Thailand · 22 Days · 28 Moments · June 2014

James Forrest

James & Kate's voyage in Thailand &Vietnam

21 July 2014

Trip all over! Such a great time. Unpacked the mass amounts of clothes and stuff we bought and packed it in for an early night. Until next time!

20 July 2014

Day 22! Last day of holiday. We had an early start this morning.. Katelyn woke up at go to the bathroom!!! James followed suit at 4am. Don't know what we ate but it wasn't sitting well. Today we revisited the war remnants museum for a proper visit. Was very sad and confronting and we are glad we went, learnt a lot. We went to a bakery for lunch and had a look at the benh tanh markets but we are all marketed out and felt crap due to our illness. We finished the afternoon with a really good hot stone massage before heading to the airport. Our flight is at 8:35 pm and we can't wait to get back to Sydney to see our family!

19 July 2014

Part 2: explored HCMC in the arvo, went to a nice bakery for some pastries and coffee! Then went to the second tallest building in Vietnam which was built 3 years ago. There was an observatory level which provided a great perspective of the city. We then went and had drinks at a shit beer garden and then too many cocktails at another rooftop bar and then dinner at the same place as last night! Once again delicious! Xoxo
Day 21: part 1 - 2nd last day! Sad it's coming to an end, but definitely ready for our own bed and a home cooked meal. We went on a motorbike food and city tour of HCMC with cute Vietnamese guides who drove us through some crazy traffic to first start off with a ban mhi, a traditional Vietnamese bread roll with egg, sausage, pickled veggies and patte which was so delicious. We drove through 7 different districts of Vietnam, passing over many bridges and looking at the poor and rich areas. living on the rivers edge is poor, different to Syd. We proceeded to a war museum, the GPO and the cathedral. Squeezed through some tight alleyways to the food markets where we saw skinned frogs, eels and many live seafood. Confronting and interesting. We tried an awesome grilled sticky rice banana with coconut sauce, yummo! (Emily Vietnam will change your mind about cooked banana) The tour ended with a fresh coconut, pamelo and passion fruit juice and a scrumptious beef pho!

18 July 2014

Day 20 - Travel to Ho Chi Minh City. Mixed feelings this morning as we find out about the Malaysia airlines crash and the typhoon coming across to Vietnam from the Philippines tonight! We are assured that it will only affect the northern half of Vietnam, so lucky that we are heading south! Lazy start, spent 2 hours packing many bags so we could get on our flight to HCMC! We arrived in the late afternoon to much cooler weather (a pleasant 25 degrees) and no typhoon (#winning). We headed to a sky bar for sunset cocktails but weren't allowed in due to the fact that we are bogans and were wearing thongs (what up hochiminh?) We found another rooftop bar which was nice, then we searched around for a restaurant called temple which Katelyn had been to before! Was delish. Packed it in for an early night!

17 July 2014

Day 19 - Hoi An! Another marvellous day. Sunny, hot and humid. Getting sick of sweating our way through 3 tops per day...literally. How do these Vietnamese stay hydrated?? Started the day with a boat ride to Cam Kim island which is a farming island 10 minutes up the river from hoi an town. We took our bikes on the boat so we could explore. We rode around, saw many woodworking shops, corn and rice fields, stray muscular chickens and dogs everywhere! Two old Vietnamese men who couldn't speak English invited us into their farm and we thought they would ask for money but they didn't- just being kind! They had kids running around who loved westerners, chickens, mangoes and other things along the river. In the afternoon we ran around getting clothes fitted (we are very pleased with the results) and we explored a vegetable village north of hoi an by bike which was so nice. Finished the night with a seriously delicious meal and a walk home in monsoonal-like rain (water was ankle deep)!!!

