A Travellerspoint blog

Island hopping in Thailand

sunny -17 °C

Hello all,

Yes i am still alive...just. Sorry for the lack of blogging of recent weeks or has it now been a month? Time doesn't matter here. I have been in a drug induced headonestic, hippy free love kind of spirit for the past few weeks in 6 Thai islands. Only joking rents (well about the free love and drugs anyway!!)

I cannot begin to explain what an amazing time i am having. My days are spent lazing on the most beautiful beaches in the world and by night i check out the varied nightlife or beach bars and lovely restaurants.

I don't think I can cope with being on the computer too much longer so here is a quick list of where i have been...

...Ko Chang, Krabi, Ko Phi Phi, Ko Samui, Ko Phangan, Ko Tao.

Here is a rundown of each (i will add to this i promise):

Ko Chang

We stayed in a lifesize coconut for our first night. It was a bamboo hut which was really basic but like nothing i've stayed in so far. Sadly we moved on as Emily spied the biggest spider and we ended up having to get a lady boy who worked in the resort to come and chase it away for us. This involved her weilding a broom in the air shouting "spider,spider". If the broom wasn't enough s/he decided to spray it with the water hose used to clean the floor and toilet!

So due to the spider incident we decided to move to some other bungalows down the road. These were buit with bricks and motor so Em was happier! The bathroom was ace with a open air shower. When i looked up the sun was shining and a palm tree hung over...worringly with coconuts that could fall at any moment!

We stayed on the south west of the island called lonely beach. It was a 5 minute walk for us to reach the beach, and what a stunning beach it was. There were a few cool bars and restaurants along the stretch but not built up in any way. On a few of the days we got a shared taxi (back of a 4x4 with a canopy and benches in the back) to White sands beach. This area was more built up and had a real strip of market stalls.
The island seems to have one main road that runs around the island. We have been told not to hire a bike unless skilled as there are severe hair pin bends and the gradients are steep!

Back at lonely beach there was plenty of nightlife on offer. Lots of bars were stilted bamboo style huts. One problem, not enough people to fill them! There would only be a few people in each and even though each venue would take it in turns to have a night, it still wasn't rocking. To be honest i think we all enjoyed having a chilled out couple of days not drinking and partying too hard. One night i went to the Magic garden where they were holding a Maya thai boxing night. Great to watch, they start by doing ceremonial traditional dances before they fight. It is no holds barred and a lot tougher than western boxing!

Saw some great sunsets and enjoyed some great food whilst on Ko Chang. All along the beach each restaurant have a seafood BBQ where you dine, alfresco on the beach.

Krabi

After a nightmare 25 hour journey we finally reach Railagh, Krabi. This island was affected by the Tsunami and building work and clean ups were still apparent. The east side of the island is made up of mangroves and mud flats...not really the place for sunbathing. However the west side has a glorious beach that we walked to most days. Quite a small island with no cars or bikes that we came across. The islands nightlife was one strip of bars and restaurants. Many of the restaurants show films in the evning which was cool for relaxing nights. The strip was not neon clad, more twinkling fairy lights and bamboo huts, lots of chilled out cushion seating looking over the sea!

Em and I went on a 4 island tour whilst here. By long tail boat we first went to Poda Island. The snorkling was fantastic with lots of colourful coral and fish, the beach idillic...a real retreat.

Next was Chicken island, so called as one of the rock formations looks like a chickens head. Here we got off the boat in the middle of the ocean and did some more snorkling. As this was much deeper waters the visabillity wasn't as good but the range of fish and coral was amazing. We then went to Tup island which took my breath away. We ate lunch on the beach and were able to walk between two islands along a sand bar. I snorkled right around one side of the island seeing so many fish and coral. The last part of the tour was to Pranang Cave where Em had taken me to the previous day. Lots of rock climbling goes on here and whilst we were there the heavens opened so we had a swim in the sea...something i've never done before! We explored the coastline extrensively and generally relaxed on the beach.

So yet more relaxing times were had on Krabi...no mad nights out just lovely meals at sunset and strolls along the beach.

