A Travellerspoint blog

Final Words

I really don't know how to end my blog or what to say. I've always known the end was coming but to actually be here feels so crazy.

So here I am sat in Ho Chi Ming Airport, more emotional than I thought I would be. I had a great morning actually with a bunch of people I met in the hostel. We went for lunch where I had my last Vietnamese Pho, then went and had a couple beers at a motorbike shop where we people watched for a while. Then it was time for my taxi. The lady at the receptionist came and said, "your taxis here.". I just about cried.

There's been a little bit of everything in this trip and I feel blessed for being able to experience it all :)

It's been 19 months, 16 countries and one hell of a journey. It may feel like the end but in all honesty, I think it's only just the beginning. UK here i come! Thank you to anyone who read my blog, I hope you enjoyed it.

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Posted by amcara91 15:50 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

My Last Week, Mui Ne

A man came and picked meup from the hostel and walked me to the bus. It was crazy busy with Asians and I wasn't quite sure what to do but he pointed towards a bus so I walked over to it and showed the man my ticket. He nodded then started shoving bags in the compartment and people got on. Just when I was about to swing my bag into the compartment eveyone started rushing about and shouting. The man quickly shut the compartment, jumped on the bus and it zoomed off. I just stood there like, what the hell just happened?! Was that my bus? I turned around expecting the other man to still be there but he had also gone. I honestly had no idea. Then I saw some Western looking people crossing over the park to another road. I chased after them amd found out we were heading in the same direction and our bus was leaving from somewhere else. Oh my god it was so confusing. Thank God I asked otherwise I think I'd still be there now running around lookingfor the right one! The bus was actually awesome! It has 3 rows of bunk beds and is so comfortable. They have wifi and give out free water. That ended up being a bad thing after downing the bottle I was so desperate for the toilet. It got to the stage where I was googling 'how to hold in a wee' and I was about to ask the driver to stop but finally we stopped at a service station! Close call.

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So finally I made it to Mui Ne and was soo happy with where I had decided to spend my last week. The thing was I really didn't want to rush around Vietnam doing everything quickly and instead decided to have a relaxing week. One day I'll come back and do Vietnam properly. My hostel had a swimming pool and it was right on the beach. I met some lovely girls in my room who I went on a Sand Dunes tour with. We stopped at a Fairy Stream for some nice photos, nothing special and then a quick stop at a Fisherman Village. It really smelt bad so we didn't stay long. Then 2 hours later we got to the sand dunes. Me and a German girl hired a quad bike between us and hurtled around the dunes. Amazing fun but kinda expensive for only 20 minutes. Worth it though. The dunes may have been a bit boring without the quad biking. On the way back to our hostel we stopped off at some red sand dunes where we were meant to watch the sunset but it was too cloudy. We got some nice photos anyways though.

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The next day I went on a bike ride with a French girl. She was doing an internship in a travel agency in Ho Chi Minh so she knows all the best places to go to in Vietnam. The bike ride took us to a temple vey little tourists know about. It was a 7k boke ride there with lots of lomg slow hills so it was tiring in the heat. When we finally got there we got a beautiful view of Mui Ne city and rhe temple was so pretty. It looked like it had almost been foegotten about. We had a fresh coconut to give us energy for the bike ride back. Coconuts are one of my favourie things about SE Asia. You just can't get anything more natural. They knock them off the trees, get a mallet, hit it a couple times to open them and give you a straw. So cool! The bike ride back was easy. Even in Mui Ne, a small coastal town, the roads are pretty crazy though. Big trucks, busses and mopeds often went flying past us. They all tooted there horn everytime. A moped, meep meep, bus beeep beeeep and a lorry HONKKKK HONKKK. That one gave me a fright everytime. Pretty much all downhill on the way back so nice and relaxing. We stopped off for a 40p sandwich. I still can't get over how cheap it is here!

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The next day it was torrential rain. Like nothing I have ever seen before! I poured and poured! The road was like a river and there was thunder and lightening as well! I loved it but there isn't much to do except get a tasty vietnamese coffee and a massage. No complaints really, other than not coming home with the tan I had planned haha!

