sandra strongman


sandra strongman

Travel is my passion and what I work for!!

Asia » Vietnam » Red River Delta » Hanoi » Thuy An August 11th 2013

Well, this is the story of the last week of my amazing holiday! Really for me this travel blog is the record for when I am old and want to remember all the fabulous travel stories and adventures that I have had. The ferry ride across to Surathani was uneventful and I was full of excitement about getting in the car and heading off. We jumped on a bus, not at all sure where it was taking us, the driver took all the tickets and we just hoped we would get to the airport to pick up the car. After about 45 minutes we pulled up in the middle of a street, everyone got off the bus so we thought we probably should too! Lucky as our luggage was on the sidewalk, and then the driver ... read more
Cup of Joy
Bee and Me
View from Bee's Restaurant

Asia » Thailand » South-West Thailand » Khao Lak August 6th 2013

Well they say life is a journey! I am truly on a journey and really interested to see what life has planned for me.... This time in Koh Samui has been relaxing, and a great time to settle and just enjoy going with the flow, which some of you will know I am not always that good at!! So I am sitting on a ferry on my way to Surathani, where we will be picking up a car and then driving around exploring for the next few days, ending up in Bangkok on Friday to catch my plane, early, early on Saturday morning back to Australia, via Vietnam. A bit of a round about trip, but I get another day in Hanoi and so it will be good for last minute shopping and eating of some ... read more
View in front of Villa
Stormy weather

Asia » Thailand » South-West Thailand » Ko Samui July 31st 2013

This is the part of the holiday that I was looking forward too! Pure relaxation. We left Pattaya and headed by plane to Koh Samui. On the way we went past a gold leaf Buddha outline on the side of a cliff. Pretty impressive, wonder how they got it there?? We arrived on Koh Samui, after a flight in a little plane (not my favourite part of the trip) at 6.15pm and then went looking for somewhere to stay. Eventually ended up in Lamai where the bus driver dropped us off at the Golden Sand Resort where we very happily dumped our bags and then went to sit on the beach for a much needed relaxing welcome drink. The rooms are little bungalows that line a garden path and at the end of the path is ... read more
Buddha on Cliff
Golden Sand
Bungalow Golden Sand

Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand » Pattaya July 26th 2013

Ok, the day to leave Vietnam!! I think the taxi driver that I got was totally off his face when he was driving me to the airport, scary..... Firstly when I got to the taxi he wasn’t there, he was off visiting a shop nearby. When he came back he couldn’t quite work out how to get the car out from behind another one, not a very good start!! As we were driving along he must have stalled the car 5 times, everytime we stopped at the traffic lights he stalled. Not used to a manual I am sure, as we were slowing down I felt like shouting “change gears, you are going to stall” but what is the point, may as well just sit back and enjoy the view. So we stop at a set ... read more
Pattaya with Ray, Tutka and Michael
Mango Shake in Pattaya

Asia » Vietnam » Red River Delta » Hanoi » Thuy An July 25th 2013

So arrived back in Hanoi and at the hotel, where they were happy to see me, such a great hotel definitely recommend it and would come back. Room is dominated by this massive bed, which is really comfortable. I sorted out all my stuff, well attempted too anyway, who bought all this junk???? Gave up and decided to go out walking at about 8.00pm when the street life was really alive in the Old Quarter. It is amazing how quickly you work out where you are going, but I have also learnt that if I get lost once I find the lake I can regain my bearings and find my way home again!! Found the night market which was massive. Found a road side stall that was selling sweet corn which the vendor put in the ... read more
Sunrise in Hanoi
Early morning Tai Chi Class in Hanoi
Tai Chi with fans in Hanoi

Asia » Vietnam » Red River Delta » Hanoi » Thuy An July 24th 2013

After a pretty good sleep on the train considering the accommodation, at 4.30am I heard people walking in the train and talking and thought "wish they would be quiet I am sleeping". Next thing a knock on the door and the conductor says "Hanoi Station". Wow, was that a panic, getting dressed and packed and off the train in about 5 minutes flat! Got off the train, in the middle of a street, not on a station, just in the middle of the street, amazing with people everywhere and me not quite awake. I had to work out where I was, which as it happened was only around the corner from the first hotel where my bag was stored which was so lucky! Picked up my bag and caught a taxi to the new hotel, where ... read more
View from my bedroom window
Dining Room Junk

Asia » Vietnam » Northwest » Lao Cai » Sapa July 22nd 2013

Wow breakfast of rice, greens and roasted pork belly just amazing!! I slept incredibly well by the window listening to the quiet sounds of Ta Van after the noisy tourists went to bed!! The family have organized the bus to Lao cai which I didn't as I thought I would just hop on one but not that easy apparently. Somile's mother and sister came for me after breakfast to take me on a trek and it was a sad farewell to Ju and her family who made me so welcome and let me spend my time with them. I will definitely go back and stay with them again. We set off and luckily it was not raining this morning but it was hot!!! This time I had a 10 kilo pack on and my bag and ... read more
View when I commenced walking
Yes they are making me follow!!
The view from the top

Asia » Vietnam » Northwest » Lao Cai » Sapa July 21st 2013

Just really wanted to add some more photo's as I just loved this place, the food and the family!!... read more
Breakfast Ta Van
Dinner in Ta Van
My Guides Somile and Ju

Asia » Vietnam » Northwest » Lao Cai » Sapa July 21st 2013

I was surprised when I arrived in Sapa, I expected there to be hundreds of tribal women trying to take me to their village. Ah no, just a few men offering motor bikes!! And and I nearly forgot it was pouring with rain and cold. What did I have on shorts and a singlet - oops something the guide book neglected to say!! Anyway after the bus trip I decided I needed a drink, just tea!! To try and work out where now. I decided a three hour trek in the rain was not going to work. I had found a place on the internet in Ta Van that had a home stay and so I bought a jacket ( unbelievably expensive) and an umbrella. Lucky I had a plastic poncho that I have carried everywhere ... read more
First view of Ta Van
Flooding river in Ta Van
Hill tribe women doing embroidery

Asia » Vietnam » Red River Delta » Hanoi July 20th 2013

After getting myself sorted in the room in Hanoi it was time to set off for the bus pick up. I left my bag at the hotel and hopefully it will be there intact when I return! I set off with a vague idea of where I was going, back to the Old Quarter through the maze of streets, shops and people. I could of caught a taxi but it was much more fun walking I just love this city! I arrived at the travel agent at 5.30 in plenty of time for the 6.30 pickup. I went to a bar across the road where St Kilda and Port were playing . Also had happy hour 2 Vodka and lemonade for $2.00, now where else can you value like that? I returned to the travel agent ... read more
The Bus
Bus to Sapa
My Bed

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