Jamie and laura


Jamie and laura

Jamie and Laura are travelling between Delhi and Hanoi between January and May 2011.

Asia » Vietnam » Red River Delta » Hanoi May 22nd 2011

We are sat in the reception of our hotel on our last day of 4 months. Can't believe that our time is up! The last couple of weeks have been good ones though. Ninh Binh was an interesting place. Beautiful surroundings, terrible (and I mean really awful) food. We didn't have one meal there which we would consider to be good, and one place also wins the worst meal of the trip award! Tam Coc, which means three caves, and which is nicknamed 'Ha Long on land' was one of the main attractions of the Ninh Binh province. It was raining on the day we wanted to go, so after waiting for it to calm down we rented bicycles, asked directions and took the scenic route along the back roads. We got so lost, and it ... read more

Asia » Vietnam » North Central Coast » Thua Thien - Huế » Hué May 12th 2011

We took an over night sleeper bus from Nha Trang to Hoi An. This was surprisingly comfortable, with the added sleeping tablets that is! Our hotel was a bit out of town but provided a free shuttle bus on the hour, which came to dictate our movements a bit as we would either have to walk very slowly out of town or run to catch the bus. Hoi An is known for its old town as it used to be a large trading post for the Chinese and Japanese, and many of their clan houses and shops still remain. Also its known for its tailoring so now that we are coming towards the end of the trip we planned on having a couple of items tailor made and then carry them all the way home. I ... read more

Asia » Vietnam » Southeast » Ho Chi Minh City » District 1 May 7th 2011

We are in Vietnam for the last leg of our trip. We started in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) and worked our way up the coast stopping at Mui Ne and Nha Trang. In Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) we had our first experience of the infamous Vietnamese traffic. It may have been a little over-hyped (one guy told us people take tuk tuks just to cross the road!) but we did see several people mount the pavements! In fact one time we were almost ran over by a motorcyclist who was accelerating round a blind corner on the pavement, he just laughed! Other than that we found that as long as you don't hesitate or look at oncoming traffic they are able to anticipate your movements and swerve around you, which makes for some fun ... read more

Asia » Cambodia » South » Phnom Penh April 21st 2011

We haven't spent that long in Cambodia, just over a week. However, its so hot here that any longer would be painful, unless we were doing nothing somewhere on a beach I suppose! Our guesthouse (Prom Roth) in Siem Reap was really nice. The owners were really helpful and would go out their way to help. This even included one guy phoning another one who was enjoying his time off to ask where would be a good place for us to swim. This recommendation was amazing, and we went to this beautiful pool for a relaxing afternoon. We met a nice couple, Helen and Jason, in our guesthouse in Laos. They were getting the same flight as us and we decided to share a taxi at the other end. We then decided to visit the temples ... read more

Asia » Laos » West » Vientiane April 15th 2011

Our journey from Phonsavan to Vang Vieng wasn't quite as hairy as the one to Phonsavan! We were also the only people in the minibus, so we sat up front so we'd be thrown around less! Vang Vieng is a very surreal place, built specifically for backpackers. The main attraction (or most commonly visited attraction) is the tubing, where you hire an inner tube from a tractor tire drive to a point upstream and tube down the river. Both sides of the river is lined with bars, offering lots of drinks and slides, swings and all sorts. Compared to the calm, serene beauty of the rest of Laos, its definitely a very strange experience. Our favourite day was when we took a tour which including both caving and kayaking. We would pull ourselves along a rope ... read more

Asia » Laos » East » Phonsavan April 11th 2011

After leaving the beautiful Luang Prabang, we took a horrendous 6 hour journey (which felt like the world's worst rollercoaster) to a gritty town called Phonsavan. We found out that until a month before we arrived they didn't have streetlamps, and so tourists would often hurt themselves walking back to their hotel at night! During the Vietnam war, the CIA conducted a secret war in Laos, as it bordered Vietnam. During the 15 years it is estimated that the CIA flew a bombing mission over Laos every 9 minutes! This meant that over the bombed areas 12 tonnes of bombs were dropped per square kilometre. There were also lots of CIA officers in Laos, the most famous of which was Colonel Tony Poe, who used to cut off his enemies ears and staple them to reports ... read more

Asia » Laos » West » Luang Prabang April 10th 2011

Hello Jamie here, I've kicked Laura off to have another go at blogging, To get to Laos from Chiang Mai we decided to get a van to the border and then a slow boat down the Mekong to Luang Prabang. This involved sleeping one night in Chiang Khong (Thailand) in a shabby guest house with a humourless owner, then, seeing as the slow boat lasted a slow two days, and a night half way at Pak Beng (where we found our own guesthouse, at 30 Baht a head it was a steal). Pak Beng was a small village on the side of the Mekong, it seemed to have been mainly made up of guesthouses and a couple of restaurants and one bar (effectively advertised as 'the only bar in town'). It was actually the first place ... read more

Asia » Thailand » North-West Thailand » Chiang Mai April 6th 2011

We are getting a little behind because the internet in Laos is not particularly reliable. Phone signal just doesn't exist! We loved Chiang Mai. Here the big highlight was our day at the elephant farm. We went to Patara Elephant farm, which was expensive but worth every baht. When we arrived we were given the clothes of a Mahout (elephant trainer) so that the elephants would see us as a friendly figure. We were then assigned elephants and we would call out their name and they would reply with a trumpet sound. After this we fed them a large basket of fruit, which they wolfed down! We then learnt how to check if an elephant was healthy. This involved checking they were happy, eating and drinking enough, sleeping properly and sweating! Fortunately all our elephants were ... read more

Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand » Ayutthaya March 25th 2011

As you can tell from the title, whilst in Ayuthaya and Sukothai we enjoyed many wat/what puns! A wat is a temple (eg. Angkor Wat) and Ayuthaya and Sukothai are full of them! The main part of Ayuthaya is a small island, which we hired bicycles to cycle around. The majority of the wats here are ruins, and many of them destroyed by the Burmese back when Ayuthaya was the capital. Most interesting was this head from a Buddha statue, which was left behind when the Burmese pillaged the wats and since then a tree has grown around it to lift it up. Remarkably it sits almost perfectly straight and is definitely incredible! If you search Ayuthaya (also spelt Ayutthaya) in google images you will see it. It was so hot and humid that we felt ... read more

Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand » Bangkok March 24th 2011

We enjoyed Bangkok more than I thought we would after hearing reports from other people! We had been told to only stay a couple of days, but after handing over our passports to the Vietnamese Embassy on the Thursday (our first full day), we had to stay for 3 working days meaning we had to stay till Monday. Despite what we'd heard we filled our days and enjoyed them! Sorry to those who find the day-to-day commentary boring, but its easier for me to remember that way! We spent the first day navigating the sky train to and from the Vietnamese Embassy. We had a wander round this shopping centre, which was interesting as it was basically like a five-storey indoor market, but didn't buy anything (partly because it was basically like a more-expensive-than-the-outside indoor market). ... read more

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