Loading...
Start a new Travel Blog! Blogabond Home Maps People Photos My Stuff

Michael Russell


32 Blog Entries
1 Trip
4 Photos

Trips:

Escape from Blighty

Shorthand link:

http://blogabond.com/mjfrussell




Beautiful Ha Long Bay

Cat Ba, Vietnam


Halong Bay

So we have reached one of the stand out highlights of the trip! Ever since the infamous Top Gear moment of drinking G&T's from a floating village while the sun was setting; we have been looking forward to this! Halong bay is a gorgeous area off the north east coast of Vietnam, it consists of around 1000 limestone islands which protrude out of the sea. It seemed fitting for such a location to treat ourselves and splash out on a gorgeous boat for sailing the ocean seas. I have to say we were not disappointed!

After lots of internet searches and shopping around, we settled on the Columbus Cruise, we even received a nice free upgrade Surprise. Our boat consisted of 3 levels, rooms on the lower deck, restaurant on the middle and an amazing open air top deck complete with beds and sun loungers! This is definitely an occasion where pictures paint a thousand words. The bay itself is amazing, we had perfect sunny weather which helps. There were lots of picturesque scenes, including, caves, floating fishing villages and kayaking around the islands.

Before finishing off this entry I have to mention the food! We spent 3 days gorging ourselves! Each meal was like an endless procession of dishes! I think the average was about 10. One night we even had a FREE birthday Surprise cake for Mr Michael Russell and some champagne thrown in for good measure!Hurrah!

x

permalink written by  Michael Russell on July 5, 2009 from Cat Ba, Vietnam
from the travel blog: Escape from Blighty
Send a Compliment

Shameless Birthday Plug - Hue

Hue, Vietnam


Hue was the last stop before Hanoi on our Vietnam trip and also the town in which I celebrated my quarter century b'day.

Hue was the capital of the Vietnamese royal family in the 19th Century and as such has a royal citadel within another citadel in the town.

Our 2 days spent in Hue involved lots of walking in and out of the citadel in blistering heat, no change from the norm here.... The b'day meal was a lovely French restaurant where we both indulged in steak and Vietnamese red wine... very tasty..

Next stop Hanoi and a nasty overnight bus ride.

x



permalink written by  Michael Russell on July 2, 2009 from Hue, Vietnam
from the travel blog: Escape from Blighty
Send a Compliment

Bakers and Tailors and CandleStick Makers - Hoi An

Hoi An, Vietnam


Finally Some Shopping!!

What Russ has been waiting for the whole trip, a place to flex his shopping muscles! Hoi An is a lovely little coastal town situated north of Na Trang, it has a lot of Chinese and French influences but is mostly famed for it's over night tailors.
Our first and most important stop was picking the right tailor, this ended up being a bit of a stab in the dark, there are about a million to chose from. As fate would have it we met a lovely young gentleman when we first arrived off the bus while having coffee, he ended up helping us order coffee, find a guest house and a tailor, a job well done.

Having a suit made in Vietnam is a bit of different experience from that one might expect in Saville Rowe, they firstly give you several different versions of the Next catalog to sift through, they then just repeatedly state that they know what you want even before you have told them. This ensured we had to make at least 4 repeat visits for adjustments. All in all I wish we had some empty suitcases to fill with tailor made attire!
Hoi An itself, is a lovely little town complete with quaint streets and buildings, a real highlight was finding the local bakery, which we frequented each day filling up on toasty warm fresh out of the oven bread. mmmmmm

permalink written by  Michael Russell on June 27, 2009 from Hoi An, Vietnam
from the travel blog: Escape from Blighty
Send a Compliment

Adventures of Captain Haddock

Nha Trang, Vietnam


[[Vietnam/Nha-Trang]]

The seaside city of [[Vietnam/Nha-Trang]] is arguably Vietnam's most popular resort, the beach is long, sandy but sadly not is great condition.. lots of rubbish and fag butts.. I managed to find a house brick and a broom during a recky in the sea.

The highlight of [[Vietnam/Nha-Trang]] was the fishing/snorkeling day trip that we booked, the boat was sadly not the vessel that we were expecting.. apparently a Mr Abrahmovic had made a late minute booking on our little lady, so instead an alternate was sent. The boat was semi decent but didn't stop me feeling a tad queezy.. happily 2 Saigon Exports before 9am soon had me sound and settled.

