D-5Jan 24 2019
I arrived in Bangkok at approximately 3pm, tired, sweaty and ready for any bed!
I then took a cab from the airport to NapPark hostel whereby on arrival I was greeted by a stray dog known by the hostel as Long.
I entered the 22 bed dorm and tried to figure out what I was doing, everyone was in bed napping. I went off for a walk around a local temple trying to figure the area out. When I got back I met a couple of people and ended up drinking heavily and on Khao san road getting the chance to top off a long day
D-4Jan 25 2019
Hungover, jet lagged and tired I went to the communal area to meet the friends I had got to know the day before.
A group of about ten were going to another hostels pool so I decided to go with. A group of us didn’t know the way and wandered aimlessly. We took a tuktuk to the hostel in the end, fitting five people. I was last on and ended up basically hanging out of it.
Guus and I then decided to see the palaces so we left the others there and went to see The Grand Palace and Wat Pho. These were amazing in both detail and size. The grand lying Buddha in Wat Pho a real treat to behold.
Despite insisting I wouldn’t go out, I ended up on Khao san Road till the early hours of the morning with Ben, Meghan and Denisa.
D-3Jan 26 2019
I decided to join a group of eight to go to Khanchanburri. We got in a minibus from Bangkok to a hostel there.
Liv and I went for a little wander along the river until about 5 then we caught a tuktuk with denisa to see the others at the River Kwai Bridge.
On the way back from the bridge we went to a night market. Here i indulged in a number of tasty treats from fruit smoothies to spicy squid.
We then went out to some of the bars in Khanchanburri for a couple of hours before returning to the idyllic hostel.
D-2Jan 27 2019
We all emerged to get the bus to Erawan national park at about 11. Squeezed in a small bus with open doors Liv and I laughed our way through the two hour journey.
Arriving at Erawan and seeing some amazing scenery we began hiking as a group upwards. At the second waterfall Liv and I stopped laughing at the fish cleaning my hands in the water.
After this the two of us decided to hike all the way to the last waterfall seeing the others on the way. The climb was tricky but we both made it to see the views from the top waterfall. There were not many people here due to the difficulty it took to reach. We went in the cool water after having sweated buckets and let the fish nibble my toes.
From here we regrouped with the others and chilled by waterfall six. A group of monkeys came down and one sat right next to me. It started hissing and I scarily jumped off the rock I was on in pure fear it would bite.
It was now 5 (time of last bus) and we just made it. Oscar and Ben had to sit on the floor, Oscar half hanging out. We laughed the whole journey.
After arriving back we had a few beers in mine and Ben’s room and headed into town. We revisited our favourite bar and bought a load of red and black cock drinks (10 baht each). I pretended it was Ben’s birthday getting us free shots as a group.
After copious amounts of alcohol we returned to the hostel and all jumped into the lake near it.
A really great day.
D-1Jan 28 2019
Extremely hungover everyone materialised at about 11. Everyone decided to stay in Khanchanburri another day.
The day was pretty chilled popping to a death railway museum.
Ben and I decided to get an authentic Thai massage at a local place. After an hour of being stood on and punched in a so called ‘massage’ we went to get food and play pool together.
The others later joined us to continue drinking and return to the bar to get red cocks again. There was a tour group in one bar so joined them for the night dancing and chatting to new company.
DAY 1Jan 29 2019
We left Khanchanburri on a private bus to Ayutthaya, Thailand’s old capital city. The bus took about two hours but was relatively pleasant with AC and plenty of space.
Once at Ayutthaya we settled into accommodation by the old train station.
The group then crossed the river towards old town Ayutthaya on a rickety old boat.
We hired bikes at about 4/5 and cycled into the old town where many temples were. We wandered around the monkey in tree temple and the main monument in Ayutthaya before returning our bikes.
We grabbed food from a street food cart and shared a few beers before going to bed ready to head off to Sukhothai the next day.
DAY 2Jan 30 2019
We took a bus at about 12 from Ayutthaya. The journey was long but relatively comfortable taking about six hours to get to sukhothai.
Upon arrival we checked into our guesthouse rooms (me sharing a double bed with Ben again) and went for a quick refreshing dip in the pool there.
After grabbing dinner we then popped for a few Leo’s and called it a night.
DAY 3Jan 31 2019
After catching up with some needed sleep I spent the morning walking with Guus and Ben around new sukhothai. There wasn’t much there but we wanted to get out for a bit.
The girls had gone to have a drink at the pool so we joined them and took a well earned dip after our long sweaty walk.
The hostel sorted us a tuktuk into Old Sukhothai in the afternoon. We rented out bikes in order to cycle around the temple complex in old sukhothai. I did this on my own and found a viewpoint we would later marvel at.
I found the others for a quick bite to eat and then we went to the viewpoint I had seen earlier that day for the sunset. As a group of six we watched the sunset together a truly magical sight to behold.
After sunset we returned our bikes and went back to the hostel in new sukhothai. Here we revisited the same bar we had already been to the night before for cheap Leo’s.
A really good day and great Instagram photo.
DAY 4Feb 01 2019
Ben, Liv, Meg and I got a bus to Kamphaeng Phet in the morning after Liv and I had been chatting about going there before.
The bus only took an hour. When we arrived there were locals staring and people wanting pictures with us because they were not used to westerners.
Once feeling like a celebrity had elapsed we took a pickup to the Rainbow House hostel where we were greeted with immense enthusiasm by a lovely hostel owner whom showed us to a lovely guesthouse where we were staying and gave us vip rooms because he liked us.
The four of us scouted the area and treated ourselves to a KFC, the only western food I had had for ten days. We grabbed booze for a pre drinks tonight and got ready. Finally we had a place with an actual club in!!
We left at about 8.30 to hit up some quiet but nice bars and have a few Leo’s. After Ben and I embarrassing ourselves trying to speak Thai in one of the bars we headed off for a busy bar and then a club. The Thai locals absolutely loved us getting free entry and wanting pictures and to buy us drinks.
I spotted white faces in the crowd of the club so sprinted over to them in excitement. There was a group of seven or so all teaching English in different parts of Southeast Asia. Having spoken with them and danced with them we parted ways ready to catch up again the next night for our last hurrah in Khamphaeng Phet.
DAY 5Feb 02 2019
Waking up relatively hungover we enjoyed a spicy breakfast that the hostel owner had put up for us and met Darla and Guus who had arrived the evening before.
It took us some time to organise but Ben and I sorted us transport to the Phrua Rang got springs. We enjoyed the ride to the springs with a private chauffeur for the day.
Once at the hot springs we all had a dip in hot water pools. This was nice giving me lad time with Guus and Ben as the pools were separated by gender.
We regrouped and had some interesting food from a street food stand. After this we all went over to dip our feet in the hottest spring there.
The water was so hot and uncomfortable so I just sunbathed while the others relaxed there.
Once we were finished at the springs we got the chauffeur to drive us back. We got ready for pre drinks giving me time to chat with Dad and brothers and everybody later came in our room to have a laugh and chilled conversation.
We headed out with more clue as to where to go than the night before. Once again we received a lot of attention from locals and met up with some of the people we had met the night before.
DAY 6Feb 03 2019
We got up and checked out of Khampaeng Phet to get the long bus up to Chiang Mai.
We arrived at the bus station at about 12 and had to wait 4 hours for the only bus that day that wasn’t fully booked.
The bus was long taking another 6 hours. We arrived in Chiang Mai at about 8.30-9. Knackered I spoke with Mum and then crashed without really chilling and drinking through sheer exhaustion .
DAY 7Feb 04 2019
We checked out the quiet hostel and hoped to the livelier Deejai hostel. Guus, Ben and I walked around Chiang Mai scoping it out and booking trips.
That afternoon we went to a Thai cooking class whereby I cooked four chosen Thai dishes and was taught how to do so.
The experience was interesting with the chef taking us to a market go purchase what we needed and talking us through Thai food.
The cooking was funny. I cooked four dishes quite well tasting nice but different from the restaurant bought equivalents.
When we arrived back we went to the pool bar to catch up with the others and new people to share a couple of drinks and take part in the quiz.
We went to bed relatively early ready to awake early the next day for our jungle trek.
DAY 8Feb 05 2019
Guus, Ben and I got picked up for our jungle trek at 9. We picked up a Slovenian couple and a Swiss guy called Alex on the way towards the Jungle.
We arrived and had authentic home cooked Pad Thai at the tour guide’s house. The six of us then began the scorching, steep trek towards the village where we were to stay the night seeing some unbelievable scenery on the way and sweating buckets.
We trek on and off for about 3 hours with breaks on the way like exploring a bat cave. Eventually we arrived at this small remote village in the hills. Alex and the three of us then went up a hill during our spare time to watch a beautiful sunset at 6. It was so peaceful and remote.
The room we were in had no plug sockets or AC and just had six beds lying on the floor. The toilet was even a squatting toilet. Really an authentic experience.
After this we had a less than impressive papaya curry soup and then Ben and I went for a wander into the jungle using just our phone torches.
When we got back everyone was ready to crash at about 9.30 after a tiring day. It was difficult to sleep with the dogs barking continuously and chickens howling. Eventually I feel asleep through pure fatigue ready to be up early in the morning.
DAY 9Feb 06 2019
We arose as a group at 6.30 to go and see the sunrise from the viewpoint we had found the day before. The sunset was amazing with everyone speechless whilst watching.
Following this, we had food and headed off to a hidden waterfall that was about an hour or so away. The terrain was rough and we all slipped a number of times.
Passing through the smallest village I have ever seen with more piglets than people we eventually reached the waterfall. Here Guus, Ben and I swam, chilled and chatted in the freezing waters before another guide came to give us lunch.
We walked further splintering odd into our group (three of us and Alex). We continued walking downhill and got to our first activity; bamboo rafting. We rafted down the river passing a number of elephant sanctuaries on the way seeing the beautiful creatures.
After 20 mins of rafting we reached the car to take us to the elephant sanctuary.
We arrived at the sanctuary getting to see the beautiful animals up close and personal. We all prepared food for them using machetes and big knives to cut up food for them (banana tree leaf and sugar cane).
We then went to feed three elephants between the four of us marvelling at the majestic creatures both in size and intelligence. The elephants were so leathery and powerful when getting food from you. I also got to feed the elephants directly into its mouth having its massive tongue lick the food from my hand. After this we washed and brushed one of the elephants.
After this we headed back all thrilled at seeing these animals.
When we got back to Deejai hostel I cleaned up and went the pool bar with the other two for a couple of drinks while the girls got ready. We drunk and chatted with different people meeting a group of crazy Canadians and two Bristol ladies.
We went out to Yellow and Spicy and danced the night away with backpackers and locals alike.
A truly wonderful day with amazing experience of seeing the elephants.
DAY 10Feb 07 2019
After an intense couple of days this was to be the day I unwound. I got up quite late and we regrouped with the girls from our group and the wild Canadians. We went to the pool after grabbing food at about one and started drinking and chilling with everyone there. After a couple of buckets and a lot of chilled socialising we grabbed food at the pool bar at about 5ish.
I completely crashed with fatigue kicking in from alcohol and general lack of sleep. I went up to bed and napped for a couple of hours before coming back down to join the others at the bar. They had started drinking but I wasn’t in the mood so went with Ben and Guus to the night market.
This was disappointing being completely western and more like Tenerife than Thailand with lot of tourists running around and expensive prices.
We grabbed food and went home to bed. I was knackered and also developing a nasty cold so bed was the best place for me. A relatively difficult day in the end.
DAY 11Feb 08 2019
Guus, Ben and I awoke to leisurely go and book the bus to Pai. When we went to reception to arrange the bus we were told that we would have to wait until 3 for a bus.
Ben and I booked on to go at 3 but Guus wanted to check out scooters to drive to Pai. We went and he couldn’t find one so he went back to book the earliest possible bus (at 4).
We wandered around Chiang Mai for a couple of hours then eventually it was time for our bus. The bus route was windy and hilly making for a difficult three hours.
Eventually we arrived and tried to find a hostel that wasn’t fully booked. We found Paimanee House. Here we met Johanna, Saana and Evan (a trio of girls).
Ben and I went for food on walking street and Guus eventually caught up with us. We had food then went out for a couple of drinks with the girls. We ended up staying out till late and having a nice first night in Pai.
DAY 12Feb 09 2019
During the day time I was written off. My cold was affecting me and I spent a lot of the day in the dorm chatting to the Johanna, Evan, Saana and Ben or nodding off.
Eventually I felt well enough to get up and out to go see the sunset at Pai Canyon. After some tricky climbs and descents we found a nice place to watch the beautiful sunset over the stunning scenery of the canyon.
After this we regrouped with Megan and got ready to go out to Electric Valley festival.
What a time I had at the festival listening to a number of different genre of artists and dancing the night away until 4.
