Planning a big trip // My top tips!

As some of you may know, I’m off on rather an exciting trip soon. And as I’ve been getting everything sorted it reminded me how much work planning a big trip can be.

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Moroccan Highlights

For Ed’s birthday this year, being the amazing girlfriend that I am, I booked us a long weekend in Morocco. It’s been on my hit list for a while and is the perfect place if your looking for some winter sun. Its a short flight, pretty much guaranteed sun and lots of culture to soak up.

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New Years Resolutions

Well 2017 is now officially in full swing. Most people are back at work and Christmas sadly, already seems like a lifetime ago. So, as is traditional with this time of year, I thought I would have a think forward about what I want to try and achieve this year with my New Year’s resolutions. I also thought if I wrote them down here, I would be a little bit more accountable for them!

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5 Top Tips for visiting Sri Lanka

Any of you that follow me on Instagram will know that Ed and I took quite a big trip to Sri Lanka this year and it was truly amazing! We started off in Colombo and took a train up to Kandy before meeting our driver who took us down to Ella, Yala National Park, Tangalle and finished up in Galle. It was an incredible few weeks and I was having so much fun at the time that I didnt blog about it at all, but it seems such a shame to not even discuss it. So instead, I’ve decided to give you a round of my 5 top tips of places to go and things to do while you’re there for anyone considering it as a holiday destination.

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The Joys of Commuting 

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….

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Ho Chi Min city

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!

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Dalat and some familiar faces

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!

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