Vietnam: Day 4- 7 “22nd to 26th of January 2016”

22nd of January 2016:

The bus ride to Nha Trang was interesting, it was only 5 hours so you wouldn’t believe much would happen however after 4 hours we finally pulled over so people could go to the bathroom. The toilet wasn’t the worst I’ve seen but you had to bucket water in because it doesn’t flush. As I was walking out this lady yells at me saying the bus is leaving! I look up and the bus is actually moving, I then run for 2 metres realising there’s 5 people in front trying to get on. So I ran back to tell Nick to hurry up, even though there’s another 5 or so people in the bathroom still. As I’m standing at the door making sure it doesn’t leave without Nick I inhale a massive puff of smoke. As I turn to see where it came from I notice our bus driver is smoking a “bong” before he gets back on. That makes me feel so safe! 

 As we pulled up to Nha Trang from a 5 hour bus journey I was bombarded by men asking so many questions trying to get me to go into their taxi. It was quite daunting trying to squeeze through the gap and ignore the forever sounds of, “where you going?” Surrounding my head. Thankfully our hostel was within walking distance so we headed off down the unknown chaotic roads. The footpaths were taken up by scooters, so the road it was, where buses, cars, scooters, bikes and walkers tried to occupy a small piece of the road. We got to a point where we believed the hostel should be close and yet we couldn’t quite see it, we had no wifi and therefore felt a overwhelming sense of confusion. At this point the little sunburn I received on my shoulders were throbbing from the backpack, Nick asked a man in the pub next to us if he knew where it was and awkwardly it was right in front of us the whole time. 

We had booked a 10 person dorm room but thankfully to the wonderful woman she asked if we would like to spend $1 dollar more to get two private rooms. I don’t know why but each bed I’ve slept in here in Vietnam is the hardest bed possible, even if you push down on it the bed does not move it’s like sleeping on bricks. 

23rd of January 2016:

Nha Trang for us was a stop over for a day so we wouldn’t have to do a 17 hour bus ride! It’s quite a big city and surprisingly there are a lot of Russians here. Even on the street the signs are in Vietnamese and Russian. The people on the street ask you if you speak English or Russian. Also, there are so many Russians actually working in the city. It was a nice beach, where the water was so flat it looked as if it was a river. We then walked 2km to a market, for some reason this market made my spine tingle. It felt like a bad aura hovering over the entangling crowded market. The landscape reminded me of the most recent Hunger games as it was in the middle of a big rundown half circle concrete building. I was happy to get out of there. As we walked back it was so blisteringly hot, I felt as if I had been stuck in a desert for days, my legs were hurting from walking 10km in the concrete jungle they call Nha Trang. It was good to see Nha Trang but I wouldn’t recommend more than a day as it is just another city, with a nice beach to lie on. 
 At 6:30pm we hopped on the sleeper bus to go to Ha Noi. This adventure was definitely one I will never forget. 12 hours on a bus you would hope that something exciting would come about and trust me it did, but not for the right reasons. The bus picked us up from our hotel, which was quite convenient, except they literally didn’t stop for us we were giving them our bags and trying to jump on the bus as it’s still moving. I still have no idea why it didn’t stop because it stopped for everyone else. 
 After an hour back tracking through Nha Trang we arrived at a bus depot. I was very confused why we waited another hour sitting at a bus depot until… 15 local Vietnamese men ran on and sat down in the aisles. I felt as if we were smuggling them in. They gave me the creeps though, the way they stared at you, judging you and assessing what possessions you may have. Eventually the men took free seats on the bus, and I drifted off to sleep. Unfortunately Nick was in the aisle seat so he couldn’t hide his possessions against the wall, and therefore his watch got stolen at some point in the night. If it wasn’t bad enough smuggling people in at the bus depot and some point in the middle of the night people came through the emergency escape door on the roof. I would NEVER recommend the bus service we went on to any body. Choose the blue buses NOT the red ones! All our bags were shoved inside whilst they used the bottom compartment and transport for who knows what! But… It was a unique experience to say the least.

