Postcards from Abroad

Whether your dream is to stay in a colonial-era bungalow in the middle of a tea plantation, an Indian princely palace, or to cruise in luxury the Irrawaddy to Mandalay, we never tire of searching for your next great travel destination. This is the place to share with us your most recent adventures.

Vietnam 2 Awesome An Bang to heavenly Hue by James and Cate Fraser

Khai DinhAn Bang was a delightfully sleepy seaside village consisting of a Main Street with various small roads attached. Mango House where we stayed, set amongst the foliage about 50 metres from the beach, was quite a find. We spent a very relaxing week cycling, swimming and exploring. Great that Eastravel are flexible enough to let us go "off piste" booking accommodation direct as the owners did not deal with agents.



An Bang

Hoi An, an Unesco World Heritage Site, was only 4 km away. The Old Town consisted of tottering Japanese merchant houses, quaint temples and old warehouses now converted into restaurants, wine bars, shops and tailors. The latter renowned so we could not resist having a couple of shirts made. The beautiful little 16th century Japanese bridge was originally built to link the communities on either side of the stream.

Hoi An

We spent many happy hours sauntering about enjoying the scenery and atmosphere. The full moon ceremony was breathtaking as the only lighting was provided by coloured lanterns strung across the narrow streets. Disappointingly, hoards of people eventually marred the event so we escaped back to peaceful An Bang.

Hoi An 2

Now in Hue, it is filled with pagodas, palaces, tombs and temples and is also a World Heritage site and once again our hotel is splendidly placed overlooking the Song Huong (Perfume River) The population of half a million is small compared with Saigon so it is busy but not hectic and has an unsophisticated charm if its own. Tree lined pavements are rough and uneven, the ubiquitous vendors don't hassle one too much giving it a friendly buzz.

Cate and Mi

The heavily fortified citadel is still the heart of Hue and the imperial enclosure within bombed by the French and the Americans has restored areas which give an indication of just how beautiful it must have been. The gateway is huge and grandiose and whets the appetite for what lies within. Nearby the 7 storey Thien Mu Pagoda overlooks the river and is an icon of Vietnam.

Thien Mu Pagoda

The overpowering mausoleum of King Khai Dinh built into the side of a mountain is dark and menacing due to the blackened concrete exterior but our favourite part was the level containing carved mandarins, soldiers, elephants and horses. Although the ceramic and glass decorations provided an explosion of colour in the top tier we felt the inside was rather garish.

Khai Dinh

Our favourite tomb was that of King Minh Mang on the western side of the Perfume River. Minh Mang was revered as a peacemaker and innovator and was obviously very busy when not administering to affairs of the state as he fathered 142 children. All palaces/ pavilions have water beside them and one eventually crosses a bridge to be confronted by a huge rounded wall with large gates which protect his tomb. The gates open only once a year on the anniversary of his death. The surrounding rather arid looking Frangipani trees were just beginning to flower, no doubt when in bloom they will add to the spectacular scenery.

Ming Mang

Next stop Hanoi.

Reflections, and Hectic Hanoi by James and Cate Fr...
Scintillating Saigon by James and Cate Fraser