16 July 2014

Day 18 - Part Two! After the beach, rode back towards town and stopped at a riverside restaurant for 4pm beers and cocktail. James decided to get another suit, 2 jackets and a shirt made, and Kate got a jacket and 4 more dresses!! Ridiculous! Went out for dinner down at the river and the photos really don't do it justice. Had the best meal of the trip so far (Vietnamese feast!) including fried banana for dessert. Restaurant was on a terrace overlooking the lantern lit river. We wondered the night lantern street market until our feet hurt! Lowered a candle into the river and made a wish. Such a good day.
Day 18 - Part One! Hoi An is a pretty cool place. Staying at the 'lantern hotel' in the town near the ancient city. It is one pretty cute town. Not as busy as Hanoi, but still lots of people around. We started the day off with a walk to the town to explore and a little Vietnamese lady started talking to us, following us down the street asking us many questions which ended in: will you come see my shop? We kindly said yes and she led us into a market full of material to make clothes. Like true tourists to hoi an, James got measured up for a blazer and kate got 3 dresses! Then another lady said 'Now you come to my shoe shop'. They've got this whole thing sorted. Soo Kate got 3 pairs of shoes and I got 2. Pick them up tomorrow. Went to a delicious cute Vietnamese home for lunch. Then rented some bikes and rode 20mins down to the beach for a swim

15 July 2014

Day 17: second day of halong bay cruise. 6:30 start for Tai Chi! kayaking in halong bay.. Was definitely not as nice as Milford sound in New Zealand but lets not make unfavourable comparisons to past experiences. We kayaked for roughly 40 minutes, through a rock opening into a bay of green water with lots of rubbish in it and past the big boats to an island with little monkeys on it which was cool and kayaked further and got stuck on a rock and couldn't get off and I really didn't want to capsize because swimming in that water would definitely give us some sort of disease.. Luckily James saved us and we got off the rock without falling into the water. The titanic is unsinkable!!! Then we packed up and went back to the mainland, whilst sweating in the hot sun, to make another 3.5 hour trip back to Hanoi! On to Hoi An!!

14 July 2014

Day 16: Halong Bay!! Up early again and we took a 3.5hr bus trip to halong bay. We are on an overnight junk boat calypso cruise (apparently 4 star) with about 10 other people. We walked through a pretty cool cave and learnt for the 3rd time how to cook spring rolls. The water is nice and the islands are beautiful (similar to doubtful sound) but plenty of rubbish in water which isn't nice. Seems to be as a result of local floating fishing villages and probably tourists. So nice relaxing on the sun chairs up on the roof of the boat looking at the water and limestone, it's been so so hot!! And we have met some really nice people - like nat and Nicole from Melbourne! Spent the late arvo relaxing on the top of the boat with a couple of cocktails watching kayakers, ate a nice big dinner and did some squid fishing which was weird and we didn't catch anything, then attempted to do karaoke but the machine was broken and this Dutch lady was super keen for it so she disco danced by herself.

13 July 2014

Day 15: started off with a trip to the history museum, where we learnt about the war and Ho Chi Minh!! Perspective on the war is totally different in Vietnam 'America was at war against Vietnam'. We explored the many streets in old quarter and found a cute restaurant where Katelyn had her favourite Vietnamese meal - bun cha which is grilled pork with rice vermicelli noodles, herbs and an awesome sauce. James tried a local fish dish which definitely wasn't as good as mine. We then walked around the French quarter but didn't find much so went back to the lake and had an ice cream which was delish on a very hot day. More exploring and shopping which found us at a random bar/restaurant sitting on the footpath watching the traffic go by and a sugarcane juice followed by a cocktail or 2 at hotel metropole, a very nice French inspired building and then a long tuk tuk ride to a deserted restaurant where we tried some interesting food.

