A Travellerspoint blog

Mekong Delta into Cambodia

First apologies for this being late and cobbled together - I'm just not having time to write these!,

Cruising down the Meakong Delta across the boarder into Cambodia is definitely the way to make the transfer but via an organised trip is definitely not. Well not for me anyway. I had read a few stories on line about how difficult it can be at the boarder. I was planning on obtaining a visa on arrival at the boarder and so felt even more unsure about how it would go. I had planned on making my own way to the little boarder town of Chan Doc over two or three days then crossing myself. I came across a organised trip that started in HCMC/Siagon did some sightseeing and ended in Phnom Penn in Cambodia - perfect I thought. In fairness the trip did deliver what it promised, allthough a somewhat diluted version to the glossy leaflet. The issue was, I discovered, that I don't like organised trips particularly. The hanging around, the forced toilet stops and calls for..... on the bus, you have 15 minutes, lunch now etc. etc. All too controlling for me.

Everything was well organised and I think I probably saw more things than I would have on my own but I never felt like I experienced it in the way that I do when travelling independently. Highlights of the trip for me were not as I'd anticipated either. I enjoyed visiting some of the workshops which I'd assumed would be the usual boring tour trap to get us to part with our money. This may have been the case but they were really enjoyable. We went to a noodle making factory and had a go at making rice noodles. A coconut candy factory with delicious sweets and coated nuts as well as somewhere that produced honey and royal jelly. We got to see the bees and one nutty Aussie took them up on the offer to stick her finger into the centre of the bees and try the fresh honey. She was much braver than the rest of us who stuck with taking photos.

The billed highlight of the trip was the Floating Markets and I was really looking forward to seeing them. Perhaps my expectations were set too high, because I was a little dissapointned. Yes they were hectic and happening but I'd expected a riot of colours and nice smells etc. They were clearly working markets, as you'd expect but nothing like the brochure pictures. The other thing that was a little disappointing on the trip was the food. Keeping in mind how amazingly delicious the food across VIetnam has been the food at the places we were taken to, whilst edible could be no means be called delicious.

On the plus side of being on a trip I met some really nice people. I particularly liked a couple from Ireland and in fact gate crashed one of their evenings and joined them for pizza (my first since starting my trip)

I nearly forgot to tell you about my first nights accommodation. I stayed in a Homestay, which was a traditional stilt house over the Mekong Delta. It was very picturesque and I was charmed on arrival. We had a cooking lesson in the main house, making deep fried spring rolls which was fun and delicious and then sat down to dinner together, there were about ten of us and the hosts. The teenage son of the host appeared after dinner and organised us into drinking games centred around the local rice wine 48% and like paint stripper. I probably had more than was a good idea with a 6 a.m. Start but I've discovered I like drinking games! Feeling very relaxed I set off to my stilt house to be met with lots of evening crawlies (Sha, you wouldn't have got over the front door) hen I put the light on. There were even some droppings on one of the beds in my room. I choose the other and settled down accompanied by all sorts of scratchings and pitter pattering around and above me, hopefully outside! When I woke up, I felt like a mossie had bit me so looked in the mirror. Just below my lip I had three little bites, clearly not mossies so something else must have been on my face in the night - so glad I'm a heavy sleeper. Antibiotic cream (thanks Jo) for a few days in case and it went.

The boarder itself also didn't go as swimmingly as I'd hoped. The trip down on the 'fast boat' which took about five hours was uneventful and we were even provided free of charge with a packed lunch. Definitely the way to get to the boarder. At the boarder the fun starts..... Picture the scene..... We all get off the boat, (about 20 of us) our passports having been collected earlier and are told to wait in a room. About 15 minutes later we get back on the boat having cleared the first boarder out of Vietnam. onto the next into Cambodia. same process but this time we wait outside in the heat. There are lots more officious, uniformed men and a tentative smile isn't reciprocated. One by one everyone's name is called and they are handed their passports and told to go through a passport/customs booth and their passports are stamped and the departure certificates temporarily stapled inside their passports. I was starting to feel a little edgy because my name hadn't been called But of course someone has to be last and turns out it was me. eventually I get through and with my passport in hand make my way to the boat. Last of course.

