Page 4 of gabanie Travel Blog Posts

Asia » Laos » West » Vang Vieng January 14th 2010

Vang Vieng is most famous for tubing down the river, which has grown into something of a backpacker phenomenon. As you float down the river on your innertube, with picturesque limestone cliffs surrounding you, you are suddenly hit with a rope tied to a plastic bottle, and are pulled in to shore by one of the many "establishments". Once on shore you usually have the option of eating, drinking, and of course hurtling yourself into the river by whatever your favorite method may be (mine is a ropeswing, but there are also slides, ziplines and platforms). It is so fun that there are some people that have stopped in Vang Vieng and decided to never leave. But there is a lot more to Vang Vieng than just tubing, for those who take the time to stay ... read more

Asia » Laos » West » Vientiane January 7th 2010

From Ho Chi Minh City, we flew to Bangkok in the morning of January 6th, spent the day there, then got on an overnight train north to the border of Thailand. By 11 am the next day we had made it to Vientiane, Laos. We had originally planned on a few days in Vientiane, but after one day we decided to move on. It's not that it isn't a nice city, though. For being the capital of Laos, it had a very small town feel. The touristy area is one block from the Mekong river, which has some nice areas to walk along. There are lots of nice, trendy bars and restaurants, mostly french. But what turned us off was that everything was overpriced. We ended up spending more on a clean but no frills hotel ... read more

Asia » Vietnam » Southeast » Ho Chi Minh City January 5th 2010

Well we are back in Ho Chi Minh City, but just for one day. Tomorrow we fly to Bangkok, and then take an overnight train to the border of Laos. Before we came here, we spent a few more relaxed days in Nha Trang after new years. Mostly just went to the beach and ate, but we also rented a motorbike and checked out a few more local attractions. There is a hot springs / mud bath that was actually pretty fun, and we also went to an oceanographic museum / aquarium that was a great bang for the buck. Last night we got on an overnight bus from Nha Trang to HCMC. I have yet to sleep well on overnight buses - we much prefer trains. We thought this one would be better because the ... read more

Asia » Vietnam » South Central Coast » Khanh Hoa » Nha Trang January 1st 2010

Happy new year! We got to celebrate it 15 hours before most of you reading this in the States. So we win! Nha Trang has been really fun so far, starting with the trip here. Instead of taking a boring ol' bus from Da Lat to Nha Trang, we decided to ride bicycles. You actually don't bike the whole way - the trip starts and ends in a minibus. The biking portion is 70 km, with the last 34 km being ALL downhill. We left Da Lat at 7:30 am and rode in the minibus for about an hour before stopping to get on the bikes. Steph and I were the only two people doing the trip besides the guide on a bike plus the driver of the minibus. We put our backpacks and stuff in ... read more

Asia » Vietnam » Central Highlands » Lam Dong » Da Lat December 26th 2009

We left Mui Ne on christmas eve for the mountain town of Da Lat. The bus ride was really bumpy - hard to do anything besides listen to music, look out the window and brace for impact. But the views going up into the mountains were awesome. Somehow steph slept through most of it, until a big bump jarred her awake. Four hours later we arrived in Da Lat. Da Lat was actually kind of cold when we got there in the evening - something we had not felt for quite a while. Two months, even. I had to put on pants! It is at 1500 meters above sea level so it gets chilly at night. It's a pretty city. Supposedly the honeymoon capital of vietnam. In the center of town there is a lake where ... read more

Asia December 23rd 2009

Kite surfing is hard! I think steph already blogged about her experience on , so I'll just recount mine. After the first day (2 1/2 hours) of kite surfing lessons I was feeling pretty good. I pretty much had the hang of the kite, and all I had to do next was stand up on the board. It turns out that standing up AND controlling the kite at the same time is waaaaay harder than doing either one. The next day I did another 2 1/2 hours, of which I probably only spent 20 seconds standing up on the board. One of the big difficulties is that the board is not actually attached to you. There's no bindings, like snowboarding or wakeboarding, and there is no leash like surfing. Who's idea was that? Must be a ... read more

Asia » Vietnam » South Central Coast » Binh Thuan » Mui Ne December 21st 2009

Mui Ne has been awesome so far - such a beautiful and relaxed stretch of coast. But friggin' windy!! From about 9am until sunset, there is a really strong wind from east to west. Apparently it does this 6 months out of the year, and the other 6 months it blows the opposite direction. It has made this a favorite spot for kite surfers and wind surfers. The bus from Saigon to mui ne was painless - $5 and about 5 hours. Our first night we stayed at a place that was literally on the beach - take two steps out the door and you're on sand. BUT it didn't have hot water or AC, so we upgraded a little bit to another hotel after that first night. At $20 it is a bit higher than ... read more

Asia » Vietnam » Southeast » Ho Chi Minh City December 17th 2009

We spent only 2 days in Ho Chi Minh City, better known as Saigon. It is a very hectic place, especially after cambodia. Sooo many motor bikes - I think more than any other city we've been to. The traffic is just crazy, but since 95% of the vehicles are motor bikes, somehow everyone keeps moving. The food is great though, and the people are friendly. There is a 3 block area in the middle of town called Phan Ngu Lao that is pretty well set up for tourists. Lots of good food, tons of hotels and guest houses, internet cafes, coffee shops, bars, food stalls and souvenir shops. I rediscovered my love of vietnamese baguette sandwiches, and of course pho and spring rolls. Our first full day there we explored the Phan Ngu Lao area ... read more

Asia » Cambodia » South » Phnom Penh December 14th 2009

Phnom penh is the capital of cambodia, and the biggest city. We ended up spending 4 days in phnom penh while waiting for our vietnam visas. On the 11 hour bus ride from ban lung to phnom penh, we had plenty of time to read our guide book, and we decided on heading toward Bueng Kak lake for our first night. It is one of the few "backpacker" areas in phnom penh. We got in after dark, so we weren't too picky about where we stayed the first night. We were just looking for a hotel that had hot water and air conditioning. Sadly, it took us visiting 4 places before we found one with both hot water and AC. The restuarant area of the hotel was pretty nice - it was one of maybe 6 ... read more

Asia » Cambodia » East » Banlung December 9th 2009

Ban lung is the biggest town in the rattanakiri province, which is up in the north eastern corner of cambodia. It has paved streets but even so it is a very dusty town. A layer of red dust covers just about everything. It is also a bit out of the way, but it is pretty unique and we are definitely glad we made it up there. The bus from Kratie went pretty smoothly. As I mentioned in the last blog, we saw the dolphins in the morning and then got on the 1 pm bus. We had to switch buses at one point when the road forked to stung treng, and after that it was a 3 hour, very bumpy dirt road. Lots of cut down trees on the way there. It took 6 hours to ... read more

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