GRcade Travel Topic

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OnlyShallow
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PostRe: GRcade Travel Topic
by OnlyShallow » Sun Jun 30, 2019 10:46 pm

Booked the ferry today for our next road trip. Taking the kids with us this time, which should be fun. Or mental.

One thing I learned during last year's trip to Strasbourg with them, pack a ball.

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SandyCoin
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PostRe: GRcade Travel Topic
by SandyCoin » Mon Jul 01, 2019 7:56 am

Going to Vietnam around October and will be there for about a month, then moving on to another country. We are planning to do a bit of remote work there, so want to base ourselves in one of Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City or Hoi An. Anyone been to any of those? One you would say is better for a longer period?

I'm moderately concerned about the air quality in HCMC and Hanoi, but I will most likely buy one of those masks (a good one, not a bit of paper with string). All these areas are near other parts we wish to see, so that doesn't help us break it down unfortunately.

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PostRe: GRcade Travel Topic
by Tafdolphin » Mon Jul 01, 2019 8:09 am

Hoi An is very small. strawberry floating beautiful, and good for a few days but I wouldn't stay longer than that (unless you're getting a suit made and have to wait).

Hanoi is an interesting, vibrant city but its real advantage is access to the little-travelled north. Halong Bay is stunning, but a tourist trap, so I'd suggesting looking for tours to Bai Tu Long Bay: exactly the same stunning landscape but because it's outside of the area given World Heritage status there are far fewer crowds and the rates are cheaper. Also consider doing a tour further into the north. Not doing this was one of my biggest regrets

HCMC was my favourite city. Super bustling, super interesting and loads of war memorial sites and museums. You can get to the Mekong Delta here too, which is definitely worth considering.

So...I'd say Hoi An for a few days, the north for a few weeks, maybe a week and a half in HCMC. But that's just a suggestion, obvs.

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PostRe: GRcade Travel Topic
by SandyCoin » Mon Jul 01, 2019 11:35 am

Tafdolphin wrote:Hoi An is very small. strawberry floating beautiful, and good for a few days but I wouldn't stay longer than that (unless you're getting a suit made and have to wait).

Hanoi is an interesting, vibrant city but its real advantage is access to the little-travelled north. Halong Bay is stunning, but a tourist trap, so I'd suggesting looking for tours to Bai Tu Long Bay: exactly the same stunning landscape but because it's outside of the area given World Heritage status there are far fewer crowds and the rates are cheaper. Also consider doing a tour further into the north. Not doing this was one of my biggest regrets

HCMC was my favourite city. Super bustling, super interesting and loads of war memorial sites and museums. You can get to the Mekong Delta here too, which is definitely worth considering.

So...I'd say Hoi An for a few days, the north for a few weeks, maybe a week and a half in HCMC. But that's just a suggestion, obvs.


Cool, cheers for the info.

I lied, we are actually planning on being in Vietnam for 2 months, including 2 weeks in Japan and some time in Laos/Cambodia.

I've heard Hoi An is popular with the "digital nomad" crowd (hate that term), but wasn't sure if it would be too small. Looks very nice though.

Halong is a tourist trap in terms of rip off prices? I've not heard of the other Bay, so will take a peak. Did you do a 1 day cruise? Did you miss out on places like Sa Pa up north then? Did you find it hard getting around? We don't drive so are reliant on buses.

Dd you notice food in HCMC being better than Hanoi? Food is important, but not sure how much Vietnamese food varies from regions like it does in Thailand.

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Tomous
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PostRe: GRcade Travel Topic
by Tomous » Mon Jul 01, 2019 11:41 am

Hoi An has a fantastic Mr Bean themed bar, if that's a dealbreaker for you. And if it isn't, it should be.

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PostRe: GRcade Travel Topic
by SandyCoin » Mon Jul 01, 2019 11:47 am

Tomous wrote:Hoi An has a fantastic Mr Bean themed bar, if that's a dealbreaker for you. And if it isn't, it should be.


It's either completely put me off going there, or made me want to live there permanently. I can't decide yet.

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PostRe: GRcade Travel Topic
by Tafdolphin » Mon Jul 01, 2019 12:20 pm

SandyCoin wrote:
Tafdolphin wrote:Hoi An is very small. strawberry floating beautiful, and good for a few days but I wouldn't stay longer than that (unless you're getting a suit made and have to wait).

Hanoi is an interesting, vibrant city but its real advantage is access to the little-travelled north. Halong Bay is stunning, but a tourist trap, so I'd suggesting looking for tours to Bai Tu Long Bay: exactly the same stunning landscape but because it's outside of the area given World Heritage status there are far fewer crowds and the rates are cheaper. Also consider doing a tour further into the north. Not doing this was one of my biggest regrets

HCMC was my favourite city. Super bustling, super interesting and loads of war memorial sites and museums. You can get to the Mekong Delta here too, which is definitely worth considering.

