My bus for Quy Nhon picked me up from my hostel around noon. The bus was actually a mini van and I was crammed in with about 10 Vietnamese people. The trip was supposed to take around 5 hours, getting me to Quy Nhon around dinnertime. I wasn’t sure where the bus would drop me off, so I was kind of just hoping for the best that it would be walking distance to my hostel. I had a rough idea of where my hostel was and pinpointed it on my offline map just to make sure I didn’t get lost.
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.
Cat Ba Island wasn’t on my original itinerary for Vietnam, but seeing the world famous Ha Long Bay has been on my bucket list for a long time. I originally planned to skip Cat Ba because it was so far out of the way on my north-to-south plan and I had thought I’d be wanting to spend a week in each place on my itinerary. So far on my trip, I’ve found 2-3 nights per place to be the perfect amount of time, so I decided to wing it and see where I can get cheap bus tickets to and just make my way down. As long as I’m in Siem Reap, Cambodia by July 13, everything is golden.
My flight from Luang Prabang was to leave Laos at around 5pm and arrive in Vietnam a little after 6pm. I was nervous from the start, because the process for getting a visa for Vietnam is extremely confusing and there’s no official information online. Before I left home, I applied and paid for an “approval letter” that is basically just a document from the Vietnamese government saying I had permission to enter the country on a tourism basis, but I would still need to get a visa before entering. From my understanding, this meant that I could get a visa on arrival using the letter, but everyone else I’d met so far on my trip that was planning to go to Vietnam had been going to the embassy and paying something around $60 to get the visa beforehand.