Ko Phi Phi

Let the partying begin! Now we only planned to stay in Phi Phi for a couple of nights due to it being one of the most expensive islands to stay on....this place is impossible to leave. A few days turned into 8 nights and even then we weren't ready to leave. Everyone ends up staying here longer than planned it seems.

My first day at the beach disappointed as the tide was really far out. Emily was here just a month before the Tsunami and she could see major differences in the landscape and the damage it had caused. Phi phi is a small town in the centre of a very narrow piece of island. This was the reason it was so affected by the Tsunami, as it was hit from both sides. Lots of construction is still going on and Emily pointed out the now unused land where bungalows and huts used to stand. I did visit the memorial garden whilst on the island and it was really moving.

Onto a happier note, this is an amazing island, my favourite so far. There are no cars or roads on the islands and the locals mainly get around on push bikes. There is a maze of narrow streets in the town part, bursting with cafes, restaurants and shops. We were told about an amazing restaurant called Papaya...and believe you me when you have eaten there once you will never go anywhere else. I can't neglect to tell you that the resident cat (who had just had kittens) likes to sleep in the fridge at any opportunity! Only in SE Asia!

I met some amazing people in Phi Phi. First was Consi, an Irish guy who had been living in Sydney for the last 7 years. Second was Kasey, a 21 year old girl from sydney also. These were the two that i made the greatest bonds with but there were so many others i would be here all day naming them!

So days were spent on a beach or exploring the islands. Long beach which you could either walk to, around the headland, over the rocks (which i did most of the time) or by longtail boat (which i did once when i was feeling lazy). This beach was stunning, really quiet and was picture perfect. The waters were so clear and the sand just heavenly!

Myself, the girls, Kasey and Consi went on a island tour. We got to see and touch monkeys on monkey island, swim in a beautiful lagoon and the highlight that is a must while in phi phi, snorkle and chill out in Maya bay. This is the island that was used in 'the beach' (the Leonardo caprio film). I discovered that some camera trickery had been used as they had super imposed cliffs to make it a completely sealed off from the sea when really there is a 50meter gap in the cliffs for boats to get in and out of. The swines!!

By night there were so many cool bars along the beach to go to. Most notably, Hippies bar, Apache bar and carlitos. All the bars offer great entertainment, fire dancing, maya thai boxing, lady boy boxing and even a wet t-shirt competition in the irish bar...i steered well clear of that one! I have no idea where most of the nights went to, one minute it would be 2am.. the next the sun would be coming up. This may have something to do with the Samsung buckets. What are they I hear you say! Well, these things are sold everywhere, all the shop keepers have cottoned onto the demand. Imagine a childs sand bucket as in a bucket and spade that you would take to the beach. Replace the sand with a bottle of samsung, a bottle of mixer (coke sprite or this lovely refreshing lemon drink which we termed lemonoy freshness goodness!) and a medicine bottle (note not a can but what looks like a medicine bottle)of red bull. They will have all sorts of drink combintations and you pick the one you want and they pour the drinks for you and add ice....all for 200 bhat (just under 3 quid!) Most evenings were spent wandering the bars with a bucket in hand. Strangely enough it doesn't seem to be quite as chavvy as drinking fish bowls in Magaluf as everyone is doing it.

Sadly since i left Phi Phi the place has been hit again with a distater and a fire broke out which has seriously damaged the costal path between Apache bar and Hippies.

Ko Samui[b]

My least favourite of the islands. This place is so commercialised and the sex indusry is still very much an important part of the scene. There are several Mcdonalds, boots, starbucks and it is rumoured to have a M&S...not that i saw it. To give you an idea of how little there is to do, they include a trip to the Tesco Lotus on the island on their tours!

We only stayed three nights in a bungalow within a resort by the beach. It was very twee and we had a little balcony. The weather wasn't great and we had a few showers....not the best when you hire a jeep with only the front seats covered! Guess who drew the short straw and sat in the back!! No actually luckily the weather held out once we picked up the jeep and we had a lovely day exploring the island, stopping at secluded beaches, lookouts and sights. We saw a giant buddha shrine which stood about 100 meteres in the air.

