Sunday, January 13, 2013

Holiday December 2012 - Good Morning Vietnam!!

So the girls were out for a month for holiday and we NEEDED to go somewhere - and Vietnam hit three out of the three criteria - CLOSE, CHEAP and most importantly, FUN! We arrived Saturday, December 22nd and it took a bit to get through the Visa process. All in all it was quite easy but some were a little frustrated with the process. I opted to get get the "visa on arrival" so we wouldn't need to leave our passports with the Vietnam Embassy and honestly, it was a little cheaper. I sent away for the letter required and filled out all the paperwork and had it in order upon arrival. Then we had to wait about 30 minutes to get our Visas processed and we were on our way!

We headed to a hotel Lenny had found on trip advisor and it worked for us. We usually stay for free on points, but since Vietnam was so inexpensive it wasn't worth wasting the points here versus going somewhere really she she and using the points there. So Ha My 2 Hotel it was!

We did a lot of really fun things while we were there....
Day 1 Saturday - Headed to the tailors to get Lenny some slacks and shirts made. Talk about INEXPENSIVE!! So we live in Asia but the Asians are NOT Lenny's size so tailored clothing is really the ONLY option! BONUS - I also got a dress made for a wedding we are headed to this summer....very excited!

Day 2 Sunday - Headed down the Mekong Delta River. The Mekong delta region encompasses a large portion of southwestern Vietnam and the area covered by water depends on the season. We hopped on a bus for a few hours drive and then headed by boat down the river. We saw floating markets (mass quantity purchasing only ON THE RIVER), how they make puffed rice and even took a paddle boat ride with a driver. It was really a neat experience. Here are some pics of our trip!

We stopped on our trails and ate lunch at a local place where we had fish and rice. The girls were in heaven! Then we walked around for a few minutes and then took our paddle boat back down the river!
On our way back to the bus they take you through the local market....needless to say, its MUCH different that our local market in Singapore!

Day 3 Monday Christmas Eve Day/Night - Decided to be a local and do as the locals do. We hired drivers and motorcycles and took the girls on a tour of Ho Chi Minh City. I have three words about it: IT.WAS.AWESOME! The girls were giddy with may as well have told them that Hanukkah Harry existed! The drivers were very surprised that we wanted helmets for the girls cause apparently that's not a "local" thing! We hopped on our motorcycles and off we went! I think the best part of this tour was the fact that we went to party of the city we wouldn't have otherwise seen. Lenny took all kinds of random pics while on the bike. We each had a driver, kid in the middle and then us at the end. Motorcycles here can hold an entire family if needed!
Probably one of the funniest things that happened on our motorcycle trip was Ansley falling asleep on the MOVING motorcycle....complete with hat ON!
On the other hand, Hannah REALLY wanted to sit in front like the local kids on the bike....and so she did and LOVED it!
Here are some of the highlights of things we saw in Vietnam: Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica:

Post office:

Day 4 Tuesday - To spend Christmas 2012 we decided to head to the Cu Chi Tunnels. Again, we headed on a few hour bus ride to head out to the tunnels and on our way stopped at the largest Pagoda in Vietnam.
Little snack break with daddy - this girl LOVES fresh coconut!

We then headed back on the bus and on our way to the Cu Chi Tunnels. The tunnels of Củ Chi are a network of connecting underground tunnels located in the Củ Chi district of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam, and are part of a much larger network of tunnels that underlie much of the country. The Củ Chi tunnels were the location of several military campaigns during the Vietnam War. The tunnels were used by the Vietnamese as hiding spots during combat, as well as serving as communication and supply routes, hospitals, food and living quarters for numerous fighters. Here is Hannah and Ansley showing us how small the openings were:
I have really never considered myself a claustrophobic person but man I think I am. We went into the tunnels for about 60 meters and it had 6 openings where you could come out every 10 meters should you want to so when Hannah said she wanted out at the first opportunity I took it and ran with it! Not only was it really small within it it was really HOT! I never had to crawl but I did have to take off the backpack to just get through to the first opening. To think people LIVED down there!
So Ansley decided after she came out that she wanted to finish going through the rest of the she went back in with a girl we met from Australia on the bus and here she is finishing the entire 60 meters!

Day 5 Wednesday - Our last day here we went and picked up our clothing we had made as well as shopped at the Ben Thanh Market. We took a leisurely ride back to our hotel and headed to the airport....good bye Vietnam you have treated us well!

Happy Holidays from the Levy's holidaying in Vietnam!

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