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On the Road – North Vietnam Transcript

Corey: [00:00:00] Welcome ladies and gentlemen to small worlds podcast. My name is Corey O’Flanagans.

Lianne: [00:00:24] And my name is Leanne Davis and we are

Corey: [00:00:27] here quarantining. We realize it’s been a couple of weeks since we brought you an episode,

Lianne: [00:00:33] but due

Corey: [00:00:35] to everything that’s going on, we just took a little break and yeah, definitely.

We’re slacking. The motivation is slipping. With each day of quarantine, but I think we’re going to be in it for the long haul. So we’re looking for days to self-motivate we thought that this would be a good way to start. So we want to talk to you guys about our time in Northern Vietnam. Wish we didn’t have to cut it short so we could have done one on the entirety of Vietnam, but here we are.

So the end, what do you got?

Lianne: [00:01:06] So Vietnam, but is China, Laos and Cambodia making it a very popular choice for travelers doing the whole Southeast Asia banana pancake trail. So it is very popular on, it does offer an awful lot for tourism, but it’s still not quite as developed or as touristic as say, Thailand.


Corey: [00:01:27] just in general. Yeah. I mean, my first impressions of Vietnam were brought to me by people I met when I was in Thailand in 2002. And they were like, if you think Thailand is cheap, you should go to Vietnam. You can live like a royalty for like 500 bucks a month. And although that’s probably doubled, I think that you can live really well for very little,

Throughout Vietnam.

And it is. Absolutely stunning. It is the North part, especially we were just mesmerized the whole time by the, by the landscape, especially about the people, the food, everything was awesome.

Lianne: [00:02:00] Yeah. Yeah. I think it’s fair to say. Both of us were very impressed, even though we only had, we had to cut a trip shot by like three weeks.

In those two weeks we did see like, get to see a lot of the North didn’t we it’s really beautiful.

Corey: [00:02:13] And there is a lot of talk about the people doing the motorcycle. This is like the only country where I’ve heard of this. As popular as it seems to be where people go and flying either Hanoi or hoochie men buy a motorcycle and then drive all around the country for a month.

And then sell it, sell it and leave. And I have a, literally haven’t heard of this anywhere else

Lianne: [00:02:32] we really wanted to do. But we weren’t quite sure about the mechanics of it. So we just ended up going for two weeks. We spent what, like 12 of those days in the North, and then we ended it in CNS. So what we did, we.

Landed in Hanoi, which is the Capitol located in the North. And you may have heard of Harlem. They that’s probably one of the really big touristic attractions in Vietnam. Yeah. So that’s not far at all, like from Helen BAMTech and like an hour’s drive a couple hours drive, but yeah, so this Northern region, so we landed in Hanoi and there’s no than region.

First impression was pretty cold.

Corey: [00:03:09] We were, we were again, not ready for the coaches.

Lianne: [00:03:15] So Northern region mountain, very similar to Southern China. Obviously it’s on the Buddha Southern part of Vietnam, tropical. Good feed to know. So handily. Let’s start there.

Corey: [00:03:26] I mean, we really just spent our time in the old town. It’s just this unique little coffee culture. What I would call it, just walking around and seeing all these cool little indoor outdoor coffee shops.

Lianne: [00:03:36] It was so weird. Cause I’ve never seen that in Asia where people would literally sit there all day. Just drinking coffee, just shooting the shit of their friends, watching people,

Corey: [00:03:44] just the cutest little like foot and a half tall. Table and chairs and the tiniest sort of coffee cups.

Lianne: [00:03:52] We remarked on it. And our first day we’re like, Oh, these chairs are really smart.

Like everything. It’s like one of those pictures where you get, I want to emphasize, then it’s the complete opposite of that. So you feel like the giant instead,

Corey: [00:04:04] it was just a matter of. I dunno, there was tons of shopping, obviously, Vietnam, I think is well known throughout the entire country. I think we’ll probably touch on this later.

Have a place to go get really nice designer clothing made or I wouldn’t say designer custom. Yeah. And then yeah, high quality stuff. And then, yeah, so we just spent some time walking around there. We got a really great hotel room with the bed that we needed. Hard to leave

Lianne: [00:04:29] hard to leave the bed. In fact, after.

A few weeks of hard matches. You

Corey: [00:04:33] get us that soft of a mattress and that little natural light coming into a room

Lianne: [00:04:38] pillows. Oh my God. But one thing is definitely should try. If you go to Hanoi, Vietnam in general is the egg coffee. Is

Corey: [00:04:47] delightful, well known for it’s kind of sweet, isn’t it.

Lianne: [00:04:50] And a yoke, which makes it creamy with the condensed milk, which is super sweet milk.

And then what they do is basically 80% coffee, 80% from made with this mixture and 20% coffee, really strong coffee. But it’s just delicious. It’s like a dessert. I don’t actually like the coffee part. I just like the family part.

Corey: [00:05:09] Yeah. I didn’t know that there was even coffee. I just like, Oh, I guess I coffee’s just phone a little surprise at the bottom.

