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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…via a load of other places!

I mentioned it before and I’ve had a couple people ask about my travel plans so here we go! I’ve been looking into doing some travelling before starting this internship in China and also have had to give a bit of thought about how I would be getting to Beijing for the 24th and here’s what I’ve come up with!

July: East Europe
August: Russia
September: China

Back in 2006 a friend and myself went on a small trip through Hungary & Serbia and ended up in Novi Sad for the Exit Festival which is held in the massive Petrovaradin Fortress in the middle of the river.

It was one of the biggest and greatest festivals I’ve been to and always wanted to go back so now’s as good as time as any!

6th July – Fly Luton to Budapest then overnight train to Novi Sad for Exit

8-11th July – Exit Festival, Novi Sad, Serbia.

After the festival jump on a bus to Belgrade and spend some time between there and Budapest, I have about 12 days to kill and will just go with the flow methinks. Need to be in Budapest by the 25th July for a 35hour train from Budapest to Moscow via Ukraine.

Next is… Russia!

Arrive in Moscow about the 27th July. Spending a few nights in Moscow, seeing the sights (Kremin etc), registering my visa and collecting train tickets for the next step. Will also probably jump on an overnight train to St Petersburg for the weekend, long as I’m back in Moscow for the 3rd….

Trans-Siberian from Moscow to Beijing via Mongolia! This is something I’ve wanted to do for a while now… the grand Trans-Siberian railway! I won’t be doing the whole thing in one wack (7 days) because it seems like a waste to just go past some of the places without stopping for awhile so here is what I have come up with!

3rd August 2010 > 7th August 2010 Moscow to Irkutsk
I will be in Irkutsk for 5 days (arrive early morning, leave late at night) and from what I’ve read there is some great things to see in East Siberia’s largest city. Guessing I will be taking a couple days to go to Lake Baikal which is the worlds deepest fresh water lake (and meant to be lovely in the middle of summer when I’ll be there!)

11th August 2010 > 13th August 2010 Irkutsk to Ulan Bator (Mongolia)
Now Mongolia is somewhere I’m really looking forward to seeing! I’ll be there for 6 days and at least some of those will be spent out in the middle of nowhere sleeping in a goat skin tent trying to avoid some of the local delicacies (google for it if you don’t know). From what I’ve read about the city itself its a bit of a strange one. Tribes setting up camps on paved streets and traditional Mongol dressed people drinking with guys in suites. Sounds great! Oh I want to get me one of those hats!

19th August 2010 > 20th August 2010 Ulan Bator to Beijing
And finally arriving in Beijing where I will have 4 days to scout out the place before meeting my fellow interns and getting stuck into teaching.

So there we have it! Nothing is set in stone at the moment as I don’t even know if I’ve been accepted but I’ll be doing this trip either way, below is some information for those that are interested.


Breakdown of costs: VISAs:

  • Russia: £117 for a tourist visa, must be registered within 3 days of entering the country. Lasts 30 days.
  • Mongolia: £60 for a tourist visa. Lasts 30 days.
  • China: £92 for a tourist visa. I will be going in on a cheaper (£30) teaching visa. Lasts 90 days.

Flight to Budapest: £65 with EasyJet

Train Costs:

  • Budapest to Belgrade is about £22 return. Novi Sad is on route so sorted. Bus from Novi Sad to Belgrade after the festival is £10ish
  • Budapest to Moscow via Ukraine is £130.
  • Moscow to St Petersburg on the night train return is £50
  • Trans-Sib:
    The cost to run direct from Moscow to Beijing via Mongolia WITHOUT stopping is around £520. When breaking it up it’s coming to around £550. This is for a standard 2nd class (4 bunk) sleeper, generally with fresh linen (sometimes an extra $1 for that) and all the boiling water you want! The food on the train differs depending on the country you are in but generally you are looking at $3 a meal (meat & potatoes) but there is plenty on offer at each platform the station stops at and i’ll have soup or noodles to make use of that water methinks!

Sleeping & Food Budgets:

Well out of around 50 days doing the above 17 nights will be sleeping on transport so that leaves the following breakdown.

  • East Europe & West Russia: 18 nights @ £15 = £270
  • East Siberia, Mongolia & China: 14 Nights @ £10 = 140
  • Food & Drink: General £15 a day so 50×15 = £750

So there we have it. Costs are just quick lookups and estimates from previous experiences, it just gives me an idea of how much I need to work at this current job before I can quit!

Any questions give me a shout!