The awesome thing about me staying in Mui Ne for so long was that I met so many cool people. Most people only stay for one or two nights you see so every couple of days I was hangimg out with a whole new group. I met this awesome Dutch guy who I watched the Germany domination over Brazil in the World cup at 3am. Also met a lovely Danish girl who had lost her credit card and was a bit sad so needed cheering up. Also a 32 year old English woman who showed me there is no rush in settling down. Yeah it was a good crowd! I really had a great last week relaxing and was lucky enough to get a sunny day on my last day so I spent it at the beach reading my book. Time to head back to Ho Chi Minh for my last long haul flight. Oh my godddd.
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Posted by amcara91 20:03 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

It cost about 50pounds for the Vietnam Visa. I paid a bit extra as I had to apply for a fast track. It was well worth the money! My hostel had sent someone to pick me up from the airport and for the first time ever I had a name on a board when I stepped into Arrivals. It was soo good! He was a nice little chap as well, about half my size but insisted on carrying my 20kg bag. He almost toppled when he put it on. He taught me a couple of basic Vietnamese words while we dodged in and out of the heavy flow of traffic. I have never seen so many mopeds and motorbikes! I would describe the traffic as organised chaos, I guess. Everyone seems to know where they are going and what they are doing but from an outsiders view it looks crazy. I couldn't believe my eyes when a scooter drove on to the opposite side of the road into head on traffic and zig zagged his way through the sea of motorbikes and turned into the street. Horns are constantly meeping for no other reason then to let people know they are there. I saw what must have been a 70+ old lady chilling on the back of one and another with 8 full crates of beer stacked up. Lord knows how thy balanced that out. I got dropped off on a busy street where a lady met me out the car. I had to cross the road which youcan only do with full confidence. No hesitations just walk. A little bit scary when you look to the left and right and a heap of scooters and cars heading straight for you. Miraculously I made it to my hostel alive and what a nice hostel it was. I was on the fifth floor which was a bit of an effort as they didn't have a lift. Good exercise though!

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I met a French guy in my room and we headed out for some dinner. We bumped into a couple of Ozzy lads on the way out and they decided to join us. We found a restaurant that had 10000 dong beers, roughly about 60p, and sat and had a delicious Vietnamese curry for tea. After that we played some pool at a bar, Europe vs Australia before I headed back to the hostel for bed. Europe dominated, not really with any help from me. Haha pool is not ky strong point.

I got up early the next day and hit the markets with a gang of solo travellers I had met over breakfast. The markets were crazy. It was in this huge warehouse that had tiny paths for you to walk down inbetween the stalls. Everyone is shoutimg at you; "Miss, Miss! Can I help you?! Have a look, Miss! You need tshirts, Miss?!". It is constant and kind of hard to browse in the stalls. We didn't laat long before a couple of girls decided they wanted a spa day. I joined them and off we went to a lovely spa that the hostel had recommended. We got a 90 minute full body massage with hot stones, reflexology and head massages. Such a treat and all for about 10 pounds. More expensive then most places but absolutely worth it. All 3 of us had men as our masseuses. They were clearly interested in improving there English and were whispering in our ears the whole time "where are you from, Miss?", "Are you married?", "how long have you been in Vietnam?" etc. Pretty funny actually. We couldn't help but laugh at the awkward situation.

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We had lunch for less than 3 pounds. A chicken noodle soup with a beer. I can't believe how cheap everything is!After that we headed to the War Museum. Outisde the museum were fighter jet planes and tanks. I'm not sure if the were real or just models. They definitely looked real. The museum was super sad and it was all about the Americans and how they had gone about destroying the country. It showed people who were still affected by the Agent Orange and thousands of people have died since the war ended from stepping on bombs that were never cleared up. A terrible mess really. The blame was all put on America obviously and the American girl I was walkimg around with said she felt ashamed to be American. Pretty tough. I'm not usually a fan of museums but this one was extremely interesting. I don't know how biased it was but it was a definite eye opener. A walk through the night markets and a quick dinner before heading back to the hostel to pack for tomorrow. I'm off to Mui Ne! A small coastal town for my last week where I'm going to chill out!