The plan was to spend the day alternately fishing and snorkeling, the snorkeling was pretty poor compared to what we had both done before (Thai Islands and Great Barrier Reef) - so the fishing took on extra importance. By midday is wasn't looking good, the plan to have caught our own lunch had failed.. as we glumly tucked into our chicken baguettes (good bread though) we thought positive and the fish duly arrived. Final tally was 4 to Emilia (including 1 poisonous fish, either a plus/minus point depends on which way you look at it) and 2 for Russ. A fun day was had by all!

Another excursion was to a natural mud-bath/hot Spring which was fairly decent.. worth it for observing the antics of Vietnamese tourists.. a funny bunch.

Next stop the village of Hoi An and time for tailored suits and dresses.
x

permalink written by  Michael Russell on June 20, 2009 from Nha Trang, Vietnam
from the travel blog: Escape from Blighty
Send a Compliment

Dalat - A taste of the mountains

Da Lat, Vietnam


Dalat

As with any country in SE Asia anywhere up in the mountains will usually attract a fair crowd of travellers purely on the basis that it lacks humidity and has nice and cool evenings, Dalat certainly has this and more...

Dalat is reminiscent of a quiet town in the Alps and is the centre of Vietnam's wine/fruit/jam industry. Emilia and I eventually sampled a tipple of the local red and white wines and have to say that for an amateurs palate it wasnee half bad, ie.. if it was 2 for a fiver down the local off-license then I would quite easily neck the 2 bottles prior to a uni night out (cough, cough .. not looking at you Ben!)

The couple of days in Dalat mostly involved cycling around the local countryside and flying kites! We had coffee with some nice Vietnamese construction workers who didnt speak a word of English.. I even threatened to bring out some old-skool Francais.

Next stop the seaside city of [[Vietnam/Nha-Trang]]
x

permalink written by  Michael Russell on June 17, 2009 from Da Lat, Vietnam
from the travel blog: Escape from Blighty
Send a Compliment

Dalat - A taste of the mountains

Da Lat, Vietnam


Dalat

As with any country in SE Asia anywhere up in the mountains will usually attract a fair crowd of travelers purely on the basis that it lacks humidity and has nice and cool evenings, Dalat certainly has this and more...

Dalat is reminiscent of a quiet town in the Alps and is the centre of Vietnam's wine/fruit/jam industry. Emilia and I eventually sampled a tipple of the local red and white wines and have to say that for an amateurs palate it wasnee half bad, ie.. if it was 2 for a fiver down the local off-license then I would quite easily neck the 2 bottles prior to a uni night out (cough, cough .. not looking at you Ben!)

The couple of days in Dalat mostly involved cycling around the local countryside and flying kites! We had coffee with some nice Vietnamese construction workers who didn't speak a word of English.. times were so desperate I even considered cracking out some old-skool Francais.

Next stop the seaside city of [[Vietnam/Nha-Trang]]
x

permalink written by  Michael Russell on June 17, 2009 from Da Lat, Vietnam
from the travel blog: Escape from Blighty
Send a Compliment

Saigon Story

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam


Saigon

Woo hoo! We are finally in Vietnam ! Although we have enjoyed both Laos and Cambodia there was always the sense of the adventure begins in Vietnam . Saigon or HCMC or Ho Chi Minh City is far more built up and advanced than you would imagine given its history. It is much more akin to Bangkok than to its neighboring capitals of Phnom Penh and Vientienne. Think lots of people, big buildings, flashing lights and even more motos. The city definitely has a buzz about it.

We spent much of our time here firstly finding out about all the gruesome aspects of the war and waiting for a Chinese Visas. The definite highlight would have to be our day visiting the Cu Chi Tunnels. For those not in the know, these were tunnels built by the Viet Con during the Vietnam/American War in a town outside Saigon called Cu Chi. They were used as an under ground network for living and fighting the Americans. We had a wee wander in one of the tunnels that the Viet Cong used to live in and it was cramped to say the least & also inhabited by the odd bat or 2. Included in the package of the tunnels was a trip to a shooting range where, for about US$25 we got the chance to share a clip of an AK47.. pics are on facebook and I will try and upload the video with sound of Em firing hers.

Next stop is the jam making/wine making mountain town of Dalat

x

permalink written by  Michael Russell on June 15, 2009 from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
from the travel blog: Escape from Blighty
Send a Compliment

Totally Templed out...

