My Travel Diary: New Zealand

Hi Y’all! 
Ryan and I are no longer in Bali..
We are now in New Zealand! 
And…
IT’S BLOODY FREEZING! 
Okay, so, this is kind of our own fault, we are visiting New Zealand in their Winter, which we knew before leaving England… 
So I’m not quite sure what was going through my head when I only packed ONE hoody! ONE?!
Did we spend our first day in Auckland, NZ seeing the sights I hear you ask? 

No. No we did not. 

We spent our first day roaming the streets to try and find the cheapest jumpers that we could find (*whines* oh how I miss Asia clothes and their prices). We both managed to pick up 2 cheap jumpers and I later found out I can’t actually fit them both in my rucksack – isn’t that just great! 
I’m a lover of chocolate – what girl isn’t, right? So I was fascinated by all the different types of chocolate bars I was stumbling across in New Zealand, I didn’t buy any bars (I wouldn’t of been able to choose!) but I did take a couple pictures as I went along when I spotted chocolate that I hadn’t seen before!

Ryan and I hadn’t organised anything for our New Zealand travels apart from our form of transport – The Kiwi Experience. 

The Kiwi Experience offer bus passes to travel around New Zealand, they have a number of passes, from exploring only one island, to exploring half of one and half of the other, and to exploring the whole of New Zealand. 

You simply hop on and hop off at the stops and stay for however long you like in each location. Simple. 

The Kiwi Experience also have discounts on their passes at different times of the year so you can bag yourself a bargain if you keep an eye on their website! 
We started our bus pass in Auckland, we got picked up early one morning and took our bus to our first stop Paihia – pronounced Pie-here. 
On our bus journey we stopped along the way at a small waterfall before continuing our journey to Paihia. 

Our hostel was close to the beach front. 

Yes you read that right – hostel! 

Since we left England on the 1st July Ryan and I hadn’t yet had to stay in a hostel, that is, until Paihia. 

The hostel dorm we stayed in fit 8 people, 4 bunk beds, 1 shower/bathroom and there was a communal living area and kitchen for cooking and free Netflix. Woo Netflix! 
The day after we arrived in Paihia we took a day trip to Cape Reinga. 
Cape Reinga is the most North West tip of the Aupouri Peninsula at the top of the North Island of New Zealand. 

We reached Cape Reinga by driving on Ninety Mile Beach (which subsequently isn’t actually 90 miles, its 55). 

Driving on the beach was amazing; I looked out to my right and all I could see was sand, and I looked out to my left and all I saw was sea. The driver was telling us stories about how often drivers get stuck in the sand and the tide comes in and ruins the vehicles – it’s quite a regular occurrence I believe! 

We stopped along the way to do some sand boarding on the sand dunes. Ryan was going to take his GoPro head mount but the driver advised no cameras on head mounts were allowed as a guy once fell off his sand board and his GoPro embedded in his eye! Ouch! 

We had never been sand boarding before so weren’t quite sure what to expect. We climbed as high as we liked on the sand dunes and then boarded down on our tummies – sand went everywhere! All in my clothes, in my hair, then later when I had a shower I found loads of sand in my bra! How the hell did it get there?! 

We reached Cape Reinga and could instantly see the difference in the colours of the sea; Cape Reinga is where the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean meet, one being a deep blue and the other a more turquoise colour. The view was beautiful; with the sea stretching on for miles.
There’s also a lighthouse and North Pole at Cape Reinga; pointing to Los Angeles, London, Sydney, Tokyo and so on. There’s a South Pole situated on the South Island of New Zealand that me and Ryan would like to visit so we’ve seen the pair. 

On our way back from Cape Reinga we stopped at a shop which sells products made from Kauri wood, including a hand carved staircase made from an ancient Kauri log that wasn’t fully exposed for 45,000 years!

And It’s yours for a couple’ million? 

I’ll take two! 
We then took a short stroll on the Manginangina Forest Walk. This walkway was built ready for the Queen of England to see when she visited New Zealand for the closing of the commonwealth games one year and it’s said that she only took 4 steps on it! 

