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After a slightly dramatic morning; a lost (stolen?) wallet and having to fork out an extra $150 for our luggage, we finally made it to Vietnam 🇻🇳.

By the time we got to our hotel it was early evening, so we headed straight out to get some dinner and a few well earned beers! Our hotel is right next to the ‘backpacker strip’ – Bùi Viện. It’s kind of like a South East Asian version of the strip in Kavos; tons of bars and promoters offering buckets of cocktails and laughing gas filled balloons… just like being 18 again! We had dinner at a place called healthy farm, where you choose all of the ingredients you want (noodles, veg, tofu etc) and then they prepare and cook it right in front of you. It was only about £4 for both of us plus a drink – so cheap!

After dinner we headed to The View, a rooftop bar at the top of Bùi Viện. We had a few beers and a great view of the busy street below. After we finished our drinks and started to head back to the hotel, I hear ‘daisy!’ being shouted from behind us, so we turn round and there’s a couple of my friends from uni – talk about a small world! They are living and working in Ho Chi Minh for the next couple of months, and have both been travelling around SE Asia since last year. We arranged to meet up for dinner, drinks and a catch up tomorrow.

After breakfast at the hotel we set of for our first day exploring Ho Chi Minh. We walked to the Notre Dame cathedral and checked out the old post office next to it. We had an ice tea at a cafe on Nguyen Van Binh, also known as book street cause of the many book shops and stalls on it. It’s a quiet street where mopeds are banned, so the locals like to hang out the at the weekend for a bit of a break from the busy city.

I’d read that if you’re in Ho Chi Minh then you can’t leave with out trying a bahn mi, so we decided to find somewhere cool to have one for lunch. Bahn mi is a small baguette filled with meat or tofu and salady bits. It was first made over a hundred years ago when Vietnam was part of the French colonies, and then made a popular street food in the 50’s. We ate at My Bahn Mi and had the most amazing tofu & mushroom pate filled baguette and some French fries. I can’t wait to find somewhere in London that sells them so we can eat them when we get back!

We spent the afternoon wandering around the shops and checking out the central Square before heading back to the hotel. In the evening we went up the Saigon Skydeck in the bitexo financial tower. On the 60th floor of the skyscraper they have the Heineken experience, pretty similar to the one in Amsterdam, just much smaller and a faster tour! A bargain though as you get 4 free beers and an amazing view of the city by night. As we were up there a crazy storm started outside, with thunder, lightning and about a months worth of rain it seemed! By the time we headed back to the hotel (by taxi otherwise we might have got washed away) the water was running through the streets at about knee-height and the rain was still pouring. We had to wade through the streets to get to the hotel door and I dread to think of all the gross things that were floating in the water – especially as we saw a HUGE rat yesterday!

We dried off and had a couple of beers at home while we waited for the rain to ease off and drain away before we headed out to meet Sam and Nem for dinner. We ventured out and waded through the street to meet them at Cafe Lam, where we had dinner. It’s a great little place to eat, so cheap and the portions are just huge! Only downside was that because the roads were completely flooded, all the cockroaches were seeking shelter just like we were. So we spent a lot of the evening tying to squash them! … it’s crazy how travelling makes you so much less squeamish about these things – if you were eating in a restaurant in England and saw a cockroach you would run a mile and refuse to eat, but here you just get on with it! After dinner we went to this cool bar that was only accessible through the kitchen of a little cafe, and up about 7 floors to the roof. There’s no way you’d know about it unless you were with someone who’d been before, or if you’re invited by a local apparently! It was just like being in someone’s living room, and we spent the whole night there catching up about our travels, uni and what we’ve all been up to since graduating. They even had a tv with fifa!

On Sunday we decided to treat ourselves to a proper English breakfast – we did miss the royal wedding, AND the FA cup final yesterday after all! We went to this cool little cafe called bookworm, where they do loads of English grub with a whole load of vegan / veggie versions too. We had a fry up and played a couple of board games and chilled there for the morning while we waited for max to arrive!

