Vietnam, Cambodia · 28 Days · 46 Moments · October 2017

Views in Vietnam 19.10.2017 - 17.11.2017

16 November 2017

Goodbye Ho Chi Minh City/ Saigon. We are taking a 14hour journey to Cambodia tonight leaving at 10pm and arriving in Sihanoukville at middayish!

15 November 2017

Tonight Kyle tried crocodile... He thoroughly enjoyed it as well as the spicy satay sauce. I also tried a little and thought it was pretty tasty! 🦎 (closest emoji to a croc I could find)
A very educational day for us today. We visited the Cu Chi Tunnels just outside of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). First we had the chance to 'hide' in what the Vietnamese call "the cover of secret refuge". They would cover it with leaves so the enemy did not know they were there and then would use the element of surprise. We then got to see lots of different traps which the Vietnamese set and it truly was psychological warfare. These traps were pure evil and horrendous (reminded us of the Saw movies) which made the enemy extremely scared and anxious. We also went to a shooting range where we heard AK47s being shot... loud!! Finally the most exciting/scary part we crawled 120metres through a tunnel which the Vietnamese used during the war. They lived underground and used the tunnels to get around. The tunnel was dark, hot and so small, it's amazing what people did to survive!! Today showed us how clever the Vietnamese were in fighting the Americans all those years ago.

14 November 2017

We are going to stick with our plans and see how we get on. We will be heading into Cambodia in a couple of days and we are both looking forward to starting a fresh in a new country. We are just both so glad that we have each other here and the one thing we love most about this trip, having time for and with each other! This is probably the most important thing we have learnt so far and for this we are very grateful.
So we think the realisation of this trip has started to finally sink in. The last few days have been tough with both of us doubting whether we can really do a whole 6 months. Things which to begin with we used to shrug off are now grinding on us continuously.... crossing the road and nearly being hit by cars and mopeds (a taxi actually touched me yesterday so I banged on his car), men thinking they are superior to women, their inability to queue and take turns, their spitting. Then to top it off we were woken this morning at 6am to a man in our dorm being sick all over the floor (drunk). Kyle went and told the staff who looked at it said they will clean it and just walked off! We have now been moved to another room as this was the last straw!! To be so negative about a beautiful country almost feels that we are spoilt/greedy/ungrateful but we are just really starting to miss those small home comforts.

12 November 2017

Another early start (4.30am) to go and meet a man with a boat down by the river. He quickly ushered me on and told me to duck when the police went past?! Whilst leaving Kyle on land, Kyle very quickly joined us so the panic was over! We went to Cai Rang Floating Market and watched the locals buying and selling fruit and vegetables. We then went down the canals and saw locals going about their daily lives, highlighting once again just how little they really have!! Because we went so early we also got to see the sunrise on the river which was stunning. Unfortunately the river was very dirty and the boat had to keep stopping to untangle plastic from the propeller! Β£10 well spent this morning on our little adventure. This afternoon we take a 3.5hour bus to Ho Chi Minh City, our last destination in Vietnam πŸ‡»πŸ‡³

11 November 2017

Can Tho nightmarket and a local student wanting to speak with Kyle to improve his English. I would have thought this request by now would get a bit tedious but it never does. They are always so enthusiastic and offer to help us around the town!
1 taxi, 1 boat, 2 shuttle buses and a coach later we arrived in Can Tho. The journey wasn't ideal it took us about 9 hours but it was significantly cheaper than flying! This is the view from the hotel we are staying in. Not sure what to expect from this place but we will go out and explore as always and see what we can find!!

9 November 2017

Our last day on Phu Quoc. We met up with Matt and him and Kyle entertained themselves with handstands and cartwheels! Early start tomorrow as we head to Can Tho in the Mekong Delta.

8 November 2017

Suoi Tranh Waterfall. We took the moped this morning and travelled across the island to this waterfall. It's much smaller than the waterfalls we have seen before but the water was nice and refreshing which was much needed after the walk up to it. On the way there were lots of sculptures/models of animals and plants. Kyle was tuning his inner hippo!

