North Central Vietnam

Thai Binh - Ninh Binh - Around Ninh Binh - Phat Dien - Cuc Phuong National Park Vinh - Around Vinh - Phong Nha Cave - Dong Hoi


Cua Lo Beach:
This is one of three original state-dominated beach resorts in the northern half of the country - the others being Sam Son and Do Son. The beach here is beautiful, with white sand, clean water and a shady grove of pine trees along the shore. During holiday season it's a popular destination for locals, but the con-crete, karaoke, massage parlours and litter won't suit many foreign travellers. Nevertheless, if you're in the area and the weather is warm, Cua Lo is worth a visit for a cooling dip and a good seafood lunch at one of the restaurants on the beach.
There are masses of guesthouses (r from US$5) along the waterfront and huge government hotels (r US$30). Most offer 'massage' and karaoke. and most have prostitutes hanging around outside, even in low season. Hotel rates drop considerably during the wintermonths - the name of the game is negotiation if for some reason you really want to stay here. Cua Lo is 16km northeast of Vinh and can be reached easily by motorbike or taxi.
Kim Lien
Just 14km northwest of Vinh is Ho Chi Minh's birthplace in the village of Hoang Tru. The house is maintained as a sacred shrine; it's a popular pilgrimage spot for Vietnamese tourists. Ho Chi Minh's childhood home is a simple farmhouse that's made of bamboo and palm leaves, reflecting his humble beginnings,although what you see today is a 1959 recrea-tion. He was raised in this house until 1895, when the family sold it and moved to Hue so that his father could study. In 1901 Ho Chi Minh's family returned to a house in Kim Lien. about 2km from Hoang Tru. Not far from this house, there is a museum, complete with the usual black-and-white photos of Ho's life. Admission to all the sites (tell:7.30-11 am & 1.30-5pm) is free. However you are obliged to buy three bouquets of flowers (10,000d each) from the reception desk and place one by each of the altars. No English-language information is available. There is no public transport to Kim Lien, but it's easy enough to hire a motorbike or taxi in Vinh.