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Re: The Travel Thread

Posted: Wed Aug 02, 2017 1:56 pm
by dwayne
What are your plans for Vietnam?

I've heard Da Lat is very good for adventure stuff; rafting, canyoning, etc.

Re: The Travel Thread

Posted: Wed Aug 02, 2017 2:04 pm
by shivo
enemies/friends wrote:I know a fair few on here have been around these parts. Am looking towards Thailand/Vietnam/Cambodia for the honeymoon next year. Having to compromise so spending about a week in Phuket doing the lazy stuff but also going to spend a couple of weeks doing the more adventurous stuff.

One question I have at the minute, is there any way other than flying to go from Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh city?
I'll be doing a similar trip in November. We'll be flying between PP and HCMC - all other options were a pain in the arse.
Quite literally, according to my brother who did a lot of travel around that area a couple of years ago.

He says that some local tour guides claim that the Cambodia government purposefully let the roads between the two cities deteriorate (moreso than other road), and put extra taxes on tourists for bus tickets to encourage westerners to fly instead as it's more profitable for everyone.
I'm not sure how true that is, but he got a bus and said it was the most uncomfortable trip he has ever been on.

Re: The Travel Thread

Posted: Wed Aug 02, 2017 2:12 pm
by enemies/friends
Shivo, that's a great answer, thanks. The flight is short and not that expensive but I just thought it might be a decent way to see a bit more of the place, but in that case I'll probably just fly.

Dwayne, very open to suggestions re Vietnam. At the minute it's looking like flying into Phuket, then over to Siem Reap and down to Phnom Penh, then over to Ho Chi Minh. Not sure if it's worth going up to Hanoi? Quite tempted by the idea of getting a bike and just travelling around with no real specific aims which would allow us to go out to Da Lat, with a coupe of nights in Bangkok on the way home

Re: The Travel Thread

Posted: Wed Aug 02, 2017 2:20 pm
by shivo
And if you're looking for a book on Cambodia don't get 'Not Without My Father'.
Unless, of course, you want to read about some woman doing a 400 mile hike in the US.

THANKS A LOT BIGGY SHACKLETON!

On the other hand, if you happen to find somewhere that sells 'First They Killed My Father' as an e-book, let me know.

Re: The Travel Thread

Posted: Wed Aug 02, 2017 5:00 pm
by dwayne
I've not been very many places in Vietnam yet, only Nha Trang (which I would recommend if you want a beach side city for a few days).

Have definitely been told Da Lat is worth going to.....I'd have gone for adventure stuff when I was in Nha Transfer, but it was when my mum was visiting. And she wouldn't have been as up for it.

Re: The Travel Thread

Posted: Thu Aug 03, 2017 7:48 am
by Biggy Shackleton
Dalat is where they all go on their honeymoon in Vietnam.

If you're into Giant Swan Pedallo's on the lake in the middle of town sort of thing, then Dalat's your spot.
It's inland and a bit of a trek to get there though.

Nha Trang's great, a few nice restaurants too. Did my SSI course there, saw some great fish.

Re: The Travel Thread

Posted: Thu Aug 24, 2017 1:03 pm
by enemies/friends
Am heading to Finland next week with work. Working in a place called Oulu up on the edge of the Arctic so looking forward to lots of daylight hours.

Am staying on for a few days though after to do some exploring. Flying back down to Helsinki on Thursday night and staying on til early Monday morning. Anyone been? Reading up on Helsinki there doesn't seem to be a massive amount to do or certainly not anything that MUST be done.

Am thinking of heading on the ferry over to Tallinn on Friday morning. 2 hour journey each way and costs about €30 return. Not sure whether to stay in Tallinn overnight or to just go for the day all day then have Saturday and Sunday in Helsinki. Anyone been to either or both and know anything worth doing?

Re: The Travel Thread

Posted: Thu Aug 24, 2017 1:10 pm
by Phierstarter
I'll ask a Finnish friend who's been to both.

Re: The Travel Thread

Posted: Thu Aug 24, 2017 1:31 pm
by enemies/friends
:thumbs: Thanks Phier

Re: The Travel Thread

Posted: Thu Aug 24, 2017 2:01 pm
by Phierstarter
I had nothing to go on so just asked for standard stuff.

Helsinki places to visit:
- Fortress of Suomenlinna, take a short (<10min) ferry to the island just outside of helsinki port
- Esplanadi
- Helsinki Cathedral and senate square
- Old Market Hall

- Stockmann department store
- Kaivopuisto, and the seashore with some of the cafes and bars

Tallinn
- old town. plenty of restaurants and bars and old buildings. Tons to do
- pirita beach, if summer time

Re: The Travel Thread

Posted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 6:40 pm
by Phierstarter
Has anyone been to Kathmandu? Considering it for next year.

Re: The Travel Thread

Posted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 2:25 pm
by dwayne
Yep Phier, I have.

