I wrote a blog about Vietnam but decided not to publish it. It didn’t show Vietnam in its best light and that’s because of the people we met and not the country as a whole. In essence we were scammed and ripped off, had a poor service delivered on tours, threatened, screamed at, nearly ran over, refused to be served food, lied to, almost in a bus crash and nearly kidnapped. This all happened in a week in several different locations. It was the first time we haven’t felt safe on our travels.
Needless-to-say we didn’t have a good time in Vietnam. Other people do. If it’s some place you would like to go then go for it. You may enjoy it, you may not. We just wouldn’t recommend it. That being said we learned so much, the countryside is absolutely stunning and random people want to have their pictures taken with you. It was also the cheapest place we have ever been to and the pound goes far. In fact about £35 makes you a millionaire in Vietnam.
We altered our plans and flew out of Vietnam and back to Singapore. I knew we’d always go back to Singapore but I wasn’t planning on it being so soon. It is a beautiful city and we missed so many highlights the first time round that we wanted to see. That and it was also the cheapest flight away from Vietnam!
Whilst in Singapore this time we took our time. We visited the Zoo and awed at the wonderful animals enclosed in a very interactive way (no cages). We visited little india for some fantastic food and China town for the bargain shops. We swam, chilled out and relaxed at the 50 meter public swimming pools and watched a movie or two at the cinemas. The best thing we did though was marvel at the laser show down by the Marina. Truly a stunning place to spend an evening:
After being hounded in Vietnam, we needed the relaxed, no-approach (touting is illegal in Singapore) atmosphere of Singapore. It is a
Back to Thailand
After Vietnam, Thailand was a breeze. I wanted to hug the over-charging TukTuks for only trying to overcharge. I think I gave Thailand too much stick in the first blog for over-charging. I don’t think like that anymore after our travels anyways. It is more of a business decision rather than being over charged for everything. It’s simply supply and demand. It just wears you down to negotiate and walk away over everything and anything. That being said we’ve learned to negotiate well and I’m sure this skill will come in handy in the future.
Thailand is a grower for those who don’t instantly like the place.
We’ve also come to realise that despite being backpackers, we like our
comforts too much to ‘rough it’ like a proper backpacker. We like the
fizzy wine in the posh bar. The service of a top restaurant and the
comfort of a warm bloody shower in your hotel. We are therefore
so-called ‘flash-packers’ and don’t mind that one bit. Once we realised
during our travels that we were going to have to spend a bit more to
have these comforts, we had a much better time. I think when we were
first in Thailand, our budget was a bit too tight for us to enjoy it
properly with the comforts we like.
We had to go to Chiang Mai. Everyone we had met said it was one of
main reason we went to Chiang Mai though was to see the elephants. We
paid for an adventure package where we fed, bathed, stayed with and rode
on the back of the elephants up the mountains. It was such a magical
experience riding and elephant, albeit not really that comfortable. It
was hands down the best thing we did in South East Asia and to top it
all off the next day we went hiking in the mountains, swimming under
waterfalls, white-water rafting and then floated down a lazy river on a
few pieces of bamboo tied together.
For our final two weeks we decided we needed a holiday (ha!) and we knew a perfect place. Koh Tao. So we went back to the island for some sun-worshiping and a lot of book reading. We literally did nothing except the odd hike up a mountain and a kayak around the island. We had a great relaxing time but were really excited for coming home to see friends and family.
From seeing the riches of Dubai to ‘tramping’ and bungee jumping in New Zealand. Tasting the delights of Malaysia to conquering the jungle and a 4000 meter mountain in Borneo.Exploring the temples of Cambodia and living the high-life in Singapore. To being conned convincingly in Vietnam to riding elephants and becoming a certified scuba diver in Thailand. To the most amazing journey of our lives and, upon looking back, to loving every single minute of it.
Thank you for reading. To the next adventure whatever it may be.
Gary & Ali