We’ve been in the lovely city of Hanoi for about two weeks now, so I thought this might be a nice time to look back over our stay in Luang Prabang. When we arrived in the city we were planning to stay for a week. Following the directions we’d been given to some affordable accommodation we headed for a small alley next to the Nam Khan river.
Mui Ne is the adrenalin capital of southern Vietnam. There’s no scuba diving or snorkelling to speak of, but when Nha Trang and Hoi An get the rains, Mui Ne gets the waves: Says Lonely Planet, before going on to describe a beautiful beach that has maintained much of its charm. When we were there, however, only the closed kitesurfing shops hinted at Mui Ne’s adventure hungry nature. Out of the surf season, Mui Ne is still firmly on the backpacker trail, and I’m here to ask one question: why?
Our journey to Sapa started with an overnight train from Hanoi, and would end back at the same station a week later. Hanoi station is, to say the least, confusing. Corridors seem to end for no reason and some of the platforms seem to lack any access at all. It was one of these platforms that we needed to find a way to. Leaving our bags in a pile with Helen, Graham and I went in opposite directions to try and suss out the way. I could see the train, with crowds of people loading their bags and finding their carriage: the normal bustle that surrounds a train as it readies for departure, with the addition of chaos that seems to come free with anything in Vietnam. Looking at my watch in desperation, I followed a Vietnamese man rushing to the end the platform I was on, though there was nothing at the end. Which I knew as I’d looked twice already. I watched him as he checked for trains, hopped onto the tracks and across to the other side, arriving at the platform we needed. Hello, Vietnamese shining health and safety considerations, I thought as I rounded the others and we followed the man’s unconventional route.
Five months in Australia flew past. We didn’t see or do everything, but it would take a lifetime to do that! Here, in pictures, are some of the highlights and a bit of a breakdown of the route we took.
The east side of the Nam Khan river is often overlooked by tourists, particularly when the bamboo bridge that connects the two sides has not been completed. For those tourists seeking to explore this side of the river there is one little treasure trove filled with hand crafted jewellery that is a perfect place to spend a morning learning a new craft: Garden of Eden.
As you drive along the Captain Cook Highway from Cairns towards Port Douglas you already know you are in for a treat at Hartleys Crocodile Farm. The drive is considered to be one of the best coastal drives in Australia, as you pass by perfect beaches and beautiful greenery it’s easy to see why. This is the perfect place for Hartleys Crocodile farm, nestled among the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.