Tag: travelling (Page 1 of 2)

Don’t Forget to Visit Crazy House

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Dalat is such a great city. It’s a welcome break from the humidity of the rest South East Asia. I spent a lovely few days in the mountains of Vietnam, but the highlight was definitely Crazy House.

Crazy House

Crazy House is an amazing guesthouse in Dalat. If I wasn’t on a backpacker budget I would’ve 100% stayed there. It’s like something out of a fairytale. The architect who created the building, Đặng Việt Nga, was inspired by Gaudi, but I personally thought it felt like a Disney creation.

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The day I visited was quiet, so I almost had the place to myself. The whole house felt like a woodland and in some parts looked like odd-shaped trees.

crazyhousetree

I loved how many staircases there were and how easy it was to get lost climbing up and down the stairs with all the twists and turns.

crazyhousestairs

From the top of Crazy House it was possible to see stunning views of Da Lat.

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The guestrooms were open for viewing (although you couldn’t actually go into the rooms). This room had a carving of a bear. crazyhouseguestroom

And this one had windows that looked like spiderwebs. The woodland feel of the place felt so unusual for South East Asia, yet fit in nicely with the cooler climate of Da Lat.

crazyhouseguestroom

And of course, here’s a selfie I took. It was nice to take a selfie where I’m not looking sweaty from the humidity.

crazyhouseselfie

How to get to Da Lat

Fly – It’s possible to fly directly to Dalat from Ho Chi Minh or Hanoi.

Bus – Get the bus from Mui Ne, Ho Chi Minh, Nha Trang or Hoi An.

Other Activities in Da Lat

Crazy House was my highlight, but there’s plenty of other things to do in Da Lat. Most backpackers do canyoning as part of a day tour. There’s also a tour which involves driving around the local countryside on motorbikes. Like most places in South East Asia, these are available to book in every hostel on arrival. I stayed at Mr Peace Backpacker’s House which I enjoyed. The staff were really friendly and there was a family dinner each evening.

What’s the most interesting building you’ve seen whilst travelling? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

For more on Vietnam, check out my posts about Ho Chi Minh City, Mui Ne and the Mekong Delta.

 

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A Jeep Tour Of Mui Ne

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Mui Ne is a small beach town in Vietnam, around 5 hours drive north of Ho Chi Minh City. Many backpackers miss this place out when travelling through Vietnam, opting to stop in the larger resort area of Nha Trang, a few hours north. I personally preferred Mui Ne to Nha Trang – it’s quieter.

There’s a lovely beach in Mui Ne, which has pretty good surf, so there’s usually a few surfers out on the water. There are businesses offering kite surfing and regular surfing lessons along the beach. Like I said before, it’s quiet in Mui Ne so if you’re interested in learning either of these, it’s a good place to learn.

I stayed at La Casa Del Latino Hotel because it had been recommended by some backpackers I met in Ho Chi Minh. It was such a nice, chilled out hotel/hostel with a pool. The staff were so friendly and the food in the restaurant was delicious.

mui ne la casa del latino

The Tour

There’s a jeep tour which can be booked through hostels in Mui Ne. The tour includes stops to the white sand dunes, red sand dunes, fishing village and fairy stream. The tour runs at either 4.30am or 1.30pm. I chose the 4.30am tour because I’m slightly mad. Just kidding, the 4.30am tour includes seeing the sunset over the white sand dunes. Also, I wanted to go Da Lat the same day so doing the 4.30am tour meant I could get the afternoon bus to Da Lat.

The jeep picked me up at 4am, along with a couple of other people from my hostel. Whilst my day was starting very early, there were plenty of people in the bars along the Main Street.

sunrise mui ne

We headed towards the sand dunes, in the pitch black, but by the time we arrived at the white dunes, sunrise was imminent. I paid an extra 200,000 to get a quad bike to the top of the dunes, where there I saw the most amazing views of the sunrise. See for yourself:

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Once the sun was up, it was slightly surprising how quickly the temperature rose. We got back in the jeep and went to the red sand dunes. The red sand dunes felt really touristy and honestly were not as impressive as the white sand dunes.

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The next stop was the fishing village. Fishermen and fishmongers were going about their daily business, paying no mind to the tourists around them.

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Fairy Stream

The final stop was the fairy stream. It’s a nice walk up the stream to see some beautiful rock formations. There was also an adorable puppy at the beginning of the walk which made it all the more worthwhile.

puppymuine

fairystreammuine

Mui Ne was such a relaxed part of Vietnam. I enjoyed the tour and I’m surprised so many people miss out Mui Ne, when it’s almost halfway between Da Lat and Ho Chi Minh City. If you have a 30 day visa for Vietnam it’s definitely worth stopping by.

 

 

 

 

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Koh Lanta

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Koh Lanta – an island many backpackers miss out on their travels around Thailand. It’s an island more renowned for its quiet beaches and gorgeous beaches than a wild party scene.