DAY 13Feb 10 2019
We all awoke relatively fresh. It was however a slow morning just grabbing lunch from in Pai and checking into our new hostel as a group of 4 (Guus, Ben, Meg and I).
We grabbed scooters at about 1 and took them out for a spin to the local bamboo bridge and waterfalls. The waterfall was nothing spectacular but we all had fun getting used to our scooters and chatting there.
After this we headed back and scooted to Circus where the Canadians from Chiang Mai and the Finnish girls were staying.
We chilled with everyone while they drunk and then Meg, Ben and I drove back to chill out.
DAY 14Feb 11 2019
We woke up fresh and ready to get to Circus hostel to stay with the others.
We extended our scooters for another day and headed to Circus to meet the others. A big group of us (Dan, the Canadians, the girls and us) then headed off to take a long drive to Lod Cave. The roads were windy and tested my newfound ability on the scooter but everyone made it to the caves safely.
We all went in and got a tour of the caves and the various rock formations within. After this we were lucky enough to get a bamboo raft through the cave and take in the scenery.
After this we all headed back on the drive to Circus to get ready for the night. Everyone sat and drunk and chilled until about 12/1.
A dangerous part of the pool claimed its scalps on Megan, Ben, Felix and I. I went to bed worried but had still had a nice day. The next day was to be one where I sorted stuff out.
DAY 15Feb 12 2019
Today was a write off. I woke up to assess the damage of the dangerous pool to ind my phone broken and my leg in far worse shape than expected.
After saying a quick goodbye to the Finnish girls I needed to sort my phone out so we all got on the scooters to the nearest phone shop.
The guy told me it could be fixed but naturally at a price. I paid the 1500 baht and went for breakfast hoping that the phone would get fixed.
We returned there and thank god it was okay. I had a lucky escape.
From there we got on the scooters ready to take them back. To make the day worse we were stopped by police and fined for not showing an international driving license.
When giving the scooters back I managed to run off with the helmet which I had rented from a different store after my helmet had been previously stolen.
Eventually we got back to Circus. I chilled out and cleaned up my leg letting the family know all was not as bad as first seemed.
At about 5 my leg was feeling better so I jumped on the back of Meg’s newly rented scooter to go down to Paradise bar and scope it out.
We chilled there for a bit but it was too hippie for us so then headed back.
We met out friends for the free hostel food and stayed up drinking and chatting till about 12.
A tough and very expensive day.
DAY 16Feb 13 2019
After another difficult sleep in the poor accommodation Ben and I were in we decided to leave Circus for a nicer but quieter hostel called Pai in the Sky. The four of us packed up our stuff and headed out.
Meg, Ben and I checked in and then the four of us went for lunch and a stroll along walking street.
At about 1 it was time to say goodbye to Guus, he had to get back down to Chiang Mai for his flight down to Phuket and the islands in Southern Thailand. It was sad to see him go but I know I’ll catch up with him in Vietnam at some point.
Everyone was a tad low after Guus left so chilled out in the room until it was time for tea. We went out and grabbed nice food followed by popping in to Boom bar and chilling with a Leo each.
We briefly bumped into Liv with friends and organised to go out that night then headed back to chill and get ready. The three of us popped to Paizy bar for a few before meeting all our Circus friends in Boom Bar.
Dan and the Canadians left but we went to Don’t Cry Bar with the others.
After chatting to a pleasant couple from Canada Chris and Meg grabbed me to say I had to help out with Liv who was too drunk.
I ordered her a cab and Meg and I took her back to Pai in the Sky.
After putting her to bed I went for a quick chat with Hens and Mum then went to bed.
DAY 17Feb 14 2019
Similarity with the day before everyone was feeling tired and ill. Liv left for her own hostel and the three of us took our time to get ready and chilled.
We popped to a place that did English breakfast and tasting baked beans for the first time in a month was nice.
After this we strolled about Pai for a bit then decided just to chill at the hostel for a bit.
Meg crashed sleeping most the afternoon and Ben and I decided to watch a film and chill out.
After this Meg eventually woke up and we popped out for food. Grabbing it from one of our favourite places.
We then organised with the Canadians to go out to Boom Bar and Don’t Cry Bar later on. We got ready and hopped to Paizy bar for a couple. We got talking to Anna and Sophia (two Italian sisters) and invited them to join us (mainly because I fancied Anna).
We went to Boom Bar and the Italians unfortunately left possibly scared of the bigger group. In the bar we met an English couple who met at Exeter uni, the girl (Olivia) being from Bromley.
We left Boom to go to Don’t Cry but wanted to get a tattoo on the way. We went in the parlour and the guy got angry at me for saying it was too expensive so we got asked to leave.
As a smaller group of five (us three and the couple) we then went to Don’t Cry.
Ben and Meg left quite early but I was enjoying making new friends with the couple and a girl from Leeds so I stayed.
Eventually I left at about 2:30 on my own and strolled back to the hostel.
DAY 18Feb 15 2019
We woke up relatively hungover ready to get the bus back to Chiang Mai so Ben could pick up his card.
We had booked the bus for 2 so just got lunch and chilled before getting the bus.
The bus had all our large luggage strapped to the top of the bus which was a new experience.
The bus took about 4 hours then we had to take a tuktuk back to Deejai. Ben and I had ours bags literally hanging out the tuktuk just connected by the straps.
We got to Deejai, checked in and then went for food. We met with Dan, Chris and Luke who had scooted down and sat and had a beer at the poolside bar in the evening.
The area was dead so we popped out just wandering till everyone was fed up. We returned back to the room and went to bed.
DAY 19Feb 16 2019
We were supposed to get a bus to Chiang Rai but none were available. I started on the monotonous routine of food and re checking in to the hostel.
After food I took an hour to myself sitting in the hostel common room doing some puzzles.
After this I went to the pool to join Dan, Chris, Luke and two new girls. I chatted and chilled with them with a few drinks until I got hungry so text the other two and went for food.
After food we started drinking in our room inviting a lass from Bedford and lad from Slovenia and the group I had been at the pool with.
We moved the drinking down the the common room and played drinking games together while Liv and a friend joined us.
After getting pretty drunk we headed off to Zoe in Yellow and other surrounding bars and then spicy.
DAY 20Feb 17 2019
Ben and I said our goodbyes to Megan who was not continuing with us up north towards Laos and Ben and I got a cab to the bus station to head to Chiang Rai.
We got on a very nice bus with a tv on and the journey to Chiang Rai took about four hours.
We got off the bus and walked to Mercy hostel. I was proud as Ben an I walked in as the hostel and room was lovely and it was the first room I had booked for myself. The hostel even had a gym.
We checked in and started a long walk to a McDonalds (something we had both been craving for the last half hour on the bus) and a western mall in Chaing Rai.
After this we headed back to Mercy and got ready to go see Duncan, Michelle, Lily, Karina and Sam in the main square.
Sam, Ben and I got a quick beer in the square then went back to the Canadians hostel to have a few more drinks and catch up.
I left about 12 and went back to Mercy ready to head to Chaingkhong the next day and finally near the Laos border.
DAY 21Feb 18 2019
Ben and I awoke to checkout and saw an older guy we have seen along the way coincidentally known as JJ. He said he wanted to come to Chiang Khong with us so he joined us to go get the bus.
The bus was not awful and I sat next to a German guy called Thorsten who was going to Huay Xai in Laos that day. The journey took about 3 hours.
We arrived in Chaing Khong and found the hotel I had booked for me and Ben (costing only 85 baht each). It was lovely, a nice pool and good location.
We went for a swim then grabbed food out before finding a nice little man made small beach on the river Mekong.
After returning home we had a beer each and spoke travel stories with JJ before calling it an early night. We had to be up early tomorrow for the slow boat, visas and my first day in Laos.
DAY 22Feb 19 2019
We awoke early to grab the shuttle from our hostel to the Border crossing. After exchanging Baht to Lao Kip, paying $35 dollars and getting another stamp in my passport I was through.
We paid for our boat fair and ended up with a big group who had done the same. After making a stop on the way we had made it to Huay Xai docks, the location where the slow boat left from.
We got on the slow boat and it got so busy. There were not enough seats in the end so people had to have chairs in the aisle of the boat.
Chatting to Mauro, David, Simon and his girlfriend, the boat journey seemed to go quite quickly. 6 hours raced by as we drunk Beer Laos, chatted and laughed.
Upon arrival in Pak Beng Sam (who was more to the front of the boat) suggested everyone stay where he and Brett were going to stay and everyone followed.
We dropped out stuff off in our rooms and went to grab food together as a big group with Beth and Amanda also joining us.
After this JJ, Ben and I took a stroll around Pak Beng seeing very little. After this we joined the others at a small bar (Happy Bar) in the village for a few more drinks.
A really enjoyable and different experience.
DAY 23Feb 20 2019
We awoke early in Pak Beng to make the walk down to the harbour and get alright seats for the boat. As we walked down there were elephants bathing on the Mekong at the other side in the elephant reserve.
We got on the boat saving seats for the others near the back again. This time Sam and Brett sat with us.
The first two hours was quiet, looking out on the beautiful scenery and nursing tired eyes.
After these hours had elapsed people started chatting more.
About halfway through I popped to chat with some English gap year students at the front of the boat. Chatting with the two girls for about an hour I returned to the back of the boat with people more lovely again, starting to drink and play music.
The final two hours went by so quickly as he all chatted, laughed and drunk together on the back of this rickety old boat.
We arrived in Luang Prabang at about 4 and tried to find a hostel. Eventually we found Smile Hostel and parked up here as a now group of five.
After grabbing some interesting food from a restaurant everyone went to get a SIM card, it’s about time I had internet.
We then filtered into utopia bar, a gorgeous expansive bar on the bank of the river Mekong. After drinking and chatting the night away we returned to the hostel to get some sleep.
Another truly great day.
DAY 24Feb 21 2019
We awoke after the drinks the night before relatively late. I popped down to grab breakfast and Brett and JJ were there.
After breakfast JJ, Ben and I checked out to get our reserved beds in Sunrise (where Mauro and David from the boat were staying).
We arrived here and got the reserved beds and settled in. From this we went for a walk about the town finding temples and checking out the UXO museum about the Indochina wars and the unexplored bombs that surround the Laotian countryside.
Afterwards we returned to the hostel for a chill and Simon and Janina texted us to say that they were climbing to the main viewpoint in Luang Prabang and asking if we would join them.
We did, and David joined Ben, JJ and I in the climb. We got to the top of the temple viewpoint to be swarmed by tourists, mainly Chinese.
Upon meeting up with Simon and Janina we joked about the number of tourists and watched the sunset together.
Afterwards we returned to the hostel to begin drinking. As a group we had a number of drinks and skipped utopia to go straight to the late night bowling alley. At this point Beth and Amanda joined us.
The bowling was okay. Everyone was so drunk or high at the time that nobody got a good score. I came second with 78!!!
Afterwards we returned back to sunrise and chatted together until the early hours of the morning with a few new friends including TJ (Dutch), Lydia (German) and Torsten (German).
Lydia took a liking to me so I stayed out to see the monk gathering in the morning then went to bed late ready to be up for the waterfalls the next day.
DAY 25Feb 22 2019
We awoke extremely hungover but excited to see the Kuangsi River Falls. Our tour bus was to leave at 11:30 so we grabbed the free breakfast and waited for it to come.
The roads in the minivan were bumpy but it was funny for the forty five minute trip.
We arrived at the waterfall park and wandered past a sun bear sanctuary for bears who have been orphaned through bile poaching.
Onwards we began the trek to the top of the waterfall. We saw Mauro, David, Brett and Janick eating lunch and they advised we try the harder trek up rather than the usual one.
Ben, JJ and I took on this trek eventually reaching the top of the waterfalls and catching our breath.
From here we wandered towards the springs but they were too far so we headed back down.
After heading down Ben and I took a dip in the waterfall pool. It was freezing but so refreshing after sweating so much. We saw Daiti in the pools as well so chatted with him.
After drying it was time to head down to grab the minivan back to the hostel. We bundled in and began the journey back.
Upon arrival at the hostel we all went out to grab some nice food then headed to utopia for a few chilled drinks together as our last as a group in Luang Prabang.
At utopia we also caught up with the Canadians, Chris and Luke and chatted the night away.
Towards the end JJ and I started talking to some Norwegian girls who came back to our hostel to try the local smokes and chat.
A truly great day and ready for a change of scenery to Nong Khiaw the next day.
DAY 26Feb 23 2019
I awoke slightly hungover but more so tired to grab the free breakfast and pack up ready to get the 8:30 bus to Nong Khiaw.
After arriving at the bus station we had to wait for about an hour while the Laotian driver just smoked and chatted to his mates. They really don’t care about rushing or even being on time here.
The group of us crammed into the minivan like bus. There was now four of us (JJ, Ben, Mauro and I) but Lydia, Josh and TJ were also on the bus so we chatted more with them.