Just as I'm boarding, I'm also looking at my latest visa when to my horror I discover that somehow, according to the departure documents,officially stamped I am now Edward Smyth! Who on earth is Edward Smyth? It's clearly not me as I wasn't a man last time I looked. I get the attention of the boat driver and attempt to explain what's happened so I can sort it out. He's clearly not happy as there is a schedule that has to be stuck to come what may. Regardless of tourists and their requirements. Anyway,mhe eventually agrees to come with me to the custom s post and explain. phew, but not quite. The guy simply says it will be fine and waves me away, this may satisfy the boat driver but I'm still concerned. I explain I need mine to say my name etc. but the official isn't having it. After some heated conversation and some more guards turning up he eventually takes my passport again does something and gives it back. Great I think. But no, hes simply crossed out Edward Smyth and written my name. All other details, like date of birth etc, still belong to Edward Smyth When I try to explain that still isn't ok they just say it's fine and try to dismiss me. Now I'm not fussed on being dismissed...... So, seeing red, I refuse to go and ask for the name and number of the chief guy in readiness for when it goes wrong at the next boarder. After quite a animated, loud exchange they realise I mean business, write out a new slip, stamp it then literally chuck my passport back at me. I don't run back to the boat, but almost. As we enter the Cambodian harbour I discover it looks really modern and inviting. What's more, on the harbour side there is a coffee shop advertising cappuccinos! Yes! Things are looking up. couple of hours later, I've checked in and am getting ready for my first night in Phnom Penn Which I'll tell you about when I next write x

Posted by ClareRoach 12:47 Comments (0)

HCMC/Saigon


View The Big One on ClareRoach's travel map.

The first glimpse of where I would be staying for the next few days certainly made me feel glad that I always try to arrive in new cities in the day time. My Homestay is down a really small side alley off one of the main streets and full of people,bikes and noise. When my friend popped in on our way home that evening she said 'whow this is a bit intimidating as I led her into the alley, which admittedly was even worse. In the dark.

The honesty itself was nice enough, nothing amazing but clean and did the job. As seems to be usual, within an hour. I was more comfortable with where I was and my alley had become very familiar. I even discovered a Starbucks five minutes away which always makes me happy. It turned out I was staying in 'Backpacker Area' and couldn't have picked a better place.

That evening I'd arranged to meet Kresimir outside the church. Not one of the most obvious meeting points to start an evening but a large enough landmark for me to find - which I did. Not before, the heavens opened to torrential rain. I spent a good 10-15 minutes sheltering under a tiny roadside stand which was also housing a local man and his motorbike. I attempted to talk to him but failed and resulted in lots of smiles and head shaking. I wished I could speak Vietnamese or remember he couldn't when I'd forget and say something out loud and it would start all over again.

I eventually braved the rain and did a odd half run, half walk type of thing to the church and met Kresimir. He was much cooler about the rain and getting wet than me and so I had to walk this time dipping in and out of shop Canopys when I could before eventually getting to a pub he had heard of. Desperate for a cold beer and some food we were gutted to find the beers were really expensive. I'd been paying 10,000 dong in Hoi An and here they wanted 35 - 45,000 dong. No way! I'm not sure how much that is cause I'm still not mastering the conversions from country to country but it's obviously more. On that basis we decided to leave and try somewhere else. Strangely enough the guy who worked there wouldn't tell us where he went drinking, only that it wasn't there!

The next place was better as it had buy two get one free on. As it happens I really enjoyed my food there and when Kate caught up with us a little later all worked out well and we had a great night.

