Nice sunset view as we pass over London, England, on our way to Albania.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Shkodra, Albania.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Hiking the Peaks of the Balkans, June 13-24!

Thursday, February 29, 2024

One of the best meals we've had in Vietnam!

On Thursday, we took the minivan back to the city of Vinh. We simply went and stood on the main street. We were actually waiting for the number 31 bus that runs between Con Cuong and Vinh, but there are also the same system of minivans that we took to get to Con Cuong in the first place. And we were only at the stop for five minutes before one came along, so we hopped in it.

It was quite a bit quicker going back. We must have got in the "express" van, because it didn't make nearly as many stops as the one we took going up, and it was a little more expensive, at 120,000 dong ($4.90 USD, $6.60 CAD) per person for the two hour and twenty minute ride.

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Last day in Con Cuong, Vietnam

Well, we haven't seen another westerner for five days... since we left the airport in Da Lat. 

And we also haven't seen any sunshine, at all! It hasn't really rained, it's just been foggy and overcast, with some occasional drizzle. Temperatures have been nice though, with highs around 20C (68F). 

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

We had the waterfall all to ourselves!

We did a little better for our included breakfast, as they brought us a big plate of chicken and egg fried rice and vegetables. Not fantastic, but at least we started the day with full stomachs!

Once again, the sun never made an appearance. The temperature is fine, nice and cool with a high of about 20C, but it drizzled with rain on and off. Not enough to stop us from going out exploring on our rented scooter!

Monday, February 26, 2024

Beautiful scenery in this rarely visited part of Vietnam

Our fancy hotel room is supposed to be "breakfast included". But of course nowhere does it say exactly what you'll get for breakfast. 

There were no guests in the dining room when we went down about 8:30am. As I mentioned yesterday, the place is very quiet. But there are a lot of staff around, and they are all very pleasant and cheerful.

Sunday, February 25, 2024

If you are going to splurge, it's best to do so in a cheap country!

We had arranged with a "limousine service" to take us from Vinh to Con Cuong. I already knew that the word limousine here in Vietnam doesn't describe the same type of vehicle that we might envision in North America. Here, it is simply a minibus. 

We had been told to phone in at 8:00am, to confirm pickup at 8:30am right at our hotel. Which we did, but then it didn't show up until almost 9:00am, which didn't surprise us.

Saturday, February 24, 2024

We've been on the move, so just playing catch up with you a little bit...

Writing this from our very basic, but relatively clean, 287,000 dong ($11.75 USD, $15.75 CAD) per night hotel room near the Vinh Airport which we flew into this (Saturday) morning.

We had to leave the hotel in Da Lat early this morning, and I had no time to write a blog post. So I'll update you on the past two days, because I'm not sure when you'll hear from us again!

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Playing tourist in Da Lat, Vietnam

We hopped in a Grab taxi again on Thursday. A little further this time, as our drop off point was the Da Lat Cable Car. We had met a guy during our hike the day before who suggested this outing... the Da Lat Cable Car, followed by the Datanla Waterfall.

Cable Car rides are always fun, but we find them way overpriced in most situations. This one was not bad, at 120,000 dong ($4.95 USD, $6.60 CAD) each for the round trip ride.

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

We are overdue for an adventure!

On Wednesday, we hopped in another Grab taxi, this time to the center of the city. We really hadn't seen the city, other than driving by the outskirts on our way to our guesthouse the other day, so we figured we had better go check it out since many comments have been from people saying how much they like Da Lat. 

It cost about 80,000 dong ($3.25 USD, $4.40 CAD) for the 6.5 km (4 mile) one way trip.

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Finally made it out for a hike... temperatures are perfect!

My original thinking was to rent a scooter here in Da Lat, which many tourists do, even though it's technically illegal in Vietnam unless you go through a local licensing procedure which most do not. But it's not the illegality that stops me... I'm just not that comfortable with the crazy traffic, even though it's far less busy here than it was in the big city.

So we are relegated to using Grab taxis, which are not as convenient, and slightly more expensive depending on where we want to go. But that's our choice, so we'll make it work.

Monday, February 19, 2024

Mixed first impressions of Da Lat area

We had arrived at Da Lat airport after dark on Sunday night, so we didn't get any idea of what our hotel or  the surrounding area looked like until we woke up Monday morning.

And we were pleasantly surprised!

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Here's a rare treat for you!

We met up with Susan and Blair just in front of the Saigon Opera House just after 9:30am in order to do the Hop on Hop off bus tour. 

We normally find these types of tours too expensive, but we figured in a cheap country it might be more reasonable. And it was, compared to most other cities around the world, but still not good value for us.

Saturday, February 17, 2024

A quick walk around the downtown of Ho Chi Minh City... and taking a last minute flight!

First order of business was to get some breakfast. While we like Vietnamese food, we don't so much like it for breakfast. But we managed to find a place that did omelets and smoothies down on the main tourist street.

There was a western looking guy sitting beside us, and it turned out he's a Canadian from Northern Alberta. Been coming here to SE Asia every winter for 19 years, other than two years during Covid.

Friday, February 16, 2024

Good morning, Vietnam! Country number 69 for us!

But before we talk about our entry into Vietnam, we have to back up a day or two. 

On Thursday, we were waiting for our Vietnam eVisas to be processed. I checked around 11:00am, and mine was still listed as "in processing". I had sent the applications in on February 3rd, but that was a Saturday and it said that processing time was three business days. So that meant that they should have been processed by the end of the day Wednesday February 7th. 

