As many of you are aware, I commute, like the majority of the of the population. It’s never a fun experience, simply a means to an end, however what I have noticed over the years is that there are very different types of commuters, some more irritating that others, some just plain weird and most that just don’t give a fuck! So I thought I would put together a little guide of the usual suspects for anyone who is about to start embarking on the commuting journey….
We woke up after far too little sleep, 3 hours to be precise, all still a little drunk and hazy from the night before.
Why were we up so early i hear you ask, we thought we had to check out of our little apartment at 10am. But there was some confusion over where we should leave our bags. After uming and arring for a while we decided to go grab some breakfast first to sober up and hope by the time we were done we had heard back from our apartment owner.
We hadn’t. So we waited around for another 20mins, trying desperately to ring, text and email the owner before giving up and heading out into the sun. Our first stop was East Side Gallery. East Side Gallery is probably what most people picture when you say Berlin. Its the famous part of the Berlin Wall that has been covered in amazing illustrations.
After our first crazy night out, not getting home ’till gone 5am, we woke up mid afternoon, well Sim and i did, poor Chloe was rudely awoken by the glorious sunshine pouring in through her un-curtained room at 8am. Not want you want when we only crawled into bed at 5! Determined to make the most of what was left of the day we headed straight out in search of the Jewish War Memorial.
A couple of weeks ago my lovely friend Chloe sent me an email at work letting me know she had a week off and we were going to go away! Obviously i said YES! Simona managed to get the time off from her fancy new job too, and before we knew it, our last min girls trip to Berlin had finally come round and boy were we excited! We arrived at the airport bright and early and grabbed three full english breakfasts before smashing duty free and running to the plane!
I haven’t posted in well over a week, so i’m well and truly sorry! I had every intention of posting whilst away, to update you daily on everything Egypt had to offer, but the wifi was pretty rubbish, (it was only available in reception and kept cutting out) and i struggled to get myself out of the sun long enough to write a post! So apologies, i’m a terrible blogger, i know!
But can you blame me when i was sat next to this every day……
After a very long and hot bus journey (due to the air con breaking down every two mins) we arrived in ho chi min just as it started to rain! Sol, Alex, charlie and I all went in search of a hotel that sol and Alex’s friends were already staying in. However when we got there the receptionist was very rude and unhelpful so we decided to look elsewhere. The boys did a quick scout around and managed to find a really nice place just across from where we were, what made it even better was that Alex managed to barter them right down so we got an amazing deal!
That evening sol, Alex charlie and I all went for dinner at a placed called five oyster that sol had found on trip advisor. The food was really good and we all had a lovely meal. When we had finished eating we went to meet sol and Alex’s friends who they had been travelling with before Vietnam. We had a few drinks out on the road before deciding to go and look for more of a bar type place to carry on in. As we were strolling up the road I spotted James, who we originally met at the farm stay, walking the other way. We had a quick chat and he recommended a good bar for us to try down the road that had free darts and pool. James had a super early flight to catch the next morning so he only stayed for one drink, but it was still nice to catch up with him. We stayed and played a few games of pool before calling it a night as we were shattered from the bus.
The next day we all met up again and had a surprisingly good breakfast across the road before heading to the war museum. There was loads of information about all different aspects of the war and was all very interesting despite how one sided it was. We were there for most the afternoon before one of the boys suggested an Adidas and puma outlet. It wasn’t too far away so we strolled over, only to discover it wasn’t much of an outlet at all, just a regular shop! We were in there for all of 2mins before heading back in the direction of our hotel. We were all a bit peckish so we stopped off at a bakery that James had recommended called ABC bakery. Later that night we were all supposed to go for dinner but Alex wasn’t feeling too great so it was just charlie, sol and I. We decided to try another place James had recommended as so far his recommendations had been fantastic!! It was a little street vender who did pork and rice for less then £1, an it was AMAZING!! However her portions were a little small so we went to get some spring rolls after which sadly were very disappointing in comparison!