The journey to Nong Khiaw was bumpy, windy and altogether unpleasant but it only took 3-4 hours.
We arrived there for about 2 and went to our booked accommodation. Wow though what a beautiful place with a massive mountain cliff face staring over the whole of the village.
After eating we went into the tour places looking to do the 100 waterfalls trek I had seen that persuaded people to go to Nong Khiaw. Here we bumped into the other three and they wanted to come too.
As a group of 7 we then booked on to do the trek the next day and decided to hike to the viewpoint in Nong Khiaw.
The journey to the top of the viewpoint was long, sweaty and tiring but we all managed it after walking for about an hour and a half uphill.
The view was so worth it and we all had a beer on top of the viewpoint as the sun was setting. There were very few people there, worlds away from the Chinese tourists that plagued Luang Prabang.
After spending about an hour at the top we realised we were the only people up there and that the descent would have to be done in the dark.
Walking through jungle downhill in the pitch black with only phone lights to illuminate the way we funnily stumbled to the bottom of the viewpoint walk with everyone still fully intact bar a couple of scrapes and bruises. A funny experience nonetheless.
After a shower we all grabbed food and a drink or two before an early night ahead of another long walk the next day.
DAY 27Feb 24 2019
We awoke in the morning and checked in to where the other three were staying. After this we made our way to the tour company where we learnt that four other people were doing the waterfall trek.
We got in a local small boat to take us to a village where the trek was to begin. The boat journey was about an hour through stunning scenery.
Upon arriving and meeting our guide we started the trek. The first forty minutes was in open expansive countryside passing rice paddies and massive water buffalo that were within touching distance.
We reached the beginning of the cascading waterfalls ready to actually climb up through them. The water was nice and cool on my feet.
We continued, taking banana breaks, for about an hour or so before beating the last falls. Climbing this, we came across a stunning view.
Everyone in the tour group chilled and chatted taking photos of the exceptional view and the falls route we had just walked in.
We got a lunch provided at the top of the falls, the standard: noodles, sticky rice and fried banana and then began the walk back, where people were talking non-stop and the atmosphere was great.
After walking back we took the boat further on the river to the Pak Ou Caves (where Laotian people lived for years on end from relief from the US bombing in the Indochina War).
Most the others went fully through the cave squeezing through the tightest of gaps but I wasn’t bothered and was worried I may worsen my finally healed leg.
Instead I walked down to the village outside the cave and played French boules with a local child who couldn’t speak any English at all. This was a really nice experience not just because I thrashed him but having a great laugh over sport was a new experience.
Eventually we got the boat back to Nong Khiaw. After grabbing a curry (whereby both Josh and Mauro copies my exact dishes thinking I sounded like I knew what I was talking about) we went to a bar for some drinks.
After the bar we grabbed some more drinks from a local shop and sat on Ben and I’s balcony and hammock chatting and sharing stories
Another truly great day with lots of new experiences. Nong Khiaw had been absolutely brilliant, taking a step away from busy tourism and taking in unbelievable nature in a quieter two days.
This is about to change however as I head towards Vang Vieng tomorrow.
DAY 28Feb 25 2019
We arose early in order to be ready to board the bus heading from our hostel in Nong Khiaw all the way down to Vang Vieng. We got on the bus at 9 and the first journey (on the way to Luang Prabang) was quite stuffy and tiring.
We arrived in Luang Prabang, said goodbye to TJ and grabbed lunch before changing into a different minivan to go to Vang Vieng.
We also picked up some booze for the ride.
After starting drinking the five hours flew by. Everyone was chatting and having a laugh with each other and we had to make a number of toilet breaks due to alcohol consumption. We paid the man generously for the inconvenience.
We arrived at Nana hostel and threw our stuff down before grabbing food. Still yet to be impressed by Lao culture when it comes to food I had more western food. Lao food has no culture preferring instead western and Thai dishes that are generally poorly cooked.
After food we returned to Nana and started drinking again, after all there is free whisky and vodka from 7-9.
Here we saw some old faces: the Canadians and Chris and Luke. We chatted with them introducing them to our new group and headed out to Sakura bar.
There were a lot of Koreans and a lot of balloons flying about in this crazy little bar and Duncan and Karina (not for the first time) got too drunk too quickly.
I met a girl I had spoken to in Luang Prabang called Lexi and stayed with her most the night chatting about our experiences etc. I went with her to Viva bar, kept chatting, played some drinking games and danced.
It was a nice night but damn was I tired from the long bus ride. At least we had made it to Vang Vieng.
DAY 29Feb 26 2019
The next day all my friends were hungover and tired. I didn’t really get up until after 10:30 and just went to get a slowly served chicken sandwich with the others.
Here I saw Pat and Liv, a nice couple that spoke to our group in Pai, and caught up with them and what they had been up to.
After grabbing food Chris tried to convince me to come tubing but I had already said to the others that I would be going to the lagoon after lunch. Pat and Liv wanted to join us so a group of 7 hired a songthaew to take us to lagoon three.
After the bumpiest, dirtiest country road ever we had made it. We went in and headed to a deep cave first. Getting down to the cave was a struggle but once inside we navigated with phone lights to marvel at how large the interior was in the face of the mountain.
After this we climbed to a viewpoint to look over some rice paddies. The walk wasn’t long but I still couldn’t wait to wash the sweat off in the lagoon.
After the climb we went to the cool waters in the lagoon and all swam. We chilled in tubes, walked the balance beams and zip lines into the waters. It was a good laugh.
We returned back along the horrible road and grabbed a bite to eat. Afterwards we stayed in our hostel room drinking and chatting for a while before heading out to Viva.
DAY 30Feb 27 2019
Today we had planned to go tubing but there was a pool party on so the tubing was not going to be very busy. We decided to attend this instead.
Torsten has arrived late last night so Ben and I grabbed breakfast with him to catch up. I said I needed a haircut and he (being a hair stylist) offered to do it for me so when we got back I grabbed a chair and he cut my hair in front if quite a big crowd by the communal bathroom area. Poor guy gave me a great haircut but had loads of guys asking for their hair to be trimmed there too.
After this we grabbed some Lao vodka and whisky (£2 and £1.50 for large bottles respectively) and started drinking by the pool.
A cute Australian by the name of Alana had arrived in the bed that Mauro had sadly vacated earlier that day so I spent most the day chatting with her and Aimee (a new Scottish girl in the hostel).
After consuming over 8litres of spirits in the group of approximately ten everyone was hammered but had had the best time.
We ate to try and slightly sober ourselves up and everyone but Aimee, Josh and Sam made it out to Sakura and Viva. We all danced with Koreans and travellers alike before a brief stint in Viva and bedtime.
DAY 31Feb 28 2019
Finally the day had come, the atmosphere electrifying when first waking up. Today we would finally go TUBING.
We ate and then prepared the Lao vodka mixes to be taken on the tubes. Ben and I sharing a litre of Lao vodka and coke in separate plastic bottles.
We got in a songthaew with tunes blaring and everyone ready for an alcohol fuelled binge up. The atmosphere was even better when we heard 100 people were to go tubing on the day. This a ridiculous number.
We arrived to pick up the tubes and attached them to the top of the songthaew. One fell off on the way but the driver just left it by the side of the road; absolutely crazy.
We arrived at the river and everyone grabbed there tubes. After ten seconds my shirt got soaked so I just threw it to the river bank.
The first bar was only a three minute tube down the river but it was amusing trying to figure out how to get out into the platform.
Straight away the atmosphere continued with 100 crammed into this small bar on the water. It was sinking due to the sheer numbers and the songs were absolutely blaring. Insects clambering up people to avoid the water an absolutely absurd atmosphere but an amazing one.
After two hours of boozing further on the cheap drinks and the pre-made mixes we left the bar to tube down the river to the second bar.
The tube here took about an hour but we chilled and drunk and chatted as a group but also making new friends along the way down the river. I can’t describe anything quite like it.
We arrived at this bar and my mix was finished as was everyone else’s. everyone being extremely drunk by this point. After an extremely strong mix here we tuned off again to get to the final and best bar.
After a struggle with drunken people falling off tubes we got to the final bar (with a little help from the boat).
A mass of people descended onto the bar everyone drunk and socialising, a great atmosphere.
At this bar there was a volleyball court and a zip line into the water which I took advantage of. Meeting a multitude of new people I ended up chatting with a girl from Sevenoaks whose brother I knew. Small world.
After dancing mainly with Olly and some Canadian girls. My group joined us and we danced till the sunset.
We got organised songthaews back to Nana where I chatted with Olly and arrived back.
After grabbing food my stomach was playing up. Presumably the repercussions of some big nights in Vang Vieng so I couldn’t go out. Not many of our group did from the post tubing hangovers so we chatted for a bit and grabbed an early night.
What an amazing day though, tubing was weirdly amazing.
DAY 32Mar 01 2019
Today was a write off. So Ill. I had an awful night sleep the night before from people being sick in the dorm and needin to jump off my top bunk and go to the communal toilets so I woke up extremely tired.
Ben was feeling the same so we decided to move hostels to a cheaper, quieter bungalow where we had a private bathroom. So, naturally, I sorted this out for the both of us and we said goodbye to our friends and moved over to Molinas Bungalows for midday.
After checking in Ben fell asleep and I watched videos frequently visiting the toilet rueing the Lao vodka for presumably doing this to me!
This continued till about 4/5 when we decided to brave a dash for food. We grabbed western food (thinking it better on the stomach) and headed straight back.
Pat text me asking if we would join him and Liv for dinner and I said I’d come along but wouldn’t eat. Ben agreed.
We went to a nice restaurant and watched them each. On the way back we walked along walking street towards Nanas to say a proper goodbye to JJ and Josh who would not be coming to Vientiane.
After this we returned home hoping to feel better for the bus to Vientiane.
DAY 33Mar 02 2019
We awoke at about 10 and needed to get ready quickly for our 10:40 bus. After having an Imodium I felt slightly better and felt I would be okay without the toilet for a couple of hours.
The bus was so crammed and I ended up having to hold some local laundry which made it even more unbearable. Everyone was pissed off and tired after it.
Ben, Torsten and I arrived at the hostel I had booked and Torsten decided it wasn’t good enough for him so he went off to a private room.
Ben and Torsten wanted to go to a pizza place for food but I decided to look around Vientiane for a place to watch the football. I decided I didn’t want to go all the way to the pizza place so let Pat and Liv know what I was doing and I ate at The State of Pasta - a gorgeous pasta bar where you could create your own meal. I quite enjoyed half an hour of alone time.
Pat and Liv later joined me so I sat with them while they ate. Afterwards we went to a sports bar and I let the others (Ben, Torsten and also Alana and Amie) know what we were doing.
The others joined later on one by one but pat and I mainly focussed on the football watching arsenal and Tottenham draw.
After this, the others went to another bar. I strolled off to see the night market on my own as I didn’t feel I should drink given my continued dodgy stomach. I scoped our the market looking at what was on offer then sat by the river for about twenty minutes enjoying my own company.
After this I returned to the twenty-bed dorm and eventually fell asleep.
DAY 34Mar 03 2019
I awoke still not feeling 100% and worse than the day before.
Torsten, Ben and I got lunch at about midday and wandered around Vientiane for a bit looking at the odd temple.
I felt too ill to continue with them so went back to the dorm and had some quiet time.
In the afternoon I felt a bit better so decided to go to the mall in Vientiane centre to find a new top.
We wandered through small market stalls which adjoined to massive Brands stores, very weird. There were vendors selling everything including what looked like live guns as well as knuckledusters. Quite scary how easy it would’ve been to get one.
After grabbing an ice cream I felt a lot better and continued my pursuit for a top. Eventually I found one at the bargain price of 40,000 (£3.50 or so) so treated myself.
We walked back and I needed more rest time before Ben and I grabbed food together - he wanted to try the pasta place I had discovered.
After this we went on pursuit of a bar that would have the football on. We settled in a bar and Pat and Liv joined us as did Torsten later on.
I didn’t drink but the others enjoyed cocktails and beers in front of the boring Merseyside derby until the bar shut with thirty minutes of the game still left.
After this I went to bed hoping to start feeling a bit better for Vietnam.
DAY 35Mar 04 2019
Today was the day we were to fly to Hanoi. After a nice breakfast I felt a bit better and Ben and I wandered to get passport photos done and money exchanged.
After this, our invitation letters arrived so we got a cab to the airport.
For a capital city airport it was small, only flying to other Southeast Asian countries. It reminded me of a smaller Stansted.
Checking in and security were possibly too easy and we had got through and onto the flight which was only half an hour delayed.
The journey was easy only taking about an hour or so.
Vietnam was more difficult however. Getting the visas was an effort and costly and nobody at the airport was really interested in letting us know what to do.
By the time our visa was sorted we went to get our bags and they had been taken off the conveyor belt and literally dumped in the middle of Hanoi airport.