Paihia is the home to the Bay of Islands. Ryan and I opted to take a boat trip to the Hole in the Rock. 
The boat trip was great! We saw 2 pods of dolphins on our journey through the Bay, from afar and up close! When the dolphins were close enough we could see scratches on their bodies; we were told these scratches are actually caused by the other dolphins teeth when they’re playing around with each other.
As we continued we also noticed a seal climbing a nearby rock. The boat pulled up along side the rock for us to take a closer look; it was all lonely by itself, until we sailed away and saw a couple more seals chilling on the other side of the rock. Phew – not so lonely after all! 

We stopped at another part of the Bay to hike a hill to see the view from the top. There were sheep all along the hill including little lambs which were so cute!

When we finally reached the Hole in the Rock we were able to drive the boat through the hole; the sailor explained that the sea had been too ‘choppy’ recently for any of the boats to go through so we were quite lucky! 

On our boat journey back to Paihia we decided to hop off at Russell, another area of New Zealand, for an hour of exploring. 

Russell is a small, quiet village so an hour was more than enough. We looked around the village and stopped for a pie and hot chocolate which was delicious and much needed in the winter cold!

Our Bay of Islands and Cape Reinga exploring has come to an end and where now off to our next destination..
‘Til next time! 
Love Bumble x

Travelling Asia: Pros and Cons

Hi y’all! 
So that’s it – our time in Asia has come to an end! *tear* 
We’ve visited Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Bali.
It’s been a blast and I thought I would do a little post about what to expect if you’re thinking of travelling Asia yourself. And if you’re not – are you sure? 

Pro’s: 

• Sunshine – need I say more? When you’re from England and it’s cold and wet the majority of the year you tend to turn into a sunshine seeker and I am no exception. TAN ME!!

• Beautiful views – almost everywhere we visited had tremendous views of rivers, fields, the towns.

• Gorgeous beaches – who doesn’t seek sand between their toes, the salty sea air smell and the sound of the waves?

• Experiencing different cultures – South East Asia was an amazing place to experience different cultures. We learnt the religious rituals of the locals, saw traditional dancing and stayed in a locals home to see how they live. (This one definitely makes you appreciate your home comforts!) 

• Animals – fish, elephants and dogs everywhere. I’m not a huge fan of dogs (apologies to any dog lovers out there) but I LOVE elephants and there are elephant sanctuaries galore in Asia! Also for the lovers of fish and the sea there’s some good opportunities for snorkelling and seeing all the vibrant fish.

• Free water – okay so this one is also a con because you have to buy water as the tap water isn’t safe to drink BUT every hotel you stay at provides you with complimentary water each day so don’t you worry Sir Chug-a-lot.

• Cheap as chips – almost everything is super cheap in SEA. Food? Definitely. Drink/beer? Sure. Clothes? Absolutely! Now I know I’m probably slightly biased being a girl but the fact that clothes were so cheap in Asia was one of my highlights (especially after my kayaking incident I mentioned in one of my previous posts). We visited many towns where trusted tailor shops were open and you could easily buy a cheap made-to-measure dress/skirt/shirt/suit and so on.. As we are travelling for a long period of time we didn’t get ourselves anything made-to-measure but a lot of people we were with who were flying home straight after Asia did!  

Cons: (because it’s not all rosey)

• Toilets – for a clean freak like me this is a big issue. In South East Asia there are 2 types of toilets – western style, the type we know and love – and squatting style, were you essentially squat over a hole. In the hotels the toilets were always western style and clean… Public ones were not. You need to make sure you take toilet paper with you EVERYWHERE as you’ll be lucky to find any in a public toilet and I wouldn’t say they were exactly clean either. ..Nowhere near as bad as Bestival portaloos though! (So gross)

• Rubbish – now I’m not really sure how rubbish works outside the UK but there seemed to be piles of rubbish scattered in most of South East Asia; on the paths, on the road – it STANK! From what we saw Cambodia has to be the worst place for rubbish; and Thailand had the least. 

• Cars and Motorbikes – how there aren’t more crashes over in SEA I will never know. They all drive like crazy people! There seems to be little road laws and some of them seem to not apply to the motorbikes. There’s hundreds of motorbikes everywhere and you have to be super careful when crossing the roads – one of the girls from our tour got knocked over by a motorbike and was dragged down the road! So be super SUPER careful! 

