For those of you not familiar with the phrase ‘same same’ it is what you will often hear round the streets of SE Asia from people such as market sellers comparing two things which are at the same time similar but often very different, i.e different qualities of product. In a way I think this phrase really sums up the three countries; Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. In a way the three countries are quite similar, the streets can look and function the same and the food has very similar staples but at the same time any two can feel worlds apart.
Tag Archives: vietnam
I’m having a bit of an inspirational lull at the moment as I’m just loitering around in Phu Quoc, I’m staying here for 10 days, which is really far too long but I need to bide some time before going to Cambodia and seeing as I paid for the boat to get here then I may as well take my time, there is a beach with crystal clear water just 100m away so it’s a good place to choose.
My breakfasts will be a bit repetitive as they are included with the room, there isn’t a great selection but what there is is good. I’m staying at A74 hotel which is $25 a night for a sea view double room, we get 10% off for staying 7 days so $22.5 or £14. I only really need 2 meals a day so my lunches can be a little absurd. As I’m not doing much here this is most of my spendings, though a motorbike will be hired one day and a snorkelling trip was done another. I tend to have one fresh coconut water a day which costs 12,000/36p and is a truly healthy treat. Apparently it is so close to the substance of blood plasma they used it for transfusions in the Vietnam (American war) war. If you’re lucky they will then chop the coconut open and let you scoop out the flesh.
For some reason I have found myself more scared of driving a moto (moped) than I thought I would be, this is probably because the first hotel that let me try gave me a heavy bike which could be manual and I dropped it when I tried a u-turn. Now I think I’m going to fall over whenever I stop. Luckily, however, my travel partner has embraced it and not yet fallen off even with me clinging on the back like a cat clings to your favourite jumper. It also halves the costs which is more important.
After travelling from hotel to hotel/hostel to hostel for three months we
decided it was time to take a holiday from all the hard work and chill out in a beach resort for a week. For this we chose Mui Ne and managed to find a beachside resort with a pool for £9 a night between us. Being far more interested in quaint towns and people watching this was quite a unique experience. The entire town (being one road about 6km long) is there for the sole purpose of tourism.
The best way I can see to describe the comparison is that China is the equivalent of America to Vietnams Western Europe. The scale of things in Vietnam seems tiny with small old streets, stylish architecture and small towns with a population of 100,000 being considered places of note. In China it is a tough challenge to find anywhere with a population of less than a million.
After two months in China Vietnam is a refreshing change, the streets are full of independently owned little stores and in my 10 days here so far I have only come across one American chain, that being a single KFC in the capital of Hanoi.