I celebrated my birthday while in Sumui. The girls bought me breakfast and we had tea and cake. I had to go for a birthday swim and had a few cold beers chilling out in the eveing sun. That evening we sampled the neon strip of bars. We found a reasonably classy one and with a few other fellow travellers we had met back up with and a good cocktail menu a good night was had.

The area we were staying in was Chewang beach. It was one main street that ran parallel along the beach and a horseshoe shaped street ran off the main street that had all the bars and clubs in. Everyone ends up in the open air club called Green Mango which has both a chart/pop area and a dance area. Not a bad spot.

I'm glad i have see Samui but i can tell you i will not be returning.

Koh Phangan

The island that is famously known for its Full moon parties. We arrived a few days before the next one. Another hilly island with lots of dense palm forest areas. We were taken from the port to our accomodation in the back of a 4x4 pick up truck. Great way to travel, cruising along the windy lanes with great views all around you and the wind blowing in your hair.

We stayed close Had Rin in a resort called Coral Bungalows. Our room was very new and it looked like something from the Aztec zone of the crystal maze. We weren't very chuffed to see that building work was going on right by our room so yet again we would be awoken by banging and drilling.

On our 1st night the bungalows was having a pool party. We did plan to take it easy in the run up to the full moon but needless to say it ended up being a messy one. I had blue body paint all over me, played sitting on shoulder wars with a buch of people and general pool drunken fun was had. Not sure how safe the combination of alcohol and water is!!??

The area of the island we were in had a cool town. There was a cluster of bars and resturants where like in Vang Vieng in Laos, the restuarants all played movies, the simpsons, friends or family guy. Very relaxed atmosphere and some great boutiques.

The days in Koh Phangan were spent on the beach or wandering around the town. Found a lovely beach by Coco Huts resort where we had made friends in which was much nicer than the beach by Coral bungalows. It was called Leela beach and althought it was only a very small stretch it was shaded by palms and had a volleyball court. Jet skis are very popular here and are great to watch.

Not a massive fan of this Island and i think the full moon is the reason everyone comes here. Should have explored more of the island really and would probably have a different view if i had. It is one of the larger islands and extremely hard to get around and it is advised against to hire mopeds or jeeps.

The full moon party is the same as any other night along had rin beach which has a collection of bars along the stretch, it is just that it is a full moon and everyone gathers here. It is a massive party scene, body paint, whistles and mad clothes and hats worn...it was like being back in my raving days!

Had a really fun night, each bar plays different types of music so once you are bored with one bar you just move onto the next. Like Ko Phi Phi, buckets are everywhere. Here they are sold on stalls along the beach. There was a really good crowd of us, people we had met in Vietnam, Samui, and Phi phi were all there.

After the full moon, Emily and I were alone. Kelly was still with Anth and Lucy wenrt off to meet Pete. We decided we wanted to see Ko Tao.

Ko Tao[b]

This has to be a close second if not equal best island with Phi Phi for me.It is totally beautiful and i saw some of the best sunsets of my trip so far here.

We were staying in an apartment which had a balcony which overlooked the beach. The beach was literally a few metres from our front door. In central view from the balcony was a palm tree with the sea and sand behind and a camper van that had been turned into a beach bar to our left. Running parallel to the beach was a lane that ran the entire length of Sairee beach with bungalows, restaurants and diving companies either side of it...oh and of course a couple of seven elevens!

Again, days were spent on one of the many beaches that were worth checking out on the islands and one day we hired a bike and drove pretty much from the centre to the south of the island. Again the roads on the island are not gereat and it is recommended that we only stuck to the main ones so we were a bit limited. I had my first go at riding a moped and after a shaky start i was ok...really enjoyed zipping around.
We had lunch in the south of the island overlooking shark bay, freedom beach and Chalok Baan Kao. We did a bit of beach hopping too.

