Page 7 of Sophie and Dale Travel Blog Posts

Asia » Vietnam » Northeast » Quang Ninh » Halong Bay April 12th 2009

As we'd said we decided to go for the middle ground with our trip to Halong Bay, although we are backpackers we were getting a bit fed up of going on budget trips and having a rubbish time so we thought we'd see what the alternative was. We would have done it on our own but although it's very easy to arrange a day trip on a junk round the bay, we wanted to spend a night on the water and it's more difficult to do this so we were stuck with the tour group option. We didn't get off to a good start when we were picked up 3/4 hour late from our hotel. We don't mind being picked up late but we'd got up a bit too late for our 7.45am pickup and had ... read more
View from our bedroom
Dining Room
Our Bedroom

Asia » Vietnam » Red River Delta » Hanoi April 11th 2009

Another easy journey from Ninh Binh to Hanoi and by catching the local bus for the 2 hour journey we actually landed where we had thought we would and as it was a bus station we got a public bus to the Old Quarter where we'd planned to spend our time here.. along with every other Western person here! We immediately fell in love with this city, our hostel was found down a back alley with the front facing a house which sold meat from their doorstep. The Old Quarter really is a maze of little alleys and streets and you definately need a map to get around otherwise you'd be wandering round for days. Thankfully we took both a map and business card of our guesthouse in the event we did get lost. You'll be ... read more
Sophie and pretty flowers in the street
Guard outside Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
Temple in the Old Quarter

Asia » Vietnam » Red River Delta » Ninh Binh April 9th 2009

At last we'd reached the North of Vietnam where we'd been desperate to get to since arriving in Vietnam after hearing so many good reports on how beautiful it was. Not that we hadn't had a good time in the South as we'd loved the Mekong Delta but we really had looked forward to getting here after making a flying visit to too many places on the way. Our first stop in the North area was a town called Ninh Binh which is thankfully nothing like the hellhole of Ninbin in Australia! Ninh Binh has a lot going for it but is not yet on the main tourist trail through Vietnam and for that we are eternally thankful as we'd had enough of being stuck on that for the last few weeks. We got another sleeper ... read more
Tam Coc
Femable Gibbon
Paddy Field worker

Asia » Vietnam » South Central Coast » Quảng Nam » Hoi An April 5th 2009

Our first proper sleeper bus experience was an interesting one. We were quite excited about the prospect of getting proper beds on a bus and getting some sleep but they were really more like seats with no down leg bits. These really weren' t designed for men who are over 6' tall like Dale but because he'd been quite ill in the day he managed to get more sleep than Sophie which made a change. Both of us were kept awake for some of the night though by a Vietnamese man who obviously didn't suit swaying bus journeys and was sick for pretty much the whole night.. and we mean very very sick! It didn't make for very nice background music! We got to Hoi An at 6am and found a nice hotel just outside the ... read more
Thien Mu Pagoda
Conical Hats
Lit up lanterns

Asia » Vietnam » Central Highlands » Lam Dong » Da Lat March 31st 2009

We made our way to Dalat on the open tour bus, this is basically an open ticket that stops at all the main towns on the way from Saigon to Hanoi. We had only booked it on the way up to Hue though because we wanted the freedom to visit the smaller towns there which are not included on the open tour bus but for our journey up to Hue it suited us perfectly and is pretty cheap too. We arrived in Dalat at around 3pm and found a good guesthouse opposite the tour agency office where our bus dropped us off. The difference in the weather here compared to Saigon is dramatic. This is because Dalat sits at 1000m above sea level so is much cooler and cloudier than the lowlands we'd been used to, ... read more
Lady tending the plants
Plants in the nursery
Dale in a car in the Valley of Love

Asia » Vietnam » Southeast » Ho Chi Minh City March 29th 2009

Leaving Vinh Long was very easy after being picked up from our hotel by a lovely air con minibus.. arriving in Ho Chi Minh City was not so great as we got dumped in a random road with no idea of where we were or how to get where we wanted to go. This is the second time minibuses have dropped us off in places that are not bus stations and we will not be getting one again. Thankfully there was a Vietnamese Tourist office near where we got dropped off and they told us that it was cheapest to catch a bus so after a bit of wandering round to find a bus stop we managed to get on the right bus and arrived in district 1 safe and well. Finding a hostel to suit ... read more
Uncle Ho
Post Office

Asia » Vietnam » Mekong River Delta March 25th 2009

Our journey from Cambodia to Vietnam has gone down as being one of the nicest, hassle free border crossings to date.. long may they continue! We'd settled on a bus/boat transfer as we'd read that this was the nicest way to do it and for just $9 each you can't beat that. We jumped on the bus outside our guesthouse at 7am, travelled for around an hour to the river, hopped on a boat and enjoyed a 2 hour ride along the river until we reached the Cambodia office. Off the boat, stamped out of Cambodia and back on again for another hour until we reached the floating Vietnam Immigration office. Off the boat again, we enjoyed lunch on the river bank, got on another boat and enjoyed another 2 hours of river cruising through many ... read more
Floating market
Floating stall
Floating market

Asia » Cambodia » South » Phnom Penh March 15th 2009

So we headed back to Phnom Penh, thankfully on a bus but not completely without trouble as the driver managed to break 2 of his fingers whilst trying to put a chock under a trucks wheels in order for us to get past it (don't ask!). The result of this was him swapping with another driver who had no idea how to drive a bus and nearly ended up in a ditch a couple of times so the broken fingered driver resumed position, was clearly contending for the 2009 F1 Championship and proceeded to drive at full pelt for the remaining 6 hours of the journey, refusing to slow down for anything as mopeds and anything smaller than the bus were forced aside to the side of the road. The only thing we had planned for ... read more
Kids in the dump
People collecting at the dump
Sophie and the kids

Asia » Cambodia » East » Senmonorom March 12th 2009

After another uneventful journey to Kompong Cham we were dropped off and immediately swamped by moto drivers all keen to 'help' us. As we'd decided not to stay here and literally just stop overnight to use the ATM we went straight to the bus company office we'd come on to ask about onward travel for the following day to our new chosen destination of Mondolkiri Province. Sadly Ratanakiri had been knocked out as we didn't think we'd have enough time to spend there and these days we'd rather not visit somewhere at all than make a flying visit of it and wish we had longer. Sophie was a little put out when she was told that the ticket would be $13, especially as she'd read that a ticket from Phnom Penh was only $10 so how ... read more
Pnong Children
Pnong Lady weaving
Elephant and guide

Asia » Cambodia » East » Kratié March 4th 2009

Whilst in Penom Penh we were torn between which part of the country to go to next. Basially we wanted to do everything which just wasn't going to be possible in the time we had so in the end we decided to head to Kratie which is towards the east of the country and from here we could either go North to the Ratanakiri Province or far East to Mondolkiri Province. The bus ride from Phnom Penh to Kratie was another uneventul journey with the only slight problem being that it took us 8 hours instead of the advertised 6. This was mainly due to the bus driver deciding to stop here there and everywhere to go for a wee or have a cigarette but no matter we got there in one piece and were left ... read more
Girl on her way to school
Sticky Rice
Child we passed on the way

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