Koh Chang was blissful for us. After so long of moving constantly it was a joy to just sit still for a bit. Admittedly it did take me a week or so to get used to the idea but once settled in properly with favourite spots established I found myself really getting into the groove. We began our travel break with big plans of daily exercise, clean living (read ‘drying out a bit’) and a list of things that needed doing. Of course in the end almost none of that was the reality. We just chilled out and relaxed.
Most days were a combination of reading or internet browsing until the rain cleared, then off for a bit of a poke around the island (waterfalls and such) then sundowners on the beach at one of two favourite spots close to home. Dinner then beers back home on the verandah, either sitting around chatting or playing scrabble. We did make friends with a fantastic Aussie bloke who owns a restaurant and for the last couple of weeks we made a visit to him several times a week for fun adventures. Indeed, one night after closing he took us out to one of his favourite bars and we were treated like royalty just because we knew him. Great times. (For anyone looking for good food and a lovely bloke on Koh Chang go and check out Strawberry Moon Restaurant) 😉
While perhaps little was achieved of our initial plans the upside was that we now start the next part of our adventures fully recharged.
We have a couple of months to kill before we head to Africa with a couple of close friends so decided to go and check out Vietnam. Neither of us have been before and it was close enough to get to so decision made, visa applied and approved so flight booked and away we go.
We found cheap tickets to Hanoi in northern Vietnam so chose that as our starting point. Now I should clarify here that I had heard and read a huge mix of things about Vietnam. Most of the reports/blogs/articles I read said that it was another love/hate type of place. Most people felt that at some point in their travel they had been blatantly ripped off and for many travellers that happened too many times for them to like Vietnam or to even speak kindly of their travel there. Others raved about it and travelled there often.
We decided to just go along and see for ourselves. Fore warned is fore armed so at least we were ready to keep an eye out for obvious scams etc. At worst we could always leave before our month visa and go somewhere else.
With a bit of trepidation we landed in Hanoi and I have to say that we were pleasantly surprised. Apart from the standard “pay too much” to get from the airport to town (which is not uncommon in any country) we have been pleasantly surprised.
While I don’t think the people are as openly friendly as some other Asian countries, the upside of that is that we are finding that they leave us alone a lot more, less hassling. The city of Hanoi (such as we have seen in 2 days) is really nice in the Old Town area, lots of little streets with people, scooters and few cars thronging the roadways. Plenty of small streetside stalls selling food of all kinds. While we have only had a few meals they have all been good, tasty and cheap. Beer here is about $1 for a pint glass for tap beer, meals range from about $3 upward. For example last night we had 3 beers each and a tasty noodle and meat meal (pork and beef) for a total bill of $11!!!! Fantastic!
Seems that Vietnam will suit us just fine. 🙂
These baby elephants take tourists into the surf at Khlong Prao beach on Koh Chang. The little one kept popping under the water and rolling in the waves.