Lianne: [00:05:16] Now I know what the baby Chino thing. And,

Corey: [00:05:18] I think one of the other things was that we were pleasantly surprised by was one, the price of bottles of wine came down substantially, which was fantastic.

Lianne: [00:05:28] You can find a bottle of wine for $5,

Corey: [00:05:31] easy. Yeah. Four or five bucks. And it’s actually like imported. Yeah, there was chili and there was Australian wines.

It was, we were pleasantly surprised. So you can expect to find that. And then Leanne mistakenly, but positively ordered some shots of rice wine for us at dinner one night, which was

Lianne: [00:05:49] fantastic. I thought it was a

Corey: [00:05:51] I was just going to get a nice little sweet tasty treat.

Lianne: [00:05:54] I would say if anyone’s had dessert, why not ice wine?

When I saw the sign said like apricot wine, I thought, Oh, sick. I love dessert wine. I love it too much. Actually I drink it like regular wine and yeah. And it shows up and it was just like, Strong rice wine, but it was tasted. We

Corey: [00:06:09] left with a little,

Lianne: [00:06:11] we definitely did. It’s super cheap. So if you are in a bit of a budget in Vietnam, just drink that local rice wine.

You get plum apricot, Apple

Corey: [00:06:19] pretty good. Well, and on your own, you’re going to be on a really good pace, possibly even too much. Nah,

Lianne: [00:06:27] man, you mentioned there’s a really cool thing there. So it’s like one of these Insta Insta famous photos butts that in Hanoi, it’s basically an like an old train track.

Corey: [00:06:39] It’s your normal train track that would cut through a city. But essentially they’ve just built the buildings around it much closer than they have anywhere else that you’ve ever seen. They’re like three feet off of either side. So one meter and yeah, it’s just this really unique kind of. It’s it makes for some really cool photos that we’ve seen on Instagram.

We ended up not getting one because we were,

Lianne: [00:07:02] it was all a bit too much of like organized, spent

Corey: [00:07:05] time in India. Anytime somebody is trying to pressure us anymore. We’re just

Lianne: [00:07:09] with God. So if anyone’s ever tried to sell us something, you just got to back off and that was, think about it. Yeah. But yeah, we went, so basically we

Corey: [00:07:16] would offer, give us

Lianne: [00:07:17] six months in six months, we come back here.

It’s way up the president of guns, but yeah, so basically it’s like just too much organized fun. So you just, you walk down the street and then. It’s caught enough by these security guys. I’m only allowed in that if you’re on a tour or if one of these kids is coming up to you and just trying to get you to their coffee shop.

So you have to give us a business inside, which we were going to do, but then we didn’t like the pressure we were getting put into. So we decided to work and walk away. So yeah, so after a few days in Hanoi, just relaxing a little bit. We decided to take a bus up to a place called Sappa. So a little information about soccer.

It’s got one of the highest peaks or the highest peak in Vietnam, I should say. And there’s just lots of tracking up in this mountainous region. Again, get the motor bike rentals or buy a bike and there’s just. Just drive, just cruise along good skin and see everything.

Corey: [00:08:14] The good itinerary. I just did a nice little blog post on the small website you can do.

It’s a 10 or 12 day itinerary for you. And although we didn’t do exact itinerary we did something very close to it. So I thought that I would share it because we just couldn’t get enough of the motorbikes up there, even though it wasn’t. Ideal weather. It was

Lianne: [00:08:35] chilling. Oh my God. But it was definitely still beautiful.

A different kind of BT. Yeah. So yeah, so we’ve got, we organize it through the place that we were staying actually to take a tourist bus up to Sappa it was around 20 to 25 us dollars. For like a six hour drive, but Oh my gosh, it was the luxury birth and it actually was the best Bush Jenny I’ve ever been.


Corey: [00:08:57] was like first-class in an airplane on a bus,

Lianne: [00:09:00] like a full-size bus, but with only 15 seats, it’s like, everyone gets their own single reclined table of leather chair with power outlets,

Corey: [00:09:08] blanket there’s wifi on it. That worked pretty decent. And yeah, overall, it was just a really. I just was like, so impressed with that bus.

We’ve had other, we have other bus experiences that we’ll jump into, but that was a good start.

Lianne: [00:09:21] It was definitely that definitely set the pedestal high. And then the next person, not so much CSO and SEPA it’s then miss lovely mountain city. And like I said, it’s surrounded by mountains and hiking trails, but we unfortunately with a, in the gray rainy season.

So we had a couple of rainy gray days. It was kind of chilling. We didn’t have the right gear to be in that situation. So we just kind of holed up and did some work and explored the town on Tylenol.

Corey: [00:09:46] One of the main things that people do is when you’re walking through Sapa, you’ll see a, you’ll get these tiny little cutest little Vietnamese.

Country women.

Lianne: [00:09:55] When we say tiny, literally they’re like three foot door,

Corey: [00:09:59] but they’ll come running up to you and just want you to go to their little home village often outside of. Saba with them and you get to hike amongst their rice patties. And I’m thinking that if it’s much better weather, if it’s not cold and rainy, that would be a heck of an experience.

