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T & S in Vietnam and Cambodia

Here you can keep track of our travels in Vietnam and Cambodia over the 06/07 New Year. Bookmark this page now and check back soon!

Diary Entries

Sunday, 14 January 2007

Location: Siem Reap, Cambodia

Angkor photos now added!!

Sunday, 14 January 2007

Location: Siem Reap, Cambodia

At the moment we are in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Yesterday we visited Angor Wat and some of the other temples around it. Describing them adequately would be impossible so it is hoped that the photos we took can more successfully impart even just a little of their mystery and splendour.

We plan to post the Angkor photos this afternoon but for now there are three new Vietnam pages to check out.

Enjoy :)

Wednesday, 10 January 2007

Location: Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam

Thanks for your messages. Glad you are enjoying our photo pages. Sorry we have been slack with keeping this diary up to date but we have been busy seeing the sights, and loading up photos takes ages.

We are in Ho Chi Minh City/Saigon at the moment, our last stop before heading to Cambodia. Our route between Hanoi and here included Halong Bay, Hue and Hoi An. Halong Bay is stunning - as I'm sure you can tell from the photos.

Hue is a nice little town with some interesting imperial ruins. On our first day there we did a motorbike tour which was fantastic! The rest of our time in Hue it poured down rain so we spent a large amount of it either in a French patisserie or Belgian bar :)

After Hue we got the bus through the mountains to Hoi An. The old town of Hoi An is a world heritage listed site. It is very pretty, with little yellow buildings and winding streets. We spent the first day wandering the markets which, despite the constant hassling by vendors, is a great experience. Our second day in Hoi An we went to some ruins called the My Son Holy Land which is temples built by the Cham people when they ruled part of Vietnam during the middle ages. The Cham originally came from India and their temples reflect this culture strongly. Unfortunately many of the buildings were destroyed by bombing during the American War (as the Vietnam War is known over here). After seeing the ruins we went back to Hoi An by a little boat on a really big river - was fun although cold, wet and windy!

From Danang (just near Hoi An) we flew to Ho Chi Minh City. Ho Chi Minh, or Saigon, as the locals resolutely call it despite its official name change, is absolutely fantastic. Busy and vibrant, with wide open streets and beautiful architecture, it is one of those places you could imagine yourself deciding to stay in forever….! Unfortunately we only have four nights here, and really only one full day (yesterday).

Today we went to the Cu Chi tunnels, a few hours outside of HCMC. The Cu Chi Tunnels are an elaborate system that the Viet Cong constructed during the war. It was fascinating to visit the area and our guide, a veteran who fought on the South Vietnamese/American side, was very interesting and knowledgeable. He told us all the basic historical info but also included personal anecdotes. I (Tamsin) went down in one of the tunnels, but I only did thirty metres distance at a depth of three meters underground on the first level. You had to shuffle along on your haunches and it was pitch dark and very hot. Some people braved the second and third levels but I felt that I had got the idea enough on level one and exited at the first available opportunity!

At Cu Chi there is also a firing range and our guide recommended that if we “hadn’t fired a gun before” (how many of us tourists had?!) that we should give it a go. From a smorgasbord of weapons including AK47s, M60s, M30s, M16s, M1s and more, Sas and I selected the M16. We paid our 5USD for five bullets and went down to the firing range where the gun was positioned with an official standing by. The official gave us a "thorough" lesson of about two seconds on how to use the gun, handed us each a pair of (useless) head phones to cope with the noise, and one by one we stepped up and took our shots. It was a pretty cool experience, but a little bit odd to be shooting the very same type of weapon in the very same location as it has been used to take so many lives in the recent past.

We are now back in HCMC and are about to go and have some dinner. We have chosen to try a place called Vietnam House which is in the up market end of town (the opposite end to where we usually go!). Tomorrow we have a trip to the Mekong Delta. It is a bit sad that the Vietnam leg of our journey is all but over but we are very excited about seeing Angkor Wat. So much so in fact that we have decided to fly directly to Siem Reap instead of bussing it first to Phnom Penh and then onwards to Siem Reap. A bit more expensive but it gives us about an extra day all up to enjoy Cambodia.

Hope you are all well. Keep sending messages via the website – we love getting them! Will answer as promptly as we can.


Ps- We are going to try and go elephant riding in Cambodia!!!

Sunday, 31 December 2006

Location: Hanoi, Vietnam

Hi all!

