A Travellerspoint blog

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The beginning of my journeys - Hanoi, Vietnam

First stop Capital city Hanoi, Vietnam

sunny -30 °C

We arrived into Hanoi airport tired and in need of a shower after a 20 hour or so flight from Manchester to Hanoi, Vietnam. Our journey to the hotel was our first experience of the crazy roads and wild drivers. There is no order to the roads, people drive in whatever direction they wish and as fast as they like. On one of the biggest roads there was motorbikes driving up the wrong side, completely insane. Drivers beep constantly to let you know that they are there, busy, noisy and dangerous is the way to describe it. Crossing the road on foot is another thing altogether. The trick we soon learned was to walk slowly and let the thousands of motorbikes, with children, animals and baskets of food hanging off them, to move around you, because under no circumstance will they stop for you. It sounds terrible if you are reading this, but we quickly got used to it, and we became top enjoy the hussle and bussle of the city. On the second day we arrived at Hanoi backpackers, absolutely brilliant. This was more like it. Young travelers, and great location as we soon learned. 17th this was my birthday and we did it Vietnamese style. Cup cake with a candle, a nice big sing song, tasty food and beer. Next day slightly hungover. But your not allowed to be hungover in Vietnam so off we went to tour Hanoi. This is the day i realized i had been eaten alive by mosquito's, not fun and very very itchy.

Posted by jessicajhunt 28.09.2011 05:17 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Halong Bay

Vietnam

sunny -30 °C

4 hours bus journey to the bay followed by a boat trip on a Jolly Rodger Junk Boat. The trip was brilliant. Amazing scenery and landscapes, islands rising from the magical blue waters. Halong Bay means 'where the dragon descends into the sea.' The story behind these waters are that dragons came down and gauged out valleys and crevices which made this magical landscape. It was truly beautiful. Once reached the depths of the island waters we jumped off the boat into the warm ocean below. The salty water stung at my mosquito bites. Then we paired up to go kayaking which was incredible. Rowing through the mystical range of islands to finally reach a cave. The story behind this cave is that one of the dragons decided to stay and fell in love with a small fairy (not to sure how they managed that one ;)). However, the fairy decided she no longer loved the dragon and left. The tears of the dragon filled a lagoon type water fill that can be accessed through the cave. We then rowed back to the jolly Rodger as the sun went down and the heavens started to open. Lightening storms broke out just as we reached the boat, and then the party commenced. Up at 7.30am the following day, a few hours on sunbathing on the top deck and a long journey back to Hanoi city.

Posted by jessicajhunt 29.09.2011 02:09 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Sapa

The northern countryside of Vietnam

sunny -30 °C

I write this next section whilst on a supposedly 'sleeper bus'with raving music, strobe lights, and raunchy videos. All i can say is please just get me to my destination safe and sound.
Sapa: We left for Sapa in the north of vietnam on a sleeper train. The train station in Hanoi was very difficult to distinguish as a train station. The sleeper train rocked from side to side but we managed to get some sleep until we arrived in Lao Cai at 5am. We then took the bus into the mountains of Sapa. Absolutely beautiful, vasts amounts of green rich paddies and colourful hills. We started the trek into the Sapa tribal village. We were followed by the tribal women who wore baskets on their backs ready to sell their goods. However, they turned out to be extremely helpful, little woman who have hidden strengths. I would have slid all the way down the hill side if it wasnt for these women. This however did not prevent me from falling onto my knees and my legs getting absolutely covered in mud. All i could do was laugh it off and carry on. I couldn't believe that these woman do this trek on a daily basis, even some very small children too. Arrived in the hill tribe village where we spent a night with one of the hill tribe families. we ate beautiful food and drank shots of rice wine. So far the weather has been great, no thundering rains storms yet, however it did get quite chilly at night. A typical day consists of four seasons; cool spring in the morning, sunny summer in the noon time, cloudy autumn in the afternoon, and cold winter in the night time. On our second day of trekking we were given glorious sunshine. A young tribal girl named May guided us up and down the muddy hills. The scenerio was incredible. We arrived at the waterfall where we ate lunch. Lunch consisted of chilly noodle soup with a fried egg slapped on top and small children begged us to give them money. Our journey back to the train station consited of dark blind corners down a spiral winding road down the mountain. The overtaking made your heart skip a beat. When we arrived back into the capital at 5am back to the hostel for shower after our muddy trekking. We later went to watch a 'water puppet show' with dancing dragons and story telling. This now takes me back to my 'sleeper' train. wish me luck!

Posted by jessicajhunt 01.10.2011 03:34 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Central Vietnam - 9p Beer

rain -28 °C

We arrived in Hoi An safe and sound to be welcomed by the pouring down rain. Free taxi to the hotel which was nice. However,cold shower wasn't what we were hoping for. That evennng we walked around the local markets and managed to spend a few thousand Vietnamese Dong. Not to bad at this haggling business. I tried fish wrapped in banana leaf, one of the tastiest foods ive eaten yet, yummy! we woke up the next day to more rain but we didnt let this stop us seeing the sights, even though there were tropical down pours, waterproofs out. we went round the old town of Hoi An to see temples, museums and watched a traditional Vietnamese song and dance performance. This takes me to 'Cafe 43' with the fresh beer for only 3,000 dong (9p). The beer and food was delicious.....
The next stop in Vietnam takes us to the town of Hue. Lots of bars in Hue, so it would be rude not to sample at least one. Not sure how i feel about Hue beer though, definitely tasted better. In Hue we took a river cruise down the Song Huong River. beautiful scenery, a nice relaxing river boat ride down to the emporers tomb of Tu Duc. To find the tomb was a bit of a mission, however we made it in the end to see the majestic surroundings. The ride back took us to a Pagonda, a place of worship. In Hue we also went to look round the imperial city named Citadel. It's a small built type city surrounded by high walls and a moat surrounds the perimeter, in the northern bank of Hue. It was built for the emperor of the time back in the early 1800's and his family. A lot of the buildings were distroyed by the war but you can still the beauty through the remains. We then went to eat our last meal in Vietnam, followed by some soggy bananas. This now takes me to our next sleeper bus experience to Loas. 24 hours. We have already had a wheel change, a few u turns and my seat is next to the stinking toilet. Onward and upwards.....

Posted by jessicajhunt 01.10.2011 03:42 Archived in Vietnam Comments (1)

Laos

Vientiane

sunny 30 °C

We arrived at the Laos boarder around 7am. Met up with a few people on other buses who said they had cockroaches on their sleeper bus crawling everywhere. One guy said he was just quietly watching a film when he saw at the corner of his eye a cockroach crawling across his chest…… yuk yuk yuk! Once we walked for 20 minutes or so across the border and got our nice pretty visa stuck into our passports, back onto the bus it was for a further 6 hours.
We arrived in Vientiane, the capital of Laos later that day. It was a nice town but we were told there wasn’t a great deal amount to do here. We stayed in a night little guesthouse on the riverfront. That night we went walking down the river front which was beautifully lit up with colorful lights and lanterns. They had arcade type games on the side of the road, we played the game where you had to pop balloons with darts. These games stretched across the entire pier. It had a nice fun, friendly feel to it. We ate some delicious food consisting of papaya salad (spicy salad with chilies), yellow curry and some BBQ food yummy! That night we bumped into some people we had met on the bus over to Laos and drank Bia Lao at a local bar ,with a Laos guy singing Oasis, classic! He was actually really good! The next day we jumped onto the next bus up to Vang Vieng in Laos.

Posted by jessicajhunt 11.10.2011 20:23 Archived in Laos Comments (0)

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