Geoff Callender


Geoff Callender

I'm overseas exploring the world for the first time..

Asia » Vietnam » Northwest » Hoa Binh January 19th 2020

We arrive from the overnight train journey about 930am. My first opinion of Hanoi is that despite being large city, full of Vietnamese people who drive like psychos, it's still a lot more chill and quiet than Saigon (Ho Chi Minh). We check into our hotel, my room's on level 8 - the elevator only goes to level 7.. AGAIN. I'm not quite sure how they designed these hotels, but what a fucking ball ache. We do some sight seeing to see: Long Bein Bridge, The Literature Museum, One pillar pogada, outside of the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, his house and then the biggest waste of time ever - the crashed B52 Plane. It looks like someone had a fight with a can opener. It was an epic walk through a narrow alleyway full of shops ... read more

Asia » Vietnam » North Central Coast » Thua Thien - Huế January 16th 2020

Hue's only a measly 3hr drive from Hoi An, so it's ideal for you when you're heavily hung over! The city feels a lot nicer than some of the bigger places we've been in Vietnam and less touristy than Hoi An. There's still enough going on, still plenty of tourists, but it's not over crowded. I've signed up for the Motorbike tour of the city, so myself and two others from the group jump on the back of two older Vietnamese guys bikes. Prior to signing up for this, we had to sign a disclosure confirming we were happy with high speeds, heights etc - so I'm not really sure what to expect. As it turns out, the whole trip, their speed was very civilized, I think mostly in part because we had a girl from ... read more

Asia » Vietnam » South Central Coast » Quảng Nam » Hoi An January 14th 2020

We arrive in Hoi An after a gruelling 16hrs on an overnight train. This doesn't sound so bad in theory, 8hrs or so of that you're sleeping, then it's only an 8hr journey. The truth is, you're confined to an incredibly small bunk bed room with 3 other people and there's no where else you can hang out on the train, it starts to feel a bit like prison. We arrive into Hoi An about 3pm, go for a swim in the pool and then wonder around town. Hoi An's known as the Lantern City - there's lanterns scattered across all the streets and it's truly a lovely place to wonder around. Add to that, there's a heavy French influence (probably from the war), so the architecture looks very Riviera looking. Lots of old yellow building's ... read more

Asia » Vietnam » Mekong River Delta January 11th 2020

First day with the new group - 8:30am start and only 2hrs travel time! That's better than our current alert shortest trip of 4 hrs and considerably less than the two 11hr trips we've done. We get to the Mekong Delta, expecting a nice clean river and see the opposite. There's rubbish close to shore, floating along the river and the water looks filthy. We pick up our local guide Kai - who's s bit flamboyant, struggles with English and rolls his eyes into the back of his head like The Undertaker whenever he speaks. We get in our boat and head off to one of the Islands. The first place we stop is just a shit tourist gimmick. We try some local fruit, all of which are disgusting except for the Jack Fruit, they have ... read more

Asia » Vietnam » Southeast » Ho Chi Minh City » Cu Chi January 9th 2020

Our trip to Vietnam starts with an 11hr Drive & border crossing. On the way there, I'm reminded of how utterly crazy some of the wild wild west driving you see in Cambodia. There's a motorbike and small trailer pulling some Air Con units. Instead of tying them down, some lad just sits on top of the boxes to stop them from falling off. You can't make this shit up. We get a public bus with another younger Intrepid group. The guy who's organising the crossing asks us to handover our passports, visa and $1 each. It seems a bit odd, like all the people on the bus do the same, but hey, if it makes our crossing faster, who cares. We pass through the Cambodian border check fairly quickly, get off the bus and walk ... read more

Asia » Cambodia » South » Phnom Penh January 7th 2020

We head off in the morning for Phnom Penh - another 4-5hr drive. I've calculated that by the time we reach Ho Chi Min (Saigon), we will have been driving for 28hrs all up, just on this leg of the trip. That's not including time getting to the hotel or specific locations etc. When we're on our way to Phnom Penh, going along a main road, we're constantly hitting pot holes, some of the road isn't even tarmac, it's literally dirt. We're flying around the van and falling off our seats. Vanny explains that a lot of the roads aren't built by Cambodians, they're actually built by other countries. The Chinese & Korean roads are really cheap, they need to be totally redone every few years. The American, Japanese, French roads are much thicker and don't ... read more

Asia » Cambodia » South » Kampot January 6th 2020

We spent the first half of the day Chasin' Waterfalls (Songs in your head innit?), then commenced on the 4-5hr drive to Kampot. Shortly before we get into town, Vanny announces that there's been an issue with our hotel. Another url= in town (7 stories high) collapsed, killing 36 people and injuring 26. Some the the police/rescuers/investigators ended up taking the rooms allocated for us, so our hotel moved us to another hotel instead. Given the tragedy that had occurred, the reasoning seemed ok. Vanny assured us it was a new hotel, so it didn't seem all bad. Boy were we wrong. We get into the hotel, it definitely doesn't look new, but hey, maybe he just meant new in ownership and it was just a misinterpretation of English. Get up to my room, open the ... read more

Asia » Cambodia » South January 3rd 2020

This was always one of the highlights of my trip - seeing local communities and their everyday lives. While in Kampong Cham - my vegan options were incredibly limited. I found a place on Happy Cow and spent most of the morning trying to find it. By the time I got there, the place either didn't exist, the map location was wrong or it was closed. Given there were only two places in the city that offered Vege/Vegan options, this was a tad stressful. I googled "Vegetarian Restaurant" and a bunch of places came up, but none of them looked Vege from their menu's. Found a place when walking back, gave them my "I'm one of those VEGANS" bit of paper and they told me they could do fried noodles with vege's. I asked them to ... read more

Asia » Cambodia » East » Kampong Cham January 2nd 2020

650am start for us today. Your average person would hate the early start, me however, I'm loving it. We're actually getting shit done and seeing things. Because nothing's open that early in the morning, I stocked up on snacks. Oreos, chips and cashew nuts for breakfast. Yeah, not great. We're taking a public bus to Kampong Cham. My expectations of things on this trip have been grossly incorrect for the majority of it. I was expecting some shit heap bus like I've seen throughout Cambodia and Thailand, but instead, we get a very reasonable bus with air conditioning. We made several stops picking up locals and dropping them at their small towns along the way. Depending on the ticket the local bought, they either sat in seats or on stools along the aisle until the bus ... read more

Asia » Cambodia » North » Siem Reap December 31st 2019

I'm gunna combine three days into one (30th - 1st) as the first day consisted of 11hrs Travel, the third was just -just relaxing - so generating an entry on its own to say "The wheels on the van go round and round" isn't exactly the most riveting. Not that i'm suggesting for a second these blogs are, but YOLO. 6am Start. we break off into two mini vans (why they didn't arrange a 13 seater is beyond me but hey). Our first free Intrepid meal - is just from the hotel we're staying at and consists of a Sandwhich with something I can't eat, two childrens juices (which, incidentally were delicious) and a dogshit coleslaw. Yeah - was going to to be a long hungry drive. Thankfully, I had a suspicion there'd be nothing to ... read more

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