A Travellerspoint blog

Hoi An here we come!!

The place for tailoring!!

Wednesday 6th March

After a rather long, grotty 12 hour journey on a sleeper bus we arrived in Hoi An (right by the river) and caught a taxi to find some accomodation. After a little while we managed to find a 'hotel' (not a hotel compared to the one we had in Nha Trang that was for sure!!) The hotel was quite unclean for the price so we said we would move next door but they obviously wanted the business and dropped the price to 6USD a night for us each rather than 8, so we stayed and adapted to the room!
We were feeling tired so Soph went for a nap and I caught up on my emails with friends and family. We then ventured out - in the dull, dark, dreary weather which was a bit of a shock compared to Nha Trang where the sun did shine at times!! It even started to rain when we were out walking and exploring. 9/10 shops here are tailoring shops. If you want a smart suit, shirt, dress; Hoi An is the place!! We've both said we are going to bring our family out here and get them suited and booted!! If England had this service, they'd be doing well I feel! There was hundreds of tailors, literally! And the service is very fast! So to lighten up our moods during this dark, damp day we did a little bit of retail therapy and hit our bank balance well!! A little - I mean, about 5 hours!! Typical girls eyy! We both had some dresses made for us (3 for Soph, 2 for myself and I did buy a north face jacket which I will take with me for the north and NZ. A fake I know, but hey ho! Cheap!! So after a thoroughly well spent day (money wise) and enjoyment we had some food and hit the sack.

Thursday - The next day we had our fittings for our dresses/collections so again day 2 in Hoi An was another 'mooch' around day - dangerous!! But we didn't go as mad this time, quite sensible in fact! We dined out, had some lovely Vietnamese dishes and some cold, refreshing fruit shakes through the day. Again, the weather was cold compared to what we have been used to (wearing hoodies and trousers) but a little brighter than yesterday. So the last two days we've walked endlessly around the pretty town of Hoi An and bought some rather good bargains and goodies. I decided to hire a motorbike for a few hours in the afternoon, dare devil I know! It cost me 5USD and I had to fill up on my own accord. Which was very entertaining to say the least at the petrol station! Especially when I couldn't pop the button to open the petrol catch! But we got there and I had a good old blast around the city. I managed to accidentally go down a one way street the wrong way, so a rather angry Vietnamese man came out shouting and waving his arms which entertained me, broke my flipflop whilst attempting to put the stand down (when picking up Soph from the hotel for a ride on the back) and ran a red light just to cause some excitement to my experience of driving the streets of Hoi An!! Picked Soph up and we went for a bit of an explore, we soon got to just with the balancing of the two of us and we were away! Both loving life on the motorbike! By this time it was approaching night time, and I was failing to find the lights (had a bit of a blonde moment) but found them just in time for darkness! We went around by the river which was so pretty and such a sight to see. They hang up colourful lanterns all around the shop corners, through the streets and on the bridges - fascinating! We've got pictures from these last few days which we will put up when we can. The computers here are so slow, so bare with us please!

Friday (today) we picked up our final dress and had some breakfast in a local cafe. We also sent our buyings from Hoi An back home, which cost a bit (we decided to go by Airmail as there wasnt' a huge difference in price compared to sea mail and it takes very little time compared to shipping it over) but there was no way we could fit it all in our rucksacks, and being girls didn't really want our dresses scrunched in a bag for another 3 months or so!! We are waiting for our bus now which will take us to Hanoi (North), as you can tell we LOVEEE bus journeys (haha) but this one is a killer - 500 LONG MILES so its a long 'un! Wish us luck! You have to feel for us!!!

Posted by abi_phillips 21:22 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

3rd- 5th

Nha Trang

time seems to be going so quickly! on the 3rd we arrived early in Nha trang. A lot more touristy than Ho Chi Minh and even some people on holidays! not somewhere I would have ever thought to go on holiday!

this is a photo of our room for the 2 nights we were in Nha Trang! it was so nice, probably the nicest we had stayed in so far.
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this is the beach in Nha trang, on the first day when we arrived it was nice weather! very windy beach though! but very good for watersports. Lots of people kite surfing, it was most impressive but we decided just to watch from the comfort of our sun loungers! Spent the majority of the day on the beach and then decided to go out for an early meal as we had arrived so early!

the next day (4th) we had a day out on a boat trip! the weather was rubbish much like in England! We did go swimming but once you got out it was actually cold! We visited a couple of islands, the first to visit an aquarium which was quite good! a few turtles and sharks but bit sad that then didn't have a huge area to swim in! The second to go snorkelling, which was quite fun but we saw a lot less fish that we thought we would! maybe they had all gone to find some sun, very sensible fish! the 3rd was to stop off for lunch and entertainment, the food was amazing and the entertainment was great, singing songs from different countries to make you feel less home sick! Then we had the floating bar, a new experience for both of us! sitting in a rubber ring in the suprisingly cold water drinking cocktails! yum!
There was another island that we visited but there wasnt much to do and there wasn't even any sun to sunbath so we all sat on the boat! A really nice bunch of people! When we returned we all agreed to go for a drink which was really nice! Felt very late when we went to bed as everyone had started drinking at about 5.30!! A good day had by all!

