Diary of a solo traveller – Part 7 | Indonesia to Home via Vietnam

Okay, I fully admit I have been crap at blogging during my last three weeks and now I’m home! Cannot believe how fast my trip has gone by and that I’m back in the U.K. where I can drink tap water and flush loo roll but I have to cook my own food again (wtf). 

There’s no bum guns, street noodles, mystery breakfasts and people riding scooters with their whole family on (I even saw a woman breastfeeding on the back of a bike the other day) – and I miss it so much. 

Looking out over north Vietnam

Travel & Personal Stuff

The last few weeks have been a hectic adventure including diving in Indonesia, celebrating my birthday and then for the final nine days exploring north Vietnam on a motorbike with two awesome friends from Koh Tao. 

I’ve got a lot of blogs to catch up on but for now I wanted to share a few pictures of what I got upto during my kinda “offline” last weeks in Asia.

Indonesia run down:

  • Bali, Seminyak; saw Lauren & Jonny, stayed up all night drinking vodka with two Brits, slept, chilled and ate great food. 
  • Bali, Uluwatu; honestly don’t even know what I did here.
  • Lombok, Gili T; cycled around the island, drank Bintangs, did my advanced open water diving certification, met some really great people.
  • Bali, Nusa Lembongan; explored the island on a scooter, dived on my birthday, had a late night pool party and spent two hours exploring Nusa Cenengan with the diving boys I met on Gili T.
me and the boys
Finding Nemo in real life

Vietnam 

A fairly last minute decision saw me hop onto two planes that took me over to Hanoi, Vietnam where I met Vesna and Thijs for a motorbike trip, the “Ha Giang Loop” (more on this in another post). After a nightbus to Ha Giang, a nap at the hostel, we ate breakfast and organised bikes for the next five days. 

There’s a typical “route” that most people will take, but saying that it’s still not a very touristy activity – but wow it’s so worth it. There’s enough homestays and hostels en route, food / drink and the views are incredible. We didn’t take this typical route and added a couple of hundred ks onto the trip, at one stop we were the only tourists in the small town which was really fun; trying to get communicate with locals via Google translate!

Vesna, Thijs and I with the motorbikes before the trip

In summary of the week, we drove 470km, we stayed and hung out with families in homestays, had mystery breakfasts ‘cos no one spoke English, drove up and down bumpy roads, around bends, illegally crossed the border into China and over the border we were welcomed by some drunk people with rice wine who insisted we had shots (which we had to decline continuously as we had to drive), soaked up the views across the gorgeous countryside and generally had an awesome time. 

Making friends with local kids

The north of Vietnam is a beautiful collection of rolling hills, rocky landscapes, villages in valleys, blue rivers, greens like I’ve never seen before and many friendly locals. Definitely recommend this trip, and spending longer if you have the time to explore other waterfalls and cities in the North. 

Sunset over the mountains in North Vietnam

With that, we were back to Hanoi for a few days of chilling and dancing in the old quarter bars and clubs. My journey back to the UK took three flights, three taxis, one hostel, six films, two airplane meals and an amazing pick up from my girl Tash at Manchester Airport!

Fun Stuff

Watching: got hooked on “Jack Whitehall’s Travels with my Father“, which is particularly entertaining if you’ve been to Asia (for the first series), full of wise cracks and light hearted snobbery from his dad.

My planes home had me watching six films;

  • “Finding Nemo” – I actually cried when Crush came on cos I’d seen turtles myself on this trip.
  • “Crazy Rich Asians” – a entertaining rom com with beaut scenes of Singapore’s high life and rich families.
  • “Dumplin'” – the Jennifer Anniston Netflix film in which an untypical beauty queen takes on her mum’s pageant with the help of her friends to revolutionise the pageant and their small Texas town.
  • “I Feel Pretty” – Amy Schumer plays an insecure woman who wakes up one day confident and fearless believing she was beautiful, but eventually realises her appearance had never changed and it was just her own belief in herself!
  • “What Men Want” – the male version of the original from back in 2000, a woman starts hearing men’s thoughts which helps her get ahead in her male dominated workplace.
  • “Molly’s Game” – finally, my favourite watch from the six, Jessica Chastain stars in the true story of Molly Bloom. Bloom started life out as an olympic class skier, ended up running the world’s most exclusive poker games and ultimately became an FBI target. It’s a gripping watch which tells the story from a number of chapters in Molly’s life. Each are linked together with a final point in time during which Molly works with her lawyer (Idris Alba) to stand up for what she believes in, and the court determines what she is or isn’t guilty of. I would definitely recommend, it’s an intense but powerful watch.

Reading: just started Lily Allen’s book, and I’ve been reading the March issue of ELLE which is FULL of awesome articles about strong and empowered women.

Now to work out what to do with my life… what have you guys been upto?

Read more about SE Asia:

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