A Travellerspoint blog

January 2010

Nha Trang

....and the broken camera

sunny 28 °C
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We decided to go to Nha Trang as opposed to Mui Ne cos we'd heard it was cheaper...and that was pretty much our only reason. We met up with Jenny and Steve in the evening who we'd travelled around Laos with, it was really good to see them again and felt like we were meeting up with old friends! The first day we spent deciding exactly what to do with ourselves and, in the true indecisive style we'd picked up since travelling we spent so long deciding what to do we ended up doing not much! Well we checked out the beach but that was pretty much it. The beach was ok but nothing in comparison to Cambodia and Thai beaches. The waves however were absolutely lethal, as soon as you stood up you were literally swept off your feet.
The next day we decided to go over to an island called 'VinPearl', sold as a poor mans Disney. It had vinpearl spelt out on the hill, Hollywood style, the ultimate in tack. P1010523.jpgI loved it. We went to the waterpark which was brilliant. First stop was a bit of toboggan racing for the 6 of us.P1010530.jpg Turned out the boys were ridiculously competitive and there was a fair bit of cheating going on (I'm only sure of this because I came last every time).The park also had a ride called 'Tsunami' (still a bit too recent I thought), where you slid up and down a huge wave. P1010527.jpgWe spent pretty much all day at the waterpark then decided to check out the rest of vinpearl. We found an amazing arcade with two floors of games that were all free! P1010579.jpgI found a great game under the 'erotic' section where you had to 'spot the difference' between two hunks (This is Anna writing). After a pretty exhausting day we went back to the mainland and chilled out in 'why not?' eating cheeseburgers :-)
We spent the next couple of days chilling out on the beach and preparing for Adam's birthday. I spent an hour getting lost around Nha Trang looking for a few presents for Adam to open on his birthday, managed to find a birthday card and some wrapping paper too, was a bit of a mission! On his actual birthday we went to a local mud bath and hot springs centre. Jenny and Steve had told us it was a leisurely 20minute bike ride but we got lost and by the time we got there we were exhausted! We slipped into a mud bath and thought we had it to ourselves until two guys 'Matty and Steve' turned up and joined us. I made things instantly awkward by saying 'I hope none of us have a skin disorder'. We baked in the sun for a bit to dry out the mud then went into a lovely hot bath to soak...where Matty and Steve swiftly joined us. Afterwards we went to check out the swimming pool which was a sizzling 38 degrees.P1010621.jpg In the evening we went to a restaurant we'd been to a couple of times before which a lovely guy owned who gave us free wine for Adam's birthday.P1010629.jpg We ended the evening going for a waffle and ice cream which is where the evening took a turn for the worse. Some German bastard whose name I didn't catch so I'll call him Arsehole offered to take our photo. As I went to hand the camera over to him I almost dropped the ice cream out of my hand so in a quick but fatal move i decided to rescue the ice cream...dropping our beloved camera in the meantime. The look on Adams face was as if I'd dropped a newborn baby, he was literally speechless. Unfortunately the screen is pretty much screwed but luckily its covered on our insurance so once we get to Hanoi we're getting it fixed pronto, in the meantime apologies for our shitty photos. Next stop Hoi An! On a side note we had to make sure we left Nha Trang with 4 passports due to Jeremy and Victoria deciding that they didn't need them anymore. So we agreed, for a price of course, that we would meet them in Hoi An for the exchange.

Posted by palmer830 10:22 Archived in Vietnam Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

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)

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