I definitely think the pros out way the cons and I’ve had the most amazing experience exploring so far – I wouldn’t change a thing! 

Here’s a couple pictures from our last days in Bali! 

We’re now onto our next chapter! 

‘Til next time! 
Love Bumble x

My Travel Diary: Bali

Hi y’all!
It’s so nice to be in Bali where all the people are super friendly and everywhere is beautifully chilled. On our Indochina tour there were times I felt on edge wandering around; there were masses of people everywhere, all trying to sell you something and at times the streets were slightly chaotic!Bali is, as everyone described, beautiful. 
There are statues and bright coloured flowers almost everywhere and rice fields around every corner. 
Our first few days in Bali were spent wandering the shops of Legian and Sanur, visiting the beach and chilling at the pool. Relaxation at its best! 
On our tour we visited the JatiLuwih rice terraces in Munduk. The rice fields seemed to stretch on for miles and were a vibrant green colour. We saw a few workers in the rice fields and a member of our group volunteered to help plant some seeds. It looked like a messy job – he had to work in calf high water/mud and plant each seed individually. Our tour guide explainedas so much time and effort goes into producing rice you should always try to finish the rice on your plate here in Bali as a sign of gratitude. 

The Floating Temple was another sight we opted to see. It’s actual name, Ulun Danu Temple sits on a lake in Tabanan. The Temple itself is very small in comparison to other temples we have visited however it was still very crowded and had a restaurant and shops onsite. 
One of the best things about being on a tour is that you get taken to hidden gems that you wouldn’t know was there if you were exploring by yourself. 
We took a stop to take in twin lake view; this is where you can see both Lake Buyan and Lake Tamblingan side by side. The view was amazing and there was also a man letting you take pictures with a bat, lizard and snake – bizarre!
We then hiked to a nearby waterfall – not as spectacular as the waterfall we saw in Laos but still, it gave us a silly photo opportunity. 
When we reached our hotel we were told there would be a traditional dance performance later that night. The dancing was great! It was traditional and some of the dancers were quite young which was really cute!

Kintamani was our next destination in Bali. On our journey there from Munduk we stopped off at the Banjar hot springs. 

These hot springs were the baths of the king and queen many years ago and are said to be sacred.

We were told there were three pools: warm, hot and cold. 

Ryan was looking forward to trying the cold spring pool but it turned out being more like bath water – not cold at all! 
We then stopped for lunch at a restaurant on the beach. We ordered our lunch and went paddling in the sea while we waited for it to cook… Did I mention food takes FOREVER over here? Not just Bali, everywhere we have been the food takes a relatively long time. They make the dishes fresh and one by one so if you get your meal you need to start eating as it will be cold by the time everyone has their orders! 

The beach was a black sand beach and was nice and peaceful, the only disruption being our call to say that our lunch was ready.

Kintamani is the home to Mt. Batur; a volcano which last erupted in the year 2000. 

Ryan and I decided we would climb to the top of the mountain to view the sunrise above the clouds. It was a tough climb (for unfit me atleast, Ryan was absolutely fine *rolls eyes*) but the view from the top was more than worth it. 

We climbed to the top along with another couple, at the top they were taking pictures together with the sunrise in the background. 

As cute as that sounds, if you had seen the state I was in when I reached the top you’d understand why I did not want any photos taken of myself. Not a good look.

We were given food at the top and a tea or coffee as a kind of celebration gift. 

The top was crowded with people; along with stray dogs and monkeys pestering the tourists for food. 

Once back from our mountain hike we helped ourselves to the hotel breakfast and sat with a beautiful view over the lake. 

Once showered and bellies full we began our bus ride to Ubud. 
We stopped along the way to visit a little spice garden that produces Luwak coffee. 

Luwak coffee is sarcastically known as Cats-poo-cino. The Luwak animal eats the coffee beans and poo’s them out (I know – eww!) The beans are thoroughly cleaned and then roasted and ground as per normal the normal coffee process.

We were given free taster teas and coffees to try. Of all the tasters my favourite was the coconut coffee and mangosteen tea – delicious!

Ryan tried some of the Luwak coffee and said it was very strong! It is the most expensive coffee, you don’t put milk with it, you can’t stir it and you only get half a small mug! So who’s the real mug here? 