Today is our second full day in Hanoi. It is a chaotic and beautiful city that completely overwhelms the senses. A thick haze of motorbike exhaust fumes is largely responsible for this! Motorbikes are a ubiquitous part of Hanoi, almost defining the experience of it with pollution so potent you can taste it and the incessant sound of beeping horns. Vehicle horns are used in place of lanes, indicators, breaks, traffic lights and speed limits. It all sounds and looks dangerously random to the outside eye but I am yet to see anyone actually collide. A couple of centimetres of space is plenty, apparently. Amongst the the general traffic in the Old Quarter are hundreds of cyclos. We took a ride in one for an hour yesterday which was a great way to see the city, and inhale its smog right from the source!

There are thousands of shops and markets. In the markets produce and goods are often prepared on site and then displayed. People sit on small stools plucking chickens, chopping meat, peeling vegetables or crafting goods to sell. There is no mental divide between live animal and food here like there is at home - a chicken is as much food as a carefully trimmed breast fillet. Hence, on menus there are often photos of the live animal alongside the dishes which contain it! This can all be a little confronting to us Westerners, used as we are to an artificial and sanitized presentation of our food. So far though what we have actually eaten has been delicious! They do a mean tofu stirfry :)

... I would like to write more as I am only just getting started but the lobby is cold and our room is six floors up (no elevator) so I don't feel inclined to dash up and grab jacket then come back down and continue this. Anyway, I know that you really checked the site just to see if we've posted any photos :) To sum up: the city is fascinating, we are having an excellent time. And yes, will post photos ASAP.

Enjoy your NYE tonight everyone!

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Recent Messages

From inacio
I found the tourist!
Response: Hey Inacio,
Pretty tragic photo huh? All I'm missing is a bum bag and backpacker sandels.
Miss you lots.
Love Sas xx
From micheline
hey girls! photos are fantastic. brilliant how uve planned ur trip and getting to see so much. eat well and be safe. miss ya tamsin!
Response: Hey Micheline, glad you like the photos. It is so much fun being able to share our travels this way. Miss you too!
From Ganny
Hello Darlings,
Loved the elephants particularly. Photos are great.
Eye op means my site is temporally worse tonight but will be able to see you clearly by Friday! All my love.
Response: Hey Ganny,
glad to hear the op went well. We will see you in under a week now!
Love T&S
From Mum and John
Saskia! Put that python down you don't know where it has been!
Tamsin,were the effects of the child labour as painful as it looked?
Did you not buy a flute?
I am so envious of your chance to be with the elephants and to have a ride .
The photos are amazing. Great shots of the temples.
What an unusual nowhere I have been so far.
Not long before we see you now but I am sure you will be sorry to leave. Love you Darlings! xxoo.
Response: hey Mum and John!
Unfortunatly its not long till we get back now but Cambodia has been a great end to our trip.
love T&S
From Dan


glad you're both well - thinking of you (green with envy) xxxx Dan
Response: Hey Dan,
Hope your course is going ok and you are not too stressed. Unfortunately we will be heading back to the real world the day after tomorrow. Will email you to commiserate soon!
tT & S
From Alex
Hiya! Can't believe you are on your travels again, do you two ever do any work??????? HEHE! Glad to hear you are having such an amazing time.
Guess what????!!!!! I may be visiting your neck of the woods in late August, I have a family wedding in Brisbane! I don't know if I can definately go but fingers crossed I am planning to qualify by early August so I can go! Will keep you up dated!! Take Care and be safe!! xx
Response: Hey Alex,
Thnx for your message. Yes, we do do work actually - will be working again in a week or so :( Would be great if you come to Brissy, we can finally have that bbq at South Bank!
From Annette
Hey Guys - sounds like you are having a fantastic time - am very jealous! Love hearing about all ur adventures - keep em coming!
Take care
Net xx
Response: Hey Net, thanks for the messages. Hope things are going well for you.
T & S
From Cristina
Whaw... What a cool adventure!!
Thank u for sharing your holiday with us.
Sas I miss a lot and a lot seems to be little. Love Cristina.
HAve fun.
Response: Hey cristina,
I miss you guys too and London town. Hopefully I will be back there in the not too distant future.
Lots of love
T&S xx
From Vic
Hey Tamsin and Sas (even tho i don't think i've met you i'm getting to know you through all the photos!)
Sounds like you guys are having a fabulous time and making the most of all your oportunities. I am very jealous as NZ weather has been putting a dampner on my holiday spirit :( Not sure what else to say and don't want to ramble so just keep having fun and i shall live vicariously through you!
Response: Hey Vic, don't think you have met Sas, but glad u can connect via photos, esp. as she wants to visit NZ sometime soon!
Thanks heaps for the message - was great to hear from you.
From Dan
Gian crab thing - about a foot across??????? yeugh! shudder! Well, the only thing i'm going to see floating today will be a few fag butts in a puddle and possibly something nasty in the library toilets... not a village... and my fruit, as ever, will come from sainsbury's! tuh! back to work! keep having fun ladies! miss you! (man, a year ago it was me..... pfff!) xxxx
Response: Haha, aint London grand?! Don't get too jealous of our travels...I'm sure you'll be off again soon! Miss you too.
From Laura
Hey Guys!
Good to hear you are off on another adventure! Very jealous though (Vietnam and Cambodia have both been on my to-do list for ages). Loving the photos and the updates!
Safe Travels.
Response: Hey Laura, great to hear from you. Hope you do make it to Vietnam soon - it is such a great place. It must be quite difficult for you planning other people's holidays but not having time to go yourself! Take care,
T & S
From Hayley
Hey girls, the photos are awesome. Hope your camera is working out great Sas. The place looks so majestic and calming. Looking forward to seeing more.
Response: Hey Mate, I think you just summed up Halong Bay in your description. Sas is loving her camera (obsessed with it actually!). Will let you know when more photos go up.
From dad
Hi girls,
it was nice talking to you.Good photoshope you are going to enjoy vietnam house,hope to hear from you dad &sue
Response: Hey, Vietnam House was awesome - best food we have had over here. Good price for fine dining too, three courses and drinks for 20AUD each! Thanks for telling us about it.
T & S
From Lucy
Hey Tamsin,

