Monday, July 30, 2007
We are now in Hoi an, and are quite happy to be here. We got another overnight bus from Nha Trang, 12 hours on a packed bus with NO toilet. PLUS the bus had an accident, two hours in!!! So we are all piled off the bus, with no idea of what is happening or how long we will be stuck for. The drivers just stood around for just under an hour before realising they can still drive the thing (in addition to being paid a large wad of cash by the truck that hit them!). But Hey?! Thats Vietnam for you!!!
We have found quite a nice hostel, with an indoor pool (SCORE!) and managed to jump on a half day tour of 'My Son'; cham temples built in the 7th century. Quiet nice but nothing on Ankor Wat!!! Plus most were destroyed during the Vietnam war by the American bombs. Our guide (like all our other guides) was all too happy to talk down the Americans. Does anybody like the Americans? Anybody? Seriously....
But other than been stuffed on a cramped bus and sweltering in the heat we are both doing well! We have been eating a fair bit of western food lately, but have promised to jump back into trying the local food tonight. Tomorrow, we're heading into the old town of Hoi An and then tomorrow night we're on a flight to Hanoi! No more buses! Yay! Well thats it folks! Love Us.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
So, Saigon is one crazy city! With 9 million people in the city and 4 million motorbikes, crossing the road is like gambling with your life! Between us we have had many near death experiences, ok... well, Bec more than Jarratt! It is worst than Bangkok, The Arc de Triumph in Paris and (Laura, Lin) the roads of Rome have nothing on Saigon!!!
We arrived late on the first day and quickly organised a half day to the Cu Chi Tunnels for the following day. Our trip to the tunnels was amazing! The Cu Chi tunnels are an underground network of tunnels used during French and American invasions on Vietnam. The tunnels are incredibly small, with us hunching over the whole way through and on occassions needing to crawl through them. It was quite a claustropobic feeling to be in for about 10 minutes let alone 10 years like those poor Vietnamese! We thought the past of Cambodia was pretty horrific, but Vietnam is just as bad (if not worse!). We also visited a handicraft factory where the employees were all suffering from some form of disability brought on by Agent Orange! We finsihed the day with a stroll past the Reunification Palace and a visit the War Muesum. The muesum was quite one-sided, but all true, and very confronting! The museum contained graphic pictures of the torture on the Vietnamese and images of children affected by Agent Orange.
Today (Day three) was much cruisey. We had a boat ride through the Mekong Delta. Visiting 2 of the 12 provinces; Ben Tre and Mytho. Both were about as exciting as the other (note: sarcasm!) and the day was a little bit of a let down. We are about to board an overnight BUS to Nha Trang, should involve little to no sleep - but boy! are we excited!!! haha. Once in Nha Trang we plan to lay on a beach for 2-3 days and relax, Jealous?
Hope Australia's winter is treatin you all well :P
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
We also visited a VERY dodgy shooting range for all of about 5 seconds where we were told no photos could be taken of the 'shooting' menu. Prices included and AK-47 for a round of 25 bullets ... it would cost you the BARGIN price of 30 USD. We also visited the central and russian markets, extremely quickly, as they were VERY smelly and crowded places. As well as the Royal Palace, for a ridiculous 6.50 USD. We also visited the National Museum, for FREE. We ran into some fellow backpackers from our hostel and did a ticket switch and they got into the royal palace for nothing and we got into the National Museum for nothing. Pretty sneaky huh?
We ended our busy day with a very relaxing dinner on the Tonle Sap harbour. We ate Amok, a fish dish and Water Buffalo (?!!?!). We washed it down with beer and wine and laughed alot at how we just spent more on dinner than our two nights accommodation! Ha!
We're about to board a VIP bus to Saigon for a rivoting 6hours including a border crossing!
Hope everyone is well,
Love bec and j.
Saturday, July 21, 2007
We have so far spent three and a half days in Siem Reap. Home of Angkor Wat. For those of you unfamiliar google it now, if not sooner. hehehe. We have spent three days on a personalised guided tour thing. For about 250bucks we got our own tuk tuk, personal guide, passes to the temples and a boat ride through the floating village.
