Hi everyone! Hope you're well!
It's our first blog post for a few weeks so we have lots to update you on!
Right... where do we start?!
After our last blog post we headed to Halong Bay on a cruise for a couple of days. Halong bay is a formation of islands off the coast of Vietnam. There was around 30 people on the boat with a range of nationalities (Dutch, Korean, Aussie, Swiss, Canadian, USA, Scottish, Irish, German etc...) - we had an awesome time. We kayaked to a cave and then crawled our way round (on our hands and knees) being guided by our tour guide, from Ipswich!! We also jumped off the saill boat and went for a swim which was wicked. As the day drew to a close the partying began - massive game of ring of fire (its a drinking game Carole/Nan/Mum/Suzy/Helen/Anne! Anyone above the age of 30!) with very extreme rules. Ended up with dan in a bra - I'm sure you have seen the photos on facebook!!
The next day we were all hungover and made our way to Hanoi before having a final meal of fresh fish, which was caught that day! Great food :)
From hanoi we started the journey of all journies to Laos. It involved getting picked up by a man on a scooter and following him round Hanoi before being left at a random travel agents, 30 mins later we were picked up by a mini bus which took us to another coach where we would spend the next 32 hours with a bunch of vietnamese who spoke no english and a lovely Norweigan couple (Camilla and Andre), who we ended up travelling with for the next couple of weeks. The journey was eventful to say the least, we had broken down bus, border crossing which was very bizarre and so much stuff tied to the top of our bus it was pretty unbelievable how it survived the mountainous journey.
When we finally arrived in the capital, Vietianne we made our way to Vang Vieng, getting a tuk tuk to another bus station and boarding a local bus. All I can say is that is was awful !!
Vang Vieng was such great fun though - we went tubing there (basically involves going down a river in a rubber ring and stopping off at bars on the way playing drinking games and getting drunk!) Amongst the beautiful mountains! Met loads of great people and carried on partying throughout the night.
The next day we made our way back to Bangkok where our adventure began a month earlier. The journey was pretty smooth and we arrived the following morning. We spent the day in Bangkok, shopping and relaxing before getting a bus and boat to Koh Tao.
Spent another night on a bus and then got a boat around 7am. We had lots of waiting around and so we got chatting to a few people and one of the guys we met has just found out his wife had been sleeping with his best mate. The guy turned out to be a recording artist who has written songs for pink and avril Lavigne!
Koh Tao was amazing!! We absolutely loved it here - it was very nice to chill out for 5-6 days after travelling around for so long. We met up with Andre and Camilla here as well, where we spent the week together which was really nice ( we will defintely be taking a vist to norway when we get back). We hired a quad bike which was too much fun and explored the whole island (only 10km in length), found some lovely beaches, went snorkelling which was unbelievable, Dan and Andre went diving at an Island opposite (by the way Frenchie, your tip of 'swimming' here which you put in your little red book was a complete lie - I'd like to see you try!!) which was amazing also whilst me and Camilla topped up our tan! It was also Camillas 21st birthday whilst we were there so we had an awesome celebrations which involved shots, buckets and sick!! Basically we had a lovely time on Koh Tao - and would recommend it to everyone!
We were sad to leave Koh Tao but at the same time we were ready to continue our travels. So we then got a night boat and bus to Kuala Lumpur. The night boat was actually okay, it wasn't full so we managed to get some sleep. Although I thought we had a leakage as I kept feeling water on my legs all night, only to wake up and realise Dan has just split the water everywhere over me!! We arrived in Kuala Lumper late and tried to find a hostel. However, eveywhere was full up and we ended up in a hotel which had a 4bed dorm room with a Swedish guy called Simon who was in the same situation as us!
That night, around 1am we watched Arsenal v. Stoke in restaurant near the hotel and Dan got chatting to some Malaysian guy about football for the whole game - I got bored!
The next day we got on a hop on, hop off city bus tour around Kuala Lumpur as we were told that this would be the best way to see the city. It was a really good way to see KL and we had a great day. However - disaster struck! I lost my purse - which luckily only had about 10 quid, my card and, most importantly, our bus tickets to Singapore for 9pm that night. The only way they would let us get on the bus is if we got a police report which we managed after Dan persuaded the lazy policeman to write one out for us. However, we then found out that they wouldnt actually reissue a ticket for us and we simply had to go to the station (a train ride away) and see if no-one sat in our seats. Luckily no-one did :) and here we are in Singapore.
BUT - when we arrived at about 3am we had no accomodation booked up and everywhere we went to was full or super expensive (Singapore is bloody expensive) so we sat at a bus stop contemplating our options, either sleep in a park or pay $200 for a hotel room for a few hours sleep! So we got into a taxi and he took to the best area to find a cheap room for a few hours (transit hotels) they all wanted $10 a hour. However we managed to find one for $30 for 5 hours sleep! What we didnt know was that we were in a red light district and these hotels were used for $5 shags for 30 mins because our room was literally at the reception desk! It was pretty strange but its all part of the 'travelling experience'!
The next day we went to the hostel we had booked up which was a million times better! We showered and then walked around the city which is lovely! It is so clean and some of the architecture is fantastic and the museums are really good! We have walked so many miles the last couple of days as it is the best way to see the city. It is really diverse, as you go from the city sky scrappers, huge shopping malls, to Little India and Chinatown where we are writing this right now! For backpackers the Hawker centres are the cheapest way to eat so that's what we have been doing, this is where you eat with the locals for about 2.50 a meal! But i'd suggest anyone to come here for a few days because it simply has it all (but bring loads of money!!)
We are flying out to Cairns tomorrow afternoon which we are really looking forward to! We have had such an awesome time in South East Asia, seen some fantastic places, met some great people and just have had the best time!! We definately hope to come back here one day and re-visit some places we loved and visit places we wished we had been too!
We have run out of time on the internet now - hope this all makes sense as we havent had a chance to read it through!
Again, really hope everyone is well back home and we will be uploading more photos on Facebook within the next week!
Take care everyone,
Rachel and Daniel