And I’m thinking we probably would have done that because we had the time. It just didn’t seem that appealing due to the weather that we were having. So we passed, but I think that that’s something that we’d recommend. And then obviously, Saba overlooks the highest peak in Vietnam.

Lianne: [00:10:28] He can get the cable car up to.

Also, if you are not feeling very cheeky, you

Corey: [00:10:32] can track it in a day or you just do the cable car, which is a pretty cool feature that they have. Yeah.

Lianne: [00:10:36] But soccer has lots going on. There’s plenty of places to stay, plenty of places to eat. Feel very European feel. I think that’s probably because there’s a French owner who owns about five different over the restaurants.

Yeah. So yeah, so after a few days in Sapa, we decided to head over to. Has yang, not high gang has yang how’s yang. And why don’t you tell us about a bus trip?

Corey: [00:10:58] So what’s meant to be just like a nice little four or five hour bus journey. Along the Vietnamese countryside quickly turned into a really.

Negatively fueled by bad energy because of the driver and the workers on the bus. And so what happened was about a quarter of the way, a third of the way on the trip. No, one’s really paying attention. People are dozing off and all of a sudden the bus stops in the middle of the road, the three workers, including the driver, I’ll hop out and just start beating the piss.

And I mean, we have videos. They started just kicking this little like 14 year old kid, because apparently he was driving his motor bike and just like cutting them off and stuff like that. But regardless of what this kid was doing, three grown men stopping and just beating his ass

Lianne: [00:11:49] and this little kid ran away and they just chased after him.

This went on for about half an hour, 20 minutes, half an hour. It was disgusted. Some of the guys on the bus like calmed them down and then they carried on trying to beat the shit. We have no idea what was going on at this point. We’re like, Hey, maybe that kid killed one of the brothers or something like we don’t know because we’re asking questions

Corey: [00:12:08] them,

Lianne: [00:12:08] not one of them is given us answers.

It’s not smiling as is the rudest. It was awful. I’ve been on some bad trips.

I think we were probably the oldest people in the book I did. I did, because I was like, I know that’s really offensive and I shouldn’t be doing it, but I did it. I’m

Corey: [00:12:30] not a good company.

Lianne: [00:12:31] And after a lot of more research into the company, I’ve been reading a lot of stuff like this with How the, the workers are really like intimidate until it’s Taurus and they’re really rude.

So it’s not like this as a singular thing. So it’s called the Vietnam bus travel. That’s the name of them? I will put that in the show notes. So just avoid them if you can just cause we don’t really condone that kind of behavior. Yeah, it was sad, but hopefully they’ve dealt out with the workers, but that left a nasty taste in our mouth.

However, when we did arrive in hygiene, We were greeted by the most lovely guy that I think we met in Vietnam who was a worker again, where we were staying in Hawaii.

Corey: [00:13:10] Shout out to land’s friend RANE for giving us a great recommendation.

Lianne: [00:13:13] Yeah. Thank you very much. Right. But yes Mark well, we’ll leave in again in the show notes where we stayed and where we actually hired these motorbikes to do the hijack loop, but Mark is a legend who works there.

So the hashtag loop it’s same. Kinda what is it? Clery? It’s

Corey: [00:13:29] becoming more famous, but yeah, essentially you have this really lovely part of Northern Vietnam that shares a pretty lengthy border with China. And you have this road that just is it’s one big loop, or it’s got all these little interior offshoots that you can go hit and people do anywhere from like a one, two to four or five day.

Motorbike trips and you can stay in tiny little villages. You can get in bigger towns. You cover a lot of ground. We ended up just doing it in two days because we were going to this other waterfall that we’re going to talk about in a minute. But yeah, I mean, it was an eight hour day of riding and then probably another, I’d say another seven or eight hour, day of writing.

That was just unbelievable scenic views. And. It’s just endless. The, one of the reasons that it takes long is cause he keeps stopping for pet photos.

Lianne: [00:14:21] Yeah. It was really stunning. It’s something that, because we’re obviously at the end of this trip and we’re a bit exhausted. But not everyone’s had been to Vietnam, so we’re like, Oh, sick, really, really looking forward to it.

But don’t really know what to expect. And that was something that I, I felt like really rejuvenate it is you know, we always, Oh, and Wilson being wiling the whole time.

Corey: [00:14:42] No, I had loved the word porn that I have with this called the karst topography guys. I mean, I just absolutely, I’ve been obsessed with that ever since I learned about it years ago.

Yeah. No, and it’s a, it’s just these huge limestone jettisons that just come out of the earth and just create these really abrupt features. But then you also have these rivers that are just winding through and the roads are just not just like these straight, long roads, like you might have in other places they’re just nice and windy and it’s, it’s, it’s so much fun to ride on a motorbike.

And the nice thing is that they’ve made it more adaptable to tourists by doing two things. You have semi-automatic motorbikes, which make it easier to shift because you don’t have to worry about the clutch. You just have to shift your gear. And then the second thing that they have is that if you’re not comfortable at all on a motorbike, you have the option of finding a local or just someone that you hop on back.

And you can just throw in headphones, throw on a small worlds podcast, just cruise and take a long ride while someone else is doing the driving. And people were raving about that too. So if you’re in Vietnam, Go to the spot. You absolutely will not regret this. It is fantastic motorbike. I

Lianne: [00:15:57] remember it. It’s okay.

