In case you have not read the first part, the link is here. I was about to go to Hanoi from Luang Prabang taking the Journey From Hell while continuing my backpacking trip across Southeast Asia..
Vietnam is Bustling: Hanoi -> Ha Long -> Hanoi -> Ninh Binh -> Hoa Lu -> Hanoi -> Ho Chi Minh City -> Vung Tau -> Ho Chi Minh City
27 hours bus ride.. Let’s do it!!! The road condition is bad, I made a wrong choice to take the bus but it is something that I will laugh about in the future. Arrived in Hanoi and this city is bustling. The capital city of Vietnam is a very interesting city. I stayed in an area where they named each address according to what they are selling, so it is kinda like a street selling the same stuffs. Probably the major hub for tourist heading to Ha Long, I took a bus for three hours and found myself in Ha Long.
A boat ride streaming across Ha Long Bay and a kayak trip completed one of my goal. Another day spent in Hanoi before heading to Ninh Binh by bus. In Ninh Binh, I biked along the Tam Coc (literally translated as Three Caves). Here in Tam Coc, another slow boat taken to travel across the three caves. Last stop before heading back to Hanoi is Hoa Lu. Back to Hanoi for the flight to Ho Chi Minh City.
Ho Chi Minh City is a city of millions motorbikes. So crowded that it is very hard to even cross a single street (hint: just have faith). So much to do here, from food, history, cultural stuff, nature, etc. I escaped to Vung Tau by Hydrofoil ferry because Ho Chi Minh City is too hectic. A very wonderful place surrounded by the beaches. Get a motorbike and you can travel across the whole Vung Tau in 40 minutes or more if you take it real slow like me. I spent the whole day in Vung Tau because I love beaches and eventually caught the last hydrofoil back to Ho Chi Minh City. The next leg of the journey is another 6 hours bus ride to Cambodia.
Cambodia is Inspiring: Phnom Penh -> Siem Reap -> Angkor -> Siem Reap -> Phnom Penh
Phnom Penh is the capital city of Cambodia. An interesting city with unique culture. Just like the other countries, temples are unavoidable. I spent most of my time by foot in Phnom Penh on the first day before heading to Siem Reap by bus. It took me 4 hours to Siem Reap as there is a major road construction happening. Arrived in Siem Reap, without a doubt my favorite place throughout this entire trip. Got myself a bike and one hour rode take me to Angkor city, where the famous Angkor Wat is located. I can’t even remember how many trips I took between Siem Reap and Angkor. Take snaps anywhere here and you will be surprised of how good your photography skill is. One very important thing is the sunset. I have not found any better place I have been to that offer a better sunset view than Cambodia.
From Siem Reap, I took a ferry back to Phnom Penh where I spent another few days before catching a flight to Malaysia. Told ya, I am gonna be back, Malaysia!
Malaysia is Multi-Cultural: Kuala Lumpur -> Perak -> Pangkor Island -> Ipoh -> Kuala Lumpur
Arrive in Kuala Lumpur, headed straight to Bukit Bintang. Food, there is a street here (Alor Street) where the whole street is dedicated for people to sell food. Berjaya Times Square and several other malls are worth checking them out too, but my main destination is Perak.
From Kuala Lumpur, I took a bus to Lumut Pier located in Perak. A four hour ride is not a big deal now as I have survived the 27 hours bus ride before. Forty five minutes jetty ride from Lumut Pier will bring you to Pangkor Island. Hopped on to one of the “Pink Taxi” and asked the driver to drive you around the island to experience fully about Pangkor Island. Also, took a boat to travel to the surrounding island. I even did snorkeling here. 😀
From Pangkor Island, another jetty ride took me back to Perak and three hours bus took me to Ipoh. Ipoh is famous for food, probably now you realized that I am also a foodie. Attend the night market and just enjoy the flow of this city. The next leg of the journey is to Kuala Lumpur (again!) to spend another night before catching another bus to Singapore.
The smallest country in Southeast Asia making it as one of the easiest place to travel for foreigner. Not much to do here aside from visiting Merlion, Marina Bay Sands, eating good food in Hawker Center, shopping along Orchard Road, and tasting Kaya Toast. Well probably there are some more, but I will not go into detail here. Finally my journey is reaching the end. One more stop and I will be home. Flight from Singapore to Medan is approximately one hour.
I spent more than 16 years growing up here before moving to the States. The truth is this is the real foodie heaven. No other place can beat the food here. If you are a food lover, definitely come check this place out and you will be more than just surprise of all the spices and taste from various different food offered. Not much into nature but there are still some escape spots for nature lover, for example Lake Toba.
That’s the itinerary for my first backpacking trip. I have separate posts for each of the country I visited that is written in more detail. There are so many places that are in my planned but I missed it due to time constraints but I guess that is one of the reason why I should do another backpacking trip. I hope you found this itinerary helpful.