Bittersweet and all…..yes the gap year has come to an end. And I start university in 2 months in Washington Dc! I’ll post a series of photos on the blog from India/Nepal/Cambodia/Laos/Vietnam. It was such an awesome 4 months!
Just arrived in Hatien, Vietnam this morning via boat from Phu Quoc island. I had a wonderful stay (besides the fact that we crashed/fell on the motobike twice due to terrible road conditions - although nothing more serious than a cut up knee) on the island for two days - loved the fact that it was not a backpacker mecca, and was fairly undeveloped - reminded me kind of northern Cambodia in ways. The food was GREAT - fresh seafood galore. I’m discovering all this delicious Vietnamese food in the south. As well as the AMAZING ca phe sua da (iced coffee with sweetened condensed milk). It’s really strong - like espresso - and very sweet. Very addicting I have to say…
Hatien is nice - although not a lot to see here. I went around the huge market this morning and got lunch at one of the food vendors. Then a fresh mango and this tofu like thing with ginger sauce (I can’t really explain it). Tomorrow I’m off to Kep in Cambodia, then to Sihanoukville. And then on Thursday to Phnom Penh. A busy week! On Thursday late at night I’m headed to San Francisco - although first a 9 hr layover in Seoul. I think I’ll try and go out in the city while I’m there if possible.
I can’t believe my gap will be over in almost 4 days. It’s been exactly 12 months almost to the day, and WOW.. has it been an incredible 12 months. It flew by. I’m really ready to go to university after all this traveling though!
Photos to come soon once I get them on my laptop at home. And sort through the 1000 that I took!
So for anyone wondering why I’m not responding to your messages ….. it’s because facebook is banned in Vietnam (not sure why though!). I can’t access it for a few weeks until I leave the country.
I just got to Ninh Binh early this morning after taking the sleeper train from Lao Cai (on the Chinese border) to Hanoi, and then a bus onto Ninh Binh. It’s a pretty small town, and does not seem touristy at all - really nice after Sapa and Hanoi which are backpacker meccas. I’m sick yet AGAIN, seem to be getting this recurring fever every week…not fun at all.
Tomorrow if I’m better I’ll go to Cuc Phuong national park and maybe Tam Coc - supposed to be an inland version of Halong bay.
More updates (and photos!) soon!
I’m in the north of Vietnam right now in Sapa, and I just finished a short trek in the rice fields. It’s sooo beautiful here I’m already wanting to stay more than just a few days…Plus the villagers are really nice (and speak excellent English! - I think from the mass of tourists that come to Sapa every year…).
Tonight I’ll take a sleeper train to Hanoi, hop on a moto to the bus station, and try and figure out how to get to Ninh Binh, which is about 2 hrs south of Hanoi. From there I think I’ll go to Hue (another lonnngg bus ride! - still not as bad as that 26 hr one though!!), then just continue south.
Before Vietnam I was in Laos, and while coming over the border - a horrid 26 hr bus ride - I got terribly ill….not fun at all especially considering I was traveling alone into a new country. So those 26 hours consisted of dealing with the flu and a fever - oh the joys of traveling …. not sure what it was from, but I think after India I’ve gotten the whole “getting sick” thing down!
I put up some pictures of trekking in Nepal - see below..
I just got back from my 11 day trek around the Annapurna region. I did the Poon hill/Gorepani loop (although unforutnately was unable to see poon hill because of weather), then went up to Annapurna base camp. I took a rest day at the Jihnu natural hot springs then came all the way back to Pokhara on day 11. The trek was AMAZING to say the least, and I think it very well could be the highlight of the year so far. The beauty up in the mountains is just unreal. There’s no question about it that I want to come back to Nepal and do another trek ! I did have a guide on my trek, Som, who was wonderful, and I’m really glad I did hire a guide. Even with him, we got lost in one part trying to avoid an avalanche (although on the way back had to cross right over the half fallen avalanche which was kind of un assuring). He’s an extremely experienced guide for all over Nepal - his goal is to eventually do an Everest peak climb (although it costs $25,000 to do so he wants to find a sponsor first).
Now I’m back in Pokhara for about 4 or 5 more days, and off to Kathmandu on the 18th of April. Then on April 19th I have a flight to Cambodia !
I’ll try and put up pictures from the trek soon !
More updates soon. ….