The beginning of September saw us getting ready to leave the Vietnamese coastal town of Nha Trang. While we were über excited to be there when we first arrived, it quickly transpired that the place wasn’t the idyllic beachside town we initially thought it was. Nha Trang, we realised, has a seedy underbelly to it, which was evident pretty much every evening when Ankit got offered ‘cocaine’ and ‘marijuana’ by shady looking locals hanging out on street corners.
We also realised that the locals in Nha Trang are the least friendly locals we came across during our travels across Vietnam. We got stared at, a lot, and not in an inquisitive way. The contrast was very apparent when we arrived into Hoi An to find people smilling and shouting ‘hello’ at us at every given opportunity. What a change!
It was great to be back in Hoi An, a place we both fell in love with the first time we were there in May. We spent most our time eating our way around town, enjoying specialties such as White Rose and Cao Lau.
From Hoi An, we ventured across to Hue, which between 1802 and 1945 was the imperial capital of the Nguyen Dynasty (the last ruling family of Vietnam). The town is known for its UNESCO World Heritage Sites and historic monuments, such as The Imperial City and Ming Mang Tomb. Of the two, we preferred the latter, which featured stunning landscaping, a lake, and different temples and pavilions. The journey there entailed a 30-minute motorbike ride out of Hue, which took us through some scenic roads. It was such a lovely way to spend the afternoon!
After three short days in Hue, we headed back to Hoi An and from there we caught a flight up to Hanoi. Our main reasons for being in the capital were a) to get my Indian visa sorted, b) to go to Sapa and c) to catch our flight to Bangkok. We had already visited Hanoi in May and seen what the city had to offer. In all honesty, we HATED being back in the old quarter. It’s one of the most stressful places to walk around; at any given time you have tens of motorbikes whizzing towards you and people trying to sell you something. Not my idea of fun. At all.
Then we caught a train to Sapa to do a two-day trek, and you all know how that went. Today we’ve woken up in Bangkok and are ready for some Thai adventure! While we both loved our time in Vietnam, we were more than ready to move on and see a new place. I was in Thailand for five days a few years ago, but this is Ankit’s first time. Expect A LOT of pictures of food. I apologise in advance.
The month in numbers
Miles travelled: 2412
Number of modes of transportation: 5 (train, motorbike, car, airplane, bicycle).
Money spent: $2014 (excluding all the air tickets we had to buy. Don’t want to think about it for now).
Number of breakdowns: 4, all in Sapa.
Number of rats seen: 4, all in Hoi An.
Number of Vietnamese coffees consumed: 135
Most popular Instagram picture:
Facebook update of the month:
Meal of the month:
Without a doubt, it was indulging in White Rose again at Miss Ly’s Cafeteria in Hoi An. We came, we ate, we got fat.
Cocktail of the month:
Mango mojito at the Mango Rooms in Hoi An.
Enjoying the free tour of Cam Kim near Hoi An and meeting the cutest nursery kids in the process.
Touring Ming Man Tomb in Hue – we practically had the place to ourselves and it was oh so pretty.
Doing a torturous 10km trek in Sapa while surviving on three hours of sleep and wearing ill-fitting trainers.
The overnight train from Hanoi to Sapa and vice versa – freezing cold AC and uncomfortable beds are not conducive to a good night’s sleep!
Having to then spend five hours waiting to check into our hotel after the aforementioned train back to Hanoi.
Least favourite place:
My Son Cham ruins – ill-maintained and really not that impressive.
General travel observations:
The Vietnamese love to keep fit. On our last day in Nha Trang, we decided to get up before the sunrise, head to the beach and take some pictures of the sun as it came up. We expected it to be deserted, but in fact the beach was full of locals doing their morning exercises, from swimming to jogging to power walking to stretching. It was 5am in the morning for goodness sake. It’s not just in Nha Trang; most cities have public gym machines in the parks and you’ll always catch people exercising outside. We even saw women doing outdoor aerobics near the Hoan Kiem lake in Hanoi!
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What’s coming up in October?
Yesterday we arrived in Bangkok where we’ll be for the next eight days. Then the rest of the month will be spent in India! Expect a lot of posts on food – elasticated waistbands at the ready!
We arrive in New Delhi on the 9th and will be heading straight to Ankit’s hometown of Dehradun, where we’ll be spending the first few days. We’ll also head up to the hill station of Mussorie, which is supposed to be very picturesque.
After that, the plans are a little hazy. Initially we wanted to catch a flight to Kerala, but with tickets costing almost AED900 each, we’re now wondering whether we’ll be able to. We’ll also be visiting Agra, Punjab and Rajasthan after Diwali, but this will more than likely be during the first month of November. Keep your eyes peeled on Facebook for further updates!