Its been along time since my last post. We’ve been back in the UK now for five months, but I wanted to finish the story of our trip. Our last month away seemed to fly by so quickly I guess I stopped writing the blog to take in every minute. Luckily I kept a diary. It feels strange sat here now, at home flicking through it, and although in a sense it seems a world away, the memories still feel fresh.
On the 28th of February 2015 we went for a final long swim along Tekek House Reef. The was perfectly clear that day and three big cuttlefish came out to play. I was sad to leave the island but really excited to be heading back to Vietnam, especially as Jamie’s mum Ruth was coming to meet us. Needless to say the ferry back to Mersing was just as chaotic as our first experience. We stayed at the Riverside Hotel again, had a cheeky KFC for a late supper and went to bed. The next day was the dreaded bus journey back to KL, although at least this time there was no delay! Even though the journey to and from Tioman was awful, we haven’t been put off. We’re actually planning a return trip next year, hopefully with Jamie’s sister Kirsty who’s a keen diver. Getting there sucks, there’s no getting around it, but it really is worth it.
We stayed at the Younique hotel, next to the airport, and on the 2nd of March we flew back to Saigon. Returning to Vietnam felt a little like coming home. We did a visa on arrival this time and were pleasantly surprised at how easy and organised the whole process was. We were cleared and through in about 25 minutes. After all of the horror stories we’d read online, it was almost hassle free. We were like two over-excited kids coming out of the airport. Saigon is such an incredible place, I don’t feel I can do it justice. That city has my heart. We were headed back to District 1 and back to the same hotel. A quick turn around and out onto Bui Vien for beers at our favourite bar. We met a group of guys and got chatting, one of them had ridden his bicycle from the Netherlands! so, one beer became two or three…
The next evening Jamie took me to the Ichiban sushi restaurant, followed by a bottle of Malborough sauvignon at the Pullman Sky Bar. The terrace looks out over the city, so high up out of the traffic and the noise it looks almost peaceful! having said that, I think its the chaos that I love about Saigon!
On the 5th of March we flew to Cam Ranh. The flight only takes about 40 minutes, unfortunately we were 4 and a half hours delayed due to bad weather… what can you do? sit. wait. get over it. Nha Trang is worth the wait, and sitting in an airport is definitely better than sitting on a bus on HIghway1!
It felt so good to get back to our old haunts – the Watering Hole, The Louisiane Brewhouse, The Booze Cruise, our little lady on the corner cooking the best street-food in the city. I think we could almost live here. Our plan was to rent a couple of bikes and do one last road trip, just to get it finally out of our systems. We both really wanted to return to the Mui Ne Backpackers Village, and the last time we were in Dalat was just after Jamie’s snakebite and he still couldn’t walk so I wanted to return now we could explore the area together. Plus the ride down the mountain to Nha Trang is absolutely stunning and (again because of the snakebite) Jamie had had to do it on the coach before.
We had a couple of days just relaxing in Nha Trang and rented two motorbikes on the 8th. On the morning of the 9th we were strapping the rucksacks onto our bikes and ready to get back on the road!….