As I mentioned in my last post, I had no clear vision for what I would do in South East Asia – or even what the major ‘tourist attractions’ were within each of the countries. I knew Vietnam for its war, Cambodia from a Dead Kennedys song, and Thailand for its world-famous ladyboys. Today? I could tell you the best place to get a Vietnamese visa in under two hours, recommend coffee shops in Phnom Penh, and have seen enough breast implant scars on ladyboys to last a lifetime.
Half a year. Six months. 186 days. Regardless of how you want to define it, this trip has now gone on longer than I ever expected it to. Along the way there have been a number of ridiculous (and potentially previously unmentioned) stories. Today seems like a great day to make a summary of the last 186 days and share some details of the stories that have previously remained secret. Perhaps “summary” isn’t the best way to describe this – there are a lot of pictures, some old stories, some new stories, and then more pictures.
One of the greatest things about traveling without a plan is that you’ll find yourself in places you never expected to be.
How do you say, “I’m sorry officer” in Vietnamese?
Both Mui Ne and Vung Tau are Vietnamese tourist locations with a primary offering of “beach”.
Da Lat – a city the French built at the top of a mountain.
Another magical ride through the perilous mountains of Vietnam…
Good news – I’m alive.
So…the whole motorcycle down the coast of Vietnam thing. Where to start…
I’ve tried to keep daily/regular updates to this so that I don’t forget or leave out any of the details of this trip. The last few days haven’t accommodated that goal. As such, I’m trying to catch up on the various events of the last few days – starting with Hoi An.
As I mentioned previously, Hoi An is very much a tourist trap, but that’s okay. The city’s French history is obvious, and it’s influence is everywhere. You can also see – everywhere you look – how much the city is influenced by the fact that it’s become a tourist/backpacker destination. You can see this in some of the newer pictures put up – signs entirely in English, cafe’s advertising the fact that they have wifi, and menus in all English. The other specific thing that is noticeable is that nearly everyone speaks a decent amount of English.
For me, I used the time in Hoi An to walk around the market that was right outside my hotel. The market is essentially THE MARKET, and you can buy anything from Season Two of The Walking Dead for $4, fresh fish, lunch, a NorthFace jacket, to an iced coffee or a pair of shoes. Adding to the fun, all of this is done via negotiating. I ended up having two suits made – something that the city is very specifically known for. That said I’m not sure if it’s known for it’s tailors and then the tourists showed up, or if the tourists showed up and all of the tailors started multiplying. After everything was said and done, I spent roughly $250 on two suits, two shirts, and 3-4 months of shipping them back to the USA on a really slow boat. Was it that much of a savings? Probably not.
On my last day in Hoi An, I took a motorbike and went out to the beach. These beaches were much nicer than the ones I had previously seen. There are a few pictures of those included in the new set of pictures I’ve uploaded.
Oh, and after a lot of contemplation, looking at prices, being jealous of other people I saw on the roads, and who knows what other feelings – I decided to rent a motorcycle for 15 days. (More on that in a separate post.)
(The gallery below is the same as what’s been added to the photos page/will be when I can get better internet)