Day 2 of the road trip! Check out Day 1 here. Leaving our farm homestay in the morning, Emily and I headed out to our final new state of the trip – Rhode Island. Smallest state by area, this East Coast state is THE state by the sea. No East Coast road trip would be complete without an early morning stop at Dunkin Donuts. So, once we were fuelled with coffee and sugary goodness we headed straight for our destination of the day: Newport.
Our flight back to London was cheapest from Boston so Emily and I decided to fly from Colorado and spend a week exploring the tri-state area of Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. Our first few days were spent in Boston itself as we stayed in Cambridge, near the Harvard Campus, and took in the history of the famous colony and it’s place as the academic hub of modern America.
The famous golden dome of the Massachusetts State House
Hawaii 🌸 Truly one of those places you don’t realise how special it is until you visit. A Pacific island paradise, with every convenience you come to expect in America. The problem is it is so remote. A tiny dot in the Pacific and a daunting prospect for travel if you’re from England. Which is why we chose to visit on this trip; flying Taiwan to Colorado you couldn’t ask for a better layover. Since we only had 5 full days we decided from the outset to spend them all on Oahu as there is so much to see and do there.
Kaohsiung has a lot of parks. Which is fantastic. Living in a city, both Emily and I love them and the convenient outdoors green spaces they bring. Lucky for us, Anja and Kevin were able to point us in the direction of many of the best during our stay in the south of Taiwan. Whether wandering around the Lotus Pond or ambling our way around Weiwuying park, we were never too far from nature despite the high rise environment we were based in. With plenty of amazing local delicacies just waiting for us to walk enough to gain an appetite (from savoury beef noodle to peanut butter mochi stuffed waffles) we made sure we got out and about as often as we could!
If you go in through the dragon and out through the tiger you get good luck 🤷
Jeju is a beautiful, but surprisingly big island. As with all islands, the coastal beauty is scattered in every direction, meaning that wherever you stay you are likely to end up doing a fair amount of transit if you want to see everything! With the price of renting a car vs the low cost of public transit, Emily and I decided to use the many bus routes to visit everything we wanted to. We did learn on our first morning however, that when trying to work out transfers on country buses (which often run late) you need to be prepared to be flexible with your itinerary!
No trip to Vietnam is complete without a trip to the iconic Ha Long Bay, the descending dragon. But the more we researched boat trips the more it became clear to us that as a destination it can be very hit and miss. Depending on the cruise you end up on, your tour, and even your safety, can be compromised. And for a premium price, particularly in South East Asia, it is not something we wanted to gamble on. Throw in the fact that Ha Long City has become one of the most crowded tourist spots in the country, we decided to look into alternatives.
Successs! When we went there was not a single other boat in sight
Taking the train from Da Nang to Hue through the Hai Van Pass is something Emily and I can definitely recommend doing if, like us, you don’t fancy the 5 hour ride in the mud and rain, but still want to enjoy the views. We first came across this stretch of beautiful landscape reading Paul Theroux’s Great Railway Bazaar, one of the greatest travel books ever written. Our sentiments echo his and his observations are still true today: “I had been unprepared for this beauty; it surprised and humbled me in the same degree the emptiness had in India. Who has mentioned the simple fact that the heights of Vietnam are places of unimaginable grandeur?”
The start of our journey was still a little gloomy like the end of our time in Da Nang
After a long and bumpy bus ride Emily and I arrived at Dalat, leaving the coast for mountains. Mountains in Vietnam nearly always mean coffee. So, while getting to grips with the city, our first afternoon was spent in a coffee shop enjoying the local brews and planning the days ahead.
Emily’s former life as a barista hasn’t gone to waste in Vietnam!
Having an alarm set for 4 in the morning to run to the airport is never ideal, but waking up two hours earlier to start being repeatedly sick is far worse! Yep that’s right everyone, the inevitable happened. Liam and I got food poisoning, on our transit day from Cambodia back to Thailand no less. Needless to say, it was a long and miserable experience only made better by the fact that at least we were in it together. So by the time we finally made it to Phuket and checked into our hotel, the only sight seeing we did on our first day was the inside of our room. Which thankfully was a very spacious and comfortable place to recover.
The beautiful shoreline of Karon Beach where we were staying!
Dad came with Emily and me for our recent coastal hike. A while ago he mentioned to us that he wanted to do the Polperro to Looe stretch as customers he takes on that bus route frequently tell him how beautiful it is. So, getting up early on Sunday morning, we drove to Looe and grabbed a breakfast before jumping on the Number 73 bus to Polperro. Nice for him to not be working for a change! Walking through the village it is easy to see why it is a favourite tourist destination in Cornwall. It’s a proper seaside town.