The following morning was my 'city tour' which I know I could have done on my own but with limited time I decided it would be nice to be told what to do for a day. Yes I know, before you say anything!!

The day started at 8:00 with a visit to The War Remnant Museum which was really difficult viewing but needed knowing. The tour guide on the bus was telling me afterwards some of his personal experiences, like his father had been put in prison for three years during that period and that his older siblings couldn't get an education as it wasn't permitted at that time. It brings home just how recent it all was.

Then Thien Hau Pagoda was ok to visit but I probably wouldn't have bothered if it hadn't been part of the trip. The next stop was the most random of the day, so odd! We went to Binh Tay Market which is a huge wholesale market. As it was wholesale we couldn't really buy anything, not wanting 10 buckets or 20 pairs of shoes so I'm not sure what that was all about really.

The Handicraft workshop was a government run facility which supports people with disabilities by providing work. A bit like Remploy used to. The things they produced were beautiful but very expensive.

Reunification Palace was our next stop and it was different to how I'd imagined it would be. The first couple of floors were mainly a series of meeting rooms quite elaborately dressed furniture wise but somehow very staged. I was struggling to imagine them as working rooms. The pictures of all the famous people who had met in them did help somewhat. Underneath the palace however, was a different story. There was a whole series of stark offices, rooms etc. All painted army green with metal desks and military looking equipment. The communications room and a large room with maps for strategic planning were the highlight for me. With areas of the maps circled to indicate enemy troops etc. It felt very real and was easy to imagine secret meetings and crisis operations being planned. I couldn't linger as long as I'd have liked because it was very hot and a bit clostrophibic feeling after a while.

The next and final stop on the trip was The General Post Office. Another strange choice to include but actually quite nice as it turned out. It was a stunning building and housed some nice little shops. I even managed to get Sharon's birthday pressie there! (Nothing suitable for Eva's though which is dissapointing as hers is before Sharon's!)

After the early start I was glad to get back, grab something to eat and an early night ready for another early start for the following mornings trip. I nearly caved in and went out with Kate as she tempted me with ladies night and free drinks but when the alarm went I was glad I had.

There were only two stops on this trip an a.m. and a p.m. one but it was due to finish around 7 so still a long day. I nearly didn't do the full day as I wasn't particularly interested in the Cao Dai Temple, or so I thought. It turned out to be a really nice experience and I think some of it was down to a lovely couple I met. They were brother and sister from Perth, in Australia. John is in his 80's and although Margaret didn't say how old she is I think she's probably in her 70's. She did say she had children older than me. They were both really inspiring and took me under their wing for the day, John had been to the Temple previously so was able to act as an informal guide. we were there in time for the noontime ceremony and he suggested we move upstairs about 15 minutes before it was due to start and we then ended up with perfect views of all the monks.

Lunch wasn't good but I'm learning that's the case on these tours, as it was much the same as yesterday's. Won't harm me not to stuff my face though. I've noticed some of the weight I lost in India and China is starting to creep back on.

The underground village, Ben Dinh District, commonly known as the Cu Chi Tunnels was our next stop. This was a fascinating experience. The guide was excellent, he took us around and into the tunnels in a fun and up beat way whilst not shying away from the facts and the details around what we were seeing. Excellent, but again draining. Driving back in the coach I was struggling to visualise going out that evening but wanted to as I agreed with Kate we would meet for leaving drinks as we may or may not have chance to catch up again in Cambodia

How glad am I that I woke myself up with a shower and went for it! It was probably one of the best nights of my trip so far. I will tell you why........

We went to this bar at the top of Bitexco Financial Tower, the tallest in the area with a sky lounge. It knew it was quite posh and expensive so we planned one drink to get our snaps (bit like us in Shanghai, Tina) and then onto somewhere more affordable. The view was brilliant along with the atmosphere. We'd turned up on a night there was a live group playing and they were really good. I ordered a prosecco as it seemed fitting obviously forgetting I was living out of a suitcase at the moment and we settled down. Kate was chatting (or shouting over the music) with the waitress who brought our drinks and the next moment someone else came up and Kate something onto a piece of paper. Apparently we were being asked if we wanted the band to sing anything in particular. She's asked for Hotel Calafornia, apt as its where's she's from. I declined as nothing came to mind. What a good decision that turned out to be!

Moments later they the singer came up and told Kate they were ready for her request and asked her if she would like to join them. Off she went to find that she was handed the microphone and the singer stepped back. Turns out she was to be the singer! Keeping in mind this is a really nice place, not at karaoke. At this stage I had butterflies for her as I had no idea if she could sing or not! Turns out she can much to my relief. She did a brilliant job, really getting into the spirit of it and you could see how much fun she was having. I took loads of pictures and video on my new phone but frustratingly they've not really worked out - the sound is awful. I will try and salvage what I can so I can share with you, but not hopeful.

The rest of the evening Kate was pretty much on and off the mic all night doing solos and duets and the whole place was up and dancing. I hardly sat down but you will be pleased to know I only got close to the mic once!

After the band finished for the night we weren't ready to go home so we went first to another pub with a dreadful singer and then some sort of rooftop nightclub in which I learnt a few things I wasn't expecting!

Mindful that it was another early start the next morning as I was leaving for the Mekong Delta we finally called it a night and made our way home - the night over :(

Hope to continue the fun if it works for us in Cambodia but firstly I have to get there. Ive chosen the the slow way down this time so will write from the Mekong Delta. Kate leaves HCMC and arrives in Cambodia before me! also must say, I'm gutted I'm going to miss John Bromley when I get there as he would have left and be on-route to London by then. not meant to be.

Posted by ClareRoach 22:19 Comments (0)

Vietnam - Hoi An and good times


View The Big One on ClareRoach's travel map.

Hoi An - Done. Or is it? I had such a nice time there that I didn't actually finish 'doing' all the touristy things. I'm not sure if this is a good sign or not.

I had been thinking about hiring a scooter but as my Homestay provided bicycles I decided to reacquaint myself with the art of riding a pushbike first as it's been a while! I had a shortish, hot ride along a pot holed lane onto the Main Street, where the roads improved but the traffic increased. Still nothing like as bad as Hanoi though, so I felt confident, even though it was dark. I found somewhere to have an amazing but very spicy meal and spotted the Deli/coffee shop that had been recommended to me, ready for the morning. I thought the whole place was smaller and much quieter than I was expecting and although there were lots of pretty lanterns lighting the street I can't say I understood what all the fuss was about.

The following day and Dingo Deli, with proper coffee was my first thought on waking. I carefully parked my bicycle and somehow managed to back up against a recently parked scooter burning the back of my leg in the process. The cafe gave me a cold flannel to put over it whilst I had my coffee and I assessed the damage. Whilst tending my bardie :( I discovered I hadn't really entered Han Oi proper the night before, I was still very much on its edge. I found out I needed to cross 5 sets of traffic lights and turn left (across all the traffic) to move into the old town proper. Ok I can do that I thought but had to go via the pharmacy for a burn plaster/dressing, apparently this is one of the most frequently requested items by tourists so at least I didn't feel quite so stupid, although I do think most people manage to burn themselves on their own bikes not by parking a pushbike! Anyway, I did eventually manage to find the town proper and arrived looking like I'd just stepped out of a bath and absolutely exhausted.

