First Part of the trip. Bangkok, Saigon, Cambodia and Phu Quoc
The first stop on our travels was 2 nights in Bangkok. I had heard many stories about it so kind of knew what to expect and we were not disappointed. We managed to avoid getting a taxi and just hopped on the bus into town. We had booked a hostel a few weeks before called the Niras. One of the nicest hostels i had ever stayed at with lots of really quirky features. It was about 15 min walk from the main Kosan road tourist trap so manged to stay clear of that most the time. Only having one full day there we wanted to just see as much of the city as we could.
Each street tended to have on specific item to sell. This was at the start of basket and whicker street. But there were streets for flowers, golden buddahs, doors and everything you could imagine. For a big shop you would end up going all over the whole city!
The famous Bangkok Tuktuk. Easily the best way to see they city and so cheap, watch out for scams though. Almost every driver will try and take you to their mates suit shop!
We were stopped on numerous occasions by people offering directions which normally I am weary of but here was all good. One guy stopped and got a took took to take us round for couple of hours for just 80 pence.
Top sights included the Golden Mount, Standing Buddah, Laid Back Buddah and few other random places. The driver did the standard extra few drop offs in places where he gets commissions etc but we had no need for suits and gem stones.
View from the Golden Mount.
Polishing Gem stones in Bangkok.
The next day it was off to the airport again to catch our flight to Vietnam. Got a taxi to the airport this time for ease. Top tip for taxis out here is make sure the meter is tuned on! They will try tell you it is broken but ‘it’s a trap!’. Anyways, just a short flight to Vietnam and once again hopped on the public bus into town. Words cant even begin to explain how many motor bikes and scooters there are in Sigon. It’s unbelievable. On every side of the road, the pavements and even through parks. Apparently there is 4 million motorbikes in Sigon alone which is one for every two people but I did see a good few with a family of 4 on one bike. We eventually found a hostel, with Gok Wan look-a-like owner, down a rabbit warren of little back streets which also doubled up as peoples living rooms.
First day in Sigon we went to the Cu Chi tunnels which are about 2 hours bus ride out of the city. They were a network of tiny tunnels that stretch for over 200km around the area and were used by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam war. After we got back to town we went to the war remnants museum. Definitely worth a visit if your ever there.
One day Sigion was enough and we wanted to get out the city so we booked bus to Cambodia.
River Crossing on the way to Phnom Penn
We arrived in Phnom Penn pretty late but eventually found somewhere to stay. Strange feel to the place and woke the next morning early to go to the killing fields and S-21 prison. Its something I didn’t really know about but almost a third of the of the Cambodian population were murdered by the Khamer Rouge during the 70s. After visiting Auschwitz and already had some ideas in my head about what it might be like there but you end up walking around the mass graves and teeth and bones litter the ground. Truly a moving experience and especially as it happened so recently. To learn more about the atrocities that happened click here.
After only one night in Phnom Penn it was time to move on to Sian Reap and Angor Wat. The bus ride was not the most pleasant but we stopped off a few times for food and tried the local delicacie of tarantula. Not as bad as you might think but Sophie wasn’t so keen for it. We arrived pretty late and were greeted by the hoards of toktok drivers looking for business. After finding a hotel for a couple of nights we got an early night as we wanted to get to Angor early. I didn’t know what to expect when we went to Angor as it is so famous and been in many different films. When you get there though, along with the thousand other tourists, its incredible. You feel like Indian jones and the theme was in my head all day long!
Sophie checking out Angor Wat.
Along with the masses of tourists there was also a local wedding!
One of the smaller temples.
Doesn’t look steep but it was
Really cool guy that helped our toktok driver fix the puncture.
We managed to go to all the main temples and away from most of the crowds which was really cool. Our tuktuk driver hadn’t fixed the puncture from the night before though so had to stop and get that fixed.
We went out for a few too many drinks with some of the guys we had met on the bus on the way here. Good night and Sian Reap really comes alive at night.
Woke up hung over and whilst slightly still drunk we thought it would be a good idea to go to Phu Quoc Island which is back in Vietnam. Its a long fifteen hour bus journey on a sleeper bus which is where I am writing this now. Possibly the weirdest experience of my life. It stinks and is so loud but its pretty much a load of bunk beds on a coach and there is a massive electrical storm outside. Oh and it stunk of piss and the AC is broken. Turning into a sweaty disaster! Thats all for now. Catch up soon
Nice wee place near our hotel.
Lightening outside whilst waiting for the tuktuk to the bus station.
Pretty much all of Cambodia in one bus journey. Not recommended.
Cambodian Boarder Post
Looking back into Cambodia. Because casinos are illegal in Vietnam, just over the boarder there are heaps!
I am on a boat. Its 8am and just leaving Phu Quoc Island. Been here 2 full days and 3 nights. The rest of the trip here from Sian Reap was very long, took us like 20 hours to get there. Well worth it though as we arrived in glorious sun shine and the accommodation we managed to find was a wee bungalow about 5 meters from the beach and had hammocks outside. Within 5 min already used my man skills and cracked open a coconut. After a quick stroll along the beach we went for dinner in some French speaking place which was cool. That night there was a massive thunderstorm that kept us awake most the night and when we woke the weather was still pretty grim. This didn’t stop us from hiring a wee 125cc ped and trying to go see the sights of the island. It pissed down. Heaps. Even with my poncho, courtesy of Canadian Bob, we both got absolutely soaked. Then just as the road started to turn into a river we got a puncture. After a quick F1 style pit stop we headed back to Doung Dong where we were staying.
We arranged that night to head into the night market with a French couple from Chamonix, Guillaume and Emanuel, we had met on the bus here. As its an island there was so so much fresh sea food! Good times were had and few beers sank.
Soph, Guillaume, Emanuel and Norwegian Thomas chilling in Doung Dong
It was up early the next day and we hit the road with Giam and Emanuel who had also hired peds and we headed off to tour the south part of the island. There is only like 5km of paved roads on the whole bloody island, so it was pot holes the whole way… First stop was at a pearl farm. A lot more too this than I imagined but pretty cool none the less. Then we headed to the very south tip of the island with a quick stop en route to watch a cock fight (im not saying i condone this but its just what they do here).
The birds were pulled apart shortly after this photo.
Squid Fishing Boats
We stopped off in a random harbour where hundreds of squid boats with massive lights all over them were harboured. Some guy showed us this big barrel of what looked like manky as water but when he scooped some out it was full of squid and the darkness in the water was just squid ink. Next stop was Saio Beach and what a beach it was. Like something from a Bounty advert. Crystal clear waters and white sand beaches. I will let the pictures do the talking.
After swimming and hanging out on the beach it was time to head back but we had heard about some waterfalls on the way. After another pit stop fof ANOTHER FLAT TIRE we made it to the falls which wern’t massive but still pretty cool. There was two main falls which you could actually walk behind and still be fairly dry. We met a bunch of locals there all our kind of age who were having a few beers and loads of fruit so we hung out with them for a while which was really really good fun. Vietnamese really are some of the friendliest people i have ever met.
One of the Jungle waterfalls, smaller one.
We planned out where we wanted to go next as we have to be back in sai gon on Friday to meet tiff. Figured a quick stop in the Mekong delta could be cool so we booked a boat for 8am the next day which is where I am writing this section right now. In her typical transportation style Sophie has gone to sleep so yeah. Next stop Ho Cho or something like that.
Sophie stoked on a cake being named after her. It was however a disappointing cake with only 2 raisins in the whole loaf!