Wednesday 9 March 2016


So to get from Hanoi to Vientiane we embarked on a bus ride which took us 27 joke. There  are a lot of people that complain about the bus from Vietnam to Laos however since we had not come across any issues from our previous heavily complained about buses. Plus when you put it in to perspective its $15 vs $100 minimum. It's a no brainer. 

We were 'picked up' from our hostel. I use the term loosely because a man turned up shouted Laos and we had to follow him on his scooter to a minivan. The mini van was cramped to say the least. We were dropped off down the road from the bus station and divided in to our various destinations. From here we then had to wait for our 'leader' to buy the tickets for us. 

Despite confirming that the bus would have a toilet with the travel agency we bought our tickets did not. However, apart from at- no complaints. We then began to travel with a few pit stops and a food stop along the way. 

I was awoken by the driver/staff shouting passport at us and I figured we were at passport control. Although, they did make us get out earlier than necessary. It is also very muddy around passport control so dress accordingly. 

Like so many land crossings there were additional charges. The first of which was a $1 exit stamp from Vietnam. Something you need to cross into the Laos border. There is no way around it...unless your Vietnamese. This robbery happens at the Laos border, which is a bit of a walk away. At this border the price of visa increases for the weekend, again there is not a lot you can do. Be sure to check you have a Visa card and a stamp in your passport because if you don't, when you go to leave you will have alot of difficulties/you won't be leaving unless you pay a hefty price.

After this debarkle, we finally got back on the bus for the rest of the journey. When we arrived finally in Vientiane, we were first dropped at some random carpal before getting a free tuk tuk to the bus station courtesy of the bus company. From here, we got another tuk tuk to our hostel for 20kip.

Dream Home Hostel Facilities

We wanted to take some time to relax, especially after that whopper of a journey so we took advantage of the hostel facilities. 

Swimming Pool 

The newly built swimming pool was perfect for the day when temperatures were reaching 40 degrees!! The pool is just round the corner from the hostel. As swimming pools go it was actually quite a decent size. They do sell drinks here but they are cheaper from the shops. As there isn't any staff around, I don't know if they have an issue with you bringing your own but we never had any difficulty. 


Within the hostel, they have a restaurant which sells a few Asian dishes but also is bad but after 2months nearly of noodles and rice- I was over the moon for a burger. I had the chicken one and it was amazing. Thoroughly enjoyed it and if you are missing western food I would recommend you trying it especially because so many horror stories of eating western food whilst away and it ending badly shall we say...

Love Imogen xoxo

Vientiane Hostel Review



Despite there being several wifi points, the strength and signal is not great. 

To enter the initial part of the hostel is very easy. However, to enter the rooms you do need a swipe card.  The lockers here are odd... They are basically sheets of metal with a make shift lock device-not the safest, to say the least!

The swimming pool is around the corner from the hostel. Although nice, you can tell that the outer parts i.e the bar were still in construction. It was nice at the time but no doubt by now it will really add to the atmosphere in the hostel. I think without a swimming pool, Vientiane would be unbearable because it is just so so hot!

Showers and Toilets 

All facilities are downstairs which is okay but annoying if you need the toilet in the middle of the night! The actual showers themselves are good with decent pressure plus because there are so many you are never left waiting to shower. 


The staff here are very friendly and are helpful. Their English abilities differ but all in all it is never difficult to communicate when booking transport or asking for directions. 


Breakfast here was included and was really good there was a selection of what you could have including pancakes- I urge you to try these as I personally thought it was the best way to start the day! You also have the option of eating Al fresco- what more could you want ay!?


Despite the rooms being basic they did the job. I did like that each bed had a mini light- a feature I missed when I returned back to hostel living in Australia! The air con is strong here so make sure you have some warm clothing for night time! 

Value for Money

I was impressed with his much you got for your money here. It made the perfect first stop in our penultimate Asian country! 


Location wise it is good. Although it's not in the main part of the city not many of the good hostels in the area are. It was close to amenities and fit its purpose perfectly! 

OVERALL, I would definitely recommend giving this place ago whilst staying in Vientiane.

Love Imogen xoxo

Tuesday 23 February 2016


So to get from Hoi An to Hanoi it takes around 16 hours. It is weird because in the UK if you asked me to do more than I reckon 4 hours on a bus I would have point blank refused but you know here I am buzzing for it. 

We were picked up from our hostel in Hoi An before being taken to the bus. We had a few issues getting an alright price for the tickets anyway due to the apparent celebrations of reunification day...that happened days ago. I swear sometimes in Asia you get fed up of the bartering!

We eventually found a bus called Trekking who would take us to Hanoi! Online, reviews for this company are horrendous and do not get me wrong it was not as bad as it was made out...but then again it was not much better! The start of the journey started well, the bus was nice-comfortable and then things got weird...

So when we arrived at Hue we were made to get off the bus for 'cleaning'. Now I don't mean to sound rude but that was a blatant lie. Once the bus came round again they then tried to assign us to seats. Not happening. After experiencing several night buses and reading blogs etc online it became clear that there is no friends in the seat game. If I was going to recommend it would be to get a window, top bunk which is not at the back. The reasoning behind this:

-Window> you can use this to lean on, making sleep a lot more comfy!
- Top bunk> it is more secure, plus you are not going to wake up in the middle of the night face to face with a randomer sleeping in the aisle
-Not at the back> This depends to be fair on how tall you are, I am 5ft5 and not being at the very back meant that the top bunk was comfortable. However, if you are taller I would imagine the back would be nice. However, take in to consideration that three people sit across the back and there is no separations between 'beds' so unless you are a group of three or you just love getting close to strangers it just may not be for you.