You don’t have to ride the bike and even if say you’re in a group and one person wants to do the tour. The other people don’t that option. You don’t have to go with a rider in the tow groups. So yeah, they’re the options. You can do it by yourself, which we recommend because it is cheaper, but obviously you’re going to want a bit more confidence in driving because a, you are going through mountains on a motorbike that is gravel.

But also if you do, if you are a bit worried about that, Oh, let’s say if you know, one of your friends doesn’t want to learn how to ride a bike, you can do a tow where you can ride and your friend can go in the back. It doesn’t matter. There’s really something for everyone. It’s really cool.

Corey: [00:16:35] And then you have yeah, the cool how’s young itself is a pretty cool town, but it’s more of just a hub for this at this point.

There’s not much to do or see there outside of that. So there’s just some accommodations and endless places to rent motorbikes, but we actually had a pretty nice little right. That’s one thing that we in dimension is the the cook pots. Oh,

Lianne: [00:16:54] yeah, the hotspot. Oh my

Corey: [00:16:56] goodness. Oh, it’s so good.

Lianne: [00:16:57] Guys at coffee and hot putts, I mean, he got hot plates all over Asia.

They’re just super popular Vietnam and Oh my gosh. We’d seen them in Thailand and I kept saying to car like, Oh, we need to have one of those. And he was never conveniently hungry enough.

Corey: [00:17:11] It’s a lot of food,

Lianne: [00:17:12] but in Vietnam, it’s really good food. It, depending on your breath. But in Vietnam, we were in separate.

She had the best one at this hotel. I’ll try and find the name out and write it down in the show notes. It was so good. It was a summon hopper. Basically you get your proteins, your salmon or your meat. And then you have all your veggies and just the bubbling water in the middle and you just pop it all in.

Yeah. It’s just

Corey: [00:17:33] like this great little stew of whatever protein you want and then loads of veggies it’s super healthy and delicious. So that’s definitely something that you should check out. But yeah, other than that, this area. It’s pretty much just set up for this motor bike loop. And like we said, give yourself a minimum of two, probably three or four days to really maximize it.

Lianne: [00:17:51] And just another thing to know about riding the motor bikes, which we encountered, he probably gonna want to acquire your international driving license. Honestly, I have been doing this for five years now and every time this happens, I’m like, why do I still not have an international driving license?

Because you can talk your way out of it. Most of the time I’ll pay your way out of it. 10 bucks, 20

Corey: [00:18:15] bucks this time we could not,

Lianne: [00:18:17] but this time, interestingly enough, it worked in Thailand. So I’ll stop there. So at the beginning of the loop, there’s these cups that will sit there and they try and catch tourists like us, who shouldn’t really be driving their motorbikes.

They don’t want to get, you know, the Lawfare. They just want to get some extra cash. They don’t care about the

Corey: [00:18:38] makeup. I’m doing quotes right now, a three or four day international driver’s license that you can pay. $50 for

Lianne: [00:18:47] yeah. Which is a ridiculous amount to be paying

Corey: [00:18:49] us in Asia back that worked for us.

And this was our guy at our hostel that we were staying at that helped us with this. And we can’t guarantee that the timing’s going to be working and that this is going to work for everyone. But we didn’t want to pay the extra $50 just cause we’re stubborn sometimes. In the end we probably would have really regretted it.

So we went back to the hotel and then he was sitting up front. We told him what happened. And he was like, Oh, just go back between 11 and 12. There’ll be at lunch. But

Lianne: [00:19:16] yeah. Anyway, so we drove off the police hate it does, but we got away with it, which is really happy, very relieved. And we got around there

Corey: [00:19:22] necessarily recommend doing what we do because we seem to have.

Take issue with authority like this, just because we know what’s going on another pocket, otherwise we’re very respectful. But if you plan to do this kind of thing, make sure you do it with like a hint of sarcasm and a little bit of a smile

Lianne: [00:19:39] and read the person,

Corey: [00:19:41] read the person that you’re talking to, because if they just like all of a sudden, turn their head and give you a stern, look, it’s not going to work.

But if they get the sense that they might be able to play the game a little bit A lot of times, like Leanne said, like for the most part we’ve gotten out of it all the time, just by being a little bit cheeky,

Lianne: [00:19:56] but that’s

Corey: [00:19:57] us, it’s not for everybody. It’s 50 bucks, but absolutely don’t let that $50 did serve you because looking back on it, it would have been such a

Lianne: [00:20:05] shame.

So worth it, that $50 I would have paid it. I would still pay

Corey: [00:20:08] it an hour after that traffic stop. And you would have forgotten about it cause it’s so beautiful. Yeah. So just have that in mind.

Lianne: [00:20:15] Yeah. And the, the town as well that you can stay at, usually it’s like the The main town it’s like on the opposite end of the loop as has yang.

It’s so beautiful. It’s like a little ski town without the skiing. I guess

Corey: [00:20:27] it’s a site for welcome eyes, because at that point, depending on how many days you’re taking, if you’re doing it the way that we did it and just doing one day out one day back longed, long times on the saddle, then you’re just going to be absolutely so happy to see this little town and yeah,

Lianne: [00:20:43] there’s alcohol.

