I’ve been terrible with blogging recently and I now have 2 countries to update you on! I’m currently in our 5th county of the trip so this post is coming to you from Sydney, Australia.
In my last post you’ll have read that we were flying to Vietnam after Thailand. These two countries actually felt quite similar – their food, culture, roads and people.
We split our time in Vietnam between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh and spent about 9 days in the country in total. One of the first things to notice in Vietnam is the street food. Wherever you go there are places to eat along the street, each with child-size plastic tables and chairs on the pavement to dine on. There are also ladies walking around with large baskets of fruit are attached to either a pole or a bicycle.
In Hanoi, we stayed in Old Town where you can find streets selling any item you could want! There are piles and piles of shoes on shoe street and cheap branded bags for sale on bag street. There is a street for everything! I ended up buying a raincoat as the weather in Hanoi wasn’t very good! If it weren’t for the heat, it would have felt like England with all the rain!
While in North Vietnam we took a trip to Halong Bay. Beautiful waters and endless, picturesque islands were what we were meant to see… unfortunately it was a very foggy day and the views ended up looking similar to a spooky pirate movie! It would normally be an incredible trip and well worth doing, but sadly it didn’t feel this way on the day we went!
After Hanoi we flew south, down to Ho Chi Minh City. Our hostel was on Bui Vien road – what seems to be the equivalent of Khoa San Road in Thailand! There were bars, clubs and restaurants all the way up the street, including various rooftop bar locations. We had some good nights there, but we did also find out that their Karaoke bars are very different from those in the UK…
One thing we didn’t do in Asia is hire mopeds… if you’ve seen the roads you’ll understand why we were a little worried about doing so! We though the roads in Thailand were crazy, but they’re even busier in Vietnam! There are twice as many mopeds on the roads, and apparently not many driving rules… Pedestrians just cross and weave their way through oncoming traffic, cars overtake anywhere at anytime as no one seems to use actual lanes and bikes even drive up onto the pavements if the road is too busy.
You’ll also see some crazy things being carried on bikes, from plant pots to piles food and drink. You’ll see mothers carrying babies on them or parents feeding children – I even saw a dog on one!
While I did love Vietnam, we found that there were times when we didn’t have much to do. This may be a problem with staying in cities for too long – it would have been nice to venture out to other areas of Vietnam where it’s different, but we just didn’t have the time!
We had a flight to Singapore booked – our 3rd and final stop in Asia. It was shocking how different Singapore is to Thailand and Vietnam! It’s clean, neat, organised and quite English as that’s one of their first languages (along with Mandarin). Cars drove in lanes and people used traffic light junctions to cross. Chewing gum is banned so the pavements are immaculate and their metro/tube services are all air conditioned so they’re not hot and stuffy! It’s an impressive country and so different from others in Asia – it felt like we were on a different continent!
We had two days and we filled them with everything we could. We visited Gardens by the Bay, with so many plants and an impressive light show in the evening. We took a trip on the Singapore Flyer, the biggest wheel in the world at 165 feet tall. We could see so far into the city and away into the distant sea before a storm came in with heavy rain and lots of thunder and lightning!
It was so modern and different compared to Thailand and Vietnam – it gave us a very different Asia experience! While we needed more time in Thailand, the 2 days we had in Singapore were enough. We did everything we could and we did have long, busy days but we maned to fit everything in.
Before leaving for this trip I was nervous about visiting Asia. I knew it would be very different from home but I didn’t know what else to expect. After spending a month there I can saw that I loved it. I loved it after only a few days! It’s a shame we have this trip all planned out because I would have loved to spend more time there. A month wasn’t enough to do or see everything in the countries we went to and I now feel like I’ve missed out a lot! It looks like I’m definitely going back one day…!