Wandering around the market along the waterfront trying to take in just how pretty the place is and ignore my throbbing leg, I was approached by a local lady. She came up close, pointed at my face, around my mouth area and stated in a very loud voice "you very hairy - come with me". What could I do? Before I knew it, an hour had passed and I'd had the whole of my face, Along with my legs, threaded. She was delighted and kept up a running commentary throughout. Who knew getting threaded could be so much fun :)

The rest of the day passed quickly and soon I was on my way back out of town, to have a shower, change ready for a night out with, Kate, Alice and James. We had a great evening swapping stories of our adventures and enjoyed an amazing meal in Mango Mango. Alice and James found the restaurant, which coincidently was another recommendation I'd received from O Delicis in Da Nang and it certainly was good. We continued on drinking after we finished and I caught a motorbike taxi home, singing to myself. Life is good :)

I remembered to set the alarm for the morning and my next adventure. Kate and I were meeting up to hire Scooters. So exciting. I figure if I've already had the burn I should at least drive one myself! It turned out, Kate had also never driven one herself, but always wanted to, so we were two novices together. I think the guy renting them to us was a bit spooked when he saw just how little knowledge we had. He ended up coming with us and putting petrol in them for us before escorting us up to the main (straight) road to Da Nang, and we were off! wow, wow, wow!!!!, how liberating, amazing and independent did we feel. I followed behind Kate who to be fair, took to the whole biker chick role much better than me. She dropped back at one stage to say, are you ok if we go a little faster? Of course... Argghhhhh, I'm flying! But it was fine. We had the best day ever, stopping and starting as we wished and doing the sights we wanted, at our own speed. Kate also managed to educate me somewhat on the undercurrents and the waves whilst we were having a paddle/swim in the beautiful and legendary China Beach. I even learnt how to go under one of the breaking waves rather than through it! All too soon it was over and time to head back. Handing bikes back, I felt a feeling of relief having survived the day in one piece but I'm sure it will remain a highlight of my trip.

Kate and I ate together this evening (another amazing meal) before meeting up with Ali and James again. I managed to miss meeting with Gio and Emilee which would have been nice but serves me right for not carrying my iPad with me. Still another nice evening and loose plans made for the following day. My last day in Hoi An, so I wanted to make sure I had some 'just mooching' time. Also Kate's last day as she was leaving at 5

I had such a nice and quiet, lazy last day - pure indulgence. I got up later and headed straight for the shopping area where I managed to buy more clothes than I needed and failed to get some that I should have, although, through no fault of my own I should say. To illustrate this same old problem. I took my top off to try a dress on and the lady exclaimed... Wow, big boobies!! If that wasn't enough she then Proceeded to poke at them saying, real?? Good job I'm not easily offended and could laugh along with her. But suffice to say, I never got a new bra or a new bikini so the hunt continues.

I stayed out until evening, chatting to locals whilst I drank in little roadside/riverside cafes and then headed towards home stopping at Dingo Deli for some lovely roasted vegetables and couscous, with real coffee. Here I met a mad Aussie, Cathy McConkey and spent a great few hours putting the world to rights and also convincing her (I hope) to catch me up for a week or two at some stage in my trip :)

Homestay, back to pack and all too soon morning and time for the airport run again. So, why did I not quite finish Hoi An then? I didn't visit the holy city, the temples, the craft demonstration, folk dances or even cycle in the local countryside, all of which were part of my plans. Worse than all of that, I failed to capture just how beautiful Hoi An is when it's lit up with thousands of paper lanterns at night. But at least I did see it and will never forget - so you will just have to go and see yourselves :). Certainly recommended.

See you in HCMC/Saigon

Posted by ClareRoach 23:19 Comments (0)

Vietnam - Da Nang


View The Big One on ClareRoach's travel map.

Da Nang wasn't originally on my list of places to visit, but thanks to Henry in Hanoi Brothers, I found myself there. After arriving by sleeper train, I stepped out of the station to be met by lots of people selling rides. I was with a guy I met as I got off the train and everyone assumed we were travelling to the same place which helped with negotiation. Once they realised it was just me, they had to drop the price quoted for two, for a one person price. It worked well and I ended up paying what I'd been told to expect to pay.

