Friday, May 26, 2017

Hong Kong: Our last spot on our long honeymoon!

Then it was time for our last stop, Hong Kong and the end of our trip was near. We had some problems with Markus' board at check in from Vietnam to Hong Kong. First they wanted 100 USD for oversize baggage but suddenly it was ok and we didn't have to pay extra. We arrived to Hong Kong late in the evening and we took an Uber from the airport to Kowloon where we had our accommodation. It was raining a bit and the building where our guesthouse was located, had maybe seen it best days... The room was tiny but we managed to squeeze in our luggage! ๐Ÿ˜…  

Inner yard of our accommodation ๐Ÿ˜‚

 Our big room ๐Ÿ˜‰

We had planned to go to check at least Big Buddha and Victoria's peak. When we woke up in our luxurious room, we had first to go and find a breakfast place. We ended up to Starbucks because we didn't find any other cafรฉs in the morning. Edda had reserved a free walking tour for us so we went to the harbor to wander around before it started. We had to buy umbrellas because it was raining on-off all the time. Luckily the rain settled before the walking tour started. It was a young local girl who had been studying in Europe and participated there in free walking tours so she wanted to give those in Hong Kong as well. The company is called "HK Free Walk". Our guide told that the buildings on the other side of the water, on Hong Kong island, are having some kind of war going on. Mainly the bank buildings such as Bank of China, HSBC and some other. Bank of China's building is like a sward ready to cut HSBC and HSBC has cannons pointing towards Bank of China. We found that quite hilarious! ๐Ÿ˜‚ But, it's also good for the architects when they can be creative with the buildings! 

Stairs can be turned into art ๐Ÿ˜Š

The same stairs from above

The building with cannons is under the helicopter and the sward is on the left with zigzag 

Our guide, Michelle

Sometimes people with a hectic and busy life need a nap ๐Ÿ˜…

After a short history lesson we started to walk around Kowloon area and our guide told about some restaurants and that everything is not as it seems. One smoothie/juice/dessert bar had one herbal jelly with something. Sounds good, BUT! The herbal jelly was made of sea turtles! ๐Ÿ˜  They actually use endangered turtles to make jelly! How selfish can people be??? The same place had also some other dessert that was made from female frogs' genital areas fat. Weird stuff!!! We continued and went through a restaurant area that had many restaurants but looked a bit dirty and maybe not so vegetarian friendly. ๐Ÿ˜œ

The entrance to the restaurants

She took us also to a small temple that we would never had found by our self. It was a really old temple and it was made to worship the god of earth. The leaders of Hong Kong had almost demolished it to be able to build new business buildings but destroying a temple brings a lot of bad luck so nobody wanted that and that's why it is still there.
 Entrance to the temple

We were also told about the prices of the apartments in Hong Kong. Totally crazy! The prices vary usually between, wait for it.... wait for it! 15,000 - 25,000 USD per square meter! You have to be a millionaire to buy an apartment in Hong Kong. Well, if you look at the cars on the streets, it looks like there's a lot of millionaires living in Hong Kong. We saw Teslas every third minute and a lot of other expensive cars. We saw during one day more Teslas in Hong Kong than we have seen during our life elsewhere. Later on, we went to have dinner with our guide. It was quite nice and also tasty. The sad thing with Hong Kong restaurants is that many of then offer shark fin soup! ๐Ÿ˜  Once again, why are people so selfish and unconsidered!?

Many local foods

Later in the evening we went to see the "famous" light show to the harbor. Our Uber driver told that it's nothing spectacular, but when you are in Hong Kong you should see it. He was right but it was still worth to see it! We enjoyed it even in a light rain.

The next day we had planned to go to Big Buddha in the morning and then to Victoria Peak. We noticed that it wold take around 2 hours to get to the Buddha so we decided to skip it. We went to No1. Coffee for breakfast. They had good coffee and quite good bagels as well. After that we were ready for the Peak. We took the ferry to Hong Kong island (around 3€ one way) and a bus to the top. It was a steep and winding road but we had good seats. Front seats n the second floor! ๐Ÿ˜Š The views from the top were amazing even if it was not a clear day. There was quite a lot of pollution smoke in the air so it looked like fog. We went also to see the Governor's garden. It was nice to be in a really green without sound of humans. In Hong Kong it's rare! It was also a really hot day and we were sweating again like pigs. On the top we enjoyed the views for a while and saw many couples taking wedding photos. When we had enjoyed the views enough, we took the Peak Tram down. It's an old cable tram that takes you up or down from Victoria Peak if you don't want to take a bus.