I sorted a SIM card out and then went to get a private bus. We settled on a price but he decided to wait for some others so Ben and I just got our bags and got our to get the far cheaper public bus. It wasn’t too bad for forty minutes.
We got off the bus in old town and oh my gosh the streets were manic. The traffic here in Hanoi is ridiculous. You have to just walk into the road and cars and scooters avoid you rather than stopping, even when the green man shows.
We walked to Republik hostel and settled in taking advantage of free beers on offer. We also met up with Sam who we hadn’t seen since Vang Vieng.
After food and an atrocious tasting chilli shot the bartender at our hostel randomly made us we meet a Belgian guy called Pierre and he joined us to go into the pod quarters where you can buy beer for 5,000 dong (20p or so).
We took full advantage of them and then out of nowhere I hear a massive bang. We turn around on our stools and a local has flown off the back of a scooter and is bleeding from his head in the middle of the street. Really scary people crowding round including Liv (first time I have seen her since Pai).
They stabilise the man and then about half hour later the ambulance arrives and they lift him up (still bleeding) onto the ambulance. So scary it happening right behind us.
Eventually the commotion dies down and we get back to drinking. We see Alana (the Australian girl I’ve had eyes for for a few days) and continue onto two more bars.
She leaves eventually and us guys just chat and drink before leaving back to our hostel at about 3. We arrive back, continue drinking with some others and then eventually I head off to bed.
DAY 36Mar 05 2019
Feeling a bit worse for West I didn’t leave my bed until gone 11:30. After a quick shower I suggested to Ben we go down to the lake in the middle of the city near a number of temples and pagodas.
The walk to the lake was about twenty minutes but we found it easily enough. After chilling observing the beautiful lake we saw someone from the hostel and grabbed an ice cream.
They left and we sorted out tickets for a water puppet show to be seen later than afternoon.
To kill time before the puppet show we walked to train street and had a drink and checked out a local mall before having tea at KFC with a nice view over the lake.
Eventually it was time to watch the show and it was so strange. An amazing but weird experience. So random these water puppets dancing about the lit water stage depicting important traditional occurrences in Vietnamese culture such as the golden turtle in the lake. I laughed most the way through at the weirdness of it all.
After this we returned to the hostel at about 8.30. After laying down for a couple of hours I got myself dressed and went up to the chilled out roof terrace to chill with Pierre and Ben. Torsten, hilly and Marie arrived late in it the evening so they came to enjoy drinks with us as well.
After the rooftop terrace shut we went down to have a few games of pool then went to bed.
DAY 37Mar 06 2019
Despite saying we would wake up early it didn’t happen and we didn’t leave the hostel until 12 again. We met Hilly and a guy she had done the walking tour that morning with and decided to head off to the Mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh.
We ate and then also bumped into Torsten on the way who joined us to the Mausoleum.
We saw important building like the communist party building and capital building then went through security to check out the Mausoleum. It was touristy.
After this we went into the Ho Chi Minh museum. I was with Torsten for most of this and we laughed our way around the peculiar exhibits and abstract artwork on offer.
After the museum we headed along a busy road bridge to look at the unattractive river. Post river we booked our bus to Sa Pa (Hilly, Torsten, Ben and I) and headed back to the hostel.
Again we took my speakers up to the rooftop bar and chatted and laughed the night away. Liv and Pat joined us as well which was really nice and we met some Danish guys who were nice.
At about 1 we called it a day needing to be up at 5:30 the next day for a bus to Sa Pa.
DAY 38Mar 07 2019
I arose early and extremely tired but needing to get the bus to sapa with Ben, Torsten and Heleen. Pierre and Marie also decided to come but they were getting a different bus at the same time.
We were supposed to be getting transport to the bus station at 7 but it was late (no surprises here in Asia) but we got on a bus by 8:30.
The bus was interesting. They have two tiered sleeping chairs where you can lie down and try and get some sleep. It was surprisingly comfortable and I slept for most the 6 hour journey to sapa.
We arrived in the northern town at about 3 and said goodbye to our newly made german friends on the bus. I intend to go for a drink with Kira when I get the chance, a really lovely girl.
We caught our bearings in sapa to eventually find our hostel. Again I had to share with Ben but this was all that we could get for four.
We went out to see a bit of sapa and organise a tour to the ethnic minority villages and see the scenery of rice paddies and mountains and found one at a relatively cheap price so decided to book it for the day after. Pierre and Marie did the same and it became a private tour for the six of us.
We went for really nice food at little sapa and a couple of drinks in a bar which was absolutely dead bar a married couple in their late twenties. We chatted with them for a bit but then went to bed to get up for the trekking the next day.
DAY 39Mar 08 2019
We woke up and grabbed breakfast from our place before walking to the tour place for 9:30.
When we arrived we were greeted by Tar-Mee, a red khao ethnic minority’s guide who was to take us around the tour.
We started walking from sapa stopping off at the market to grab some appropriate footwear and rain jackets.
We walked into the fields passing small villages and so many farm animals and dogs.
The walking was relatively easy but we got to see some amazing views especially of the local terraced rice paddies that sapa has become famous for.
With six of us we chatted away and took in the views before stopping at a popular stopping place for lunch. A nice fried noodles before heading off to the village Tar-Mee lived in.
All in all once we arrived at the village we had walked about 15km and everyone was pretty tired.
We had some local tea and went to buy a couple of beers from the local village store. After this we looked around the village and returned to the home stay.
Tar-Mee lived with her husband, her sons, her daughter in law and their children. She was only 41 yet had grandchildren. All in all 10 people lived in the house but it was bigger than expected. Tar-Mee told us of wedding traditions in her tribe which was fascinating and then we ate.
The food was lovely home-cooked Vietnamese dishes and everyone thoroughly enjoyed it whilst chatting with Tar-Mee and her nephew who also spoke some English.
The husband spoke no English but kept topping up or shot glasses with home brew rice wine and toasting for everyone to drink.
We drank a lot! In the end I must have had 12 shots of rice wine just with Tar-Mee’s family. We drank so much that as a group we finished the two bottles they had brewed so another few family members brought theirs round so we could continue.
The family went to bed but we stayed up chatting and laughing before finally hitting the sack.
A great day and a really authentic look as to what village life entailed.
DAY 40Mar 09 2019
I awoke with a sore throat but not feeling too bad and okay for another trek.
We had a lovely pancake breakfast made by Tar-Mee and then headed off to climb up the mountain.
The walk was a lot more difficult than the day before but we all managed it with frequent stops for water and chats.
This walk meant climbing quite high up the mountain and going through very small but idyllic villages. We climbed above the fog and looked down upon the valleys.
Despite being foggy it was still a great experience with some lovely views.
After grabbing a noodle soup which was average at a local village we continued walking until about 3 when we got picked up by a minibus.
Everyone was knackered, it had been a long two days. When we got back to sapa we checked into our respective hostels and chilled out and showered for about two hours.
After this we all went for dinner together and a couple of drinks at a bar in sapa before retiring to bed for sleep ahead of an early wake up the next day to head to cat ba.
DAY 41Mar 10 2019
I awoke early in the morning for the bus to cat ba. The wake up was for 7:30 and we eventually got on the bus at 9:30 at the bus station; typical Asian transport, I’m so used to it now!
The bus was okay, a bit stuffy, but I was on a top bunk sleeper which is generally better as locals tend to sleep in the aisles of the bus.
I slept for the first two hours before the first stop off but after that not at all on the 9 hour journey making it a very long one but eventually we made it to the ferry port. The bus squeezed onto the smallest gap on the ferry and took us along to cat ba island itself.
We arrived and walked up the hill to our hostel, showered and headed out for food.
We went to oasis for the feel and the food was nice. This also happened to be the most happening bar in cat ba so we stayed all night meeting new people, dancing and having a great time.
When I got home I FaceTimed mum finally having the internet allowing me to catch up at 6 in the morning.
After this I went up to the rooftop bar and chilled with Ben and Torsten until about 8 when we made use of the free breakfast possibly annoying the people who had just awoke to grab breakfast before boat tours.
DAY 42Mar 11 2019
I awoke at about midday extremely tired and hungover and wanting western food.
We went to oasis bar for about 1 and got a burger and it affected me straight away.
Everyone else went to the beach but I just couldn’t I felt so Ill while walking around cat ba looking for a tour that would be suitable.
I went home in the worry I would shit myself or be sick in the middle of cat ba and spent the rest of the day and night in the bathroom unable to stop going to the toilet and being sick. Truly horrible.
Torsten especially was very worried looking after me when they returned giving me german medicines that didn’t seem to do much but I was very appreciative and everyone offered to get me food/drink if I needed it.
They all went out but I was just so happy when I was able to finally stop being sick and fall asleep. I was so worried that I wouldn’t be well enough to go on the Ha Long Bay your the next day but I had taken a number of different medicines so I was hoping one of them worked well enough to get me through the tour.
DAY 43Mar 12 2019
I got myself up early to see if I’d be okay to do the tour. I had Imodium, paracetamol and some coal stuff Torsten gave me and felt a bit better than the night before so decided I’d do this once in a lifetime experience and smile through the illness. Most of it had subsided anyway being what I presume to have been an instantly bad bout of food poisoning.
We got to Cat Ba Green Trail Tours at 7:30 and took a minibus to the pier where we got on a nice boat with a chilled out downstairs indoor area and a gorgeous upper deck. There were 25 people on the tour.
Once our guide Thang had told us the itinerary we set off for Long Ha Bay which is just outside Ha Long and less touristy.
The limestone cliffs and islands that jutted our in the bay were amazing with little fishing villages dotted in amongst them with locals checking their nets and their dogs scaring the hawks away from their prized catches.
Thang was constantly talking and came to chat to me (presumably recognising I was English) and we had a half hour chat about the area and (mostly actually) about the premier league. He said he was an avid arsenal supporter and told me how important the premier league is to vietnamese people.
After seeing some beautiful scenery the boat stopped and we went to do some kayaking. Ben and I went together, Heleen and Marie and Torsten and Pierre. The kayaking was great. Through limestone mountains and caves where we needed the provided headtorches, the experience was fantastic. With Thang taking photos constantly to be sent to us all by email.
After the kayaking Thang showed us the biggest local fish that are farmed by the locals. We saw large Cobia fish (they call these the brother of the shark) and large Red and Black Snappers as well as a large grouper. We were to have one of these black snappers for lunch.
From here we went to a secluded bay within the Ha Long Bay (the UNESCO heritage site that is the main tourist attraction on the eastern coast of Vietnam). We were able to jump in from the boat to the extremely salty water and Thang again took a number of photos of everyone in the water and jumping in. He liked me after our football conversation so took quite a few of our group.
This swimming was the best part of the tour just having a laugh with friends in the ocean secluded and surrounded by limestone monoliths.
After swimming it was time for lunch. I still wasn’t feeling 100% but the medicine and the novelty of the activity day kept me from feeling too ill. The food was lovely, amazing fresh Vietnamese Black snapper from the morning, fresh fish cakes that tasted like meat, pad Thai. Spring rolls and plenty more. A nice lunch.
After lunch we headed to Monkey Island. This was quite a journey (about an hour) and I played my songs as we all fell dozed on deck in the sun.
We arrived at monkey island and we were instantly greeted by crazy monkeys. Thang had warned us not to take anything but our phones on the island and you could see why.
We walked (and mainly rock climbed) to a viewpoint at the top of the island to see along Long Ha Bay. It was an amazing view.
After this we headed down to the beach of the island where I started chatting to a group of girls on our tour, two American. One Vietnamese and a girl from Brighton. This was nice as I wanted fresh and new conversation. Mainly chatting about Cambodia and with the Brighton girl people we mutually knew at home.
From monkey island it wasn’t far back to cat ba. We disembarked the boat and said goodbye to Thang; the best tour guide I have had in Asia by miles.
After this we all showered and grabbed food with Sabrina (the others had met her the night before) and Kasia (just arrived and came to say hello).
After food we headed to oasis for the free beer at 10. I only had three beers this night as my stomach still wasn’t great.
I stayed and danced and chatted with everyone but I wasn’t in the mood come midnight so went to bed ready to head to Ninh Binh the next day.
DAY 44Mar 13 2019
I woke up quite late, clearly needing the sleep and I felt mostly revitalised.
The bus was at 1 so I just packed up, checked out and grabbed lunch on the rooftop. Sabrina and Heleen were there and others joined as time got closer to 1.
We got on the bus at about 1:30 in the end and the journey wasn’t great. The bus was sweaty being rammed against the window but we reached Ninh Binh by 6.
We grabbed a cab to the booked place and settled in. We grabbed food which was very average and then stayed up playing pool having a couple of beers and chatting together.
I had an early night again going to bed just after 12 ready to get up early and travel around the Trang An and Tam Coc area.
DAY 45Mar 14 2019
I got up early and had the free breakfast. We got scooters, 3 between all 6 of us and Ben got on the back of mine. We drove to see Trang An and it seemed like it would be quite dissapointing so we left there to go to the Hang Nua viewpoint.
