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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Five Reasons Why You Should Go To Vietnam With This Guy's On His Own Trip

Come Christmas and we shall set forth on the last “This Guy’s On His Own Trip” for 2014. And what could be better than that haven for backpacking, that circuit which has enamoured so many westerners, travellers and backpackers. It is a place where many begin their solo backpacking journey, it is also a place where so many hearts have changed. There is so much to see, so much to do, so much to fall in love with.

Ladies and gentlemen, this Christmas ‘This Guy’s On His Trip’ is heading to South East Asia’s finest – Vietnam and Cambodia.

Cap’n Nero and twelve boys and girls (nine bookings done already) will travel across the length of Vietnam and Cambodia. We shall venture into the ocean, and climb mountains. One day we shall sit on the decks of a luxury cruise and another day we shall pedal our bicycle past green fields. We shall do it all.

And here are five reasons why you should join us on this trip.

1. We are going on a cruise in Halong Bay

Quite simply put, it is one of the most beautiful places in the world. In seventeen months of travelling, some of the places that have most stunned me most are the Pltivice lakes (in Croatia), the Kuang Se Falls (in Laos), Gurudongmar (in North Sikkim) and Halong Bay.

A beautiful bay in the South China Sea, on most days it is of a heavenly turquoise green colour. As the boat goes deep into the sea, limestone cliffs appear magically, mysteriously out of the sea, and as the boat passes between two such cliffs, it is but difficult to not get overwhelmed.

The tour starts from Hanoi and as we drive to the port, we pass by lush rich farmlands of the Red River Delta, rice fields, bemused looking water buffalos and pretty villages.

Once aboard the cruise, it takes us into the bay and we pass by several islands. At Titop beach, we hike up to the top. There are splendid views from this point (it is here I took this picture). 

At night, after a dinner of delicious sea food and fruit, one could retire to their cabins. Or we could all go lie on the deck and talk and look and eventually sleep off under the stars. Want to join us?

2. We are going to kayak in the sea

The water in Halong Bay is crystal clear. And I can’t think of a better way to enjoy ourselves than to swim, or to kayak in the placid waters. 

For those who haven’t tried kayaking or don’t know how to swim, there is nothing to worry. The first time I kayaked in Halong Bay, I could neither swim nor was I an expert at kayaking.

All I did was strap a life jacket onto myself and set forth. One can’t be a captain (at sea) if one does not lead from the front, eh!

We shall be kayaking in the smaller inlets and lagoons that are naturally formed by the cliffs. We shall also take our kayaks and go into some caves, the best of which is named ‘Surprise Cave’. Some of the cave roofs are really low and inside is quite dark, and you get a tremendous rush having to really lower your heads and yet balance and row your kayaks in the sinister surroundings.

3. Cycling to Angkor
So, there are a lot of ways to see Angkor- one of the most famous temple complexes in the world – by tuktuk, by moto, by air conditioned transport, with a guide or without.

We are going to cycle to it. 

Situated about 8 kms out of Siem Reap, we shall set out early in the morning. Once the town is left behind, the route becomes prettier and towards the end of the 8 km stretch, as you turn left, you ride along the moat that surrounds the most famous of Angkor Temples – Angkor Wat. Usually there are kids playing in the moat, and don’t forget to wave back at them.

After a few hours of lazily wandering around the grounds of Angkor Wat, we head North towards Angkor Thom - the great walled city that is home to Bayon, the other jewel in the Angkor temples crown. The road is flat and wide and flanked by enormous trees that provide some well-deserved shade from the sun.

4. It is New Years’ time & we know the best streets to party at

The South East Asian travel circuit is designed in a manner that one can have fun all the time. Just like Thailand, both Vietnam and Cambodia have an extremely vibrant street party atmosphere.  On New Year’s Eve, we shall be in Ho Chi Minh City, and in the evening shall head for the very popular Backpacker Street – where every day hundreds of backpackers and locals converge, sit on the pavement and roadsides, drink beer, eat food and have a gala time with their friends. It is loud, it is exciting, it is very different from what we see in India, and it will leave an impression on you.

5. There is a great set of people
signing up for the trips

Because I am not just a regular travel agency, am I?

People often ask me what type of people come on the trips. And I think, the communication (whether on Facebook or on the blog) attracts a certain audience. The crowd I have attracted so far has been very young – the average age group would be 26 – 32 years. In all the trips I have conducted so far, I have got some really nice, likeminded people. I love adventure and try to add that in all the trips, but of course not everybody has to be athletic. No one is a professional mountaineer or rock climber.

But what is common in all the people who have come so far is that these are all people who are excited by the thought of travel, people who want to explore, who want to get fascinated and who love nature.

A lot of them come solo, by themselves. Some of them are nervous, before a trip, about whether they would be able to gel with the rest of the group.

But then it all changes. For everyone here is excited by good conversations. And they find these conversations, sometimes when we are travelling together in a bus, sometimes when we are sitting on the banks of a river, and sometimes when we are sitting in our own little mini pairs or groups.

Everyone fits in beautifully. At the end of it all, I am yet to meet anyone who wants to go back home. There are nine people who have already signed up for the trip and I am looking to take a maximum of 14 people on this sojourn through South East Asia’s finest.
Over the last year and a half, some of my favourite travel moments have been just walking in a new country, or striking up a conversation in a café, drinking with strangers in bars and sometimes liking someone enough to change my own plans and join theirs’.  At the end of it all, travel will be as much about the people you meet along the journey, as much about the places you see.

And hence, I absolutely want to encourage people to not just stick to a schedule, but also do their own thing. If you want, just pick up a bicycle and go find and see that art gallery that you had read about. No one’s stopping you here.

Go talk to that person across the bar you find cute. And if you get rejected, don’t worry, it happens to all you mortals ;) Just come back, and we shall have a beer and make fun of you.
Don’t only try to eat Indian or Western food but try the local cuisine as well. Be sensitive to the local customs and know that a country’s rules were made to suit its own people, not you.
In our regular lives, there is so much we do not explore about ourselves. And that is the special bit about travel. It gives us the opportunity to wander and discover, to learn and unlearn, to accept and even love, and to get inspired.

These trips are about all of that.

And if all these things appeal to you, or make sense, come join us on boys and girls on this trip to Vietnam and Cambodia with This Guy’s On His Own Trip.

Trip Dates:  December 26 - Jan 2
Group Size: 12 -14 people
Fb Event Page:Here
Last date to Book : Dec 10, 2014 (9 bookings done already)

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