 Buildings on the way to the Peak

The view from Victoria's Peak - we were not sure if we saw mist, clouds or pollution...

 Governor's garden and a wedding photo shoot

The train to/from the Peak 

 Big modern skyscrapers surrounding an old small building 

Kowloon area from the sea

When we came back to Kowloon we were hungry. Edda had seen few vegetarian restaurants so we went to find them. The first one we didn't find but the second we found after a while. We got the menu and started to check it. Hmmmm, interesting! They had beef, fish and other meats but also this place offered shark fin soup. They had also crispy vegan chicken! ๐Ÿ˜… We didn't stay there and ended up in a Mexican restaurant. Not bad and both of us were full! We had bought few natas for dessert at our guesthouse. 

Burrito and tacos!

We had planned to go to Hong Kong Space Museum to see some movies the next day before we would go to the airport. We woke up to a big thunder! It was also pouring like hell. It was still 7 AM so we hoped it would stop before we wake up. It didn't. We decided to go straight to the airport because it would be too complicated and wet with all our stuff to go around the city. We took our stuff and went just across the street and we had even umbrellas but we got soaked anyway. It was a heavy rain! Then we had a nice 12 hour wait at the airport. We had first to wait around 8 hours to be able to check in our baggage and then we would get to Quantas lounge to enjoy some refreshments. We got some good food at the lounge and it was a really nice experience to fly in business class. Tasty food, wine, chocolate, we could even lie down like in a bed! A good way to end our traveling! Edda had got enough flying points so she upgraded us for our last flight to business class.

 Trying to write on the blog and killing time

Finally at the lounge

Well, what can we say!? It was a long and amazing journey! Once in a lifetime thing. It is both nice and sad that our travel came to an end. We have got so many good memories, visited amazing places, met wonderful people and had fabulous food! Sometimes it was a bit hard, but together we managed to keep the spirit high and overcame all the obstacles we met!

Here's how our rout looked ๐Ÿ˜Š

Thank you for reading our travel blog and we hope you liked our trip and the things we shared. We wish you all the best! Now we go back home and try to start living again as normal people do! We just arrived home yesterday and we hope
 that the summer begins and we would get a bit more than 17c degrees! ๐Ÿ˜… 

Over and Out! ๐Ÿ˜‰ 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Things to do in Ho Chi Minh City / Saigon in 3 days

Our last city in Vietnam was Ho Chi Minh City or as most call it - Saigon. As we mentioned in our previous post, we went there one day earlier than planned, which then turned out to be a good idea in the end. There was quite a lot to do in Saigon. One thing everyone does is visiting the Cu Chi tunnels that were used during the Vietnam war. We will return to this later on in this post, but below you can see one hole that was used for hiding. It is made a bit bigger now so that tourists can get inside as well ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

We stayed at LaLuna Saigon, because we had found a good deal online. We were upgraded to a bigger room, which was nice! The place was clean and staff friendly, but we were quite unfortunate to have a road work next to the hotel. It wouldn't be that bad if they would use same working hours as in Finland for example. But these workers worked every night until 1 or 2 AM and started again at 5 AM. Not cool.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Phan Rang: The sunny and windy town without sun or wind ;)

We had a lovely two weeks in Hoi An but now it was time to go to Phan Rang (Thap Cham), the city of sun and wind. Yes, we were going there for a week long kitesurf camp! ๐Ÿ˜Ž Markus had ordered already in Cambodia a new kite board from Core Kites. FedEx was delivering it but they are not that good at delivering stuff in time. Markus' board had got stuck in the customs but FedEx told about it after it had been there already for 9 days... They told that Markus has to pay import taxes and that he needs a licence for some aircraft things because of the kite. Which kite? There's a board not a kite! FedEx was supposed to deliver it to Hoi An but failed, so Markus gave a new address to Phan Rang. He started to be fed up with FedEx! He thought: "Let's hope it is there when we arrive in the evening."

