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sgvcns

Vietnam chilling 2017

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sgvcns

I convinced a friend to join me for a partner free palm trip( Way better for collecting volume I have found ).

It was his first Asian sojourn so after his last in Colombia an executive decision was made to start slowly.

After a night in Ho Chi Minh with club touts of a female persuasion attempting to encourage the use of their establishments(unsuccessfully) he was ready.

Off to Nha Trang (The Gold coast of Vietnam) and straight to the hillsP1000004.thumb.JPG.92e5280223f9fb90b23c9

Coconuts for the Californian fixator

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The best thing about this road is it was constructed after the American war so bomb free(to my knowledge) oh and it is very pretty

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sgvcns

Eventually the helpful illegal loggers have created an ingress to see some palms of reputeP1000018.thumb.JPG.956b9847d85125b6b9458

Got to watch where you step though

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Pinanga annamensisP1000028.thumb.JPG.85964cce0bb6831a52ed9

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Lanonia hexasepalaP1000026.thumb.JPG.012a3c5d3bec7b084eeb7

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A newly described species which has puzzled me for an identity.

I believe this to be Pinanga spiralis

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Met the people responsible for track maintenance but they were camera shyP1000045.thumb.JPG.d1517694371d8ef5916e9

A pandanus waved us off between torrential downpoursP1000046.thumb.JPG.9fb6be74afdf0621e3b9a

Back to relax

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Climbing

 

 

 

 

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caixeta

MORE !!!!!!

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Cindy Adair

Simply amazing! I can be (temporarily) enjoying creature comforts (like electricity) in the states awaiting the opening of a fancy orchid show and step into the wilds of Vietnam!

Palms I know nothing about appear beautifully photographed and named. 

I did not choose to add on the Vietnam post tour to my first Biennial (Thailand in 2012) and have regretted it of course. Not that I would have likely seen the beauties you post here.

Thank you so very much.

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sgvcns

The next day was about killing time before the mighty Cowboys took on the Sydney roosters in the NRL finals series

What better way than a stroll through the markets

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Next stop refreshment and food.

The meal was about $3 with beer

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After the Cowboys boilover victory it was with a seedy head that we flew on the $40 flights to Danang next day

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sgvcns

we stayed a day in Danang just because I never had before and quite an interesting place.

They have created a lovely modern area along the river

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It is still very much Vietnam however

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Next day was a drive to Hue with a palm on the agenda

 

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sgvcns

Success 

Chuniophoenix suoitienensis which is a larger palm than nana

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sgvcns

We climbed the hill and there was a lovely temple

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The view north to Lang Co

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And south to Danang

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sgvcns

We drove overthe Hai Van Pass and the tourist buses were everywhere.

Mainly Chinese package tours by the look

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We stopped at Lang Co lagoon for a seafood lunch and splashed out about $10 each with beers

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Lovely view of course

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sgvcns

Arrived in Hue which I like but Rod not so much

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Next stop Bach Ma National park for 2 nights

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Josh-O

awesome!!!

keep those pictures coming!!!

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sgvcns

We had 2 nights staying in Bach Ma which is a spectacular place but the lower elevations are mainly regrowth bamboo etcP1000138.thumb.JPG.bc1e5048e4894de4e6571

As you gain elevation the forest becomes much better. The top was deforested during the war as a helicopter landing area and observation area however. The tunnels are still there that the vietcong used to circumvent that

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The weather was torrential rain with patches of sun

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The canopy palm was Caryota

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Lanonia magalonii shows variable leaf forms from entire to 7 segments that I saw. Here are 2 that I photographed.

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sgvcns

The waterfall walk was wonderful even in the showers. We were soft and waited till the torrential rain stopped before setting off

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Pinanga declinata is abundant further down the walk and quite pretty

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All in all it was a pretty good afternoons walk.

Now for the long climb up the road to our hotel which was not as exhilarating.

 

 

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sgvcns

The next day was sunny but had the look of weather coming.