7 November 2017

Introducing... Fisherman Kyle. This afternoon he successful caught 2 crabs and 1 hermit crab with his flip flops. (No animals harmed they were all safely returned)
A lazy afternoon spent at the beach... perfection. The water is so clear and pretty warm meaning you can just bob around for hours in it. It was a little cloudy this afternoon so the sunset wasn't clear but the pink sky afterwards was beautiful. I think we could both get used to this island life!
We are starting to realise that sometimes the best thing to do is just to go out with no real plan of where you are going, follow a dirt track and see where it takes you. The sights are always a lovely surprise!! πŸ‘Kyle your moped driving was incredible today over some horrendous dirt tracks and negotiating cowsπŸ‘

6 November 2017

A very early start for us, we woke at 3.30am and headed for the airport to catch a flight to Ho Chi Minh City where we would then catch another flight to Phu Quoc. Phu Quoc is a small island off of the coast of Cambodia but it is technically a Vietnamese island. This place is exactly what we need after about 8days of continuous rain and wind (or at least we hope). We arrived in Phu Quoc at 11am and we had 2 very easy flights with VietJet. We have decided to treat ourselves to some nice accomodation for our days on the island as we have spent quite a lot of time in hostels and shared dorms. 2mins walk to the beach and we can hire mopeds to explore the island. This evening we met Matt at his hotel for a couple of drinks and a catch up, hoping to see each other over the next few days.

5 November 2017

So this morning the main part of the typhoon had definitely passed but the weather was still pretty awful. We braved it and headed down to the beach to see the big waves. It wasn't as windy as we expected so we decided to go for a walk into the city where we could see some of the damage done by the typhoon. It then decided to chuck it down, the waterproof boots funnily enough don't stay waterproof in typhoons!! All our clothes are still drying out now. This evening we played chess and Kyle beat me twice. We thought picture 3 was some what ironic. We are leaving Da Nang which is a shame as there were a few things we wanted to do and see here but the weather just hasn't allowed us. I suppose it's a good excuse to come back to Vietnam at some point! Hoping we find ourselves some sun tomorrow...

4 November 2017

A typhoon is currently hitting Vietnam and being in a coastal town the weather is horrendous. Luckily we are not in the worst hit area where currently 1 person has died and 5 others are missing. There is a crossroads by our hostel which creates a wind tunnel from the beach. Mopeds have been pushed over whilst being driven along due to the strong winds. Kyle being his very kind and helpful self has helped several ladies today, whose bikes had fallen to the floor in the middle of the busy junction, to get them across to the other side. He is such a good egg πŸ’œ The typhoon is heading across Vietnam to Cambodia and then Thailand, it's the strongest they've had for 16 years!

3 November 2017

Today we rented bicycles from our hostel and we went to An Bang Beach in Hoi An. However the weather was not on our side, extremely windy and very chilly!! Not quite what we expected in South East Asia. This evening it decided to rain and when it rains in Hoi An the river floods onto the pavements and walkways. So last night we saw the beautiful lantern festival and tonight we were walking through river water on the paths. Not sure if the pictures quite show the flooding but our black, gristly feet certainly prove it! We've enjoyed our time in Hoi An but it hasn't been our favourite place which many people have stated that it is theirs. It is a beautiful town just too touristy for us.