We’ve still got a few more days in Bali before we move onto our next destination; hopefully we can see even more of Bali’s beauty!
‘Til next time! 
Love Bumble x 

 

My Travel Diary: Asia 

Hi y’all! 
So that’s it! Our 30 days of travelling Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos has come to an end! 

Ryan and I have met some amazing people and made so many memories from a seriously jam packed month! 
Now, onto our next chapter – Bali! 
We touched down in Bali a couple of days a go and have been relaxing ever since. I know – it’s a hard life! 
Our wifi has been pretty shit so I haven’t been able to post about our last couple of days in Thailand… Here goes attempt 4! 

In my last post we were on a boat making our way to Chiang Mai, Thailand. 

I was super excited for Chiang Mai as I had been going on and on and on about how much I wanted to visit an elephant sanctuary there. 

And that’s what we did! 
BEST DAY EVER! I LOVED IT! 
I have 2 favourite animals. 

1. Peacocks 

2. Elephants 
And lucky me, I saw both in 1 day! 
We saw the peacocks on a pit stop on our journey to Chiang Mai, completely unexpected! 

The elephant sanctuary was one of the best experiences of our trip (obviously I’m slightly bias as my fave animal is an elephant but Ry loved it too!)
When we got to the sanctuary we had 2 big buckets full of bananas ready for us to feed them.
All you needed to do was pick a banana (or two if you’re feeling generous) and hold it towards the elephants – then a trunk would snatch it from your hand! 
They were like hoovers! Taking banana after banana – I even saw one of the elephants snatching a banana from the other ones mouth!
Another elephant was giving people big sloppy kisses with its trunk if you stood close enough – it got my ear!
After feeding, we took a short walk with the elephants to the water hole ready to be bathed. 

We each got a bowl for us to wash the elephants with… Which was actually pretty pointless because as soon as we started washing them it started p*ssing it down! 
It was so nice to be able to wash the elephants and see them rolling around in the water; they were even spraying water out of their trunks at people which was hilarious! 

We also visited Wat Rong Khun, commonly known as The White Temple. 
The Temple looked like something you would find in a Disney film, Frozen perhaps?! 
The inside was very strange; orange with random paintings on the walls. Paintings of Pokemon, superheroes, Hello Kitty, 9-11, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Transformers and so much more. 
Our CEO went on to tell us the idea is to walk into the room with all the distractions of modern day life and leave through the other door with a clean mind, leaving all the distractions in the past. 
Unfortunately we weren’t allowed to take pictures inside but if you google it you can find some pictures! 

Our last 2 days in Thailand were an experience. 
We had a Thai massage from ex-inmates of the woman’s prison one day then watched a Thai Boxing match one evening and a ladyboy show the other. 
We tried to get a Thai massage from current inmates on day release; these women are training now so they can go into that area of work when they get released. Unfortunately there was no space for us all to get massages together (there was 7 of us!) however they had space for us at another salon where ex-inmates now work. The massage itself was great! They clicked lots of bones and stretched out all of our muscles, we had a foot massage first and finished with a cup of herbal tea. 

At first I hated the Thai boxing; the first fight we watched seemed pretty much one sided and I couldn’t help feeling sorry for the other fighter. It doesn’t help that I’m a sensitive sole and the fighters looked quite young!

Once the first fight was out the way I actually started to enjoy myself. The fights were close and the last fight was between to girl boxers who were both champions in various things – one was from Italy and she had such a harsh looking face, even I was scared of her! 
The lady boy show – where to begin?

You can’t visit Thailand without seeing a lady boy show! It was so bizarre; awful miming, outrageous costumes and even stranger routines. 
It was crazy to see the lady boys on stage – some of them you couldn’t tell at all! I kept trying to see if I could spot a you-know-what when they were prancing around the stage but couldn’t! 
There were some actual men on stage as well. They were dancing in next-to-nothing with full beards, moustaches and armpit hair! 

We start our tour around Bali tomorrow!
‘Til next time! 
Love Bumble x 

My Travel Diary: Asia

Hi Y’all

Apologies for not posting in a couple of days! We’ve been without electricity for the past 2 days and before that the wifi was pretty shoddy! 

Since my last post we have visited Hanoi (Vietnam) and then onto Laos. 

