A Week in Paradise: Hawaii – 04/12/2019 to 10/12/2019

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.

Just 5 full days here

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Urban Nature: Kaohsiung, Lambai and Kenting – 21/11/2019 to 29/11/2019

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 🤷

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Culture and Food: A Jeonju Kind of Mood – 09/11/2019 to 11/11/2019

After arriving in Jeonju and dropping off our bags at our guesthouse, Emily and I decided to enjoy the last few hours of the day and headed out to see the famous lotus lake at Deokjin Park. A spot for romantic walks with your partner, there were loads of Korean couple enjoying the evening. We strolled around the lake, looking at the mass of brown in the middle. It is of course nearing the end of autumn and all of the flowers are gone! Still, it was a lovely stroll and we got to see loads of lotus pods…

Beautiful despite the lack of lotus!

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Clean Mountain Air: Sa Pa – 27/10/2019 to 30/10/2019

Our last stop in Vietnam was all about getting away from the city of Hanoi and resetting ourselves ready for the chaos we imagined super industrialised Korea would bring! Emily and I headed to the mountains and a homestay 8km outside of Sa Pa for fresh air, trekking, altitude and a much slower pace of life for 3 nights.

Planning out trekking routes with a mountain doggo

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Descending Dragon: Cat Ba, Lan Ha and Ha Long Bay – 21/10/2019 to 24/10/2019

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

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No Hue, José: Hue – 16/10/2019 to 18/10/2019

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

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Exploring with Friends: Dalat – 08/10/2019 to 11/10/2019

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!

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It Wasn’t Cushty in Cu Chi: Saigon – 03/10/2019 to 06/10/2019

Ah, Saigon. Ho Chi Minh City officially. But does anybody really call it that? The local businesses don’t, that’s for sure. Plus Ho Chi Minh City is a bit of a mouthful isn’t it? Whereas mention Saigon and it evokes images of the far orient. Or memories of the Vietnam War and the cultural grip it had in the 50s, through the 60s and into the 70s. Yes, Saigon. Even on our first night wandering through district one only to end up in the skybar of the Bitexco Financial Tower, sipping a drink and watching the lights and mayhem of the labyrinthine city below, I knew Emily and I would fall in love with this city.

Nightscape and city views from the Bitexco Tower

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Out with a Bang: Ao Nang – 28/09/2019 to 03/10/2019

That title is actually pretty misleading. In reality Liam and I had a perfectly relaxing and laid back last couple of days in Thailand. We carried on a blissful routine of swimming in the sea, reading books under the shade of the palms and watching the sunset fade away every evening. It was simple and immensely enjoyable! Not a bad way to spend our time in the resort filled beach town of Ao Nang. 

Maybe next time we will do some sweet sunset parasailing! 

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Bridge on the River Kwai: Kanchanaburi – 08/09/2019 to 13/09/2019

Nightbus from Vientiane to Bangkok, 12 hours, a land border, sleepy taxi ride to guesthouse at 6:00am, chill out until room is ready and sleep until it’s after the midday heat. Emily and I really have our Asian night bus routine down to a tee. A one night stay in Bangkok, enjoying the capital of street food (where you can get 3 amazing curries and rice to share for less than £4) and we were back in a minibus heading the short (3 hour) distance to our next destination in Thailand – Kanchanaburi!

Historic Kanchanaburi

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