The next day we had a flight booked back to Bangkok at about 5ish so as we didn’t have a full day and it was pouring with rain we decided to go to an indoor market with sol and Alex. It was a very sweet market that had loads of trinkey thing so u managed to get a couple of presents for people. Before we knew it it was time to go, so we said our goodbyes to sol and Alex and then set off for the airport, this time with tones of time to spare!!
Charlie and I loved Vietnam, we had the most amazing time and anyone who is heading that way should definitely make it a priority!
We got to the bus tired and grumpy after our terrible nights sleep. As we were getting on the bus we noticed sol and Alex, the couple we had met back in Laos. It was lovely bumping into them again so we sat with them on the bus and caught up on what they had been up to since we’d last seen them. We were happy to hear they were heading to dalat too as we didn’t know much about it and figured it would be nice to have another couple to hang out with.
We arrived a couple of hours later and as neither of us had any where booked to stay we decided to try a place called villa pink house that we’d both heard of. As we were getting off the bus we also got chatting to another young english couple called Harry and Sophie. They didn’t have anywhere booked either so they tagged along. After a bit of a walk we arrived, only to discover that they were fully booked. Apparently it was some sort of Vietnamese national holiday so everywhere was really busy we were told. The guys decided to go off in search of somewhere while the girls stayed with the bags. After a good hour the boys still weren’t back so I gave charlie and ring to find out what was going on. Apparently they had been into tones of different hotels and every single one was full! We decided to try a place called villa cam ly. It was a little far out but the taxis were so cheap none of us minded.
We got there and we’re greeted by ben the owner, a young Vietnamese guy who was so lovely. He told us that sadly he didn’t have any rooms either, but he did have an attic we could use for the night and tomorrow he would have rooms for us. Now when he said attic, I was picturing some dusty, dark, spider ridden room with now windows, but no, it was quite the opposite! It was a huge open light space with lovely clean wooden flooring and really cool paintings on the walls, it even had its own bathroom! Plus he said he’d only charge us $20 between all 6 of us so it was crazy cheap! We all thought it was a good idea so we took our stuff up while ben made us all free tea!
After we had settled in we decided to head down to crazy house, a place I’d heard about. It’s hard to describe crazy house as it doesn’t really have a function from what we could see. Basically it’s this mad place that an architect designed and built. Effectively I guess it’s supposed to be a hotel as you can stay there if you want, but mainly people just go to see it as the architecture is so crazy. I shall put up some pictures below so you can get a better idea! We wondered through the many tunnels and crazy walk ways for about an hour before heading out to get some dinner. Charlie had found some place online called “news and new art cafe” so we headed there.
It was a pretty small little cafe that had some amazing art work on the walls. We ordered a huge selection of food and it was all AMAZING!! I had the beef noodles and if was to die for!! After we had all finished stuffing our faces the owner/artist came over to our table and told us he wanted to paint us all a picture. He brought out his easel and a load of ink and started painting with his fingers. It was only then that we realised everything in the gallery had been done using just his fingers! We were all very impressed and waited patiently for our pictures. Some of the pictures were certainly better than others, but on the whole they were great, and it was a lovely little momentum for each of us!
When we left we decided to have a wonder around the HUGE night market that was on. There was tones of different foods as well a general nick nacks to buy. we wondered round for about 40mins but no one brought anything. When we got back to bens it was still pretty early so we all sat up chatting when ben came up and have us two free bottles of vodka and said “let’s party!” We had a great night sat up in our little attic with ben and his friend.
The next day we had all signed up for bens secret bike tour. Dalat is know for its easy rider tours, however everyone is warned that it’s hard to find a good one that isn’t just a rip off. So when ben told us about his secret tour we thought it was perfect! We left at about 9:30am after our breakfast. We had a bike per couple and it was a beautiful drive up through the mountains. Our first stop was at a cricket farm. They had these huge big tubs full of old dead leafs that were covered in crickets. Apparently if you sell them you can make quite a lot of money as the Vietnamese people love to eat them as snacks! And before we know it ben has sat us down with a big plate full and is offering them around. As you can imagine I did NOT eat one, but charlie did, apparently they tasted a bit like crisps!! Once we had finished cooing over the little puppy that was there we headed off to our next stop, a local market.
