A Travellerspoint blog

The Bus Journey

The journey from Dalat to Nha Trang was beautiful, waterfalls, mountains etc etc! And we didn’t even get that close to the edge of the scarily high mountains, which was a bonus in my books.

There was but one downside to this beautiful journey…and that was that nearly every single local on the bus (and they represented the majority of the people) were travel sick. This meant that every once in a while someone would run down to the driver and grab a huge wad of small, green sick bags, and pass them round. It wasn’t so bad for us at the front until the lady in the chairs across the aisle from us starting to throw up very loudly, which promptly started her baby off, which started off the lady behind them, and would have started me off, had I not turned up the iPod very quickly, so that I’m sure half the bus were listening to Oasis and Queen with me (yes, I’m that cool).

Luckily the journey was only four hours, and we got our free transfer to our hotel (got to love this bus company!), and were surprised with how nice Nha Trang was. We’d heard stories of it being really loud, rowdy and full of drunks, and people we’d been talking to in Dalat were saying they were happy to leave. But we thought it was really nice! As long as you don’t get ridiculously drunk and decide to go skinny dipping, or race around the streets naked causing havoc, everyone in Nha Trang is going to love you.

Sadly we saw very little of Nha Trang during our 2 day stay (or at least I did), as I spent most of it locked up in the bathroom being sick. Nice of me to share isn’t it!

Luckily for me we’d changed our plans, instead of staying in Nha Trang for one day, and getting a 12 hour bus on the Saturday, we got a one hour flight on the Sunday. This gave me time to recover enough to not throw up on the plane, and saved us a lot of time.

Flashpackers ‘R’ Us.

Posted by Jen90 19:53 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Ho Chi Minh City. Or Saigon for all you oldies out there...

As an apology for my last blog, where all I really did was moan about mosquitos, hopefully this will actually tell you what we’ve done over the last few days!

We really enjoyed Ho Chi Minh, it was a crazy, busy, noisy city, that was surprisingly relaxing! We momentarily got confused and thought our bus had brought us to Paris instead of Vietnam, when we found ourselves stood outside the Notre Dame Cathedral; a very pretty, smaller version of the real thing. The Notre Dame was stood next to the very pretty post office that was also designed by Mr. Eiffel! We visited the Reunification Palace, which had a very interesting basement, full of old war planning rooms, Lee loved it! They also had an interesting video showing, in a very small, air conditioned room (it wasn’t the air conditioning I initially wanted, honest!)

We seem to be on a roll of visiting upsetting places, as we also went to the war Remnants Museum. This is actually a really good museum (having worked at a museum I must obviously know these things…), everything is set out really well, very interesting information. It was really sad though, seeing more war impacts, particularly from the use of ‘Agent Orange’, and how it’s still affecting people today. They also had an example of the prisons that they used outside, which were horrible; small wire cages on the ground laced with barbed wire, and they put more than one person inside these tiny things. It was a very interesting trip though, definitely worth going.

We ate good food, I even had my pineapple fried rice, which I haven’t had since Melaka. We jumped our delightful 6 hour bus, which actually lasted 8 hours, and oh my gosh. I LOVE Dalat! It’s cool! It’s actually cool up here in the mountains, and it’s amazing, I love it :)

Oh and by the way, a mosquito bit me on my toe, not even my big toe, just a middle one…see why I ‘love’ mosquitos?!

Posted by Jen90 19:40 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Dreaded Mosquitos

Many of you will know that I’m a bit of an animal lover; I do tend to go a bit ‘gushy’ over most creatures. Whereas I don’t particularly go in for the insects, or the snakes, I don’t hate them as much as I hate spiders and moths. However there is one creature that I actually really hate, as in, if I could, I would remove each and every single one from the face of the earth (hopefully that won’t ruin ecosystems too much, because as a geographer, I don’t think I could do that). What poor creature am I talking about you say, what creature deserves so much hate? The simple, tiny, mosquito. I hate mosquitos. Most people, when bitten, don’t react too badly to their bites, I on the other hand, seem to be allergic to the swines, and most bites swell to a disease like size. I’ve actually been doing pretty well on this trip so far. As you know from previous blogs, we went out of our way to avoid a larger malaria infected area, and were looking forward to Hue when we could actually stop taking the horrible tablets. The bus journey from Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh City goes through a malaria area, and so we decided that if we were bitten, we would have to continue the tablets for a further 4 weeks from that day. Guess who got bitten? ME! Guess who actually got bitten twice? ME! Guess whose bites reacted really badly? MINE…obviously! Through leggings no less!! And so that is why, I hate mosquitos!

