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.
As the new year begins, my time in beautiful Luang Prabang is drawing to an end. I am going to miss this special place very much. From the monks that can be seen everywhere and the sound of their drums at four in the afternoon, to cycling around the French colonial buildings that do shabby chic so well, I can hardly think of a thing in this royal city that I won’t miss. Most people that visit here for a few days will remember the monks, their trip to Kuangsi Waterfall, climbing to the top of Mount Phoisi, Utopia and the night market. For me, though, I will remember some of the things most tourists are unaware of, or lack the time to visit. Here are my favourite parts of Luang Prabang, and the city’s best kept secrets.
First of all, Happy Christmas! I hope you all had a wonderful day, filled with laughter and joy. If, like me, your belly is too full from all the food and booze consumed yesterday, you’ll be looking for indoor activities that require little to no moving. Say, a spot of reading, maybe? If your dreams of 2015’s big adventure are already filling your thoughts, why not take a look at my top 10 travel blogs of 2014 for a little travel inspiration? Warning: reading any of these blogs may result in a sudden urge to book flights to places you’ve never thought to visit, itchy feet and compulsive day dreaming, AKA wanderlust syndrome.
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.
Travellers are a hard bunch to buy for, whether you are trying to send them something from home or if you’re with them on the road. In Part 1 and Part 2 of my complete guide to Christmas presents for travellers I shared some ideas about presents to send to you friends and family on the road. Here, I’m going to share 6 easy and inexpensive DIY projects any traveller can make and give as presents this Christmas.
I arrived at the airport, which is tiny, in the early morning and hopped on the shuttle bus to town. The shuttle bus is great, it’s 30USD return and will drop off/pick up from most the hotels and hostels in town. I was dropped at The Pickled Frog, ditched my bag and set off to Bathurst Street’s farmer market.
Cooktown, located on Cape York Peninsular, North Queensland, was named after the British explorer Captain James Cook, who became stranded here in 1770 when his boat, The Endeavour, took a bit of a knock from the reef south of Cooktown. Whilst wwoofing our way around Australia we spent three weeks in this little town.
I have a wonderful friend I met in London who, by chance, moved back to her home city of Melbourne not long after I landed in Australia. Being the treasure she is she took us on a few sight-seeing trips, including a drive along the Great Ocean Road, bar crawling in St Kilda and to Phillip Island to see the Little Penguins. Because who doesn’t love penguins?