A Travellerspoint blog

Dalat

'Gay Day'

overcast 20 °C
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Wow so glad i got to write about Dalat...mainly because it will be a short piece, but also because it included the GAYEST day of my life, but more about that later. Our first day there we decided to explore the many delights of Dalat and stumbled across a Hotel which is based, im guessing, on Alice in Wonderland. 'Crazy House' as its called has 10 rooms all themed on Animals with some pretty crazy architecture.P1010416.jpg It was quite interesting, but we passed on the opportunity to stay there for a night, agreeing that $20 was a bit steep for a room with a Lion whos eyes glowed red in the dark. Anna would not have enjoyed waking up and seeing that. We had also heard that the Architecture's friend had decided to follow suite and build a cafe on a similar style. So we headed into town to find Cafe 100 (i think it was because it had 100 ceilings). We had some very nice ice cream, which its also famous for, and then headed back to our room. Now our room in Dalat was probably one of the highlights. It was massive and had 2 King size beds and a very powerful hot shower. It was a nice bit of luxury, especially because Dalat gets very cold in the evenings. Anna actually bought herself a Hat/Scarf combination thing. She wanted to match the locals who spent all day in thick jackets and hats. During the day we didn't think it was that cold, we walked around in shorts and t-shirts, so must have looked as funny to them as they did to us.
The following day was GAY day. Now Dalat is basically where Vietnamese couples go for their Honeymoon, and has a massive lake at the bottom of town. Anna had decided that we should head down and have a go on the Pedalos. Now these weren't ordinary Pedalos, nope, they were Swan Pedalos that cheesy couples go on whilst celebrating their honeymoon.P1010477.jpg So yep we decided to have a go, and got bored after about 10 minutes of our 30 minutes we paid for so headed to shore. There we came across Tandem bikes, in Pink (must be a theme for our travels).P1010484.jpg We hired one and headed off around the lake, both hoping we didn't run into anyone we knew. We almost made it to the end, when who should happen to arrive and spot us. Yep Jeremy and Victoria. All very funny.

After the excitement of the day, we decided to head on to the warmer weather of Nha Trang, but on our sleeper bus and not with the annoyingly persistant 'Easy Riders' who said we should throw away our bus ticket and pay them $70 a day, each, to ride on the back of a bike. Er no thanks for the 20th time.

Posted by palmer830 10:15 Archived in Vietnam Tagged gay_travel Comments (0)

Ho Chi Minh City

or Saigon as the locals call it

sunny 28 °C
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Ho Chi Minh or Saigon as us and the locals like to call it was a massively pleasant surprise after Phnom Poo. The city had a great feel to it, partly to do with the fact it was New Years and partly to do with the old lady who owned our guesthouse who liked to cop a feel of Adams behind. So on this high note we decided to take it down a notch and check out the war museum. Had some pretty impressive tanks and US Army helicoptors, but after a couple of hours of research it turned out that America had pretty much destroyed Vietnam during the war and the poisons they had laid everywhere were still affecting people years later. So we developed a bit of an anti-american stance after that.P1010260.jpg

The next day was New Years Eve so we decided to head to the waterpark for a bit of fun and games. We went with two guys, Sam and Dan from Manchester who we had originally met in Laos. The waterpark was good fun with some pretty impressive slides, only problem was Adam managed to injure a different part of his body after every slide. In the evening the four of us met up with Jeremy, Victoria and their friend Gordon for a slap up meal. It soon became clear that the three of them had no intention of 'seeing' the new year in, they intended to be paraletic for it and we foolishly tried to keep up.P1010308.jpgP1010326.jpg We downed fishbowls and then headed onto the crowded streets for the countdown. P1010334.jpgIt was great fun with people spraying foam everywhere and shouting 'chuc mung nam moi' (happy new year)! Unfortunately some asshole decided new years eve was the perfect time for a mugging and poor Dan got his Iphone and money stolen at the stroke of midnight. He went back to his hotel to sort out blocking his phone and didn't want to come out but we went and found him and made him come out with us to cheer him up. We sneaked into a bar that was originally charging £10 to get in for free and I danced the night away with some sweaty local guy who Adam was trying to palm me off on. New Years Day was a wash out, we didn't really manage to do anything till the evening when we met up with Sam and Dan for dinner.