We walked to the top and did a walk around the mountain the other way

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Much different away from the watercourse but lots of evidence of battles past in old villas built by the French during their occupationP1000184.thumb.JPG.6c533c247f4c69953709d

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If I stay really still they can't see me

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Lots of Lanonia magalonii again

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Back at the villa for lunch.

This is why I favour rubber boots as my jungle footwear

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No leeches on me.

Then the weather closed in

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sgvcns

After lunch it looked to be clearing up a bit but the leeched one decided to stay and bleed in his room so I set off alone to the falls lookout by myself

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Rewarded with a freshly exposed crownshaft of Pinanga declinata

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So far reasonably dry and was fruitful in the extreme

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The lookout from the top of the falls however was cloud covered

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Back to thye road for me

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On the way out I met a young American who had ridden a scooter from Hoi Anh and just ridden through the park gates without stopping(not allowed).

I warned him they would be looking for him on the way out.

For some reason he went the wrong way on the way out and I ran into him again as he was trying to scrape himself off the road.

I patched him with his tshirt and he headed off the right way hopefully to hospital judging by the swelling on his elbow.

Hope he made his flight to Japan the next day.

Then it got wet

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Then it got very wet

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Next day time to say goodbye to our villa and back to Hue

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No happy ending for the Cowboys in the NRL grand final however sighhhhh

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sgvcns

Next op was a road trip to Phong Nha.

We arranged for the driver to take us all the way to Cuc Phuong over the next 5 or so days.

No expense spared

Firstly a shot up church kept as a conflict reminder(Hue is quite close to the DMZ).

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We were in the midst of the developing wet season which had me concerned re the road trip

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We made it safely to Phong Nha

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It really is some stunning scenery. This year I plan to spend more time here hopefully

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Now for some forest

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sgvcns

Always pretty to see a fresh cycas flush

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Quite a pretty startP1000232.thumb.JPG.aee52fad38ca296aff0c5

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Alpinia species

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Aspidistra( no seed unfortunately )

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Lanonia centralis was plentiful

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And fruiting

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Caryota

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The walk turned very wet of course

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Didn't realise that we would have to climb the waterfall to get out.

Thank goodness for some ropes otherwise it would have ended in tears in the rain and arrows on some tricky bits.P1000265.thumb.JPG.bfa3b28cc5000b7411b41

 

 

Pretty tiring regardless

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The top in sight

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Alberto

Wow, wonderfull trip!

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sgvcns

The weather was intermittent heavy downpours so we decided to visis Phong Nha Cave.

No palms in the cave unfortunately.

This is a trip by boat along the river and then the boat is rowed into the cave.

These women were fit as.

We declined a go at the oar.

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Lots of large christian churches in the area and this is the same as our transport

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Cross river ferry

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And to the cave

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I met a local conservationist that night and we decided that with the weather we would push on and have an extra night in Hanoi.

He is getting people to keep a look out for palm species in the area and will send me some photos to try to identify them.

Left him my copy of Hendersons book as a reference source.

A few weeks after we left there were severe floods from Typhoon Khanun.

 

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sgvcns

Heading out of Phong Nha we headed north on the Ho Chi Minh highway.

The plan was to overnight in Vinh after stopping at Vu Quang National Park.

The limestone formations continued along the road.

thankfully there was also very little traffic.

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Large stands of Arenga covered the hills

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Time for a ciggie for the driver pictured with our transport

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sgvcns

This Livistona was prolific in the area and I guess it is jenkinsiana

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This was still a country of churches and it seemed each area was competing to have the grandest

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Stopped for lunch which was nice

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I think we were the novelty and it didn't take long for the locals to find us and ply us with home made whiskey.

Truly heart and everything else warming

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Unfortunately the national park was not possible due to needing police approval (near Laos border) and flooding also.

Onwards to Vinh

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Had a lovely time at a local Bia Hoi place until they ran out of beer so went for some BBQ goat.

