The last ten days have consisted of an intense journey through Vietnam, filled with highs and lows but overall I’m gutted to be leaving this incredible country.
I departed Thailand with ease; the two flights to Ho Chi Minh went surprisingly smoothly given the horrendous stories I’d heard about the budget airline I was flying with. They went super quick – the journey only felt like 10 *Minhs*. However in traditional Gabriel style, it all went horribly wrong in the last stretch of the journey. I was quickly rushed off the bus which took me from the airport to my hostel and in the manic rush, I left my small rucksack on the bus. Everything was *saiGone*. As I chased after it with my big rucksack on my back (in 35 degree heat) I slowly realised there was no way to catch up with it.
I decided to go to reception and sheepishly explained to the lady at the desk that I’d lost my passport, wallet, iPad – basically anything valuable in my life. She told me not to worry and to follow her round the corner. After a five minute walk she revealed how close we were to the bus station. Words alone cannot convey the relief I felt the moment I was reunited with my most prized possessions. I was *Ho Chi Grinning* the whole afternoon, and I celebrated in style by staying out until the early hours of the morning partying on the famous bar crawl my hostel offered.
The following day I went on an afternoon trip to the Cu Chi Tunnels which would have been an incredible experience had my wallet not fallen out of my pocket half way through the activity. As a result of me being a moron, I had to crawl through the dark damp and incredibly claustrophobic dirt not once, but twice. Thank god I found it halfway through. I chilled out that night and spent the next morning visiting the War Remnants museum which was highly educational – I was just relieved to get back to my hostel that afternoon with all my belongings on my person.
From there I hopped on a plane to Hoi An. As soon as I arrived at my hostel, I recognised two girls I’d travelled north Australia with. It felt nice to see the friendly faces of Sarah, Beth and Emma who made a special request to be mentioned by name. The days in this fantastic town blurred together as we reminisced nostalgically about the good times up the East Coast. We created new memories with new friends including CJ, Waldo, Kyle, Beth and Ollie exploring the old town and buying wavy garms.
One experience which was particularly *Hoi Annoying* was on the way back from the one and only disgustingly dingy club in Hoi An, I was instructed to hop on a cab to get back to my hostel by my mates who all wanted to return home. When I got back, the cab driver told me to open my wallet, he quickly swiped 500.000 dong (about £15) and drove away. I don’t know why he saw me as an easy target, but it might’ve had something to do with my awesome attire.
From Hoi An, we all travelled to an awesome little town called Hue (pronounced Haway). To get there, myself and my friend Shaun got motorbike taxis to take us. We would’ve gotten cars, but we were told the best way to get there was via the one of the best roads in the world; the Hai Van Pass. We weren’t disappointed as we saw stunning views on this incredible stretch of road.
Also on the *hue*, we checked out the Marble Mountains and we went to an amazing tiny waterfall. At the waterfall we were the only Westerners there and all the Vietnamese locals were super hospitable and friendly, offering free beer and food – it was definitely my favourite day in Vietnam.
For my only day in Hue, myself and my friends from Australia went to an abandoned water park which was simultaneously incredibly creepy yet utterly awesome. We were planning on going to the Citadel, but decided we’d rather be honest to ourselves and admit we’d prefer to be getting an ice cold beer in the harsh sun, than spend the afternoon pretending to be cultured.
After an emotional final goodbye to my friends, Emma, Sarah, Beth and Shaun I boarded a 16 hour overnight bus to Hanoi.
I arrived at 6 am and chilled out for a few hours at my hostel. I got some pho for breakfast, and then met up with my sister Georgia and her *Hanboyfriend*, Woodie, who are also holidaying in Vietnam. I spent two days in the concrete jungle with them.
On the first day, we explored the beautiful Turtle lake, small but exceptionally famous coffee shops, awesome water puppet shows and yummy local delicacies. We also checked out the French quarter and the creepy prison which used to hold Vietnamese convicts when the French controlled the land.
On the second day, we visited the Ho Chi Minh centre, including the museum, the breathtaking pagoda, the Hanoi citadel and the highlight of it all, the Ho Chi Minh Mosoleum. From there, we headed to a niche community supported restaurant where we made our own fresh Vietnamese spring rolls. In the evening we headed to a spectacular rooftop bar where we treated ourselves to lavish cocktails overlooking rooftops of Hanoi. It was a fantastic couple of days to be reunited with friendly faces but the highlight of the 48 hour treat was walking along the rustic train tracks of Hanoi.
The next morning I headed on a booze cruise to Ha Long Bay which I have to *Ha Long Say*, was overwhelmingly beautiful. Despite being pretty drunk the whole time, I could still appreciate my incredible surroundings. We dived off boats, partied on small sandbanks and kayaked around the bay. The accommodation was fantastic – we stayed on incredible floating bungalows overlooking the awesome vista.
I returned to Hanoi last night to get an early night before returning to Thailand to check out what Chaing Mai has to offer. As my trip slowly draws to a close, I’m making the most of every *Ha Long day*!
I’m looking forward to seeing you all very soon,
Lots of love,
Tl;dr – I was in Vietnam for ten days and nearly lost my wallet three times; classic Gabe xx