We got scammed by a guy in the middle of the road into parking our bikes which I said was a scam but Torsten and Ben said they wanted to pay to park our bikes up.
At the viewpoint, the climb to the top was short enough but very steep. The view from the top was surprisingly good given the struggled visibility and I just chilled on my own leaning on the rock dragon.
Eventually I left the top and regrouped with the others before walking down and grabbing lunch.
After this we drove around on scorers and took in the scenery. You can see why people say Ninh Binh area is the Ha Long Bay on land, with massive limestone outcrops littering the landscape.
We needed to return the scooters for 2:30 so that Pierre and Marie could get the bus to Hanoi to go and get their bikes.
We said goodbye to Pierre and Marie and then went to go to check in at a new hostel just across the road.
We signed up for the family meal and chilled by the pool in hammocks until our room was ready.
Eventually 7 came round and it was time for the family meal. We sat down and spoke to new faces including Lisa (a woman in her 40s from Horley) and Marie (a german girl).
After a Vietnamese cheers everyone dug in and starting having a number of rice wine shots. The food was nice enough but the rice wine was great as was the atmosphere.
After a lot of drink and food we went to the hostel bar area to sing some karaoke. I did a rendition of a random song that had come on and everyone laughed.
Ben had lost a bet and had to go in the pool naked. The girl he had made the bet with melted so I decided I couldn’t leave him on his own so stripped off and dived in.
As soon as I was on Torsten, Heleen, Lisa and another girl joined and we threw the ball around and laughed.
When we got out we returned to the bar area and chatted and laughed. I was walking with another girl and she dropped a glass right in front of me so I got cut by the bottle, quite deeply.
The Vietnamese family rushed around to elevate my foot, take out the glass (I hope) and bandage it up. It really hurt.
I soldiered on slightly through the night but then my foot hurt too badly so I had to retire to bed.
A great day but a horrible end.
DAY 46Mar 15 2019
I woke up late knowing I needed the sleep and assessed the damage to my foot. As expected it was pretty bad.
I limped to the showers and cleaned the wound before disinfecting and bandaging it up hoping to strap the gash together with plasters and a bandage. I was quite proud of the job I had done for my first attempt at this sort of thing.
We checked out at 12 and just chilled in the hostel reception area for a couple of hours, eating and chatting with everyone. Clark had come over and him and heleen were to scooter to Trang An but I decided I couldn’t do that with my foot. I also caught up with Liv and Pat who had arrived the day before as they scooted over to our hostel. It was really nice to catch them I really get on with both of them.
After respective parties had left Ben, Torsten, Lisa and I went to a rooftop pool area I had seen the day before and wasted some time there before coming back to the hostel reception for 5.
Torsten, Ben, Heleen, German Marie and I regrouped and got in a minivan to take us to the bus station for our overnight bus to Hue.
We had food at the bus station then jumped on a pretty shitty night bus at about 8:30.
This was to be a long night and so it proved.
DAY 47Mar 16 2019
The bus arrived in Hue at about 7:30 in the morning. I had slept enough on it but the constant beeping of the horn kept me up at times.
After figuring our bearings we walked to Hue Happy Homestay where we were greeted by Viet, the owner and such a character.
We dropped our bags off then went to get some breakfast. I had a bacon and sausage muffins which was lovely.
After food we walked as a group of five to the Forbidden City (old centre of Hue). There wasn’t much there but it was nice enough to wander around and see.
By now it was lunchtime so we walked back grabbing lunch on the way and walking along the river.
Everyone crashed for a bit so we just chilled out before going for a walk later on to the markets.
We returned to the Hostel where we were greeted with a free beer each at 7.
The hostel was quiet but we met two guys called Dennis (American) and Tim (Dutch). As a group of seven we then headed out and had some drinks before ending up in a bar/club.
Everyone peeled off heading home at different times but when Torsten, Ben and Dennis started dancing it was time for me to go home (with my foot issues).
DAY 48Mar 17 2019
Marie and Heleen headed off to Hoi An quite early in the morning and it was just the three of us and Dennis left.
We took time to get up and get our but Ben and I went for food with Dennis at about 11.
Pat had been in contact with me and they had arrived in Hue in the morning. After food we caught up with them and had a beer then headed to the abandoned waterpark I was so excited to go to.
We got a grab (taxi) there and the driver was hilarious, google translating conversations with me about everything imaginable.
When we got to the waterpark we had to tip the security guard 20,000 dong (67pence).
We went in a wandered. It was eerily silent and coed and dogs now inhabited the former amusement park.
We wandered through statute areas and an abandoned amphitheatre with no water left in the pool area and smashed up chairs and restrooms.
Liv and I found a simulator that used to be used and with great difficulty managed to climb up into it. A good experience.
From here we walked to the abandoned slides. I climbed up one slide and down another one. There were very few people here and the state of disrepair and ruin was weird.
From the slides we went to the dragon. A former aquarium in the park looking over the lake. We climbed the dragon and I managed to find a way to get on its tail with Pat.
There were few people there but those that were all watched in amazement as Pat and I scaled the dragon tail. It was fun!
After this we squeezed five into a four person grab with the same driver who didn’t care. He was even more of a nutter on the way back. Showing me videos of his family and old people dancing and blasting tunes very loud, cutting into traffic lines. Absolutely crazy.
We got back and Guus had arrived!!! It was so good to see him, Ben and I ran up to his room the floor above and chatted away with him for about an hour just catching up on travel stories.
We all went out for food and then to more bars and the same club as the night before. Everyone was very drunk and it was a lovely day and evening.
DAY 49Mar 18 2019
I woke up hungover and on my own in a hostel room for the first time in forever. Ben and Torsten had got up early for the bus to Danang. It felt weird.
I got up eventually and went downstairs and checked out. Viet was sad to see me go.
I went to a hotel I had booked the day before which cost £6 and it was lovely. They let me check in early and I chilled more. It was so nice to have my own room and space for the first time in almost two months.
I did next to nothing all day. Just watching YouTube on my room and tv.
Eventually I decided I should get out so look up cinema listings in Hue’s big cinema complex. Captain Marvel was on in English at 6 so I headed out towards the cinema.
I grabbed food on the way, a jelly snack with fish sauce that people of Hue love. It was average.
Pat and Liv met me to come watch the film and we walked to the cinema.
My ticket, popcorn and a massive drink cost me just over £4.
The Film itself was alright but not as good as I thought it was going to be.
Afterwards I walked with Pat and Liv to Motorvina to pick up our bikes for the Hai Van Pass.
I drove mine down the road to my hotel and chilled waiting to hear from Guus if he wanted a drink. He didn’t as he had an early flight so I went to bed early as I had to be up and ready to drive 200km the next day.
DAY 50Mar 19 2019
I got up early and was ready on my bike for 8:30 to head off. Pat and Liv arrived a little late and we figured the route out roughly.
We set off and fuelled up. The bike was more powerful than I was used to, it was a 135cc. Despite one wrong turning we made it to the straight road heading toward Hai Van.
The drive was lovely, with mass graves and temple shrines littering the side of the road.
When we reached the main road to the pass it was time to speed up hitting speeds of 70kmph. I went over a drain and my water bottles jumped out the bike and rolled down the road. It was funny.
We drove for about two hours till reaching the elephant springs. The road up to the elephant springs was so bumpy. We got there and set up towels on some rocks. The water was so nice and refreshingly cool after the long ride. Pat started chatting to a Vietnamese family there and they gave us some hard sour fruit. It was horrible but the gesture was nice.
We drove for about another half hour until we reached just before the Hai Van Pass. In order to get to the beach we went down a very narrow alleyway barely enough to fit the bikes. It was hilarious and made me feel like I have now started to be able to drive a scooter.
We arrived at the beach and grabbed lunch. I had local mussels; they were green but delicious.
After this we refuelled and Pat had to sort his front tyre out to Liv’s discontent at a local mechanic. It was going flat.
After all this was sorted we got onto the pass. A long winding road with amazing views of the bay and beaches and mountains. We stopped a number of times on the way to take pictures.
I saw a lovely little turret that would’ve been used in the Vietnam war which her could sit on top of which had the best view on the whole pass. We admired the view for a while here.
Jumping back onto the bikes and navigating some sharp but easy enough turns we made it to the view of Hoi An and Danang. Wow what a view over the cities and marble mountains.
From here we ended on the pass and got into Danang. Here the drive for hard.
The main road was ridiculous during rush hour. Scooters weaving in and out and buses and cars constantly honking.
I drove as carefully as possible but not too carefully as this is dangerous in these road conditions. It was stressful but fun at the same time.
Eventually we made it near the mountain and looked at a smaller one before heading back a calmer route to give the motorbikes to the motorvina Danang office.
We have the bikes back dirty, tired an satisfied with the drive. We got a cab to where Ben and Torsten were staying and then headed out for food and a congratulatory drink.
Eventually we caught up with Ben and Torsten and we got a load of vodka in and listened to tunes and chatted on the beach till about 3.
A great day and so proud of myself for doing it. I’ll never forget it.
DAY 51Mar 20 2019
After just getting up for the free breakfast I said goodbye to Ben and torsten and then chilled out a bit before heading to join Liv and Pat at the beach at about 12:30.
The My Khe beach was lovely, I got a free sun lounger and just chilled for a bit before joining the other two in the sea. I’m not feeling like a third wheel yet. The sea was a lot warmer than at home, and I enjoyed a long paddle in the relatively strong waves and currents.
After the beach we all went back to the hostel. I fell asleep for a couple of hours then we went to food when I woke up. We walked quite a way to a nice restaurant. I had some form of garlic prawn soup which was nice.
After this we walked over one of the bridges getting a good view of the dragon bridge to a bar.
We had a couple of drinks then grabbed a grab back to the hostel for bed by midnight.
DAY 52Mar 21 2019
The three of us got up and checked out of the hostel. We walked to a museum on My Son architecture in south east Asia with a number of impressive statutes. It was something to buy us time.
We returned (after a banh mi) to the hostel for our cab driver to pick us up and take us to Hoi An.
The cab driver was insane but we made it to Hoi An and booked into the hostel I had been told everyone was staying. Turns out they’d told me the wrong hostel but the room was okay and cheap for Hoi An.
We went out to discover a bit of the city and then settled in for food and a couple of drinks.
All the others joined us here, quickly catching Torsten, then Helene and German Marie before their night train. Edin, Torsten’s love interest joined us and then Ben and then finally I got to see Pierre and Belgian Marie. So nice to see them and catch up on the stories we had missed in the time
After beers we went to a different bar and eventually ended up in Why Not Bar very drunk. It was nice to see old faces again and nicer to know we would all be in the same hostel tomorrow closer to the beach.
DAY 53Mar 22 2019
Liv woke Pat and I at 10:55 saying we had to check out at 11. I quickly got dressed and sprinted down to ask for an extra hour which was granted.
We labourer got ourselves ready; I was extremely hungover as was Pat. We had a banh mi with Ben and Torsten then I went to check out the tailors with Liv and Pat.
All the suits were too expensive and I couldn’t get the tiger print bag I wanted so we then joined the others at the hostel (Paddy’s) closer to the beach.
After settling in to a nice dorm room we went to the beach to play some volleyball and swim to try and alleviate our hangovers. Some Vietnamese men joined us hitting the ball around in the water which was funny.
After drying ourselves we popped for dinner by the beach then started wandering back to the hostel for free beer and cheap drink hours.
After showering and sorting myself out I joined others downstairs. It turned into a drinking game night with some Scottish girls, American and French Guys and a load of others. This got everyone very drunk.
We headed to a beach club as a big group. I had to help pat get in and then we chilled and drunk the nighty away.
Liv had to take pat home as he was too drunk and I regrouped with Pierre, Marie and three other girls they vaguely knew (they were so boring).
I decided to go for a late night skinny dip and Ben eventually regrouped with our group so came in with me.
We got the free shuttle back to the hostel. After picking pat up from our dorm bathroom floor and putting him to bed I myself grabbed some sleep.
DAY 54Mar 23 2019
Yet again it was a late start to the day getting myself up properly for 12. Everyone was hungover again but Ben, Pat, Liv and I made it to the beach to find Torsten and Edin.
The walk to where they were was long along the beach and we had to cross overflowing sandbags. Ben fell in right by a local school so all the kids were laughing at him.
Eventually we made it to Torsten and jumps in the water and chilled out for a while on the beach. Pierre joined us.
After the beac we headed back to the hostel. After showering Torsten shaved the sides of my hair to beaten it up a bit and also gave Pat a haircut.
We headed to the Hoi An night market as a big group and grabbed so much street food, it was lovely.
I caught up with Mum and my brothers before they had her party and then led everyone to the Main Street of bars.