After a wasted New Years Day we decided to do something a bit cultural the following day and went to the cu chi tunnels. We got a demonstration of all the horrendous weapons they'd managed to construct out of U.S bomb shrapnel and then got a tour of the tunnels where the Vietnamese hid and consequently managed to win the war. Adam absolutely loved it and bizarrely decided that firefighting was the career for him. P1010387.jpgI on the other hand merely reconfirmed my former claustrophobic tendencies. P1010385.jpgOn the way back we were forced to stop off at the politically challenged 'handicap village' where we were encouraged to buy local products made by people who had lost limbs during the war. This place however was more like B&Q with a huge warehouse to wander around and the people making the handicrafts looked distinctly limbfull, so we decided to keep our money to ourselves. When we got back we booked our open tour sleeper bus all the way to Hanoi in the north with stops on the way, the first being Dalat.

Posted by palmer830 10:02 Archived in Vietnam Tagged armchair_travel Comments (0)

Sihanoukville

A touch of luxury for Crimbo

sunny 30 °C
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After getting off the bus as quick as possible to try and shake off Gill, we jumped on the back of 2 moto's and headed to Serendipity Beach to look for Accomodation. After finding a room for $6/£3.75 for both of us we headed straight for the beach. Sihanoukville had to be our fav place so far. Gorgeous beaches, lots of atmosphere, good food, a cinema (!) and roads you didnt have to risk your life to cross. We spent the first few days chilling by the beach, trying to top up our tans. We then decided to do a little exploring and hired a motorbike. Well i gave this a go and within seconds almost drove into a lorry. To my defence i had never driven one before, so we thought it best we get a Scooter. Unfortunately the only one they had left was a pink one. This mixed with a Bike Helmet which had Pinkie on the side, gave my masculinity a beating. P1010094.jpgWe headed up to Victory beach which was the old back packing area (wasn't that great) and then decided to try to find Otres Beach. We had heard good things and it didn't let us down. After spending a while trying to find it (you had to go along some dirt track and down a massive hill) we soon discovered that if you go past all the bars you could find your own secluded beach with white sand and clear blue water. We were only joined by a massive flock of cows. Anna being Anna got scared and wanted to leave incase we got attacked by the killer cows.

The next day we booked ourselves onto a boat tour of the surrounding islands, which included Snorkelling and spending the afternoon on a tropical island Called 'Bamboo'.P1010181.jpg It was a fun day, with one of the highlights being Anna swimming around in a lifejacket with her Snorkling gear on. She has deleted all evidence except for this beautyP1010198.jpg. We also got a nice BBQ fish and rice for lunch before heading back for more snorkelling and then home. Was well worth doing and we got to see a glimpse of what Thailand has instore for us.

So Christmas was fast approaching and we had decided to splash the cash and stay on a RESORT as a Christmas present to each other. This place was awesome. We had a nice big poolside room with breakfast included, a nice bit of luxury for a few days.P1010211.jpg However as soon as we had checked in and went to get lunch we ran into crazy Gill. She asked to join us and we couldn't say no, so off we went for what seemed like the longest lunch ever. All i wanted to do was go back and chill out in my resort, but instead we had to put up with listening to her complain about 'Incidents' that had happened to her here in Sihanoukville. She also found us for dinner that night too, nightmare. Christmas was very nice and we had a massive Christmas dinner (£13 each, ouch to the budget) which came on 2 plates.P1010246.jpg One for the meat and the other for the Veg. We spent the rest of the day on Skype to the family, which was nice to catch up with everyone. On boxing day we had to head back to Phnom Penh for a few days to get our Vietnamese visas. We were sad to leave Sihanoukville, especially to head back to Phnom Penh, but we thought we should give it another go. On second assesment, well it was the same as when we were first there, except for one thing, no Gill. Oh and if 'Pisshead' reads this, sorry we forgot to pay you $1. After a few days here (mainly because Anna had not worked out that we would be getting there on the weekend and thus the Visa office is closed) we headed to Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh city.