The guy led me to a motorbike, not a car but I'm getting used to this now, so no problem. On the way he told me he was a tour guide and about the tours we could do together. He was friendly enough, just a bit familiar for me. He showed me his recommendation book and directed me to an Entry from clients who were from South Wales. Imagine my surprise, when I read they were from Bridgend! The guys name was familiar to me although I can't recall why, Robert Shillabear and his girlfriend Paula. Once the guy realised the connection he thought I was a sure thing for a trip and talked non stop about it. after we arrived at my hostel he suggested a coffee and went to get back on his bike, I agreed to coffee but insisted on it being a couple of doors up to my hostel so I could stay independent. He was seriously starting to get on my nerves. As you know I'm not the most tolerant of people, especially when he quoted me 75 USD for a day trip! He quickly came down to 60 USD and I said I'd think about it, by this time, he had really fried my brain. He went in a bit of a strop, without paying for his drink and I was relieved to see him go.

The best thing that came out of that encounter was discovering O Delices the French restaurant/coffee shop that I had a brilliant time in. I went there several times, and loved the food, coffee and atmosphere. The staff are the friendliest you will meet and Ladies night on Wednesday was the highlight of my stay in Da Nang. I plan to go back on Sunday, and I wasn't even due to be in Da Nang then!

I was also really fortunate in my choice of hostel. It's another new one with lovely staff. Tung who met me speaks excellent English, but some of the others have limited English which was a little difficult on times. That said, nothing was too much problem and we overcome any language barriers with the help of google translate. The kindness shown to me again in this hostel was amazing. Tung didn't like the idea of me travelling without a phone so insisted I had one of his so I could call him if I needed to. So nice. I mentioned I'd been thinking about a trip to BA Na hills but hadn't wanted to go with the train station man because of the price quoted. Tung arranged for a friend to take me there and back for around 17 USD - bit less than the 60 I'd been quoted! It was amazing going there and back on a motorbike with the sun beating down and the wind providing a lovely cooling breeze. I was almost sorry when I arrived and it was time to get off.

BA Na Hills was a strange place. It's a huge resort so high up, it's in the clouds. You access it via the longest chair lift in Aisia (I think) and everything is centered around a French town which was obviously built by the French when they were here. It was a bit odd being in Vietnam but surrounded by French signs etc, I did enjoy my lemon tart at the top mind. One thing that annoyed me was the constant charging for everything. Entry into the resort, for the cable car, for the funicular, for the gardens and so it continued! I know places have to make money, but. Think it was a bit out of balance especially as their target market is families. Lots for children to do including a fun fair and toboggan run but again, all chargeable.

All in all, I spent a good couple of hours there but was more than happy to get back on the bike and head back. The journey back wasn't without its own adventure as a cow decided to hit us. Luckily enough I was in the hands of a skilled driver and he managed a full on swerve to avoid serious incident. We both yelled out a few expletives though, as you can imagine! First stop on return was o Delices for crepes and coffee to die for. Home, showered and back out. Firstly with one of the staff from the hostel who took me on her bike to find a ATM - thanks for that. Afterwards back for more food and ladies night! I can't mention ladies night without mentioning the barking mad, bonkers couple I spent most of the evening with, Phu an Phillip. They are just the nicest couple you could meet and Phu does a grand job of looking after Phillip! The owners, staff and all the people drinking there were such a good crowd that I could easily have carried on with them but I resisted and went home about 11:30 just as they were locking the front gates at my hostel, phew! Philippe told me the next morning that they had continued till gone one, so I think I made a wise decision!

Suffice to say the next morning I didn't feel quite as chirpy as usual, but over breakfast I met another tour guide who was trying to get me to do a two day trip with him at 40 Usd a day. He was nice enough, but a bit rough around the edges. I agreed for him to take me to marble mountain on the way to taking me to Hoi An and said I'd think about the trip. It turned out to be a good call as there was no way I could have spent two days with him. I just wasn't comfortable with him. He was too loud for me and very much in my body space. On the bike was the worst as he sat too far back in the seat against me - yuck. I was glad to get off at the Homestay and obviously won't be booking a trip with him

First glimpse of honestly and Hoi An are wow! I'll let you know if it follows through, once I've been out exploring.

