Hostel dorms…the experience

To the most part I have had good experiences in hostel dorms and through sharing rooms met a lot of nice people. However occasionally its bizarre…

Last night was one of those occasions. A man from the Philippines comes back around 1am and turns on the light, I wait for a while. I then ask do you mind turning the light off.

All good he turns it off and sits in the dark for a few minutes; then turns on his reading light. He then proceeds to introduce himself, ok I’m not in the mood but I’m too English to be rude. He then tries to seduce me! when that doesn’t work he tries to cop a feel. I very firmly tell him good night at this stage. Like I said bizarre.

What are your strangest dorm/hostel experiences?

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Chiang Mai, Thailand in two days

There are some excellent guides on what to do at Chiang Mai in Thailand, the city/town has a lot to offer after all. However when you have limited time how can you choose? After eight days these are my recommendations.

Chiang Mai in two days

Day 1-AM: Tan Pra Maha Kajjana followed by some frozen yoghurt on Rachadamnoen Road.

Day 1-Afternoon:some much needed lunch at Aroy Dee, then off to Grand Canyon Waterpark (not my normal suggestion but its the best one I’ve been to).

Day 1-PM: Book on one of the many great Thai cooking classes.

Day 2-AM/Afternoon: You have to go to one of the elephant sanctuaries (please go to one of these rather than the cheaper alternatives, the elephants are so much more happy)-I personally had the best time at Elephant Land.

Day 2-PM: Hit the night market along Changklang Road, then off for some much needed food at Ploen Ruedee Night Market.

Enjoy and if you have any questions please ask

Restless

I have been restless lately…

 In my gielded cage I wake up in the dark to see the day go bye. Back to the coldness of my crafted structure.
Then snap. I’m trapped.

With one big knock the walls crumble down. Left is a path of dust.
I stumple and turn with a smile on my face as realisation hits, i’m on the right path.

A journey of uncertainity to help discover beneath the surface.
Creating memories anew of people, sights and sounds.

I hit the centre of this giant maze. I have found the truth of my uncertainity.
It is simply balance. Then realisation, i’m truly restless.

Become a child-Gibbon experience

Ziplines, a jungle and giant treehouses. Do I need to say anymore!

The Gibbon experience in Laos is based in Nam Kan national park. Although marketed as a conservation project (which it very much is) the real USP is becoming a big child again. In essence there are three options; express, class and waterfall. I choose Waterfall.

The basic makeup of waterfall

Day 1- safety and check-in at their main office, drive to Nam Kan national park, hike to a waterfall for a much needed swim, hike some more, then fly about on ziplines and sleep in an awesome tree house.

Day 2- lots of hiking, some amazing ziplining, exploring the jungle for wildlife and a new tree house to sleep in.

Day 3-a little bit of hiking, lots of ziplining flying and driving back to their main office.

Who should do it: those who love nature, hiking and being a kid.

Who shouldn’t do it: those with a low level of fitness( its difficult), those afraid of bugs and people who need mirrors/hot showers.

Sa Pa-so many choices but what to do

Those who choose to travel in the north of Vietnam are more than likely planning on visting Sa Pa to see the beautiful scenery. However the question is how to visit.

Solo– If doing it on your own make sure to have your route well mapped (there aren’t signs) and stay overnight at homestays as it makes a massive difference.

From Hanoi-there are usually two transport options; overnight bus or train. I would personally recommend the bus as its quicker, cheaper and surprisingly comfortable.

Sa Pa trip-so you decide to trek but with so many options which trip do you choose?

  1. Make sure the guide is from one of the local tribes as they will be able to explain the diffrent cultures which helps enrich the experience.
  2. Make sure the travel agency works directly with locals and not intermediate companies.
  3. Please book a package with a homestay and not a hotel. It might not be as nice but you will get amazing local food and actually get to know the locals-plus loads and loads of rice whiskey.

One final thought-I already started to see lots of industrialisation e.g. hyrdo plant. So go in the next few years as it wont be the amazing local experience soon.

Solo travel- the recharge

Getting into solo travel espeically in an unusual environment can be hard. It has a lot of ups and downs.