At 6 o' clock most nights it became the routine to make our way to a french couples bungalow that Consi knew, right on the beach front. A big group of us would gather (French, German, American, English and Irish) and have a few beer changs as the sun set. A great start to the evening which would be followed by a meal and usual meeting up at Lotus bar (located on the beach) at 10pm. Ko Tao has the best selection of beachside bars where you sit on throws and cusions and drink by moonlight and candles in wells in the sand. There are some pretty mad palm trees that come out horizontally and really add to the beauty of the place.

Firedancers were everywhere here too. Strangely enough a guy we met in Vietnam was now firedancing at Lotus bar....small world! The atmosphere here was fantastic and so chiled out. There was a small town too in Sairee beach which had an array of restuarants and a few bars.

We went to Koh Nang Yuan which is a short longtail boat ride away. This has to be the most beautful place on earth...well what i have seen so far. It is three islands that are all connected by sand bars. You can walk between them and for a spectacular view you can climb to a viewpoint to overlook the islands. Went snorkling in one of the bays of water and it was like being in an aquarium..so many types of coral and fish...amazing!

It cost 100 bhat to enter and they are strict on what you can bring to the island like plastic bottles are banned. We spent the entire day here, exploring, snorkling, swimming and sunning oursleves on the perfect white sands.

Was very sad to leave Ko Tao, not only because of it being so relaxed and somewhere I could stay in forever, but because we were leaving Thailand! This day seemed so far off and to think i ever questioned was a month island hopping too long! Great memories and times!

There is no doubt about it that I will be a frequent visitor to Thailand in my lifetime.

Posted by Tina Bean 05:52 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

How random is my life???!!!

New year in Saigon & Cambodia

Hey all,

Now for those who have done a RTW trip before of course my life at the mo is nothing out of the ordinary than any other back packer. However, I thought I would write a blog just detailing my last week.

30th December 2006 - Arrive in Saigon:
Totally mad city. Arrive and straight away we spot other backpakers we keep meeting and stayed in the same resort as us in Muine. After checking out at least 20 guesthouses, Lucy and I are tired of trapsing the streets being told everywhere is full. Finally we find a guesthouse that owns several others in the city and they offer to take us to one that has a room. Lucy and I jump on the back of a bike (oh yes thats both of us with our 15 year old driver!)Finally we get settled in and we go straight out. In typical fashion, even though it is the night before the day of the year you traditionally stay up till the small hours, we decide to stay out till 4am!

31st December 2006 - A stroll around Ho chi Minh City:

I ventured out earlier than the others and took in the sights of the city. First stop the market where i see a bunch of frogs on a silver platter which have been skinned and had their heads chopped off. Thats not the worst of it...their reflex muscles must still be working as all 4 legs are thrashing backwards and forwards! The lady owner sees my reaction to this, finds it hilarious and so decides to pick one up to give me a closer look. Just to try and make out i wasn't such a wimp i touched one of the eels she also shoved in my face! After muchos wandering around, seeing the the contrast of the wealthy grand hotel area by the riverside and the haunting reality of people begging on the street who have been effected by the agent orange and napalm in the war, i head back for NY eve celebrations to begin.

I can't tell you how fantastic it was to be somewhere that you don't have to pay to get in anywhere and that the city provides a free street party. At the strike of midnight silver glitter is thrown everywhere. I was close to the main stage so i was gestured on up to which i then proceeded to jump around like a mad man wishing all a happy new year and being picked up lots as far as i recall! I had been carrying a plastic cup like kids had full of vodka and coke so it is hardly surprising my recollections are vague! On that note somehow it is light outside I am in another bar, i look at my watch and it is 11am! Not quite sure how that happened! Breakfast is from a street vendor, sitting on little plastic chairs (which one of the guys we were with couldn't sit on due to being both one, too big and two, too drunk and kept falling backwards into another cart!

02nd January 2007 - Sightseeing tourist tastic:
Go to the Cu Chi tunnels and the war museum...all pretty chilling stuff. Oh yeah and watch Borat in a cinema above a coffee shop, the power going off midway through...check out downstairs and watch as one of the pylons in the street is sparking and on fire! A guy on a balcony sprays it with foam but that just created more fireworks!