We went back to the hotel to wait for him and then, when he arrived we took him on a little tour of Bùi Viện. We checked out a few of the shops and then went back to healthy farm again for lunch. It started to rain again in the afternoon so we went to get some frozen yogurt and spent the rest of the day filling eachother in on what we’d been up to since we were last together in NZ. For dinner we went back to cafe lam (max wanted to try it after we told him how huge the portions were, and how cheap it was!) and then he went back to the hotel to catch up on some sleep after 2 days of travelling. We went back to the bar from last night and met Sam, Nem and their friend Matt for a quick drink before heading home too!

Bahn mi

Skydeck view

Vietnam square

Personalised beers

Fry up at the bookworm

Wading through the flood

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Temple Tour

Our final 3 days in Siem Reap were spent doing a tour of the temples and local landmarks. We started our first morning by heading straight out on a tuk tuk with our driver and tour guide who would take us around for the next few days. The guide was so lovely and literally knew everything imaginable about the temples and the history of Cambodia! Our first stop was Banteay Srei, which means ‘Citadel of the woman’. It’s considered to be the most beautiful temple from the Angkor period as it’s made from pink and yellow sandstone, and features lots of carving and statues that are still in great condition.

We stopped for lunch at a local cafe and then went to see Neak Pean temple, which is one of 102 hospitals that was built by the 7th king of Angkor. It features four statues which represent north, east, south and west – a horse, lion, elephant and human.

Next we visited Ta Som, which is a small temple built by the 7th King at the end of the 12th century. It’s not as well restored as other temples in Angkor, and has loads of trees growing up and around the temple walls. The final temple that we saw was Pre Rup, which is a huge brick temple which was built in the 10th century. It’s a Hindu temple… all of the temples in Cambodia are either Hindu or Buddhist. Many of the Buddhist temples were partially destroyed and turned into Hindu temples over the years, and then eventually turned back into Buddhist ones again. The Hindu kings would go as far as to destroy all of the Buddha statues, and even change the carvings on the walls from meditating buddhas to Hindu ones.

We watched the sun set at Pre Rup and then hopped back in the tuk tuk and headed back to the hotel. In the evening we went to see a traditional Cambodian circus, which is performed by young people from troubled backgrounds and less fortunate areas of the country. It was a really great show and lots of the money taken from the ticket sales goes towards helping other underprivileged kids.

The second day of our tour started with a very early 4.30am wake up, and a quick ride in the tuk tuk to Angkor Wat. We watched the sun rise over the huge towers of the temple and managed to explore all of the galleries before the hoards of other tourists arrived. The temple was built in the 12th century and is the largest religious temple in the whole world. It’s tallest tower is 65 meters high, and no other building in Siem Reap is allowed to be built higher than it. It is one of the best preserved temples, which you can see reflected in the detail of the carvings in each gallery.

After exploring Angkor Wat we made our way to the South Gate at Angkor Thom and then to the Bayon temple. It’s one of the most famous in Cambodia because of the huge amount of smiling stone faces on the towers and walls. Like most of the other temples, the faces of the Buddha have been altered so they represent a Hindu god instead.

The next stop on the tour was Ta Prohm, a temple surrounded by strangling fig trees that was featured in the first Tomb Raider film. It’s was originally called Rajavihara and was built in the early 13th century. It has been partially restored but still has huge tree trunks and roots poking through the galleries and towers.

After taking the tuk tuk back to the hotel and enduring an interesting (painful) Khmer massage, we spent the night at a traditional Cambodian restaurant with a dance show.

We kicked off our third and final day of the tour with a boat trip to Ton Le Sap lake. After a long journey in a little motor boat we arrived at the floating village. There are tons of houses, a school, church and even a police station, all floating on the lake. It’s a small community that relies mostly on finishing for their income. We stopped off at a restaurant that also doubles as a crocodile farm, and got to see loads of huge crocodiles, and lots of baby ones too. After our trip on the lake we headed to the final stop on the tour – the Roluos Group Temples. We visited Preah Ko, Bakong and Lo Lei. Afterwards we stopped at a local restaurant for some lunch and then headed back to the city. For dinner we ate at GreenGo restaurant and had some beers and delicious veggie pizzas before heading back to the hotel. Banteay Srei

Ta Som

Circus

Sunrise at Angkor Wat

Wall carvings in Angkor Wat gallery

Monkeys! ( I gave them the banana)

Charming Buddha at Bayon

Tourists queuing to take a photo in front of the tomb raider tree

Church and school at the floating village

The floating village at Ton Le Sap

crocodile farm

Preah Ko Temple

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There’s no better way to relax after an action packed week in the crazy city of Singapore than 3 days of relaxation in beautiful Siem Reap… so that’s exactly what we’ve done!