24th of January 2016:

 At 7:30am we arrive in Hoi An a wonderful ancient town. This place is by far my favourite city I’ve visited so far. Once again we were in walking distance of our hostel. The lady was so wonderful she let us use one of her spare rooms to have a shower and freshen up before our room was ready. We then started our exploring of the wonderful ancient town. The old town area is only allowed people walking and bicycles so it’s a nice escape from the speeding scooters everywhere. As you look at the buildings you can see the history and culture untwined into every building. The architecture reminded me of a combination of Asia and Europe. The buildings had a nice rich yellow colour that has dated over the years. You can see the damage the numerous flooding’s the buildings have endured throughout the years, one being most recently in 2013. The streets are joined by colourful hanging lanterns, and the islands are joined by ancient bridges that light up at night. The first day we were here, it was raining so we couldn’t explore as much as I would have liked but it was so nice to cuddle up to one of the BEST hot chocolates whilst you watch the rain come down. If you thought the day was magical wait until night time, everywhere you turned it was a blur of colours and life. We had dinner at a place called morning glory. It is owned by the first cooking school there and all the food looked amazing! Unfortunately I just didn’t pick very well, so I was a bit food envy. 

  
  
25th of January 2016:

 The next day we hired bicycles for $1 for the day. This enabled us to see so much more of what this amazing town can offer. As we headed off to the beach, we found a little road that entwined through rice fields and men riding water buffaloes. This was the first time it was truly quiet, no beeping, no yelling just the sounds of the birds. As we arrived to the beach a lady with a whistle tried to instruct us to park in her area, but we ignored her cause we didn’t want to pay. We walked down to where the roaring waves were crushing on the sand. The ocean looked like a storm was brewing, with islands in the horizon playing hide and seek amongst the fog. As we headed back other Australians told us the lady who we ignored came over and knocked are bikes down. There were no rules to say we couldn’t park there but there was a rule saying no aggressive behaviour. We then headed back to try and beat the rain. Thankfully, it was only lightly spitting so it was quite refreshing. 
 In the afternoon we took our bikes out to explore the other island, as we went around you can see how the backend of the island is the area that is not quite as cheerful as they make it seem to the tourists. Here their run down homes showed sorrow and true sufferance through their economy. It makes you wonder how different life would be if you were born in those circumstances, rather than in Australia. However the world that they want you to see came alive again as the sun went down and the lanterns began to glow. We went to the original cooking school in Hoi An and by far the best food I’ve ever eaten. I had caramelised prawns with rice. The first mouthful makes your mouth tingle and experience so many different textures and tastes in only a few seconds. It had a spice to it that built up the more you endeavoured to the end. 
    

 
  
  

26th of January 2016: “AUS DAY”First thing in the morning and we arose to catch a plane to Hoian. The plane ride was only 1 hour compared to 15 hours that we would have to take on a bus. As the plane started to land you could see the brisk air and rain set in across the city. As the plane doors opened the cold air felt like a punch in the face, instantly my legs started to freeze as rain was sprinkling across my head. This is not what Australia Day is meant to be. Where’s the sun beaming down on your face as your relaxing on a beach. Instead were heading for shelter to hide away from the inevitable cool air. The day consisted of running from one store to another trying to avoid the constant rain and chill factor far greater than my body could handle. Today was Hanoi’ coldest day in 40 years, a mere top temperature of 7 degree Celsius, so we picked a good day! As we were aimlessly walking the streets trying to find warm North Face jumpers we stumbled upon a backpackers hostel raging with loud music celebrating Australia Day. So as fine Australian’s we walked in and spent the rest of the night there. Drinking and convincing other nationalities that we were actually Australian.

27th of January 2016:

Now we’re off to Cat Ba, the weather is supposedly warmer but let’s see if that is true. 