I'd love to go back to Nepal, it's an amazing country. Have about zero desire to go back to Kathmandu, however. It's by FAR the most polluted city I've ever been to (much worse than anywhere in China, and seriously affected my breathing even after only a few hours). It's very dusty and grimy, and hard to get around. There's some great temples and they ARE worth seeing, but you could do that in a day. Oh, and I've never been to any airport even remotely as shambolic as Kathmandu's. If you were planning on going to Nepal, I'd say base yourself in Kathmandu for as short a time as possible before going to Pokhara, which is amazing (or Chitawan, which I haven't been to but apparently is also great).

Re: The Travel Thread

Posted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 2:29 pm
by Phierstarter
:thumbs:
I'd like to base it around a public holiday, like Dashain, so there's plenty happening elsewhere.
Early days yet.

Re: The Travel Thread

Posted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 2:35 pm
by dwayne
One thing you'll need to keep in mind, is transportation in Nepal is absolutely awful. It's less than 200km from Kathmandu to Pokhara, but it takes anywhere from 6-10 hours on a bus (a very bumpy ride on quite a scary road). You could fly of course, but much more expensive.

Re: The Travel Thread

Posted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 11:00 am
by voidoid
dwayne wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 2:25 pm
Yep Phier, I have.

I'd love to go back to Nepal, it's an amazing country. Have about zero desire to go back to Kathmandu, however. It's by FAR the most polluted city I've ever been to (much worse than anywhere in China, and seriously affected my breathing even after only a few hours). It's very dusty and grimy, and hard to get around. There's some great temples and they ARE worth seeing, but you could do that in a day. Oh, and I've never been to any airport even remotely as shambolic as Kathmandu's. If you were planning on going to Nepal, I'd say base yourself in Kathmandu for as short a time as possible before going to Pokhara, which is amazing (or Chitawan, which I haven't been to but apparently is also great).
Oh boy yeah.
I didn't have enough cash in any of the accepted currencies for my visa on landing. Was a very frustrating hour trying to get an ATM.
Can't remember the details of the mess but at one stage I ended up running up a down escalator with a 15kg backpack on so I could get back to immigration after having left the airport.

Be careful what time of year you go. I was there around June or so and there was mist/fog down on everything. Was in Kathmandu for about a month staying with my brother who was working with an orphanage there so was staying out by the Monkey Temple. Even after being travelling SE Asia for 5 months Nepal was the biggest culture shock I ever experienced. I can't wait to get back during the normal season and get further out into the country. Pokhara would be a far better place to base yourself, unfortunately I didn't get much further out than there.

Re: The Travel Thread

Posted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 11:13 am
by voidoid
Personally I'd avoid going during any long running festivals. It's a damn remarkable place on any day of the year and can be tricky/expensive to organise things at the best of times.
Nepal is a country where people regularly have trouble feeding their kids. If something can't be produced there it is very expensively imported over the Himalayas. The majority of buildings even in Kathmandu don't have running water and rely on deliveries from trucks, electricity is only reliable for a few hours a day. This was a few years before the earthquake too.

It'll be a hell of a trip without the need for public festivals which I'd imagine would be much smaller scale than you might expect. I was there during the world cup and the big public viewing parties in Kathmandu consisted of a projector set up on a "major" roundabout feeding the ring "road" with about a hundred or so people stood/sat around the junction.

Re: The Travel Thread

Posted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 12:44 pm
by Phierstarter
Thanks for the tips.
I wouldnt even consider a scary bus trip. Just traveling Croatia that way had me stressed out.

Re: The Travel Thread

Posted: Tue Sep 26, 2017 9:42 am
by enemies/friends
Back for more Vietnam advice, cos frankly my head is pickled.

Basically at the minute we're in to Thailand and there for a week or so, that's all sorted, then heading to Siem Reap where I think 2 nights or possibly 3 is plenty.

That gives us about 6 or 7 nights for Vietnam depending on whether we do 2 or 3 in Siem Reap. Our flight into here arrives at something like 8.30am so we have that whole first day as well. (On a side note is Phnom Penh worth a trip? The main point of Siem Reap is clearly Angkor Wat and I think that's probably plenty of Cambodia).

I'm very keen on Ho Chi Minh for the obvious reasons such as the tunnels etc. But probably 3 or 4 days is enough there? Nha Trang isn't far away and looks fun but probably needs another flight, but if I was doing another flight I'd probably rather go up to Hanoi and Ha Long?

Re: The Travel Thread

Posted: Tue Sep 26, 2017 10:25 am
by voidoid
If you're on that tight a schedule I'd skip Phnom Penh. Go see the temples instead of the Killing fields and political prisons.

I'd say Hoi An is a nicer town to visit instead of Nha Trang, better partying in Nha Trang though.

A couple of days in Ha Long Bay would be time better spent than Ho Chi Minh and the tunnels.
All my opinion though.

Re: The Travel Thread

Posted: Tue Sep 26, 2017 10:30 am
by voidoid
Also I've no idea of the practicality of flights as I spent a few weeks just getting buses through the place.