After a long morning of travelling (Singapore to KL and then KL to Siem Reap) we arrived at our hotel. We spent our first two nights at Shinta Mani Shack, an AMAZING luxury hotel not too far from pub street and the night markets. We had lunch at the hotel and then spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing by the pool.

We ventured out to pub street and spent the evening wandering around the many markets, shops and bars. We ate dinner at an amazing veggie restaurant, where we had the best pumpkin & pineapple curry ever!

The next day we had the most delicious breakfast at the hotel and then chilled by the pool all morning. In the afternoon we went to the national museum of Angkor, where you can learn all about the history of the country and the temples before you visit them. In the evening we went to pub street for a drink and then to Vibe Cafe for some tasty veggie burgers.

On Monday we checked in to our next hotel on the other side of town. In the evening we went for some Mexican food and then had a wander around the many night markets.

Pub street

SINGAPORE 100 101

Well we’ve made it… Day 100 of our trip! And what better way to spend it than at Universal Studios Singapore. We set off early and got the MRT to the bay and then the monorail over to Sentosa – the aptly named State of Fun!

We spent the whole day exploring the park in the sunshine, and going on every ride (except the baby ones, ofc) as many times as we could. It’s much smaller than Disney so you can get around the whole place pretty quickly, but there’s still loads to see and do! The best rides were definitely the transformers 3D one and the battlestar galactica rollercoaster. Luckily there were hardly any queues cause it was a weekday so we got on everything!

We spent the whole day there until the park closed and then made our way back to the hostel. We went to the hawker centre for dinner again and had some more amazing thali, before heading down to the river to see the light show at Marina Bay.

After a busy day yesterday we had a bit of a lie in before heading to Orchard Road for a wander around the shops and a coffee at Oriel. We walked back through town to Clarke Quay and had lunch at nomVnom, where they have the biggest menu of veggie burgers I’ve ever seen. We got a couple of amazing mushroom and truffle burgers before wandering back along the river. We went to check out some of the sights that we’d seen from the boat trip the other day, like the old police station and the national museum.

We walked along the river to the old Boat Quay and had a couple of beers while watching loads of little turtles bobbing out of the water in the river. In the evening we went up the marina bay sands hotel to the Skydeck on the roof. You get the most amazing view of the city, and it’s a great place to watch the sunset! I even had a Singapore sling cocktail, as it’s our last night and hadn’t tried one yet!

We headed back to Chinatown for dinner and to pack our bags before getting a bit of sleep – we’re heading to the airport at 4am!

Universal studios

Jurassic Park! (No real dinosaurs though☹️)

Far far away castle

The old police station

Singapore sling at the top of the marina bay hotel

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After a stressful morning of getting stuck in traffic leaving Seminyak & thinking we were going to miss our flight, we were then delayed and only made it by the skin of our teeth for our connecting flight from KL! It was a long day of travelling, but by 7pm we had finally made it to Singapore. We are staying at Galaxy Pod Hostel, and it looks exactly as you’d imagine it! A bit like something out of Star Wars, with a slight feel of sleeping in a tanning bed / coffin. Nevertheless, they look awesome and you get your own tv too! We’re staying right in the middle of Chinatown so we headed straight out to the nearest veggie place and had some amazing sweet and sour (fake) chicken and tofu satay.

After an interesting night sleep in the pod, we had a quick breakfast at the hostel and then headed out for the day. Our first stop was Little India, which was filled with busy markets and colourful shops and buildings. We then made our way to the Orchard Road, which is one of Singapore’s best shopping districts, to visit the Off-White store and do a bit of window shopping. Next on the agenda was Haji Road, famous for its quirky shops, cafes and vintages stores – they even have a coffee shop where you can get a selfie printed into the foam of your latte! It’s walls are lined with colourful graffiti, and hordes of tourists trying to get a good picture.

