2 Korean Vietnophiles set off on trans-Vietnam trip by car

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Chang Sung-Taek and Ahn Joung-Ho are on a journey by car across Vietnam (Photo courtesy of Dan Tri)


After spending more than 10 years in Vietnam, South Korean Chang Sung-Taek says this is his second home.


Last month Chang, 24, a student of the National University in Hanoi, decided to make a trans-Vietnam journey by car along with close friend Ahn Joung-Ho.


On June 30 they began their trip in the country's northernmost point -- Dong Van District in Ha Giang Province.


They plan to end their two-month journey at the southern tip in Ca Mau Province's Ngoc Hien District.


They have been taking photos, collecting information, and writing down their feelings about the landscapes and people, and plan to put it all down in a book aimed at international readers.


"I love the country and people," Chang says.


"I have always wanted to promote Vietnam's beauty to my friends though I just visited a few provinces.


"My Korean friends usually associate Vietnam with Ha Long Bay and Nha Trang. In fact, Vietnam has more than that, such as Sa Pa.


"This trip will fulfill my wish to have a comprehensive introduction to the country."


Chang's fellow traveler also shares his love for Vietnam. "I have been here for three years, although I planned to stay 6-12 months to work at first," he says.


"The more I know about the Vietnamese, the more I want to stay."


Ahn, a lecturer at a Korean university, says Ho Chi Minh, Ha Long, and Nha Trang are all he knew about Vietnam, just like most Koreans, before he came here.


"Vietnam has many beautiful places. After making this trip, I will decide if I will stay here or get back to Korea to get married as I will turn 40 soon."


When they began their trip they had some difficulties with their car GPS.


On the way to Ha Giang from Hanoi, a tire burst after hitting falling rocks.


"When we were changing tires, some ethnic minority people went by and asked us if they could help," Chang says.


"We had to use our hands to speak to them."


For the pair so far the most impressive places have been the imperial city of Hue and the Central Highlands.


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