The 5th was another day spent by the beach, the weather being less good but still managed to catch the sun a bit! we did a bit of shopping to fill some time and then got ourselves ready for a long sleeper bus journey to Hoi An at 6.30! heard lots of good things about it so looking forward to it! Getting on the sleeper bus though it didn't seem like it would be the most comfortable journey! at least this one we could stretch our legs out but there wasn't a lot of room at the sides! Could be an interesting 12 hour journey trying to sleep!

Posted by Sophie_241 21:01 Comments (1)

Start of March!

Vietnam here we come!

sunny

Can't believe we have had a week here already! yesterday (1st March) we spent the whole day travelling on a bus!! bloody boring if you ask me but our visa started then so we wanted to get to vietnam! We met a couple from Holland on the bus with us which was a relief as together we were the only travellers! the bus journey was about 14 hours and wasn't too uncomfy, but there always seems to be a lot of changing buses and food stops (but i guess thats part of the adventure). they seem to be very relaxed about all the changes but it might have something to do with the fact that they probably take this route regularly as they were stocking up on Angkor Beer and cigarettes to take into vietnam! Just have to go with the flow! The border crossing was interesting and a lot nicer than the crossing into Cambodia! After we had crossed the border we had yet another stop but we had some vietnamese pork and noodles which was really nice, and as pathetic as we are we still have to get to grips with using chopsticks properly! i am determined though!

We got to Ho Chi Minh City at about 8.30 and decided that together with the couple from holland that we would search for accomodation. luckily we found out the the guy spoke fluent vietnamese, as they seems to speak a lot less english here than Thailand and Cambodia, and we soon found a place to stay with nice big rooms down an alley way. it was also nice because we had a great view of the city line from our window, which i think in other hostels you are lucky to get or have to pay extra for a window! We went out for a drink with the couple which was really nice, i think they liked the fact we were an exception to the british culture of drinking, as they said they could probably point out a Brit in a resort or on a night out! (not really that suprised).

we then spent today (2nd) walking around the city. we visited the War museum which was fascinating and definitely worth a visit especially paying about 15,000 dong which is less than $1. it housed some incredibly strong images of the war and i think we both found it really moving! some of the detail about the torture methods was horrific especially the results of using Agent Orange across vietnam, and the effect can still be seen today in deformities of children and disease! powerful stuff!

This afternoon we checked out of the hotel and have been doing some more exploring and chilling for a bit. we have a sleeper train later to Nha Trang which is next to the beach so we should have a few days chilling, i dont think either of us can wait! it is a lot of moving around but i guess we are seeing a lot more that most do in 6 1/2 weeks, when most take months! A good excuse to come back and do some more exploring though for sure!

p.s apologies for the lack of photos but it has been hard to upload them as you have to upload them one by one which is very slow! I will try to put more up but reassuring people there is no shortage of photos being taken :) some incredible sights!

Posted by Sophie_241 03:42 Archived in Vietnam Tagged travel bus cambodia vietnam war_museum Comments (0)

25th - 28th Feb

Angkor Wat, Siem reap town, Sihanoukville

We had an early start for Angkor Wat. We went by tuk tuk and arrived at the first temple at around 9:30am. It was very hot, muggy and busy! We had a good look around the first temple, which was pretty fascinating to say the least. We stopped off for some fruit shakes which are amazing here! Must make them when we get home!! The weather by midday was a good 35 degrees!! We went round 5 other temples but the novelty had soon worn off within a few hours of looking at endless stone work!! And a temple was just a temple by the end of it!!! We bought some lovely fresh fruit throughout the day - the fruit here is so tasty, especially the pineapple! Our plan was to go back to the first temple and watch the sunset at around 5:30pm, but it got to about 4:30 and after a good heart to heart sitting by the river we worked out that sunset wasn't going to even be over Angkor Wat and was setting behind some trees behind us!! Obviously we had had too much sun that day and decided to call it a day. We had some food at the hostel and had a quiet evening!

Tuesday we had a lovely lie in! First one! We checked out of the hostel, but they took our bags for the day so it meant we didn't have to lug them round which was great! We hired some bikes to cycle around the town of Siem Reap! It only cost 2USD for the day! Could never do that in England!! We had a nice relaxing morning cycling around, but had to be very careful as the Cambodians are mad drivers!! Literally ride in all directions, left, right, central - everywhere!! But that added to the fun! It was hot though and we decided to call it a day early afternoon and had a pineapple shake each to refresh us - certainly did the trick!! We had a walk around the markets - each buying some bracelets which we managed to get a good deal on! And then we headed back to get our backpacks for the bus journey that night to Sihanoukville. We went by sleeper bus - which was an experience to say the least! We had a dodgy guy by us who kept offering us beer and vodka! So was a little scared to sleep that journey! I didn't sleep much but made up for it with a lazy day the next day!

