Page 5 of Staci and Martin Travel Blog Posts

Asia » Vietnam » Red River Delta » Hanoi January 27th 2010

We slept in a bit today, thanks to not having an accidental wakeup call, and the loud squeaky pipes taking a break. We needed to head back to Kangaroo Cafe to pay for our tour, as it was due a day before departure. Going to the ATM and withdrawing two million dong (Vietnamese currency) feels strange, as we haven't been used to having a million ANYTHING at our fast cash fingertips. After paying, we enjoyed the lake some more, although some parts appear to be fairly polluted. Walking over to St. Joseph's Cathedral (built in 1886) did not take long, and we soaked up all the beauty. Right across the street is an incredibly cute coffee place, named La Place. We decided to try it out as we had heard good things, and sure enough, it ... read more
St. Joseph's Cathedral
La Place
Temple of Literature

Asia » Vietnam » Red River Delta » Hanoi January 26th 2010

The day started off on a not so great note, with our room phone ringing at 6:45am repeatedly until a half-asleep Martin reached for it. "This is your wakeup call...oh, wait, sorry. Wrong room." I wonder if this happened to some other poor person in Saigon when we never received a requested wakeup call. We grumbled, stretched and promptly fell back asleep...for almost an hour. The phone rang again. "Hello, would you like to order breakfast?" Um, what? You told us last night to call anytime between 7a-11a and tell you our free breakfast request...but clearly, that really meant that they would call us by 7:30. Hmm. Having not gone to bed until 1:30, I was pretty grumpy, never a good start to any day but life was brightened a bit when our breakfast was delivered ... read more
Women's Museum
New Window Cafe

Asia » Vietnam » Red River Delta » Hanoi January 25th 2010

Slept in a bit today, as we knew there wasn't much we could do before heading out to the airport to catch our delayed flight to Hanoi. With the new departure time, not much later than before, we decided to leisurely eat breakfast, pack, and relax before checking out a bit before 12noon. The Orient Hotel, where we stayed, was nice enough to watch our bags and call a taxi for a pick up to the airport at 1pm. We ended up paying more than what we could have gotten on our own, but when asked on the spot by the hotel, who had been good to us, we just said yes. We ventured out for a bite to eat at ZEN, a vegetarian restaurant a few blocks away. The food wasn't spectacular, but, what we ... read more

Asia » Vietnam » Southeast » Ho Chi Minh City January 24th 2010

Another lovely day in Saigon has come and gone. We pulled ourselves out of bed a little after 7, an impressive feat given we'd gone to bed late AND the wake-up call never came. We enjoyed another free breakfast at the hotel and then headed just a few storefronts down to Sinh Travel, where we'd booked a tour yesterday. We took off at 8:15 for a full day tour of the Cao Dai Temple and the Cu Chi Tunnels on a fairly comfortable air-conditioned bus. After about 2.5 hours of listening to music and playing hangman on our iPods, we arrived in Tay Ninh province, the area of the temple. Caodaiism, as described online: Syncretist modern Vietnamese religious movement with a strongly nationalist political character. Cao Dai draws on ethical precepts from Confucianism, occult practices from ... read more
Front View
Inside View

Asia » Vietnam » Southeast » Ho Chi Minh City January 23rd 2010

We slept like babies last night and overslept two alarms, which was a first so far. Our room here also has no windows, so no natural sunlight to beam into our room. That's probably the only complaint so far with our hotel (The Orient Hotel). The bed is comfortable, the room is secure, and the staff are friendly. After waking up, we enjoyed the free breakfast in the hotel, which consisted of a beverage of choice, and a baguette prepared different ways. I chose egg and veggies, while Staci enjoyed jam and butter. FYI, Vietnamese style iced coffee is very good, even I like it...a lot. We walked around the city and found a place to get a massage. We had read about it in our travel book, and were glad to find it fairly quickly. ... read more
War Remnants Museum

Asia » Vietnam » Southeast » Ho Chi Minh City January 22nd 2010

We made it! Today was primarily another travel day. We got up at 7 and ate breakfast at our hostel- I had a tofu, carrot, sprout whole wheat breakfast sandwich thing and Martin had a fried egg with veggies on a baguette. :) By 8, we were full, checked out and in a shuttle van to the bus station and by 8:30 we were boarded onto the Mekong Express Limo (what?) Bus and on our way to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The Mekong Express gets a definite good rating from us. There was tons of leg room, we were given 2 pastries & water and they made the border crossing pretty painless by even filling out the necessary forms for us and basically just calling our names at the Cambodia exit and again at Vietnam ... read more

Asia » Cambodia » South » Phnom Penh January 21st 2010

Having arranged our tuk tuk driver to pick us up at 11am, it gave us time in the morning to walk literally across the street from our guesthouse to visit the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, an incredibly sad, but definitely a must see place in Cambodia. Formally a high school for young minds to learn and grow, it was turned into a prison/torture camp during the mid 1970's of the Khmer Rouge regime. An estimated 17,000 people were imprisoned here, and it is thought that only 12 survived. Immediately we were impacted by the tragic displays of torture. Each imprisoned person there was photographed, and many of them are on display, along with images of their dying or already dead bodies. Walking past all the devices of torture, it's inconceivable that one of the rules for ... read more
Torture Room

Asia » Cambodia » South » Phnom Penh January 20th 2010

Note: In case you couldn't tell our writing styles apart, Martin and I have been switching off days. I wrote days 1 and 3, he wrote 2 and 4...and so on. We're equal opportunity. :) Today was another early day...but this time to board a bus rather than go see more temples. It was time to leave Siem Reap...a place we fell in love with completely in only 4 days and a place we definitely want to come back to at some point in our lives. We woke up and headed back over to Two Dragons to have breakfast and wait for our bus to pick us up. We enjoyed a tomato/onion/cheese omelette, potatoes, toast w/jam, bacon (for Martin of course) and two delicious iced Vietnamese coffees. Mmm. A shuttle bus came around 7:15 to pick ... read more
Tuk Tuk
Boddhi Tree

Asia » Cambodia » North » Siem Reap January 19th 2010

* Note: we just added pictures of our first day's blog a few days back.. check them out! -------- We wanted our last day in Siem Reap to be special, and surely, it was. We woke up early again and our tuk tuk driver drove us the long distance to Banteay Srei, a beautiful temple. The carvings in the pinkish red sandstone so intricate, so beautiful. We walked around a bit, and of course took many pictures. After visiting this temple, we knew we were going to go on a hike, primarily uphill, so we stopped at one of the many eating sections and ordered banana pancakes and fresh coconut juice. It was a good choice to fuel our bodies, as the hike would have felt worse on an empty stomach in the heat. After ... read more
Banteay Srei 2
Our Driver

Asia » Cambodia » North » Siem Reap January 18th 2010

It's been a long while since I've woken up at 4:30am. The last time I saw that time on a clock wasn't too long ago, but it was simply because I hadn't yet gone to bed! We managed to get up, however tired and angry at us our bodies felt and were out the door and into the tuk tuk at 5am. The ride out to the main temple, Angkor Wat, was dark (of course), cold and very quiet, as only the crazy tourists heading to the same place as us were awake in their own tuk tuks or motos. We cursed ourselves for not bringing along a flashlight, as we quickly realized walking around a rocky temple with a moat around it in the dark could be dangerous. I only tripped once though, and we ... read more

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