Koh Lanta

I arrived there in low season – August. I caught a bus from Krabi for 300 baht, which includes the short ferry ride to Koh Lanta.

koh lanta long beach

The hostel I’d booked was almost empty. A far cry from the full dorm rooms of Krabi – backpackers who were going to or had just been to Koh Phi Phi. My hostel was a 10-minute walk from Long Beach so on my first full day, I headed straight there. The beach was wonderfully quiet. Disappointingly, I found there was quite a lot of litter on the beach. Mostly plastic water bottles. Perhaps they’d been brought to the beach by the rough seas?

koh lanta long beach

Lanta Animal Rescue

In the afternoon, I visited Lanta Animal Rescue, an organisation dedicated to helping the animals on Koh Lanta. There were kittens and puppies available to pet as soon as I arrived, including 3 very cute kittens called Ice, Gin and Tonic.

lanta animal rescue

Every couple of hours, a member of staff gives a guided tour to any tourists who are interested. I went on the tour and learned a  lot about why there are (or were) so many stray dogs in Koh Lanta (and by extension, other touristy areas). This is a great organisation and I absolutely loved spending the afternoon here. There’s also the option of dog walking, either before 11am or after 3pm, when the weather is slightly cooler.

lanta animal rescue

The following day, the weather was stormy almost all day. Not wanting to spend a week on an island where there’s very little to do when the weather is bad, I decided to go to Langkawi. This took all day and involved getting a bus to Trang, then a bus to Satun, then a boat from Satun to Langkawi. It was much easier than I expected, considering I could only book the bus from Koh Lanta to Trang, and I had to book the rest of the transport on arrival at each destination.

I liked Koh Lanta, but unfortunately didn’t experience everything the island has to offer because of the bad weather. Perhaps I was unlucky. Perhaps I wasn’t expecting it to rain quite so much.

 

 

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Kuching Cat Museum – An Odd Place

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As soon as I heard about the Kuching Cat Museum, I knew I had to go. Here’s what other travellers had told me about it:

“It’s a bit niche”

“Only go if you really love cats”

“A little bit bizarre”

It sounded perfect.

The Cat Museum is not within walking distance of the other tourist attractions in Kuching, so I took a taxi there. It’s home is in a weird UFO shaped building.

I walked into the UFO building, to find the entrance to the cat museum through the mouth of a giant cat head.

entrance kuching cat museum borneo

Entrance to the Kuching Cat Museum

Entry to the museum is free but there is a fee of 3RM to take pictures on a mobile phone, or 4RM to take pictures on a digital camera.

The first thing I noticed was the giant statues of cats. They’re actually a bit creepy.

statues kuching cat museum

I moved onto the section about cats in Borneo. It was a goldmine of bad taxidermy.

bad taxidermy kuching cat museum

bad taxidermy kuching cat museum

 

bad taxidermy kuching cat museum

Next up, was the wall of 3D pictures of cats.

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All around was cat memorabilia in glass display cases. It was actually quite impressive how much cat memorabilia had been collected. Here’s one example of a display case. Notice Grumpy Cat in the bottom right corner.

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Other areas of the museum include; cats in literature, cats in theatre; cats in art and a cat food display (seriously).

You’d be mistaken for thinking that this museum was just a collection of cat memorabila; a few parts were educational. Like, for example, this poster which shows that you can tell the temperature of a room purely based on the way a cat is sleeping:

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The final part of the museum consisted of pictures of people with cat tattoos. Alongside this were the different kinds of cat tattoos available and their meanings.

Other notable mentions include: a room dedicated to a lady who collected cat memorabilia, the section about cat funerals and the wall of cat themed greetings cards and postcards.

The Kuching Cat Museum is probably the weirdest place I’ve visited so far on this trip. It’s a great way to spend 45 minutes in Kuching.

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THE KUCHING

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Cebu – Karaoke Nights And Gang Fights

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Cebu City isn’t too bad. It’s smaller than Manila so it’s easier to navigate and the air doesn’t feel so polluted. We stayed in Cebu Tropical Hostel which had a lot of backpackers staying there so it was a great place to meet people.

Cebu Tropical Hostel

Social area at Cebu Tropical Hostel

On our first day, we visited the Cebu Taoist Temple, which had great views of the city of Cebu. The temple itself was peaceful and beautiful.

Cebu Taoist Temple

Cebu Taoist Temple

On our last night we met a couple of Brits in the hostel and decided to try a few bars on Mango Avenue. The 5 of us crammed into a taxi and 5 minutes later, we arrived at Mango Avenue.

At first glance, it didn’t seem very busy. The busiest looking place was an Irish bar which had a singer performing. We headed in and luckily beers weren’t too expensive if you bought them in rounds of 8. Towards the end of their set, the singers let a couple of the people from our group sing with them and we all had a dance. We stayed in this bar until the singer finished.

By this point, we were all a little tipsy but it was only 1am and no one was ready to go home. Karaoke was suggested so we wandered around looking for a karaoke bar. We found one in what seemed to be the ground floor of a multi-storey car park. It was called’Lyrics’ and it was the sort of karaoke bar where you hire a booth for an hour and sing amongst friends. I can’t remember the exact cost but it definitely wasn’t too pricey. After an hour of singing Beyonce, TLC and 90’s classics our time was up. We headed outside with our cocktails in some attempt to finish them.

 

This is where the gang fight begins. As we were trying to finish our drinks, loads of men started fighting in front of the bar. Like, about 50. We stood up to watch but a bartender told us to sit down. I asked the bartender if this was normal and she casually replied, “Yeah, it happens often”. We waited for the fighters to clear then hopped in a taxi and headed back to the hostel.

Cebu is a good place for a night out. The karaoke was very entertaining and it’s easy to see why Filipinos love it so much. The gang fight was more unusual than actually frightening because everyone seemed to appear out of nowhere and they disappeared just as quickly.

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