P.s. Should have said, the beach in DaNang is the longest and emptiest I've ever seen until around 4:30 when it fills up with locals, out swimming and playing beach sports and games. A really nice atmosphere which I enjoyed for a few hours on my first night.

Posted by ClareRoach 03:32 Comments (0)

Vietnam and some more 'firsts' for me


View The Big One on ClareRoach's travel map.

My first night train what an adventure! The adventure actually started before I got to the train with another first. The lovely people in Hanoi Brothers hostel said I didn't need to call a taxi to the station because one of them would give me a lift, for free! They said they would like to because they wanted to say goodbye properly as I was one of the friendliest and happiest guests that had stayed with them. So nice, they obviously don't know me properly!

Anyway, I was immersed in a book I was reading in readiness for my visit to Cambodia, which was a heartbreaking series of memoirs of the children of the Killing Fields and I lost track of time. I suddenly realised it was time to go and rushed to reception. No problem, they were ready to take me.

It was only then that I understood they were planning to take me on the back of a motorbike, complete with my backpack! The traffic in the city is so mad, seeing is believing and I had no time for apprehension or to think, I just had to go with it if I was to catch my train. I did manage a few quick photos mind, which I will post for you. As it turned out it was quite an enjoyable trip and a good way to see a bit more of the city. I've had a hankering to hire a bike myself as Jo knows only too well, listening to me go on about it whilst we were in Sri Lanka. I think first opportunity I will give it a try.

The station was well organised when I arrived and the train was on the platform. After some confusion because of language barriers, I find my cabin. Number 5 bed 11. There are already a husband and wife and a small child in the cabin, so as there are four beds I guess they are my companions for the trip. Conversation isn't really possible because of language barriers and I admit it did pass my mind that I wished I was in the cabin next door where I could hear a Australian accent. After all, part of the fun is the people you meet along the way. But generally that means talking with them.

I'm in the top bunk whitch is quite high up and they are all very narrow, but seem comfortable. The family disappear somewhere and I eventually work out how to get up (not without stepping on their bed, so have no idea how I'm going to get down when they are back. Anyway, I'm in the process of trying to get settled when two new people turn up. They are obviously not local as they are white, but speaking a foreign language. They seemed to think they were also in this cabin.

They speak excellent English and I explain there are already a family in here with me. After some ticket checking they are certain this is also their cabin and we surmise the local family must have made a mistake. They settle into the top and bottom bunk opposite me and I'm really pleased because they are absolutely lovely. They are both from Belgium, Gio lives and works in Hanoi and Emily is here on a two week holiday to visit him. They are really easy company and we are busy chatting away when the family return.

The family just sit on the bunk under me, seemingly quite contented. Gio says he thinks they might all be planning on sleeping in the one little bed, which me and Emily think is a mad idea and conclude they must have another bed along the corridor. No, Gio is right and they all settle into the one tiny bunk for the night.

About 9:00 they signal they'd like us to turn the lights out and obviously stop talking so it's sleep time for us all.

I slept like a log, loving the rhythm of the train as did Gio. Unfortunately Emily wasn't so lucky and said she didn't really sleep at all. Such a shame as they had a lovely sounding day planned. Everyone left my cabin and the train at 6:30 for their stop and I have the cabin to myself for the remainder of the journey.

Would I recommend the sleeper train, wholeheartedly yes, I've loved the experience. I've even enjoyed the no wifi break, although, no doubt I'll be first on it when it's back. Less enjoyable was the toilets which really are the worst I've seen. It's difficult to squat and hold your nose at the same time.

On that note I will leave you and see you in Da Nang

Posted by ClareRoach 00:33 Comments (0)

(Entries 6 - 10 of 41) « Page 1 [2] 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 »