How are you!? Looks like you are having an amazing time! I'm in Africa right now and loving it although seeing your photos I definately think this could just be the beginning of the travel bug when I was hoping that it would be the end!

Keep safe,

Response: Hey Lucy, great to hear from you!! What are you doing in Africa? Enjoy yourself,
From Sue and Al
Hi Sas and Tam
Enjoyed your stories and pictures. Glad Tar and Rugger live here!
Response: Hey Sue and Al, thanks for the message. I hope Tar and Rugger know how lucky they are - they are just the right size for skewering and bbqing over here!!
From Lauren
Hi girls! Vietnam looks fantastic! Keep posting the photos - I'm travelling vicariously through you:)
Will have to catch up Tamsin before school starts again!
Response: Hey Lauren, Thnx for the mssg. Will def. keep posting photos! Hope you are not planning to many units for school, just take it easy :)
Would love to catch up when I get back before the craziness of term starts.
From Ganny
Hi girls I have just seen your wonderful photos. Wish we were all there with you. Ganny's caserole for dinner tonight.
Tinker sends her love
Response: Hi, glad you liked the photos! Sas very envious of you guys having casserole! Give Tinker a pat from us.
T & S
From Kristie
Hey guys!
Sounds like u r having a ball. Happy New Year! Ive just got a few more days in Berlin and then its home to Australia for me! Cant wait to catch up when we are all in Bris.
Take care,
Kristie xoxoxo
Response: Hey Mate, Thanks for message. Looking forward to catching up as well. See you in a couple of weeks!
From Anna
Thanks Tamsin and Sas!! Love the photos, can't wait for more! Middle of the night here so hitting the sack but just wanted to say I'm thinking of you. New Year's wishes too...
Response: Hey Anna, Thanks for the message! Glad you like the pics. We will post more asap. Hope you are enjoying your holidays too.
From toni & shawn lemon
hi girls, so good to hear you two are off on another adventure, Vietnam and Cambodia are going to delight you, make sure you have a home made beer at one of the many beer hoi's in Halong Bay
Stay safe
Cheers The Lemons
Response: Hey Toni and Shawn, great to hear from you. Have already been to Halong Bay but will take your advice re Bia Hoi but in Hoi An or HCMC. Have you done the American ride yet? If so, how did it go?
From mum
Hi Darlings, Love the photos! It looks really beautiful .Shame about the smog ..for the Vietnamese too I mean. Love the "old shoe old shoe" story....had a good laugh and very pleased they have been given a new lease of life as I know how much you love them.Lovely to read your impressions too.Sounds a bit hard going for a vegitarian! Looking forward to seeing the next entry. Love you, Mum and John.xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Response: Hey Mum and John, thanks for the message. Pleased you enjoyed the pics and diary entry. Yes, "old shoe" was quite hilarious.
From Ty
Happy New Year Tamsin and Sas! Hope you're having a great time. Have you had the fried sparrows yet? about to go to work... have a good day!
Response: Happy New Year!! Thanks for the message. Haven't seen any fried sparrows but did pass a row of dog meat shops - with lots of carcusses on display!