My Travel Diary: Asia 

Hi Y’all! 
The last few days have been super busy for me and Ryan – what with the exciting things we’ve done and seen… And the long boring travelling journeys via bus, train and boat.
In my last post I teased that what we had been up to was pretty messy – and not due to alcohol! 
We had been to the mud baths! 
I was really looking forward to a nice cleanse from the mud baths as travelling around Asia isn’t the cleanest task!
We went to a local spa to visit the mud baths; there were mud baths, hot baths, a (man-made) waterfall and a pool. 
The mud wasn’t as thick as I was expecting – it was surprisingly thin and watery – I guess as it gets so hot over in Asia it needs to be quite watery so the mud doesn’t dry up! 
After our mud bath we then went into the hot baths. Ryan and I were well aware that we were visiting parts of Asia in rainy season – we have been very lucky with the weather so far however whilst we were in the hot baths the heavens opened and it started p*ssing it down! 
Luckily the hot baths had a cover over the top to shelter us from the rain; and there was something therapeutic about being in a hot bath and it raining heavily around us. I loved it! 

The mud baths seemed so long ago now! 
Since then we have moved on to another part of Vietnam, Hoi An. 
Hoi An, by far, is the most beautiful part of Asia that we have seen on our trip so far. The old town in Hoi An is a mixture of bars, restaurants, tailors and clothes shops, with beautiful architecture dotted all around. 
There are lanterns everywhere in Hoi An and when the night comes they light up the town.. they even have some large animals made out of lanterns on the river, and a tree covered in them which reminded me of a Christmas tree! 
We visited a tailor during the day and some of the group bought made-to-measure suits, dresses and skirts!

Ryan was ever so tempted by this (and so was I – who doesn’t want a dress that fits perfectly?) but it seemed silly to buy a full suit when we would be away for so long and our bodies would change! *prays for better body not worse*

We also visited ‘Oodles of Noodles’ for a noodle making class and to have lunch! 
We learnt the different types of noodles and how they are made; and even got to attempt them ourselves. 
To make the rice noodles they mixed rice with water, then it sat for 4 hours, then it is blended together in a grinder (or blender) to make a liquid. 
Then, using a coconut ladle, they poured some of the liquid mixture on a cloth over a steaming pot and covered for a few seconds. They used a bamboo stick to take the rice layer off the cloth ready to put through a cutting machine to cut into strips/noodles. 
The class was a lot of fun – the lunch was delicious, we learnt a lot and making noodles didn’t actually seem particularly difficult to do (just very time consuming!) 

Our guide suggested to the group that we should look to do a bicycle tour around Hoi An. He said it’s a good way to go outside of the normal tourist route and see things that other tourists normally miss because they aren’t aware it’s there. 
I’ll be honest, all I heard was ‘cycling’… I had been walking around for hours in the blazing sun, all sweaty, and the last thing I wanted to do was have the same again tomorrow but worse because we’d be cycling instead of walking! 
It was a no from me! 
Then a few hours later Ryan managed to persuade me to go..
And I’m so glad I did! *Ryan looking smug in the background*
The tour guide was right, we did see lots of things we wouldn’t of if we had stayed behind.
The cycling itself was pretty easy too, nice medium pace, and as there was some rain in the morning it wasn’t so hot either! 
We cycled all through the rice fields which was lovely, they’re so beautifully green! 
We also stopped a couple of times throughout the tour. 
Our first stop was to visit a famous couple known as ‘The Happy Couple’. They are a couple that were photographed years ago and in the photograph they were both extremely happy (and still are)!

The little old lady made my heart melt; she had no teeth yet her smile was from ear-to-ear.

The couple showed us their garden and their dog and puppy which was adorable! 
Our second stop was to see the water buffalo! I thought we’d just see them in the distance… Oh no! We got up close and personal and some of the group went into the water on the water buffalos back – including Ryan!
Our third stop was to refuel on fruit and then take a trip in the bamboo baskets. These baskets are hand made out of bamboo and can float along the river. Ryan and I were in one basket along with a lady who was the ‘driver’ (well at least she knew was she was doing). 

Ryan sat on the outside to assist with the rowing whilst I sat back and took in the scenery! 

There were traditional hats for us to wear if we wanted; naturally I was all up for looking like an idiot! 

The ‘driver’ stopped and pulled some long grass from one of the plants that were growing in the water. She then went on to make a ring and necklace for me made out of the grass..

She made Ryan a ring too which I was thankful for as mine broke so he gave his to me! 
We took a short boat trip to the other side of the village before our final stop which was to visit the bamboo workshop. This is where they make and sell products made out of bamboo. They sold bikes, phone cases, tables, chairs and so on. 
In Vietnam they use Vietnamese Dong for currency. It’s around 22,000 VND to 1 USD. 

We asked how much a bike was out of curiosity and the lady said 800… meaning 800,000 VND, so around 40 USD, a bargain! 
Until we realised she actually meant 800 USD! Wowzer! 
Here’s some pictures taken from our bicycle tour! 

I was sad to leave Hoi An but we needed to make a move to our next stops which were Hue and Halong Bay. 
We didn’t stay very long in each place.. 
In Hue we visited the Ancient Temple, Thien Mu Pagoda, which was the temple built by the order of the first Lord Nguyen. When the Lord first arrived in Hue, he heard a local legend in which an old lady had a vision from the gods and they told her that a Lord would come to the town and build a temple on the hill to pray for the country’s prosperity. Upon hearing this the Lord ordered a construction of the Temple on the hill. 
The Temple now houses the car of a famous monk, Thích Quang Duc, who, in 1963, drove from Hue all the way to Ho Chi Minh City and burnt himself alive to protest against the persecution of Buddhists by the South Vietnamese government . 

We took a boat trip around Halong Bay to view the islands (where they filmed some parts of the new King Kong film – Kong: Skull Island). The views were amazing and they reminded me more of something out of Pirates of the Caribbean! (Which me and my family love – almost as much as Harry Potter!)
The islands that stood out most were Lonely Island and Kissing Islands; the name lonely given due to the Island being small and away from the others, and kissing Islands given as there are two islands which almost touch each other at one point. 

The boat docked at one of the bigger islands for us to view the caves inside. 

The caves were huge and the natural shapes on the walls were fascinating. It was, however, very wet inside! The floor was soaked and water dripped from the ceiling almost constantly. 

We are on our way to another stop now..
‘Til next time! 
Love Bumble x 

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