Towards the end of last year, I wrote about the 5 places that I’d love to revisit. Although I love exploring new countries, I also love going back to places that I enjoyed the first time around. I mean, if you have a favourite flavour of Ben & Jerry’s (Half Baked, of course), you don’t only have it once and then continuously just try other flavours- you go back to what you love. Besides, just because you’ve been to one place in a country, doesn’t mean you’ve done it- the culture of one town can be wildly different from another.
Dates I was there: 8-9 September 2011 The next morning, I intended to find Hang Be Market, which was close to my hotel, before I moved on elsewhere. Sadly, that morning, I wasn’t feeling great so I instead spent the morning in bed in front of the National Geographic Channel.
Date I was there: 6-7 September 2011 I was picked up at 8.30am from the Hanoi Style Hotel to begin my trip to Ha Long Bay– the UNESCO site where rocks loom out of the turquoise water. My travel agent had said that I may be on the trip alone but four hours later, along with the bus load of people we were on a rather bumpy and uncomfortable ride with, I was on a little boat heading to the Phoenix Cruiser which was to be my tour boat for the next couple of days.
Dates I visited: 3-5 September 2011 The start of my three-week trip around Asia was an early one. 3.30am to be precise. By 4am, I was in the car on the way to Heathrow’s Terminal 4, which was somewhat tricky to find due to an apparent lack of signage. Thankfully, I managed to check in with bags of time to spare. Today’s flight was with Jet Airways, with a stop-off in Mumbai- my one and only trip to India (but hopefully not my last)- before changing in Bangkok and on to Hanoi.
After doing my list of the Seven Wonders of the World, I wondered how many UNESCO World Heritage sites I’d seen without knowing it and how many I had left to do. It turns out, that out of the 981 preserved cultural and natural landmarks, I have been to 25. Only 956 to go then- I may complete my Seven Wonders list first:
Whilst arguably it may not be the most ‘cultural’ activity, you cannot go abroad without going shopping. Well, you can’t if you’re me anyway. Not only is there the necessity of buying gifts for people at home but you will want something that reminds you of your trip away. It is also a great opportunity to hunt for a bargain.
Date I was there: 1-4 July 2010 Following on from part one, our next activity involved catching a taxi to Chinatown. Learning from our mistakes yesterday, we set a price of 100,00 dong with our driver. Annoyingly, when we got there the meter read 62,000 dong but we didn’t get change. Sadly, the market was disappointing. It was more for the locals, with lots of food and kitchen bits, although there were also a lot of knock-off handbags. We quickly gave up and went to KFC for brunch. My travel buddy went for the cultural option of chicken and rice but I stuck to my burger.
Date I was there: 28-30 June 2010 Upon arrival at our hotel, it didn’t look like much but then a busboy rushed through the doors to get our bags out of the taxi and take them up the stairs onto a trolley. This was quite a change from the hostels we had stayed in earlier on our Gap Year Adventure. We were staying in an actual hotel, complete with air-conditioning, room service and a TV that came with many broadcasts of American sitcoms. Admittedly, we should have had other priorities upon arriving for the first time in Vietnam.