Saturday, 31 May 2014

13th February Vietnam... Paradise beach resort, and Da Lat

13th February Vietnam... Paradise beach resort, and Da Lat       

Travelling to Paradise on the                             bus from hell :-/    
Sleeper bus               
We left Hoi An on the 13th and took a bus over night to Doc let beach.  It wasn't that bad really apart for the beds were in sitting up position and they were about a foot to short for me let alone Andy, or we couldn't turn because we were squashed into three tight beds ( and y squeezed into his own bed. But at least we had beds, If you look closely you can see people sleeping on the floor on mats. Can you believe it when we had to leave the bus at 5 am, we couldn't find the kids trainer shoes anywhere, ..lost... there we were with  kids standing in bare feet as the bus drove away!   Luckily we had sandals. 

                 Paradise Beach resort Doc let beach
For $55 a day we had a wonderful bungalow with fan and balcony on the beach front, all meals included, vodka and so much salad with crummy mayonnaise garlic, I still dream of the stuff... heaven

The beach was near us spotless clean and beautiful
with small but powerful waves to have fun in.  


A little bit of heaven 

The beach its self was away from the tourist route and so so much quieter, being around one hour from Na Trang city.
On either side of the resort you could find two  fishing villages one about 10 mins walk, the other a good 45 mins along the beach.
Just wandering around the village was lovely as it was not in the least designed for tourists, no souvenir stalls no selling trips, just villagers going about there life. One of the best bits about the area was the fact that it is so remote and not touristy.
But I don't want to say its totally idyllic this is in the end Vietnam, and they do have a problem with rubbish.  Where the villages are, you could see rubbish and stuff lying around especially on the beach, some of it not to savoury. I Saw one lady dig a hole put her rubbish in it and then cover it. Now i understood why so much rubbish lay on the beach.   You have to take the good with the bad in Asia. Its not Europe.

 But because the small villages in the area don't have to cater to and get rid of the added weight of tourist rubbish and pollution.  The water was still so much cleaner and nicer than we found in other places like Vietnams Mui Ne or  Thailand's Koh Tao.

We took a 6 am early morning walk to the local village to eat fish for breakfast. 

6 am in the morning ladies collect the fish  from the fishing boats, then this is shipped out to other parts of the country. That is after we had breakfast of little Pancakes with  fish  and iced coffee.
I love Vietnam's ice coffee....pure coffee, sweetened condensed milk, poured over ice yum. 

Breakfast in the fishing village
Hunting for clams, he walks up and down
 the beach all day long 
The village 

                                     Travelling friends ...Sammy, Jade and Guy   hello from us x

                        The flowers on the wall near us were beautiful everything was in full colour

Goodbye Paradise, we will miss you 

see you in Da lat  xx

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Past travels dated 5th February Hello Vietnam... Hanoi city and Hoi An

5th February  2014 
Hello Vietnam... 
Hanoi city and Hoi An

Since leaving England on 3rd December 2013 we have so far travelled  London to Europe by train and into Russia.  Then taking the Trans-Mongolian trains we travelled through Siberia and Mongolia to China. From there we  journeyed through Hong Kong, Macao to Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar,and we are now in Krabi,  Thailand.  

All in all we have travelled 23,600 km ....Not bad! 

These next few catch up blogs are about our month and half journey through Vietnam. 

Exchange rate
$13 Hong Kong dollars   to £1
35,000 Vietnam dong  to £1   (1.5 million ( £50) Vietnam dong ..our daily budget)

 February 3rd  
The big journey from Hong Kong to Hanoi. ..One day train and Two sleeper trains.

Starting in Hom Hung station on main land Kowloon.  First we did what citizens of Hong Kong do best.. shop.  
They have many high fashion shops but we happily shopped for supplies at M&S, pants, cotton socks and food for the trip.  

The busy Chinese New Year always saw a mass migration of people going home to the county side for holidays and visiting family, Many people worked away from family for most of the year to  luckily we had pre-bought our tickets through (or com)  due to visa regulation.  

Day 1
We first took a 2 hour train trip was back to Guangzhou in China, then a quick metro jump from East Guangzhou station to Guangzhou main station.

Settling in for along wait, a station attendent started shouting at the crowd.. being me(tracey)i wanted to know what was going on. So After some confusion (no English) I found out we could For 10yuan(£1)each upgrade to the VIP lounge which was great, comfortable seats not plastic or the floor:-) especially as the train was 50 minutes late.
 Hard sleeper 6 berth
Once on the train we settled into to our 6 berth hard sleeper which we shared with a couple, the cabin don't have doors but we were comfortable and we could now say we have travelled in all 4 different train classes in China. 

Tuesday February 4th 

Check out our Luggage at our feet,   
We left the night train at Nanning where Seb managed to fall and split open his forehead.  After many Sieh Sieh(Thankyou in Chinese) for people helping us, I used steri strips hold the wound together, decided not to panic and hoped for no scarring. Our first injury on our travels.. We then went across to a Chinese roadside cafe to eat dumplings and rice, then retired to a nice waiting hall at the train station till our second night sleeper train was ready, only an 4 hour wait.

Again the Lego came out to play
A ticket inspector girl wanted her picture taken with the kids , the last of many picture the Chinese took of the children. 