In Hanoi we watched a traditional water puppet show – it was in Vietnamese but luckily they had English fliers with the names of each mini show which helped us understand what was happening. For example, ‘Fisherman’s dance’. Ryan didn’t exactly enjoy himself – he was falling asleep by the end of it (baring in mind it was only a 45 minute show!) but it was an experience nonetheless. 

In Hanoi we also visited Hỏa Lò Prison. This prison was used by the French for political prisoners and later by North Vietnam for U.S Prisoners of War during the Vietnam war. It was sarcastically known to American Prisoners of War as the Hanoi Hilton and there are photographs in the prison showing them playing cards, football, volleyball etc. The prison was demolished during the 1990s however the gatehouse remains as a museum for tourists.


We then took a flight to Vientiane, Laos. 

I really wasn’t sure what to expect with this airline (not to be stereotypical, but, it was a flight from Vietnam to Laos so my expectations were pretty low) – and I was pleasantly surprised! 
The flight was just over an hour long and we were given a sandwich, cake and drink and there was so much leg room! EasyJet please take note..

When we touched down in Vientiane we opted for a day of sightseeing. 

We visited Buddha Park which is a sculpture park in a meadow by the Mekong River and contains over 200 Hindu and Buddhist statues. There was one statue that you could enter through an open mouth and climb to the top to view the whole park. 


After this we visited Pha That Luang, a gold covered Buddhist Stupa in the centre of Vientiane. There were also many other traditional sculptures in the grounds that surround the stupa. I loved how colourful the temples and sculptures were – simply beautiful. 


Victory Gate was another sight we wanted to see. Patuxai (which literally means Victory Gate) is a war monument which is dedicated to those who fought in the struggle for independence from France. 


As suggested by our CEO we visited COPE.

The Cooperative Orthotic and Prosthetic Enterprise (COPE) is based in Vientiane and runs non-profit rehabilitation centres aiming to provide care and support to UXO survivors, including prosthetic devices and physiotherapy.

Learning about the damage that has been left to innocent locals and how COPE are helping those in need was eye opening. On the other hand, there were many prosthetic legs and feet around the visitors centre; and for some reason it made me feel strangely uncomfortable. 


The next day we decided we would go kayaking, tubing and zip lining! 

The day was a total flop! (In my opinion – many others loved it!)

As many of you know I’m not a lover of the sea/rivers/lakes… But I had done kayaking once before and didn’t die so I thought, why not!

WORST DECISION EVER! 

1. The current was ridiculously strong so unless you kayaked regularly you had a very high chance of not being able to control the kayak. 

2. Within the first 5 minutes around half of the group hit a rough patch of greenery growing in the middle of the river and we all collided and capsized. 

2a. Me and Ryan were included in that ‘half the group’…

2b. When we capsized my shorts got caught on the greenery and were pulling on my stomach as I was being pushed the opposite way by the current and other kayaks. I could not breath and I felt panic take over… Then my shorts ripped off! (Luckily I was left with my bikini bottoms on otherwise this really would have been the worst experience of my life!) 

2c. They were my favourite shorts and I am struggling to find any new ones on my travels that fit my butt. 

2d. During this ordeal I lost Ryan – I was clinging on for dear life on an upside-down kayak along with another member of our group and couldn’t see him anywhere! When we got back into the kayak, after what felt like forever, I finally saw him ahead in a kayak all by himself. 

3. We had 10km to kayak. 6km then stop for lunch, tubing and zip lining, then a further 4km. You can imagine my upset, after capsizing, knowing I had no other option but to kayak the whole way.

4. Ryan capsized over a rock and cut his leg! (Mumma Elaine if you’re reading – he’s fine! Just a cut and a bruise) 

Will I be kayaking again?

Absolutely not. 

We also went tubing. This is were you float on rubber rings (tubes) through a cave. The tubing was fun but short lived as the water level was to high to do the normal route. 

Ryan couldn’t go tubing either as he had cut his leg. The guide had put some antiseptic liquid on it to stop the bleeding and disinfect the area so he needed to keep his leg dry. 

He did, however, do the zip lining. Which he said was really good – I didn’t fancy doing the zip lining. I’ve done Go Ape before and that was too high for me! Ryan took his GoPro with him and he showed me a video of a zigzag bridge he had to walk over – it looked so scary!