We did, we do it. Go in. We had shirts.

Corey: [00:20:47] We did. We got, I got up early and had a, had a good time. It was nice. I mean, this is a really small, and this isn’t even the smallest, but that’s a small little Vietnamese town. And we were there during the off season. I mean, we had dinner and drinks and everything for both of us, for like, 15 us dollars total.

And it was unbuttoned. We had like, no, there was no limits top shelf, baby,

Lianne: [00:21:13] top shelf premium. Okay. So we’re talking a little bit about costs and that’s what you can expect to find on the, on the trail. Again, this is like a local other steps or local areas. So the food. And the snacks that you can get are going to be super cheap.

Not sure if you can, you have wiggle room to be picky because it’s very limited choices. But yeah, it’s very cheap. So cost of the bikes. Do you remember how much they is work or

Corey: [00:21:40] like five, six bucks a day?

Lianne: [00:21:41] Yeah. So that’s $6 us a day. If you’ve got two of you on there, it’s $3, although we recommend getting your own bikes.

Yeah. Just cause it’s a lot more fun to cruise around. Why didn’t you subscribe, rate and review

Corey: [00:21:54] us till the front,

Lianne: [00:21:56] you know, the drill.

Corey: [00:21:57] That’d be really cool if you did that. Especially during these hard times, we know you’re running out of stuff to do,

Lianne: [00:22:02] just listen to her. I don’t

Corey: [00:22:03] want a small worlds binge and then give us some feedback.

Cause we know we can get better.

Lianne: [00:22:09] All right. So we talked a little bit about the waterfall, but we went to go see after has yang. But this waterfall is one of the largest waterfalls in Asia and it actually sits on the board of China and Vietnam. So we decided months and months ago. That we wanted to see this waterfall.

And then next we saw photos of it. It’s so out the way it’s about nine hours drive out the way, but it’s worth it. Every single hour spent on that drive is beautiful and that waterfall is absolutely stunning. So going from has yang, we took a local bus to get there, or you can have the option to ride a motorbike.

If you look at Corey’s suggested itinerary. You can take your own bite there.

Corey: [00:22:53] In retrospect, that’s what we would have done.

Lianne: [00:22:56] We timed it out that if

Corey: [00:22:58] we didn’t know him, but that’s why we’re doing this and letting you guys know, like, if you’re comfortable on a motorbike and you want to do the loop and you want to do this waterfall, I think it’s best just to rent a motorbike for like a week and just knock them all out.

And it would have been, it would be just absolutely lovely

Lianne: [00:23:13] to. Here.

Corey: [00:23:14] Yeah. Which is what I cover in there. But you know, the best thing about Leanne is that she always reads my blogs.

Lianne: [00:23:27] I share them, but yeah, to get there. So when you’ve got the motorbike, you can get the local bus. From hijack, it’s a bit cheaper. It’s also has a lot more starts and gets a bit cozy with everybody crammed in. Or if you are fancy, you can choose to take a tourist bus from Hanoi, which will have slightly more room.

Corey: [00:23:49] Yeah. You would take a bus down from how’s young to Hanoi’s switch buses there and then head back up, which kind of goes out of the way.

Lianne: [00:23:56] Yeah. So, but it all depends on where you’re coming from.

Yeah. So tell us about a drive there because yeah, I

Corey: [00:24:02] mean, we have a really great time. We had just from the town, which is cowl bang.

We went to that’s where we, that’s where you stay. And then from there, it’s about a two hour drive to the waterfall, but there’s so many other things to see. So there was another waterfall that we tried to go see, but we couldn’t find. And we got a little bit scared off because it was somebody’s private property.

Pretty sure that there was a cow giving birth.

Lianne: [00:24:24] Oh, I’ll get him killed. We’re not sure of

Corey: [00:24:26] something was going on. Yeah. There was a lot of weird noises echoing throughout the Valley that we weren’t sure of. So we followed our Google maps to a point where we thought we were supposed to be, but it wasn’t it.

So we didn’t get to see the second waterfall. But anyway, We got to see some amazingly beautiful countryside and some of the way that the really like country farming locals live, which was really cool. But yeah, so we spent about four hours on the way getting there and then you get to the waterfall and I mean, For being the fourth largest, and this is fact fourth largest

Lianne: [00:25:01] waterfall.

Corey: [00:25:02] That is an ag that is also a land border between countries. It is just simply stunning. And the unbelievable thing is because the only thing that I can compare that to excuse me, the Eagle wazoo falls. And if you’ve been to a Grazia falls, you know, it’s amazing livable. It’s just, it’s so great for your eyes.

This is in South America, but it’s a jam packed with people, just tons of people all over the place. There was. Fucking nobody here.

Lianne: [00:25:28] Yeah. That is something it was really

Corey: [00:25:31] Podunk, like state fair type thing, like a County fair in the States where it was like dirt, like parking lots. And like, we were

Lianne: [00:25:37] just like, this is crazy.