Next morning had a quick walk through the markets

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After stopping to change some Aus $ at a golg shop it was onward to Ninh Binh province and Cuc Phuong National Park where I hoped to collect Pinanga baviensis on the 3rd attempt. Traffic quite light in Vinh

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sgvcns

After leaving Vinh we had to stay on highway 1 before we could cut inland to Ho Chi Minh highway for a more scenic but longer route.

I was glad to get off #1 as it is truly madness and without a road rule except big wins.

Nearly got cleaned up by a bus. Can certainly see why the road toll is so high.

The weather was still intermittent torrential rain of course.

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Time for lunch stop

Local delicacy was a pickled bamboo and chilli side dish

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The locals like the rough tobacco in big pipes

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Typical lunch is soup with meat rice and vege of some description

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Getting close to Cuc Phuong now but I have never approached from the south

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Cigie stop for the driver

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Really quite a lovely scene but the shortcut road had a flooded bridge so long way round for us

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Framed by the rain .

We were lucky to get in and out when we did.

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sgvcns

We arrived at Cuc Phuong late in the afternoon and next day hired some scooters to explore the park centre chasing seeding P baviensisP1000374.thumb.JPG.6bf866ea773dbd6b51d9c

Swim anyone

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Accommodation at the centre. Without aircon except for a few hours when the generator is on it's not for me

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Time for the walk

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Once past the bamboo area the forest is pretty and thick

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sgvcns

Ok now to the palms.

As is the case throughout these forests there are lots of rattans but they are not photogenic enough for me.

Here the was lots of Arenga and large caryota also meh.

Lanonia calciphila is locally prolific and shows good cold and hot/dry resistance for me in Brisbane. I have had one slowly growing in the ground from 2 leaf seedling so pretty tough.

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Pinanga baviensis

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Entire or nearly so juvenile leaf form. They look quite good with the entire leaf at the base of the clump

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Quite a dainty palm

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Whoa finally . 3rd time lucky

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Caryota monostachya also growing in ground for me from 2 leaf seedling.

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Keep following the track.P1000404.thumb.JPG.d8e7c44d848046a28dde2

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Always love these land crabs

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Then it really started raining. Interesting on a scooter with 15-20cm of water on the road and little vision

We deserve a beer at the lodgings with the stereo pumping of course

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Next day the trip to Hanoi and relaxation and seed cleaning

 

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sgvcns

The next day was of course wet for the drive to Hanoi.

Good to be in a car but shops were open

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After 4 or 5 hours on the road we mwde it to our hotel and my favourite asain city Hanoi.

Time to enjoy the ambience and of course get dirty fingers cleaning seeds.

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sgvcns

I have my favourite hotel room in Ma May street because it has a balcony to look to  the city life.

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The lake Hoem Kiem is always worth a stroll and it is closed off to traffic on weekend nights which makes it a real local family spot.

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Alas beer corner had changed a lot in 2 years. It had moved down the alley and was now for attracting people to the restaurants there.

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Certainly just as crowded

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And still the go to for wedding photos

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Rod wanted to go to the war museum which was pretty good but I was mainly attracted to this sculpture of captured bits. I think the plane was pulled out of the lake

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After research I found a local Bia Hoi spot more to my liking.

Just sit and watch the world go by. And 45c beers (price is up).

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Newspaper seller but not much use to this aussie

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At nights on weekends the area around Ma May street is converted to street food 

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The hot pot won

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The best thing is just walking the streets and getting lost 

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The food you find is cheap and delicious 

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I added up the cost of the trip and without international flights all up for 3 weeks was around $1400.00 AUD.

This included 2 internal flights and being driven privately where we wanted to go.

It can be done a lot cheaper of course but would be slower travelling.

This year my wife and I will be travelling on the Ho Chi Minh highway north of Dalat to Phong Nha which will take about 10 days.

Hopefully the rains stay away as this is pretty isolated in parts.

As an aside this is where A Henderson keeps finding new palms. Norattans for me though.

Cheers

Steve

  • Upvote 3

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Daryl

Thanks for the travelogue and awesome photos Steve

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palmad Merc

You've given me the travel bug:mrlooney:

Great photo's Steve

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CLINODAVE

Wow, what an awesome photo journey.  Fantastic pics!  You really captured the essence of the places you visited.

