Duden Waterfall, Antalya, Turkiye.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Antalya, Turkiye.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Paris, France on May 1st.

Sunday, February 25, 2024

If you are going to splurge, it's best to do so in a cheap country!

We had arranged with a "limousine service" to take us from Vinh to Con Cuong. I already knew that the word limousine here in Vietnam doesn't describe the same type of vehicle that we might envision in North America. Here, it is simply a minibus. 

We had been told to phone in at 8:00am, to confirm pickup at 8:30am right at our hotel. Which we did, but then it didn't show up until almost 9:00am, which didn't surprise us.

While we were waiting, a small herd of Asian buffalo passed by our hotel...

When the 15 passenger van arrived, it was empty. We had no idea what the procedure was. We didn't know if we were being transported to another drop off point where we would be getting on a larger bus, or just what. All we new was that somehow they were getting us from Vinh to Con Cuong, for a fee of 100,000 dong ($4.10 USD, $5.50 CAD) per person.

It's a distance of only 110 kms (68 miles), but generally takes between two and a half to three hours.

As we detoured through various parts of the city of Vinh, we picked up other passengers. The van became more and more full, and we sure are glad that we were the first ones on. As they continued, they stopped to pick up more, and I don't think they ever turned anyone down. At one point there were 24 people in the van, including the driver and a baby.

Birds for sale.

And it was an adventure! The guy was a crazy driver. There were two near misses where I was sure we were going to have an accident, but somehow we avoided it by inches. But, nobody seemed concerned. This is local life in Vietnam.

Nobody spoke any English except one passenger who knew enough to ask where we were from. Then there was a whole bunch of discussion amongst the passengers where we could tell they were talking about us. Not in a bad way. Probably just saying "crazy tourists"!

Now, let me tell you about the vomiting. 

Vietnamese people seem to have some kind of genetic problem with motion sickness. Especially the women. I actually googled it. The buses and vans keep a supply of plastic bags so that the sick people can do their business without the vehicle stopping. And of course that's especially nasty when the van is so packed full as ours was at one point. However, in our van it was mostly just one older woman in front of us who was sick three times.

Not nice. But, that's what you get when you want to travel like the locals!

Despite all of this, we're glad we did it. 

Ruth took a few pictures out the window...

Rice fields.

It was spitting with rain most of the journey.

Amazing scenery.

And it just got better the closer we got to Con Cuong.

We had no idea where we were going to stay when we arrived. There are apparently a lot of homestays in the area, but most of them are unadvertised. And a couple of small basic hotels in the town. There is very little English research available online. For some odd reason, Western tourists just don't seem to come here.

However, there is one big resort hotel that kind of seems out of place here. We figured we would go check it out just because they might have someone who speaks English that we could get some more information from. And sure enough, one girl at the reception was really good.

So good, that we were convinced to stay right here at the resort hotel. It's pretty high end by our standards. But it's low season and the whole place is virtually empty. As such, the room cost is 850,000 dong ($34 USD, $46 CAD) per night.

A little more than we would normally pay, but if you're going to splurge, it's best to do so in a cheap country!

Ruth, in the lobby.

Lobby of the Khách sạn Mường Thanh Con Cuông Hotel.

We were given a key to a room on the 8th floor.

After all the cheap $15 a night places we've been staying, this is pretty luxurious!

And the view is spectacular!

View from our window.

There is this odd window separating the bathroom from the bedroom.
I guess so that if you wanted, you could enjoy the view from the shower!
Fortunately, there is a blind that comes down as well.

The facilities.

The hotel is virtually empty.
Far more staff than visitors.

So, we are not going to get the local homestay experience that we were planning on. And it seems odd to have taken the most basic transportation up here, and then spend on the fancy accommodation. But that's the way it goes when you plan nothing in advance. However, the view from the room is so gorgeous, the bed is so comfortable, and the staff are so smiling and friendly that you can't even compare it to a hard floor futon in a dormitory at a homestay.

We set out to explore the town and find some lunch. We ended up at a place that only does goat meat.

We had goat and rice soup, a plate of roast goat meat, and a couple of rice cracker things.
It was all very good, and we were so stuffed we didn't bother with dinner later on.
Including one beer, the bill was 220,000 dong ($8.80 USD, $12.10 CAD).

We continued walking down the main street of the town. Everybody is very friendly, and we stand out like a sore thumb. People saying "hello", but that is all they know. Their English is about the same as our Vietnamese!

Ruth spotted this huge Golden Orb Weaver spider.
It was over 4" from one end of the leg to the other.

Main street Con Cuong.

Looking down a side street.

We like the architecture.

We could hear some fairly loud music from the other side of the street up ahead near the outskirts of the town. There was a group of people having some kind of celebration. As we approached on the opposite side, a few of them were waiving us over. Never ones to turn down an opportunity to meet the locals, we crossed over.

Within seconds, we each had a beer in our hand, and they were all going crazy taking photos of us. It was too funny. Most of the men had already been heavily into the beer. They were all super friendly, shaking our hands, and clinking beer cans together to drink.

Ruth, with our new friends.

None of them spoke any English, but using google translate, one of them said they were celebrating a wedding. We saw no evidence of a bride and groom, however they pointed across the street to some kind of venue that looked like it was decorated for a wedding. yet they were all out here on the side of the street celebrating. 

They gave us some local corn to try.

And some other little sausage type thing that was all wrapped up in banana leaves. No idea what was in it, but I think it was some kind of fermented thing... I had a hard time getting it all down!

These two were doing karaoke.
Really popular in Vietnam.

Partying on the side of the road.

Of course they had to get their foreign visitors up dancing... turn up your volume...

That was hilarious. Normally it takes more than just one beer for me to get up dancing, but it was all in good fun!

So... what a day that was!

We've booked in for two more nights here at the fancy hotel. Lots of walking to be done in the area, and of course we haven't even made it into the national park yet which is the reason we came here! Weather not the best.. overcast with a bit of drizzle, and a high around 19C (66F) for today. Still, it's not supposed to actually rain, and temps will rise a bit tomorrow.

Great deal on this Short Queen RV Mattress.

And in Canada...


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