July 2, 2007
On that morning when we awoke there was a commotion below our veranda (we were sleeping on the second floor) in the car park. There were a few raised voices from Sang and Peter talking tersely to the hotel owner. Throughout our Vietnam tour, foreigners are required to surrender their passports to the hotel.
The reason is so that the police can check who’s staying in the hotel—although I never saw this.
When I came down to find out what was going on Peter said, “She gave your passports to the wrong customers.” There was a group of Cambodians staying here and they had left to go back home.
The hotel owner gave them our blue passports instead of the Cambodian red ones. Both parties were at fault here. The owner didn’t check. The Cambodians were obviously colour-blind.
So we waited for five hours for the owner to get our passports back. The owner had sent our a colleague to find the Cambodians and swap their passports over and return ours.
What happened though is that the Cambodians drove back (when they had realised they had the wrong passports) from the border only to find that their passports were still waiting at the border! The were pretty annoyed—we were relieved—back to touring!
Coming down into Hoi An was another experience and we traversed the mountainside. Peter would glide along, so all you could hear is the wind whistling through the helmet. When we came into a valley there were pineapple and corn plantations as far as the eye could see.
After taking a few shots and with the light fading we headed for Hoi An to our hotel. The last day was a rush, but it was still an amazing experience. We shared a few parting drinks with Peter and Sang. They stayed in Hoi An for a few days looking to take tourists back to Dalat, but in the end they went home by themselves.
We were traveling in the low season, so not many tourists would go through the highlands.
So that was our trip through the Highlands, and I would highly recommend it to anyone doing a tour of Vietnam.
It certainly beats doing the standard tourist trail of Ho Chi Min City, Na Trang, Ho An.