Vietnam · 29 Days · 50 Moments · October 2016

Biking through Vietnam!

25 November 2016

Farewell Vietnam! Vietnam, its been an absolute pleasure πŸ’—The people here are so friendly and so keen to learn, I am sad to say goodbye to this amazing country πŸ˜₯ After overlanding from Thailand to Laos, Laos to Cambodia, Cambodia to Vietnam, it feels good to be back at an airport. No dodgy border crossings, no bribes, no walking through 'no mans land'. Hopefully just a couple of straight forward flights. Although lesson learned today: it costs more to book at the check in desk than book the same flight at the same time on the internet, surprising but true!

24 November 2016

People of Vietnam During our trek we stopped to see a local dance show, woman making crafts and people in traditional tribal dress. Oh and in typical random Asian style, when we visited the waterfall they made it snow?! No explanations here but it did make me feel Christmassy
Cloudy, wet and cold Sapa Final day of trekking to the small village of Catcat. The weather changed overnight and is now very cloudy and cold, a total contrast to the sunshine and views we've been experiencing over the past couple of days. The walk took us through a village and past a waterfall before heading back to Sapa for some lunch and a 6 hour bus ride back to Hanoi.

23 November 2016

Sapa town A stroll around Sapa town followed by a candlelit dinner for two. Trekking in the sunshine has definitely taken it out of us, we will sleep well tonight!
Trek Day 2, Sapa Another great day trekking through the Sapa mountains 😍

22 November 2016

Village life Home sweet home is found in a local villagers family home tonight. The Homestay is very cosy and I love wandering around the village checking out the local's way of life. Everybody is very friendly and it all feels so relaxed.
Trekking, Sapa Booked on a trekking tour which took us deep into the mountains to a small, local village. A leisurely 15km hike with stunning scenery the whole way. The locals here are so tiny, I feel like a giant which is a most unusual! We were very surprised to walk past a marijuana plant the size of a tree, they use it to make hemp for clothes and choose not to smoke it. All in all the days been great, I loved it πŸ’—
Sapa, North Vietnam Caught the night sleeper bus to Sapa, arrived at 6am and it's absolutely freezing! It's at altitude so we're hoping it warms up when the sun rises, but if nothing else it has a refreshing feel and is probably the nearest we'll get to feeling winter this year! Sapa itself is a small town nestled amongst the mountains, making for a beautiful backdrop. There are stunning views from our shipping container hotel which is surprisingly far from basic inside.

21 November 2016

Shopping! Finally bought Jack a phone after his went walkies in Thailand. I now have one happy (albeit antisocial) fiancé 😜
Bye bye bikes Today we had to part with our scooters 😰I have become very attached to my bike over the last few weeks so I was very sad to see it go. The bikes took us all the way from Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi. They battled through floods, some dodgy road surfaces and the crazy Asian traffic with very little trouble. We have travelled over 2000km and loved exploring places we would never have seen on a bus. Bye bye bike, you will be missed πŸ’—πŸ
Party feet 😳 Spent the night partying in a Vietnamese club with a couple of German lads. Too many shots of jÀger and vodka resulted in waking up to feet like this, shocking!!!

20 November 2016

Biking Asian style
Ferry to Halong City We biked the length of Cat Ba island to catch the ferry to Halong City where we will stay for a night. A very scenic drive and ferry ride, this place is just beautiful!
Cat Ba island Not a bad spot to relax with a book. Look at the view 😍

19 November 2016

Boat trip, Halong Bay Fantastic day spent drifting around the beautiful islands of Halong Bay. We jumped on board an all day boat trip which included floating villages, kayaking through tunnels, swimming to small beach coves, visiting monkey island and meeting some lovely people. I can't emphasise enough how magnificent this place is, every angle is picture perfect πŸ‘Œ
Evil monkey 1:0 Charlie We visited Monkey Island as part of a boat trip in Halong Bay. I decided to take a picture of this seemingly cute monkey when it decided to run over and attack my legs. The monkey was aggressively grabbing and swiping at my legs with its claws 😰Kicking didn't budge the monkey so I pathetically ran into the sea to escape the evil beast, the monkey let out a squeal before retreating back to its seat while Jack watched in hysterics! I didn't take any more monkey pictures πŸ˜‚