Wednesday 27th - The journey took 10 hours, arriving in Sihanoukville at 6:30am, tuk tuk picked us up and took us to a guesthouse which is 5USD per person per night - very basic but it's cheap so can't expect too much! We unpacked our bags and went out and went for a little wander around the beach. Which is about 3 min walk from the guesthouse! The weather was very overcast but muggy. We lay down on the sunbeds, got pestered by lots of ladies on the beach wanting to sell us bracelets, fruit, fish, manicures etc but managed to say no to most!! Got a few freebies off the younger kids which we are adding to our collection of bracelets!! We decided to try the fresh fish for lunch as the lonely planet guide said it was very good! After our lunch we went for a nice, chilled out walk along the beach having a good old chat, just like girls would! Came back got some watermelon and pineapple and headed back to the guesthouse to say we were a little burnt! Just a tad!! Infact Soph is tanned, I am pink!! I'm blaming the side effects from the malorone tablets but I think I just need to except I don't go a nice colour in the sun!! We went out for some cocktails in the evening on the beach (very pretty with candles and people letting fireworks off) which was very enjoyable! Cocktails here cost 2USD, back in Hereford they are 5pound+!!

Today we were sore and feeling lazy, but sensible!! So we stayed inside and planned our next few days in Vietnam, which took a little time. We didn't really do much else, chilled in our rooms watched TV and then went out for some BBQ chicken kebabs and a drink in the evening, which was very enjoyable! Again getting another bracelet from some young cambodian children!! Tomorrow we are taking the day bus to Vietnam (leaving here at 6:30am and arriving in Ho CHi Minh at around 8:30pm!!) A long journey!! That's all we seem to be doing is travelling on the road!! Anyway calling it a night, as have to get up early in the morning. Catch you all in a few days with some more details about what we have been doing!! xxxx

Posted by Sophie_241 07:01 Archived in Cambodia Comments (1)

beginning of our travels!

Thailand and into Cambodia 21st to 24th Feb


View World tour on Sophie_241's travel map.

So we arrived after a long flight. the first one was definitely more comfy, however the second flight where we wanted to sleep wasnt so roomy! typical. but we arrived safely, deciding to take the train was a very new experience and quite daunting as we werent entirely sure where we were going. After we arrived at the station we took a tuk tuk to a government tourist office which they obviously get commision! We were then left not quite knowing where we were then got another tuk tuk to Khao san Road! We had finally arrived which was a relief. It is certainly a busy place and Abi and I are agreed that we arent its biggest fan! At night it turns into more of a resort and you just see the same things every 100 meters, but i guess you kind of expect it. I think the fact that we were both running on very little sleep made it slightly harder to enjoy it and 2 days was definitely enough!, but the fruit was amazing. We went to china town the first night we were here with 3 girls we met which was really nice, although we did have a bit of trouble with the tuk tuk driver (we managed to sort it out though and reunite with the others) we then went for noodles which was amazing and only 55 baht wich is the equivilant of about 1.50 gpb. We then decided to get an early night!! we decided though to make the most of our 2nd full day in bangkok before we left for cambodia so we went on an organised trip to the floating markets and the tiget temple. It was a lot of driving but worth it. The floating markets (Kanchanaburi) we very busy as you can imagine but an amazing sight to see. we took a paddle boat around the market to get right into to center of it which was fun, then we took a long tailed speed boat around the the homes on the canal. In the afternoon we had a stop at the bridge over the river Kwai that had been bombed by us to stop the Japanese from using it to transport goods over the river. then we headed to the tiger temple where we got to take pictures with the tigers. The best part was seeing the cub playing in the water and then messing around with the staff.
The following day we got a bus to the Cambodia border which was quite an experience, Very glad we had each other otherwise we may have turned back for home! we left Bangkok at 7am and got to the border at 11.30 then once the otherside we got a bus (very hot and sweaty) to Siem Reap and then a tuk tuk to the hostel (The Backpackers Hostel) at 5.30pm. Quite a day! We plan to stay here for 2 nights and visit Angkor Wat Temple and then to travel on to Sihanouk by sleeper bus! (as there are no trains in cambodia!) then spend some time there then get an overnight bus to Ho Chi Minh City on the 1st of March! we will try to update soon but for now we are going to call it a night! Has been a long few days!!

Posted by Sophie_241 04:09 Archived in Thailand Tagged cambodia thailand bangkok Comments (3)

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