03rd January 2007 - Cambodia here we come:
Bus to Cambodia at 7.30am. No photo no forms required just $25...sweet. Children banging on the window as we make the ferry crossing, pointing at their mouths. On the ferry crossing, look out of the window to see a minibus crammed full of Cambodians (we're talking 3 to a seat crammed, 6 or 7 in the front seat) and then 20 people on top. Get touted as soon as we arrive and the lovely Ken (yes ken...they all seem to adopt western names in Phnom Penh)takes us to Green Lake. Chill out on the lake terrace and watch the sun set.

04 January 2007 - A day of horror:
The killing fields and S21 museum. The latter is where people were interrogated and tortured if believed to be against the Khemer Rouge and the first shows where the victims were then taken to be killed. This site holds a building with all the skulls they found in cabinets and is the location of the mass graves.

05 January 2007 - The Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda:
Not very exciting, general touristy stuff. I failed to wear the right attire so buy a fetching blue t-shirt and borrow a claret pair of fisherman pants! Look like a total backpacker!!

An evening of chilling out on our guesthouse terrace and a few drinks in some of the bars and guesthouses along the street we were staying in. After a few games of pool, the need for Jack Daniels kicked in. We headed to our guesthouse and woke up the staff who were sleeping under mosquito net tents on the lake terrace (a lost battle near still water for us as we have all been bitten to death!). We finally got a drink and headed to bed at 3.30am.

06 January 2007 - Tour of the city by Bike & nightclubbing Cambodian style:
Lucy wanted to shoot another gun now she has got the taste for it in Vietnam so i offered to join her as long as we could stop off at the central and Russian markets on the way back.It was about 20km away and our drivers are a guy in his 30's and a 15 year old (can i just emphasis that he looked about 12!!). Lucy took one for the team and went with the kid. This was probably one of the best $3 i have spent on my trip to date. I got to see so much. We weaved amoungst the traffic and soon we got out to the more rural areas where there were markets along the street. I saw up to 5 people on one bike and truck loads of people standing up in the back. Many minibuses were crammed full of people and again with 20+ on top! At a cross roads traffic slowed down as people were rubber necking at a van that had crashed into the side of a building. So many sights to describe but an amazing experience none the less. Never made it to the market as

The heart of Darkness was its name and it once was a brothel. I was sceptical but we walked in and they were playing Justin...can't be bad. A whole other bunch of tunes played out till 4am. A very small club filled to the rafters with locals and Cambodians...who deffo like to party. Dancing up on the stage was done by all of us and i think some piggy back dancing was also thrown in the mix!

07 January 2007 - Cambodian bus fun!
30 minutes into the bus journey to Siem Riep and the bus stops. We think maybe a toilet stop for the driver, no such luck...we sit and are not told anything. After working out that the bus is kaput we wait around for nearly and hour for another bus. This bad boy is like a 70's caravan complete with flower lino on the walls and celeing and green, red and orange lighting along the celing! As soon as we arrive a piece of paper with 'TINA, 4 PAX' is thrust against the window...our last guesthouse have made some contacts and told their buddies of our arrival. Makes our life simple as we are driven to a guesthouse in a tuk tuk!

08 January 2007 - Angkor Wat
First day at the famous temples. Undescribable, something to be seen. Stay for sunset.

As you can see, not a bad life eh!!!!

xxx

Posted by Tina Bean 04:15 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Merry Christmas from Nha Trang, Vietnam...part 1

Hey all,

Just to confuse you I am having to write my blog from christmas day again as i appear to have deleted it!

So we woke up on Christmas morning to a sack full of presents that we had got each other. I had made the sacks from the bags we had got our tailored clothes in and decorated them with christmas pictures and toilet paper for snow...how very blue peter!

I had bought Kelly a bag for the beach and a bowl for her cereal, Emily a pair of nice earings and some christmas decorations that i made into earings for her to wear like pat butchers for christmas day! For lucy i got her a notepad as her current one is nearly full and a bunch of bananas!