So...I'd say Hoi An for a few days, the north for a few weeks, maybe a week and a half in HCMC. But that's just a suggestion, obvs.


Cool, cheers for the info.

I lied, we are actually planning on being in Vietnam for 2 months, including 2 weeks in Japan and some time in Laos/Cambodia.

I've heard Hoi An is popular with the "digital nomad" crowd (hate that term), but wasn't sure if it would be too small. Looks very nice though.

Halong is a tourist trap in terms of rip off prices? I've not heard of the other Bay, so will take a peak. Did you do a 1 day cruise? Did you miss out on places like Sa Pa up north then? Did you find it hard getting around? We don't drive so are reliant on buses.

Dd you notice food in HCMC being better than Hanoi? Food is important, but not sure how much Vietnamese food varies from regions like it does in Thailand.


The problem with Halong is, or was, the agents. Most are great and offer variations on the same basic tours, 1 day sightseeing, 3 day cruises including kayaking and other activities. Others are straight up scams, and telling the difference is sometimes hard. Obviously internet reviews help here. The bay is also super popular so expect those stunning views to be filled with hundreds of junk cruises. Bai Tu Long is, was, cheaper and much less crowded while offering the same basic deals. I wasn't disappointed at all, and there was 4 of us on a boat meant for 30 (bear in mind this was off season too though). We did a 3 day 2 night cruise and it was great.

Food wise the best I had was in Hoi An. There's some amazing boulangeries and restaurants there. I'd say generally the food is better in the south though, due to the north more keenly feeling rather soviet in its makeup.

All of this is from a trip I made 8 years ago, so yeah. Could all have changed now! And we didn't venture north as we only had a month and wanted to do quite a bit in the delta area (which turned out to be nowhere near as impressive as the north apparently is).

EDIT: Some Bai Tu Long bay info here:

https://traveloutlandish.com/blog/halon ... y-vietnam/

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PostRe: GRcade Travel Topic
by SandyCoin » Mon Jul 01, 2019 12:26 pm

Tafdolphin wrote:Food wise the best I had was in Hoi An. There's some amazing boulangeries and restaurants there. I'd say generally the food is better in the south though, due to the north more keenly feeling rather soviet in its makeup.

All of this is from a trip I make 8 years ago, so yeah. Could all have changed now!


No problem, I imagine the only thing food wise that has changed is the number of western restaurants. I went to Thailand about 8 yrs ago, so I'm hoping there's nothing too different these days as that's our stop after Vietnam. I'm also hoping the prices haven't risen for street food as I ate out about 4 times a day when I was there for a grand total of about 5 quid.

As for the cruises, I'll probably check online companies. I've seen Swan mentioned a bit. I can't be doing with trying to deal with it once I'm actually at the Bay, as I don't have the patience for people trying to rip me off anymore. It actually gets me quite angry, as I'm not an idiot.

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PostRe: GRcade Travel Topic
by Tomous » Mon Jul 01, 2019 12:28 pm

For Ha Long Bay, I would personally recommend going to Cat Ba island and booking from there. Cat Ba in itself is worth a visit and a few days (plenty to see and it's beautiful to drive round on a scooter) and you can book to go to Ha Long Bay from there. You go through Lan Ha Bay to get there, which in itself was very beautiful. If you do go that route, Cat Ba Vision are a great tour company we used.

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PostRe: GRcade Travel Topic
by SandyCoin » Mon Jul 01, 2019 1:03 pm

Tomous wrote:For Ha Long Bay, I would personally recommend going to Cat Ba island and booking from there. Cat Ba in itself is worth a visit and a few days (plenty to see and it's beautiful to drive round on a scooter) and you can book to go to Ha Long Bay from there. You go through Lan Ha Bay to get there, which in itself was very beautiful. If you do go that route, Cat Ba Vision are a great tour company we used.


Sadly we don't drive :(

Our very rough plan for this trip (I'm allowed up to 6 months off work. Sadly not paid though...the nerve!)

So start in Vietnam for 2 months, 2 weeks in Japan (would like longer but it's going to drain funds in just 2 weeks for sure), and maybe some time in Laos or Cambodia, depending which area of Vietnam we stay in. Then head to Thailand, with the aim of basing ourselves in Bangkok for a month and Chiang Mai for a month, doing different trips and stuff.

