Goodbye Vietnam, hello lovely Thai islands!


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Asia » Thailand » South-West Thailand » Ko Pha-Ngan
December 17th 2012
Published: December 17th 2012
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We haven’t blogged for a couple of weeks, so this one’s a bit of a hodge-podge of places.

Hue

Our (major) final stop in Vietnam was in the historical city of Hue, which was the imperial seat of power from 1802 to 1945, until Ho Chi Minh’s forces took a stroll into town. Hue sits on the banks of the Perfume River (perfumed by what exactly??) and has quite a few sites to see. We spent a few hours looking around the old city (a.k.a the Citidel) and took a tour out to the tombs & pagoda. All were pretty interesting, but we’ve seen better in other places in Asia. Worth a visit though.

We stayed at the fabulous Jade guesthouse – the staff here are probably the most customer-focussed we’ve ever experienced. Nothing is too much trouble. Every time we came back they were waiting with cold towels, juice and fruit. All for free. Awesome spot peeps.

The backpacker area has plenty of decent restaurants and bars, so it was a good place to spend a few days. Lou got (slightly) sexually harassed by a very drunk Kiwi lady at the DMZ bar. It was amusing. Due to Lou’s accident, and the 10 days we ‘lost’ in Mui Ne, we were running short on time regarding our visa. We didn’t fancy another 13 hour sleeper bus, so we flew to Hanoi and departed the next day. I’m a little disappointed we couldn’t explore the north, but not a lot we could do about it.

Thoughts on Vietnam

As I’ve mentioned before, we didn’t visit Vietnam on our last trip – mainly due to the negative feedback from other travellers. Vietnam can be a tough place to travel – infamous for scams and unfriendly locals. Just goes to show you shouldn’t listen to other people. We didn’t get scammed once, and we found Vietnamese people a delight and travelling easy. Saying this, we didn’t spend much time in the north, which has the worst reputation.

Accommodation standards in Vietnam are the best in Asia, in my opinion. You get much more for your money – if you do your homework. We got chatting to some English backpackers on our first night and they warned us how expensive Vietnam was – much more than Thailand they said. What a bunch of horse-shit! It’s the cheapest place we’ve been. The only cheaper place in Asia, in our opinion, is Cambodia. We spent no more than £35 a day between us (our budget in Thailand is £50), and that included nice air-con rooms and plenty of beers and (more expensive) western food. It could be done on a much tighter budget.

Vietnam doesn’t have Thailand’s beaches, or impressive historical sites like Angkor Wat, but it’s a fun place to travel. We enjoyed it.

Back to Thailand

Back to Bangkok. First stop was the hospital to check on Lou’s arms. They took more x-rays and said her elbows had healed well. Then Lou went for some intensive physiotherapy which worked wonders. Lou now does exercises daily and she can almost straighten her arms fully. Result!

We met up with Greg & Clare again for beers and food. They both seem to be settling in well, which is cool. The main reason for going back to BKK was to get the sleeper train down to Surat Thani, then the boat over to Koh Samui for the start of a few weeks of island time. The train was really comfy, but pretty noisy. I got no more than 3 hours sleep, Lou no more than 8! Good fun though. We stopped on Samui for a few days, it was nice to get some sunshine – then the rain came! It was a heavy full-on thunderstorm. We had water coming through the wall. Not what we’d hoped for at all. Still, the good thing about Samui is you can order in a pizza. It was so good.

We’re now over on Koh Phangan, at a lovely little place called Phangan Rainbow, which is in Bankai on the south coast. Just a handful of (nice) huts, a restaurant and a lovely stretch of sand. The weather has been delicious. This is what the Thai islands are all about. We’ve booked a few places, on different parts of the island (including over Xmas), to last the next couple of weeks. Should be fun – as long as the weather holds.

After this we’ll be back to BKK to get our flight to Sri Lanka. We’re pretty excited about this, as it will (hopefully) be very different to the places we’ve been before. Sri Lanka will be the last stop on this trip. We changed our flights to return to the UK on Feb 1st. We originally planned to stay out until March, but we promised ourselves we would come home earlier if it felt we might be just killing time. It think it’s the right call – 4+ months will be plenty. Then it’s back the working world, which will be the next challenge.


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