Tag Archives: beach

Peace and Quiet in Koh Jum…

The first stop on our Andaman island hop was Koh Jum (also called Koh Pu). We got a ferry from Krabi to Jum for about £8 each. The journey was actually quite good fun. The ferry stops offshore and a rush of longboats come out to meet it, taking passengers to various resorts along the island. Its a little bit hairy as you hand over your bags and then hop over the boats to get to your one, but it all seemed fairly well organised and we got to shore (with our bags) without a problem. Once the boat had reached the beach we threw our shoes onto the sand and jumped in! its only about a foot deep, and Jamie’s easily tall enough to take our bags without any danger of an accidental dip.

waiting for the ferry at Krabi...

waiting for the ferry at Krabi…

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selfie on the ferry!

selfie on the ferry!

longboats coming out to meet us

longboats coming out to meet us

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We stayed at the Coral Bay for £14 a night. We had our own little bungalow with a private shower/toilet,  and an area to sit outside. It was basic but cosy and perfectly comfortable. Electricity is turned off during the day (!) but it really wasn’t a problem as we spent our days on the beach, sunning and swimming. The generator gets turned on about 4, and we only really wanted it for the fan. I got stung by a jellyfish on the first day, but it was nothing serious, just felt like a bad nettle sting and it was gone by the morning.

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The beach directly out the front of us was a little rocky but we explored down to the right and found a lovely sandy cove, with lots of big trees for shade. We settled for the day and it felt like having our own private beach. We maybe saw 5 other people all day. The sand is really fine and soft, the water is clear, and there are dozens of these funny little sand crabs that have little dramas (claws up and swagger on) – fun to watch while you sunbathe.

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going for a dip

going for a dip

beach taxi

beach taxi

sunset x

sunset x

We booked in for two more nights because we were loving the peace and quiet after Bangkok and Phuket! The sunsets were beautiful to watch with a nice cold Chang before dinner. Only criticism might be that things were quite expensive to buy on the island (but we had expected as much). Water was double what you would normally pay. Having said that the food was very good and the staff really friendly. We met a German guy called Steve who said he’d seen phosphorescence on the beach a couple of nights before. We weren’t lucky enough to see any though. We also met a really nice English couple who were also travelling- we hope we convinced them to visit Vietnam! Koh Jum is such a peaceful and laid-back island, makes me excited to see more! Next stop Koh Lanta….

Quy Nhon… back to the coast

From Pleiku we decided to push on all the way to Quy Nhon. The trip was about 160 km and by far the hardest ride we’d done yet. We were knackered! Quy Nhon town is pretty and we went off to explore the beach front. We found a posh hotel with a rooftop bar and went up for a couple of drinks and to watch the sunset. I had the yummiest cocktail with fresh mango!

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Later we went out for a cheap dinner- another blind guess at the menu as it was all in Vietnamese. We ordered a hot-pot to share that the girl said was beef, but it turned out to be mixed seafood. No problem though as it was delicious and about £3.50! You get a big pot of stock above a paraffin burner and add your veg/prawns/squid/fish etc. as and when you want to.

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We found a huge supermarket called the Big C with ten pin bowling and a games arcade! After a couple of co-op shooting games we went home. I think I fell asleep as soon as my head touched the pillow.

We stayed two nights in Quy Nhon because I had to get my bike fixed and we both needed an oil change. My bike had started accelerating on its own, so it would idle at about 45 kph! Bit tricky with only a back brake and dirt roads! Unfortunately something was lost in translation- the mechanic pointed to my engine and took it apart for three hours… We think he completely re-tuned it, it runs beautifully now and is even quicker! The throttle still sticks occasionally- mostly when we’re on dirt roads and there’s loads of dust. But, luckily we discovered that if Jamie rides my bike he can un-stick the throttle (we think its just because he wrenches  a bit more whereas I’m a bit too gentle).

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While we were waiting for my bike we met a group of Vietnamese down on the beach and planned to meet them after supper for a couple of beers. The beach in the evening is really busy! All the locals swim either in the morning or evening when the heat is more bearable.

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Our new friends were really lovely. They are all English students and are keen to get the practice. They invited us to a hidden little beach the next morning on our way to Tuy Hoa. If we hadn’t already booked our hotel there we would have extended our stay in Quy Nhon. The people we met gave us such an amazing welcome and we wished we could have had more time with them.

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A big thank you to all of you!

... and back on the road again

… and back on the road again

 

 

Cat Ba Island…

On the 10th of September we finally left Hanoi. Jamie and I both were more than ready to leave the city and find a beach.

You can book your journey through a tour operator from Hanoi- so they look after everything for you: taxi to train station (or bus ride) to Hai Phong, and then the hydrofoil to Cat Ba, and there to your hotel. We decided to book it all on our own- its a fraction of the cost and easy enough to plan.

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Our hotel was right on the front of a very pretty harbour, there are palm trees and bars/restuarants all along the walk. We stayed at the Duc Tuan (about £10 per night per room), we had two double beds, loads of room and an wonderful view.

IMG_2241   We went out for a few cockatils at the Good Bar the first night and the next day we rented bikes and rode all around the island. This was my first time on a moped (I had an automatic Honda Airblade- 110cc). I can’t lie here, I was absolutely scared stiff- I always knew that our plan was to buy bikes in Hue and ride to Saigon, Cat Ba is relatively quiet so a perfect place to practice. Jamie, Dan and Bell are all experienced riders (and they’re all more confident than me!!). That morning I remember thinking to myself that I would give it a go and if I didn’t like it I’d just tell them straight that it wasn’t for me— This photo is me  (looking really worried) about to start off:

Aviary Photo_130554013923771210  However, twenty mintues later it was more like this!!:

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I loved it! Jamie says I’m like a Granny out on a Sunday drive but I felt like it was fast- my speedometer didn’t work so I’ll never know! We went to the hospital cave: a secret, bomb proof hospital, and a safe-house for Viet Cong leaders during the American war. The cave has three floors and about seventeen rooms; an operating theatre, quick escape routes that involved jumping a floor down into a plunge pool of water, training areas for soldiers and a huge natural cavern. We hired a local guide- for about £1 and well worth it. The cave is half way up a hill, and sits under 40m of rock.

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After the cave we rode around the island, the scenery was breathtaking. We stopped by a lake and decided to venture out onto a wobbly wooden bridge across the water- turns out that at the end is just someone’s house! Good fun though, it wobbled more when the boys were on it!

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We stopped off for a quick swim at the beach before going home, then went our for more cocktails and well earned dinner. My hands were bruised from gripping the bike so hard! Such good fun though, its made our minds up to definitely buy bikes in Hue and ride down xxx

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