The next day we started our journey to Luang Prabang. The road was up, then down and zigzagged between the mountains. 

We stopped to use the toilets, buy some snacks and take in the view. 

We also saw a fluffy dog which was adorable! 


When we reached Luang Prabang we decided to visit the waterfalls. They were beautiful! We walked to the top of the waterfall and swam in the lagoon. 

On our walk up the waterfall we also saw some rescue bears including one with an arm missing – he seemed to be enjoying himself, bathing and eating, but it was still sad to see.


In the evening we walked around the night market. We visited a food market and paid for a bowl so we could help ourselves to a buffet section. There was so much food and it was super cheap! 

After eating we popped to Utopia, a local bar & restaurant that over looks the Mekong River. 

There were mats on the floor to lay on and the atmosphere was very chilled. 


The next day we took a boat to a local village for us to stay with the locals for a night. 

The boat journey was long; but luckily our group had the boat to ourselves and the sun was shining so we managed to catch some rays. 

When we got to the home stay we were told some rules that are followed by the locals that we to need to follow. 

The main rule being that men and women are to sleep separately. 

Our CEO explained that in their culture it is a sin to sleep together before marriage. If a sin was to happen they would have to make a sacrifice to the gods by killing an animal.

One of the girls then went on to tell us of another group that went to the homestay where a couple had sex. The locals then had to sacrifice a pig due to their sins however with their low income could not afford to buy a pig. 

The locals got in contact with the group guide, who contacted the couple, who then had to pay for a pig to be shipped over for the locals to sacrifice. Horrific.

We also met some of the local children and gave them some gifts we had brought with us. The group gave stickers, pencils, colouring books and bracelets. 

During the day we saw a local boy playing. He was so happy to play by himself with the mud and a bottle cap – it was adorable! 

All the boys stayed together. I stayed with another 3 girls in a locals home. We each had a mat, cover, pillow and mosquito net. All lined up next to each other like sardines. 

The toilet was outside the house and didn’t have a lock or a light – this is where my head torch came in handy!

Shockingly, I didn’t get a very good nights sleep! 

I was very glad to hear my alarm going off to get up and out of bed (if you can call it that!)


We are now on the boat again for our journey to our next stop – Chiangmai, Thailand!

‘Til next time! 

Love Bumble x

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 

My Travel Diary: Asia 

Hi Y’all! 
Yesterday was so much fun! 

We decided as a group we would all go snorkelling; our CEO arranged it all, from the bus to the boat, the boat to the lunch, and the lunch to the drink…
We had unlimited amount of beer and two buckets worth of cocktails (which we didn’t finish!).
Beer over here is ridiculously cheap… you can get a beer for 50p or less in a bar when it’s happy hour (which incidentally normally lasts for 3 hours). The cocktails however are not cheap; you’re looking at around 6 to 8 pound for one cocktail… which is why I’m trying to train myself to like beer and save the pennies!
 I’m not to sure how I feel about a potential beer belly though! 

Our lunch which was included in our snorkelling trip was also delicious! We had a feast of egg noodles, rice noodles, fried vegetables, and fish, pork, beef and chicken all cooked on the BBQ. Everyone just tucked in and helped themselves – everyone was stuffed and there was plenty left over… I was half wishing they had some plastic pots so we could take it home for dinner! Another money saving tip haha! 
The snorkelling was really fun. Anyone that knows me well knows I’m not a massive fan of water. 
A swimming pool or jacuzzi? No problem. 

The great big ocean with god-knows-what in? Not so much.

There were points when I was a little bit scared but I definitely enjoyed myself more! 

We snorkelled around in a big group – 18 of us! Perhaps that’s why I didn’t feel as scared? Like, if I’m going to drown surely one of these people would save me?
As well as snorkelling we also jumped from the top of the boat into the sea (I took quite a lot of encouragement from the others but finally took the leap). 
Ryan and the boys were doing dives, front flips, back flips – absolute dare devils… This is where I became the camera lady! 

After a while we popped into a nearby village and walked around to see the locals and what they were up to. 
We saw many people preparing food and fishing nets. We even saw a group of women playing a game of cards to win some money while their other halves were at work – if the husbands away, the wife will play, right? 
Here’s some snaps taken throughout our day! 