So we were then off season again. But this is because it’s so far out the way it’s called  I did write it down somewhere. Because it is so far out the way there’s actually this weird statistic where there doesn’t seem to be a lot of international tourists. It’s a lot of domestic tourists and a lot of Chinese tourists.

But aside from that, not a lot of people actually visit this place. But yeah, so we were there during this whole issue with coronavirus and where there’s not a lot of people, what the borders to China were closed at this point when we were there. Also it’s off season. So I think either we’re very lucky.

With the fact that it wasn’t busy. Cause I’m sure there’s a lot of Chinese tourists that come here.

Corey: [00:26:15] Yeah. The other side, normally I’ve seen photos where the other side is packed. It’s packed.

Lianne: [00:26:19] Yeah. But yeah, it’s absolutely stunning. So you get through this tour, touristic step Stoli. Place, and then you’ve got one waterfall to the right.

You’ve got another straight ahead. It’s just stunning. It’s like rain forest. It’s really, really beautiful.

Corey: [00:26:33] I know. I don’t think it was a loud necessarily, but I did get the drone up and got some really great footage that you would see on our video, but honestly, so worth it because you get to see that this is like a three tier waterfall with these beautiful, like turquoise pools.

It’s just unbelievable. And then in the background of all that is all that. Karst topography. And it’s just lush green. And I mean, you just have this color contrast. It was just, if we would’ve had a little bit sunnier of a day, and this was like one of our better days, cause it finally warmed up, got to be roughly about, I’d say 20 Celsius.

This is like low seventies in Fahrenheit and it just got to be more comfortable. And then yeah, the other thing to do is there’s this great cave system there that you can go to. We didn’t have time cause we misjudged how long it was going to take us. And so we just had to chase the sunset West, which was a lovely drive back home.


Lianne: [00:27:25] Yep. So the highly recommended, if you can spend a couple of days in that area and when you do decide to leave this area you can take a bus down from the area to Halong Bay again, which is what we did. So cause we were meeting my friend, Hannah, so we kind of like circled round from Hanoi. When did the top came back down to Halong Bay?

W again, we were there and our seeds in the weather. Wasn’t great. It was Misty and cloudy. So we didn’t actually go on a boat and go and explore such

Corey: [00:27:54] a shame guys, like, look it up and look at these photos of this place. It is just unbelievably beautiful, but. The weather did not permit us to go and enjoy it and like take a boat trip.

Lianne: [00:28:06] Yeah. Which is a bummer. But we were very lucky with the fact that it was our season. It was so quiet everywhere. We didn’t have to wait for people on their motorbikes anywhere in the North. So it, it comes with its pros and cons. But do you just bear that in mind, if you’re thinking of going and doing this in Vietnam?

Just do check out the seasons and just see which one is most suited for you

Corey: [00:28:24] February or like early March is the right time to be in that area depending on what you’re looking for. But yeah, so from there we met up with Hannah, you know, Hannah from our podcast that we had about the Australian work visa.

And so now we’re, we’re teamed back up with Leanne’s little sidekick and.

Lianne: [00:28:43] Where’d we go from there, we went to Nimbin. We just took an easy tourist bus again. It was like 20 bucks or something. 15 bucks. I think actually it was five hours super-comfortable we had power just chilled out for love.

It did some damage on a series. And yeah, we went and stayed in Nimbin. So Nimbin is, is just South of Hanoi and it’s again, just beautiful lush countryside. Lots of that cost per tography. And I can’t say this horse car

Corey: [00:29:11] karst

Lianne: [00:29:12] topography, apostrophe, what did I say? Something beginning with a K and something that sounds like photography, but yes, he surrounded by all this farm on the outside, and then you have the little tad on the inside.

So you can choose to stay in the town where there’s like a strip full of restaurants and bars and, you know, the usual things that tourists like to do. Restaurants. Good. Yeah. They were really nice food idea. It’s very Western. But we, at this point, we’re kind of happy to see some Western food cause we went so long without but you can also choose to stay at one of the many ecologists that had dieted outside of the town and closer to the nature which is what we did.

Yeah. Tell us more. What did we do in, in Ben?

Corey: [00:29:53] Again, we immediately got dropped off by the bus and picked up some motorbikes and cause this is, we just love to have that freedom of being able to go on our own schedule.

Lianne: [00:30:02] Is that a common theme running through all of it? That’s why we liked it. We liked the freedom.

Corey: [00:30:07] Absolutely. I hadn’t read about there’s two different places that you can go to where you have this unique experience of hopping on these rowboats and these just cutest little native Vietnamese women row you around. You feel so bad because they’re old and they’re just rowing boats full of people. For ours, we help to have paddles in there.

So if you can help your guide. Yeah.

Lianne: [00:30:30] We did start with this, start a trend. Cause many people did see us pile on. They’re like, Oh, well now we feel bad. We are racing.

Corey: [00:30:39] But yeah, you just spend like two or three hours and now you’re, now you’re seeing all the cars topography, but you’re in a boat and you’re rowing.

So you’re getting off of the beaten track. And you’re going through these. We went through a cave that was probably like two kilometers long and it’s, they’ve run electrical through it. So you’ve got lights and everything like that, but now you’re just going through these caves. You come out the other side, it’s just unbelievable views.

