Thursday, 8 March 2012

vietnam - Sapa

I had never heard of Sapa until we started planning out trip. After Laos Maddy and I met our friends Anna and Justin (who are a couple) in Vietnam. They had been travelling around Asia too and we decided to meet in northern Vietnam for our last bit of fun!

We met in Ha Noi but I'm not even going to bother talking about that city...I did not like it at all. We stayed in a magnificent hotel called 'The Silk Path' but apart from that it was so busy, loud and getting around was just a big old pain.

From Ha Noi we had to get an over night train to Sapa, I have been on a few of these bad boys before but the others hadn't and I don't think they were prepared for what it was like..the pictures make it look so luxury but it is far from that! We played the card game 500 for most of the train trip then took sleeping pills to try and sleep on the hard mattress/freezing room/loud train noise/ was not the best nights sleep let me tell you! We arrived in a town right near the border of Viet and China and a bus had to take us up to Sapa. Sapa is part of the Himalayas so getting up there was a bit car sickening with all the twists and turns but we made it!

Arriving so early in the morning was FREEZING, bloody Christ I have never been so ripped through you and really got to your bones. Our hotel rooms were not ready so we went to a nice little french cafe (Sapa used to be a French colony) and had delicious hot chocolates and toasted sandwhiches.

  This was the view from out hotel room...absolutely stunning, could not have asked for more! I don't really know how to describe Sapa, you have to go there to know what I'm talking about, it is so amazing, beautiful, breath taking and the food is incredible. One of the things i love about being over seas is you can eat out for every meal and it's ok! choosing a different restaurant each time was so fun and was exciting to see what the food was going to be like.

During the days we went on quite a few walks, we were so high up though and it was so hilly that it really took it out of us so we rested a lot and then got drunk and went out for idea of a holiday! We found this red wine and it was DELICIOUS!

I don't want to bore you with my eating stories or my drunken ones as I could go on forever but I will let you know this.....Karaoke is fun! The Vietnamese love it so it is everywhere and if you are in Vietnam, have a go!!

The weather is Sapa is bizarre,  because you are so high up you think it is going to be freezing, and it is, but during the day when the sun blasts down it is boiling! it was very hard to dress for the day as you would put on layers and then need to lug them around as it was too hot to wear. I can't give you clothing advice because even I didn't understand after four days of being there!

Here are a few more photo's as it is such a stunning place and hopefully they will make you want to go have to go visit.

Peace xx

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Tubing - Laos

TUBING....The best word ever to be invented!

In January my friend Maddy and I went to Bangkok, Laos and Vietnam for a few weeks. Laos was our main destination as I had been told about this Tubing business and HAD to try it.
Getting to the tubing town is a bit of a bitch, you need to get to their Capital City Vien Tien and then take a 4 HOUR bus ride to Vang Vien which is directly North of Vien Tien. These 4 hours were probably the worst 4 hours of my life...I don't know how they work in Laos but every 100 meters the road would stop and it would be a dirt/rocky road for 100 meters and then the road would start again. IT. WAS. HELL. nice and smooth and then all of a sudden....BANG BANG BANG, Plus we were in the shittiest van it felt like we were going to fall out of it! One funny thing from the ride was we asked our driver what language they speak in Laos and he said 'toilet' hahaha made my day!

We arrived in Vang Vien quite late at night so just got something to eat and went to bed...we were pretty exhausted from travelling all day. All the restaurants have either Family Guy or Friends playing which is fun, you sit on platforms that have cushions so you can lay down while watching tv and eat until your stomach is content. This was one of the menu's we came past!

The next day we woke up and got ready for tubing. You hire a tube in town and they take you on a tuk tuk 3.5k out of the town to the tubing area. You walk across a bridge to get to the first bar where they give you a free shot of whiskey (ew) and you can leave your tube just outside the bar until you are ready to go down the river to the other bars.
This is the second bar which is right next to the first can walk there so no need for tubing but it is still fun to tube 10 meters down the river! When you are tubing and want to get to a bar they have a couple of guys at each bar that throw you a rope and they drag you in so you can go to their's so easy and fun! eeeeeee i want to be back now!
The first few times we tubed Mads and I only went to the first three can definitely get stuck at the third one..but when we travelled on our tube down the river more we found so many more excellent bars we kicked ourselves that we didn't explore more!

Everyone get's pretty drunk during the day whilst tubing so when you leave around 5.30 you go eat something and have a nap before going out around 11. All the clubs and bars are in town and they are SO much fun! everyone is in a partying mood and it's just so much fun dancing and drinking buckets! The only disappointing thing about tubing and it was definitely just the timing...not tubing's fault....NO HOT MEN, such a shame.

We met so many nice people and had so much fun I recommend tubing so much. If I was to rate it out of 10 I would give it 20/10, it is AMAZING. I am even going back there for my 25th next year with all my friends, can't wait to get back there!
Also as you may have read or seen in the news that people keep on dying....seriously, it is safe there and these people are dying because they don't listen to the rules, every jump or flying fox has a Laos guy looking over it and if you can't jump somewhere then there is a big sign saying so. FOLLOW RULES AND NO ONE WILL DIE :)

Near tubing is a place called The Blue Lagoon, we had to get another Tuk Tuk there which took about 20 minutes so it would have been fine if they knew how to build roads....jesus!
We got to the blue lagoon and it was beautiful! We started off by climbing up a steep mountain for 200 meters and entered a cave, we didn't notice that you had to pick up head torches at the bottom so we didn't go in too far as it was pitch black and we were only wearing thongs so we didn't want to fall to our death! We came back down the steepest climb of our lives and were sweating like beasts so we jumped in the blue was so beautiful and so many fish were swimming around in it.
I can't remember the exact reason why the water is so blue but it comes down from the could be limestone or something like that.
Laos is such a beautiful country, I never really thought anything of it before but just seeing the mountains meet the rivers and how green everything is and how happy the people are just makes me want to go back there over and over again. I can't recommend this place enough..but at the same time I want to keep it a secret as I don't want it to become too commercialised!