18 November 2016

Cat Ba Island Just a few snapshots of our journey and evening ☺️
Wahoo I'm better...road trip!!! After a few days stuck inside the same 4 walls I was so excited to get back out on the road and what a journey it's been! We were headed to an island called Cat Ba, but instead of going on an organised tour we decided to venture out there ourselves. After trying to find info about this route online and talking to the hostel owner we discovered that it's not a route tourists tend to take alone....well they should! We found the ferry terminal and after a detour to another island (different ferry oops ha) and another ferry later we arrived at Cat Ba island! The journey was such an adventure as nobody spoke a word of English and were all so surprised and excited to see us biking with them. Plus it was so cheap!!! No tourist prices here πŸ‘ The island is beautiful. We met a group of kids who decided to cycle alongside us shouting hello! I don't know who was more made up, them or us. Perfect way to get over an illness β˜ΊοΈπŸ‘Œ

17 November 2016

Hanoi After a few days of battling the evil that is food poisoning I finally managed to see a little Hanoi. Faced the crazy streets and made it to the peaceful lake in the middle. Time for some much needed food and rest before moving on tomorrow πŸ‘

14 November 2016

Night train to Hanoi Our month in Vietnam is flying by so decided to take the last little hop up North by night train. Bikes were packaged up and off we went! Luckily for us our 4 sleeper carriage didn't have anyone else occupying it. Unluckily for me I was hit with food poisoning! Just found a picture Jack must have taken of me trying to hide away from life while he snacks on my chocolate! A few days in and I'm hopefully on the mend πŸ˜·πŸ€’πŸ€•πŸ€
Thien Mu Pagoda, Hue After growing up listening to 'Rage Against the Machine' I was on a mission to discover the pagoda which stands so importantly in Buddhist culture, part of which features famously on the band's album cover. Quang Duc was a Buddhist Monk who drove from the pagoda in Hue to the south of Vietnam in 1963, stopped at a busy intersection and set himself on fire to protest against the persecution of Buddists by the Vietnamese government. Over 350 monks and nuns were standing by with protest banners against the government written in both English and Vietnamese. His act captured the media's attention and in doing so brought the World's attention to the Vietnamese government's religious prejudice at that time. The pagoda houses the very car driven by Quang Duc back in 1963. I was amazed to find such a powerful story behind an album cover I had never really considered before and how perfectly the image depicts the band name. I also never knew I was such a geek πŸ€“
Arena history continued! Here's the bit for the history buffs...the arena was built in 1830 under the order of the Emperor to make these battles "safer" after he had a run in with a tiger whilst watching a fight on an open field. The fights were held annually in the arena, both animals put up quite a fight and were observed by royalty and common people alike. At that time it was believed that the elephant represented 'monarchy' and the tiger 'rebellion', unfortunately for the tiger rebellion could not be seen to overcome the monarchy. The tigers were drugged and had their teeth and claws removed prior to fighting the elephants, if the elephant was still struggling a second elephant would enter into the battle. The arena was built based on the Roman Coliseum and although no where near as grand, a very unique structure to find in South East Asia. The last battle was held in 1904 and the arena has since been locked up.
Off the beaten track, Hue Today we decided to avoid the typical tourist haunts and instead try to seek out Ho Quyen, an arena built for elephants and tigers to fight each other to the death! After many surprised looks from locals, a few encounters with gangs of threatening dogs, walking through some eerie graveyards and tombs, oh and jack reminding me that there are many unexploded land mines in Vietnam 😳 we eventually found the right alley to the arena. 500m from here we found Long Chau Temple, an old elephant graveyard next to a beautiful lake. The elephants who died during or after battle where buried and worshipped at this temple, even today we found incense alight in the shrine. Both places had a very quiet, peaceful, yet haunting feel about them. I don't know if this is because nobody else was in sight, because I'm used to the hustle and bustle of Asia, or simply if it was the upsetting history of it all. Either way I left with a huge sense of sadness inside.