The market sold everything from clothes to live ducks! It was a real sensory over load. We all had a wonder round in ore of everything you could get in this one tinny space, but no one braved buying anything! Once we had finished we went over to a silk factory. Here we saw the whole process from start to finish of how silk is made and how it is then turned into sheets of fabric, dyed and then sold. It was very interesting to see all the different steps that have to take place. Next we stopped at a really cute little place for lunch where we had really good fried rice with beef, chicken or pork.
When everyone had finished we crossed over the road to elephant waterfall. Now since charlie and I have been away we have seen a fair few waterfalls and I can safely say this wasn’t the most beautiful but it was the biggest. It was HUGE! We were all taking photos when ben said, come on, follow me. All of a sudden we were climbing down a very unsteady treed area. When we got to the bottom we were all amazed to see we were sort of half way down the waterfall but also half inside it. It’s very hard to explain, but it was amazing! There was a clearing that you could walk over to where you could see all the waterfall crashing down. It was so cool, the sort of thing you would never see of you had gone by yourself. We climbed back up again and went to have a look at the beautiful temple close to the waterfall.
Our final stop was at a coffee plantation where they grow loads of different kinds of coffee, including the famous weasel coffee! We got to see the weasels as well as seeing the weasel coffee in its different states! It was quite gross! Sol and Alex tried a cup as it was only a couple of pounds, the cheapest you’ll find it anywhere, but charlie and I decided not to bother as we don’t like normal coffee let alone coffee that’s made out of weasel poo!
We drove back into town and stopped off at an amazing bakery that the boys had found while wondering around looking at hotels. We stocked up on goodies for the bus journey the next day. When we got back we were all pretty tired so we decided to have a quick nap before heading out for dinner. Alex had read about a place that was supposed to do really good food and had live music so we headed down there, however when we arrived it was dead, we were the only people in there an there was no live music, so we decided to give it a miss. We ended up at the place across the road. We were all sat down about to order when some crazy American/Vietnamese lady who didn’t even work there offered to help us order. It was a nice gesture and we figured she could communicate better than we could, but as soon as we started saying what we wanted she would shout out “what!? You can get that at home, get something else, something different” so we all ended up changing our orders and having a very odd meal with this lady who was very happy to over share all her information including the fact that she was, and I quite “an international player with a passport!” Yes she was mental!
Anyway, when we had finished our crazy meal we headed back to bens as we all had an early bus the next day down to ho chi min so we wanted to get an early night. We had such a great time at bens, he’s such a lovely guy, if anyone is ever passing through dalat they should definitely stay at bens, you’ll be garenteed a good time!
After a very bumpy night bus, we arrived in Nah trang super early! Rosy, Ella, Emma, Miles and Henna had already been there for a day, so we headed to mojzo inn where they were staying. When we arrived the guy on reception was clearly expecting us as the others had obviously mentioned it, while we were checking in he went up and woke them all up to let them know we were here!! Barring it mind it was 6am! We felt very bad, but luckily everyone went back to sleep!
Charlie and I couldn’t check into our dorm until midday so we chilled out in the lounge area until it was time for breakfast. We had great pancakes and an omelette while we waited for the others to wake up for a second time! Once everyone had eaten we decided to head to the mud spa that I’d heard about. We all got changed and were picked up by an elongated golf buggy!
When we arrived we were taken straight to our bud bath. As there were 7 of us we were given the biggest bath. As they started filling it with mud we were taken over to the first mineral shower area which was a huge circle with tones of shower heads at the top. Once we were all soaked we were taken back to our bud bath. One by one we gradually got in. The mud was lovely and warm and also much thinner than we were all expecting! It didn’t really stick to you in the way you would imagine, it was far more watery. We all covered ourselves in the mud and took a variety of funny pictures on rosys water proof camera before getting out to shower off. The next part was like a big grown up mineral water park. The area that you go to to wash off all the mud was full of jets pointing out all over the place! There was one that looked like a big fountain with jets shooting up from the floor, one that was like a walkway with jets shooting at you from both sides and one fairly normal looking shower one. As we didn’t know the difference we decided to try them all!
