Entries in #vietnam (5)


Week 9 - Hello  Vietnam

We were then back on the bus for another 3 hours where we had the chance to take in the greenery of Vietnam...

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South East Asia Trail - Best  Bits

When I first decided to take a gap year, Frontier was an organisation recommended to me by a friend for travelling (since I was 18 and my parents wouldn't even think of letting me travel alone). There are hundreds of trails to choose from on the Frontier website and it was an incredibly tough decision to choose but here is why I'm glad I picked the South East Asia trail:

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The Trail So Far!

We’re three weeks into the first South East Asia Trail of 2017 and it feels like we arrived yesterday but it also feels like we’ve been here for months! It’s been a busy but highly enjoyable three weeks, involving travelling to different destinations, staying as some lovely hostels, trying weird and wonderful food and well as seeing and experiencing lots of amazing things.

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Fantastic Four Adventurers Final Blog 

Now everyone could sense the end of the world was coming. We started receiving email reminders about our flight details to go home ( ...well...for majority of us- Home). With the time ticking we all agreed to take things a little bit more serious.

Our next stop was Hoi An, mesmerised by its absolutely beautiful old town we spent ages strolling around. Surprisingly, we found the city not only famous for its tailors but also...for its donuts! The most delicious (of course high in calories) sugary coated goodness.

We wanted to make sure that our team lives up to the ‘Fantastic Four adventurers’ name thus in Hoi An we went for a walking adventure to the rice fields and greeted the sunset with water buffaloes and local fishermen nearby.

We felt like there was a lot more that Hoi an Had to offer so the next day we put our brave faces on and rented motorcycles and headed along the bay up north to the Marble Mountains! We thought that with motorbikes it will be easy to reach all of the hill tops we wanted, unfortunately, that was not true. We had to leave our bikes down the hill and hike about a million steps up! Like four times!

Of course we were moaning a lot on the way up. And yes, out level of fitness was tested, but of boy the views up there are great! As far as your eyes can see! After visiting some tombs ( correctly pronounced as toms...we had some difficulties in teaching our trail leader to pronounce a few words you see...) we rode to Da Nang and enjoyed the biggest portions of noodles we have ever had! For the last stop on our route we chose to visit the most beautiful  (and giant toooooo) white statue at the top of the highest mountain ( kind of in the middle of nowhere) and it was just.... well- the perfect finish of the route

It was time to leave Hoi An and head to Hue ( another name we were trying to learn and pronounce correctly), a city of life threatening street crossing. When the passengers traffic light shines in both- red and green man, which one shall you follow? The rest of the traffic will barely notice you anyway!
After we have visited the citadel we have also discovered the one and only Gecko caffee...with the most delicious hot chocolate in the WORLD. WITH a SCOOP OF ICECREAM INSIDE. In Hue everyone had gonne a little bit crazy, boy thought that they accidentally stole some bananas that turned out to be actually free, our trail leader started sleep talking in some bizarre language and we started a series of bed time stories involved Pinocchio and Peter Pan. We are on adventure. We are allowed.

It was now the time for the beautiful Hanoi. Even though sleeper buses are made for sleeping but at 7am we were still quite exhausted. Weirdly, still determined and go explore the city.!A nap at the Botanic gardens definitely gave a boos of energy ( well, for at least upcoming 30 minutes) and the evening was filled with the joys of visiting the water puppet theatre!

The next  two days were dedicated for some serious adventures as we headed to Sapa and joined the team of local women ( We  still believe they are secretly working for James Bond as ninjas) on a 12km truck through the mountains to a local village and a home stay in a beautiful valley. This is where we tasted the Happy Water- rice wine in Vietnamese style and ate the most delicious local food you can find there up north! If during the first day we could not take our eyes from the most amazing scenery in the world then the next day was all about the crazy challenge- to head all the way  back through a massive tropical rain, muddy valley and mountains back to Sapa. Out of the sudden all of the roads turned in to scary rivers, the clouds were so low that you could not see further then a 100meters in from of you. Everyone lost their sense of fashion and a muddy bum was considered ‘cool’ as it indicated that you had a nice slide down the muddy mountain. And yet- it was an amazing experience!