2 November 2017

Full Moon Lantern Festival- Hoi An So we arrived in Hoi An today and we came across this beautiful festival. The local people believe that by releasing the lantern on the river it will bring you luck and make your wishes come true. We bought a lantern each and put it into the river before making our wishes!! A beautiful evening filled with colour and light. Kyle was given an orange lantern and I a green lantern (our favourite colours, talk about fate!)
Hoi An πŸ’œ
WOW, what a day!! Massive bucket list moment today taking the Hai Van Pass from Hue to Hoi An. Top Gear drove this road and it was listed as one of the most beautiful coastal paths in the world. And that it was! No photos will do what we saw today justice but they will jog our memories in years to come. We hired 2 motorbikes with 2 drivers to take us on the route and they were amazing. Stopping at great locations on the way; a local fishing village, a waterfall, marble mountain, war bunkers and stunning sites along the way. We were on the road for about 6 hours and we loved every second of it. Unfortunately at the waterfall I managed to get a leech on my leg, I had trousers and hiking boots on so not sure how that happened! Once I got it off my driver put cigarette tobacco on it - apparently that's what you do here and to be fair to him it stopped stinging and bleeding! We would recommend this drive to anyone (Dad you would love it!!)

1 November 2017

Cutest little thing πŸ’œ The owner of the hotel we are staying ins son! He came and joined us after breakfast today and he loves to wave and blow kisses!!
Yesterday we arrived in Hue and unfortunately it literally hasn't stopped raining! We have used Hue as a catch up point. Catching up on sleep and organising our next few destinations. But today we ventured to the local market and the colours and smells are just delicious. We bartered and bought ourselves some apples and peanut rice cake things. We then went to a local park where we were asked by 2 local students if they could practice their English with us so we had a nice conversation with them. One is training to be a vet and the other is training in forestry and conservation. We didn't know what to expect from Hue but we now feel prepared for the rest of our time in Vietnam.

30 October 2017

We both really wanted to explore Phong Nha National Park but due to having so much to see in Vietnam we only had 1 day to do this. We booked a tour through our hotel and we had the most wonderful day. We first visited 'Paradise Cave' the longest cave in SE Asia (31.4km). It was so beautiful, we've seen a few caves now but this one was really special. We then went for a great lunch, Kyle was in his element. Then in the afternoon we visited 'Dark Cave' and wow was it dark. We ziplined then swam into the cave with headlights on before wading through the water and finding the mud. Slipping and sliding everywhere we had to climb and the guide just laughed when I physically couldn't get over a rock it was significantly taller than me! Kyle lifted me and we were back on track. We turned off our lights and had a mud bath in the pitch black. We headed out of the cave and kayaked. All photos of the dark cave are on Kyle's go pro so we will see them when we get home. Phong NhaπŸ’œ

29 October 2017

Dinner tonight, grilled clams with onion, crispy potatoes, 2 beers and a Coca-Cola all for Β£7!! It's awful that we consider this an expensive dinner, I think returning to England will be a shock!
Dong Hoi... We rented a moped from our hotel and we went out to explore this small seaside town. We found a beautiful beach with the softest sand and it was empty!!! The waves were pretty big and the current looked rather strong but it was the perfect place to sit and relax!!

28 October 2017

Goodbye Tam Coc and hello Dong Hoi. We embarked on our very first 8 hour sleeper bus, a new experience. It was 1 hour and 15mins late and then you are just piled on like cattle. Kyle and I were right at the back on the top level and Kyle was sandwiched between me and a French lady!! Locals were sleeping in the isles and the suspension needs some work. Nonetheless we have arrived in Dong Hoi! A man took our 2 large bags on a moped from the bus stop at 5am to the hotel and then came back to collect us. I was sandwiched between Kyle and a Vietnamese man on a moped!! Again we just had to trust that he was a nice bloke and that he wasn't going to sell our belongings on the local market. He turned out to be a good egg and it's cost us just under Β£2. The hotel let us check in very early and we are now currently enjoying breakfast.
Mua Caves and Viewpoint. We climbed over 500 steps to get to the top to see 360Β° views of Tam Coc. Unfortunately Tam Coc was a very misty / cloudy place the whole time we were there so views were a little restricted.
Trang An "Ha Long Bay" on land. We set off early to try and beat the crowds however the crowds had already made their way there! We paid for a boat trip to explore Trang An and the caves. The Route we chose allowed us to see where they filmed some of the most recent King Kong film. The tribes village was still there to be seen and some locals were dressed up as part of the tribe. Trying to get a photo on the set took a LONG time waiting for the Chinese to get a perfect photo πŸ˜ͺπŸ˜ͺπŸ˜ͺ , the best part is 'are you waiting?' After we had been stood there for 10mins!!!

