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Never Coming Home...

View The adventure begins on astpurcell's travel map.

So after my first blog post where I boasted the fact that neither Morgan or I had yet come down with any belly issues, within less than an hour of posting that, my stomach began to feel unwell.

Fast forward six hours and I'm throwing up out a taxi door onto the streets of Hanoi. Good times. And a nice image for you to kick off this blog post...

I'll apologise now cos this is quite a long post. I've tried to be concise but it's been a busy couple of weeks. So get settled in cos just like travelling on a vietnamese bus, this is going to be a long and bumpy ride.

Vietnam is a country of mountains and coastline. I think I read or heard somewhere that 75% of the country is either mountainous or coastal, but I'm probably making that stat up. Regardless, there are lots of mountains and lots of beaches and and that pretty much sums up our last three weeks.

Sa Pa

So four hours after my incident out the taxi door, we were booked in for a six hour bus ride to Sa Pa and two days of trekking. Considering my condition, we thought a bus ride probably wasn't a good idea. Queue Carter Reed to the rescue, a young guy from Boston who had booked out a four person sleeper cabin on the train to Sa Pa that night and offered for us to join him. So we gladly accepted and greatly appreciated the help, thanks again Carter.

We arrived in Sa Pa the following morning and it was freezing and super foggy. Carter ended up joining us on our treks for the following two days through small mountain villages around the area. The fog and clouds cleared on our second day and gave way to some awesome views of the surrounding mountains and rice paddies within the valleys.

Funny story... Morgan sleep talks from time to time. Mostly gibberish sometime she's coherent. During our night in Sa Pa, I woke up in the middle of the night and rolled over to face Morgan and out of her mouth comes what sounds like impressively fluent vietnamese (this is after four days in Vietnam). She wakes herself up with her sleep talking and realises what has just happened. We both just cracked up, it was hilarious!


After Sa Pa we caught the 12hr overnight bus back to Hanoi. Yay! This is our beautiful faces when it arrives at 3 am the next morning in 30 degree heat.

That night we caught up with Alyssha and Michael and went to see a water puppet show which is kind of a thing here. I found the show to be pretty hilarious. Had know idea what the show was about cos it was all in vietnamese

Da Nang

From Hanoi we caught an overnight bus to a large coastal city called Da Nang and had three nights there.

We were definitely in the minority. It's not a massive tourist spot and most of the tourists that were there were Asian. The beach was OK, nice sand but the water wasn't amazing. At night time the harbour, bridges and buildings were lit up quite which was quite spectacular.

We spent a day scootering around to the Lady Buddha statue and the Marble mountains. Both places were pretty awesome. Lady Buddha is a 67 m tall statue surrounded by a bunch of buddhist temples so it was pretty impressive. Marble mountains are a small cluster of marble hills with a heap of caves with buddhist shrines and temples, both old and new.

We found this amazing cave branching from another tucked away cave. Inside was a buddha carved out from the rock and flying overhead were bats. We were the only ones in there. It was quite an incredible feeling being in there.

Hoi An

So after Da Nang we travelled a few km south to the world heritage town Hoi An. This was a really cool little place and we ended up staying there for a week. Between the beach, the town and the surrounding farms and villages, there was plenty to do.

The only downside to our time there was that it was stinking hot. We found out after we'd been there for a few days that there was a heatwave over south-east asia at that time and temperatures were five degrees higher than average. So we weren't just being pussies. Some days it was getting up to 36 degrees. I was sweating like a pedophile in a playground.

We over did it a bit on our first two days with a day of cycling to a couple of beaches and just checking the place out and then a day on a scooter in the baking sun riding out to My Son ruins (another world heritage site with ruins of champa temples dating from like the 7th century, I think).
After that we had to chill out a bit and split each day up between activities and the glorious air conditioning in our room. We spent the week cruising around on bikes, riding through villages and rice paddies, checking out markets, drinking beer and eating lots of vegetarian food.

Nha Trang

Our third overnight bus ride took us to our third coastal destination, Nha Trang. This was the first place I felt like we were on a tropical beach. The water here was far clearer than in Da Nang and Hoi An (with visibility around 12 m).

We really liked Nha Trang and had a couple of really cool days there. One day we hired a scooter and rode about 40 minutes along the coast to a bush walk to a waterfall. We then rode back to the city and went to some mud baths which was a very interesting experience. The following day we had massages in the morning, spent the afternoon on the beach and then went to Vinpearl Land in the evening.

Vinpearl was awesome. It started with a 3.2 km gondola ride across to an island theme park. We went after 5 pm and got tickets for 300,000 dong (approx. $20) each. The theme park had adult and children's rides, a free arcade, 4D cinema, aquarium, reptile house and a really impressive musical fountain show. We had an awesome time!! The park normally also has a waterpark and dolphin show (not cool) but the waterpark was closed for renovations until the end of May.

Nha Trang is a massive holiday destination for Russians and they made for great entertainment down on the beach with the photo shoots, speedos and warm up routines.

Da Lat

From Nha Trang we caught a bus into the mountains to a city called Da Lat, the Paris of Vietnam. Not quite sure how it managed to wrangle that nickname.

Anyway, I think when we first arrived we were quite disappointed but it kind of grew on me. It is just another city but we hired a scooter for a day and spent the day checking out temples, pagodas, statues, a monastery and some waterfalls. It was pretty cool in the end.

Next up we are heading back to the coast to a town called Mui Ne, probably our last beach in Vietnam before we head to Ho Chi Minh and on to Cambodia.

Posted by astpurcell 07:41 Archived in Vietnam Tagged mountains beaches statue scooter hoi_an da_nang nha_trang da_lat vinpearl

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Wow Adam you are quite the story teller! I so enjoyed reading you and Morgan's blog. What a fun time you are having and hope your belly has hardened up now!! Keep the blog coming can't wait to read the next one! take care out there and continue to have an amazing time! xx

by Linda Roberts

Wow! Sounds like you are having lots of Fun. Looks like awesome interesting places you have visited. Loving the photos. :)

by Pauline Lea

Hey Linda, thanks for the complements. It seems to have hardened up, either that or I'm making smarter food choices.

by astpurcell

We sure are Pauline. Morgan can take full credit for all the photos!

by astpurcell

Hey guys! Sounds amazing what you've been up to. Glad to hear you took the overnight buses - I'm sure they are a bit of adventure on their own! How was the veggo good? You do that after your little poisoning state? When do you plan to head on from Asia?
Keep up the posts, I'm living partly vicariuosly through you Guys now! :)

by Josh Purcell

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