Duden Waterfall, Antalya, Turkiye.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Antalya, Turkiye.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Paris, France on May 1st.

Sunday, March 31, 2024

Last day in Abu Dhabi... the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Most things in Abu Dhabi cost a fair bit of money. There are quite a few theme parks... Ferarri World, Warner Bros, Yas Island Waterworld, etc. And while they would be fun (and fairly expensive!) for a day, that's not what we came here for. 

But probably the most popular attraction in the city is the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. And it's totally free to visit!

Saturday, March 30, 2024

Men to the back of the bus...

Our hotel has a free shuttle bus that leaves at 10:00am to the Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque. This mosque is a major tourist attraction in Abu Dhabi, and it boasts of 64 million visitors since it opened in 2007.

So after our filling all you can eat breakfast buffet, we hopped on the free bus to go check it out.

Friday, March 29, 2024

Day one in Abu Dhabi

I know many people love Abu Dhabi and especially the nearby neighbor Dubai. But neither of these places have ever been very high on our to do list, and the only reason we are here is because of the flight routes that made our "hop skip and jump" journey from Bangkok to Istanbul a little more interesting.

The displays of opulence and wealth in Abu Dhabi and more so in Dubai can be interesting though

Thursday, March 28, 2024

Welcome to United Arab Emirates (UAE)... country #71 for us!

Last you heard from us, we were waiting at Male Airport for our flight to Abu Dhabi. 

Things didn't really go according to plan for us in Male. We took the public ferry at 6:30am from the island of Dhiffushi, and the two and a half hour trip went by quickly. So we arrived at the Male ferry terminal at about 9:00am. Problem is, our flight wasn't until 7:00pm, so we had more than a few hours to waste.

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Last day in the Maldives, and some things we want to tell you about.

Writing this at Male Airport while waiting for our evening flight to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

We had a lazy last day on Dhiffushi Island. So lazy that it didn't even occur to us that we never did a blog post on that last day! And by the time we realized that, I just figured it could wait. Besides, we didn't do very much, although there are certainly some things we want to tell you about.

Monday, March 25, 2024

Swimming with the sharks

While we could spend our three full days here on the island of Dhiffushi just lazing about, the Maldives are one of the top locations in the world for snorkeling and diving. We are not divers, but we are quite happy to do some world class snorkeling!

Especially when our host told us that we could be swimming with the sharks as well!

Sunday, March 24, 2024

Day one of island life

So, we are staying on the island of Dhiffushi in the Maldives. The island itself is about 1 km long, by 200 meters wide. At a slow pace, it takes about 30 minutes to walk around the circumference of the island. About 1,300 people live here full time. Dhiffushi is the most eastern inhabited island in the Maldives and is the first to witness sunrise every morning.

From the Visit Dhiffushi website... Dhiffushi was one of the first non-resort islands in the Maldives to commence offering holiday accommodation and was the leader from which all other islands followed. It's two main areas of commerce are fishing & of course, tourism. Affordable luxury, sprinkled with a wide variety of activities such as jet ski's, snorkeling with turtles, kite surfing and much much more. Proving visitors don't need to pay out for an expensive all inclusive resort to experience an amazing holiday in the Maldives. 

Saturday, March 23, 2024

Welcome to the Maldives... country #70 for us!

We were up early again Saturday morning in order to catch our 9:15am flight to the Maldives. We purposely had our accommodation so that it was walking distance to Bangkok's Don Muang Airport and in ten minutes or so we were in the terminal.

Through immigration quickly, as well as security and waiting at our gate with an hour and a half to spare.

Friday, March 22, 2024

Travel day!

Well, our time in Hua Hin is up, and this morning we were up at 5:15am in order to catch or 6:40am train back to Bangkok.

Everything went smoothly, except that the train was a half hour late arriving. Apparently Thai trains are notorious for this, however our experience to date with the Thai train system has been really good.

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

What it cost for our two weeks in Hua Hin, Thailand

Thailand has a reputation of being a cheap place to visit, and while that is still totally true, costs have gone up here just as they have everywhere else in the world. 

Anyhow, we wanted to prove to ourselves that Thailand can still be done on the cheap. Because if you want to live like a tourist and eat "western" style food in higher end restaurants, it's still going add up to more than what you think it should.

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

We would go nuts here

While this two weeks at Hua Hin has been some good downtime, and we've got a lot accomplished on the internet, we are just about done.

Heck, even when we're in a place that we like we're ready to move on after two weeks. 

Monday, March 18, 2024

A few details about our upcoming trip to the Maldives!

We will be in Istanbul, Turkiye early next month, and when I was looking at flight prices and doing the route planning between Bangkok and Istanbul, I figured out that we could break the trip up with a few different destinations and it would cost about the same.

One of the choices along the way was to head to the Maldives... a group of islands in the Indian Ocean that is well known for their very expensive resorts and crystal clear blue water.

Sunday, March 17, 2024

Cheapest day yet!

On Sunday, we hopped on the local transportation as far south as it goes. It only costs 15 baht ($0.42 USD, $0.57 CAD) per person no matter how far you go. 

So we went right to the end of the line, and walked down to the beach. There is small "island" at the end. Not really an island, but when the tide is all the way in, it looks like it is.

Saturday, March 16, 2024

Kind of glad we've had all this down time

First thing I did Saturday morning was to check our online banking to see if the credit card problem was fixed. This time, it showed that my "available credit" was back to normal, instead of being a big negative number. With that confidence, I proceeded to book the Pegasus Airlines flight from Antalya to Paris and it went through with no problems at all!

So at least that is fixed, although with no explanation from Scotiabank at all. 

Friday, March 15, 2024

Well, that was a frustrating day!