For lunch we ate at Gokul, one of Singapore’s best, and cheapest veggie restaurants. It didn’t disappoint! We had an amazing butter chicken (fake chicken, of course) curry, and delicious pineapple fried rice. The chicken and beef substitutes here are so tasty, you honestly wouldn’t know the difference! After lunch we crossed over the famous Helix Bridge (named after its DNA-like design) and went to check out the futuristic flower shaped building that is the Art Science museum. We saw two really cool exhibitions, one called future world, which was all about art & technology, and one about the history of graffiti and street art.

We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the Gardens by the Bay, Singapore’s famous riverside botanical gardens and futuristic forest. First we visited the Cloud Dome, a huge glass structure which houses a giant waterfall and hundreds of different plants and trees. Next we explored the Flower Dome, where thousands of flowers grow in areas dedicated to different parts of the globe. My favourite was the Mediterranean garden cause it was full of fresh herbs and smelled amazing! We ended the evening at Supertree Grove, a futuristic forest of giant metal trees. Not only do they look amazing, but they’re doing their bit for the environment too, as they collect and store rain water, and have huge solar panels on top which help power the other areas of the Gardens. We did the tree top walk just as the sun was setting, and were able to get an amazing view of the city from high above the trees. After the sun had gone down we watched a light & sound show in the gardens and then headed back towards Chinatown for dinner. We ate at one of the many Hawker Centres that are all over Singapore. They’re full of loads of different food stalls ranging from Thai to Vietnamese and Indian to Japanese. We had some amazingly tasty (and so cheap!) Indian thali before calling it a day and heading back to the space pod.

After a busy day in the city yesterday, we decided to take the MRT out to the Chinese & Japanese botanical gardens. It was so quiet and peaceful there, hard to believe that there’s a crazy city just 20 minutes away. Climbing the spiral staircase inside the Chinese Pagoda gives you an amazing view of the city skyline, and miles out across the suburbs and green space surrounding it. There’s just so many skyscrapers and tall apartment buildings that you feel like your playing Sim City!

We spent the morning exploring the gardens and baking under the boiling sun. We even managed to spot a huge (and I mean seriously huge) lizard swimming in the lake, and loads of terrapins sunbathing on the rocks too. In the afternoon we headed back to the city, stopping off at one of the university campus’s to check out a cool building that Owen wanted to photograph. We ate lunch in Chinatown again and then made our way over to the river to get on a boat trip from Clark Quay. There are bum boats (still not sure why they’re called this!) all along the river, ferrying tourists from one end of town to the other. We learned all about the history of Singapore and why the river was central to its business, and then arrived back in Clark Quay for a well earned beer!

We hung out by the river until sunset and then made our way back to Chinatown for dinner at the 8 Treasures vegetarian restaurant. The pineapple fried rice and sweet & sour chicken combo is just amazing here!

Our space pod

Little India

Haji Lane

The Art Science museum and the marina bay sands hotel from the helix bridge

SuperTree Grove

The cloud Dome

Chinese Pagoda

View of the city from the top of the Pagoda

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With another hot and sunny day in Seminyak on the agenda, we decided to spend the morning down at the beach. Double Six Beach is renowned for its huge waves, so is a great spot for surfing. Being the surf novices that we are, we settled for bodyboarding instead (as the surf was massive we thought it wasn’t the best time to try our hand at surfing for the first time!). We spent the morning trying our best to look like we knew what we were doing, and didn’t do too badly if you ask me! After chilling out and topping up our tans we headed to Divine Earth for some lunch. We had some tasty vegan hot dogs and smoothies and did a little bit of planning for Singapore.

In the afternoon Owen went to get a hair trim and we had a wander around the shops before heading home to get ready for the evening. It’s the 5th of May so that can only mean one thing… Cinco De Mayo! We hit up Motel Mexicola for Seminyak’s biggest Cinco De Mayo celebration. It was absolutely packed but luckily we had a table booked with an amazing view of the stage and the dance floor. We had some delicious veggie Mexican food, tequila and a LOT of bintang. The place was excellently decorated, the music was awesome, and they even had a twerking competition! Complete with a host that looked suspiciously like Pitbull’s ugly cousin.