Then the rest we wanna split up a bit and do more of a continuous travel itinerary. So far Malaysia (which I've already been to), Hong Kong, Taiwan, I'd quite like to go to Sri Lanka, but not sure how realistic all of this will be :dread:

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PostRe: GRcade Travel Topic
by Drumstick » Mon Jul 01, 2019 1:17 pm

Tafdolphin wrote:Off to Barcelona at the end of next week. Got our Basilica tickets booked, as well as for the acquarium (love me some fish) and the Casa Battlo. Anyone got any recommendations for restaurants or the like? Or stuff to do that's a little less well known?

Sagrada Familia, Gaudi Park, Nou Camp.

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PostRe: GRcade Travel Topic
by Corazon de Leon » Mon Jul 01, 2019 2:23 pm

Not sure any of them fall under "Restaurants or the like," or "less well known" :slol:

Sadly I've never been to Barcelona. I was once booked up to go, then had to claim on my travel insurance after falling and winding up on crutches the weekend before we went. :lol:

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PostRe: GRcade Travel Topic
by Drumstick » Mon Jul 01, 2019 2:24 pm

Corazon de Leon wrote:Not sure any of them fall under "Restaurants or the like," or "less well known" :slol:

Sadly I've never been to Barcelona. I was once booked up to go, then had to claim on my travel insurance after falling and winding up on crutches the weekend before we went. :lol:

Who cares about restaurants when you could go to the Nou Camp instead.

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PostRe: GRcade Travel Topic
by SandyCoin » Mon Jul 01, 2019 2:46 pm

I've never been, but have heard Mercado de La Boqueria isn't quite what it used to be. Obviously super touristy so prices have been whacked up. Probably plenty of other delicious markets around though that aren't quite as busy.

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PostRe: GRcade Travel Topic
by Tafdolphin » Mon Jul 01, 2019 4:59 pm

Drumstick wrote:
Corazon de Leon wrote:Not sure any of them fall under "Restaurants or the like," or "less well known" :slol:

Sadly I've never been to Barcelona. I was once booked up to go, then had to claim on my travel insurance after falling and winding up on crutches the weekend before we went. :lol:

Who cares about restaurants when you could go to the Nou Camp instead.


I do appreciate the thought but yeah, we've booked all the big stuff, the basicial, Casa Battlou, the acquarium and some other stuff. I strawberry floating love Spanish food though, and was really looking for some non-touristy places to eat, or failing that, things to do.

Cannae wait.

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PostRe: GRcade Travel Topic
by souljahsstory » Mon Jul 01, 2019 5:28 pm

SandyCoin wrote:
Tomous wrote:For Ha Long Bay, I would personally recommend going to Cat Ba island and booking from there. Cat Ba in itself is worth a visit and a few days (plenty to see and it's beautiful to drive round on a scooter) and you can book to go to Ha Long Bay from there. You go through Lan Ha Bay to get there, which in itself was very beautiful. If you do go that route, Cat Ba Vision are a great tour company we used.


Sadly we don't drive :(

Our very rough plan for this trip (I'm allowed up to 6 months off work. Sadly not paid though...the nerve!)

So start in Vietnam for 2 months, 2 weeks in Japan (would like longer but it's going to drain funds in just 2 weeks for sure), and maybe some time in Laos or Cambodia, depending which area of Vietnam we stay in. Then head to Thailand, with the aim of basing ourselves in Bangkok for a month and Chiang Mai for a month, doing different trips and stuff.

Then the rest we wanna split up a bit and do more of a continuous travel itinerary. So far Malaysia (which I've already been to), Hong Kong, Taiwan, I'd quite like to go to Sri Lanka, but not sure how realistic all of this will be :dread:


Loved Vietnam. Went on a randomly planned trip earlier this year. That involved, Bahrain, UAE, Malaysia , Vietnam, Thailand and Turkey.

Vietnam is immense. Bai tu bay is gorgeous. I’d make it an overnight trip only though as 2 nights on a boat didn’t seem all that exciting.

North Vietnam has 4 seasons. Whereas the south has 2 so i’d try and see stuff sooner rather than later if you’re planning to travel a bit.

I’m going back to Bangkok in September after being offered a job there with a view to travel as much as possible when i’m out there.

Malaysia is beautiful. Would love to live and work there at some point.

Check out kiwi.com they have a multi city/nomad flight planner and booking system that’ll allow you to pinpoint the best/cheapest dates to fly to and from places. I used it as a reference point and checked flight prices elsewhere too. We got some serious bargains in terms of flights.

South East Asia is incredible. Food is epic and cheap. The service is second to none.

One thing i highly recommend for asia though especially in Vietnam and Thailand is to grab a scooter. Or jump on the back of a taxi scooter if you can’t ride one. There’s nothing quite like haring down the streets in a swarm of scooters. Cutting through traffic. It’s scary as strawberry float but exhilarating at the same time.