The temples of Angkor Wat are amazing! You need to see them to fully appreciate and understand them. And the bas-reliefs on the walls, dont get me started! Our guide (Rin) had a particularly fun and long-winded story about EACH of the engravings on EACH wall of EVERY temple! Bec was over it by the 6th wall/story. But, Rin was particularly funny when he was practising his English on us. Casino and Beautician were words that caused him much difficulty. We taught him words like booger, hopstock and boombox! He also continually quizzed myself and "Mr J"about all things Khmer. We now have engrained in our brains the Four Buddhist noble truths = Charity, Compassion, Equality and Sympathy.
On the final day of our three day adventure he took us to met his family in his village located IN Angkor Wat!! It was very sweet, he introduced his children and wife to us and tried to involve us in his casino (a group of men gambling on a siamese fighting fish match!)
Overall Siem Reap has been lots of fun! We're looking forward to our VIP bus ride to Phomn Penh tomorrow - leaves at 7:30am!!!
Will write again soon,
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
We started our visit here arriving very early on the overnight train from Bangkok. As soon as we arrived at our hostel we organised ourselves to get onboard a 'long neck and hill tribe village' one day tour. Crazy stuff!!! In the first few villages (palong, lathu and akha) we were absolutely embraced by the locals. So much so that two little girls dug there hands deep into Jarratts pockets looking for loose change! We also visited the longneck and big earred women of the karen tribe. They are so beautiful but we felt so wrong. You pretty much wander through their homes as they put themselves on display. Kinda horrible really. We were much nicer about it then a couple of russians who pointed and laughed during there photos with the ladies. Just awful!
Then it was trekking time! On the following day we went trekking into the jungle. We started our 'nature walk' at about 500m above sea level, after 6kms and 3hours we were at 1400m about sea level... and wait for it - it rained for part of it! For those of you really bad at maths... thats a pretty steep climb - particularly in thongs ;) Once we reached the top it was (to sound cliched) very magical. Jarratt and I spent about 2 hours playing with all these local children - SO CUTE! Had a wonderful dinner and slept like logs!!! The following day was alot more fun as we hiked DOWN the mountain! haha! We also got to ride elephant, part-take in white water rafting and bamboo rafting!!!! We also experienced our first night of Thai boxing!!! WOW is that a full on sport!!! We bought tickets for 400 baht and sat ringside. We overheard fellow Australians saying they paid 1500baht for similar seats! So we were pretty stoked!
Today is a little more boring, woke up late and are now wandering around inside the 'old city' walls and looking at the temples. Tonight we are on another overnight train to Bangkok and tomorrow afternoon we fly to Cambodia (Siem Reap).
But enough about us.... how are you all doing?
Friday, July 13, 2007
The following day we visitied the floating markets, the bridge over the river kwai and played with tigers at the tiger temple. As seen on getaway!!!
Today we headed to the very grand palace and had a wander around, took some great pictures (which we will show you all later). Tonight we head to Chiang Mai, which is meant to be beautiful, on an overnight train!
Note to those planning to come to Bangkok - there are so many con men!!!!!!!!! Jarratt and I can't walk more than 20 metres without being told the monument we are heading to is shut for the day and we should jump in this lovely tuk-tuk for a drive around to see the 'lucky buddha' for an hour for the great price of between 20-1baht!!!! For those playing at home there is no lucky buddha and NOTHING is shut over lunch! Keep that in mind if you travel here!
Anyways we're off to drink beer - 2 for 99Baht! About 3bucks Australian! Not that we are trying to rub it in - cause we're not ;)
Much Love, us!
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
We've just left Koh Samui, land of beautiful beaches, GREAT foot massages and plenty of dirty ol' men chasing young thai ladies! Whilst we were in lovely Koh Samui we relaxed, drank, ate and went on a safari!
Our safari was a very 'funny day'. We started at two phallic looking rock formations known as Grandfather and Grandmother rock... I'll leave the greater details to your imagination. Afterwards we saw a mummified monk, elephant show, monkey show and crocodile show. Then we were in for a BIG treat of an elephant trek/ride! SOOOOO much fun! We finished with sunset at the Big Buddha, I am seriously thinking oversized buddhas are to thailand what churches are to italy! Ha!
