The Journey to the Beach was Worth it!

12249932_907436159305428_4727735287978012251_nSo if you know me at all you know I love the beach the soft sand between your toes and the crashing sound of waves, people frolicking around and sun tanners sprawled out along the coast. If you have not guessed, I am from Cape Town the city by the sea!
So being in China a million miles away from the beach it pained me so much. Not that I frequent the beach often I just like to know that the beach is nearby so I can go if that even makes sense.

Well, I was heading to the beach in Cambodia, and I could not have been happier not without a bumpy ride first, of course, it’s travelling. I had my first sleeper bus experience in Cambodia and what a strange experience it was.

So you get a double bed, and you share with someone. It is very comfortable but very strange they just assign you a number that entitles you to half a bed. So if you are travelling by yourself, you will be sharing a bed with a complete stranger just for your information. Luckily for me, I was with a friend, so I was in the clear lol. Siem Reap to Sihanoukville took about 10 hours and I hustled a ticket for eight dollars at one of the travel agents in pub street.

We arrived at the crack of dawn in a town called Sihanoukville an interesting place. Being the casual traveller as I am we didn’t book any accommodation, so sleep deprived and not knowing where we were going, looking for a place to stay was not the most fun experience.

After being taken to a few much-overpriced places, we found one and we were happy to call it home for the night. For the life of me, I don’t even know its name.
We then had some breakfast, and it poured down with rain I thought it would never stop, and all I wanted to do was go to the beach that I had been desperately seeking for months.

We made it down to the beach not the prettiest of places, but it was a beach. The area called serendipity is the cheap backpacker party area with stacks of beach bars along the beach and chairs all over the beach. The nicer side is called Otres Beach and apparently it’s beautiful. Since I was only staying one night, we didn’t venture down to that side. We booked a speedboat to Koh Rong the island of Cambodia, and I was so excited to head out for some island adventures.

That evening we went for a drink and watched live music which quickly escalated and I ended up at a beach bar covered in lumo green paint with some new mates we made. Randomly ran into the British girls I had been travelling with and we danced the night away! It just so happened that we had booked the same boat to head to Koh Rong the following day.

I ended up spending four days in Koh Rong it was a magical dream come true. Bungalow living which worked out to five dollars a night sharing with three others. All day tanning and swimming in the bluest of ocean waters at the perfect temperature to cool down. Watching mesmerising sunsets at Long Beach which is on the other side of the Island. Snorkelling, fishing and the best part swimming with glowing plankton at night in the open sea. The experience was unbelievable I felt like I was in avatar or something. As soon as you splashed or ran your fingers in the water the ocean would light up defiantly one of my best experiences of this trip.

Travel Tips
Go to Koh Rong its twenty dollars for a return boat trip and if you have more time go to the other Island. Koh Rong Samloem is quieter and not very developed if you want that natural tropical island feeling.
Visit Long Beach there is a hiking trail through the middle of the island or hire a taxi boat remember to nogatiate a price and the more people you can rally together the cheaper it is.
Swim with the glowing plankton at night.
Have crazy dance party at night at any of the beach bars and hangout with the locals.

You can also stay longer and work at any of these places on the beach for free accomodation, as they are always looking for western staff who speak English. You can also volunteer with the locals teaching English or with the children.

The best thing is expecting the unexpected. I often think back to when I was travelling and how easy things worked out even when you least expect it. I guess when you open yourself up to the world of opportunity things can change your life.

To stay up to date with what’s happening with me right now, Check out my Instagram Thals01, and my snapchat IamThalea. I post regularly. I hope you are still enjoying my travel posts and will be better at uploading posts more frequently and hope these tips are useful.

Hope all is well with all you thanks for reading!

Peace love and Happiness

Cherry ♥

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My Travel Tips for Vietnam

As I promised some tips to hack Vietnam on a budget and still have the best time of your life!

I started off in the Hanoi and worked my way down to Ho Chi Minh City.
Tip one the most tricky thing when going to any country is the currency. In Vietnam, you are a millionaire well in Dong, the currency they use. 1million dong is approximately $50 US. So be smart with your money or you will get ripped off.