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Posted by amcara91 18:06 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Back to Bangkok

Bella and I both had to go back to Bangkok as she was flying to Bali and I was flying to Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam. We got the sleeper train over there and this time in our section we had one english guy and a dutch guy. Both super friendly and we shared travel stories over a couple drinks. This train was a lot noisier then the last one and I struggled to sleep. It was still nice as we rattled away though but I did get scared at some points when it was extra noisy. We arrived early in the morning in Bangkok and 3 of us got a tuc tuc to the same hostel we were in last time.

night train

night train

We decided to grab a coffee and head over to a shopping centre. We wanted to get a few cheap bits and bobs before we went home but the centre we went to was more antiques and art. Not what we were looking for at all so insead we headed to the Indian Market. It took us a long old time to find. We walked through Chinatown for a long time stopping off for a coffee when there was a short rain shower. It was really humid and sticky and I was starting to get grumpy but we kept plodding on looking for these Indian Markets. We started to notice the streets changing. We spotted more Indians than Chinese and more Curry Houses were popping up. We stopped and had the best Indian food ever. A not too spicy curry and these little Indian dessert things that were delicious with a cup of Indian tea. We really went all out! So we had found the Indian Markets and walked around them for a little bit. They were beautiful and colourul but neither of us wanted to buy anything. then it was time to find our way back to the boat stop. We had zigzagged so much there that we tried to go back a more direct route. We didn't have a decent map and we found ourself on a dead end road where we saw 2 Western looking people. The first in a long time! They had a big map and looked as lost as we were. I asked them where they were heading and it was The Grand Temple. They were from America and both a bit geumpy; "We got married the day before yesteday and we are 2 minutes away from getting a divorce." the man said. Bella and I sort of gave an awkward chuckle not sure whether he was joking or not. Then the woman said, "I knew we should NEVER have come here!". To be fair it woukd not be myfirst choice of honeymoon but everyone is different. We tried to point them in the right direction and they headed off. You do meet some right crackers when you're travelling! Getting lost and trying to follow diretions can divorce the stronest of marriages, I reckon! Hopefully they found The Grand Temple and are still happily married! I'm sure they were only joking haha! Anyways Bella and I finally found our way and hopped onto the boat back to our stop. "we're here!" said Bella. So off we got. Only to realise we had got ofd a stop too early haha! At least we made the most of our All Day bus ticket. It only took 10 mins for another to come.

crowded tuk tuk

crowded tuk tuk

bangkok markets

bangkok markets

We were exhausted after our marathon walking and decided to head back to the hostel for a power nap. We woke up 3 hours later, had a coffee to wake us up, bought a couple of beers to drink with some girls in our room and then Bella and I went to a roof top bar. The roof top bar where part of The Hangover Part 2 had been filmed! On our way there a Nigerian guy stopped us and asked if he could join us so we said yes of course and along he came! He is working in Bangkok at the moment and I don't think he has many friends. The bar was super fancy and we had to dress up to get in. It was the first time i put make up on for ages! Luckily the Nigerian guy, whos name i have actually forgotten, was in a shirt and trousers. He must have been boiling! The view was so incredible. Youcould see the whole of Bangkok and more. Bella and i opted for a 'Hangovertini' specially made for the film. We stayed here for about half an hor before going to the more lively part of town, Koh Pangjan Street where there are heaps of tourists and travellers. We had a cocktail at a bar and then decided we were super hungry so got some noodles and then headed back to the hostel. Bella had a flight at 6am so had to leave at 3am. She woke me up when she had togo and we said our goodbyes. Super sad really as she is off back to Australia and I'll be back in Scotland so who knows when we will next see each other. Soon I hope! I had quite a bit of Thailand currency left over so decided to treat myself and get a taxi to the airport instead of dragging my bag through he train stations. I was nice and early which is good because I actually love airports! Something about them for me, maybe it feels safe and secure or something, I'm not sure, but I could probably live in airports haha! I got a cuppa and a muffin, read my book for a bit and then it was Vietnam here I come!

sky bar, bangkok

sky bar, bangkok

Posted by amcara91 02:57 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Jungle Trek, Northern Thailand