27 October 2017

Views whilst exploring Tam Coc πŸ›΅
Day 1 in Tam Coc. We hired a moped and went exploring this tiny town. 2 main roads and the rest cut through rice fields. We visited Thung Nham bird garden where we got bitten to pieces by mozzies!!!!! The scenery was once again beautiful and we got to see a 1000 year old tree, with the help of directions from a non English speaking Vietnamese man. It's amazing how far sign language can get you! And yes that is Kyle picking bananas from a tree πŸ’

26 October 2017

Goodnight Hanoi, on to Tam Coc tomorrow. Hanoi has been an absolute joy and we will certainly come back and visit one day. A very special and manic city with some of the kindest people we have ever met. πŸ‡»πŸ‡³πŸ’›
Local fishing communities. We couldn't quite believe that people live like this in tiny houses on bamboo rafts! We even saw a man 'showering' with a bucket of water. It's mad to think in this day and age there are still people without a shower. We're starting to see that we are either extremely lucky or perhaps extremely spoilt.

25 October 2017

Ha Long Bay, part 5: Arriving at Cat Ba Island. We quickly checked into our hotel for the night and then had time to explore the island for ourselves. We went to hire a moped which cost 70,000vnd (just over Β£2) filled it up with petrol from a man with a bottle 40,000vnd (just over Β£1). Then the fun began, Kyle drove first with me on the back and we found 3 beaches, one of which we decided to relax on for a while. Swimming was cut short by the jellyfish though! Back on the moped in search of water and fruit. We got caught in the school run traffic, but Kyle's driving was very impressive and we managed to get out of it! We found a local market for some fresh fruit and then it was my turn to drive with Kyle on the back. Cat Ba is a small island so we just drove up and down the same roads enjoying the wonderful view of the sun setting.
Ha Long Bay, part 4: Monkey Island, a chance for a swim in the beautiful sea and to see monkeys!! The monkeys stole one boy's pack of biscuits, ate them in front of him and then walked off - such sass!! The monkeys were very curious but only when you have food! The last picture shows how we got on and off the boat, health and safety doesn't exist here but we live to tell the tale!
Ha Long Bay, part 3: Day 2 of our tour we visited a pearl farm and we were shown how they cultivate pearls. It's amazing what is not classified as a perfect pearl as they all looked so beautiful! We then had the opportunity to kayak around the bay and it was bliss. Pure silence, all you could hear were the birds flying above. We then decided to have a kayaking race against the Spanish couple we became friendly with, Antonio and Carolina, and we won!!!!! Kayaking was a lovely way to see the limestone karsts up close and we found the odd cave or 2!

24 October 2017

Ha Long Bay, part 2: After visiting the cave we boarded the boat again which then took us to Ti Top Island where we climbed to the top of the hill and had wonderful views especially as the sun was setting. Once back down to sea level we went for a little paddle as it was a bit chilly by this point as the sun had set. Once back on our big boat we had fruit and wine before having dinner. After dinner is when the fun began... karaoke!!! Even I was joining in, god knows what this trip is doing to me?! Kyle had a bit of a bromance with a lovely Spanish man called Antonio and they sang the night away together... mamma Mia, spice girls and killing me softly, just to name a few! Unfortunately the other cruises moored up around us moved which we took some offence to!!
Ha Long Bay, part 1: We took a 4 hour bus journey to reach the harbour where we boarded a boat for Ha Long Bay. We checked in to our room which we were pleasantly surprised by and then went to the top deck to enjoy the breathtaking views. The pictures will never do this place justice. We very quickly understood why this place is one of the 7 natural wonders of the world. We then boarded a small boat which took us to 'surprising cave' where the tour guide showed us different animals shapes in the rocks. Some required your imagination more than others. He called one a 'happy finger' and it was very suspect indeed!!