After enjoying a number of 5k beers (20p) we headed to a rooftop bar. I didn’t like the atmosphere that much but we got a free shisha.
Afterwards we split. Some of us went to Opio beach club and the rest went home.
Opio was okay but Pierre and Marie were quite quiet as were Ben and Torsten so it was up to me to make most the conversation including with two new german people and Swiss Sam from back in Laos and Hanoi. The three boring girls also came but I couldn’t be bothered to make any effort with them.
The place was pretty average, again I went for a skinny dip (this time with Torsten).
We left at about 3 but there were no taxis available so we had to walk back an hour which didn’t help everyone’s mood.
DAY 55Mar 24 2019
We woke (again quite late and tired) and checked out of our hostel. Torsten, Ben, Pat, Liv and I were heading for Da Lat that night on the night bus.
Feeling very sorry for myself I got a cab with Pierre and Ben to meet the others in town. We went for a banh mi and eventually regrouped with the others by the small food market.
The weather was awful so a lot of this hungover day was spent avoiding being outside.
Eventually I had had enough so said we should get a taxi back and charge electronic devices before the 14hour bus.
We did this and ended up getting on the bus at 5/6. The journey was long but I just watched a new series on my newly downloaded Netflix and took a sleeping pill. Even still it were to be a slow evening.
DAY 56Mar 25 2019
We arrived in Da Lat at 6am. I was so tired but had at least managed a few hours sleep.
We went to the hostel (Dalat Family Hostel) and the two sisters there were so nice cooking us banana pancakes and lemon juice at 6:30 in the morning.
We couldn’t check in till 12 so we went to discover Da Lat centre by its lake.
The walk was long being so tired but we reached a nice lake where I chilled out on my own for a bit before the others caught up.
After this we headed to a coffee shop for an ice cream and a sit down.
Pat, Liv and I got a grab to the cable car and Ben and Torsten just wandered around.
The cable car was okay although I had to plead them to let us on because the woman working there was confused.
We arrived at the bigger lake in Da Lat from the cable car. I could tell pat and Liv wanted to do a pedalo so I just walked around the gorgeous lake a bit then did a crossword in a coffee shop there.
After this ya three headed back to the hostel to check in and get lunch.
After a chillout period Torsten and Ben returned. I went out to the main communal area of the hostel with them and I started chatting to some german guys and two sisters from America.
After this I turned to see those who had returned from canyoning and saw a surprise but familiar face. Standing at reception was Bethan Daniels (primary school, Hever castle and mate group from home). She sprinted over to give me a big hug and grab a picture with me. We were both shocked at the randomness.
I only got an hour chatting to her about where I had been and what I’d done because she had the night bus up to Hoi An at 5 but it was still a lovely reminder of home.
After this we all enjoyed the family meal put on. Continuing to chat with the same girls and guys from earlier. After two buckets and other numerous drinks we went to what the hostel called the rave cave. Here I put my music on and we drunk until it was time to go to maze bar.
Maze bar was interesting. So many small passages everywhere, it was so hard navigating but very funny. Emmy (one of the sisters) got too drunk so I organised for her to get home and tried to sober her up for a bit.
After she had gone we all crowded into a minivan to take us to the after party place. When I say all, I mean all, there were about twenty people in. This minivan it was hilarious.
The sixth floor after party was funny, just dancing and joking as a big group.
I eventually got home, squeezed into a taxi boot with six of us in the cab. A funny night but I had to be up early for canyoning.
DAY 57Mar 26 2019
I got up early (8:15ish) and packed my stuff up. I got ready and went to the communal area to grab a water to sober up before canyoning.
Emmy caught me outside and apologised profusely for her state the night before. She bought me my water and all was forgiven.
Pat and Liv materialised slightly later and we got in the minivan to take us to canyoning. I got chatting to these three girls from Bromley on our tour group as well.
We initially signed a waiver and got a medical check which was slightly unnerving. Everyone in the group of ten then had a go at abseiling down on the practice wall. The right hand regulated how far you went and the left anchored.
After the practice we had a walk to the first waterfall. It was a small one and I careered down relatively easily before a 1m drop where I was told to let go. It was great fun.
After this we had a backwards jump into the water to swim and reach a powerful waterfall. The jump was funny and grabbing onto the waterfall rocks despite the strong current was a challenge.
After this there was a slight drop of about 3m then you had to grab onto the zipline and go into some shallow water. This was funny but the water was quite shallow so had to be careful.
We then had a small waterfall slide to go down. The guide grabbed the lifejacket and threw you down the waterfall. It was so fun!! Only pat and I went again and the guide this time spun you round and sent us down backwards. This hurt my back slightly hitting a loose rock but was so fun!
After this was the biggest abseil. There was a 25m waterfall that we had to career down. It was scary but there was no way any of the three of us were not going to do it.
I went first and it was great but intense. Careering down a very fast flowing waterfall with no grip on my shoes was so funny. I slipped but remembered how to stay up and managed to battle the water to stand up again. After posing for a photo from the guide halfway I made it and he was shouting JUMP. Unsure but trusting them I jumped backwards letting go of the rope. I fell for what seemed like ages backwards on this 5m drop. So fun and tiring.
Pat went next and I watched from the bottom. He fell twice which Jess amusing for me and then also fell into the water.
Liv was after him with Winnie (one of the Bromley girls). Winnie was unsure but I reassured her to do it saying how much she would regret it.
Both of these two were so slow and safe but made it without slipping to Pat and Mine’s displeasure. Winnie thanked me profusely for giving her the nudge she needed with her mates melting which was nice to see.
Next we had a jump from the top of a waterfall. The fall was about 7m. It was fun jumping in and pat loved it but we couldn’t persuade Liv to do it which was a shame.
After this tiring experience there was one more big conquest to undertake; the washing machine falls. Here we had to abseil down about 7m and then free abseil down through the flowing waterfall. It was tough and thank god for the protective gear as I clipped my helmet on a rock as I resurfaced from being dragged down into the waterfall. So funny but required a lot of determination, nerves and arm strength.
This was the end of the canyoning and we made banh mi after in the waterfall area before walking back steeply uphill to the minivan to take us home.
I loved the canyoning such good fun and so glad I did it wit Pat and Liv despite it being expensive.
We got back to the hostel for about 5 and caught up with the others seeing Nick (German guy from night before), Emmy and her sister and Paige, Ben and Torsten.
We were moving to a nice Airbnb pat had found so we took all the bags as a three while Ben and Torsten went for a walk.
We arrived at the bnb. And it was nice. A big double bed for everyone. After taking my time to chillout (much needed rest) we all regrouped for about 8 to walk into Da Lat for food.
We had a nice burger in town and checked out the night market before grabbing a crate of beer and heading back to the bnb.
We all stayed up a while playing cards and chatting and drinking. Liv and Pat went to bed at about 12:30 and Torsten 12:45. Ben and I stayed chatting and laughing until about 1:30 when we both decided we should go to bed with a 10 o’clock bus to Mue Ni the next day.
Such a good day, one of the best of my trip so far.
DAY 58Mar 27 2019
We got up early to get the bus to Mue Ne. After waiting for a while we got on the bus at 10 and headed off for the beachside town.
The bus journey wasn’t very nice with it being more of a minibus crammed in rather than the usual sleeper buses I had become accustomed to.
We arrived at Mue Ne at about 3ish and took a cab to our hostel on the beach. We arrived and it seemed very chilled out with hammocks everywhere and people chilling by the sea.
All of us had a swim and drank some of the leftovers beers before grabbing food and showering ahead of 6o’clock.
At 6 was free beer hour. As much free draught beer as you wanted in the hour. Pat and I decided to hit this very hard. I lost at table tennis to him so had to down two straight beers (no shame he did play first team tennis for exeter).
After this we all played drinking killer pool, it was a heavy hour.
Afterwards the buckets were cheaper soour group plus a group of three german girls I had chatted to earlier played drinking games for a while.
Pat was too drunk for about 10:30 so Liv put him to bed but the rest of us and two german girls decide to jump in the sea which was just steps down from the hostel.
This was hilarious, the five of us (German girls got out by this point) jumped onto a really small fishing boat (a rounded one meant for one fisherman) whilst naked and laughed about it for ages before synchronisingly diving off different angles back into the ocean.
After getting out we were all still very drunk. I fell down the steps that were leading to the beach and injured my foot and knee but just laughed it off at the time. Everyone joked about my white arse and sprawled body.
After this Liv and Paige went to bed and the three of us stayed up chatting till about 3 then went to bed.
DAY 59Mar 28 2019
We got up late and all extended our stay in the hostel for another night. After nursing some strong hangovers and (for me) an injured knee and foot we decided to go to the beach.
We all arrived there and walked for what felt like ages on my foot to some sun loungers.
The beach was really nice actually. The six of us went swimming together trying to catch the flying fish that were nearby and inspecting the dead cuttlefish and other fish. Pat and I thought it’d be funny to throw them at people and it was.
After chilling out for ages chatting and napping we headed back to the hostel for 5ish when the happy hours started (it was two hours this day).
We started drinking in a chilled manner and had some food. Similarly to the night before we started drinking a bit more strongly towards 7.
After drinking for a while playing chilled drinking games we were joined by another group where we started drinking a bit more heavily.
Eventually they left to an after party and we all called it a night after a game of pool or two at about 1 as we had to be up at 4 for the sand dunes tour.
DAY 60Mar 29 2019
Absolutely knackered and hungover we got up at about 4:15,, chucked on clothes and jumped in the jeep to take us to the dunes. I felt so ill on the jeep o thought I would be sick.
Eventually (must’ve been about an hour drive) we arrived at the white sand dunes. We trudged up to the top of the dunes and it was nice enough, nothing special. Everyone jumped off the dunes but my foot wasn’t good enough for this so I just chilled. We then had the long trek back as well.
When we got back to the jeep it took us to the red sand dunes. Similarly to the white dunes these were okay but nothing special. Liv was definitely still drunk and was making a tit of herself which was amusing.
From here the tour took us to a fishing village. The village itself looked nice but we were so far away from it that it really wasn’t impressive.
After this the tour took us to the fairy stream. This had dunes/rock formations on one side and greenery on the other. It was okay but I was so hungover and felt grim so didn’t really take it in and just couldn’t wait to finish the disappointing tour.
We got back to the hostel for 9:30 and our bus to Ho Chi Minh was at 10 so showers were rushed and no chance to eat.
The bus was a sleeper which was nice and I was able to get a bit of sleep which made me feel much better.
We arrived in Ho Chi and got a grab to our swanky Airbnb for the night. Damn it was nice, a thirteenth floor apartment in a massive 26 floor building in the middle of the city.
After settling in we went up to the rooftop pool and swam together. It was so nice and the view was amazing.
By about 6:30 we were done with swimming and went to watch some Netflix and get a takeaway. We treated ourselves to copious amounts of dominoes and MacDonald’s, it was so nice.
After the Equalizer 2 finished we went to bed ready to see the Cu Chi tunnels the next day and move back to a hostel atmosphere.
DAY 61Mar 30 2019
We awoke lateish. We had to say goodbye to Paige who had to leave because of her visa to Cambodia.
After she had left Pat and I did a shop grabbing cereal and stuff that people would need for the journey to the tunnels. The five of us got on a minibus and met our guide who spoke very good English.
The journey to the tunnels took about an hour and a half. For the first half of it, our guide gave us a fascinating impact into politics and life in communist Vietnam. Me being me I decided to push him to find out stuff that perhaps he wouldn’t have been disclosing in public and his irritation and anger for the corruption and the way the system worked was eye-opening.
For the second half of the ride he spoke to us about the tunnels and the Vietnam war giving us a brief history debrief from a typically biased Vietnamese point of view.
When we arrived there were tourists but not as many as first anticipated. We walked through the gates and got straight to a hole that Viet Kong soldiers would’ve jumped into.
The hole had been widened for tourists but was still a tight squeeze. I was first to brave it and then the others ended up following suit.
After this we saw a wider tunnel which we could partially crawl into. This was an actual tunnel that was used not a remake.
It was scary. Crawling on your stomach into pitch black. We were only allowed to go a couple of metres in here and I understood why straight away. As soon as our guide said there would likely be snakes as well that was name scurrying straight out back the way I came.
Following this we got a more in depth view at the tunnels that would’ve been used and the systems and warfare tactics.
Following this we saw some replica traps the Vietnamese used against the American and the puppet government troops. These were brutal mainly consisting of slicing and impaling apparatus.
After declining to buy AK47 bullets we all continued on to crawl through a widened tunnel system. Our guide knew the area well so took us to a tighter group of tunnels that led to two bigger underground rooms. It was cool.
After this we headed back and I watched some videos to give me more knowledge of the conflict including the uprisings around the area in Laos and Cambodia.
When we arrived back we moved hostels and headed out for food. We got a lovely kebab as it was what Torsten wanted for his last night.
In addition Marie (German) joined us for drinks after and we had a few beers then went to bed after a lovely day.
