Page 4 of Staci and Martin Travel Blog Posts

Asia February 8th 2010

A day for complete relaxation. Check out from our guesthouse was at 11am, so we got out things packed, went to an ATM, and hung out all day. Our first stop was a cute bookstore on the same path as Mut Mee, our guesthouse. We were so close to buying more books, as it is an addiction you know, but with limited travel space, and with the prices being somewhat high, we opted to just look around. We walked around the town some more, but it was getting hot, so we only did so in 20 minute intervals before taking a break. One of our breaks was at a Vietnamese restaurant where the big thing going for them was spring rolls. We got an which I happily ate. Our real lunch came from a local place ... read more

Asia » Thailand » North-East Thailand » Nong Khai February 7th 2010

Welcome to Thailand! We got up early, waking up the guy at our hostel to let us at around 6am. We walked to the bus station where we proceeded to swat away mosquitoes for an hour before the ticket booth opened and sold us our 7:30am bus tickets for the Thai-Lao International Bus headed for Nong Khai, Thailand. Vientiane is only 22km away from the Thai border, and an easy border crossing into the very close city of Nong Khai. All in all it took us about 1 hour to cross the border (what, no cool visa this time? Just a stamp?:)) and get into Nong Khai, where we quickly got a tuk tuk to our guesthouse, Mut Mee Guesthouse, right on the riverfront. We'd decided to take it easy for a night, just enjoying the ... read more

Asia » Laos » West » Vientiane February 5th 2010

A short blog for a day filled with lots of relaxation and not too much to report... We found ourselves spending most of the day just wandering around and taking in the sights, smells and sounds of a new city and country. One thing I'm loving about Laos is the simple fact that scams are almost non-existent, everyone smiles at you, and everyone says 'hello', 'thank you' and 'goodbye' to you in THEIR language, NOT English. Everywhere we've been thus far has been on the tourist trail and there's been absolutely no lack of English speaking abilities. It's actually surprised us quite a bit just how many people can speak English, and great English at that...we've gotten so used to Shenzhen and the real lack of English. There's something to be said about not having a ... read more

Asia » Laos » West » Vientiane February 4th 2010

Today was another lovely day in SE Asia; one that made us quickly forget about the bus woes of yesterday, a day for breathing in all that exists here in this wonderful place. It started with a 9am alarm at our hotel, both of us sighing in relief that we were in Vientiane and had had a nice sleep in a very comfortable bed. After showering we decided to head out and find some cheaper accommodation for the next few nights. We got lucky after just one failed attempt- Chantha Guesthouse, listed in our LP and full last night, had one double bed open for the night. We took it- although it may not be as posh as last night’s place, it has a private bathroom & AC for about 20 bucks cheaper per night. We ... read more
More Wat

Asia » Laos » South » Savannakhet February 3rd 2010

What do a motorcycle, a dog, and cabbage have in common? Hopefully not much, right? Wrong. They were all on the 10 hour long non-air-conditioned bus ride we took from Savannakhet, Laos, to the capital, Vientiane. First, lets get out of Savannakhet. After waking up on our own without an alarm (it felt so good to sleep in a bit), we checked out, left our bags with the guest house, and ventured out to explore the city. Since it's not a tourist destination, we didn't find much, but it was still fun to find a little restaurant to grab a bite of breakfast. We both enjoyed AMAZING homemade banana pancakes. We walked around to the waterfront, but turned quickly around as it was a bunch of tuk-tuk drivers waiting for people like us. One of the ... read more
Cabbage Seat

Asia » Laos » West » Vientiane February 2nd 2010

Ahh, ANOTHER travel day. Sensing a theme here? ☺ We knew when we started this trip that it would consist of lots of hours on probably uncomfortable buses, so we were prepared…but they definitely do get tiring. The amazingness of everything we see on a daily basis quickly makes us forget how exhausting those bus rides can be…until of course, we get on one again. The café we booked our bus tickets through picked us up at 7:30am in a taxi, along with another couple whom we’d also run into in Ho Chi Minh City. That’s been happening a LOT on our trip- we’ll see someone at our hostel and think ‘hey, weren’t they at the same hostel a few days ago…we’re following each other’. It’s inevitable, with only so many routes through SE Asia. ☺ ... read more
Cafe View

Asia » Vietnam » North Central Coast » Thua Thien - Huế » Hué January 31st 2010

I (Martin) didn't sleep as much as Staci did the train last night, but as is the case probably for most 6'5'' giants given the same accommodations. On time, we arrived in Hue to a swarming crowd of the taxi drivers, all wanting to take you to various hotels they were promoting. We "reserved" a guesthouse (Called Halo) and were in communication with them, and they confirmed they would pick us up at the train station. We didn't see anyone with a sign with our name, and we didn't want to set ourselves up for a scam, so we decided to walk. We found a quiet area, looked at the map, found our guesthouse's location, and headed down the main road in the heat. The walk was a bit longer than we would have liked given ... read more

Asia » Vietnam » Red River Delta » Hanoi January 30th 2010

Ahh, ANOTHER day of travel. We woke up a little before 8 and enjoyed a buffet breakfast on the top floor of our hotel. Made us wish we'd brought our cameras, as there were some amazing views! We checked out of the hotel by 9am and were once again on our mini-bus with everyone, headed back to the harbor on Cat Ba Island to board the boat one more time. This time, the boat ride was obviously much shorter. Martin and I were nerds and watched the keynote presentation of the new iPad on his laptop during this time, making sure to glance out at the views every once in awhile, although it was pretty foggy. Back at Halong Bay Harbor, we boarded onto another bus and drove about 15 minutes before stopping at a random ... read more
Shooting the Moon
On the train

Asia January 29th 2010

Wow, we slept like babies (cute ones!) last night, our first time ever sleeping on a boat. We quickly were able to tell that this trip was worth it, but even more so when we opened our cabin's door to an amazing harbor view. We got excited to see the sun was going to make more of an appearance today as well, as it was a bit foggy yesterday. Breakfast was a nice assortment of breads, fruits, and juices. We had about 45 minutes of travel time, so Staci and I headed to the top to sit down and relax. We also had to make sure we were all packed, as we were not staying on the boat tonight. Our boat docked and we all got in a shuttle bus to take us to another place ... read more

Asia » Vietnam » Northeast » Quang Ninh » Halong Bay January 28th 2010

This morning started with another failed wakeup call (good thing our alarm worked, once again) and a quick checkout of our hostel. We didn't have time to have the provided breakfast, as we needed to be at Kangaroo Cafe for the start of our tour just around 7:30. We got there, dropped off one of our bigger bags, got 2 iced coffees for take-away and quickly boarded a mini-bus with 10 other people, a driver and a tour guide. We all did the obligatory introductions as our bus started to drive away from Hanoi, and found out everyone was the following: 2 female coworker/friends from Canada, a couple from Spain, a couple from Germany, a couple from Britain and a couple from California. After close to 4 hours of driving, we arrived at our destination: Halong ... read more
First Impressions
Cute Bay
Boat Bed

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