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Monday, July 16, 2007


Khao San Hanoi

Have I really seen Vietnam in my one month stay? Definitely no.

To those familiar with Thailand, Khao San Road is the area in Bangkok where many backpackers hostels are located. I've been there for the occasional visit. I am familiar with the area but I've never stayed there. The place is set up to cater for the needs of (and to some extent to exploit) the backpackers who come usually for a stay of a few days. I have spent a lot of time in Thailand, perhaps totalling about two years. Most of that time has been spent in Mahasarakham where travellers don't often venture. I'm happy that I have not spent a lot of time in the pretend Thailand that is Khao San Road but have got to know what I believe to be the real Thailand where Thai people live their lives as Thai people normally do with little or no interest in the needs of tourists.

My achievement in Vietnam is to have spent a month in the Hanoi old quarter, perhaps the 'Khao San Road' of Vietnam. I don't have a problem with this. During this time I have got to know one or two Vietnamese people. If it wasn't for these friends, perhaps I'd have moved on elsewhere. As it is, I feel I've had enough of being treated like a tourist every time I step out the hotel door (but not by my friends). When I return to Vietnam I hope to spend some time off the tourist trail.

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