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Showing posts from July, 2018

Mui Ne & Da Lat

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Mui Ne

We had an early rise for our pre-booked bus to Mui Ne, which is approx. 200km east of HCMC, on the coast. This involved being at the bus office at 07:00, we had to walk along Bui Vien St to get there, and there was still people in and outside a few of the clubs & pubs still on it, with music blaring away!
We checked in, got asked for our destination hotel and I was told that we would be dropped off there, given our tickets and a bottle of water each, then told to wait outside.
A short while later, a man shouts out our destination town, and then we are escorted along the street, across the road, through the park and eventually get to the bus, already hot and sweaty and put on to a bus which the air con is not yet running… thankfully the driver was there to start his bus and we all get seated. The bus takes around 5 hours, and although the sleeper bus stages of our open bus tour of Vietnam look like decent buses, the one we got for this journey was not the best, with small s…

Saigon (Ho Chi Minh)

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After 2 flights and a few wasted hours in KL airport we were finally in a new country, Vietnam.  We’d already pre-arranged the authorisation letter for our 3-month visa and filled out the questionnaire so we just needed to go to the main desk and hand over all the paperwork, passports and a photo of ourselves, we were then told to take a seat and wait to be called. It wasn’t that long before we were called to pay $25 each and were given our passports back now complete with a full-page Vietnam visa.  We then made our way through the join the hundreds of people queuing to get through immigration control. On route we spotted a good deal on SIM cards - $10 for 30 days unlimited data! We should have known the deal was too good to be true as what they seem to have done is already registered all their SIMs about 10 days prior and used almost all of the ‘unlimited’ data. Fortunately, we spotted this before getting through immigration and so went back to get a refund, but it wasted quite a lo…

Amed

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After breakfast, we headed down to the tourist desk where we bought the ticket for the fast ferry to Amed. The tout just took us along to the office of Freebird Express, the company we picked to use for the crossing, which was tucked away off the main drag. We probably could have booked direct with them, but we got a decent price anyway, so we got checked in and then took a seat down near the beach.
We had a little wait for our ferry to arrive, the place was mobbed with multiple company’s ferries loading and unloading luggage and passengers, but this must be a daily ritual for this busy little island.

Our ferry arrived about 20 mins late, and once we got loaded we set off. As what is becoming standard procedure on our travels, a simple description of the ‘Fast ferry to Amed’ turns out to be a bit vague as we started heading the opposite direction, to Gili Air. Again, we offload and unload passengers/luggage, and set off again. Yet again we continued in the wrong direction, and after …

32 Week Update

It’s scary to think that it’s update time again, as we sit waiting to fly out of Jakarta airport, where we landed exactly 8 weeks ago, having spent that whole period travelling around Indonesia.
Our journey has only covered a tiny part of this huge, amazing country, but we squeezed lots in –
Java - Jakarta Bandung Yogyakarta Dieng Plateau Semarang Probolinggo

Bali - Sanur Ubud Sidemen

Flores - Moni Riung Bajawa Labuan Bajo

Lombok - Sengiggi Gili T

Bali - Amed Denpasar
We’re now 32 weeks in, and approaching the latter stages of our adventure, so it’s time to head back into the northern hemisphere, as we fly up to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. We will work our way up from there north towards Hanoi, and are very much looking forward to new cultures, experiences and of course amazing food!
Xx

Gili T

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Morning arrived and we were collected by a small Parama Tour mini bus and seemed to have a dedicated rep just for us – although this may also have been because they screwed up our tickets so we needed someone to help sort that at the dock. The boat company that Perama use are Mahi Mahi Dewata but there are a few other companies that use the same dock, which makes for amusing tourist people watching especially as the hawkers come out with their T-shirts, jewellery and dismantlable blow pipes!  The crossing was only about 30mins as we stopped at Gili T first and we managed to get one of the few seats outside. 
You disembark at Gili T into chaos caused by tourists either getting off boats or milling about with their luggage waiting to get on one. We grabbed our bags before the handlers could drop them in the surf and head over to the main road, which is just a rough cart track on the main beach ‘strip’ of restaurants and tour operators.  As we hadn’t been 100% sure on arrival dates we d…

Journey to Sengiggi

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The next part of our journey was one that we had thought about for a while before we even arrived on Flores. We basically had a few options open to us, which all came down to cost v time v experience. We had to get from Labuhan Bajo (LB) on Flores, to ultimately Gili T which is a huge distance to cover and there were several ways to do so.

The 3 options we considered were –
2 days/2 nights shared boat trip that was expensive, but on route it included some time on Rinca plus a couple of snorkelling trips and would take us from LB to Mataram on Lombok, where we could get a boat to Gili T the next day.
Fly from LB to Bali and then a taxi to the long ferry crossing across to Gili T or fly from LB to Bali and then fly from Bali to Lombok and do the short crossing to Gili T.
Get the ferry from LB to Sumbawa, then an overnight bus across that huge island, then another ferry across to Lombok and then the bus to Mataram, a 24-hour journey, then a boat to Gili T.


So, in our usual true fashion, w…

Bajawa & Labuhanbajo

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It was still a little tense the next morning as we didn't really have a clear pick up time, name or confirmed price for our taxi to Bajawa but as 10am had been mentioned that's what we aimed for. Sure enough at 10 past 10 a car arrives with a smiley Indonesian guy and says he's there to take us on our journey.  For some reason the taxi took us back along the same road the bus had come in on from Ende, which looks longer on the map but I can only assume the other road is not usable. Eventually we arrived at the Happy Happy Hotel in Bajawa and thankfully the price was the agreed 700k rph.  Our difficulties didn't end there though as the hotel we were dropped at was fully booked and as the taxi had now left we had to walk back into town. After looking at a couple of rooms in 2 other hotels, which were filthy and not very nice, we decided to walk to the further away Bajawa Roo hotel as it’s not on the main road.  It was a hot dusty walk but just as we got close a friendly…