After a night of drinking and partying, we had a lazy morning at the hotel. For lunch we had a wander to Nalu Bowls, for the most amazing smoothie bowls in Seminyak. Afterwards, we walked along the beach to Woo bar at the W hotel, and had a beer and a swim in their amazing beachfront pool. We carried on walking along the coast and ended up at Finns Beachclub, where we spent the rest of the day.

We soaked up the last of the sun and enjoyed a free cocktail (thanks to Owen’s amazing sunset picture he took when we were here last time) before heading home for the evening. For dinner we had a couple of tasty burgers at Wacko, and then headed back to the hotel to pack… off to Singapore tomorrow!

Cinco De Mayo at Motel Mexicola

Nalu Bowl

Finns Beach Club

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After a tasty feast of breakfast tacos from the avocado factory, we checked out of the hotel and headed for Seminyak. Luckily the traffic wasn’t too bad, and we shared a cab with a girl from the hotel so it wasn’t as expensive either! We checked into our hotel in Seminyak and then set off to have a wander and get some lunch. It was cool to be back in Seminyak again after 3 weeks of exploring the rest of Bali, and the busy streets were exactly as we had left them. For lunch we ate at Clean Canteen, and had some really good curry & cold brew coffees. We spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around the shops and along the beach, finishing off at La Plancha in time for sunset. It’s arguably the best spot to watch the sunset in Seminyak, while enjoying a bintang or two on the colourful bean bags.

After popping back to the hotel to change and get ready for the evening, we made our way to Potato Head. We’d seen on instagram the day before that they had secret guests performing, and by the look of the poster we had a strong suspicion that it would be Disclosure! After a bit of a queue to get in we headed straight for the bar and then just as we thought, the screens flashed with Disclosure’s logo and they appeared on stage, blaring out the music. We had a great night, especially as it was so unexpected, and it was really cool to see them in a place like Potato Head as it’s such an amazing place!

We decided to spend Thursday at Waterbom in Kuta. It’s been deemed Indonesia’s best waterpark, and you can see why! We had an amazing day going on all of the different slides and chilling out on the lazy river. The best slide was by far the ‘climax’, where you’re stood on a platform that drops right out from underneath you. You feel like you’re genuinely plummeting to your death but then end up being scooped up and flung around a gravity defying loop the loop, and then flying out of the tube into daylight again.

We had lunch at Waterbom and spent most of the day there before heading back to Seminyak to chill at the hotel for a bit. For dinner we ate at Chai’ba, the amazing Indian restaurant that we went to on our first night in Bali. It was just as good as we remembered it – maybe even better! It’s definitely the best Indian food I’ve ever eaten, so we had to have it at least once more before we leave Bali!

We had an early start on Friday, and headed straight out at 7.30 to Tegenungan Waterfall. The waterfall is located just outside of ubud

After a steep walk down into the valley below, you felt instantly cooler as you were surrounded by the spray from the fast flowing water. You can stand right at the foot of the waterfall (and swim in it – if you dare) and get an amazing view of the water as it crashes down into the pool below. After crossing a little bamboo bridge, and climbing some steps, we were able to get right to the top of the falls and have an incredible view of the water and river below. We got some great pics, and could even see a rainbow from the sun shining through the spray.

After a long and trafficky drive back to seminyak, we spent the rest of the afternoon at Mrs. Sippy. It’s Seminyak’s biggest saltwater pool, and has an awesome diving platform as well as amazing tropical surroundings. We had a great time chilling out there and swimming, and had some tasty lunch too. We walked home via the shops and markets, and then had dinner at a little vegan place called Zula.

Breakfast tacos at Avocado Factory

Sunset at La Plancha

One blurry picture from Disclosure’s set at Potato Head

Waterbom

Owen TERRIFIED on Climax

Gettin’ some air at Mrs. Sippy

Tegenungan Waterfall