We also slurged and had lobster on the beach one night. It cost next to nothing (180 Baht for Lobster, about 6 bucks Australian) which we attempted to make both sets of parents jealous about.
We are currently in Bangkok and will update you after we've done some shopping, pingpong shows and seen one grand palace.
Look forward to your comments and hearing what you are all up to!!!!
Miss you all lots, Love Bec and J.
Sunday, July 8, 2007
We were picked up at our hostel at 8am and taken to the ferry pier to get on a boat and head the 40kms out to Phi Phi. Bec, unfortunately didnt realise the receipt doubled as a ticket (which she had stored safely in her bag ... back at the hostel!) Bec stood very anxiously at the pier whilst the driver negotiated with the ferry staff for us to board the boat. Finally after much discussion we were let aboard and headed out to Phi Phi. An hour and a half later we arrived to snorkle with the tropical fish in Maya Bay. We saw where 'the beach' was filmed and a seafood lunch at Phi Phi Don. Jarratt and I then had a few hours to explore the island where we went through the markets and laid on the beach for a few lazy hours! Then we boarded our boat to head back, it was a very rocky ride with many sick asians! GROSS!
In the evening we headed to Simon Cabaret! The show was amazing, the most beautiful showgirls we've seen and they are .... ALLLLLLLLLLL boys!!! Unbelievable!!!
Today decided we were very clever and brave enough to battle the phuket bus, after bargaining a FANTASTIC tuk-tuk deal the night before (A trip which had cost a fellow hostel go-er 500 we got for 300! YAY!). We boarded a bus (20 BAHT!) and headed to Wat Chalong, a temple dedicated to buddhist monks who fought back the chinese invasion for tin. Very beautiful! We also saw a little bus full of monks! We then headed to Patong Beach where we negotiated and bargained at the markets for sunglasses for bec and tickets to Fantasea Show and Dinner! Was a very funny experience in the markets at patong. It was like Bec was invisible, all these men and women would talk through Bec to Jarratt. Poor, polite Jarratt would at first acknowledge and shake hands but after a few hours was snapping out fantastic calls that made Bec laugh. Jarratt and I also treated ourselves to a luxurious foot massage. SOOOO GOOD! The ladies in the massage place told Jarratt and I that we were 'lovely'... I secretly think they wanted to take Jarratt aside for a special massage! Hahahaha! They're only female, of course!
At night we headed to the Fantasea Show. Fantasea was amazing! Fantasea is a show full of fireworks, acrobats, performing elephants, singing, dancing and is known as thailands MUST SEE attraction!!! When we walked through the gates we realised we only had 100 Baht on us.... the equivalent of 3ish bucks! Hahahaa. So not much was done or bought! Unfortunately there are 'no photos or V.D.O (video)' during the show and the only way to get one is to buy the 500 Baht book. Since we had no money on us Bec was extra sneaky and put her camera in a 'special place' and snuck it in. She took one photo, NO FLASH, and boom! A little thai woman was beside her asking for her to NOT TAKE PHOTOS! hahaha.
DAY FOUR: JAMES BOND ISLAND (Phang Nga Bay)
We headed out to Phang Nga National Park today! First stop was a monkey beach, where Bec and Jarratt paid 16Baht for the pleasure to feeding about 2 dozen bananas to very aggressive monkeys! Was awesome fun though! We also visited the Suwankuha Temple, where there is a MASSIVE reclining buddha and a bat cave that we explored together.
Second Stop was Sight-seeing around Phang Nga Bay by tail boat. We went through an intricate sea cave and then headed to Khao Tapoo and Khao Ping-Kan also known as James Bond Island. We took HEAPS of photos and did all the 'silly' photos like holding the island up and trying to push it over! We then headed to a muslim slit fishing village for lunch. The village is built on slits and is quite like a shanty town. Jarratt and I ran into the most adorable little kids, we took photos of them on the digital camera then showed them their photos, their faces were priceless!!! So cute!!! Afterwards we headed back to the pier and then home via a cashew factory and the worlds largest jewellery store.
Tonight we have just wandered around and organised ourselves for Samui tomorrow.
Hope you are all well... we are having great fun and missing you all.
Love Bec and Jarratt.