The kids played with Lego and attracted the attention of 3 other children in turn and their adults with the usual where are you from, how did you get here, hand where are you going conversations done mostly by signs and names. i.e point to self say English, point at children say their names, point at self then away from self = I am going to, and say Hanoi. The rest is mostly smiling when the children do something clever or interact with us.

we boarded our train T9701 at 18:20 said good bye to China and headed off to a new country Hanoi.

Crossing the border 
It wasn't a restful night as the border formalities started at 23:00 and took around 2 hours.
We had to hand over our passport then leave the train dragging sleeping kids and all our baggage, so it could be x-rayed. this happened twice once leaving China and then entering Vietnam a couple of hours later. At 01:00 the formalities completed we had about 4 hours sleep before arriving in Hanoi. 

Little Hanoi Diamond Hotel 

5am taxi to our hotel saw us finish a marathon two day journey phew...    

6th February Hanoi
We woke late had breakfast at 10 am. Then did some sorting out of our baggage. We both agreed some things have to go now it is warmer around 20 degrees. Carrying all the stuff was killing us as we were no longer wearing it. Some were send home, some given away. 

Highlights of Hanoi 

We mainly wandered around Hanoi and visited a temple /pagoda for local hero's found in the middle of city lake. we then found some bookshops, ate lunch in an american diner :-) then went to a drive- in ice cream parlour ( very American ) for coconut ice  cream ( very Asian)
The highlights were the temple in the lake and our hotel which is really lovely, Spacious room for $25 a night for all of us. 
Im always amazed at how much they  can pile on to bikes and motor bikes 

Can you believe, we sent some kids toys home because I couldn't find it in myself to give them away :-/of course we sent them by shipment they should arrive in about 3 months :-) cost £10. Alisha's and Sebs  wolf hats you have been seeing in the photos have at last gone home to, its far to hot for fur.. Bon voyage. .

Ladies Of Vietnam 

wandering around Hanoi
There are no more expensive fashion shops on every corner like in China's shopping areas, just small retail shops,  lots of restaurants with every sort of local and foreign choices and food stalls where you can sit and eat out on the pavement.  
I would say the pavements outside were  an extension of homes and shops. They park their bikes there, sit and eat lunch, its a mechanics workshop, pet shop, you name it saw it. The pavements were their living room , kitchen, garage. The only thing you could not do was walk on them was either weave in and out of stuff or walk on the road ;-) I feel that was the best thing abou Hanoi. ...... Life happened on the streets.  
More so than in any other Vietnam town or city. 
tiny little birds on sale
Fancy a drink anyone.. 
yes its a scorpion and snake 
Very Busy traffic 
Tin Tin is alive and well in Vietnam 
8th February Hanoi    My Birthday ...Hows that ....42 and happily travelling ;-}

Today we saw the Army museum then visited the Ho Chi Min Mausoleum and the raised shrine. 
Bits of an aircraft dragged by locals and resembled ( of sorts) 
There's tons of American aircraft and vehicles on display as well as their own,
 It does feel like there's bit of....

Look what we got and you can't have it ! ...

But what happened in Vietnam was very real and very sad, many lives lost on all sides. Travelling through both Vietnam and Cambodia makes you realise what a Horrific tragedy it was for all the countries in this area of the world.
sacred shine 
anyone know a good electrician  
good luck, prosperity and wealth 
                                                                   Over night sleeper bus to Hoi An
An overnight sleeper bus can be an interesting yet not too comfortable way to travel in Asia, due to us western folk being so much taller and wider than Asian folk, but with no trains available we relented and found out the hard way just how much fun it can be... 

 In Vietnam travel is easy, once you book a bus, the company will pick you up by taxi  and take you to your bus, you don't get that in England! 
We left at 19:00. The bus journey was shall we say very bouncy and the driver liked to weaved through the traffic and jerk to a stop just before hitting some thing plus the light came on periodicity just for fun, so sleep was sporadic, you don't get that experience in England either ;-) fun fun fun

 We arrived at Hue backpackers where we were dropped off. After four  hour wait and a  few beers we continued our travels.  Three hours later we arrived in Hoi An. 

We had information that Vietnamese pile many people in a room so the beds were big, so we booked a twin room and the kids fitted on one bed and we had the other. For £18 night we have an good room en-suite with breakfast, a swimming pool within 3km of the beach and town.

We took a 3km walk to An Dang beach on the windiest day possible along the way we saw some ladies planting rice in paddy fields, they waved us over and we had a go at planting them as well. 

The people are lovely and friendly, we had a old guy stop on his motorbike and come to say hello to the kids he even gave Alisha some money !
An Dang beach 
 Sights of Hoi An town
a new dress
 As a fishing town and port on the Vietnam coast its a Heritage site. It has a main busy town full of shops restaurants and tailors, here any dress/suit can be made.  But there is also a lovely old pedestrian area with streets full of colourful lanterns near the port. Full of souvenir shops, art shops and sweet old restaurants, food stalls and markets it really is treat to walk around. Many people took cookery lessons while here. 
lantern street 
local market
One of four temples in the old town 
Chock a  full of bikes and motorbikes 
      We met Eddie and his wife Jeanette. and 
had a few good  evenings out.     Hello from us x
13th February  Leaving Hoi An We had all day to wander round the shops and sights of Hoi An, we bought some DVDs for $1 ( their good ones to) before returning to the hotel to wait for a lift to the bus station. 

              Next stop Paradise beach resort , Doclet beach 

                                         Bye for now xx