If you are backpacking, I suggest staying in the backpacker areas so everything you need is within walking distance and you won’t be spending money on taxis. In Hanoi, it’s called the old quarter, and I highly recommend staying at Hanoi Rocks undoubtedly the best hostel I stayed in, in Vietnam.

It has everything amazing big beds big locker space its clean, amazing chill area with bar and restaurant including free beer for 2 hours and breakfast if you wake up in time. They have a gig guide of different events every night perfect location for a solo traveler around free beer o’clock the place livens up, and everyone becomes friends. It is also on the night market street so it can be very crazy over weekends but such a good vibe. They also have a travel desk where you can book trips and bus or train tickets.

Tours to do in the area that’s a must is Halong Bay and Sapa. I suggest you go from agency to agency to get a good deal and get your haggle game on.
I did one night two days Halong bay all meals and activities are included. You get kayaking cave exploring beach time a cooking class dinner and karaoke and fishing the next day breakfast, a trip to an oyster farm and lunch before heading back to Hanoi.

Sapa I did two nights one night in a homestay and one night Hotel. The first day you do a 6-hour trek in the rice fields up to the homestay. Next day half day trek to beautiful waterfalls and back to the beautiful city of Sapa. The third day half day trek to a village called. Cat Cat village. More beautiful rice fields and waterfalls a local dancing show and lots of things to buy everywhere.
For both tours, I paid $120 US that I quickly realized was too much but for five days including all meals accommodation and transport not bad at all but you can get it cheaper.

Another Gem I found thanks to a local friend the best massage I have ever had a place called the foot massage in Hanoi it was so great oil hot stone and Thai all in one!
I then headed to Da Nang on sleeper bus I sprained my ankle and was very lucky to meet a lovely Vietnamese girl who took me in for a few days. So I had my own Vietnamese family for a week that was so awesome.
Another good tip check out couchsurfing and try and meet some locals they are all awesome, and most of the locals want to practice English with you. Some people may even offer you free accommodation.

My number 1 spot in Vietnam is Hoi An about 40km outside of Da Nang! A smaller little beach town that totally comes alive at night with beautiful lanterns so many things to buy you will want to buy it all. If you love shopping or fashion amazing seamstresses that can do anything in a day for cheap too. A good place to stay in Hoi An is the Sunflower hostel with a swimming pool it’s a little pricey $8 a night but there are plenty  cheaper in the area, and you can always use the pool.

I, unfortunately, due to my ankle I missed out Dalat Na Trang and Mu Nie places I have to go back to visit.
I then went to Ho Chi Minh City went to the Cu Chi tunnels and a cruise on the Mekong Delta.
I stayed at Hideout Hostel it’s nice also includes breakfast and two free beers in District 1 the backpacker area in walking distance of everything.
A surreal experience especially the tunnels listening to the war stories and even being in those tunnels for less then 5 minutes put things into perspective. I cannot believe people lived down there for years. Some heartbreaking stories but something I believe everyone should know about.
A good tip if you plan on doing Vietnam get the open bus ticket for $40 (try and haggle for that price its usually $50) it lasts for the month, and you can jump on and off, so it’s a great save.

The food where do I begin it’s all delicious, and the Coffee Vietnamese Coffee changed my life so strong and so good iced or warm it’s my favorite. The must try food pho noodle soup really good, and you can find it anywhere. Another great find is the Banh Mi a Vietnamese sandwich that beats SubWay. It’s a baguette with lettuce tomato cucumber shredded meat and cheese topped off with a source of your choice. I loved these things and they pretty cheap if you buy them off the street. Fresh or fried spring rolls amazing, and they have these places where you can make wraps with rice paper and add your veggies and meat fresh and tasty. One plus with Vietnamese food it’s mostly fresh and healthy not dripping in oil.

I truly loved my time in Vietnam and would recommend that anyone young and old should go.
Hope this helps give you an inside glimpse of Vietnam, and I hope you all visit. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to give me a shout in the comments I am happy to help if I can.

Peace love and Happiness

Cherry ♥