I decided to do a 3 day jungle trek as heaps of people had recommended it to me. Bella went off to do the Golden Triangle the morning I got picked up. We drove for about 2 hours stopping off at a Butterfly Sanctuary and a market to top up on water and toilet paper. We had some lunch and then started our trek. Our food always came wrapped in big banana leaves. Pretty ideal really as it saves on the washing up! The first walk was pretty strenuous. It was very hot and humid and we were climbing up hill for about an hour and a half. The sweat was unreal. Some people really struggled but we finally made it to the elephant camp where we were staying over night. We got a quick ride on the elephants and then played some cards. Our guide cooked us rice with curry for dinner. Very delicious! It wasn't long after dinner when our innocent card games turned to drinking games. Nothing too heavy though as we had a big day of trekking ahead of us. 3 girls decided they had had enough of climbing and wanted to swap to the 2 day trek instead f the 3 day trek and 2 Canadian guys swapped with them. So in our group we had 5 Brits, 1 French and 2 Canadian.

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Day 2 was the most extreme. We had slept in a hut with everyone. It was really nice actually and when I needed a wee at 2am the stars were unreal. Bit scary in the dark though. We got up for brekkie which was a boiled egg and 3 slices of toast with jam. We got a car to a beautiful waterfall which we splashed about in for about half an hour. Then the climb began.

So the path is narrow and we're brushing past huge plants. It's amazingly green and beautiful but the heat is unreal. Within 10 minuets of walking we are all sticky and dripping with sweat. The climb is gradual to begin with but a little slippy and a girl slips when she rolls over her ankle and twists her knee. Our guide has no idea what to do so she has to power through and limp for a while.

I think it's a pain that you have to walk it off ao it's not too bad but obviously not ideal either. The path is getting narrower and steeper and we are in the thick of the jungle. Our guide has a stick and is makimg a path as he goes. We think he's gotten us lost as he hasn't done this trail in over 2 years. There are plants with spikes slashing our legs and the drop next to us is growing steeper and steeper. At one point when walking across a muddy hill, the English guy slips and starts slidding down so close towards the edge. We all thought he was a goner. Thankfully though he stopped just in time and climbed back up. We got to a muddy marshy bit which was at least ankle deep. We had to run to try and avoid sinking too deep. Everyone's trainers were ruined! Although a lot of the group were complaining at times, me included, it's actually a feeling I love. Heart pumping, not knowing where the hell you're going to end up or how long it's going to take, sweat dripping, legs in pieces but as a team encouraging and pushing eveyone to carry on. Limits were pushed and tears were shead. We ran out of water but eventually we made it.All the hard work paid off! What an incredible feeling, finally at our hut where the locals were offering massages. A nice cold shower where I struggled to scrub the layers of mud off. We spent some time picking out thorns and cleaning shoes and then got our dinner cooked for us! An amazing dinner way better than the night before. Veggies, chicken, rice and a tasty sauce, we all dug into seconds! We lit a bonfire and sat getting to know each other better, playing games (non alcoholic this time!) and looking athe stars which once again were something else! An early night before a less strenuous day of downhill climbing. Honestly that day 2 was one of my favourites and probably one of the worst for some others.

We set off early on day 3. All down hill which was pretty easy but my legs got wobbly after a while. We arrived at another waterfall and this one had a huge pool at the bottom to chill out in. Today wasn't as hot which was nice. It was nice and cloudy. We had a 1.5 hour walk, all flat, climbing along tree trunks and over man made bridges until we arrived at the rafting place. We all got suited up woth buoyancy aids and helmets and hopped onto our rafts. It hadn't rained in a while so it was kinda shallow and we kept getting stuck on rocks. Rafting in New Zealand was a lot more fun actually. And after that we went on bamboo rafts where we just flowed slowly down the river. So relaxing! A 2 hour drive back to Chiang Mai where I met Bella! Woohoo! A chilled evening watching an exciting Holland game and an early night. Man I was exhausted!

P.s got to apologise for lack of jungle photos. Accidentally switched my gopro on over night and it killed the battery :(

Posted by amcara91 18:57 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

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