And then there’s all these cool temple strewn about that you stop off at. And I got to tell you, it was just. So relaxing. Yeah. It was just such a nice experience.

Lianne: [00:31:14] Yeah. Spiking the templates to be there. So we went dressed appropriately so we can actually go in any of them. We didn’t want to offend anyone, but it was really beautiful and really cool.

So we got to obviously sit outside, give the rower arrest, but I do have to shout out at how scaled this lady’s rowing is. Have you ever tried to row a canoe for the people at high speed tents? Hi. Okay. Not high-speed, but shop, since they were caved, there’s all of the  all of them. All of the stacks, like coming down from the rock and, you know, you gotta kind of watch your head and like go, ha did have to like go flat on the burger all the times, but this lady she’s going through it.

It’s amazing.

Corey: [00:31:55] It’s just unbelievable. And I got to say the cutest thing is that she’s warning us and we’ve got a duck. She didn’t have to duck.

It really is.

Lianne: [00:32:06] So a tip for that is definitely mind your head. But I’ll say to cover up the shelves in the knees, it brings something to cover up the shoulders and the knees. We finally got some sunshine, so we would like, yes, sure.

Corey: [00:32:18] And go with a group of four, if you can, because they won’t, we got lucky.

They ended up just going with the three of us, I think again, because of the off season. But usually if you’re just a group of two, you’re going to buy your ticket and then you’re going to have to wait for the boat to fill up. So another couple or two other people from somewhere going to have to come in.

So if you can get a group of four, do it.

Lianne: [00:32:35] Yeah. So after Nimbin, there’s the park, there was this really cool park that we checked out. Actually, I don’t even know how to, we’re going to have to look up the names and stuff. I don’t even know how we found it.

Corey: [00:32:51] Well, that was the second place. Second place. That’s all right.

Lianne: [00:32:54] My apologies guys. Mama, first coffee. Yeah. Yeah. That was really cool. That was really beautiful. Again, it was one of those like, Oh, I wish it was sunny, but yeah, the park was gorgeous, is big eco park of lakes and other cars and more caves. It was international women’s day and they gave us a free smoothie.

Isn’t it smell like gave me and Hannah refreeze

Corey: [00:33:12] mainly. And then Ben is pretty cool town. I mean, like we said, I think it kind of, it looks like it might turn into a little bit of a party when it’s a little bit busier. So you can stay in town or go out to one of these EqualLogics like we mentioned.

And then it’s kind of just like this kickoff point. If you’re starting in the South and are heading North it’s about an hour South of Hanoi, I think. But then from there, you can also go North to South and make your way down. And usually people take an overnight bus like we did to Hawaiian, and this was another great bus experience.

Lianne: [00:33:48] So they

Corey: [00:33:48] have these overnight buses that you have. Two levels of seating and you have a a seat that just kind of like, it’s like a recliner that is in almost full back position. So you get a pretty good layout, but if you’re someone like Leanne who has to sleep on her stomach or mostly sleeps on her stomach you’re going to struggle with it and you might not get a great night’s sleep.

So you can the pro tip here though, is that if you are a threesome,

Lianne: [00:34:13] Oh my God, you haven’t made,

Corey: [00:34:15] there is a literal bed. In the back in the back that three people fit on. It’s three seats that are like full in, in South America. They’d call them full comma, which just means just like full horizontal. And, yeah.

So we were like, we’d heard about these and we’d seen a photo.

Lianne: [00:34:33] Yeah. We’ve got some

Corey: [00:34:34] recommendations and recommendations. We weren’t the first ones on the bus. So we were a little bit nervous, but that beauty was there. And the thing is, I don’t think you have many. Three is traveling around. It’s

Lianne: [00:34:44] usually like bigger ones

Corey: [00:34:45] or twos or individuals.

So. I don’t think it’s an ideal spot for a lot of people. Cause if you’re a single person, you’re like, I’m not going to go there. Like

Lianne: [00:34:53] who the hell is going to sit there

Corey: [00:34:54] and am I going to sleep next to, but we had like three blankets, three pillows,

Lianne: [00:35:00] so comfortable.

Corey: [00:35:01] One downfall is that that bed happens to be right next to the bathroom.

So there’s a little commotion, but honestly we didn’t have any stank,

Lianne: [00:35:09] nothing

Corey: [00:35:09] bad. Nothing. No, that’d be good.

Lianne: [00:35:11] Yeah, that was cool. And yeah, so we, we took that bus to high-end. Which if you love to shop like me, or if you just love clothes you’re in heaven,

Corey: [00:35:20] hold on, is made for the lands of this world.

Lianne: [00:35:24] Yeah.

You can actually afford to have custom clothes. If you’re weirdly proportioned, like myself and clothes can look a bit weird on you. You get to play on and they will custom make it and design it for you out of proportion, buddy. It’s amazing.

Corey: [00:35:38] Yeah, guys suits. I had a suit made. Two of my friends had suits made.

