I’m currently sitting in a cafe in Hoi An having accidentally ordered a three course meal at 11am. It’s currently 12:16 and I’ve only made it through the first course: 3 spring rolls, 3 squid wontons, and a calamari salad. I have some fried fish in a banana leaf, steamed vegetables, and rice in front … Continue reading Hue and Hoi An, Vietnam (6/23/17 – 6/27/17)
Prior to arriving in Cat Ba, I'd never heard of Phong Nha before. When I got to my hostel, though, I looked at the list of options by bus and Phong Nha happened to be between Cat Ba and the next stop on my list, Hoi An. A quick Google image search gave me lots of gorgeous pictures of caves and jungle, so I decided to book the ticket. I would take a bus leaving at noon, first to a town called Ninh Binh, about 6 hours from Cat Ba, and then overnight to Phong Nha, arriving around 4am. Everyone I met in Cat Ba that had been to Phong Nha recommended the same hostel: Easy Tiger. It wasn't on the usual booking websites I used, so I had to email them to make my reservation, but they luckily had 3 nights available on the short notice I gave them.
I was so excited to get back to my hostel and see if my debit card had arrived (I was down to $19) that I basically ran the half mile back to my hostel, with Louise in tow to use my shower before heading to the airport. Much to my disappointment, it hadn't arrived yet. I called the bank to get a tracking number for the delivery so I could figure out an ETA and it wasn't expected to arrive for 3 more days! I spent most of the remainder of the day napping and trying to figure out how to make $19 feed me and provide me with drinkable water for the next 3 days.
All the friends I made in Chiang Mai left for Pai on the same day. I planned to stay in Chiang Mai and wait for my debit card, but after one day without them I decided I missed them and woke up the next morning at 9am, found somewhere to book a bus to Pai, and was on my way by 10:30am. The plan was to stay for two nights, then take a bus back to Chiang Mai to get my debit card before heading to Laos.
I'm absolutely LOVING Chiang Mai! From the minute I got to my hostel a few days ago, I've just been constantly busy just exploring and getting to know the people in my hostel. I've made some wonderful new friends, all of which left for the town of Pai yesterday. I already miss them, but am thankful for a day of rest today. I was originally going to join them in Pai, but I forgot my debit card in an ATM and am stuck waiting in Chiang Mai for my replacement card to arrive. A very "Nina" thing to do, yes, but at least I've managed to hold on to my phone thus far!
I'm already pretty bad at keeping up to date, aren't I? I'm in Chiang Mai, Thailand now and loving every minute of it, but realized I haven't written about my trip to Bagan yet. I've definitely got my travel mojo back now, largely thanks to the wonderful time I had and the friends I made in Bagan.
Sorry it’s taken me so long to get a blog up and running, and for my general lack of keeping in touch. Wifi has been pretty spotty and the time difference is a killer. I’ll use this first post to do some catch up on my first two stops (Bangkok, Thailand and Yangon, Myanmar), but I’ll more or less gloss over these two as I was really feeling the culture shock and not much of interest happened.. Besides me falling down the stairs at a train station in Bangkok and earning myself a messed up elbow and a bruise on my butt the size of Jupiter (;