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JT in Japan

Those are great pics, of a great trip. Was this recent, I mean, is it the rainy season in Dec/Jan? I was thinking of going in February, but don't know what the weather is like. 

JT

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sgvcns

Thanks all.

This was in Sept to early October which is the rainy season for central/north regions..

Be aware that Feb is Tet and the country will almost shut down for nearly a week as everybody who can heads home for the new year.

If you go then you need to book now for travel and accomadation

I go at the start of the rains as the idea being seeds would be around to increase germination success. This leads to wet times and I have a backup plan if floods strike.

I concentrate on central/north regions as that matches Brisbane climate fairly well for growing success(so far it seems to work). This trip I came home with about 2kg of seeds.

Look at travelfish for general advice on travel and I'm happy to help with more specific advice.

You can stay at quite comfortable hotels for $25AUD usually with breakfast. Hanoi I splurge at $60 but I'm ready for that at the end of a trip.

Cheers

Steve

 

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tropicbreeze

That's a great travelogue but what amazes me is that you managed to bring back 2 kg of seed through customs and lived to tell that tale! That would be an interesting finale to your story, how'd you manage that?

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sgvcns

Bringing seed back is actually fairly straightforward.

As long as the seed is on the allowed list then no import permit/phyto is required.

The seed must be perfectly clean.

I use stick on labels with the scientific name neatly neatly written. They are stuck to  ziplock bags.

They are with dampened paper towel in mild bleach (kills any nematodes etc).

I usually have a non allowed species and say I'm not sure of it  which pleases them no end to throw something in the bin.

The staff are actually getting better at the process and so fairly quick.

Unfortunately there is a rumour that phyto certs are being considered for import.

No Vietnam phyto labs so bye bye Vietnam seed unless through another country with a registered lab.

Cheers

Steve

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tropicbreeze

Thanks. A few years ago when coming from a hike in PNG customs in Cairns went through my gear like a dose of salts. I'd been warned of how through they were so scrubbed my boots thoroughly. They really examined the boots looking for the tiniest speck of dirt and seemed disappointed when they didn't find any. The officer commented that boots coming back from PNG are not usually that clean. Luckily there weren't any bits of grass seed in my socks, that would have made their day if they could have at least got me on something like that.

I guess Thailand would have phyto labs but not countries like Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar. Probably Malaysia and Singapore would too. Don't know about Indonesia or PNG. There's a difference between "non-allowed" and "prohibited" isn't there? My understanding was that the "non-allowed" were those species that hadn't been assessed one way or the other and you could put up a case for having them allowed.

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sgvcns

To have a species allowed in there is a pest assessment process to go through which is quite involved.

Then if there are problems later you are responsible for costs of fixing.

This is not something that can be done at the airport.

Gumboots are easy to clean and another reason I favour them

Cheers

Steve

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tropicbreeze

I was thinking of going over sometime soon but still haven't settled on a destination. Nice to be able to bring some seeds back but the hurdles and hoops they put you through makes it seem quite daunting. With the hiking I did in PNG gumboots would have been a distinct liability. But for general stuff out bush I can see the advantage. Bought cheap locally and could be given away when leaving. In fact, lots of people who hike in PNG give their hiking boots away rather than face customs with them on the way back.

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sgvcns

Just an update re seed import to Australia,

You must now have a phyto cert or an invoice from a seller to bring seed in legally either by post or via airport as accompanied seed.

The days of an enthusiast bringing correctly labelled seed is over.

Please be aware of the punitive measures being threatened

Not so cheery

Steve

 

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chad2468emr

What a stunning batch of images. Those mountain ranges are absolutely breathtaking... And to be able to see so many beautiful palms in the bush... I'm pretty green with envy right now. haha

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mike in kurtistown

Let me echo others about the beautiful photography and vivid portrayal of life in the area. Torrential rains here at present, but the story of your journey has made my morning.

 

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bubba

Stunning! Thank you

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