Today was another messy one… But not due to alcohol consumption! 

Find out on my next post! 
Love Bumble x 

My Travel Diary: Asia 

Hi Y’all,

Sorry I haven’t posted in a while – I’ve been a very busy bee! 
In my last post I explained that I may not be able to update you all or keep in touch as our next stop was basic…

This was the point in our trip where we took part in a ‘home stay’. 
Where we got a chance to live, eat and sleep like the locals do. And to my surprise they did have wifi! 

We got off our bus and had to walk down a few alleyways and over a small river to get to where we were staying (this sounds way more dodgy than it was). 

We arrived and were greeted by the family who were kind enough to house us, along with an English speaking guide. After we introduced ourselves we were shown to our beds for the night. 

The room was essentially a wooden house made out of bamboo and coconut leaves. The door was locked with a padlock and key and inside a bed with mosquito net, one plug, light and a fan. You know, the basics. 

The toilets and showers were communal at the end of the rooms and if you wanted a wee in the middle of the night you had to unlock your padlock to your room and pop out into the darkness… just like camping I guess! 

We were shown a cooking demonstration by the family and they prepared us a home cooked meal. It was very different to what I’m used to (except for the rice) but was quite tasty nonetheless. 

Whilst at the home stay the guide also took us on a walk around the village. We walked passed many houses with local people inside – watching TV, preparing food and even one singing on karaoke! 

During the day we visited the floating market; where small boats came to buy and sell goods. Whilst we were sailing, another small boat pulled up next to us to try and sell coffee and cool drinks, it was bizarre to see him easily stop next to us, make a sale, then pop off to find more customers! 

We also hopped on board one of the boats selling pineapple. We watched a local lady cut up the pineapple for us all to try. One of the guys we were with also ordered some noodles to have for breakfast – the local people eat noodles and rice for breakfast which baffles me! 

We then went on to a normal market, one on the ground, where they mainly sold fish from the river and fruit. We all tried a fruit called Mangosteen – which is actually the Queen of Fruits. You could easily break open the purple peel and eat the white fruit inside so it wasn’t very messy. It tasted a little bit like a lychee – delicious! 

At our next hotel we opted to visit the Cu Chi Tunnels. The tunnels were created by the Vietnamese soldiers back in the Vietnam war to use as hiding spots during combat. The tunnels lead to many rooms built underground including meeting rooms, kitchens and bathrooms! 

The tunnels were very dark (not great for photographing) and we had been told they had been made bigger for the tourists to fit through as they tend to be a lot fatter than the Vietnamese haha! 

As well as the tunnels there was also a woman demonstrating how they made rice paper, how they made sandals out of rubber tyres, the traps they created for the enemy and even the remains of a US tank destroyed by a delay mine. 


On our journey to the tunnels we stopped off at a painting shop where they sold tiles/products with different pictures on made out of paint, egg shells and sea shells. The pictures where beautiful but unfortunately we weren’t allowed to take pictures inside the shop. 

We did however see the production line outside where they create the pictures. One person painting, one washing, one adding the shell and another polishing the end product. 


We were due to take a night train in the evening and had some hours to kill before hand so we decided to visit the War Remnants Museum. As well as lots of information about the history of the Vietnamese wars there were many photographs on display; many graphic photos showing the horrific injuries of the victims of the war. I didn’t take any photos inside which you should be thankful for! I only took some of the tanks and planes out the front. 


The night train was an experience! A small room with 4 beds and a toilet at the end of each coach – luxury at its finest! 

Vietnam isn’t exactly known for its cleanliness so this is where our sleep sheets came in handy! (See pic below of Ry advertising his – get yours today at all major outlets! Ha!). 


We had a very busy day yesterday which I will update you on soon! 

‘Til next time! 

Love Bumble x

My Travel Diary: Asia

Hi Y’all 
I’m a teeny bit behind on my travel updates so you can have 2 today – you’re welcome! 

My last post was a little on the depressing side so I thought I would share with you some photos from when we’ve been out exploring and what we’ve seen! 

Deep fried banana – delicious! (Basically a bigger version of a banana fritter) 


Monkeys eating fruit – including the cutest baby monkey! 