DAY 62Mar 31 2019
Waking up with Torsten gone was strange. Guess it’s harder now that so many people seem to come and go. I got up at about 11 and did Rey little till we decided to all go out to the war remnants museum at 12:30.
After a drink and food on the way we arrived for about 2.
The museum was large with loads of replica tanks and helicopters and guns outside that were used in the war.
We went in and started my being given a brief (slightly biased) history on the war. This was followed by a gallery of war photographers pictures.
After this was the war crimes exhibition. This was dreadful seeing some of the atrocities that American soldiers carried out in both camps and in warfare. One such example being the use of agent orange which has led to a number of deformities in Vietnamese people and offspring.
After this there were more exhibitions and then a mock replica jail outside detailing the gruesome measures taken by the US in the prison camps.
Overall it was very interesting but quite shocking. More so than I had anticipated.
Following this we returned to the hostel for a chill then popped out for a nice meal and a couple of drinks. It would be the last night I get to chill with Pat and Liv till home as well so was quite sad.
We wandered furthered to find a place to watch the Liverpool game (Tottenham) then afterwards headed home.
DAY 63Apr 01 2019
We got up and checked out. After going for lunch together we all grabbed a taxi to the airport.
Here I said a hard goodbye to Pat and Liv. The shock of them and Torsten leaving in a short period of time was difficult to take. But it’s part of the experience I guess.
Ben and I arrived at the airport for about 3:30 and grabbed a McDonalds before sorting check in out.
Our flight to Phu Quoc was 5:15 but ended up leaving at more like 6:50. The flight was a tad bumpy but very short (about an hour) so didn’t matter.
After setting down we shared a taxi with a Taiwanese girl and got to our hostel. It was a shithole! I was furious, nothing like the pictures, no atmosphere and too hot to sleep in.
Ben was happy to stay there but I made my decision so we moved to the second choice hostel; Phu House Hostel.
We checked in and had a twelve bed dorm to ourselves. The rooms were lovely as well. Here I got the chance to wish mum a quick happy birthday before they went out for food.
We popped up to the bar to see if anybody was around and I got talking to a group of girls from Devon. They were nice.
After the bar shut at 10 we headed out to grab food and another drink. I had pasta and Ben had a pizza as the bar we ate seemed to be the only place nearby that was open.
After food I headed to bed at about 1.
DAY 64Apr 02 2019
I made the executive decision that we were getting scooters and heading up to the starfish beach on the northern bay of the island.
Ben had chatted to the Taiwanese girl the night before and she annoyingly decided she would follow us. The Devon girls also decided to do it upon my recommendation but set off earlier.
We got three scooters, Ben still a tad unsure on them but wanted to try. I was in charge of everything, where we ate, when we refuelled, the directions. I felt like I was banging them both a bit especially the Taiwanese girl who drove scooters at home and actually had internet which I didn’t. This naturally annoyed me somewhat but I let it slide.
We arrived at the beach and it was as good as everyone says it is. The sand was so white and the water so blue and also very warm.
Ben and I waded into the water and saw our first starfish. It was cool. We wandered further and you had to be careful where you put your feet there were so many of them.
Paddling above them I borrowed some goggles from some german people and got a closer look.
After this we chilled on the beach and I caught up with the Devon girls in the water later on. The beach was so nice just what me and my bad foot needed.
Following this i again led us back but it was getting later so busier in the town. Seeing as I had no means of knowing where to go in the city I told the Taiwanese girl (who had really started to annoy me with the amount of pictures she took) to lead the way using her google maps.
She went wrong a couple of times but we got back at least.
After this we chilled for a while and grabbed food out. Everywhere in Phu Quoc is Russian orientated it’s strange.
After this we grabbed a vodka and chatted in our still empty dorm room.
DAY 65Apr 03 2019
Again it was down to me to sort out what we were going to do. I decided to keep the scooters and drive to the south of the island to see the main popular beach, the prison and a waterfall.
We set off too late (about 1) and got to the beach for 2.
It was okay but not a great beach. The water was pristine but the actual beach was average.
I was ready to go and the Taiwanese girl was taking a shit load of photos again so I just gave them both an ultimatum. Come with me now or act like children and find your own way around.
This prompted them to naturally follow me but this girl had ruined my last day or two; so annoying and so immature.
We then went to the prison and I thoroughly enjoyed this. I ditched the other two to do it on my own as the Taiwan girl was too much.
I enjoyed adding to my knowledge reform Ho Chi Minh museum and once again had my eyes opened to the atrocities of the American soldiers.
After this I got us to the waterfall. After a moderate climb we reached the top and the waterfall was dried out anyway. After reflecting on my own in a dried out waterfall with just lizards for company I headed back the others following suit. We then scooted home.
As I walked in the dorm I was ecstatic to see another person. A French girl, very cute called Alice. After chatting with her she decided to come for food with Ben and I. We had shaken the Taiwanese girl for a couple of hours.
After a lovely pizza we headed back grabbing beers to chill with in our room.
We stayed up till 12 chatting and drinking. Another couple joined us who were in our dorm and it was nice enough. Just nice to have new company and stay away from the Taiwanese girl.
Little did I know Ben told her our flights and she booked the same one back to Saigon. This annoyed me as I had aired my grievances to him.
I went to sleep quite quickly knowing I would not get much of it as we had to be up early to go back to Saigon and then into Cambodia before the visa ran out.
Phu Quoc has been gorgeous but the company wasn’t the best.
DAY 66Apr 04 2019
I got up at 5:45 knowing it would be down to me to set the tone and be busy. I jumped out of bed and packed my stuff up and was ready at reception to sign out for 6ish.
I settled up and waited for the others. The girl was last (of course) and by this point I was very pissed off as the taxi had had to wait for twenty mins.
We got to the airport and our flight was cancelled. The next one was half hour later and went smoothly, getting on at 8:20 and arriving in Saigon an hour later.
The girl tagged along and we went to hungry pig from the airport to waste our last dong on a full English breakfast. It was nice.
The girl contemplated coming to our hostel to book her bus elsewhere in Vietnam but I just said I’d had enough of her and said goodbye before she had the chance. She had really not been my cup of tea.
We got back to our hostel and after a futile effort to exchange our last song to dollars we got to the bus station. To go to Cambodia.
We waited half an hour in which I got into a conversation with a bunch of Indonesian muslim brothers who were going around Vietnam and Cambodia. It reminded me that I really have learnt how to hold a conversation with almost anyone. Here the bus company also exchanged my last dong to $20.
The bus arrived at about 1 and we set off. It was quite comfortable, better than the nightmare stories I had been told by others.
We arrived at the Cambodian border at about 3. This border crossing was so easy! Got out the bus, got our visas stamped out of Vietnam, back on the bus and got a stamp for entry into Cambodia. So easy, if you somebody was careful they could easily walk between the two countries. In addition there seemed to be no baggage checking etc.
After a short break we were on the road again until we encountered a broken down bus from the same company. Here our driver decided to help sort their mechanical problem out so stopped the bus for about an hour.
Eventually we arrived in Phnom Penh at about 8. Another place to tick off the list.
First impressions; dirty. Rubbish everywhere, not such a nice atmosphere.
We walked for what seemed like an eternity to our hostel near the grand palace and checked in. The hostel was nice enough but absolutely no atmosphere. Only person to speak to was an Estonian guy in our room who gave us helpful advice.
We headed out to get some food and wandered for ages looking for anything that wasn’t too expensive or touristy.
During this walk we went on the main strip street and it was disgusting. Old men everywhere grabbing Cambodian waitresses, such a perverted atmosphere. I had women running up to me grabbing me asking us to come into their bar and offering certain services; very dirty place.
Eventually we found a place to have food and I had an Amok (coconut pasted curry) which was very nice.
After this it was time to head back an book our killing fields tour for the next day.
A long day of travel to get to a not so nice place.Phnom Penh is a place to get the killing fields done and get out as soon as possible.
DAY 67Apr 05 2019
We got up at 8:45 ish and sorted bags etc to be ready in reception by 9:30.
The tour bus picked us up about 9:45 and we went to pick more people up for the s21 museum and their hotels.
From here the bus took us to the Chuong Ek killing fields. On the way we started watching a video on the background to the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot. After about half an hour of travel we got let out and paid our entrance and audio fees.
The audio gave us a brief introduction and had numbered feeds to listen to when at certain areas.
Some of the information the feed gave us were horrific. Learning of the methods the Khmer Rouge used to kill millions of Cambodians for little or no reason. Learning about this mass genocide in general was eye opening. The genocide saw 3/8 of the population systematically wiped out.
As I wandered around you could appreciate the enormity of the place and the callousness of the acts that had taken place there.
There were a number of mass graves and depressions including under (a now peaceful) lake. Here the audio invited us to listen to real stories such as one where a man watched a woman killed with a hammer for being given a banana. The stories were truly dreadful.
Towards the end of the killing fields was a normal enough looking tree. The audio however gave us a different story. The tree used to be used to kill babies by whacking their heads against them. Absolutely atrocious stuff worsened by the fact that the western world barely knew of this genocide until the early 90s.
The tour ended at the memorial stupa where most of the bones and artefacts had been kept to pay respect.
Going into the stupa highlighted just how many people died at just this site. Looking up there were never-ending rows of human bones that had been dug up. The worst part; this was just one of hundreds of killing fields used by the Khmer Rouge.
Following this we got dropped off at the s21 prison museum. We paid entrance and walked around the four blocks where prisoners were tortured into false confessions and detained before going to Chuong Ek.
There were three rooms full of small pictures of all the face sand people that died in the prison or at Chuong Ek. The sheer number of faces was shocking.
Walking through the prison and the former interrogation rooms and cells was a harrowing experience.
After finishing here we got taken to our hostel where we chilled for a while.
Again there was a long walk to find lunch after we left the hostel but we found a cheap place. After lunch we went to sort out simcards and our bus to Kampot and then headed back.
Ben had a nap I just caught up on cricket highlights and YouTube.
By about 8 we were ready to go back out and headed towards central market. Unfortunately this was closed so we walked for ages along the river to try and find the night market. We couldn’t. I was knackered so we both started heading back.
By this time it was close to 9:30/10 and many places were closing so decided to just head back. We passed a Sihanouk Mausoleum on the way and eventually got back at like 10:30/11.
I just went to bed needing to be up at 9ish to get our bus to Kampot in the morning.
DAY 68Apr 06 2019
We got on the bus at 9 from Phnom Penh heading to Kampot. The journey was dirty and not so nice but it was manageable. It took longer than it should have because it went through the resort town of Kep.
We got to Kampot at about 3 and grabbed a tuktuk to Karma traders hostel. Upon arrival we got taken up to our dorm and I phoned the guys at home to talk all things sport and put my horse in for the grand national. It was nice to catch the three of them at once with dad actually in for once.
After this Ben and I walked into Kampot centre to try and find a place for Ben to repair his screen. This took a while and after repeatedly being told it couldn’t be done in Kampot we grabbed food. I had an amok (a coconut based Cambodian curry). It was lovely actually.
After this we headed back to chillout for a bit and then grab a drink on the rooftop bar. It was quiet but a nice place.
At about 9 Ben, a New Zealand girl and I decided to have a ‘happy cookie’ (THC based cookie). It was hilarious until the girl started becoming slightly paranoid.
This highlighted bedtime and we hit the sack with ease.
DAY 69Apr 07 2019
We woke up very late; getting some much needed rest. At about 12 I decided to organise the day and decided to rent a scooter between the two of us and head up to Borkor (an old French resort town that was abandoned and is just starting to be rebuilt).
I drove as Ben wasn’t comfortable with me on the back and we popped into Kampot for lunch. After this we set off for Borkor.
The drive was really nice after we got off the main highway. I am becoming very used to scooters now but still enjoy them. The roads winded up the mountainside for about half an hour until we reached the Buddha statute and an old abandoned residence of King Sihanouk. This was cool getting the first taste in Borkor for abandoned buildings; something I really enjoy.
From here we kept going to the Poporkvil waterfall. This was underwhelming but still a nice stop.
Next I drove us to where we believed the abandoned hotels lay. This land however had been overtaken by the Chinese so were now running hotels; grand in stature but barely any tourists.
I cut down the road opposite to lead us to the old Borkor Hill Station; a hotel like bus station with rooms.
This was so cool. It was just Ben and I wandering through this supposedly haunted and ominous abandoned building. There were signs that people had moved in at some point with empty vodka bottles lying around and some posters in the otherwise drab dark rooms.
There were lockers thrown on the ground and most doors were locked so we had to pry some open. I managed to get on the balcony and then after this we found the roof so clambered up a ladder onto that.
After the first there was an even weirder building abandoned next to it. It had some disturbing pictures and items sprawled across the floor of some rooms. It was so cool and some of the toilets kept scaring us seeming that they were flushing.
