Browsing Tag

sightseeing

Asia, Thailand, Travel

Bangkok, Thailand

March 6, 2014

Staying at the Samsen Skyline.

A new day, a new country!

We were a little worried about coming to Bangkok because we weren’t sure if the political unrest was affecting day-to-day life. In our taxi on the way to the airport we passed a couple of roads which were closed off due to the protestors but there was nothing in the city itself.

We arrived at our accommodation and the man on the front desk couldn’t find our reservation at first and then decided the give us a ‘free upgrade’ to a better room. We think this means he forgot about us and had given our standard room away. No complaints though!

After a quick freshen up we headed out on the streets of Bangkok and headed straight to Khaosan road. It put a smile on my face to be back on familiar territory and to see Stu’s face taking in all the sights, smells and sounds of the backpacker hub of Thailand. We grabbed some Pad Thai off a stall for 25 baht (50p!) and then walked down the road taking it all in. The street food is really good here and a good way of saving some money.

Whilst we were staying in Bangkok we wanted to see some of the Buddhist temples so the next day we had a crazy ride in a tut tut over to the Grand Palace and the surrounding temples. They provide some great pictures and it’s always nice to take in a bit of the local culture.

We both had a Thai curry whilst in Bangkok which was delicious but I think my mum’s might just beat it!

Asia, Travel, Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

February 27, 2014

Staying at Thanh Thuong Guesthouse.

We weren’t sure what to expect of the South capital of Vietnam as memories of almost being run over by motorcycles in Hanoi were still haunting us. However we were greeted by a fairly modern city and although there were still thousands of bikes, this city had discovered pavements for pedestrians.

The staff at our accommodation have been helpful throughout our trip but they were particularly helpful here, giving us a map and explaining how far it would take to walk to certain landmarks and letting us know how much a taxi would cost it we were feeling lazy.

Memories of the war are most prominent here with a large war remembrance museum and trips to the nearby Cu Chi tunnels heavily advertised.

The war museum gave us a chance to see the war from the Vietnamese’s point of view and although I knew it was going to be very one sided, I didn’t expect the pure hatred of Americans which most of the museum concentrated on. There was lots of graphic pictures which we wouldn’t see in Britain of corpses and injuries and even disabled foetuses in a jar. It isn’t a trip for those with a weak stomach. We spoke to some local people about the war and they still hold a grudge against America. Only our tour guide in the Cu Chi tunnel trip admitted that the museum is very one sided and Vietnam was at fault too.

20140227-174405.jpg

There’s a large backpacker scene here, mostly based on the Bui Vien street which is full of restaurants, bars and market stalls. The food continued to be good and the beer continued to be cheap!

There’s a few sites to see around the city, including the Notre Dame cathedral (not kidding), the Financial tower and the Reunification Palace. All are within walking distance of each other.

We were meant to spend 5 days here but due to a mix up with our flight (me getting the dates wrong) we actually spent a week. It was an enjoyable week but 5 days would have been enough.

Next stop is Bangkok and a chance to avoid the protests!

20140227-175126.jpg

20140227-175135.jpg

20140227-175145.jpg

Asia, Travel, Vietnam

Hoi An, Vietnam

February 22, 2014

Staying at Hoa Binh Hotel.

Hoi An, you beautiful beautiful town. After the madness of Hanoi, you were a much needed breath of fresh air. It’s fair to say that Stu and I fell in love with you.

We stayed a short walk away from the heritage town which is really pretty. The buildings are all painted yellow with colourful lanterns lining the walkways. It’s a ‘walking town’ with no cars allowed and for a few hours each day, not even bikes are permitted – bliss! A river flows next to the town with an old Japanese bridge connecting the two sides of town.

There’s lots of shops and restaurants and we both made a couple of purchases. I bought a beautiful pashmina scarf and we both got our first ‘traveller bracelet’. We just need a tan now and we will be looking like proper backpackers!

A Hoi An speciality is spring rolls and Stu and I could not get enough of them! You can tell fresh ingredients were used in all the food we ate here and the ingredients are sourced from a market in the town. We’re loving Vietnamese food and are becoming pros at using chopsticks!

I’ve really enjoyed my time in Hoi An, next stop is Saigon!

20140222-173048.jpg

20140222-173100.jpg

20140222-173115.jpg

Asia, Travel, Vietnam

Hanoi, Vietnam

February 21, 2014

Staying at Little Hanoi Hostel.

Welcome to crazy town! This is my first experience of Vietnam and what an experience… Hanoi is filled with people on motorbikes and scooters driving around beeping at each other and you just have to keep out of their way or lose a few toes. In fairness we did grow in confidence after a day or so but it goes against everything I’ve been taught to cross a road that busy!

Once you get past the crazy drivers you can start to enjoy Hanoi. We stayed in the Old Quarter of town which is filled with local restaurants and shops to enjoy. There’s plenty of parks and lakes just outside of the Old Quarter which we enjoyed even though the weather wasn’t great (I didn’t expect to wear my coat so soon!). We did see the strangest sights in one of parks… SEVEN WEDDINGS. Seven. Seven weddings?! All at different stages and having lots of pictures taken. We were literally speechless at first and then couldn’t stop laughing, especially as the couples all looked so miserable.

The food in Hanoi was good. Two places we recommend are New Day Restaurant on May Mai street and the City View restaurant which, you guessed it, gives great views of the city.

We used our time in Hanoi to plan the rest of the trip in Vietnam. As the weather is poor we have decided to give Halong Bay a miss and head to Hoi An next and then to Saigon.

20140221-225223.jpg

20140221-225250.jpg

Asia, Malaysia, Travel

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

February 17, 2014

Staying at The Travel Hub.

And so the trip begins! After months of saving and waiting in anticipation, we said our emotional goodbyes at Heathrow and set off to travel the world. Our first stop is KL and we are staying next to Chinatown. We found the hostel on www.hostelbookers.com and chose the ‘deluxe double room’ (a double bed in a room haha).

KL is amazing! You’ve got the luxury surrounding the Petronas Towers with beautiful gardens and up market shopping malls and then the madness of Chinatown just a short train journey away. Chinatown was filled with market stalls selling everything you could ever need at really cheap prices. Think Khao San Road but bigger.

Getting around KL was easy, the train system was easy to understand and works like the London Underground. You buy a token from a machine at your start station which you scan to get on to the platform and then the barrier swallows the token when you leave the station. We were pros after a day!

We fell in love with the towers and saw them at night all lit up and then went to the top of them in the day. This costs 80RM each which is about Β£14. It’s definitely worth doing as you can see for miles and KL is surrounded by beautiful scenery.

There’s lots of good places to eat in KL so we had a mixture of Malyasian and more Western food. We’ll be back here at the end of March to catch our flight to Australia but after a 3 night stay it is time to head to Vietnam.

20140217-222849.jpg

20140217-222903.jpg

20140217-222920.jpg

20140217-222942.jpg