Once we were all dried off we claimed some sun bed by the pool and went to get lunch. The food was actually pretty good and the portions were HUGE! When everyone had eating so much they felt sick we went to go lie in the sun like big beached whales! After a few hours we headed back to get showered properly and changed for our big night out!
We went for dinner at a roof top bar type place, the food really wasn’t that great, but Ella and I both enjoyed ours! Next we went to a bar with the craziest promoter lady ever!! She came running out into the street to hug us all before forcing us into her bar! We had one drink there before slying off so we didn’t get stopped! Next we went to a place called red apple as the others had been there the night before and said it was really busy, however when we turned up we were the only people there! But it was happy hour and they were doing two for one on sprits so we stayed. After Emma and miles had played their game of pool we decided to move on again. We ended up at a place round the corner from where we ate which was much more lively.
We stayed here and had quite a few drinks, had a dance and generally enjoyed ourselves until charlie decided he was hungry so the two of us as well as Emma went in search of some food. We found a little shack selling some sort of German sausage and got one of those before going back and attempting to sleep, while the girl and guy in the bed above me went at it like rabbits all night.
The next day charlie and I wanted to go to vinpearl which is vietnams version of disney land, minus the Disney characters! The others had already been the day before so they went to the beach instead. Charlie and I got a cab to the cable cart that takes you across to vinpearl island……yes it’s on it’s own island! As soon as we got off we jump straight onto the only “roller coaster” they had there. It was a bit like the flying fish at Thorpe park only shorter! Then we headed straight over to the water park section as the others had told us this was the best part. We dropped off our stuff and headed to the first slide. We went down and all the Vietnamese were laughing at charlie because he made such a big splash when we came down!! We went on pretty much every water slide they had and spent a good two hours there before realising it was almost 3pm already and we hadn’t had any lunch yet! So we got dry and went in hunt for food. Sadly vinpearl was very limited with there food selection. There was either a big “fancy” restaurant or lotto which is effectively a shit version of burger king and we had already been warned not to go there. So we found a random food stall that did the classic Vietnamese dish “chicken nuggets and chips!” I probably should have mentioned before that Nah trang is FULL of russians. I’m not quite sure why, we havant really come across many Russians elsewhere in Vietnam, but for some reason they obviously love Nah trang.
Anyway, after we’d had our delightful lunch we decided to cue for the lugging style ride next. Well I say cue, it was more like an elbowing match until we got into a space where people couldn’t really push in front of us any more! After cueing for about an hour we finally got to the front. The cart that you sit in was similar to lugging in that you have a leaver that you lift to make you go and lift further to break. It was on a raised track that gave you a beautiful view of Nah trang. The idea is to go down it fast, hence it being in a theme park, however you are slightly limited by how fast you can go by the person in front of you as there is no way of over taking. Sadly I had some granny in front of me who clearly thought this was more of a scenic view than a ride as she was breaking at every given opportunity. We got to the end a little pissed off that we had cued so long for it to be ruined by someone woman who had pushed in front of us!
We went back up to the main entrance area just to catch the end of the parade before jumping back on the cable cart to go back. The others were leaving that night so we wanted to make it back in time to say goodbye to them. Once we’d said our fair wells, charlie and I headed to a place called lanterns for dinner. It was a really cute little restaurant with no ceiling, covered in lanterns. We had the most amazing dinner there, we both tried their yellow curry as it was recommended and it was sooooooo good!!
When we were finished we went back to the hostel to pack up all our stuff and get an early night as we had a 6am bus to catch, however this didn’t quite go to plan due to the assholes in our room who came it shouting at 3am and then deliberately carried on when they saw we were trying to sleep. Then more of them came in at 4am, again being as loud as they possibly could. It’s safe to say both charlie and I were fuming and very happy to turn on all the lights and slam the door when we left at 6am!
