Nicky Underwood


Nicky Underwood

Asia » Vietnam » North Central Coast » Thua Thien - Huế » Hué March 22nd 2011

Welcome to my nightmares. This particular nightmare takes place on the night train from Ha Noi to Hue. I get to the train station in Ha Noi an hour before the train is due. A train pulls in just as I arrive. But where is it going? I can't quite figure it out so I just give my ticket to the conductor and he lets me on. Must be right then. My ticket has number 22 on it (my birthday number and also today's date!) but the rooms are numbered from one to six. Eventually I work out that it's actually my bed number that's 22 and I have to look into the rooms (as the room number is not printed on the ticket) to find out exactly where bed 22 is hiding. I open the ... read more

Asia » Vietnam » Northeast » Quang Ninh » Halong Bay March 19th 2011

When I stepped out of the airport in Ha Noi, it was cold. So cold in fact that for the first time in a long time, I was able to see my breath. Apparently, it had been like this for a while (it knew I was coming) and the severe rain had been cancelling many trips to Ha Long Bay. The day that I had booked however, was the first sunny day in five days (when does that ever happen?) so it was going to be busy. My bus was so packed that they had to use these little makeshift chairs for a few poor Japanese tourists who were unfortunately the last ones on the bus. Within about ten minutes, I was of course, asleep but managed to wake myself up for the break at a ... read more

Asia » Vietnam » Red River Delta » Hanoi March 18th 2011

Some tips I picked up... Firstly, watch out and be alert everywhere. Nowhere is off limits and in addition to pavements and pedestrian crossings, I found myself face to face with a scooter in an open shop entrance. If you stumble across a pedestrian or 'walking' street, be aware that it's not just for pedestrians and scooters are also allowed to race down these often narrow streets including the street that houses the night market. So if you visit the market, whilst looking at the all the pretty things on sale, also look at the pavement around you, it will most likely have a scooter trying to make its way through the hoards of people. One way streets are only one way for cars. Scooters may go whichever way they please. When you're walking on any ... read more

Asia » Vietnam March 18th 2011

You either love it or you hate it. And unfortunately for me, I'm going with the latter. I know that it's difficult and a little unfair to judge a place in such a small amount of time but almost the entire time was there, I didn't want to be. Vietnam is LOUD! The traffic, the people, the kids, the music. If you like constant noise and people shouting directly in your ear or taking the night train whilst the two women in the bunks below you scream at each other from less than a metre apart whilst you're trying to sleep, then you might like it. The people like to ask questions. Which I don't mind. Although they are the same questions and you feel like you are on repeat. It goes like this: 'Where are ... read more
...the Bad...
...and the Ugly.

Asia » Thailand » North-West Thailand » Sukhothai March 16th 2011

What a bizarre little city this is. I can't make my mind up how I feel about the place. It was the first capital city of Thailand and not too many tourist/travellers make a stop here. Although at least for the experience (if not the incredible ruins), they should. Last night, I took a walk into the old city and it became obvious just how few people actually do stop in Sukhothai. Everyone and I mean everyone was staring at me. Kind of like how I would expect people to look at aliens like the District 9 type walking down Oxford street in London (actually, would anyone even bother turning their heads?)People were laughing and pointing and one boy found me so amusing that he ran in to grab his mum so that they could both ... read more
Rain Rain Go Away
Delicate Hands

Asia » Thailand » North-West Thailand » Chiang Mai March 13th 2011

I realise that I haven't been in Asia very long but this has already been one of my favourite days (and I say that typing this up a couple of weeks on). I was collected from my guesthouse at the reasonable time of 9.30am and driven to a local market to learn about local ingredients and just have a general browse around. There were lots of foods that I've never laid eyes on before so it was quite an experience, and a colourful one at that! After the market, it was time to go to Siam Rice Thai Cookery School and learn how to cook - Thai style! We took our places at the table and chose from a menu, one type of each of the following: soup, appetizer, vegetable dish, salad, curry paste, curry and ... read more
Photos never do food justice
Cooking the curry
My favourite!

Asia » Thailand » North-West Thailand » Chiang Mai March 12th 2011

I have arrived! And due to a sore throat that I'd caught from a dorm full of coughing Norwegians in Oz that had manifested into a throat infection that made me vomit every 30 seconds, I had spent my first two days in bed. The poor pharmacist didn't know what to do with me when I turned up telling her that I'm allergic to almost all antibiotics but she somehow managed to find one that she didn't think I was allergic to and thankfully, I wasn't! So after those two days in bed, I was feeling pretty healthy and rested and decided to go on an easy-going one day trek. Which didn't actually include too much trekking but that was fine with me, didn't want to push it after being ill. The first stop on the ... read more
Waterfall in the Rain

Oceania » Australia » New South Wales » Byron Bay March 4th 2011

You may have noticed that I'm not in New Zealand as I'm supposed to be. Unfortunately, due to yet another earthquake on my journey, I was unable to go. I was offered a reroute to Auckland (I was originally going to Christchurch, two days after the earthquake) but my schedule was so tight in NZ that there wasn't really a way that I could do it. I'm still itching to get there and hopefully one day in the not too distant future, I will. So instead, I made my way up to one of my favourite places in Australia, beautiful Byron Bay. The perfect place for relaxing during the day and partying once the Sun has gone down (and once it's come back up again.) After a few days of doing pretty much nothing, I decided ... read more

Oceania » Australia » South Australia » Kangaroo Island February 6th 2011

Somehow, I managed to wake up an hour before everyone else so I was showered and ready to go before anyone else stirred so I went for a walk. Where did the kangaroos go? To wherever it is they go to sleep during the day I guess. I returned to find Dave making banana pancakes - seriously, amazing! So after filling up on breakfast it was almost time to leave but first it was washing up time so I took off my ring and placed it on the side and myself and little Swedish Emma washed up. Must remember to put that back on. Today we were scheduled to take a little four km hike to the beach. Unfortunately however, when we stopped and hopped out of the bus, I walked around to retrieve my sunscreen ... read more

Oceania » Australia » South Australia » Kangaroo Island February 5th 2011

Picked up nice and early at 6.05am (after buying my water from a guy who was convinced that I'm German) and we made our way to the ferry via a bakery in a random Australian Village. Pretty soon, we had set foot on Kangaroo Island and my first thought was 'wow, it's cold.' Not cold like at home but still pretty chilly for Oz! We drove a little way and began our day with a hike up Prospect Hill. Just 500 steps up and you could pretty much see Kangaroo Island in its entirety with mainland Australia just about visible in the background. Driving along, we stopped to visit a couple of those pristine beaches that Kangaroo Island is famous for and then, just as the rain set in, we arrived at Seal Bay. Thankfully, Dave, ... read more
Vivonne Bay Jetty

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