 pm


Mien Dong Thao Cafe


Before We Had Ordered


Our Coffees


Outside the Cafe


Saying Goodbye


Vietnam Holiday – Day Four – Part One


VC Toy Escaping Down a Tunnel

Today we visited the Cu Chi tunnel complex and the historic war relics. The tunnels of Cu Chi are an immense network of connecting underground tunnels located in the Cu Chi district of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and are part of a much larger network of tunnels that underlie much of the country.The Cu Chi area is located about 40 km from Ho chi Minh City

The embedded video was published on Dec 19, 2013 taken by Eugene Taylor and Abraham Krikorian . These tunnels are approximately 200 kilometers long and were hand dug by the Viet Minh and later by the Viet Cong using crude tools. The incredible ingenuity and determination on the part of the Vietnamese in fighting for independence and unification is reflected throughout the tunnel complex. The video is so comprehensive that there will br no more text, only photos.

A grim reminder of the horrors of the Vietnam war.




VC Toy at the Live Firing Range


Eating Tunnel Food….Boiled Tapioca & Tea


With Typical VC


Our Guide, Tony, Showing us a Captured US Tank


Collected Bombs


Bomb Crater 30 years On

 On the way back to the city, we had lunch at a delightfut restaurant on a small island in a river.

Walking Bridge to the Restaurant


Sugar Cane Prawns & Fish and Chips

Vietnam Holiday – Day Four – Part Two


Off We Go


Tonight was another highlight of our trip  A night:”foodie” tour of Ho Chi Minh City by motorbike. Despite my trepidation at being on the back of a motor bike in this city, we had a wonderful time.

At 6 pm three motor bikes turned up at the hotel Two for us and a backup. All were female final year University students, studying English. They were about 20 years old and their bright personalities meant that you couldn’t help but enjoy yourself.They helped me overcome my nervousness at bring on a motorbike in the crazy traffic.


Papaya Salad


Small Stools

Our first course was papaya salad. It wasn’t bad. Less spicy than Thailand and no soft shell crab. We sat on very small stools outside a public toilet in a park  We were served from a street stall.


Local Restaurant


Our Group

Our next stop was a very large  local restaurant full of locals. The girls ordered fo us. We had clams, ink bladders from squid (I think), and delicious fresh crusty bread. The bread was pulled apart and eaten without butter. Small portions of it were used to make sandwiches from the food. It then all washed down with Tiger Beer.Many dishes yet to come!

After dinner we had an exciting drive through a labyrinth of alleys, only about a meter wide with right angle turns. Fortunately it was all one-way.

This blog is getting a bit long, so I will break here. To be continued……


Unborn Chicken.Not for me!


Grilled Shrimp


Squid Ink Bladders




Snails and Morning Glory



Vietnam Holiday – Day Three – Part Two


Cho Ah Binh Market

We then went ashore to the land based Cho An Binh  Market. Also for a comfort stop.

The market sold river fish, produce, with a general market behind.

Later we went to a small factoty where rice noodles are made. The rice batter is cooked on large hot plates, then sun dried on racks for 5 hours before being shredded. An interesting process. Before being shredded the sheetsare like plastic.

The sampan then returned us to Saigon Eyes Head Office where a van returned us to Ho Chi Minh City. We had lunch at a hotel on the way.




River Fish



Squid and Octopus


Pumpkin Flowers




Cooking the Batter on a Hotplate


Sun Drying Racks


Shredding the Noodles


The Dried Sheets Ready for Shredding

Vietnam Holiday – Day Three – Part One




Coffee, Juice. Fruit, and Toast

Toy was up early to see the sunrise. Breakfast this morning  was seved on the upper deck while cruising. 

Later in the morning we transferred to a sampan for a tour of the Cai Rang Flosting Market in Can Tho.

We passed under the Can Tho bridge. Can Tho is regarded as the capital of the Delta.


Breakfast on the Upper Deck


Egg Station and Noodle Soup


Noodle Soup


Sampan Driver


The Floating Market


The Floating Market


The Floating Market


A Floating Fuel Stop

The Floating Market is really a wholesale market. Boat sellers display on large poles the products they are selling.

Dining Out Group – Suki Taro


Outside the Suki Taro

On Thursday night the Dining Out Group ate at the Suki Taro Thai restaurant. This hard to find restaurant is located in a soi behind  Central Festival Plaza. There is no English menu but adequate food photos of the dishes. Strangely Canadian crayfish was on the menu by prior order. Twenty of us enjoyed the meal there.