As the journey from hue to hoi an is only about 4ish hours they run a day time bus rather than a night one, so we left first thing in the morning. The journey wasn’t too bad apart from the fact that there was no air con! We got chatting to three lovely english students who had just done a semester in Singapore. When we arrived the five of us sort of stuck together and we went on the longest hunt for accommodation!
Our friend James who we met at the farm stay was already here with our other friend Nadia. They were staying at an hoi hotel and had said they had managed to get us a pretty good price, so we set off for there. Unfortunately when we arrived it was a different person on reception who knew nothing about the arrangement and was trying to charge us $20 for a room which was out of our price range. So we decided to carry on looking and stupidly thought the beach was pretty close so we headed in that direction. After at least an hour of traipsing around in the midday sun with our huge bags we decided to give up as the beach was no where in site and we were all hungry and tired. So we got a cab back to an hoi and started negotiating. We managed to get them down to just $14 if we didn’t have breakfast, but we had heard breakfast was pretty crap anyway so we weren’t too fussed! Hoi an is a beautiful little town with a very strong French influence so it was funny walking around everywhere as it almost felt like the back streets of Paris!
After showering and chilling out for a bit we all meet up to go for dinner. The only up side to having walked around pretty much the whole town that day was that we had already pretty much got our bearings and knew where stuff was! We ended up at a restaurant called green moss, which despite the name did really good food. James and Nadia met us there and we all had a lovely group meal. Once everyone had finished someone mentioned pudding, so we went in search of some cakes! There are also tones of little French patisseries dotted around the town so it wasn’t hard to find somewhere. While we were polishing off our cakes we heard a huge crash from the street, we all ran out to discover there had been a big motorbike accident. We were all a little stunned and didn’t really know what to do, there was a guy lying unconscious in the road. Luckily he had a helmet on otherwise it could have been a lot worse. Eventually someone who looked like police arrived so we figured there wasn’t much we could do. We headed back to the hotel but spotted a cute little night market on the way. At night hoi an gets even cuter as it is covered in colourful lanterns that are all lit up. There was a huge stand at the market selling them, but charlie and I agreed we had no where to put one!
The next morning we had a bit of a lie in before meeting the others to go to the beach. We decided to get a cab this time, rather than walking for hours! We arrived at lunch time so we found a spot on the beach that also did food. We chilled out here for a couple of hours before heading back. Once we got back we decided to have a wonder round the shops. Hoi an is know for its tailoring, so every other shop is a tailors of some kind, be it clothes, shoes, bags, anything! Nadia was already in the process of getting some stuff made, so I arranged to meet her for her fitting so I could see how it turned out. She was getting two jackets and two dresses made at different places, so we went off in search of the first one. All of the stuff she was getting made was lovely! In particular one of her coats. When she put it on I fell in love with it, so much so that I decided to get one made too! After I’d been all measured up we went to meet charlie and James for dinner at a place called good morning Vietnam, which had been recommended to me by miss squire! It was a lovely little Italian place and the food was AMAZING!! Once we’d finished eating it was still pretty early, so we decided to go for some drinks. We had a cocktail at this one awful bar before quickly leaving and finding somewhere better! The next place that we went to was much nicer so we settled there. While at the bar we got our first glimpse of snake wine. We had heard of rice wine but not snake wine and it wasn’t until charlie spotted the snakes head staring at him in the jar that we realised what it was! It was very creepy looking, and we all agreed we didn’t think it would taste great so passed on that one! Many cocktails later we realised we were the only people left in the bar so we called it a night!
The next morning I had arranged to meet Nadia so we could go to our fittings together. Charlie decided he’d had enough of shopping the day before so he stayed in bed. James decided to join us and showed us to this great little coffee shop that did amazing pastries, so we grabbed some breakfast before heading to the fittings. My coat was basically finished which I was amazed about! How they managed to create a brand new coat from scratch in about 12hours was so impressive! And it was basically perfect, only very tinny adjustments needed to be made to the hood and buttons! Once we were finished i grabbed some lunch from cargo the coffee shop we went to for breakfast and met back up with charlie. We decided to go to the beach again as it was a lovely day, however this time James had a different spot to show us. We got a cab down there again, and the area he took us to was lovely. It was far quieter with hardly any people trying to sell you stuff, and far prettier. We stayed there for most of the afternoon before heading back for mine and nadias final fittings. Everything was perfect so I collected my cost and Nadia got her bits too, luckily hers were all good as she was leaving that evening. We met up with the boys and sadly I was out numbered in wanting to go for a curry so we went to a place called Ganesh which James had been to before. It was horrid and I didn’t enjoy it, but everyone else seemed to! After dinner, sadly, Nadia had to get her flight down to ho chi min, so we said our goodbyes.