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PostRe: GRcade Travel Topic
by SandyCoin » Wed Jul 03, 2019 2:08 pm

souljahsstory wrote:Loved Vietnam. Went on a randomly planned trip earlier this year. That involved, Bahrain, UAE, Malaysia , Vietnam, Thailand and Turkey.

Vietnam is immense. Bai tu bay is gorgeous. I’d make it an overnight trip only though as 2 nights on a boat didn’t seem all that exciting.

North Vietnam has 4 seasons. Whereas the south has 2 so i’d try and see stuff sooner rather than later if you’re planning to travel a bit.

I’m going back to Bangkok in September after being offered a job there with a view to travel as much as possible when i’m out there.

Malaysia is beautiful. Would love to live and work there at some point.

Check out kiwi.com they have a multi city/nomad flight planner and booking system that’ll allow you to pinpoint the best/cheapest dates to fly to and from places. I used it as a reference point and checked flight prices elsewhere too. We got some serious bargains in terms of flights.

South East Asia is incredible. Food is epic and cheap. The service is second to none.

One thing i highly recommend for asia though especially in Vietnam and Thailand is to grab a scooter. Or jump on the back of a taxi scooter if you can’t ride one. There’s nothing quite like haring down the streets in a swarm of scooters. Cutting through traffic. It’s scary as strawberry float but exhilarating at the same time.


Thanks, I'll check out that site.

Malaysia is really nice, and surprisingly not that touristy (I went about 8 years ago, mind). I guess it's a little more conservative than Thailand though, so perhaps that's what puts people off. The food in Penang was some of the best I had whilst in SE Asia :wub:

I went on a scooter taxi in Bangkok which was pretty fun, but I'm not a huge fan of scooters in general. I had to take a 20 minute one ride on one in Colombia recently and it was a nightmare due to it being mostly uphill. Incredibly uncomfortable.

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PostRe: GRcade Travel Topic
by Ecno » Sun Jul 14, 2019 11:07 pm

Anyone ever been to Taiwan.

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PostRe: GRcade Travel Topic
by Outrunner » Mon Jul 15, 2019 11:17 am

I was there in March of this year. I was only there for 4 days in Taipei. It was ok, too hot for me though. I think being sandwiched between the Hong Kong and Japan portions of my trip took the shine off a bit. I'm not in a hurry to go back but kinda feel I should give it another try

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PostRe: GRcade Travel Topic
by Tafdolphin » Mon Jul 15, 2019 12:05 pm

SandyCoin wrote:
souljahsstory wrote:Loved Vietnam. Went on a randomly planned trip earlier this year. That involved, Bahrain, UAE, Malaysia , Vietnam, Thailand and Turkey.

Vietnam is immense. Bai tu bay is gorgeous. I’d make it an overnight trip only though as 2 nights on a boat didn’t seem all that exciting.

North Vietnam has 4 seasons. Whereas the south has 2 so i’d try and see stuff sooner rather than later if you’re planning to travel a bit.

I’m going back to Bangkok in September after being offered a job there with a view to travel as much as possible when i’m out there.

Malaysia is beautiful. Would love to live and work there at some point.

Check out kiwi.com they have a multi city/nomad flight planner and booking system that’ll allow you to pinpoint the best/cheapest dates to fly to and from places. I used it as a reference point and checked flight prices elsewhere too. We got some serious bargains in terms of flights.

South East Asia is incredible. Food is epic and cheap. The service is second to none.

One thing i highly recommend for asia though especially in Vietnam and Thailand is to grab a scooter. Or jump on the back of a taxi scooter if you can’t ride one. There’s nothing quite like haring down the streets in a swarm of scooters. Cutting through traffic. It’s scary as strawberry float but exhilarating at the same time.


Thanks, I'll check out that site.

Malaysia is really nice, and surprisingly not that touristy (I went about 8 years ago, mind). I guess it's a little more conservative than Thailand though, so perhaps that's what puts people off. The food in Penang was some of the best I had whilst in SE Asia :wub:

I went on a scooter taxi in Bangkok which was pretty fun, but I'm not a huge fan of scooters in general. I had to take a 20 minute one ride on one in Colombia recently and it was a nightmare due to it being mostly uphill. Incredibly uncomfortable.


I drove a scooter for the first time in Vietnam. Still got the scars.

For real, like. Tipped over within 20 minutes and the burning hot engine was pressed onto my leg with the full weight of the thing. Burned right through the skin. Given the traffic is strawberry floating insane over there I think I got off fairly lightly.

Basically, don't rent a scooter in Vietnam unless you know how to ride a scooter and even then it's strawberry floating risky.

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