Local fisherman is happy about the no-wind-day

Friday, May 12, 2017

Hoi An, Vietnam, part 2: Marble mountains, My Son ruins, more food, cooking class and full moon festival

There is a big market in Hoi An old town and some parts really don't look that inviting (you will see that later in this post), but the fruit section does. Edda had asked from a local guy how much he thinks mangosteens cost per kilo. He said he had paid 7 USD for one kilo two days earlier. He said they are expensive because it's the beginning of the season. Well, we went to one seller and asked for the price. It was 4 USD/kilo. Jiihaa! So, we bought some mangosteens, mangos and purple dragon fruits. Yammy, they were good. We also learned to see the difference between white and purple dragon fruit: purple dragon fruit has a bit darker skin and the green parts on the outside are a bit shorter.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Hoi An, Vietnam, part 1: delicious food, biking tour, lanterns at night and choosing a tailor for some clothes

When we asked for tips on where to go in Vietnam, everyone always said “Hoi An” first. It should be a nice, cozy town with a river and lanterns that light up in the night. We also heard that it’s the place for tailor-made clothes in Vietnam. Our original plan was to fly to Hanoi and come all the way down to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) but we are really tired of changing places all the time. As wonderful it would’ve been to see the entire country, we decided to stay in three places and in Hoi An for two weeks. Usually people stay there for 2 - 4 days, so all locals were always surprised when we told how long we stay in Hoi An. 

Hoi An at night

We had decided to stay in some relaxing place and did quite a lot of research online. Then we found Villa Azumi which is a new villa hotel in Hoi An. This is the first place that really made us feel special for our honeymoon and we maybe also because we stayed there for two weeks. When we came, a beautifully set up room waited for us with food and wine, we were given a 20 minute foot massage and we had a free minibar for two weeks. Cool! The hotel area was relaxing and beautiful as well. It was next to rice fields and we could watch local workers harvesting rice during our stay.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

What to do in Siem Reap in 4 days

Then it was time to change place again, this time to Siem Reap, the city of temples. We had planned to visit Angkor Wat, Angkor Tom and some other temples. The sunrise and sunset at the temples should be the thing to do. ๐Ÿ˜‰ 

Sunrise at Angkor Wat

We had bought bus tickets from our hotel and the travel time was estimated to be about 10 hours. First we jumped in a small van that took us just a bit before we changed to a another van. Luckily this had air condition because the first one didn't and it was really hot in the van. It took about four hours to Phnom Penh where we had to change to another buss. There was a Dutch girl, Abi, in the same bus and she was also going to Siem Reap. When we arrived to Phnom Penh, we were taken to a bus station and put to a local bus. It looked like it would break down any time. Well, we had been driving for two hours but managed to get further only 50 km, and, YES, the bus broke down...๐Ÿ˜ˆ 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Kampot: Abandoned buildings, pepper farm, kitesurfing, celebrating birthday and a lot of rubbish everywhere

We had a bit difficulties in deciding our second destination in Cambodia. We knew we would end in Siem Reap but where to go after Phnom Penh? We had received recommendations for the island of Koh Rong Samloem and we checked that out. It looked beautiful, no doubt about that. But we didn't find any accommodation that we wanted to go to in our price range... People were complaining a lot about generator noises, power cuts and other things. Had we not been on Gili Air earlier, we might have gone there to experience the island life for a while but we didn't feel the need at this point. We started googling and came across a river town, Kampot. It seemed that there could be some things to see and do, so we decided to go there. We left Phnom Penh in the middle of Khmer New Year (it lasts for 3 - 4 days), so there was very little traffic and our trip in a minibus took maybe 2,5 hours from Phnom Penh to Kampot. We arrived in Kampot and the first thing we saw was a gigantic durian fruit statue in the middle of a roundabout. Quite cool, actually!

We stayed in Kampot for six nights. Originally we had planned to stay five but then we would've used Edda's birthday for traveling and that didn't sound that fun. ๐Ÿ˜ Edda had found some restaurants on TripAdvisor and one of them was Riki(tiki)tavi. It looks very nice and inviting from the outside, as you can see in the picture below. Kampot is known for its peppers and Rikitavi had a Kampot pepper burger that Markus had to try. It was very good. Rikitavi also had happy hour every day from 5 to 7pm and we tried their Kahlua ice coffees. They were delicious! And when you get two for 3,50 USD, it's even better!