12 July 2014

Day 14 - Part 2. Rode around on a tuk tuk 3 times! Had a cooking class which was the best. Involved a trip to the local markets to get ingredients and to taste some street food. We saw frogs, soft shell turtles, and other interesting things. James tried one of those duck eggs where the unborn duck is inside (was cooked but was gross). We also drank sugarcane juice which was super sweet and these interesting pork and mushroom rice paper wraps! The cooking class had us make beef pho from scratch, caramel pork vermicelli, spring rolls and lemongrass chicken. James was commended on his excellent chopping skills by our Vietnamese chef teacher. On a full belly we hit the night markets and bought a few cool things. James almost had his phone pickpocketed!! But prior warnings from hotel concierge and chef had resulted in vigilance and James was able to give the pickpocket a mouthful of Australian blasphemy he probably didn't understand.
Day 14 - Part one. First day in Vietnam!! Woke up way too early in Bangkok and headed for the plane to Hanoi! Just as hot and humid here but not unbearable :) was greeted by an extremely friendly concierge and booked some things to do in Vietnam. We had a stroll through the busy streets of Hanoi - the streets make Thailand's traffic look tame. Rode a bicycle tuk tuk - quite relaxing amongst the busy motorbikes surrounding and overtaking. Ate a whole pineapple. Had lunch at highway 4, with some really amazing food - catfish rice paper rolls, salted chilli pork ribs, passion fruit chicken and an awesome beef and bamboo shoot salad! Delish!

11 July 2014

Day 13 - Last day in Bangkok means last day in Thailand!! Our last day was spent first of all eating a buffet breakfast as usual, We then headed to a shopping centre at Asok station called Terminal 21; a very cool place where every level is themed a different country. Paris was our favourite level. James bought so so so many things!! And Katelyn bought a very cool bag and wallet! We ate some not too good Mexican food because we really didn't feel like Thai food again!! Went back to the hotel to plan Vietnam, packed up and went to dinner at a place called cabbages and condoms which was a little disappointing but interesting. Then a walk around the sukhumvit market to grab some mango and sticky rice (James fav dessert now) and to end our time in Thailand !! Ready for a 330am wake up tomorrow for our flight to Vietnam :)

10 July 2014

Day 11 - Bye bye ko Samui! Picked up my tailored suit and 10x shirts which ended up being not too shabby and headed to ko Samui airport to get our plane to Bangkok. We Realised that Tim and Em are still in Bangkok tonight which made our day!! Got to Bangkok to our dirty hotel...chilled out and got our bearings in the big city! We met up with Tim and Emily had drinks, dinner at 'The Love Scene' which was just a cute little Thai kitchen. Headed out to soi cowboy which was interesting to say the least. Was a big night which lead to the best snapchat ever.
Day 12 - exploring Bangkok! After moping around for a while with hangovers, We moved to a new and better hotel and Debriefed the night with Tim and Emily, before we waved them goodbye! Kate and I travelled on the sky train, subway, bus then tuk tuk to the grand palace which was very touristy but amazing nonetheless. Grabbed a quick Thai lunch and rode a bus into china town. We explored china town for a while and ended up at a pier. Then we went to a huuuuge shopping centre and bought heaps of things and then went to markets at night and bought a heap more things. Shopping complete for thiland!!!

8 July 2014

Last full day in ko Samui! We had a full day snorkelling trip planned to ko Tao but when we got to the pier the company advised that 3-4m swell was at ko Tao so the trip was a no go! We headed back and got a Thai foot massage instead. Kate got a pedicure and manicure. The arvo followed with relaxing by the pool, reading, and then a delicious Thai meal and plenty more cocktails. Went to a night market and got $1.20 cocktails which have us headaches the next morning.

7 July 2014

Relaxed on the beach all morning after a delicious brekky! Went to the Samui institute of the culinary arts to do a cooking course!! Cooked up our own spring rolls. Massamun paste and curry, and a spicy lemongrass prawn salad. Was delicious :) finished the night again with crepes! So so good.

6 July 2014

Second day in ko Samui started with the best buffet breakfast we have had so far. Fresh cooked omelette as always for James. Stayed local on chaweng beach and hired a 1800cc jetski! Maxed out at 90km p/hr. Relaxed on the beach, had a delicious Thai lunch and Thai massage at our resort in the arvo where it started to rain and storm on us half way through but was still enjoyable. Went shopping after and had a great Thai dinner where katelyn had too many drinks again: was so yummy! Best Nutella banana crepes from food cart yummmmm!!! And James forgot to add that he also had too many beers and cocktails!