It started off with an email from Turkish Airlines saying that they had cancelled and rescheduled our Kuwait to Istanbul flight originally on April 4th, to exactly the same time on April 5th.

I looked at all the options, including keeping it at April 5th, but we decided we were actually better off  changing it to April 3rd. So I did all the changes online, and it seemed to accept everything. 

Until I looked a little closer.

Thursday, March 14, 2024

Paris is expensive!

So we're going to be spending a couple of nights in Paris with our daughter Lindsey and granddaughter Sadie at the beginning of May. And we knew in advance that Paris is expensive. But I figured that I'd be able to find some accommodation that is at least reasonably priced. 

Nope!

We got sidetracked!

Spending two weeks in one place means that we will have a few days with not much going on, and yesterday was one of those days. 

When we went out for lunch, we went to a new place on the other side of the tracks. Not the wrong side of the tracks... just the other side!

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

We've got a ton of exciting travel coming up!

Spent the morning researching various flight options to arrange meeting up with our daughter Lindsey and granddaughter Sadie in Paris. And the plan is starting to come together!

We've got her flights booked now. She's going to arrive in London a bit earlier and spend a couple of days with Ruth's aunt. Then they are going to hop on the chunnel train and take the train to Paris on May 1st. We will fly May 1st from Antalya, and meet them in Paris.

Monday, March 11, 2024

Good thing we all like different things!

We took the local transportation up to the central area yesterday. Not much to see, really. Hua Hin is a beach resort area and the beach is why people come here. 

The central area doesn't have much worthwhile. We wandered down to the beach, and then through some of the seedier bar and massage areas, but there isn't much going on there during the day.

Sunday, March 10, 2024

Down to the beach!

It's too hot during the day to get a decent walk in, so we tried getting out early. But even before 8:00am, it's not early enough. You still end up drenched in sweat. Of course that would probably happen in the middle of the night as well, since the overnight lows are still around 27C (81F).

Our condo is only a ten minute walk from the beach, so we figured we might head that way just to check it out and walk along the beach.

Saturday, March 9, 2024

Foreign exchange costs

First on the agenda here in Hua Hin was to get some more Thai baht cash. We had made an agreement with our host here to pay him for our accommodation in cash, and in exchange we got a healthy discount. But that discount is partially offset by the fact that it actually cost us money to get that cash.

Almost all Thai banks charge a fee of 220 baht ($6.20 USD, $8.40 CAD) for the privilege of using their ATM.

Friday, March 8, 2024

This will do for a couple of weeks!

It was a nice little guesthouse we stayed at near Bangkok's DMK airport. Really nice friendly people, and we've booked another night in there when we return to that airport to fly to Maldives on March 22nd.

Also, it's located a 15 minute walk from the terminal itself, and the commuter rail line to Bangkok's main train station. So it's really convenient as well.

Thursday, March 7, 2024

Moving day today!

Didn't do anything yesterday! We were tired, and it was baking hot out, so other than getting out for some food, all we did for exercise was to walk with all of our worldly belongings from one cheap hotel room to another one.

But, we did a lot of internet research sitting in our air conditioned room, and got our condo and train tickets booked for our trip to Hua Hin today.

Change of plans!

We would have preferred to remain in Vietnam until March 22, but because of the screw up with the dates on our Vietnam visa, we had to leave the country by March 7th. Yes, we could have gone through the hassle and expense of getting an extension, but we didn't think it was worth it. In hindsight, maybe we should have, but of course hindsight is never useful, except as a learning experience!

Then we thought about going into Laos for a couple of weeks, but that was also going to involve visas, and the flights weren't cheap, and the route over land wasn't easy. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Exploring Hanoi, Vietnam

On Monday, we spent a few hours wandering around Hanoi. Our hotel is located right in the center of the old quarter, and there is enough to see just walking about watching daily life that we didn't need to go very far. Still, we put on a lot of steps!

It is most fascinating watching the traffic. I took a couple of videos for you further down.

Monday, March 4, 2024

Out for a bike ride, then off to the big city of Hanoi

On Monday, our train to Hanoi didn't leave until just after 4:00pm, so we had most of the day to do some more exploring.

We rented a couple of bicycles and decided to ride up to the tourist boat port of Trang An just to see some different scenery and check out the area.

Sunday, March 3, 2024

The right place, at the right time!

The highlight of the Ninh Binh area are the various boat tours that take you through the scenery and caves. There are quite a few options to sort through, and various routes to choose from. 

I did a lot of research, and we had made our choice and planned on doing a boat tour on Monday morning when it would be less busy. But it didn't turn out that way, and we're glad that we were in the right place at the right time to do things a little differently!

Saturday, March 2, 2024

There's a reason it's busy here

There's not much to see in the actual town of Ninh Binh itself. But that's what people use as the transportation hub. Most of the hotels and restaurants are in the popular area at the town of Tam Coc, about 6 kms (3.7 miles) away.

And the reason Tam Coc is popular is because of the scenic geography with small rives flowing through three cave systems. The big attraction is a boat trip through the caves, although we are saving that for Monday when it will be less busy.

Friday, March 1, 2024

We found all the tourists!

And they are here in Ninh Binh. Every last one of them, apparently!

We woke up to another drizzly day in Vinh. You could tell it had rained quite a lot overnight, but fortunately we missed that and it was just drizzling a bit when we left for the train station.

February Expenses

Our expenses did pretty well in February, all things considered.

We had a budget of $2,385 CAD, and we spent $2,457 CAD ($1,810 USD) for the month. And the extra was solely related to our decision to fly from Da Lat to Vinh instead of taking buses. Without that, we actually would have been under budget. So we're really pleased with that.