I ordered safely…battered prawns while Toy and his sister, Loom, shared raw prawns and oven baked vermicelli with prawns, which they both enjoyed. The prawns were a little bit too heavily battered for my liking.


Red Wine from Lamphun

I decided to be very brave and order a bottle of wine from Lamphun, from a winery south of Chiang Mai. Not too bad!

The restaurant obviously is very popular with Thais. In fact we were the only farangs there! This hidden gem was located in a posh residential soi.

The total bill, including wine, for three people was 685 baht. (about A$26.50)12596137_1745743048990012_1002504487_n

Rich, Chris, Me, Toy, Toy’s sister Loom


Battered Prawns


Raw Prawns


Oven Baked Vermicelli with Prawns

Australia Day 2016

12584048_1745742628990054_6662453_nHappy Australia Day!

Here in Chiang Mai it’s cold and wet. This morning it was 11 deg. Coldest temperatures since  1999. Maximum expected is 14 deg Very cold for Chiang Mai.

Here is the 2016 TV commercial for lamb. Operation boomerang commenced on 11 Jan with the aim of bringing Australians home for lamb on Australia Day.


Vietnam Holiday – Day 2

12583989_1743996595831324_1798241161_nThe next couple of days we spent on the boat Mekong Eyes on the Mekong Delta.This was to be the highlight of the holiday


Eyes at the Bow

Every boat, from rice barges to smaller delta freighters are painted with two eyes at the bow. These eyes are meant to allow the boat to see ahead and look for danger but also to ward off dangerous creatures like the river shark or other monsters. If a fisherman is killed, it must be the river monster; if a boat sinks, it must be the river monster.

The Mekong Delta is not remote but in fact heavily populated and  developed. It has some of the most productive agricultural land in Southeast Asia for the sun shines brightly, the average temperature is 28 deg.

We were picked up at the hotel in an air-conditioned van about 8:30 am for the 3 hour somewhat dusty drive to Cai Be. The road was lined with construction hire equipment and farm machinery The heavy traffic contained many buses and vehicles carrying containers from the nearby docks.

After boarding about noon and a safety demonstration, the boat started. We were then at leisure to explore our cabin, the boat’s facilities, and watch the river scenery. A delightful lunch was served about 1 o’clock.

At 4 pm we disembarked for a guided leisurely stroll through a village and the surrounding fruit orchards or rice fields

On our return to the boat, we enjoyed cocktails on the top deck and watched sunset on the river.

Another fabulous dinner on the boat which moored for the night about 9 pm



Lunch on Board


A River Ferry


The Upper Deck and Sun Deck


The Comfortable Cabins


Guided Tour of Village


Cocktails on the Upper Deck


Another River Ferry





After boarding about noon and safety demonstration, the boat started,Lunch was served at 1:00 pm. We were then at leisure to explore the boat’s facilities and watch the river scenery.

At 4 pm we disembarked for a guided leisurely stroll through a village and the surrounding fruit orchards or rice fields

On our return to the boat, we enjoyed cocktails on the top deck and watched sunset on the river.

Another fabulous dinner on the boat which moored for the night about 9 pm

Grand Opening Three Owls Gallery

3oLast night we attended the Grand Opening of the Three owls Art Gallery on the ground floor of the Nakonping Condo. It is an initative of three water colour artists,Worawuth Srakaeo, Glid Yotsapon,and Maitree Kulpanun. An auction of one of their larger works, in aid of orphaned children raised 16,000 baht.


The Successful Bidder of the Auction


Toy & Me, with the Three Artists

Wine was available for 120 baht a glass and finger food was provided.

Vietnam Holiday – Day One – Part Three


Notre Dame Cathedral


Post Office

After lunch we visited the Notre Dame Cathedral and the adjacent Post Office. Building materials for both were imported from France. The post office was based on the design of Gustave Eiffel (of Eiffel Tower fame) Links for both will expand details, if you are interested.


Cake Seller Outside the Post Office


Outside the War Remnants Museum


Entrance to the War Remnants Museum


The Yard of the War Remnants Museum


The Yard of the War Remnants Museum

We then visited the War Remnants Museum. It was interesting to read war details from the other side. It was  great museum but we were too exhausted to appreciate it.

Finally we drove through the New City. This is an area close to the city where many expats live. There are multi story condominiums and international schools. Streets are wider and there are not so many motorbikes.

A pleasant area.

A hectic first day introduction to Ho Chi Minh City.