I recieved some choco pies (like wagon wheels) 2 sets of chopsticks (a set from 2 of the girls, wth the same design on the top...spooky!)artistic pictures of street life in vietnam, some factor 81 sun screen (due to my doxy causing me to burn) and also a pack of cigarettes (as i'm the only non smoker so i can have a pack for when they run low on a night out) and a tin of passata (for my hatred of tomatoes!!)

After the present unwrappng we had a feast of fresh baguettes with lots of types of cheese, salami, ham and lots of crisps and snacks that we had got from the supermarket. We washed this down with a bottle of champagne that tasted of sherry...perfect for christmas morning!

We then headed to the beach, listened to music and chilled out in the sunshine drinkng wine.

Later we plan to head to the bars and find ourself a christmas lunch. I shall let you know how our christmas day in Vietnam turned out!

T xxx

Posted by Tina Bean 22:22 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Muine

sunny

Hey,

To make the travelling easier we decided to stop off in Muine for a few days before heading onto Saigon for new year! We had read that it was a quiet fishing village that had beautiful beaches.

Well there really isn't much else to say. The beaches are beautiful, white sands, blue sea and palm trees as far as the eye can see. We stayed in a beach hut right on the beach within a lovely resort. This is the first time we have had to use the mosquito nets over our beds...very cosy being in a doble bed with Emily!

I took long walks along the beach in either direction in between sunbathing and of course my favourite passime...eating!

We headed ino town on our first nght which is about 5km, so we jumped on a bike. There are many restuarants and two main bars, Jives and the sailing club. It is safe to say that we made the right choice in going to Nha Trang for Christmas as everywhere appears to close around midnight.

A very nice spot to visit for a couple of days for pure relaxation.

T xx

Posted by Tina Bean 22:12 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Hue - beans motorcycle diary & Hoi An

Hey all,

Well this is going back a bit so apologies if it is a bit short and sweet!

As mentioned in my last entry, we were experiencing less than perfect weather in Hue and were planning to go on a motorcycle trip the following day.

Well we did and it was one of the bst things i have done so far! I was really worried about jumping on the back of a motorbike with no helmet and the mad vietnemese traffic but i was soon loving it. To begin with we were having to travel through busy streets, squeezing through tight gaps and dodging other motorbikes. Soon we ventured into dirt tracks and through woodland. We drove past a temple where there were many tourists so we headed onto the next sight. This was the bunkers that still stand from the Vietnam war. There was around 5 of them and they were located right next to the perfume river. Across the river is the famous 'Hamburger hill' from Apocolypse now fame. By the bunkers are tombs of the dead rich and the mounds of dirt for those buried there who were poor.

Onto the next sight which was the Tu Hieu Pagoda. In itself it was a building of beautiful architecture but we then were treated to the rare sight (due to having a good guide who liked talking about bananas and coconuts...use your imagination!) of monks coming to prayer. We saw the families and friends of the monks and they were dressed in grey. One monk at the top of the hall spoke (over a microphone!) and a bell was rung several times. They then all ate.

Next up was Tu duc's Tomb, the king of Vietnam. The weather really did start to get worse. Luckily there was lots of rooms and relics to see under cover before we walked around the kings, his fiorst wifes and his nephews seperate tombs. For sheer enteretainment you could get dressed up in traditional Vietnemese dress. Emily and Lucy endulged and looked great. They wore long robes, baggy trousers, headdresses and pointed clogged shoes! They looked hot. There was a carriage and a throne to sit on for photos.

We then went to Thien Mu Pagoda. This octaganal roughly 50ft tall building was vibrently decorated and surrounded by 5 much smaller buildings which each contained a bell.

We were told the story of the monk that belonged to the Pagoda who set himself alight in protest. The car that he drove is held at this temple and the original photo of him on fire is also there. There is also a tomb of a young monk who died recently.

