Europe, Asia · 48 Days · 15 Moments · December 2015

Jonathon's trip to Vietnam

14 February 2016

Last day , after staying awake all night to a) sleep on the plane and b) hopefully be less jet lagged after just a day probably the most random breakfast: cucumber , melon , tomato , boiled egg , chocolate brownie , brioche bun and a hot dog with lettuce and mayo ...... WTF ? 😂

13 February 2016

Turns out the hotel was amazing also !
Long sleep , 15 hours later and I'm on my flight , 2nd one in a row that I'd fluked an extra leg room seat and was settled in. Despite the flight being only 1.2hrs I was still fed and watered , 3 courses no less - prawn salad , chicken with noodles and a fruit salad. Landing at Guangzhou I was faced with another overnight we at the airport, when I explained to the airport assistant that I wouldn't need a visa as I was staying in transit she asked what time my flight was ? 9am ! Ok then you get a free hotel , please follow me....... ????? Yea sure enough it is policy that anyone with more than 8 hours between flights gets a free hotel and transfers, here I am sitting on the bus to the city centre where I can go and explore at 0 cost .... My lasts $20 still safe ! Hopefully I have enough foreign currency to buy a cpl of drinks tonight before I am picked up again at 4:30 am .... Ouch ! But for a free bed well worth it.
To avoid my visa issue had to fly in to Hanoi and not exit ( transit ) however apparently the 2 airlines don't have a transit agreement ..... This wouldn't have been an issue if I could have just checked in online but southern China app was having none of it. After approximately an hour of various people telling me that they couldn't help ( I one guy who just said no Vietnamese air ? - not my problem ) one police officer approached with a freshly printed boarding pass and I was on my way to departures lounge. Found a couple of lovely big chairs in the "transit" section and made myself a bed. Auntie Susanne's Xmas "towel" was again a blanket and shut out the bright lights quite adequately.

8 February 2016

The agent must have thought I was an idiot as she quoted me 1600b to get to Pattaya and the busses went once per day ...... I left and took my city tour Tuk Tuk to the bus station - waited less than 20 mins and paid under 90b , the bus ( mini bus ) driver even moved everyone about so that I could have the back seat with the isle inform for maximum leg room ! Bonus 😊
Bangkok : Arrived at around 6pm on Saturday , the agent said it was a 4 hour journey so from my 9am pick up was sure I'd be able to find a place to stay easily enough. As it turned out the bus was 9 hours - yes 4 from the ferry port but still a long journey . Arriving on Kohsam Road instantly didn't like it , too busy , too many tourists and all the shops trying to sell you the same things all other shops in Vietnam and Cambodia for inflated prices. Had a wander around and a few drinks and a Xanex to keep the calm down, next thing we know it's early morning , I have pictures in a Tuk Tuk when we where staying only a few minutes walk away !!!!! Basically slept through all of Sunday although I know what the plan was for Monday , bus station and a 3 hr drive to Pattaya for 4 final days of sun. On the way to the taxi rank the Tuk Tuks are doing City tours for 30B so I figured that's fair enough and they can drop me off at the bus station at the end.

25 January 2016

A couple of beers to take on the bus and we were away. Through the night in the pouring rain I was snug and warm in my newly purchased "north face" jacket ... With an asking price of $35 I managed to barter down to $22 and was very happy to have this with me when the temperature dropped and the roof started leaking above my head ! Hood up , headphones on , zzz
After an interesting overnight bus ride with too many passengers than seats, surprisingly this wasn't the biggest issue , the fact that the toilet was assigned out of action and that all 40 something night cruisers were annoyed would be an understatement. People were demanding restroom breaks left right and centre until one unfortunate group of girls wandered into a rather swampy paddy field .... Coming back with very wet trouser legs and rather muddy feet. After this there were no more requests to stop. I'd taken a 1/2 bottle of local whiskey on the bus with me to help with the sleep , however a couple of Dutch girls politely asked me if I wouldn't mind sharing - of course I didn't mind sharing , however this dwindled my supply from 1/2 a bottle to approximately 3 large "pub" measures , so 2 home pours .... Fortunately I did manage to sleep well for about an hour before we were awaken to take a rest stop and buy food if needed. I grabbed a bowl of Pho which was terrible.

24 January 2016

Lunch of chicken and sweet corn soup - a go to favourite at home , was delicious. Much better than I'm used to. As I'm enjoying my lunch a man casually drives his moped through the restaurant and out the back to the kitchen area.
Today's few remaining hours in Hoi an, was up early for breakfast and had a wander around the shops and town before it got too busy. Planned my route from my new favourite bar from last night and took a few pictures as there was no rain as yet. Decided I wanted to buy a hammock for no particular reason but couldn't find any I liked. Ended up getting 2 very nice notebooks that I will transfer all this info to later on. 12:30 - 4 hours to kill before the 14 hour overland bus to Nha Trang, I believe there is Wifi on the bus but some of the hotel wifi has at best been dial up so expectations are low. fortunately the weather there is no better at the moment and I am informed by a friendly stranger that it is a hugely built up Russian tourist spot so it's just the one night there and on the way again.

23 January 2016

Wandering around Hoi An historic fishing village in the rain was not so much fun and with even the locals abandoning the streets I decided to do the same. Carefully selecting a busy but well priced eatery on the river front which was offering 5'000 VND beers ( 16p ) at this price I can sit here until the rain stops or I've consumed enough of the local brew Laurlie ??? To not care about the walk home which is only about 10mins.
Hoi an , after departing an hour late and ended up very nearly getting a "floor sleeper" ( no bed ! ) arrived at 1pm , slight rain to begin with. After previous experience with disembarking the bus I grabbed my bag and left to avoid the endless touts trying to pimp their hotel or hostel to you as a result ended up taking a rather nice walk around the old town and making notes of places to see in the morning. After finding a Cafe that a) sold good coffee b) free wifi & most importantly at this stage a clean modern toilet I settled down to book a place to stay for the night. I decided to blow all of the next day's budget on a good comfortable room with double bed after the last 5 nights in hostels and a 12 hour overnight trip ahead the following day. Once checked in I had a quick check of the hotel pool - freezing ! So decided to wander into town with the aid of a local map.

16 January 2016

Pre sunrise run around Hanoi: library , cathedral and the view around Hoàn Kiém Lake 😊

15 January 2016

Arrived in China, 18:30 local time 10:30 uk time , 12 hours down ....

28 December 2015

The plan: London - Hanoi , Hanoi - Saigon , Saigon - Kuala Lumpur, Kuala Lumpur - Bangkok