A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: emma78

Phu Quoc Island

Phu Quoc not Fu Cock:

sunny 30 °C

I loved the place we choose Mai House resort. It was right on the beach only small resort on 22 hectares. When they have a full house there would only be max of 20 people there at one time. So you feel almost like it is your own. A great restaurant there too, many other guess for different resorts come to eat.
You can do as much or as little as you like. For a few of our days we rented a motorbike and drove around the island. There was only one paved road and all the others were red dirt roads. So you do get dirty. We went the top and the bottom on different days. We got lost once but you just keep going round and round like a big roundabout till you find the right way.

Now we are in Ho Chi Mihn city for our last night. We are staying at the Sofitel Plaza just to spoil ourselves before we return home.
We have a lot more photos the post for you all so stay turned as we might do them once we are back in Australia.

We are very excited on getting back as we miss our little girl Abi.

Posted by emma78 15:42 Archived in Vietnam Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

Travelling in the Central Highlands

We left Hoi An on the 21/1/07 by a hired taxi. It was a really nice way to come down the Ho Chi Mihn trail (highway).
Our driver, Trung, spoke fairly good English and told us things along the way about each town we passed. We stopped in one beautiful spot in the country side where their was a waterfall and fog rolling over the mountains. We also stopped in a very small village to see up close our first Rong House. The Rong House is used by the Banhar people. They use it for celebrations like weddings, funerals and Council meetings.
There is only ever one in a village. Picture_743.jpgAbout half way through our drive the sky suddenly cleared and, in the space of a few minutes, we where out of the rainy season of North Central Vietnam and into the dry season of the Central Highlands. Picture_773.jpgThe drive took just over 6 hours from Hoi An. It was a lot quicker then the other option which was a mini van that takes over 10 hours!

When we arrived in Kon Tum we went out for dinner at the recommended place in the Lonely planet. Since the latest book was released there are double the amount of hotels and restaurants.
Our driver recommended a place to stay called the Family Hotel. The rooms are clean and cheap. The Easy riders of Delat stays here so it has to be good. We stayed 3 nights in KonTum. The First day we went to the local market in town. We quickly realized that this place does not get a lot of tourist as the locals still stare in amazement at you. Picture_778.jpgAfter the market, we headed to the Vihn Son Orphanage to go and take toys and play with the children. We got a chance to meet the Sisters who run the Orphanage and most of the children who were very friendly. The highlight had to be playing with the 2-3 year olds who loved our toys and put a show on for us with some of the songs they learned from the caretakers in appreciation.Picture_836.jpg

The second day we hired a motorbike to go out to the villages on the out skirts of the main town. Some of these villages don't have many tourist go there so be prepared for different reactions. Everyone was extremely friendly though and yelled "Allo" and waved.Picture_751.jpg

All in all, Kon Tum was a very enjoyable place to visit and a good way to get off the beaten tourist trail. On a historical note, we learned that the Kon Tum Province with the towns of Dak To, Kon Tum, and Plaku played an important role in the Vietnam War. Apparently, this remote area of the Central Highlands was of strategic importance to both the US and South Vietnamese forces. There was some fierce fighting in the area, particularly at "Charlie Hill" just outside Dak To. Many of the Mountain Tops in the Country side between the towns are still barren as a result of the Agent Orange that was used on the region. As far as we could tell however, and hard as it is to believe, the Vietnamese we met in the area seem to have put the war behind them.

We are now off to Phu Quoc Island in the Gulf of Thailand!

Love Marc & Emma

Posted by emma78 21:02 Archived in Vietnam Tagged backpacking Comments (2)

Our Motobike trip in the country

semi-overcast 27 °C

Hey Everybody,

We just wanted to write a short entry on our trip we took out of Hoi An on Thursday the 18th Jan.

Marc and I set off on our rented moped around 7:30am. I must admit I was a little nervous at first , It was not Marc's riding that I was worried about more the crazy local drivers that made me nervous, But once we got out of that main town area I let my grip loosen a little.

The country was very quite and beautiful. We rode for over 9 hours and covers about 150 kms through the northern tip of the central highlands, but our asses felt like it had been much longer. They call this condition "monkey butt" here.

We passed through a number of villages and over winding mountains roads.
The scenery was spectacular.

We ran out of gas on the way up one of the mountains but fortunately for us, we were just uphill from a village. We coasted down to buy some gasoline from a lady who had set up shop out the front of her home. She had a number of old plastic water bottles full of gasoline so we bought 5 off her and we on our way.

We went through one remote small town with a newly paved 4 lane highway through it and no cars! It was apparently part of Ho Chi Mihn Trail which is a stretch of highway that runs along the central highlands. When we were going through, the school had just come out and there were lots of children riding their bikes & running home. When there saw that we were white they would yell out "HELLO". We pulled over to stop and ask directions to the next village. An old guy came out to help us as he knew a little English. The children all gathered around, they were all staring with amassment at us. More me then Marc as I had freckles, Blond hair and fair skin. They were very cute point and laughing.

We headed out to the next village call Giang and had lunch (well Marc did) at what I guess we would call a rest stop. The people were very friendly. They made up a few different dishes and said "eat, very good". Marc chewed down on his feast while we watched a very small pet monkey tried to a tree eating some fruit.

After lunch we headed along the Ho Chi Minh trail. We detoured a little and went over a bridge to a smaller village. It started to rain and little too hard to keep riding so we pulled over on a families front lawn. The children were very interested in who had pulled up and started yelling to their Mother. Soon the whole family was there to view the strange white folk out the front. The rain stopped and we headed home back to same way we had come to avoid getting lost.

It seemed like it took longer getting home then it did to get there. But this is always the way.

