When I got to Vietnam I KNEW that I had to get to Halong Bay. Words cannot even begin to describe Halong Bay, it is by far one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. There are HUNDREDS of limestones karsts in all sorts of shapes and sizes in the bay. We were really lucky as this is normally a super busy tourist spot and there are normally a shit ton of boats in the bay but it’s low season now so it was virtually deserted.
I’m not going to lie, I am far from being physically fit. The only things I do are snowboard and skateboard and I haven’t touched either of those in about 8 months. I prefer to spend my days drinking mango shakes and lounging about. While on Cat Ba Island, Kris somehow convinced me it would be a good idea to go trekking so we ended up hiring a local Vietnamese guide to take us off the regular hiking trails and boy did he take us off the regular hiking trail. We ended up at a place called Butterfly Valley and our guide took us up some crazy mountain with a bit of a trail in some spots. This “hike” was essentially a day of rock climbing over jagged sharp rocks, a lot of bleeding from our shins and hands as a result of these sharp rocks and dodging spiders the size of my open fist. Kris, who is a seasoned hiker even found it to be quite challenging. After lounging for the last 8 months then doing this monster trek, I went into what Kris refers to as “shocking the body.” I had some serious aches the next few days. After all the blood, sweat and tears we were rewarded with some magnificent views and I’m glad I did it.
Kris and I have been renting motorbikes in almost every city we’ve been to and exploring on our own. Often times when we are given the motorbikes the gas tank is DRY. It costs about $2.50 to fill up a tank and it lasts a long time, so we’ve gotten into the habit of putting small amounts of gas in and returning the tank as dry as when we got it. A full tank of gas goes a LONG way so we never ever fill it all the way. While on Cat Ba Island, as per usual we rented a bike and we didn’t think the island was very big so we put in 10,000 dong worth of gas (that is about 50 cents or so). Turns out the island is a hell of a lot bigger then we thought and sure enough we ran out of gas. The island is pretty much deserted off the main strip and we were about 17kms away. After walking for about 2kms, a stranger stopped and took us to a house that we would’ve otherwise walked by where we were able to buy a water bottle of gas which ended up costing $3. This is not the first time we’ve run out of gas, it happened twice in Hoi An, on the same day and yet we still didn’t learn our lesson. From now on, I think we’ll stop being such cheap asses and start putting in a full dollar.
I found myself celebrating my 25th birthday in Nha Trang, a touristy beach town on the South China Sea 500kms outside of Saigon. 25?! Quarter of a century! I decided I had to go all out, so Kris and I headed over to Vinpearl Island aka Vietnamese Disneyland. For a mere 300,000 Dong (about $16), you take a 15 minute cable car ride from the mainland to the island where you can hit up a waterslide park, amusement park and an arcade which was all included in the entrance fee. Upon arrival, to our delight, the waterslide park was empty, the rides were empty and there was nobody in the arcade to fight me for the Time Crisis 3 machine (Time Crisis 4 was unfortunately out of order). I think I’ve spent more than $50 back home on Time Crisis 3 alone. To top it off, we saw a super cruel animal “circus” comprised of 4 dogs and 4 monkeys. Although it is nowhere near as spectacular as Disneyland, I still had a pretty rad day at Vinpearl.
While in Danang, Kris and I rented a motorbike and decided to cruise around through the city. On our way to Monkey Mountain, we went the completely wrong way and ended up at the biggest friggin Buddha statue I have ever seen in my entire life. The site is not officially open yet as there is still construction going on but we were still able to check it out. Words cannot describe how blown away by this I was.
Just outside of Hoi An lie the beautiful Marble Mountains. Each of these mountains contain several caves and pagodas. We came across what is known as Hells Cave and it was extremely bizarre. When you walk into this massive cave, there are several Buddha statues and other religious figures. It’s dark and it’s creepy and you can hear bats. Gross. You can descend deeper into the cave into Hell. Down in this giant creepy hole, there are all sorts of statues of people getting tortured, eaten and beaten…. Be good! You don’t want to end up here….
I apologize for being MIA lately, but patience is a virtue I do not possess and brutally slow internet connections are not my friend.
Hoi An; city of tailors, or as I like to refer to it, city of dreams! I’m not gonna lie, I love to shop and I love clothes and shoes. I have a hoodie collection to rival all hoodie collections, I own Converse shoes in every colour of the rainbow, I own a bazillion pairs of Vans (including all 4 limited edition Iron Maiden Vans). My jaw hit the ground when I got to Hoi An. Tailor shop after tailor shop after tailor shop filled with jackets, suits, dresses, pants and shoes OH MY! You can walk into any of these shops and have anything your little heart desires made within 24 hours. There are hundreds upon hundreds of pairs of sandals, heels, boot etc in each shoe store. You pick the style, pick the fabric, pick the heel etc and they will churn those suckers out within a day. Naturally I got a pile of stuff done…. unfortunately, because everything is churned out within 24 hours and you have to pay in advance, sometimes things don’t turn out quite the way you had hoped.
Example: Here is a pair of custom made Nike “Dunks” that I had made. I asked for a black sole, she gave me a white sole and if you notice on the side, it says Kappa. Oh well, they’re still awesome anyways…..
Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all had a safe and super awesome night.
On the last day of 2009, Kris, Serene and I headed to the Cu Chi Tunnels which is an elaborate underground city where Vietcongs used to hide during the Vietnam war. The craziest part of the day is when we shot AK-47s. Yes, you heard me, AK-47s. The best part is that was the SMALLEST gun. We had the choice to shoot anything from AK-47s to M16s to M60s which is probably bigger than I am.
I HATE guns. Absolutely hate them. But the idea that someone would let me shoot an AK-47 for $5 (they were a dollar a bullet) was so ludicrous that I had to do it. I have never shot a gun in my life, nor did I have any idea what the hell I was doing (which is evident in the video). The dude that works there loads the gun for you, grunts at you and lets you have at it. I hope you all enjoy watching what a wuss I am.
The traffic here is insane. There are no traffic laws and you can pretty much do whatever your little heart desires. Feel like driving down the wrong side of the road? Go for it! Feel like going after the light has turned red? Go for it! Feel like making completely illegal turns? Go for it! Feel like going the wrong way in a traffic circle? Go for it! Well yeah… you get the point. Traffic in the day is out of hand, you pretty much risk your life everytime you ride your scooter, get on the back of a scooter or walk across the street. The strange thing is, the streets are pretty much deserted after 10 or 11 pm.
In the video, you’ll see traffic during peak hours (I was on the back of my friend Vinh’s motorcycle, I must say she did an excellent job of navigating through the chaos) and the streets at about 11pm one night. In the night shot, we’re not in some remote part of the city, we’re about 5 blocks away from where we live which is the busy busy tourist district. This place is ass backwards yo!