13 November 2016

New room mate! Found this beast in our room and decided we didn't want its company. The new room mate was evicted and released back to wherever it came from.
Emperor's Imperial Citadel Made the most of the sunshine by exploring this place on foot.

12 November 2016

Hue (pronounced who-ay) Woke up late due to waaay too many drinks. Task of the day was to visit a mechanic for much needed repairs. Jacks brakes had failed 😳 and my bike's speedo had given up a while ago. My bike also decided it didn't want to start without a kick-start so it was definitely time for some attention. Although we were not surprised that they needed a little TLC given the amount of water and miles the bikes have been subjected to (1500km so far!!!) Β£20 and a few hours later we have 2 fully operational bikes πŸ‘Œ While we were waiting for the bikes we took a stroll to investigate what Hue was all about. Had a spot of lunch and an ice cream along the river front. All in all a nice, relaxing day.

11 November 2016

Arrived in Hue! New destination means new backpackers bars and clubs. We figured it'd be rude not to try out the new beer of Hue.😜
Roadside stop off We left this morning without breakfast so decided to stop along the mountain in a little roadside shack. The owner built a fire to cook us some food and we managed to have a good feed by nodding at the ingredients he presented us from his cupboard. We thought the thick cloud may ease off while we were entertained by the tiny kittens, we were very wrong! The visibility just got worse the longer we were up there but we made it down safe and sound.
Top Gear route, Hai Van Pass Not quite the views we were hoping for along what would be a beautiful drive. The weather seems to be against us on our long journeys! Amazing roads curving up and down through the mountains, never knowing if you'll be confronted by a biker on the wrong side of the road or a herd of goats. We could see why it's such a popular route, just a shame about being in the clouds! Oh, and the more I see the pig trucks the closer I'm getting to turning vegetarian. Jack is willing me to eat meat and not get into "all that hippy shit".

10 November 2016

Asia Park 🎑🎒🎠 By exploring Danang today we discovered the river, the beach, monkey mountain, a giant lady Buddha, the fish and chip shop (of course) and finally a theme park. This place literally has it all! We realised in all the time we've been together we have never visited a theme park with each other so figured tonight was the night. Brilliant date night 😍 The fact we were in Asia made the experience all the more entertaining. The people we met went crazy for every ride, spreading the excitement. Not to mention the random addition to one of the rides, not only did they send the ride backwards which was unusual enough, a tent unexpectedly popped over everyone's head turning it into a weird tunnel. Never seen anything quite like it, so funny when you are already spinning around at a stupid speed travelling backwards πŸ˜‚πŸ‡»πŸ‡³
Car park Asia style! 🏍🏍🏍
Seaside fish and chips! Jack hunted out a fish and chip shop after crying about missing it for months. We were made up to find they served mushy peas and curry sauce (although it wasn't like a curry sauce we'd ever tasted before 😣). Found a lovely spot on the beach to watch the sun go down as we ate. I now have a very happy Jack! πŸ‘
Monkey mountain Beautiful ride up the mountain, although the scooter struggled with the 2 of us up the steep hills. Ended up pushing it part of the way and then walking the last 2.5k πŸ˜‚ Well worth it though as the views were amazing! Even if we did have to avoid the boulders, monkeys and fallen trees blocking the road πŸ˜†
Danang We arrived in Danang yesterday and decided to spend the day out and about on the scooters. The morning drive took us up to see lady Buddha and the beach. Still thankful the sun is shining 😊

8 November 2016

Perfect day, Hoi An Shopping, beer, curry and an afternoon at the beach. What more could a girl want! πŸ’

7 November 2016

Dream come true! Pick n mix of the ice cream world! Serve yourself and pay by weight with over 60 flavours to choose from. This could be dangerous as I am totally in my element here!🍦

