How is everyone! Iâ€™m fine, in fact I’m too hot. When I was in China I couldn’t wait to get to warmer climates, now I’m in 30+ it’s annoying that I keep sweating. Ah well, that’s life. I last posted when I was in Hue, middle of Vietnam. That was the 2nd March, and today it is 23rd March, sorry for the delay. Since then I have been to Hoi An, Nha Trang, Mui Ne, Ho Chi Minh City, the Melkong Delta, Phom Penh, Kampot, Sihanoukville, Siem Reap and Angkor. My excuse is that I have been very busy, its too hot and writing a large post takes a lot of effort. I will be brief as talking about nearly a month of traveling with take a lot of time, but more importantly your time. So…
Hue was a pretty interesting city, the main attraction a walled city containing a palace and numerous temples which was nice. I moved on to Hoi An, a small town where you can buy inexpensive clothes and shoes, I travelled here with an older traveler from Brum, a medical photographer called Emma. Here we explored the markets and hired bikes cycling to the coast where I hit my first beach! The weather here was a lot warmer, a massive 10 degree plus jump from Hue. Deciding the beach life was the way to go I went further south to Nha Trang. We got here around 6.30am amazed to see hundreds of people running along the beach, doing martial arts, funny stretching, badminton etc. Two English girls and a Canadian girl I met on the bus got some accommodation and hit the beach, and jumping in the sea by 8am! I stayed in Nha Trang for three nights, one of these nights we had a massive night out, ending up in a bar on the beach dancing like an idiot with people from all around the world. The night was made better as I went out with up with people I met in Northern Vietnam, meeting people you have previously met happens so many times.
Mui Ne was my next stop, a 15km stretch of beach with no side roads off the main road. Mui Ne is a great place, and one of the best places in the world for windsurfing. As it was $300 for 10 hours I decided to give it a miss. Though it was cool to watch them bombing across the sea. On my second day I hired a bike, leaving the new travelers I was sharing a room with to hit the beach, and as it always seems to happen I met some backpackers doing the same thing as me. We headed for the white sands dunes about 25km out of Mui Ne, and werenâ€™t disappointed, as you can see from my pictures they are pretty amazing. Riding the bikes was a great laugh too; they are scooters with four gears, pretty speedy. Was great to have some freedom, and not be asked if I needed a motorbike (taxi).
From Mui Ne I set off for Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). Stepping off the bus I met a Scottish friend of mine, Dave, who I first on the bus from Hanoi to Hue and spending time with him there, the bus to Nha Trang, then later in Phom Penh. As it was early night time over here so it was of course 3pm in England, so we went to a bar with a large Premiership sign outide. This bar is so cool, went here every night for at least a beer. Just as in Cheers people call out your name as you enter. The girls working the bars and tables say ‘hi Ollie’, its great to feel at home, plus cold tiger beer and live football isn’t bad. In Saigon I explored the Vietnam War Remnants Museum, the Reunification Palace and the war tunnels, where I fired ten rounds from an AK47! One of the nights here, Dave and two East German girls Dave knew and I kept bumping into went out for a nice meal, and ended up meeting some more travelers. One of the guys was a white refugee from Zimbabwe, his family used to own and work a tobacco farm. He was driven out by the army, and first fled to South Africa. He now works in England. Itâ€™s really interesting to talk to people from all over the world, especially those with crazy stories.
From Saigon I took what turned out to be a typical bullshit tourist trip through the Melkong Delta heading for Phom Penh the capital of Cambodia. The whole journey took an up turn when a Scottish girl had to go into the border control office. While she was in there a group of guys I met on the boat played football tennis with this wicker ball a border guard gave us. It was great fun playing football, though it was over 35 degrees. After playing for what seems an hour, we went over to see why we hadn’t yet left the border yet. It turned out this girl, and I emphasize she was a girl as it was a very girl thing she did. To make her passport look more attractive inside with all the stamps and visa’s together, she ripped a page out of her passport! Of course the border officers weren’t going to let her in easily in as anything could have been on that page, deported stamps etc. After many phone calls to Phom Penh she was allowed to pass through, and we benefited as she brought us all a beer. We got to see the sunset on the Melkong River drinking beer on the boat roof with a really cool group of people. Arriving in Phom Penh we got a couple of tuk-tuks (a carriage drawn by a motorbike), with me deciding for everyone to head for the lake. I must point out it was an excellent decision, as the sun setting on the lake was amazing. Plus our hostel had cheap food, free pool and loads of DVDs. We celebrated St Patrickâ€™s Day in good style by drinking past 3.30am.
From Phom Penh, Richard an English guy, his Danish friend Anne and a German-French guy called Michael headed south to a small town called Kampot, then to the beach town of Sihanoukville. I will leave the story here and fill in the gaps later as this email is large enough already. Sorry I hadn’t sent one earlier as I have forgotten some funny stories. I have also left out some experiences such as prostitutes on a bike following me and a guy from Streetly (near Sutton Coldfield, England) as we walked home wasted in Nha Trang.
Having a great time traveling! I haven’t been able to upload pictures recently as the connection speed in Cambodia is very very slow, though they donâ€™t mind advertising ADSL broadband! A quick note, the people here as so cool, less money orientated than the Vietnamese and kids are amazing. So many times, especially out of the tourist areas, you hear hellos followed by a quick bye-bye as you talk past homes and shops.
Better run, getting hungry. Got up before 5am to watch the sun rise over Angkor Wat and have only ate once, and its now 6.30pm. Iâ€™m currently in Siem Reap, from where you visiting the amazing temples of Angkor. Search Angkor on google pictures. I will upload my pictures when I get to Bangkok and hopefully find a good internet cafe.
Loving the diary. I’m hoping to go to Vietnam and Cambodia next time I go travelling so I’m taking notes on where to go/what to do. Was just wondering, do you book your accommodation in advance or wait until you get somewhere? Do you not worry about not being able to find somewhere to stay, or only finding grotty places?
i would book your first night as a long flight can really tire you out.
but when on the road, just head for an area the rough guide/lonely planet recommends. or a specific hostel without makingany bookings
I was just reading your blog, especially the part about South Vietnam as Im heading there by myself end of March on a short two week backpacking trip around the South part of the country. It sounds amazing from what Ive read about it and you seemed like you had a really cool time and met up with lots of cool people along the way!
Any specific tips you would give me to prepare me for the trip? Ive done a fair amount of research on where I want to go, but also will wing it some of the way!