On a happier note, we’re loving HCMC, it’s a really busy, lively, great city. The views from the Bitexco Tower on the 49th floor were amazing…we’re definitely getting into these towers! Today is our last day, and we’re going to shopping for a bit, we’ve seen a lot of museums, so we’re just going to wander.

This blog is for an animal who does not bite and infect people with horrible diseases! But for my poor little Maisy, who won’t be home when I get back to explore the wonders of the elephant I bought…

maisy.jpg

Posted by Jen90 20:06 Archived in Vietnam Comments (1)

Upsetting Cambodian History

Today we went to visit the Choeung Ek Killing Fields, and the Tuol Sleng (S-21) Museum. For those who don’t know much about Pol Pot’s rule over Cambodia (1975-1979), I really suggest that you read up about it. Ok, so I admit that it isn’t exactly light-hearted night time reading, but it’s an extremely sad, horrifying, and important part of Cambodian history. Pol Pot essentially killed his ‘enemies’ over a period of just over three years, killed around three million people, regardless of occupation or even of age. As if to add insult to injury, even after he was over-thrown, he continued to represent Cambodia within UN meetings for many years. Visiting Choeung Ek was both harrowing and interesting. The audio guide that accompanied the boards throughout was interesting, and also pretty graphic, making the trip quite upsetting.

Our tuk tuk took us to S-21, which was even more upsetting. This building used to be a school, before it was taken over to form a prison, complete with torture chambers. A horrifying number of people were killed here, and everyone who passed through the ‘security centre’ was photographed. The museum now shows every single photograph within the lower floor of 3 out of the 4 large blocks, and looking at the faces of the thousands of people, every single one of whom was on their way to death, was very harrowing.

All in all it was quite a depressing day, but we’re really glad that we visited the sites, so that we know what happened to the Cambodian people. We may just chill out in the central market tomorrow though.

Posted by Jen90 01:08 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

Embarrassing Myself. Again.

Hello from Phnom Penh! We had a pretty interesting time in Siem Reap, it was one of my favourite parts of the trip yet. The scary thing is that we’re now in our last month, we’ll only be in Vietnam for 24 days, and we’ll be there in 2…it’s going too fast!

So Siem Reap, we stayed in a really nice place, the staff were very friendly, the old lady had the hots for Lee! The unfortunate thing was that Siem Reap lost power while we were there, and was going to last for seven days! (3 of which while we were there). Now for those who don’t know, Siem Reap is HOT. Our room was getting the full force of the sun during the day, so our room was HOT. So hot that the corridors actually felt delightfully cool to us, trust me when I say that the corridors were not delightfully cool in reality.

Now imagine spending 6 hours traipsing round temples, through crazy heat and a huge amount of dust, and then getting back to a room that’s almost hotter than it is outside! Thankfully the lovely staff linked up some generators, and we got back from Angkor Wat on our last day to find working air con…amazing!!

Angkor Wat was amazing, the temples were incredible, we had a really good two and a half days there. I say ‘half’, though we should have been there for three days. On our second day we woke up early to see Angkor Wat at sunrise, by the time we got out of the tuk tuk I was feeling really ill and dizzy, but thought it was just a bit of motion sickness. The closer to the walls around Angkor Wat we got, the worse I was feeling, there were loads of people everywhere, everyone really excited to see the ‘8th wonder of the world’ at sunrise. Then I started feeling sick, like really sick. We started to head back, away from the crowds, I tried to aim for the lake… I may have ever so slightly/quite probably thrown up on Angkor Wat. This is mortifyingly embarrassing. Though maybe not as embarrassing as my shorts falling down on the slow boat to Laos. Maybe. Thank goodness it was dark!

On a lighter note, Angkor Wat is amazing, and if the opportunity ever presents itself, you should pack your bags and go visit. We traipsed round Ta Prohm with an Indiana Jones mind-set (where it was filmed, along with Tomb Raider, though I don’t like Angelina Jolie, and Harrison Ford is rather delightful), and clambered along tree covered temples and universities etc. We have a ridiculous number of photos, some of which are actually quite good, considering how snap-happy I can get..!

So after a surprisingly nice bus ride (with a fellow scouser) to Phnom Penh, we are planning on submerging ourselves further into Cambodian history by going to the Killing Fields and S-21.

Posted by Jen90 00:53 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

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