Rough draft: at work so no spell checking or pictures, will sort things out later. I also really shouldn’t of left this so long, it’s been a couple months now and I can’t really recall the order of things.

I will start by saying I failed… well I didn’t actually fail because I was never offically trying and you know what they say, don’t try can’t fail. What I’m talking about is the whole no flying thing. When I was in HCMC I noticed that I was rapidly running out of money and still had to get all the way down to KL for my flight home… the plan of bumming around Thailand for a month until the full moon party just wasn’t going to happen, in fact at this point I wasn’t even sure I could make it to KL and survive until the time of the flight.

The plan was to join the guys on a bus into Cambodia and then go across into Thailand and bangkok before heading down to the Islands… this was about the same price as a flight from HCMC to Bangkok but with the added cost of the Visa and the few extra days it would take it just didn’t look feasible with my remaining assets so I jumped on a plane to Bangkok and skipped Cambodia completly… not the end of the world as I do plan to go back as I missed out of Laos anyway.

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Nha Trang

Now up to 7 of us in the group (Jess, Rach, Izzy, Matt, Andrew, Julia & Myself) we hit the more backpackery / party town of Nha Trang just in time for the full moon party!

Start with the standard stuff: The hostel was alright, at first it was annoying as we booked in as 5 people but they split us into different rooms (different floors actually) but in the end wasn’t all bad. Me and Rach got a 4 bed room and a new room-mate who we adopted… Dickie!

So here’s what we got up in during our week(?) there.

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Well we didn’t actually do anything in Hue. Actually apart from going round the corner to confirm our onward bus tickets I didn’t leave the street the hostel was on. None of us felt that great and the only thing we could think of was the food we had when we were at the DMZ… it didn’t immobilize just increase laziness.

The bar at the hostel (Hue Backpackers) was a brilliant place. Food wasn’t bad and drinks were great. From 5-6pm was unlimited free beer (you just had to finish a bottle before being given another) and then happy hour was soon after.

On the first night there the barman was giving free shots to everyone every time the Roosters (Australian rugby league) scored… they won against the Panthers 34/12 – Everyone was pretty drunk before 10.

Here we met Matt and bumped into Andrew & Julia again… seems they are a few days behind us.

Hoi An

600+ tailors in this town and it shows. Continue reading

I really should of done this sooner… I mean it’s been over 2 months since I was in Vietnam and to be honest since I didn’t make any notes on paper things are a bit blurry already so this post may be a bit lacking compared to my others!

Well let’s start at the beginning…

I jumped on the bus in Yangshuo to start the long bus/night train journey down to Hanoi and who happened to sit next to me other than two Ozzie girls (Jess & Rach) I met a few nights ago at the big beach party. It was cool to say hi and catch up but not really anything special (I mean you re-bump into fellow travellers all the time so didn’t think much of it) well that was until we go to the train station and ended up being in the same 4 bed cabin… not much chance of that happening!

At silly o’clock in the morning we hit the happy jolly border crossing which is where we met a fellow English girl Izzie and quickly adopted her. She just happened to be heading to the same hostel in Hanoi which was cool and this was the start of our Vietnam family!

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As part of my (attempted) learning of Japanese I’m going to do a few blog posts relating to the language. I’ve already studied bits and bobs but as it’s been a few months since I’ve looked at any of it I’m just going to start again from scratch.

I know most of it won’t actually be interesting to a lot of you but learning something myself and then typing a post explaining it to others (in a basic form) helps me catalogue things in my mind!

Basically my first step is to refresh myself on the Japanese alphabets – This is a good step to start with as it helps with pronunciation of all Japanese works.

So there are 4 alphabets to look at…

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I know I should be doing the rest of my last trip but I had already started this a while ago so thought I would get it up. Over the last couple of years I’ve met people who have said I put down in writing some of the dodgy (and some not so dodgy) ways of saving money / surviving as a backpacker.

I’ve titled this Oz & Nz because from my experience quite a few of these options aren’t do-able in Europe or Russia (or I never saw anyway) but of course there will be some cross over. I will update it as I think of more things or as people remind me. Oh and i don’t want to hear any crap about morals etc – when your hungry, your hungry.

*as I’m not writing this on my own laptop I don’t have access to my photos – I will upload them later*

After the first couple of weeks in China I was looking forward to getting down to the much loved town of Yangshuo. Word of mouth and guide books all basically said the same thing… very beautiful, very touristy, charms of a smaller town & not to be missed…

I really loved this place.

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Much bigger city than I was expecting and as I only spent 2 nights there I don’t have that much to say about the place. The hostel (Shanyaun) was great and very cheap, the people I met were awesome, I had a couple crazy drinking nights – mainly working my way through the hostels whole cocktail list with a girl from Leicester – and went to go see the Terracotta Warriors.

<Army photo>

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Beijing & The Great Wall

Sorry about the delay on the updates guys… plan to get the rest of the trip typed up and put up shortly, in the mean time… Mmmmm steamed pork dumplings… My first stop in China and a very enjoyable 10 days!

I remember I didn’t get the big culture shock everyone was on about… The city is no busier or hectic on the surface than, say, London. Signage & spoken English use is pretty big after the Olympics and food while sometimes a bit random is generally damn tasty and not ‘un-safe’ off the street stalls. I also never felt unsafe anywhere I was in the city.

I stay at Leo Hostel just south of Tiananmen Square and liked it quite a bit. It had an awesome large chill out zone with plenty of movies and reasonable food, there was a great backpackers bar across the road and the whole pedestrian street it sat in was filled with places to grab a bite to eat

<Street Photos>

Tiananmen Square was… just a large square (well rectangle :p) which led up to Forbidden City and man that place is huge! When you first walk in under the giant portrait of Mao you can’t help but be amazed of the sheer size of the first courtyard but then you walk into 4-5 of the same thing and you start to get a tad bored.

Apart from the calligraphy museum off the side (which I LOVED) my main forms of entertainment were the teaching telling the school kids to jump into our photos, Chris scaring a Chinese girl who was pretty sure we were stalking her and Tony actually stalking a gorgeous Russian girl who was inappropriately dressed for sightseeing.

<Square & Forbidden City Photos>

Great Wall was one of the highlights of my time in Beijing… I went on a tour with the Hostel to a section of wall 2.5 hours out of Beijing which was defiantly worth the journey as we were the only 20 people on a un-reconstructed section of wall. The day involved a 10km walk (read ‘climb’) along the wall which nearly killed me and Chris due to a heavy night and no sleep the night before.

<Great Wall Photos>

Well that’s basically Beijing. I spent the rest of my time socialising, eating, wondering around and people watching with Tony.

Oh just another note: It’s been holiday season for the locals and train tickets sell out 10 days before the departure so instead of being stuck in Beijing for another week I have decided to get my first night bus… 17 hours to Xi’an – fun fun fun!