Siem Reap, Cambodia


Siem Reap is the setting for Cambodia most famous monument.. Angkor Wat, the series of temples build in the 14th century. The town has dveloped into a nice spot much in the way of Luang Prabang in Laos. There are nice coffee houses and patisseries as well as a nice vibe in the town itself with locals mixing in with tourists, however as it attracts budget tourists and those on package tours it is quite a bit more expensive than LP.

In order to visit the temples you must pay a slightly steep charge of $20 for 1 day or $40 for 3 days, Em and I decided early on that the best plan was 3 days of cycling round the temples and ruins. Our hostel was roughly 6 km outside of the temples and then arriving in the area was roughly a 15 km cycle around, so we managed to clock up 60odd kms for our 3 days. The 2 most famous temples of the area are Angkor Wat and Angkor Prohm (the 1 where the trees have grown in/around the temple). We decided to take our 3 days very easily and did 3-4 hours of sightseeing in the morning for the first 2 days and then a Sunrise on our final day, sadly the Sunrise was cloudy so was a bit of waste of time really.

That takes us back up to date now, we are curently back in Phnom Penh, we have our Vietnamese visas ready and will be booking a bus for Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City for Monday morning. We have 1 month in Vietnam moving from HCMC up along the coast through Na Trang,then a couple of days in Ha Long Bay finishing up in Hanoi before heading across to South-West China.

Hope everyone is well... we will try and update Facebook with some photos of Laos and Cambodia

X

permalink written by  Michael Russell on June 13, 2009 from Siem Reap, Cambodia
from the travel blog: Escape from Blighty
Send a Compliment

Phnom Penh and pyjama'd grown-ups

Phnom Penh, Cambodia


Following our departure from 4000 Islands we had the border crossing with Cambodia to negotiate involving the usual bribing of border police for entry/exit fees for stamps your passport.. Em and I both managed to avoid paying their fees following our pleads of poverty.

We made our way into the capital city Phnom Penh over the course of 3 days stopping in the Riverside towns of Stung Treng and Kratie... bizarrely the Cambodians seem to love wearing their pyjamas around town and on bus... there was even a kid 7-8 years old with no trousers on.. so his circumcised penis was on display for the whole of the bus to see..

Phnom Penh itself is a somewhat manic city, lots of tuk-tuk drivers everywhere and lots of motor bikes on the roads. Em and I made the usual tourist trips to the markets and interesting to the former prision of S-21 where the Khmer Rouge tortured & murdered unwanted elements during their rule in the 1970s, this was pretty chilling as the holding cells have been left exactly as they were found in 1979 including some of the crude instruments of torture that we used. We decided to skip out a visit to the Killing Fields were most of the dead were buried.

Next stop is 3 days of temple visiting in Siem Reap.

x

permalink written by  Michael Russell on June 9, 2009 from Phnom Penh, Cambodia
from the travel blog: Escape from Blighty
Send a Compliment

Don Det

Champasak, Laos


Following Vang Vieng we had 1 nights stay in Vientiane in which we visited COPE, a centre dedicated to providing prosthetic limbs for Laotians who lost limbs during the secret bombing of Laos during the Vietnam war. From Vientiane was a sleeper bus overnight to 4000 Islands in Southern Laos, next to the Cambodian border.

The 3 main islands are Don Khong, Don Khon and Don Det.. Em and I choose to stay on the quieter island of Don Det which has electricity from only 6pm - 10pm... the 5 days that we spent on DD were recuperation for Emilia, still suffering from the knee injury sustained on the Gibbon experience. Highlight of the days were watching the FA Cup final with some local chaps and a day of biking riding around Don Khon including a visit to a waterfall and a swim in the river.

Cambodia is next on the hit list.

X



permalink written by  Michael Russell on June 8, 2009 from Champasak, Laos
from the travel blog: Escape from Blighty
Send a Compliment

Viewing 1 - 10 of 32 Entries
first | previous | next | last



author feed
author kml

Heading South?

Online Spanish lessons with a live personal tutor FairTutor can hook you up with Online Spanish lessons with a live personal tutor. It's pretty sweet! Online Spanish lessons with a live personal tutor www.fairtutor.com
Navigate
Login

go
create a new account



   

Blogabond v2.40.58.80 © 2019 Expat Software Consulting Services about : press : rss : privacy
View as Map View as Satellite Imagery View as Map with Satellite Imagery Show/Hide Info Labels Zoom Out Zoom In Zoom Out Zoom In
find city: