When the guy in the bunk below me on the train laughed it sounded like an Asian version of Side Show Bob from the Simpsons.
When I initially started planning this trip, one of the things that I was most interested and concerned about was the cost. Anything I found online gave me the impression that S.E. Asia was “cheap”, but what exactly did that mean, and did that mean you were eating rice every day or eating like a king? Based on what I could find online, my goal had been to spend no more than $30 a day while traveling. I’ve been keeping track of my expenses for the last seven days, and so far, even with the $130 tour to Ha Long Bay which averages $43 a day, I can say that I am right at $30 a day so far. It’s worth noting though that that has been WITHOUT having to pay for hotels/hostels, as I’ve been sleeping on the couch of a friend in Hanoi. Starting tonight, that changes and I’m fully responsible for everything I need along this trip. I’m not too worried about funds yet though, as the next few cities I’ll be in are much smaller and very walkable – no need to spend $6-$10 on taxi rides throughout the day.
I learned that I need to be careful when planning out when I take showers on days that I plan on packing everything into my bag and traveling. The day I left for Ha Long Bay I took a shower in the morning. My towel didn’t have enough time to completely dry, and as a result I brought a damp and rather moldy smelling towel along for the trip. Fortunately my hotels (the boat and the actual hotel) had towels that were fresh. Speaking of those places, the pictures below are the sort of food we got during the trip.
Google can be a little b**** some times.
The hotel/boat was actually pretty nice, although the bathroom in the boat was a little snuggly.
I leave on a night train to Hue tonight. It’s roughly a 12 hour train ride; I leave Hanoi around 11pm and get into Hue around 11am. Given that I don’t expect the train conductor to speak English, my goal is to be attentively looking out the window for anything that resembles a sign of “Hue” around 10:30am and until I get off. From there, I’ve got a hotel at $18 a night booked for two nights. It’s a little more than I planned on spending for accommodation, but I met a nice couple in Ha Long that will be staying there, and it’s only a few dollars a night more than a hostel I’d have to share with 2-3 other people. No brainer for me and my money. From there, I think I’ll continue further south along the coast stopping at various cities on my way to Ho Chi Minh City, and hopefully the island of Phu Quoc. Phu Quoc looks like this…so basically I’m pretty sure I’m going.
Cruising through the islands of Ha Long Bay in the fog, I felt that I had gone back in time to the era of dinosaurs. Sailing around the pastel colored fishing villages, I swore I was in the midst of a BBC TV special.
Hi Ho Ha Long Bay!
The following is a collection of random thoughts and stories from the last few days:
Imagine a sea of motorcycles moving to their destinations like water flowing downhill…
Jet-lag! What Jet-lag?
Written at XX:XX AM or PM from Thai Airlines flight 911 in seat 1A:
After a few days in New Orleans with friends, it’s time to set off for the far east and start one of the most ridiculous travel itineraries I’ve ever created.
Around midnight of last night I discovered I had made a terrible miscalculation in my travel plans…