Tag Archives: City

Traveling By Bus From Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh

Trying everything once is not a bad idea. Perhaps I am not young any more, yet I would not recommend you travel by bus between those two cities. Despite the fact that the border process is quite simple with the help of someone, the journey itself is totally terrible. The only exception is an unexpected Mekong River crossing.

 

I was going to Thailand, and I thought it was a risk to fly to Bangkok because of the potential for Suvarnabhumi to close down with Thai protests. I had friends in Thailand who had lost a lot of money in airfares when the Yellow Shirts shut the airport down for a week.

 

Vietnam was a revelation after spending a lot of time in Thailand. The streets were clean, the prices below those of Thailand and the people who exceptionally nice and friendly. They say Vietnam is like Thailand was 30 years ago – I do not know – but I do know I want to get back here as soon as possible. I really love this country!

 

I went to De Tham Street in District 1, the Khao San Road of Thailand mini-me street in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. It was my first trip to Vietnam, and I had arranged a return ticket from Auckland in New Zealand.

 

There were three of we foreigners picked up and taken by van not far away to the bus we were to take to Phnom Penh in Cambodia. I normally fly around South-East Asia but I thought it would be nice to see more of both Vietnam and Cambodia. The two others were English and around the early twenties in age.

 

Unlike the buses that I had seen come into De Tham this bus was very basic. The ticket had been purchased in De Tham with the bus sight unseen. The cost of the ticket was US$ 12, not bad for a 6 hour trip.

 

The guy in charge of the bus got US$ 25 from each of us and also our passports. The border entrance fee is actually US$ 20 but the bus company charges a US$ 5 service fee per person.

 

Cambodia is one of the most expensive places for Westerners to go to and leave. The departure fee is US$ 25 in addition to the US$ 20 paid on entry.

 

The Vietnamese do not charge an exit fee but their visa application fees are very high. I paid around US$ 95 for mine. It was done overnight in Wellington, New Zealand after some misinformation given to me by a travel agent. Vietnam requires a visa to enter unlike Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia where most Westerners can get a visa on arrival.

 

The journey started well. Almost all the passengers were Cambodian or Vietnamese. Unfortunately, just like Thailand it was not long before the standard South-East Asian infantile TV sitcom made an appearance on a very large screen at the front of the bus.

 

It could be ignored while the sound was down, but soon the sound was turned up to ear splitting levels. By ear splitting I mean that I had my fingers jammed into my ears so far that when I tried to take them out, the suction felt like I nearly pulled my inner ears out of my head.

 

Even with this measure the noise was so loud it gave me a headache and it soon became the most miserable trip I have ever taken. Around four hours of it at ear splitting decibel levels. Extraordinarily, the locals seemed to be loving it. I was not able to get out in the middle of nowhere and hitch hike.

 

Neither did I feel I could ask for the noise to be turned down as this sitcom seemed to be the life of the locals’ party! I resolved to see if I could make it to Phnom Penh with my sanity in tact – I would not have wanted to bet either way.

 

I am of the view that loud noise with other people around is a form of assault against those other people. I include mobile phone loud talkers in cafes, people playing loud music, screaming babies, and so on.

 

The reprieves on this trip – and they were like water found in the desert – were two stops at the border with Cambodia, a very short food stop in Cambodia close to the border, and one delightful surprise which came so unexpectedly.

 

This was when we reached the Mekong River and the bus drove onto a barge-like vessel for the trip to the other side. That was marvelous, and afforded the opportunity to get out of the bus for a few minutes peace and quiet.

 

After that we got back on the bus for another sound assault and travelled onward to Phnom Penh arriving in the evening after it had got dark.

 

As we travelled in Cambodia, one could not help but notice the change in architecture, specifically the Buddhist Temples that were quite numerous. Their sight contrasted markedly with Vietnam where I can not remember seeing these religious places. Perhaps this is Vietnam’s communist political system in action?

 

The Vietnamese and Cambodian cultures, and the Thai culture for that matter, are very very different from the West. It is very hard for an older person such as me to fit in, although I noticed the other two – young -foreigners – experienced the same frustration.

 

By all means experience these cultures, but not in an environment that you can not leave when you have had your ‘cultural fill’. One of my happiest moments this year was finally arriving in Phnom Penh and getting out of that bus. Pure joy and relief!