6 November 2016

Cheers! Hoi An just gets better and better! By night this place turns into a vibrant and colourful town with an all you can drink bar for Β£4 entrance. Needless to say it resulted in a very late night and us pair feeling very delicate the next day.
Hoi An We have just arrived in Hoi An and I am totally in love with the place already. Beautiful little riverside town where you can sit and watch the world go by with a guitar playing gently in the background, perfect.πŸ’—πŸ‘Œ
SUNSHINE...finally! β˜€οΈβ˜€οΈβ˜€οΈ En route to Hoi An and the sun has finally put its hat on, hip hip hip hooray! So much nicer riding in the sunshine. The rain actually felt like bullets hitting your face. We took it easy and appreciated the views. Even made some local woman's day who called her family out of the house to come and wave to us.

4 November 2016

More floods! Quy Nhon The last few days have been non stop, torrential rain storms. This resulted in terrible flooding and a very unhappy Jack and Charlie. This time we were preparing ourselves for the worst and with good reason. Riding for 6 hours when your wet through is not an enjoyable experience. Although I did manage to get a snapshot of the beach when the rain momentarily eased off.

3 November 2016

Floods! Nha Trang. The weather is still horrendous which makes for very uncomfortable journeys on the bikes. To top it off I had to push my scooter through knee deep waters because it decided to cut out half way through, although I'm not surprised as the engine was entirely covered by water. Thankfully my little bike is a super star and started first time once I'd got it out of the water. At this point I'm absolutely drenched and freezing cold! Could not wait to be in clean, dry clothes. (Spot me in the helmet with the white stripe down the middle)

2 November 2016

Do it like the locals! These are the must have accessory for all the locals on bikes. We have decided to give it a go to avoid eating dust. May just use it to avoid catching Jack's cold!😷

1 November 2016

Mui Ne After 2 long days of riding in horrific storms we ended up here. A hot shower and a full day to relax is definitely in order. Hopefully a bit of R&R will help Jack shift his man flu.

31 October 2016

Our latest purchase 😍 Today we bought this pair of 125CC Yamaha Nouvo's. Hoping these little beauties take us across the full length of Vietnam. Let the adventure begin!🏍🏍

30 October 2016

Ho Chi Minh by night. Crazy busy! Navigating through the streets is never an easy task.
Wet wet wet! We're meant to have left rainy season behind in Cambodia, no such luck! Hungover Jack is not best impressed.πŸ’¦β˜”οΈ

28 October 2016

Beer, sky bar and limbo Met up with a couple of Scottish lads we met in Thailand. Drunken bar crawl, shots and limbo pretty much describes the night!🍻🍻🍻
Exploring by foot, Ho Chi Minh Decided to take it easy today and see what Ho Chi Minh was about by taking a walk around the city. Saw a beautiful park contrasted by the chaos of the roads! We then visited the war museum which was very upsetting. The saddest part for me was the extensive use of agent orange by the USA. The poison was deposited all over the country causing utter devastation of everything it touched. To this day it is still causing horrendous birth defects and affecting innocent families living on the land, totally unaware of what lies beneath the soil. The USA are now working to improve the situation after admitting they were at fault so hopefully there will be an end to this horror story!

27 October 2016

Bus luxury! Catching a bus is always an unknown and by now we've learnt to expect the worst! Typically a hot, cramped minibus with luggage shoved in every possible inch of space and you being squished up next to a stranger, or a local bus which travels unbelievably slowly, full of smelly food and people throwing up everywhere! Imagine our surprise when this pulled up and only 6 of us got on board! It may have been a 10 hour journey after already doing a 5 hour minibus trip, but this was absolute luxury! Oh and we even got to stretch our legs when the bus randomly stopped, only for us to get off and find we were on a boat! Thumbs up to Vietnam so far.
We have arrived in Vietnam! Today we overlanded from Cambodia into Vietnam. We didn't know what to expect after the difficult crossing experienced from Laos into Cambodia! Thankfully it went very smoothly without any bribe money having to exchange hands! The first impressions are that the Vietnamese are very happy and helpful people, even the Pepsi wanted to greet us!