A Temple with a view over Cambodia 


A Small Fishermans village where they produce their own local whisky. There’s also a small building used as a school where a volunteer teaches young children from the village. 



Waterfall complete with lunch on hammocks


We’re currently on our way to our next stop, we are going via bus and luckily they have free wifi on board! 

Our next stop is going to be slightly more basic than what we have had previously so I’m not expecting any wifi – I will update you when I can! 

‘Til next time, 

Love Bumble x 

My Travel Diary: Asia

Hi Y’all! 

I pre-warned you at the end of my last post that this one was going to be a bit morbid..Yesterday we visited the Cambodia Killing Fields and S-21. 
For those of you who don’t know much about the history of Cambodia, The Killing fields are a number of places where collectively over 1 million innocent men, women and children were killed and buried by the Khmer Rouge regime, just after the Cambodian Civil War. 
The leader of the Khmer Rouge, Pol Pot, wanted to restart civilisation. He wanted there to be no differences between poor and rich, to make everyone equal, for people to work for themselves as apposed to working for money and in a hierarchy. Anyone who disagreed with this where killed, including innocent family members.
The Khmer Rouge Regime arrested and executed almost everyone suspected of connections with the former government, professionals and intellectuals. They also executed any that they believed to be ‘traitors’ ..any that they accused of being a traitor frequently did not go to trail and they could simply execute straight away. 
S-21 was a school turned prison camp where the accused were taken, interrogated and tortured before being taken blindfolded to The Killing Fields to die. 
We visited The Killing Fields first. 
When we arrived we saw straw roofs built over the bigger of the mass graves; the rest were craters in the field, like the indentations on a golf ball. 
Our tour guide told us you may be able to see bones and clothes unearthing in these graves; especially when they have a lot of rain. 
The first mass grave we saw had a sign stating that 450 victims had been buried there; as a sign of respect many people had left bracelets on the posts surrounding the grave. 

There were 2 trees with significance within The Killing Fields..
One The Killing Tree – where children were brutally beaten against. There were two dark patches on the bark of the tree ..our tour guide explained that these were the patches from the blood of the beatings/killings ..the patches were in two places on the Tree, one higher than the other due to the tree growing over time ..showing how long this terrible ordeal went on for. 
The other the Magic Tree – this is where the Khmer Rouge troops would hang a loud speaker on the branches blasting out their anthem where they would kill. 
1 – to drown out the cries of the victims being executed 
And 2 – to provoke the executer to carry out the murder 

There is a huge glass cabinet that has been made to house some of the bones and clothing found in the graves, including 5000 skulls. 
Each skull found in The Killing Fields was cleaned and forensically tested to determine age, sex and cause of death – which was then represented by coloured dots on the skulls on show in the cabinet.


We then went on to visit S-21, the former school. 
There were 3 building blocks in the prison; only one of which in its original form, the others all with history in pictures inside. 
The pictures ranged from photos of the leaders of the Khmer Rouge Regime and to those of the victims mug shots. There was also a wall filled with photos of the troops of the Khmer Rouge, many of them young boys who looked no older than 18. It’s said that they brainwashed many troops from a very young age. 
The one building left in its old form showed the old school classrooms turned into prison cells. There was bodged brick walls to separate the coffin like cells, were the prisoners were packed in like sardines. There were dark stains on the floor; the stains that remained from the blood spilled all those years ago. 
We weren’t allowed to take photos inside any of the buildings but we were allowed to take some of the outside. 

 
Shockingly we were told we would meet a survivor of the S-21 ..out of thousands of people to enter only 15 people came out alive. 
The survivor we spoke to was a man called Bou Meng. He was kept alive due to his talents as an artist; he produced a painting of Pol Pots (the leader of the Khmer Rouge Regime).
Meng’s wife and children however were tragically killed in Pots rein. 

Meng had written a book about his time at S-21 which he was selling to try and make a living. As compensation for his horrific experience the government pay the measly amount of $15 a week which isn’t even enough to live off let alone compensate for his suffering and the loss of his family. 
As tragic as this history was, it was extremely interesting to see and hear about what went on all those years ago. 
I promise my next post won’t be as depressing! 
Love Bumble x