I signed my name on the wall in some nail gel I had found them we walked around the lake and saw some more, smaller, abandoned buildings before heading home. I didn’t wanna drive too much in the dark.
When we got back we showered and I drove us into town to get food. After a nice burger we went to watch the Everton game. A thoroughly good game deserving to beat arsenal by more.
From here I drove us back (having only sensibly had two beers) and we crashed ready to head to Koh Rong Sanloem the next day.
I thoroughly enjoyed this day though; there is something I enjoy about doing something a bit different.
DAY 70Apr 08 2019
We got on the bus in kampot at 11 to head to Sihanoukville and then onto Koh Rong Sanloem.
The bus was awful. I was crammed into the window seat of this tight minivan with dust hitting me constantly from the lorries passing by us.
Eventually we got to Sihanoukville and got dropped in a random part of town. After asking somebody I figured out the way to go to get our boat to the island.
We got on a boat earlier then our scheduled one and got to Koh Rong Sanloem for 3ish. Turned out Ben hadn’t read the instructions for our hostel that we needed to go a stop further on. Never mind. Five dollars and a two hour wait for the next boat and it was sorted.
We arrived where we were supposed to be at about 5:30 then dropped our stuff in the dorm. The dorm was basic but seemingly had good social.
We grabbed food then went to take advantage of the happy hour and make some new Peruvian and Argentinian friends.
Out of nowhere Beth and the two Beccas from Phu Quoc and running out to hug us. I didn’t realise they were here.
Everyone got drunk as a group and it hit 12:30. Diego (Peru), Ben and I decided to go see the plankton on the beach and the others said they would join us after.
The plankton was unimpressive but chilling with the two guys in front of thousands of stars was pretty nice.
Eventually the others joined and we chilled a bit longer before hitting the sack at 4.
DAY 71Apr 09 2019
I had an awful night sleep. The room was so hot I woke up in a pool of my own sweat and couldn’t get back to sleep. To make matters worse there had been a thunderstorm at about 6 and the rain had woken me up and some had leaked onto the bottom of my bed.
After sorting my stuff out I said to Ben I wanted to go elsewhere and he agreed so we went elsewhere.
After checking into a nicer room at the same price further down the beach we got snorkelling gear adamant we could reach Koh Koun island across the water from Koh Rong Sanloem. After jumping into the water with our snorkels we realised how dangerous that would’ve been given the plethora of sea urchins in the rocky shoreline areas. They were massive and looked so evil.
After this realisation we decided to just snorkel around the island seeing loads of fish and urchins on the coral. I enjoyed t but after an hour and a half it was tiring me out.
After chilling in the shadows for a bit we gave the snorkels back and chilled in the dorm for a while. We grabbed food at the Turkish place on the pier but this was pretty average.
Whilst having a drink at the bar of the hostel we saw Andres who came to chill for a bit.
When he had left we had a few beers and headed to Yellow Moon hostel for the happy hour. Diego was asleep and everyone else had left and the crowd that had come in were not very interesting.
After realising this we headed back to ours passing Cambodian dancing ahead of the Khmer new year on the way and had a chilled chat on the rooftop of the hostel before hitting the sack quite early.
DAY 72Apr 10 2019
We got up and checked out for 11. After this we walked on the beach to book a boat to take us to the main island; Koh Rong (hoping it would be developed enough to have WiFi and at least a dirt road).
After getting the best bacon sandwich from a small western cafe on the beachfront we got on the boat. It was an old rickety boat but was okay for half an hour.
We arrived at Koh Rong for about 1 and surprise surprise no road. Ben had booked a hostel and it ended up being a long walk which was difficult in the blistering heat and with our bags but we arrived and got a free beer for our endeavours.
After waiting a while to check in we chucked our stuff down and hit the beach. The sand was white and the water absolutely crystal clear. Probably the nicest beach I’ve ever been on.
We wasted the day there with some german girls I had randomly approached to chat with on the beach and then headed for a shower and to get ready for the police beach party that evening.
The shower was a joke; not clean water which annoyed me as the accommodation was quite expensive.
After dealing with it we headed to town (half hour walk again) and grabbed food and went to a number of bars before the main one and the beach party.
The beach party was cool and I was very drunk. I chatted and danced away with new friends (big group of Germans mainly and a Cambodian couple). It was nice.
The walk back was long but we got back for about 4. A good evening.
DAY 73Apr 11 2019
Write off day. I woke up five minutes before checkout so hungover. We had to lug our bags to the pier to check into our guesthouse. It was the longest, hottest, sweatiest twenty minute walk ever.
After a pit stop for a bad apple juice we arrived and dump the stuff in the room and lay topless of the shaded rooftop chill area for ages.
Eventually getting up we grabbed food and went to book our ferry back to Sihanoukville. When we got there I realised I had lost my return slip so had to fork out another $12 to get my ticket. In addition we were told there was very little chance we would be able to get to Siem Reap (where Angkor Wat is) before Tuesday throwing our plans in the air.
Still pissed off from this i chilled and watched YouTube while Ben chatted to mike for most the day. I couldn’t be bothered with anything and I was burnt and bitten everywhere by the sand fleas.
Eventually I felt a bit less pissed off with life so we all went to get food which was nice. I saw saskia and Amy (two girls I vaguely know from Leeds and home) very randomly walking down the beach and they ran over to give me a hug. That was nice.
After food I chatted with Ben and mike for a bit then went to watch the last few episodes of the Sunderland documentary on Netflix before bed.
A pretty shitty day all in all.
DAY 74Apr 12 2019
Another pretty average day. We got the ferry back to Sihanoukville at about 10 arriving there for 11:30. When we got there surprise surprise no buses to Siem Reap (all this is because of the Khmer new year).
I made the decision that we’d be better off going to Phnom Penh from Sihanoukville and trying to find transport from there because there would be more buses there so we booked a 1:30 trip to Phnom Penh.
After grabbing lunch we got the bus meeting some English girls and Spanish girls on the minivan to the bus.
The bus ride was okay with a tv and old movies on but still long not arriving in Phnom Penh until 8ish.
We got to Phnom Penh and asked for buses and nothing until Monday from the Sorya Company. Anther spanner in the works. We went to the hostel and dumped our stuff before going out for an average dinner and returning at about 10.
We went to the rooftop chill area and finally found a bus available on Sunday to Siem Reap do books it straight away. Thank god some progress.
After this we both just hit the sack. Another shitty day.
DAY 75Apr 13 2019
Another day a bit of a write off but at least I caught up on sleep getting up late.
We headed out at about 12 to grab lunch and wandered around the market a bit before grabbing an ice cream by the river. The river is very dirty as would be expected of Phnom Penh.
After the ice cream we headed to the museum which was too expensive at $10.
On the way back to the hostel at about 2:30 my sta card started playing up again and it got blocked. This really pissed me off, it’s a shit card and system.
After receiving money to my starling and a log chill whereby I watched YouTube and venom whilst Ben was asleep we headed out for dinner. It was okay, I had a curry by that didn’t agree with me 100%.
After returning back to the hostel I watched a disappointing Everton game against Fulham and then went to bed.
At least we will be on the way towards Siem Reap and Angkor Wat tomorrow.
DAY 76Apr 14 2019
We grabbed food nearby our hostel and then got a tuktuk to the bus station slightly outside of Phnom Penh.
All ran smoothly getting onto the bus and the six hours to Siem Reap passed relatively quickly. As we got into Siem Reap the atmosphere was amazing for the Khmer new year. Everyone was on the streets with water pistols shooting each other and the bus. They especially liked me on the bus being saved from drenching only by the window.
We got off the bus at about 6:30 and started walking through the night market with our bags to the hostel I had booked. People let us off without too much water squirting because they saw our bags on.
We got to Siem Reap Pub hostel and checked in. The receptionists were lovely!
After settling in we had food in the hostel. I had a Cambodian stew. The atmosphere of the hostel was good so we started drinking beers and playing pool.
After a number of beers we headed out to see Siem Reap and ended up in a local bar. We met a group of Cambodian guys and started chatting dancing and drinking with them. They were all in festive mood to see in the new year.
I introduced them all to a group of Cambodian ladies which they liked me for and they started explaining the water and talcon powder throwing antics Cambodians do for the new year. I couldn’t understand the broken English but laughed along anyway.
After a number more we headed to the Main Street where the celebrations were going on. It was carnage thank god I wore my swimming shorts and brought my waterproof bag.
Everyone was very drunk and it was so easy to make friends and have a laugh with westerner and Cambodian alike. I was soaked and managed to get (no idea how) some scientist goggles off someone and a water gun myself so I took part in the festivities drenching everyone around me. It was such good fun. Cambodian people are really nice even if their country isn’t.
Eventually we headed home, ready to fully book Angkor wat and the bus back to Bangkok for the day after. A great evening, absolutely soaked and full of talcum powder but brilliant.
DAY 77Apr 15 2019
Today we didn’t do much! I woke up late and we had to move hostel as we got told there was no room available so I booked us in just down the road at a pool and hostel place.
We got to the new hostel for about 2 (after we had eaten at the old hostel). The new one was okay with a chilled pool and we settled in.
After this we headed back to the other hostel to book our Angkor wat tour and also the bus back to Bangkok.
After this we just headed back to the hostel and chilled by the pool all day. It was nice to have some time off.
After chilling we grabbed food outside the hostels in main Siem Reap just trying to avoid the water knowing I’d get carried away in the atmosphere and want to go out!
After this we returned to the hostel for a couple of drinks by the pool before crashing knowing we needed to be up for 4 for Angkor wat.
DAY 78Apr 16 2019
I woke Ben up at 4 after very little sleep and we packed the stuff up and moved it back to our old hostel where the tour was taking us from.
We met the others and jumped in a cab to take us to pick others up. We chatted for the journey with a lovely danish girl called Katherine.
After about twenty minutes we arrived at the ticket office and bought the day passes ($37 and even had our photos printed on it for no resale).
From here we headed to the main temple; Angkor Wat, arriving there at about 5:30ish.
The temple was massive sprawling across the landscape in front of the beautiful colours the sky was emitting before sunrise. Truly breathtaking! Even more so when the sun rose behind the north (shiva) pillar.
After taking in the sunset the guide took us through the monumental temple pointing out bits of culture and telling us the history of the place. I loved it, thought it was amazing.
We climbed to the top and just marvelled at the views from the religious temple.
From here we got back in the minibus to head to the natural tree temple. Here there were different types of trees growing through the temple structures. It was cool but by this time it was around 9 and was getting very hot and sweaty.
After over an hour of wandering here and getting to know Katherine well we got back on the minibus to head for breakfast outside the temple from tomb raider.
The food was expensive and the temple okay but it was funny climbing up the steps it old us we couldn’t. So hot by this point around 35-40C so it was difficult and energy sapping.
The last temple from here on the tour was the Baiyon. This was up there with Angkor Wat for me. Such interesting architecture jutting up from the ground surrounded by more temples and buddhas. The whole area is a stunning feat of engineering given its age.
After this we got dropped back at the hostel. Both Ben and I had a kip and then eventually headed out for food and a bit of songkran water celebrations before going back to the hostel for a drink or two with Katherine and her friend before they headed to Bangkok.
A truly amazing day what a place.
DAY 79Apr 17 2019
We got up early ready to take the bus to Bangkok from Siem Reap at 8. The bus up to the border was okay getting us to the Sakeo border for 12.
The border crossing was atrocious!!! Firstly we had to queue up outside the immigration office being herded into a small corridor along with loads of other people. Dripping with sweat from the lack of fans.
After this we were herded further into an almost stampede like effort to shuffle through one single doorway into another packed room that had a sneaking queue to where the stamp into Thailand was received.
After snaking through this other awful room, I eventually got a stamp.
The whole border crossing into Thailand took over 6 hours. Absolutely atrocious and so hot and sweaty everyone was so drained.
From here we jumped on the bus and finally arrived back in bangkok at about 10:30.
We walked past our old hostel from three months ago and reminisced whilst also being hot tired and sweaty.
After checking in I started speaking to these two Scottish girls who joined us for food and a drink before heading to bed for 1ish, tired and having had such a long day in the border.
DAY 80Apr 18 2019
Today was a bit of a write off given how tired I was from the day before. After getting up late we grabbed food and saw JJ from Laos. We caught up then just chilled at the hostel mostly whilst also grabbing food in the day.
Later on we arranged to meet up with Katrine and Kat. Ben and I had some drinks near Khao San Road until about 11 then we headed onto the strip. We got a bucket in a nearby bar/club and then met up with the girls at 1968 and chatted and got drunk with them. They are lovely and a shame they left as we both liked a girl each and had such a laugh with them.
We all grabbed a Mac Donald’s after the night out and I almost got in trouble for being too drunk and weeing in front of a storage cupboard which, at the time, I thought was the toilet I had been directed to.
A really nice night but gonna miss Katrine especially, her and I got on well!