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This particular trip was a short break from work to Cambodia and Vietnam in 2006.

We flew from Siem Reap to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam. HCMC seemed the same. We shopped for and visited the older parts of the city before flying up to Danang (next to China Beach, made more famous by the '80s TV show of the same name) where we immediately headed to Hoi An, a small town and former trading centre with China in previous centuries. As a result, there are many old houses, a scenic river and port area, bustling market. Again, things have changed with many new hotels on the outskirts of town, but much of the charm remains.


One of the things I really love about Vietnam is how many things have not changed in centuries. Many women still wear the conical hat and carry their loads on bamboo poles over their shoulders with baskets hanging at each end. In the countryside, rice is tended in wet paddies, and water buffalo, pigs, chickens, ducks are all common sites. Vietnam is not a rich country, in fact it is extremely poor, as you would imagine after devastating decades of wars and occupation by the French, Japanese, Americans and Chinese in the last century. However, the Vietnamese are the most resourceful and entrepreneurial people and the towns now sport many new houses.