6. Like I said, it's a small world when travelling. We check into the nicest Hostel we've been to so far and the first people we see by the pool, Hazel and Lottie from canyoning a couple days ago. We said hello and told them we'd see them out that night, as we had to embark on what can only be described as the worst private tour of all time. We were due to be dropped off in 4 places, first up fairy stream which was supposed to be a natural steam, where about 1 inch of water gently trickled over the soft sand. In reality, the water was more litter and there was actual shit floating about from the cows that lived in it. Dan even had to carry Margaux due to the cut on her foot. We stopped for 30 seconds to look at the 'fishing village' and then went onto see two of the worst 'amazing sand dunes' that anyone's ever paid for. A very long day was complete as the rain somehow managed to follow us this far south! It was so hot all day as well!
2. The weather in Hoi An wasn't great for the 4 days we spent there. The plus side was that this gave me the excuse to buy approximately 100 NorthFace coats from the billion knockoff shops. If it didn't sell NorthFace, it would either be a coffee shop, a leather shop or a tailor. There must have been over 50 specialist tailoring shops in a 5 minute walking radius. After spending around 2 hours pondering over materials, colours, styles etc, Gluten had committed to 2 suits and somehow I'd been smooth talked into buying a jacket. At the time of writing, I genuinely can not wait to get home purely to put that jacket back on. Stay safe jacket, I'll see you soon. One afternoon the sun stuck its head out just long enough for us to cycle to the beach. What a beautiful 20 minutes watching the red flags waving that was. Oh well, they'll be other beaches coming up I'm sure!! And on a side note, Isaac pulls some truly brilliant terrible faces.
5. It's a small world when travelling. By day 2 in Da Lat, Marius had caught up with us from Nha Trang and unbelievably, Margaux (from all the way back in Laos) had found us. She had a new travel buddy Ruben and along with half the canyoning tour group we had a great night out. During said night out, 7 of us had agreed to meet in the morning, hire mopeds and drive to Elephant falls. The waterfall was cool, but once again, just driving round the countryside, taking in the views and really getting to know some good new people topped it. We spent hours taking in all that Da Lat had to offer and continued to spend most of the evening drinking rum and talking about the day! Marius, Margaux and Ruben joined us the next day in travelling on to Mui Ne, as we said goodbye to Misha and Deider.
1. Hanoi started well. Dans bike had been, let's say temperamental for a few hours while driving to Hoi An and eventually, 50m from our Hostel it gave up. Myself and Isaac returned our bikes, while Glutes explained where he'd ditched his to the bike rental store. To this day we have no idea if they got the bike back to the shop, but sure enough, the bike fairy came and took it during he night. Our hostel was nice, minus the cockroaches, but Hoi An as a place was amazing. I hate saying it cos I'm sure it makes no sense, but it felt like I was really in Vietnam here. Maybe that's because they played up to every stereotype in the book, but I would recommend the nighttime lantern festivals and street markets to everyone. As with so many sights already, pictures just couldn't do it justice.
7. A couple of nights in Mui Ne flew by which meant next stop was Saigon. Again, we had to say goodbye to most of the group as we (along with Lottie and Hazel) took the short bus to the hectic city of Ho Chi. For the first time in a while we were able to have a couple of proper culture days, whatever they are. The heat was like nothing I've ever done before. The humidity meant that just sitting outside at all led to some serious sweating. That afternoon we took in the presidential palace and the genuinely moving war museum. Not really knowing too much about the Vietnam war myself, I'm really glad I was able to visit and learn a little more. The next day we saw the CuChi tunnels which were equally astonishing. The tour guide almost proudly showed off some of the brutal traps that were used and then we were able to crawl through the tunnels. How people lived underground like that has blown my mind, they obviously weren't all 6 foot!!
4. Shock!! Nha Trang, AKA, the beach resort was cloudy the next day, so we got straight out of there and continued on to Da Lat, another destination that neither myself or Dan had heard of before travelling! That meant saying goodbye to Isaac (again), who was heading for Cambodia. The 4 hour bus journey was the worst I'd ever taken on my post bday hangover, however Da Lat was more than worth it. We arrived, donned our jumpers (obviously) and arrived at Mr Peaces Hostel. What an experience meeting Mr Peace was, he wouldn't let you in without hugging him, guess he must have met you mum!! Da Lat was very different again to the rest of Vietnam so far. It's inland, very hilly and the countryside is full of thick pine trees. It's also famous for its canyoning, so we joined a group and before you know it were abseiling down waterfalls! A couple of pictures of Glutes zip lining are gold!
21 February 2017
8. Saigon was the perfect way to end our 25 days in Vietnam. We were in a seriously mad city (with over 5 million mopeds!), just as we had started in Hanoi, only there was so much to see and do in our couple days there. Overall, what a truly incredible country with so much to see. Some serious extremes in countryside, people, poverty and cultures. Next stop Cambodia, lets just hope they don't like using mopeds or more importantly, their horns as much!!
14 February 2017
3. All in all I had such a great 4 nights in Hoi An, although I'm not really sure why it was so good. It's only a small place with lots of shops, it's much quieter during the day than other areas I had been to so far (besides Sapa), and there wasn't really anything in particular to see. I think the mix of managing to take it easy during the day, eat delicious food everywhere and most importantly being able to enjoy the row of cheap bars ($5 all you can drink!) made Hoi An the perfect place to spend a few days. The 3 of us took the night bus on the 13th to Nha Trang, a beach side town famous for its sun, sea and more importantly partying, after all, Valentino turned 22 on Valentine's Day. Despite Glutes sleeping most of the day due to the worst night bus so far, we had picked the perfect party Hostel and had a brilliant night out along with the rest of our Hostel, including our new room mate, Marius. Dan even kept his birthday hat on at all times!