The last day of the trip was dedicated for the Big Dragon Bay- Ha Long Bay. And yet again we have had our special moments… kayaking to the caves and catching some echoes, betting weather Christian could jump out of a kayak without flipping it over and not taking Robbie with him and just…appreciating the views ;)

And here it was… Our last dinner and time for goodbyes…

During these last 10weeks we have been through an incredible journey, seen places, meet people, made life lasting friends, dreamed and planned our next journeys, danced in the rain, danced in the streets, sang, made terrible jokes, smiled and laughed, gone adventurous, explored and were curious, taught and learned…Learned so much! About the world, about different cultures, about the environment that surrounds us, about different eco systems and the world under water. We learned about life. Most importantly, we just got more hungry for more adventures, which is the most important thing…right?  ;)

Till the next times!
Team awesome: Lena, Robbie, Christian and Jessica!

Find out more about the South East Asia Ethical Adventure Trail.

Check out what volunteers on the South East Asia Trail are up to right now! 


Back To Reality - Vietnam, We Say Hello!

After saying the last goodbyes to our amazing RA Robyn and a group of friends that we are surely to meet again somewhere around the world, it was time for us to leave the islands and to get back to the reality. The first few nights were dedicated for Cambodia’s Capital- Phnom Penh.

You should have seen our faces when we saw our hostel! It had big beds! And air-conditioning! And Wi-Fi! And it was...civilisation. Women and kids selling useless things for 1 dollar, bars full of girls asking everyone in and offering cheap beer. Not that its horrible or anything, just camping was really the REAL DEAL 

We spent some time exploring the town, visited the Killing fields and S21 museum and even though they were great and informative places to learn about Cambodia’s history, you clearly see that the atmosphere of the group has changed for the saddest we have ever had on the trail- hearing the true stories who have lived through Khmer Rouge Genocide and Civil wars touched every one of us.

And that is when our trail leader introduced ‘random handstands’, which brought us a new challenge of making the best handstand one has ever seen next to the place we were exploring. We took the challenge all around the city and ended the our stay with practicing some impressive gymnastics routines!

It was time for us to cross the border over to Vietnam and it was the most ridiculous border we have ever crossed. We woke up in the middle of the night just to jump out of the bus, walk a couple hundred meters, get back on the bus, then do the same thing again and put our back packs through the scanner machine and that was it- the boarder was crossed. No one even bothered to properly look at our passports, and we spent ages at the immigration getting the visa!

The first stop in Vietnam was HCMC. Here our boys felt the urge to try some of the unusual foods for the Westerners and Robbie ate a full bowl of frog legs for dinner! Bon Appetit! Christian was not far behind with his orders and tasted all of the local cuisine that had pig sides in it.

As if the world wasn’t small enough we bumped into our previous travel companion Sarah that we have met earlier in Siem Riep, we took her with us when going exploring the Cu Chi Tunnels, fancy a crawl of 150meters in slightly claustrophobic tunnels anyone? 

As our boys have decided to embrace the travellers culture and cut their hair extremely short, their new style was highly cheered by the locals- if not a pat on the head then it would have to be a stroke of Christians beard!

Next stop after Saigon was Mui Ne, a little town on the coast. Oh boy we had some fun in here! We took a day trip to do and explore some magical surroundings and enjoy some sand-boarding on the dunes! Of course, we couldn’t leave the handstands alone and it was time for us to feel as childish as we could ever be: rolling and jumping down the dunes, making starfishes on the sand and meeting the sunset on the top of it.

Our next stop was another little paradise along the coast called Nha Trang. Here we stuck to what we do best- cycling tours! The streets of Nha Trang are absolutely insane! You may want to turn left, but it will be completely not up to you, but up to the local traffic thus you may need to cycle a few kilometres down to actually make a U turn! Crazy but an awesome experience (If you can cycle in Nha Trang you can cycle anywhere)! We have finished our cycling tour with visiting the National Oceanographic museum, and we wish we could have known to take our fish encyclopaedia because oh boy that place has some fish! It was great to see all of the little fish we have spotted whilst we have been diving just a week ago! If only they could let all of the turtles go free....

It is strange to realise that we are more than two months in our great adventure, with the time ticking we want to use it wisely and go and explore more, see everything and experience it all! It is only a week left, let’s go team- let’s see Vietnam!

By The South East Asia Trail Team

Find out more about the South East Asia Ethical Adventure Trail.

Check out what volunteers on the South East Asia Trail are up to right now!