Wow! Sorry just seen the last time we sent an update out was the 26th October so apologies to everyone who hasn't heard what we have been up to for sooooo long! We will split this out into more than 1 mail cause there is too much to write in just one email. We will try to be brief and just tell you about the main things! I'm going to write this one and Gareth will write the next one to save time in the internet cafe!
OK on 27th October we went to Hoi An (Vietnam) the place that is famous for tailor made clothes! Its famous for good reason! The amount of shops was amazing and we both had so much stuff made. I had so much stuff made - virtually a new wardrobe and it cost virtually nothing! We both had suits, shirts, shorts, tops etc made and I also had dresses, skirts, coats and we still only spent under 200 pounds! We ended up sending 13.5 kg back to England not bad for a few days shopping! The beach here was amazing with hammocks in between trees.
We also did a cooking class in Hoi An in a place called Cafe 96, famous round here for its great food at great prices. We have some great recipes to try out on you all when we get home so you can look forward to that! The cafe was a family run business that they have had for over 75 years. It was also on the edge of the river and the tide came in so after the cooking class we had to wade knee deep through the water to get back to the main street! I wish I had my camera cause it was sooo funny!
Then we caught a night train Hanoi and it was due to arrive in a 5.30 am, we were booked on a tour at 8.30 to Halong bay so you can imagine what we were like when 8 o'clock came and we were still on the train! Anyway, we arrived at 8.30 and the group waited for us then we rushed to get the boat to Halong bay. Halong bay was beautiful and really should be the 8th wonder of the world! We did a bit of Kayaking and Gareth was the only person to fall in and it was so funny to watch! He tried to step out graciously but failed and came up out of the water looking like a drowned rat.
In Hanoi there are some Bia Hoi's which means local bars, the beer here is gorgeous and costs about 2 pence a glass! Fantastic! The only thing is you have to literally sit in the road on tiny children's plastic chairs but everyone is doing it. Later on Hanoi itself seemed very quiet which seemed odd as it was a city. Anyway we spoke to some locals and found out the just because bars looked closed didn't mean that they were! So we took their advise and banged on some shutters, only to find they opened and the bars were packed! Fantastic! Apparently the police don't like late night bars so everything was supposed to close at 11.30.
Then we left to go to Laos, we had decided to fly as we had heard lots of horror stories about the 24 hour bus journey from Hanoi to Viantianne and decided it wasn't worth the money saved! The plane was tiny but otherwise good, after a pretty smooth landing we headed off to get accommadation for the night. We met up with a few others and caught a Tuk Tuk to the city centre. It was the quietist city I have ever been in and so beautiful! It was very French and you could see they had some influence there years ago. We hired bike's to get around, normally I wouldn't ride round cities cause they are to busy but it was nothing like that here! We watched an amazing sunset over the river.
Then we headed to the highlight so far of our trip! Vang Vienne! This was the best place we have ever visited. If any of you are struggling to decide where to go on holiday next you should certainly look into coming here. The scenery was amazing and there was so much to do. One of the main things you can do is hire a tractor inner tube and get taken 10km up the river, you then float down the river stopping at various bars and "playgrounds" all along the river. Its a really socialble place and you soon make loads of friends. Gareth nearly perfected back flips from one of the big rope swings but not quite! I have some great videos I will show you all when we return or I may try putting some on facebook if I get time. The internet connections are slow here so uploading anything takes ages! The day usually ends with a few merry people floating down the river in the dark! Most people were sensible enough to get back before dusk but there is always some people! Luckily we were not those people!
We also did Kayaking down the river and some caving, we relaxed in hammocks on the river, drank buckets in the local bars and drank with all the friends we had made during our time in Vang Vienne. We also visited a local market (for the local people) and saw some very strange things! I didn't think you could eat any animal but I have been prooved wrong! If it moves you can eat it! We saw badgers, foxes, squirrels, beavers, guinea pigs, possums, Rats, frogs and so much more! Gross!
We loved it so much we ended up staying for a week, we were only supposed to stay for 3 days! We could have stayed loads longer but we have so much more to see! Even after the week neither of us wanted to leave! Anyway hopefully your still awake and you can look forward to receiving part 2 of this update shortly (Gareth is just writing it now.....). For those of you that have not seen them yet we put some more photos on facebook a while ago of Laos. You can see the tubing but we didn't take to many pics cause we didn't have a waterproof camera.
Anyway hope your all well and the English weather is not to cold! Love you all
Kate x x x x x