A Travellerspoint blog

Phnom Penh

sunny

crossing into Cambodia was very straight forward, the company that we booked through taking care of our visas and the fact that there were only 7 of us on the big coach! We were bombarded by tuk tuk drivers on arrival as we struggled with the map. The streets are all numbered its a pity its not in a logical order! We took a tuk tuk on our 2nd day to see the royal palace (the kings a bachelor but was unable to see us) and the silver pagoda (which gets its name from the silver tiles that make up its floor) which houses some impressive budda statues- diamonds everywhere! Surprising the security around it is q small padlock and a man asleep in he corner! Also took in the tuol sleng museum, a horrible place depicting the awful torture the pop pot led Khmer rouge inflicted on their victims. Some of he photos are so grotesque its hard to look. We had the opportunity to meet one of the former prisoners, kept alive only for his skills in repairing typewriters for the Khmer rouge. List of the prisoners here were executed at choeung elk killing fields which was our next stop. It's hard not to draw comparisons between it and awschwitz although the killings here seemed more brutal. The Russian andcentral markets.provided the shopping fix, the Russian winning the vote for best of. The city is quieter than I expected for cambodias capital with the Nightlife not as happening as previous stops. The city is also a lot more expensive in comparison to other cities in south east Asia, so I was looking forward to.better things from our next stop Siem reap.

Posted by elisasdiary 20:36 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

Saigon

rain 24 °C

Another night bus meant another early arrival, this one not so scenic as it was pitch black. The effects of my sleeping tablet had not left me as I climbed off the bus and in search of our hostel, the girls finding it very funny watching me almost fall over in the street! Maybe only half next time! Saigon is home to the War Remnants Museum, a very anti-american depiction of the country's wars and its victims, both direct and indirectly - many people suffered indirectly through the use of defoliants on the trees by the American forces which resulted in skin conditions, birth defects, the consequences still remaning today. Some of the photos are incredible! The weather took a slight turn for the worst on our way home and we needed some cheering up so we stopped to warm ourselves with a cup of coffee - funny cos most of us ordered icecream when we saw it!!

Posted by elisasdiary 02:04 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Da Lat

overcast 16 °C

A much cooler climate awaited us in Da Lat and it wasn't long before the warm jumpers were pulled from the backpacks! We had been recommended Da Lat for water canyoning by a friend of Edel's who'd gone before us. It turned out to be a crazy experience - abseilling and sliding down waterfalls sounds a bit cracked but it was so much fun if a little nerve wracking for some. The biggest we managed was 25m through gushing waters, so powerful it was difficult to remain upright on the slippery rocks. not too easy to let yourself fall 7m into the water below when there's no rock left either! Would really recommend this to anyone travelling in Vietnam! $28 for the day - I'd have paid $100

Posted by elisasdiary 01:42 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Nha Trang

sunny 30 °C

A sleeper bus to Nha Trang meant we arrived in super early and in time to see the crowds of people on the beach at 5am! Locals really do rise early here! Puts me to shame for the lack of exercise that I've had! Took a walk down later in the day and was surprised to see a lot of litter mostly washed up on to the shore but the beach was nice all the same.
We took whats called an Easy Rider trip by motorbike out into the countryside for the day ($20) to experience the real Vietnam! Helmets securely fastened and holding onto our drivers for dear life we set off early and visited a local fishing village where our presence was almost entertaining for the women there, who marvelled at our fair skin! Here they cover up from top to toe, even wearing hoodies in the blistering heat and socks with flip flops (I kid you not) to avoid the sun so their skin won't tan as much. An old lady thought it would bring her good luck if she touched our arms. Next we got to see banana and mango trees and dragon fruit and taste what locals call fish eyes fruit! Not as disgusting as it sounds! We were all amused by the shy flower (see video later) Got to do some short trekking in the forests and swim in a waterfall. Further stops showed us cool wood carving in action, rice harvesting, a local market where endless rows of fruit and meats were sold. They use everything here, no waste - there was a chickens head for sale eyes and all! Tried our hand at weaving with some local women, a lot of things are made by hand here, no machinery.
We were so happy with our day that we booked another 2 days with the guides to take us to Da Lat. How they were going to fit our large backpacks on the bike was anyones guess but it was no obstacle for them! This trip proved to be less successful and a waste of money partly due to the wet weather and being sent to bed at 9pm on the 1st night but mostly because we were sold an entirely different experience! The most memorable bit was the girls covered head to toe in large ants after a stop at a coffee plant! The four of them flapping about like Dustin the turkey was nothing short of hilarious.......afterwards!
We took a trip over to the island resort of Vin Pearl which houses a huge waterpark and amusement park, the amusements I'd rather forget as being spun upside down feeling like you're going to plummet to your death as your bum has left your seat and your feet are no longer on the floor, your screams amusing people below has scarred me! The waterpark however has provided endless hours of fun! The tsunami providing the loudest screams even amongst the fellas!

Posted by elisasdiary 01:20 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Hoi An

sunny 30 °C

Karen says Hoi An is to shoppers what Vegas is to gamblers and I couldn't agree more! Apparently the best place in the country to get affordable custom-made clothes, our experience was a bit hit and miss within the group with some fab dresses and some turning out not as expected. WE went through 2 days of alterations before they were ready to ship home! Anyone considering it- do your research beforehand and have some photos of dresses with you as you could spend hours trawling through their books (we did!).
We were reunited with friends from Hanoi here so that made for some good nights out and Fiona and I having our first victory in pool against 2 cocky Germans! You don't mess with us! Rented bikes for less than a euro and cycled out of town to a beach called An Bang -sounded like and an all irish tv show! We did have a bit of a 'bang' on the way home when Edel's flipflops broke (again) and sent her careering off the bike and towards me! I'm not sure how we came out of it with just Edel's big toe needing bandaging!

Posted by elisasdiary 01:13 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

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