- The border town near Cambodia
- Did not see another westerner in the entire time I was there
- Spent a lovely day cycling through local fishing villages
- Got what I thought was an ear infection and brought some ear drops that later turned out to be water
- Ear got worse so got on bus to Saigon (HCMC)
- Arrived super late and went straight to international medical clinic. Not an infection but don't know what it is. Brilliant.
- World food festival on opposite my hostel...so much good food! And singing and dancing
- War Museum - so moving. I didn't find it as propagandist as I had been told to expect, the photos just speak for themselves. And I had to sit down a few times.
- Ben Thanh Market
- Met the lovely Sammie and her family for dinner
- Best Bahn Mi and ca phe sua da for breakfast
- Post office (designed by same guy as the Eiffel Tower), Notre Dame, local mosque and Reunification palace.
- The Reunification Palace was great, but quite surreal as it still seems as though someone is living there
- It was amazing going through the basement, used as a bomb shelter and seeing the actual maps and communication technology used to run and command the war.
- Japanese! for lunch and highlands coffee
- Snails and squid for dinner (still the best meal I've had to date)
- GO2, cocktails and shisha
- Opening a corked bottle of wine with a knife, nail file and scissors
- Crab soup in the Chinese quarter for breakfast (yeah not a fan)
- Korean food for lunch with Sammie and her family
- Back to GO2 for copious amounts of cocktails
- Ear magically better now
- Tour de Jours bakery (worth the walk) and the Jade Emperor pagoda (not so worth the walk)
- Tour of the cu chi tunnels - very touristy and more guns, tanks and weapons than tunnels. Nevertheless, glad I've seen it!
- Drinking games, pho and dancing with half the hostel, crazy!
- Quiet beach town with so many wind and kite surfers
- There's no hostel here, so got a good deal on a room at an actually decent hotel (thanks agoda!) with a pool! and it was lovely to have my own space for a bit, however after a night, I realised how much l loved having people around me and meeting other people and was just lonely
- So I skyped everyone at home
- And did a tour of the sand dunes, driving a 4WD dirt bike type thing over them was amazing!! So impressive!
- And of the fairy stream...where you can walk down a little river, through a canyon to the waterfall.
- And then got the bus to Dalat
- Former French Hill station
- So much colder than the rest of the country due to the elevation - a welcome change.
- Absolutely beautiful architecture and cobbled alleyways - so easy to get lost which happened a lot!
- The beds at Enjoy Dalat hostel are described among backpackers as being 'like a morgue' - and they are set into the wall, but I actually really liked the fact that it was like you had you own little room.
- Did an motorbike tour of the countryside tour with Briar from NZ. Bo our guide was fantastic, highlights were trying weasel poop coffee, standing under and getting soaked by the elephant waterfalls, running into Jesse and Amy again, trying 80% alcohol rice wine and surviving the 'Chicken village', which for anyone who knows me was my own personal nightmare.
- Went out with Bo, everyone from the hostel and the gorgeous family who run it for dinner at the most local place. We had what was basically a cook it yourself BBQ to make into rice paper rolls, so much rice wine and beer. Amazing!
- In the absence of anything resembling a bar, we got some beer and sat by the lake sharing stories and playing games...before one of the hostel owners brothers remembered he had an exam at 7.30am and had to be taken home.
- Next day Briar, Zorsia and I visited the crazy house (Gaudi-esqe architecture in the weirdest location) took a cable car across the valley and had corn icy poles by the lake
- After another local family dinner we had the most crazy session of karaoke ever! It's taken really seriously over here and is really sophisticatedly set up with private rooms, sounds systems, a TV, lighting and an iPad to control songs all
linked in. So bad but so good.
- To Russians what Bali is to Aussies
- You could pay hundreds of dollars and stay at the highest class hotel and I bet you wouldn't get service even near equal to the lovely staff at Mojzo Inn. They remembered everyones name from the word go, we so concerned, helpful and questioning and made you feel so at home.
- So that was nice
- Unfortunately the weather wasn't exactly beach appropriate so day 1 was spent being a typical tourist at the Cham Towers and White Buddha.
- I also went to the gallery of photographer Long Tan. He's quite well known and had an exhibit in Melbourne a while back, and it was amazing talking to him about Melbourne and how he found it. His B+W portraits of people and Vietnamese life are incredibly moving, and something he said really stuck with me. "When you take a photo in colour you photograph someone's clothes, when you take it in B+W you capture their soul".
- Next day I went on a snorkel trip to surrounding islands. It was cold but so worth it. It was so beautiful and full of life. Oh and everyone else only spoke Russian.
- Spent a few days here just relaxing, as I'd been to the main sights when I was here with the fam a couple of years ago.
- Ran into Amy and Jesse again and had a afternoon Bia Hoi bar crawl
- Did an evening cooking class and now can cook spring rolls, beef and banana leaf salad and lemongrass marinated fish in banana leaf...ok not actually..but it was fun...and I realised how much I missed having a kitchen.
- Got up for a 5am for a tour to the MySon ruins..so worthwhile as the fog rose out of the valley and the sun rose. it was very atmospheric, albeit small. And we were the only people there, so that was cool.
- The old town of Hoi An is heritage listed and so beautiful and charming, easily killed a couple of hours just wondering around taking it all in.
...and then I got on the bus to Hanoi
...to be continued.