Posted by palmer830 21:08 Archived in Cambodia Tagged luxury_travel Comments (0)

Phnom Penh

Killing fields, S21 Museum and Pisshead

sunny 30 °C
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We turned up in Phnom Penh on the arrangement that we would use a tuk tuk driver that had been recommended to us by our hotel owner. Little did we know that involved turning up in Phnom Penh with a guy holding up a sign saying 'welcome anna and adam'. We felt famous! Because Cambodia gives you a bit of a loathing for tuk tuk drivers we kept our heads down at first. However Piseth (or Pisshead as we affectionately called him) soon found a place in our hearts and our wallets. We stayed on the 'lakeside' which was a bit of an overstatement seeing as they're slowly draining the lake to develop on it so by the time we turned up it was more poolside than lakeside. However some old stoned French guy said it was the best view in Asia so dont just go on our opinion...
The first day we decided to hit the killing fields and the museum in one go, to kind of get it all over and done with cos we knew it was gonna be horrendous.P1010036.jpg It was more horrific than we could of imagined and we were left speechless by the end of the day, however it was well worth going to understand how much the Cambodians have been through just in the last 30 years, so we have a great respect for them. After a heavy day we chilled out in the restaurant of our hotel, but we soon caught the eye of a crazy (not in a fun way) American woman going by the name of Gill. She was a bit deluded and claimed all the local men wanted a piece of her...we begged to differ. Not much more to say on Phnom Penh, wasn't one of our favourite destinations, felt like the tourist sights there were all based on the dark side of what's happened in Cambodia which is a shame as I'm sure it has a lot more to offer. The next morning we were off to Sihanoukville and who should be on our bus but Gill. Apparently she had to make a quick exit out of town after an 'incident' with her tuk tuk driver. Anyhoo we were really looking forward to hitting the beaches for Christmas!

Posted by palmer830 21:04 Archived in Cambodia Tagged educational Comments (2)

Siem reap

Angkor Wat

sunny 28 °C
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The journey from Don Det to Siem Reap was an adventure in itself! We were driving along, I was having a nice little nap when we heard a REALLY loud bang. I thought something had crashed through the roof but soon discovered a tyre had exploded. The driver and a couple of his friends spent an hour attempting to put the spare on. We got the impression they didn't really know what they were doing...Sure enough 5 minutes after driving off it started to get really bumpy so they had to spend another half hour or so putting the tyre on properly. We didn't get to Siem Reap till around 1.30 in the morning.Not a very nice time to turn up in a town for the first time. The bus drops you off in the middle of nowhere so you're forced to pay for a tuk tuk to take you to a guesthouse. We'd met a nice couple on the bus called Jeremy and Victoria so we all decided to stick together. We got to a guesthouse so knackered that we would of slept anywhere. It was actually ok tho other than a highly irritating dog barking all night long! We spent the first day chilling out to recover from the journey and planned to go to the temples the next day. We decided that we were gonna go early to Angkor Wat to catch the sunrise. This unfortunately mean't we had to get up at 4:30, get a tuk tuk for 30 mins and wait around looking at a dark building in the distance for the sun to come up. As you can see it was all worth it for the gorgeous views.P1000851.jpg Angkor Wat really is a wonderful place, its abolutely huge, with around 1 million people living here when in its prime.P1000896.jpg Once we had explored Angkor Wat we headed to 2 other temples, Bayon and Ta prohm. Bayon is famous for its many faces built into the walls and Ta Prohm looks like it would be at home in an Indyana Jones movie. Both were cool and very different from Angkor Wat. Having got up so early we were all tired and templed out by about 10am so headed back to the city where we chilled out by Aqua poolP1010025.jpg. In the evening we headed to mini Khao San Road downtown. Here we found the best steak in Asia. Absolutely gorgeous and we are yet to find a better one. You may think we should be sticking to Asian food, and we are for the most part, but sometimes you have to have some home comforts. The next day we headed out to Phnom Penh.

Posted by palmer830 21:00 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

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