 

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Traveling To The Beautiful City Of Hyderabad

Hyderabad is a lovely city of India which has a rich history and culture. It is rapidly developing and becoming a major hub of information technology in the country. You will like the friendly people you can find here. This city has something to offer for people of all ages.

It is best to know about public holidays before visiting any city. This will help you avoid the disappointment of landing in the city only to find most of the bazaars and places closed down due to holiday.

The thing that visitors most love about Hyderabad is its delicious food. This place is called as ‘The Land of Biryani’ and is famous worldwide for its rich variety of cuisine. The amazing thing is that, when compared to other places, the food here is very cheap. So you can try out many different dishes without hurting your wallet too much.

Other than food, Hyderabad is also famous for shopping. It is well-known for pearls, bangles and handicraft. There are many bazaars here like the Laad Bazaar, Monda Market, Sultan Bazaar etc. Then there are famous historical places to visit here like the Charminar, Golconda fort, Falaknuma Palace and Salar Jung Museum.

When you visit any market for shopping, be sure to haggle a lot for prices as most of the shopkeepers will quote exorbitant price for their goods when they see a foreigner. So you should be prepared to bargain a lot in order to get a fair deal.

Traveling to Hyderabad:
It is super-easy to reach Hyderabad as it is very nicely connected with all other cities of India. You can reach here by rail, bus or flight. Hyderabad is well-connected even with international cities, specially Gulf countries.

Almost all major airlines of the world have flights to Hyderabad. Recently, a new international airport opened up here called ‘Rajiv Gandhi International Airport’. It is located at Shamshabad which is nearly 25 kms from the heart of the city. This new airport has replaced Begumpet Airport which was in use from several years.

If you are in some part of India and want to reach Hyderabad, then the best option is to travel by train. It will be much cheaper than flights and you can see some amazing sights of rural India along the way. You will be able to enjoy scenic beauty of India and see some places which you will not be able to see otherwise.

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Traveling to Music City, USA

Nashville, Tennessee, the state capital, is located in the north central part of the state, nearly equidistant from Knoxville to the east and Memphis to the west. I-65 runs north to south through the city; I-40 crosses it east to west; I-24 slices through it on the diagonal from northwest to southeast; Briley Parkway circles the north side of town; and I-440 loops around south side of the metropolitan area, connecting with all three of these interstates.

In addition, U.S. Highway 265 branches off from I-40 just west of Lebanon and swings south almost to Murfreesboro before turning back north to connect with I-40 between Fairview and Pomona. Nashville International Airport is immediately south of I-40 on the east side of town; the downtown area can easily be reached from there via the interstates.

Nashville is with justice called “Music City, U.S.A.” It is home to the thriving country music industry, the Ryman Auditorium, the Grand Ole Opry, the Country Music Hall of Fame, and a lively after-hours music scene in many lounges and saloons all over town. There are two visitor information centers, one at Fifth Avenue South and Broadway and a second at Fourth Avenue North and Commerce, where visitors can get maps, brochures, directions, and more information about things to do and see in Nashville.

A visitor with even a passing interest in country music should not miss the opportunity to investigate the Nashville music scene. The Ryman Auditorium in downtown originally was a church, and became the home of the Grand Ole Opry in 1943, when it was christened “The Mother Church of Country Music.” The Opry has since moved to the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center, but the Ryman has been reopened as a music venue. Regular concerts are held there, and tours, both self-guided and backstage, are on offer.

Also downtown, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is the perfect place to immerse yourself in all the history of this distinctively American style of music.

The Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center, off the Briley Parkway north of the airport, is a world unto itself, with a big hotel, stores, a spa, restaurants from pubs to steakhouses to fine dining establishments, and lounges and nightclubs, all under one roof. The resort is immediately adjacent to the Grand Ole Opry, where visitors can take in the famous country music extravaganza.

If music isn’t your main interest, Nashville has many other experiences to offer, from a zoo and aquariums to amusement parks and rides on paddle-wheelers on the river. If you’d like to sample a little Southern history, visit Belle Meade Plantation or take a tour of The Hermitage, home of Andrew Jackson. You can tour the historic battlefield of the Civil War battle of Franklin and visit the cemetery where fallen soldiers were laid to rest. A little more than an hour east of Nashville, Loretta Lynn’s Hurricane Mills has a restored Southern mansion, a camp ground and RV park, a museum, and shops. Horseback riding and fishing are popular pastimes there, as well.

For more information on Nashville, Tennessee visit http://nashvillevacations.travel.