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Kayaking in Kampot

The first place we stayed here in Kampot had an advertisement in the lobby for river kayaking. It included pick up and delivery and a cocktail afterwards, but at $25 USD each, our first thought was that it was pretty expensive.

Then when we were out looking at accommodation options the other day, we had walked by a place that had a sign up saying kayak rental $5. That sounds like a better deal to us!

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Thinking we're going to stay an extra day

Didn't sleep well the night before, so I had to have a morning nap instead of an afternoon nap! Only problem with that is that you kind of waste away the cooler morning, and by the time you get out to do something, it's baking hot.

But, we needed some exercise, and they have a couple of old bicycles here at the resort. They are junk, and not comfortable to ride, and the gears don't work properly... but we set off anyhow to a waterfall about 5 kms (3 miles) away.

Monday, February 12, 2024

More travel planning, and an afternoon by the pool

I spent a couple more hours planning onward travel yesterday. While it would have been much easier to only have to book one direct flight from Bangkok to Istanbul, it's going to be a lot more interesting doing the four flights from Bangkok to Maldives to Abu Dhabi to Kuwait to Istanbul!

So I booked the remaining two flights yesterday. In total, it is costing $513 USD ($691 CAD) each for the four flights, which is actually a few dollars cheaper than it would have cost for the one direct flight.

Sunday, February 11, 2024

This is MUCH better... and, some exciting news!

We moved yesterday... to a much nicer spot. 

Before we left though, we walked into town to do some stocking up. The new place isn't walking distance to any worthwhile shops, and we knew we were going to have a fridge in the room at the new place, so we could do our own breakfast. And keep some beer cold!

Saturday, February 10, 2024

We needed to do better!

If we wanted to stay at our current accommodation, we had to change rooms. The host offered us an interior room with no windows, for only $9 USD ($12 CAD), compared to the $12 USD, ($16 CAD) we had paid for the first night.

For that price, we would give it a shot for a night. It's not really the type of place that we'd like to spend more than a couple of nights, and in all honesty I'm not enjoying the heat, and without air conditioning it's pretty darn warm. On the other hand, the price is very attractive!

Friday, February 9, 2024

I wanted to leave our options open

We finally made it out of Phnom Penh. 

Even when we're in a place that we really like, we feel the need to move on after two weeks or so. So when we're in a place that we don't like, five days is about four days too many! And so it was with Phnom Penh.

Thursday, February 8, 2024

Still in Phnom Penh!

We got up Thursday morning to find that Ruth had a bad stomach. There was no way she was prepared to sit in a minibus for three hours! So I went down to the front desk to make sure we were able to stay another night, which was no problem... so we are still in Phnom Penh!

Ruth never left the room all day. I went out for a half hour power walk just to get some exercise.

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

I guess we're going with plan B

Well, it's Thursday morning here in Phnom Penh, and our eVisas to Vietnam still show as "in processing". Due to Chinese New Year celebrations, their office is now closed until the 14th, so we're stuck here in Cambodia until then.

So, plan "B' it is!

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Stuck in Phnom Penh

We're here in Phnom Penh waiting for our Vietnam eVisas to be approved. A bit frustrating because Phnom Penh was never on our "go to" list in the first place. But, totally my fault for not planning the eVisas in advance.

And the secondary problem is that the visa department is closed February 8-14 because of Chinese New Year. They did say standard approval time is within three working days, but they probably have a rush of applications prior to the closing. Anyhow, two days have passed, and the website still says "in processing".

Monday, February 5, 2024

Phnom Penh Red Light District

Yesterday, we spent a couple of hours wandering Phnom Penh in the baking heat. It never really cools off here. When the overnight low only goes to 27C (81F), it doesn't take long for things to bake as soon as the sun rises.

And yet, over 2 million people call this home. And there are quite a few expats here. We don't get it, but once again, it's good that we don't all like the same things.

Sunday, February 4, 2024

Arrived in Phnom Penh

We said goodbye to our host Manel at Manel Guesthouse in Senmonorom. We had a really good stay there. Manel and his family treated us really well. He even gave us each a hug when we left. Can't recommend them enough. We can tell already that this will be our best memory of Cambodia. 

The minivan was there to pick us up at 9:15am for our six hour drive to Phnom Penh. 

Saturday, February 3, 2024

A few things to talk about...

After we got back from the elephant visit and jungle trekking, we just hung out at the guesthouse and relaxed here in Senmonorom the last couple of days. We had a lot of onward travel planning research to do, and some decisions to make, and really... we just needed to take a couple of days and do nothing!

But with that done, there's a lot to tell you about!

Friday, February 2, 2024

January Expenses

Not bad, all things considered, but still more expensive than we thought it would be given that we are in "cheap" countries. Also considering we spent almost a week with our friends Han and Michelle and they hardly let us pay for anything! (Thanks again!)

And of course I had my heart health tests done during the month, which added a lot, however even taking that amount off it was more expensive than we planned.

Thursday, February 1, 2024

Jungle trekking in Cambodia

We woke up from a poor nights sleep in the indigenous homestay hut. The bed itself was comfortable enough, and we weren't bothered by bugs... it was the dogs barking! No idea how everyone sleeps around there. Like in Mexico, they must have an afternoon siesta!

But... we had some hiking to do!