Charlie had now decided that he wanted a coat too, so we went back to the place where I had mine done and he showed them what he wanted. After they had measured him we went back in the direction of the hotel as James had a 6am flight to catch so didn’t want a late one, but we ended up stopping off at a little place on the way back anyway for a couple of beers.
The next day was our last day in hoi an. Our bus left at 4:30pm for nah trang so we had half a day to fill. We grabbed breakfast at cargo again before heading up for Charlie’s fitting. His coat needed quite a few tweaks so he was a little disappointed at first. Once he was done we wondered round the shops and grabbed some lunch, killing time before his next fitting at 2pm. When we went back his coat was much better but still needed some bits changed. Eventually when we went back at 4pm everything was done so we had to make a quick dash back to the hotel to get our bags and jump on the bus.
So we arrived into hue about lunch time after finishing at the tunnels. We were dropped at hue backpackers so charlie and I decided to leave our bags there and go an investigate places to stay. As we had spent a little more than intended at the farm stay we were on a slightly stricter budget. We looked at a few different places before heading down to google hotel. As soon as we arrived we were treated by two great guys. They were super friendly and attentive and showed us to reception. We decided this was where we wanted to stay so we were about to go all the way back to hue backpackers to pick up our stuff when the guy at reception said “no, no, my friends will take you on their bikes, it’s free, don’t worry” it was such a lovely gesture and saved us having to treck the whole way there and back!
Once we got back we got settled in our room when we had a knock at the door. Reception had sent us up a free fruit salad and two ice teas!! We decided this was possibly the BEST customer service we had experienced since we’d been away……fav hotel…..I think so!! We grabbed a late lunch at the sushi place next door before having a wonder round to get our bearings.
That evening we decided to have dinner at the hotel as they offer FREE BEER from 5pm till midnight! The food was pretty good and they also had a free pool table so charlie and I played a few games before charlie was challenged by one of the workers to a game. Charlie got killed!! This guy was amazing at pool!!
The next day we decided to hire some bikes to ride around the old city. We had our free breakfast before setting off on a slightly terrifying journey! I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this before or not but in Vietnam there don’t seem to be any rules on the road, other than if you are over taking, beep your horn! People drive through red lights, no one signals and it’s just pure mayhem! Luckily we made it into the old city safely and after cycling round for a while we found the entrance to the palace. We had a stroll around inside, slyly trying to listen to other peoples tour guides so we knew what we were looking at! Eventually we decided to leave and had to almost break out as the exit was annoyingly at a completely different gate to the entrance, miles away from where we had left the bikes. So charlie spotted a side ally way which turned out to be fenced off, but we slipped through the side and ran away!
We cycled around for a bit longer and decided to go for a quick drink at this cool floating restaurant, although it wasn’t as great as it looked and Charlie’s smoothie was pretty rank so we left. As we hadn’t had any lunch we decided to just go for an early dinner and stock up on some snacks incase we got hungry later. Charlie had spotted some place he wanted to try when we were looking for accommodation so we headed there. It was a really cute little restaurant/art gallery called confeti and as it was so early we were the only people in there. The food and service was AMAZING! I would defiantly recommend it, the spring rolls were the best we’ve ever had! After dinner we made our way back to the hotel for more free beer and pool before calling it a night as we had to leave the next day for hoi an.
I honestly can’t recommend google hotel enough, it was so great, the staff were all amazing an the amount of stuff they offer for free is unreal!! How they make any money I don’t know!!
Sadly didn’t get many pictures on my phone as they were all on my camera.