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Why Asia.. “Travel makes one modest, you see what a tiny place you occupy in this world”

Why travel Asia? Why not? What an amazing experience, we booked our trip with trail finders in Belfast. You will also get them on line. We explained what we would like to do and see and they came up with the perfect four week package. It was reasonably priced and included everything except our accommodation in Thailand as we wanted to do our own thing there.

We we started our long flight from Dublin airport New Year’s Day. We started in Vietmam, I wasn’t sure what it was going to be like, I wasn’t nervous but I was just very intrigued as to how they lived. My biggest concern was in fact “will I be able to get chocolate out here?” I survived, I got enough to keep me going. The Vietnamese people were so lovely, they were so welcoming and friendly. We met up with the tour group the following day and started the site seeing. Some of the islands looked like this, I can’t explain how beautiful.

We began Vietnam in Hanoi, we went to the museums and learned a lot about the history there. The war between Vietnam and America was absolutely heartbreaking and still to this day has devastating aftermath.

Nest stop was Ha long bay, here we did a boat trip and got to do some fun activities, kayaking & other water sports. We ate the most amazing foods I’ve ever tasted, everything was so fresh and cooked perfectly.

We moved on to Hue, another gorgeous city we did a motor bike tour with the locals, we had such a laugh. They took us outside of the city to see what it was really like for local people living there. It was an experience, the vietnamise families were so happy but had nothing. They lived in shacks at the side of lakes, some barely had clothes. The men all went to work early in the mornings and would be away to night fishing etc. The women were sewing and rearing the families. I remember feeling real gratitude on this trip I thought of all the times I’ve been so thankless in life. We also did a boat trip up the famous perfume river, it wasn’t what I expected.

We stayed a few days in each and then we moved, Vietnam was huge. We arrived in Hui it was a very pretty part of Vietnam, it is famous for its latterns. Every shop, every restaurant and the main streets were lit up with lanterns, even the local river had lit lanterns going up it.

We did a bicycle tour in HoI too, it was the best laughs with our group. It had been a long time from some of us had been on bikes, I’ll nevrr forget the laughs. Here we got to see the locals work, the weight they carried on their shoulders and back everyday I’ll never know how they walked.

We all got to go on basket boats with the locals, some of the women were in their late 70s pushing us about the river singing their songs. It was actually surreal.

One thing they stood out for me in veitnam was the food, I don’t think I ever ate as good in my life. The people were also the nicest, most welcoming people. I highly recommend Vietnam it was an amazing experience and I would go back. The Saigon museums are a must see and the boat trip in Ho chi minh city.

We left Vietnam and headed for Cambodia. I felt Cambodia was a lot more run down in ways, it wasn’t very hygieneic eg the toilet situations in most places. Again lovely, friendly people but a lot more people in need so much more begging etc. The children broke my heart, the little girls were mesmerised by our jewerelly and if we had make up on they just kept staring at us like they had never seen anything like this before. My hair was a big hit in these countries I stood out a mile everywhere. I don’t think red heads were common here.

We went on a trip to the killing fields, not sure this would be for everyone some horrendous things happened the people here including women and children. Phnom Penh and Tuoi sleng prison museum were so interesting, so sad and so real. We did the sky ranger flight of the gibbon zip lining, it was amazing it was ranked one of the highest zip lining places back then not sure about now, that was 2015. We did tours of the temples, were tomb raider was filmed and many other amazing films. Another experience in Cambodia was the sunrise, 5am at Anchor Watt I never seen anything like it before it was breath taking.

Then the final destination was Thailand, we started in Bangkok for to nights. Bangkok isn’t the nicest part of Thailand but it wasn’t as bad as people make it out. Plenty of partying to be done if your into the party life, khao san Road is the wild spot here. We moved on to koh samui, the beaches here were bliss, we had some amazing days chilling at the beaches, drinking cocktails and getting massages. The Ark bar is a must for drinks in Samui. We my on an elephant trip in Koh Samui and we made sure it was one of the places that take good care of the elephants as I heard about the horrible treatment some of the animals receive in some areas. It’s still cruel looking back but they were not beating or harmful to the elephants in any way that we saw.

Koh Phangon was the next stop for the full moon party. This is a must, to date it was the best night out my life. It Is one big huge beach party with everyone painted in illuminus colours dancing, laughing, singing and drinking from buckets. Everyone was having a blast and i remrkber singing spice girls with Cathy and thinking this is how happy life should be. The next day wasn’t so happy but sure drinking vodka from buckets for 7 hours how could it be. It was worth the pain for the next 24 hours.

Next stop was koh Toa it’s best known for its water activities, snorkelling and scuba diving etc. The scuba diving was extremely deep into the sea, very daunting at times but such an amazing experience seeing so deep under the ocean. Koh Toa had lovely food places and was full of entertainment. Every city is Thailand was so different to the next.

Phi phi was my favourite it was the most beautiful island with the most beautiful beaches, it was bliss. We went on a boat trip all around the island we stopped of and went swimming at different locations. The film they beaches was filmed here and I can see why. Monkey beach was another experience here, the monkeys surround the place and they are more human than I thought. They do not take it lightly if you have food and aren’t sharing. Phi phi had good night life and great bars and entertainment but we also chilled alot here as it was so relaxing and beautiful.

Would I recommend this trip? Totally. If I was to go back and do it again I’d do it the exact same except I’d stay longer in phi phi at the end. The trip had a mixture of everything, I enjoyed it a lot more than I ever imagined especially Vietnam and Cambodia.

I would go back and do this trip again without a second thought. I am very grateful for the experience and I felt I came home a new person from it. I hope you enjoyed this and if you have any questions feel free to ask.

Thank you,

H💋llie xx

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