22 October 2017

Coconut coffee Peach and passionfruit tea Pho Bo Street food Egg coffee
This morning we found ourselves discovering an old Vietnamese prison which was used to not only imprison vietnamese but the Americans too. This gruesome building showed us that prisoners on death row were left in their own feaces with their legs strapped to the cell floor 24/7!!! We later met up with Ryan and Ffion for Vietnams local beef noodle soup dinner, a whopping £5 for the lot.... 😱

21 October 2017

A morning spent walking around the lake. The roads were shut... heaven! Instead we had to watch out for children driving electric cars they were so cute and such good drivers. However the boy in the police car did nearly take us out which we found kind of ironic. Then we went to the 3rd story of a building where we sat and had iced tea and coffee with a wonderful view. Both Kyle and I thought this place bared a resemblance to Rome!

20 October 2017

Last night we met Joe and his girlfriend again for dinner and this time we were joined by their 10 non-english speaking friends! Everyone was very friendly and welcoming and we shared hot pots. Again we ate at small plastic chairs and tables on the side of the road. With hot pots you cook all the food yourself you just add it to a boiling broth, the flavours are amazing!! Street food trumps restaurants here everytime. We then went back to his friends cafe for some drinks. I was sandwiched between 2 Vietnamese people on one moped and Kyle joined Joe on his bike. Once at the cafe we had some drinks and a great chat before coming home in a taxi. Unfortunately no pictures but that's a sign of a good night right?!
Sightseeing... The Citadel Hanoi Catholic Cathedral The Literature Temple
We had read that you can walk along the train tracks in the old quarter of the city and that the houses are really close to the tracks. So this morning we went exploring! Locals were out preparing food, cleaning, washing, burning things and socialising along/on the tracks. One group stopped us and asked us to join them and they gave us a glass of hot tea each. Once sat down we quickly realised why we had been invited over. One of the women was besotted with Kyle's shoulders, hair and beard and she kept calling him beautiful!! They took a photo with us at which point I was also called beautiful (didn't want to feel left out!). When trying to leave they kept saying no and offering more tea but the language barrier was an issue so conversation was limited to sign language. Genuinely friendly people inviting complete strangers to join in with their group. Small things in life πŸ’š Hanoi you really are special! P.s. the train tracks are still functioning with 2 trains a day!!

19 October 2017

Our first night in Hanoi... My friend Joe Black moved to Hanoi 4 years ago and tonight we got to experience this amazing city with him and his girlfriend who both led the way with the local language (so useful!) They picked us up from the hostel and took us on the back of their mopeds to have some delicious 'Pho' (noodles, soup and chicken). We then went to a bar where I tried Saigon beer, a Vietnamese beer. The roads here are just mad, and being on the back of a bike weaving inbetween traffic is exhilarating. We were both glad that we were with locals who knew what they were doing! What a great introduction to what we think is going to be a very special country! πŸ‡»πŸ‡³
Our hostel which we are staying in for 5 nights has happy hour from 6-7pm which obviously means free beer. Kyle's happy!!
Hello Vietnam!! We took a 50minute flight from Vientiane to Hanoi. Vientiane' s airport was so small and it's the capital city, we couldn't believe it. Just 3 gates to board from in the whole place!! We flew with Lao Airways and we were very impressed. Very clean, prompt and they even squeezed in a free snack and drink... always a treat. We very quickly landed in Hanoi where we flew through immigration with our pre-organised visas and our luggage was one of the first out. We grabbed what we think in hindsight was an illegal taxi as we literally got pushed into it with it still travelling along. But nonetheless we've made it to our hostel in one piece. Hanoi, wow what a place. Off to explore tonight but it's craziness has already made itself known!!