I enquired if we could be dropped off at the Citadel rather than back at Thu's. The guide took this as visiting it next so we drove into the Citadel and had a chance to take picture of the main square and the main building within it. The weather really did start to chuck it down by this point. We were now driven to the countryside to see the Japanese bridge. The ride to it was amzazing as I could see all the others on their bikes ahead of me across the land on the country lanes. We went through a village which had a small river running through it. Seeing the locals going about their daily business and driving through the paddy fields was such a great buzz.

By the time we got back we were all soaked through but had all had a fantastic time.

The evening was spent in Thu's, chilling out, eating and drinking preparing for our early morning bus journey to Hoi An

After a 4hour journey we arrived in Hoi An. We were taken to a nice hotel that in hinesight i wish we had stayed in but we checked into a place not far from there (this was after checking out a few other places across town) called Greenfields Hotel. Can't complain though as we had a swimming pool, free cocktail hour each night and free internet access.

There isn't much to tell you about Hoi An apart from it was evry girls dream (apart from the wind and rain). For 4 days all we did was shop, eat and drink!

We had been told it was the capital for tailored clothes but i don't think anthing can prepare you for the amount of shops there are. The streets are just store after store, each only a few metres by a few metres big crammed full of fabric and examples of the clothes you can have specifically made. The first day we just checked out the actual shops but the econd day we ventured to the market. Not only was there your normal maze of markets that we have become accoustomed to in S E Asia, selling everything from fruits & veg, plastic cups to knocked off designer label clothes and an assortment of souveniers, but also like a sweat shop market hall of stores. There must have been about 50 different shops within a building smaller than your tesco's local. At one point i had 4 ladies round me telling me that i was beautiful and that they could make me this that and the other. I coldn't take it and had to get out of there! The main difference with the market is that there are no samples to go from, here they just show you clothes catalogues. From my experienc of home shopping i decided to steer clear! However me and Lucy were talked into having our legs threaded by a little lady, maybe a relative of one of the store owners in the market hall. Now threading is a way of de-hairing the legs, by means of a piece of thread pulling each one out! It really wasn't the most pleasant experiences but left my legs silky smooth..and also saved us from the terrential rain. The beauty parlour was about 1m x 2m big and again there was a whole two lines like a street of them. They are literally big enough to have a small storage area and a bed. All very strange but at the price of $2 who's complaining!

The deal is that you find what article of clothing you want, you then chose what material you would like, they take your measurements and then you go back for a fitting the next day.

I ended up having a pair of 3/4 length linen black trousers, a strappless billabong style print top and a chinese style dress made. All three cost me $30. Amazing!!!

The nightlife was ok in Hoi An. We had one really good night out. We asked to go to one bar but were taken to a latin/mexican stle bar that we had already been to for breakfast. There was a pool table and a football table which i had a very drunken match on! Needeless to say i sucked! We were then taken by motorbike to the full moon bar which again had the main feature of a pool table. A crowded dark and small bar where a few more drinks were consumed.

Hoi An's best feature was the old town It was so very beautiful and we got to see it slightly flooded and then when the sun had come out to play. There was so many quaint art shops and cafe's which filled the narrow streets. The buildings were painted a yellow color and many looked ready to fall down. It really was a maze of streets of identical looking shops selling an amazing range of clothes, bags, art, dinner wear and lighting. Being by the river also added a certain charm and we had a few meals at the restaurants with balconys overlooking it. One waitress invited us back to her home to meet her family. She and her 2 teenage children lived in one room 5m x 5m. They had a space to sleep, an area to sit and the rest was taken up with a wardrobe, desk and tv stand, complete with tv, dvd and telephone.

The girls decided to escape the 12 hr journey to Nha Trang by getting a flight from Danang. I decided to get the bus as I would be able to sleep as we were travelling through the night. Before I left I had the best meal that I had eaten in Hoi An. Just a simple chicken with rice but it was amazing. The owner, Mr Chong seemed like a well liked man judging by all the nice notes i read from other people which were under the glass on the table. I had a chat with him and his wife brought me a vietnemese tea to drink. What a lovely way to leave Hoi an.

Posted by Tina Bean 06:52 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

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