I got them. For the most part, they just had to send me their measurements and the ladies cut them for when you’re there in person. Like I was, you go in and get measured. They stitch it up. You come in the next day, do a second one. Your girlfriend says it needs to be tighter. And then you and skinnier.

And then you go back in the next day and you realize that you’re going to be very, very tight, but I will be fashionable and I’ll be able to get away and all the Europeans.

Lianne: [00:36:09] Exactly. You can shed away that negative connotations of Americans wearing suits too baggy, and you can wear it at Christmas this year.

Corey: [00:36:16] Absolutely.

Lianne: [00:36:17] And my family will be very impressed. Yeah. But yeah. So yeah, itself, like we said, it’s it’s this really cool town and it’s just. Seems to be made for tailors. Everyone’s making something from shoes to bags, to close to suits, anything you want can be made there. So the time itself is like I would say the town center is quite small.

It’s probably only got like four or five main streets all decked out with markets and tailors, et cetera, et cetera. And it’s got a very European feel. Hasn’t it very, very European. And I believe I read somewhere that that was due to French settlers back in the day. But, you know what I believe it.

So maybe you should believe it. But yeah, so like you said, you go in and you get your, your suits made. One thing that we enjoyed was that they give you free deer and free water.

Corey: [00:37:05] We had decided at this point to cut our trip short. So our four or five days, I think we actually ended up having six days in this part.


Lianne: [00:37:14] cause we stayed at.

Corey: [00:37:15] We stayed at we stayed at one place for three nights and another place for three nights. I got some upgraded accommodation for Liam’s birthday and something a little bit closer. Cause one of the things that we haven’t mentioned is that this is also a really great, yeah. So you have this really beautiful beach.

It wasn’t ideal weather for us, but we still got to swim. It was warm. The ocean water was a little bit cooler, but I think. Majority of the time of year that it’s not in, it’s pretty comfortable. But yeah, really nice, beautiful beaches. I know that there’s islands off of the coast that you can go to, to make day trips or stay a couple of nights if you want to.

Lianne: [00:37:46] Yeah. It’s a nice beach, but it’s not like white sand white signs and tropical worth is, but it’s very pleasant. Yeah. Or the people with the businesses down there were really nice. They were, there is not, I wouldn’t say I’m an, a Western tourist party atmosphere. I would definitely

Corey: [00:38:02] say

Lianne: [00:38:02] no, no, no. I felt that I felt like it was a lot more domestic terrorists, again, maybe Asian tourists.

But there was definitely some weddings going on when we were there and yeah. People were really nice and like, yeah, it was, it was really cool.

Corey: [00:38:13] Some really good food and good shopping and some time to, you know, work on that base. Tan a little. Yeah.

Lianne: [00:38:20] So ho yeah. And E spend your days just outside the city on the beach, go in, get some free beer whilst you get tailored for your suit or your dress or whatever.

Go back to the beach. Yeah, there’s it. So that’s pretty much what we did for six days.

Corey: [00:38:35] That was, that was our time. And unfortunately we, like we said, we were supposed to have another couple of weeks to be able to work our way down to the South and then crossover into Cambodia where we’re going to have another week before we came home.

But due to everything that’s going on, we saw it best to try and get home. Earlier than later. And thank goodness that we did.

Lianne: [00:38:54] Yeah. Yeah. That was the thing. Instead, you have to give you a big appreciation here because throughout all of this, I’ve been very blessed day. They’re like, Oh, you know how it is like, I’m sure it will be fine.

Everything, everything always works itself out, you know? And so I w I also felt awful because I’d got Hannah to come and fly me as from Australia. And I hadn’t seen her in nearly a year. And then we were like, going to be like, Oh, well, you’ve just flown here, but now we’re going to go. So I felt awful because of that.

Anyway. But Corey, his gut was just like, nah, this is going to be bigger than a thing. Just reading the news like he does, the grownup is

Corey: [00:39:26] okay, just couldn’t risk it. I had to get home for some stuff and I just couldn’t risk it. So we decided to get home, but we are actually going to try. And we’ve got some interviews with some people lined up for this week that also had some interesting travel experiences.

Throughout this Corona virus. Situation. We had a, not that unique because I think we were a little bit ahead of it, but just some things I did another, there’s another blog article on the website about this, about our experience coming back. Just cause we had a couple of surprises in that manner as well.

So just something that we want to try and put out there, do you guys, because we do think that there are some people that are stuck out there and if we have an opportunity to talk to them and bring, bring you guys their story, we’d love to do that. So this was our time in Vietnam. Is there anything else we need?

Lianne: [00:40:11] No, just going to let everyone know that we’re both healthy, still a bit quarantine crazy, but that’s okay. Like everyone else in the world. But just very grateful that we’re here and hopefully you guys will tune in to find out all the Corona madness with other travelers.

Corey: [00:40:26] Yeah, absolutely. Why don’t you guys have a good one?

Go to the website, small worlds, And you can get caught up on any blog articles and assuming that we release this. Would it be tomorrow? We’re going to do our Vietnam video with that as well. So go and check that out. If you haven’t checked out our India video and thank you for listening.

Lianne: [00:40:44] Thank you everybody. Goodbye. Stay safe.

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