Vietnam Flashback: Halong Bay & Junk-Boats

Now that we are days away from flying out I thought it would be a good idea to get myself amped up and have a look at my old travel diaries. Here is another snippet from our 2012 trip to Vietnam.

28th March 2012 (Overcast)
Ha Long Bay

Breathtaking. This is probably one of the most beautiful places we have traveled to soo far. We are currently floating on the ‘Christina Delux‘ in the middle of Ha Long Bay. Surrounded my cliff faces of small islands. It’s everything you see in the movies, but with more boats. Magical is the only word I can think of to describe it. The bus ride out seemed like it was going to last forever, but my god once we got it, I’ll say it again, BREATHTAKING. 

On arrival, we got into a little boat that took us out to the Christina Delux. After taking our bags to our rooms we settled in for an amazing lunch. Then it was back into the smaller boats for some exploring of the ‘Cave of Surprises’. It was a nice start but we didn’t have long before we were back in the boats and off to the ‘Floating village’ where we took kayaks around the islands. We paddled through caves and saw spider monkeys climbing up the sides of the cliffs. After an hour of exploring ourselves, it was back in the other boats and off to ‘Ti Top” island. Andrew, Peter and I climbed to the top leaving the others to drink on the beach below. Looking back now our Sapa trek was a breeze. My legs were aching from all the stairs. 

Once we finally got back on the Christina we had made several new friends from all over the worlds. We showered and joined everyone for dinner and drinks in the main room. After dinner was when the real fun started. With the drinks flowing we all gathered together on the roof and taught our new friends how to play dice. We had an evening full of laughs and drinks with our new found friends. 

Toodles for now

I am beyond excited to start my next travel diary for the USA. Can’t wait to share all our stories and experiences with you.
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Vietnam Flashback: Underground Travelers

Today I have another Vietnam Flashback for you. This one is was one of my favorite days in Vietnam. It was such an amazing experience and I feel so blessed to have experienced it. I hope you enjoy my entry.

22nd March 2012 (Weather was sunny)screen-shot-2015-11-08-at-1-13-35-pm

Cu Chi Tunnels

Today was the day. I faced my fear of small confined spaces and being buried alive and have the most amount of adrenaline running through my body I ever had. Pure joy to pure fear in minutes. 

After breakfast, we loaded into yet another car but the trip only last 30 minutes this time. We pulled up and had to walk down a winding dirt road towards the war grounds. Once we got there you could feel the eeriness. I wondered what horrors these lands had seen.  We took a tour through some of the traps that the Vietcong used on our own soldiers. It was heartbreaking how horrifyingly violent they were. 2 meters pits full of bamboo spikes, doors that had swinging spikes that would impale anyone who entered. These soldiers not only dressed as civilians but used woman and children as living breathing human shields. A hollowed out tank that had been blown to bits was just sitting beside a bomb crater. 

screen-shot-2015-11-08-at-1-16-31-pmWhat came next I had been waiting for since Mum said it was an option when we were booking. The Shooting Range. I have never been around guns, let alone fired one. We spent $65.00AU on ammunition, chose our guns and headed for the range. The first gun I ever shot was an AK47. I only hit the target once but my god it was great. I have never felt anything like it. Then the big guns came out. Andrew went first and the look on his face and the light in his eyes said it all. M60 Machine Gun. I don’t remember the last time my cheeks hurt so much from smiling. The thrill. The power. My god. However, the adrenalin was soon taken over by crippling fear.

Andrew told me it lasted for 5 minutes but for me, it was a lifetime. Now was the time we heading under the ground and into the tunnels. During the war, the Vietcong used the 200Km tunnels to getscreen-shot-2015-11-08-at-1-13-49-pm around and escape our soldiers. These tunnels were at least 5 meters below the ground. Mum decided due to her own fear that she was not going. But I knew I had to do it. I would never get this chance again and I would live with the regret if I didn’t. Andrew and I followed the guide into the dark cavern. The opening had been enlarged for tourist. From the cavern, we had to get on our hands and knees and crawl even further into the earth crust. The ceiling stood about 1 meter high and 40cm wide. We only went 50 meters but I could feel everything falling around me. My chest was so tight and I could feel my hands shaking beneath me. We crawled in the pitch-black darkness for what seemed like hours. When I saw the light at the end I crawled for my life. I had made it out alive. My whole body was shaking when we emerged into the light of the sun. 

All Andrew wanted was to go back and get a photo but I couldn’t do it. I had done it once and that was enough fear for one day. Looking back I am so glad I did it. No matter how I felt. I did it. I want to try as much as I can while we are here.

Live this life with no regrets.

From your fear braving underground traveleruntitled

I hope you enjoyed my flashback. There will be more to come over the days. Still planning our next holiday and my goodness it can not come soon enough. I really don’t want to wait until June 2016 to get on my next international flight. But I will have to. I loved re-reading this entry, it still gives me goosebumps thinking about those tunnels and what our soldiers went through so those in Vietnam can have the life they lead today.  And I am so thankful that my amazing parents for planning such a wonderful experience.

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Vietnam flashback: Saigon and the Delta

I am in the process of planning our next overseas holiday and I needed some inspiration so I dragged out my travel journal from when we spent 3 weeks in Vietnam with my family. I wrote in it every day. On a boat in Halong Bay, in a bamboo hut with no electricity, even up in the freezing cold mountains of Sapa after a long 12k hike. 

Every now and then I pull it out and flip through the pages. This is the biggest thing I suggest to anyone who is or will be traveling. I have decided over the next few weeks I am going to share a few of my favorite entries.   

Today I will start with my entry from my second day in Vietnam.



View we had from our boat of the houses that backed onto the Delta.


21st March 2012 (weather is slightly cloudy)

Mekong Delta

Today has been long. We woke at  0630hours and it has been go, go, go from sun up to sunset. Our guide Thai (yes that’s his name) meet us after breakfast and loaded us onto the bus for the day. We drove two hours out of Saigon until we reach the Mekong then all loaded onto a boat. As we floated down the Delta we ate fresh local fruit. The boat was being driven by this little old lady, who no joke looked like she was 100, missing all but three teeth. We drifted through the floating markets towards to poorer area (slums). 

screen-shot-2015-11-04-at-9-58-17-pmHere we saw how fish oil was made, and the smell was god awful.  I hope to never suffer that smell again in this lifetime. We then got off the boat and walked down the river a little, handing out lollies to a local girl. She then proceeded to run home grab her sisters and come running back asking for more with the biggest smiles on their faces. Cheeky little monkeys. My mother had to tell us that we should not touch the top of a child’s head as it was a sign of disrespect. We then proceeded to a Vietnamese lolly shop. It truly is amazing how nothing gets wast
ed over there.

Back on the boat and we headed to a small island the see a group called ‘Happy Family’.Once lunch was finished we headed off to the markets for a tour of the local produce. Live fish, crabs, eels, snaked by the bucket load, chickens, and even worse cats. Baby ducks in boxes waiting to be sold to the local croc farms for food. I felt the need to cry but as usual, Andrew told me to harden up. We headed back to the hotel had a quick shower grab things we needed for the night and headed to the streets to get food. Thai told us about this place all the locals go to for Pho Soup (a Vietnamese vegetable, noodle soup) and my god it was amazing. We walked the night markets for an hour or so and bought some watches that didn’t even work (I let Andrew do the bartering, he’s better at it). Now back at the hotel room and about to curl up and pass out. Can not wait for what tomorrow brings.



Boat trip down the Mekong Delta

I love looking back at my old travel journals. They give me hope for my traveling future. I will post another one in a few days. Hope you like my Vietnam flash-back. (See what I did there).

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