Love Marc and Emma

Posted by emma78 21:52 Archived in Vietnam Tagged backpacking Comments (3)

Hue to Hoi An

overcast 24 °C

We are now in Hoi An.
We did the over night train from Hanoi to Hue on Sunday night.
I am so not a fan of these over night trains but it is a really cheap way to get to places.
Hue was nothing too exciting if you are not brave enough to go by motobike (as they say in Vietnam) to the tombs. They are aways out but I have been told they are amazing.
Marc and I did one of our longest walks in Hue. We went to the Forbidden city (Purple city). You could just imagine what a sight it would have been to see in its time.

The next day in the morning we caught a bus to Hoi An. It is very quite compared to all the places we have been. Not as many motobikes. We booked a cooking class today that we will be doing on the 19th. Tomorrow we are sorting out tailors (Em and Simon, the b'day money that you gave me will come in handy here). Next day we are going to rent a motobike and go for a ride out of town to see the countryside.
We will be leaving Hoi An on the 20th, when we will be heading to the Delta and than to Phu Quoc Is..
Oh my god, time sure fly's when you are having fun...

Love Marc & Em xxx

PS. We have not seen the sun, moon or any stars since we left Brisbane. (how scary is that)

Posted by emma78 21:10 Archived in Vietnam Tagged backpacking Comments (3)

Hanoi to Sapa to Hanlong Bay and back again

Sorry guys for not keeping up to date on the Blog... I told you that I am pretty bad at this.

Well I will start in Hanoi, as that is where we last left off.
Marc and I had a great 3 days in Hanoi, after we got over the Hotel Bandits.
On our first day we have walked what feels like all the streets in the old quarter.
We went to Ho Chin Mihn Mausoleum; this is where you can see his body and the changing of the guards. We however missed both of these but we were there.. (It counts)hcmcpics_189.jpg

On our second day we went for a long walk around the lake where there are supposed to be famous turtles.. They are special in the way that if you see one you will have great luck for a year.
We did not see any. (They are a myth, I think)That night we saw the traditional water puppets at the famous Municipal Water puppet theatre. Marc loved the music. I did not really enjoy it.

Third day we sorted out how we were going to Sapa and Halong Bay. I can recommend Handspan Adventure Travel (HAT) on Ma May Street in the old quarter.
They are very friendly and have great advice to help you. They are a little more expensive then the cheaper travel agents you see all over, but it is true you pay for what you get. Remember that line. It can be very true.

We left for Sapa on an over night train on the 8th Jan. It leaves Hanoi around 10pm and gets in at 5:30 to Lai Chau, then you need the get a bus to Sapa town. (Around 1 hour trip) When we got there it was about 4 degrees. Once we checked in with the Hanspan office in Sapa we meet with our guide Tanh. We had breakfast and then checked out our bikes. (Yep you herd right Mountain Bikes) We decided that this option would be better then the trekking option most travelers do. Why? Because you can go further and see more things, and yes I did fall off my bike in a rice patty. We did what they call a home stay in a village where the Tay People live.
They are beautiful people, Very friendly.
Our home stay was not what I expected at all.... I thought it would have been worst then camping.. But I was way off. The Tay family that we stayed with had built a very comfy stilt house for their guest. It had real beds and warm blankets. The food was amazing. The next day was our guide Tanh's Birthday. So our host mum (Lai) made us a birthday cake, I was very impressed.hcmcpics_310.jpg
That was our last day of mountain biking and I did not fall off.
Tanh our guide was very impressed at my skills for a first timer. He said that he had some where they showed them the trail and they cried. I did almost cried after I fell in the rice patty. Was not a good birthday present. We spent 1 extra night in Sapa to explore what everyone talks about. We stayed in The Royal View Hotel, Very nice rooms and great bathroom with a big bath tub to clean after not showering for 2 days.
Sapa is an... That’s say interesting place, in my first hour of checking into our room I herd a dog get killed for dinner. That was not a good start.
Once I overcame that and had a nap, we had dinner at one of the oldest established restaurants call the Mimosa, great food at reasonable prices. Our next day was spent getting lost in all the streets of Sapa. (You can not really get lost most of the streets there loop around). We walked the local markets, got haggled by the H'mong tribes that walk after you saying (YOU BUY FROM ME) over and over again. They are mostly very young girls and they are very cute at first, but it does not take long for that to wear off. hcmcpics_376.jpgThe older ladies hassle the men to buy Hash and Opium from them they say (YOU LIKE TO SMOKE, I HAVE FOR YOU).
That evening we were back on the over night train to Hanoi we left at 9pm and got in at 5am. We had breakfast and waited till 8am to catch the bus to Halong Bay for the over night Junk boat.

The ride from Hanoi is about 3.5 hours. We get to the Bay and our boat is waiting. I was really looking forward to this part. We hopped aboard the boat. We choose a small boat as there were only to be 8 people. There are other boats that can have up to 36. So it was worth the extra $30 to upgrade. We meet all our follow travelers over our beautiful seafood lunch, there was a couple from Sydney (Katrina and Dave) they are originally from Qld. A older couple from Poland (I can not remember their names as they were hard to say, Could be Berta and Yarnish) She was a doctor and Yarnish is a miner who is working in far Nth QLD and then there was Mathiew (French) and Sonia (Spanish). They were all very nice.
The boat was beautiful & rooms were bigger then I thought.hcmcpics_473.jpg
It was always over cast while we were in the bay, But you could just imagine in summer. We went for 2 great walks (all up stairs) on the Lime rock formations.

And now we are back in Hanoi planning our next move. We are thinking of going to HUE, either flying or on an overnight train.

Will keep you more informed soon...

Love and Kisses
Emma and Marc

PS to Check out out photo's so far click on Author and go to more photos.. We look forward to your coments

Posted by emma78 18:17 Archived in Vietnam Tagged backpacking Comments (2)

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