5 July 2014

Day started off with an awesome breakfast of omelette and waffles; best breakfast of our trip so far. We then had to pack up and leave our favourite resort and go on a 2.5 hour minivan ride, across 2 car ferries to krabi airport and catch the smallest aeroplane I've ever seen run by a propella!!!!!! It was the scariest 45 minutes for Katelyn who probably almost had a heart attack. But, we landed safely anyway and found our next nice resort: amari resort! Very nice recommendation from Bec for the place; best location, close to everything! Ko Samui is awesome - spent the afternoon finding lunch for Katelyn, who ended up getting a whole pineapple on the beach, it was delicious.. Then shopping for the next few hours. Kate bought lots and James bought a tailor made suit!! We then had the BEST Thai dinner we have had so far.. Masa man beef curry and a noodle dish.. So fantastic it was better than trio Thai! :)

4 July 2014

Had the best afternoon ever at ko lanta at our awesome resort - began with himym, then a game of cards in the sunshine on our balcony! We went to our pool bar and ordered 4.. Yes 4.. Cocktails each which were amazing and fruity and delicious.. It was happy hour after all!!! We then went down to the reggae bar, which was playing reggae music.. And lazed around on lounges and pillows and watched the sunset and drank another cocktail.. It was the best afternoon ended with a yummy dinner and room service ice cream :)
Katelyn is a goose
Day 6 morning we set out for an island kayaking adventure tour! Hot and moist morning we arrived at the mangrove river forest and set out to a nice island and kayaked to a swimming spot. Then a storm came over, rain and wind prevented us from going any further. We travelled to another island for lunch, then headed back via the mangrove river feeding monkeys from our long boat. The kayak up the river was the only nice part as the weather had fined up by then!

3 July 2014

Day 5 in Thailand: woke up in phi phi, took a taxi boat to the main pier and caught a ferry to ko lanta. Arrived at our amazing resort, cheapest resort yet and the nicest we have stayed at! James got a burger for lunch and Kate got a Caesar salad because we wanted something different to Thai! So, so, so, SO hot here!! Went into the town of lanta, saw nothing. Kate bought a dress for $6 and we caught our first tuk tuk! We have just chilled out at our resort, swimming and lazing around :) about to get dinner now - we shall see how good the Thai is here :)

2 July 2014

Phi phi islands! Today we went to a beautiful beach called lomodhee beach at the back of our resort. It said PRIVATE, no entry; but we went anyway!! The water was crystal clear and we got to do some sunbaking all on our own which was awesome. It's been beautiful and sunny all day. We then went to the main island of phi phi where we had a really disgusting pad Thai for lunch and James was really embarrassing and didn't pay for one of the meals. We came back to our resort and swam, sunbaked and drank cocktails all afternoon :) now gim rummy, more drinks, sunshine and dinner !! Katelyns face is like a beetroot and James a little burnt also aloeeeee Vera tomorrow!!

1 July 2014

Day 3 :) travelled on a boat ride forever from phuket to phi phi islands! Resort is kind of gross (construction everywhere) but we went to the main pier and had lunch and then we went on a long boat with our mate Con. He took us for 2.5 hours around the islands where we snorkelled, went to a monkey beach and did a bit of swimming. Kate unfortunately beat james in gin rummy.

30 June 2014

Day 2 in Thailand! Had an awesome buffet breakfast with Nutella and crossaints!! Then jumped on a bus for adventure time! Went to monkey temple - so many monkeys eating bananas and corn. Rode an elephant through the jungle in the rain and sat on its head. No rain no fun eyy? Katelyn got a nice massage from the baby elephants, sucking on her legs like a vacuum. Went to a waterfall and swam in the refreshing water. Went ATV riding, just like four wheel motorbike riding through the mud. Drifted through some mud and got bogged a number of times. Watched baby elephants doing tricks like playing the harmonica. Had a cheap Thai feast at surin beach.

29 June 2014

First day in Thailand! Travelled for 14 hours, with no sleep! Stayed at double tree resort, Surin beach in phuket. Miserable weather meant we got massages (basically Thai lady digging elbows in everywhere), had an expensive lunch, cocktails and travelled to phuket town to the night markets. Katelyn bought 2 pairs of runners.. For too much money! And we had some of the best food - especially that roti sweet pancake: YUM! James had fresh fish cakes with coriander - delishh.