At the moment after 9 months on the road I am feeling drained. After all being a solo traveller takes alot of energy. You are constantly having to make new friends, usually not eating and sleeping that well and trying to maximise your experience.

For me the answer as someone inclined to be an introvert is to check-in to a hotel with my own space. Acknowledge that it’s OK  not  to feel on a constant travel high and give myself time to do nothing. Then get out of the rut and plan something sociable.

How do you deal with the travel lows?

Travel hacks

There are some amazing travel advice sites/blogs out there on how to save money, where to go etc. I even attempted an article to travel cheaply.

I wanted to do an article today on the more unusual tips I have discovered.

  • Blanket– bring a blanket with you (or take it from the plane). It can be essential when the aircon is full blast on buses-I learnt that the hard way. However its also great if you have a bottom bunk as you can hang it up to give you more privacy.
  • Cards-always have a pack with you. It can be lonely as a solo traveler. However start playing a solo game in the common area and sooner or later someone will ask what your playing and you have a potential new friend.
  • Dorms– most long term travelers opt to stay in dorms due to it being cheaper. However there are usually a few sizes. I always opt for the middle dorms- in most cases you get more space, they are rarely full which means you minimize snorers.
  • Frisby– It is nice to have a token of the people you meet. Personally a frisby is my choice as its easy carry, to get new friends to sign and can be a great group game.

 

Ha Long Bay, Vietnam in pictures

I wasn’t really sure how to judge Ha Long bay in Vietnam. On the one hand its some of the most amazing sights I have seen. On the other its touristville. Whether you explore as part of a tour or do it on your own having to book on tourist ships there is no escape.

So instead of telling you to go or not. I thought sharing some key pictures of what you will see would help with the decision.

The Bay

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The stunning caves

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National Park on Cat Be island

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Monkey Island

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What was your experience of Ha Long Bay?

Some random thoughts of a traveller

I started this blog 10 months ago when I made a decision to effectively quit the life I had constructed. I considered all my options in one of my first articles “so what now?”, and ultimately decided to travel to give myself time to reflect and decide on a path.

I have made a number of decision in that time, however this article isn’t about big thoughts. Its about all the little random things you can discover.

Random thoughts

  • I fucking love ginger.
  • The male New Orlean accent is my favourite.
  • I always thought I was an indoors person, and in fact I am never more happy than when I’m hiking outside.
  • I have a real soft spot for the German people, they have a real adventurous spirit.
  • I don’t really like planning (great ex project manager…).

So this article actually does have a message behind it. Its so easy to measure yourself based on big decisions or milestones and then punish yourself for failing (I was that person). However its important to look at the small picture. We are making discoveries everyday that we don’t think about that shape the person we are and that’s AMAZING.

Remember be kind to yourself and look out for the small things.

Hanoi, Vietnam-what’s good?

In an earlier article I mentioned how crazy Hanoi is, and I still stand by this. Hanoi for me personally is like a really ugly dog; its not appreciated to start with but then it starts to grow on you.

What’s good-top tip visit Hanoi between Friday- Sunday.

Night market (between Friday to Sunday): The weekend brings a long street being closed in old town and transformed into a buzzing market with foods and local wares.

Cooking class: For me personally I get to know a culture via the food. I choose Apron Up cooking class as one of the cheapest and best reviewed. This was the best class I have done since travelling. Not only did I get a true flavour for the markets and the food, but the teacher was passionate about sharing Vietnam’s culture.

Hanoi Prison: this prison has been turned into a museum. Entry 30,000 Dong. The museum charts the French occupation, the liberation and then the treatment of American prisoners. Although i’m sure there is bias its a really interesting museum.

Vietnamese Woman Museum: Entry 30,000 Dong. This may be the most interesting of all the museums. It gives a take on Women’s lifes from different regions. It includes marriage, birth, jobs and modern life.

Essence Hanoi hotel restaurant: Don’t get me wrong the street food is amazing in Hanoi but sometimes you need to escape. This restaurant while expensive in Vietnamese standards(not western) is beautiful with attentive staff and delicious food.