Catching up on recent trips


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Update 1: Hong Kong (below)

Update 2: Vietnam (below)

Because I’m a bit lazy busy, I’ve not written about, or posted photos from, many trips Kelly and I’ve taken recently. I plan to make this up in a semi-rushed manner; by putting them all in one post, and paring the writing down to a short paragraph or two on each. I will also sort out the photos and get a few pics up for each trip. This will, hopefully, flesh out what is essentially a skeleton of a blog post.

Here are the un- semi-blogged trips, in reverse chronological order:

Singapore

As a matter of fact, I’m there right now…

Parents’ tour of KL

Last week. This visit also includes the mini-trip to the Perhentian Islands.

Vietnam

At the beginning of September, Malaysia had a bunch of public holidays in one week for Ramadan/Hari Raya. Kelly took the other day or two off work and we headed to Vietnam for one week and two weekends. Well, that’s not strictly true, and without going into too much detail, here’s a free traveller’s tip to explain: When going to Vietnam, get your Visa approval letter from the Vietnam government before you go to the airport.

In other words, the first few days of our Vietnam trip were spent in Kuala Lumpur — where we live. Undeterred, we decided to make a holiday of these first few days by going our for breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, and doing other touristy stuff we hadn’t done yet. All in all, it was a great few days!

Our approval letter came through and we were on a plane heading towards a slightly-shorter-that-planned-stay in Hué. Hué is a nice little town, full of history, colour, and food, but not too much of any of those. I’d recommend staying there for maybe three days at most. And I’d recommend staying at La Résidence Hôtel & Spa, if only for the insanely deep pool at 2.7 metres! (9 feet for the yanks!).

(Oh yeah, I sort of ‘live-blogged’ this trip if you want an in-depth version of events in cryptic shorthand….)

After Hué we travelled by festy train to Hoi An. A very pretty town known for its tailors and dress-, shoe-, jewellery, hat-makers. We spent much of our time at Mango Rooms (recommended), taking advantage of their up-to-6pm happy hour of US$2.50 cocktails, then heading out for sightseeing and bike riding (also recommended).

Hoi An has a nice-ish beach, with extremely hot sand. You haggle for find a place to camp for the day, then relax as you drink, eat, swim, and read. Not a bad way to spend a day.

Vietnam was pretty good, but not the best place to visit in Asia. Hoi An has a million super-cheap tailors, but I feel the quality of the clothes kinda lives up to the price. For me, I prefer my tailor in Thailand for a bit more money, but a lot more satisfaction.

If you’re wanting a trip to a more rural Asia, I’d recommend Siem Reap, Cambodia, or Laos.

The full set of Vietnam photos can be seen on our Flickr page.

Hong Kong – July 2011

In July, Kelly and I took a long weekend and headed for Hong Kong. The reason? Elbow were playing in Asia. We missed them last time they were in Oz because we were in Japan, and they were playing a gig closer to us than Australia, so we jumped at the chance to see them again. (The gig was pretty great).

Another reason is that we had met a couple while cruising down the Mekong on our trip to Laos in February this year. Ben and Laura were expats living in Hong Kong, and graciously offered to show us around if we ever made it Honkers[1. Apparently, people don’t call Hong Kong ‘Honkers’ — I think it’s just me. They do however, call Hong Kong dollars ‘Honkies’ :)]. Unfortunately, Laura was back in the US at the time, but true to his word, Ben became our host for the weekend. And he was pretty great; full of knowledge about the buildings and history of Hong Kong.

On the hour-long ferry ride over to Cheung Chau Island, Ben told us he’d never seen the weather as good in Honkers. That you could see all the way across the bay and into the mountains was apparently extraordinary. He was as blown away as we were I think :)

On the island we hired some bikes and did a small self-paced and -directed tour, ending in a European-themed bar drinking cherry beer and eating spring rolls.

Later that night we rode the 800-metre escalator (!!!) to meet up again in the city for dinner at our host’s favourite Nepalese restaurant, followed by more drinks with a few of his fellow expats. On the way back to the turtle-entranced hotel we stopped for a giant slice of pizza. Seriously, the pizza was at least two feet in diameter! Impressive, most impressive. In fact, what’s more impressive was how much of it we I ate that evening :(

Waking the next morning was difficult, but Kelly and I rose to search out a brunch place Ben recommended called The Brunch Club. After brunch was a headachy gentle spot of shopping before getting ready to head to the airport to fly back to KL.

We’d love to come back to do the stuff we didn’t get around to that time. I want to thank Ben for his hospitality, and in conjunction with the fantastic weather, making this a great little weekend.

More photos can be seen on our Flickr page.