I know I sound prissy/like a flashpacker/spoilt...however you are embarking on 16 hour journeys, don't take the decision lightly!

Anyway, back to the situation...after a heated discussion we sat where we wanted. A couple who had been on the first bus with us however were asked to sit in the aisles, they refused which caused issues. The staff at this point were what can only be described as horribly rude.

I won't lie, I went for a short nap here and when I woke up the aisles were yet again filled with locals. G R E A T! The one beside me, then had the cheek to fiddle with my aircon...I don't think so buster! Not happening. 

We had a stop at a random cafe, where the toilets were not awful. That is all I will say about that. Talking of toilets, there was actually one on the bus this time...hooray! It was alright although the sink was not working but there was toilet paper. 

At one point in the journey we appeared to stack up on crates of beer...none of which was shared with the passengers..BOO! 

We arrived bang on time at half 6 in the morning in Hanoi and for that I can't fault them. Honestly, the journey was fine but the staff need to learn to be polite because the way they spoke to some passengers was just not on. Ignore the online reviews though, bus travel is absolutely fine! 

New Day

At our hostel, we asked for a recommendation on where to get food. We were informed to go to New Day which was only round the corner. I ordered sautéed claims with chilli and garlic with steamed rice. It was amazing and cost around £2.50! 

We returned there the next day for dinner and it was packed! I had some Saigon spring rolls...before you ask I don't know the difference between Saigon and Hanoi spring rolls but you got more for Saigon so we stuck with this. I also ordered the steamed aubergine clay pot dish with pork which was so good! 

The service here was good although they struggled when busy especially because half of the staff appeared to have a team dinner half way through the busiest serving time. 

I would really recommend this place, try something new-you won't regret it! 

Net Hue 

We were recommended this restaurant by an employee at the hostel we were staying at. I ordered the grilled pork noodle and although nice it was definitely lacking sauce. Overall, the service was a bit hit and miss especially in comparison to the service we had received at New Day. By all means, check the place out but if you have to choose between the two, I would 100% go for New Day! 

Halong Bay 

So Hanoi is very much a stopover city for Halong Bay and/or Sapa. We didn't have time to do Sapa and we were very much limited for Halong Bay. 

The packages available for Halong Bay often consist of; 1 day tours, 2 days 1 night and 3 days 2 nights. Popular among backpackers is the castaway tour. I have not heard a bad thing about it. Unfortunately, due to our unexpected extended time in Vietnam we have just not been able to fix this in to our plans. However, if you have the time do it! It would be one of the overnight trips that I would recommend. It is probably the more expensive option but you do have a great time!

If you are going do an overnight your, splash a bit more cash because at the end of the day you don't want to be staying on a horror boat. 

We ended up doing a 1 day tour. Be aware that the journey to Halong takes about 3 hours so if you aren't in to that, opt for a 2 day trip or don't go. We bargained for our price and were quoted from 20 to 40 dollars for the tour that we did. We managed to get it down to 19 before booking. 

On the day, the bus actually forgot about us. Why does this always happens us!? Anyway, they came and got us and we were packed on the mini jus like sardines. It is good that you are aware that they often just put all the one day trip holders together but not necessarily on the buses together...organisation needs improving. This also means that the person say next to you may have paid double the price for the trip you are on..awkward. My only advice is to haggle as much as you can, go to leave and believe me that price will come crashing down. 

After a long journey, we arrived at the port ready to go where we met our new tour guide for the day. We were then shown the boats. Do not be under the impression that these boats will be the grandeur you are presented in the brochures because they just won't be! The thing is with a lick of paint and love, they could all look really good but there just isn't the care for it. 

So as we boarded the boat we were served our seafood lunch which consisted of a fish, clams in a tomato and chilli broth, a cabbage dish, peanuts, sticky rice, a scrambled egg dish and spring rolls. All of which were nice but we're not quite as grand as I would think. 

Then on to our activites! 

So first we went to visit the Thien Cuhn Cabe also known as the 'Heavenly Cave'. This is truly beautiful and it is nice that they are lit. Unbeknown to us, this would be the only cave that we would be visiting today despite being promised more but c'est le vie.

From here we went to the floating village where we were supposed to kayak. However, due to a serious accident a few days before we were unable to. Along with a few others on the trip we were not happy about this because we had paid extra for it. The tour guide was very dismissive of us saying that it was not his fault.


From here, we went to explore the remainder of Halong Bag and it is really beautiful. With a bit of sunshine it could have been exquisite but you cannot have everything in life can you? 

From here we embarked upon a cruise back to shore and our bus ride home. On arriving home we were quick to go and see the travel agent that we booked with who quickly gave us a refund...RESULT!

I would recommend going on a Halong Bay trip but be sure to know what you want, ask what's included, ask to see he boost, ask fellow travellers what they recommend and personalise your trip to ensure the best for you! 


If you are unsure what to do in the day you can always chill by the lake. Bring lots of water though because you will be sweating buckets! Take advantage of the little street vendors and get yourself some donuts or even a drink! 

Bahn My Kebab 

-Note how tanned my leg looks...

There was a Bahn my Kebab outside my hostel and I am not going to lie I was curious. It was 30 thousand aka £1 so I thought I would give it a go. I didn't regret it either! I don't really know what was in it (quite a theme with the street food that I eat) but it was such a good lunch time food. I would definitely recommend giving it a go. If you want to try the one that I went to then it was the one on Mahn Street.

Although not my favourite destination in Vietnam, I did enjoy Hanoi and the things that we did! 

Love Imogen xoxo