We're missing you all and are glad you've been enjoying a great summer.
This is the latest news from us...
after having a great time with friends and family for 6 weeks (thanks for coming out to see us!) we set off for Nam...
We started off by having a few crazy days in hectic SAIGON, there seems like there's 2 motorbikes for each person and no road rules - we had to watch our toes! We went to Reunification Palace, where the tanks rolled in in '75, the Mekong Delta and to the Cu Chi Tunnels - which have a network of over 200k going over to the border with Cambodia, complete with underground hospitals! The tunnels were so, so tiny and hot that we only managed 100m underground before we had to come up - it was really claustraphobic!
Mui Ne and Nha Trang
Next we surfed down the sand dunes at MUI NE, a beach side town with great seafood and snakeblood drinks! After a few days in the diving meka, NHA TRANG, we embarked on a 5 day Vietnam Easy Riders Motorbike Tour across the Central Highlands and the Ho Chi Minh Trail - we travelled on the back of motorbikes through stunning countryside, past heards of water buffalo, staying in homestays in minority villages and learnt so much about the culture. We spent time at an orphanage - a wonderful experience, ate some of the best food in local huts/homes with local people and really experienced the real Vietnam - completely away from the Lonely Planet travellers trail, we didn't see a westener for days and covered over 1,000k! This is without doubt the best experience of our time away so far!
We said our goodbyes to Bamboo and Zee in HOI AN - a romantic town with beautiful old buildings set by the riverside, where in the evening the lanterns light the streets and love songs are played as you walk along the cobbled streets. An added bonus were the G&T's at a remarkable price of 30,000 dong for 2, which we enjoyed with Sophie and Steve who became our travel buddies going up the country. All throughout Vietnam we've sampled the local specialities but by far the best was the Cau La and White Rose in Hoi An.
Hanoi & Sapa
We then travelled through the Demilitrized Zone and Hamburger Hill and into the old North Vietnam and to the capital city HANOI, a city always on fast forward!! We headed overnight on a sleeper train to SAPA - in the remote north, for 3 days of trekking. Our preparation wasn't great for the first day of trekking due to meeting lots of Brits on the train and staying up until the early hours (including a QPR fan, who nearly knew as much as Brad!) - unfortunatly the cowboy hat was left behind though and is now in China, sorry Si!
Sapa is a beautiful village set high in the mountains and level with the clouds, with stunning scenery and hill tribe men and women wearing colourful petticoats and leather tunics - very unique! We hopped over stepping stones through rice terraces for k's on end, with streams flowing alongside us and walking under waterfalls - wonderful! It was a really magical place and bloody knackering!
Next stop was HALONG BAY. We set sail on board a luxury junk boat for the night and toured around the 3,000 islands rising from the emerald waters of the Gulf of Tonkin, stopping off at grottos and caves along the journey. We moored up in a beautiful lagoon for swimming in the ocean and enjoyed 7 courses of delicious food with our cabin mates, enjoying the stary sky at night from the top deck.
We've had a wonderful month due to celebrating Susie's Big 30, our 5th wedding anniversary, our brother-in-law being the new Speaker of the House of Commons and to top it all off a brilliant time in Vietnam!!
See some of you soon, lots of love
Brad and Susie xxxx p.s. photos will be uploaded in a few days!