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Vietnam: Days 1-3 “Jan 19th-22nd 2016”

  19th of January 2016:
As you walk out of the quiet Vietnamese customs to the outside world it’s overwhelming to say the least. The first step into Ho Chi Minh City takes your breath away literally, the humidity engulfs you making you instantaneously start to sweat. On top of this the ever so loud and confusing sounds coming from everywhere is something you don’t become use to. People are shouting names, taxis are yelling at you to get in and everyone is just sporadically beeping at each other. Ho Chi Minh City is like a competition, who can possibly make the most noise possible and grab your attention first. Thankfully, Nick was standing waiting for me to start our journey together. It was like a stereo typical romantic movie when you see everyone rushing around you moving in fast forward and you see him smiling up at you knowing that from that moment on this is going to be an adventure you will not forget.   
 Vietnam’s driving is just as sporadic as their beeping, there are no road rules. So if you want to cross the road just go for it and fingers crossed you make it too the other side. The street we were staying in was something the people back home would understand as Hindley street. This is NOT a compliment it’s just backpackers galore, clubs and bars everywhere. However, we went to this little Vietnamese street food… Amazing! For $0.50 Aus you could get a chicken, beef or combination skewer. Although the food was incredible and I would recommend it to anyone it’s so sad to see children working in their pyjamas just because they have no other choice. If this occurred in Australia the person would get reported.

  
  

20th of January 2016:

The next morning at 8am we took a bus to Mui Ne. The bus was a new experience to say the least. It had 3 rows of little lie down beds. It was quite hilarious just trying to get up on the top… Trust me it ain’t easy and I’m little! I also love how the bus has wifi! OMG revelation! Why doesn’t every bus have one around the world? It’s amazing to actually get updated on life back home for a few hours. 

 Mui Ne was a picturesque coastal town with a combination of kite surfing and fishing. This town was a slower pace which I personally found to be more comforting… And although it’s only been a week since I’ve been to the beach the water made me feel alive and refreshed. The food here is to die for. For dinner I had sweet and sour beef with rice, my taste buds were running wild.

  
21st of January 2016:

 The next day followed the same ordeal wake up, have breakfast at a local street food corner store where I had my first Pho. This is beef, noodles and sweet onions in a broth. It was surprisingly tasty. I have always been suspicious of eating off the street because… It just looks like your asking for food poisoning. However this lady changed my whole thought process about street food. We then went to visit the red sand dunes. It was fun but also exhausting! My calves were burning from running back up the sand hills after I sled down them. I would recommend doing this in the morning because otherwise the sand because way too hot and you will burn your feet. 

  
Then we just headed to the beach on our scooters to swim and sun bake the day away. Bill bought a little kite and after 2 hours and 2 people controlling it, it finally made flight! Persistence is key! Dinner was one to remember, as the sun was setting a blue, purple haze across the ocean we were having scallops and squid, and feeling like a king.
 Now we’re heading to Nhu Trang and I can’t wait to see where that takes us… After this 5 hour bus ride.  

   

Saying Goodbye

  

It’s this surreal moment when your lapsed in between reality and your wandering mind. The sense of sadness, excitement, nervousness and fear washes over you one by one. Saying goodbye is never easy but accepting that you don’t know where your future entails you is even worse. I’ve always been a girl who has her future set out, year by year… until now. Now I’ve taken the plunge to leave behind everything I know to explore the world… But why? Why have I risked staying on the foreshore knowing where I stand and who I am to now diving off the cliff… And having that sense of forever falling not knowing whether at the end of it I will survive. It’s that moment you survive living outside of your comfort zone that you truly discover that you are capable of more than you may think. Traveling is so amazingly wonderful and yet terrifying at the same time. I will discover new people, sounds and ways of life and yet to do this I must leave my family and friends, my familiar sounds and the normative routine I call life. Goodbye to my family and friends and hello to the adventures of the world.