I told you I was scatterbrained. I made it 3 posts in and then...I think I lost my password. Probably. In reality, I have about five blogs and can only access maybe 3 of them. My favorite blog name is one that I can't access, and that is upsetting. But oh well, this is a good one, also, and I like the 3 blogs that I have posted on here much more than the ones I have posted on the other blog.
A lot has happened since that last post! The main thing (for the sake of this blog) is that I went to Singapore, Vietnam, and Cambodia. My sister went with me, and it was our first 'sisters only' trip. It was tiring and exhilarating and beautiful and crazy and chaotic and basically all things good. We stayed with my cousin's family in Singapore, and they were amazing hosts! We got breakfast every day and a pool to swim in (with the humidity there, that was a lifesaver!) and good recommendations of places to go, and really helpful travel advice. I don't think that we would have gone to Haw Par Villa or Palua Ubin without a recommendation, and they were two of my favorite parts of Singapore!
I'm was really pleasantly surprised as a vegetarian by the vast amounts of options that I was given. Egg fried rice, there were strange flavored "pancake rolls", amazing pastries, and egg bao...which is another pastry but it's so good it deserves to be mentioned twice. Oh! And the Vietnamese coffee is the only coffee I want to drink for the rest of my days!
In Singapore, we went to Little India, Arab Street, Chinatown, Gardens by the Bay, and Marina Bay Sands. They were all really different and each was charming and unique. I loved it. Gardens by the Bay was a lot more than what I expected, and Marina Bay Sands is worth seeing simply for the shock value of how EXPENSIVE that mall is! (Good food court, though! EGG BAO!)
We took bumboats out to Palua Ubin, which is a little island. You rent bikes (test ride them first. We did NOT do this...) and you ride around trails all over the island. I made the mistake of trying to see EVERYTHING and thinking it would be possible simply because it is an island. It's not. And I accidentally got us on a free-riding mountain bike path. It was a bit scary and also hilarious, as my sister's bike wouldn't go above a certain speed without doing this weird sort of 'catch' with the chain, and my bike had a bike seat designed for someone with no feeling in their lower regions.
Palua Ubin made me feel like I was (practically) alone on a jungle island. We had rain ponchos on, and that turned out really good because there was a downpour. We rode through the rain and saw monkeys, wild boars, beautiful views, and not a lot of people. It also helped keep the mosquitoes away.
We went from Singapore by plane to Vietnam. We started in Hanoi, where we stayed at the adorable Nexy hostel. We booked a tour of Ha Long Bay through the hostel, and then spent a night wandering. (Actually, we went to dinner, then my sister didn't feel well so she took a nap at the hostel while I went wandering and found myself some gelato). Everything in Vietnam is very low priced, which makes it easy to go a little souvenir crazy. I think I bought 10 pairs of shorts and pants. For myself. I found handmade sketchbooks with the most clever pictures on the front, and only paid a dollar for something that would be 8-10 in the states! Traffic in Hanoi was ridiculously crazy. It could be interesting getting across streets. We did our day trip to Ha Long Bay, where we got to see beautiful limestone islands and kayaked through caves and climbed into other caves. The people we were with were hilarious and fun, and the food was great! They even made special vegetarian food for me! The last day in Hanoi, my sister and I went to the Women's Museum, the War Museum, and the Hoa Lo prison. They were really fascinating and I felt like it was three very different perspectives, so that was good. My favorite part was in the War museum, where they had an exhibit about the Vietnam War. It was so interesting to see the other side of that, and to see the amount of opposition there was to what the US was doing involved.
We took the night train from Hanoi to Hoi An. This has become one of my top 5 favorite cities. It was MAGICAL. It is also known as lantern city because they make lanterns there, so at night everything is lit by colorful lanterns everywhere. You can take a little riverboat out and make a wish while you let a lantern go in the water. There is a night market and we bought a lot of lanterns. Which weren't easy to get on the plane, but worth the trouble! We stayed at the Banana Garden Villa, which was beautiful with a pool, amazing breakfast, and bikes to borrow for free! We took the bikes to Cam Nam Island, which was fun and beautiful to get lost on, and we went to the beach the next day, where I got incredibly sunburned because I wouldn't stop playing with jellyfish. But really, they're so cute!!
Finally, we took a flight to Siem Reap, Cambodia. We stayed in the Pool Party Hostel. The best part of this hostel was the little restaurant. Such great food and then you could chill in the pool (or by the pool!) We booked a tour of Angkor Wat by bikes. They picked us up at about 5:30 am because they said the best time to get pictures of Angkor Wat is sunrise. They brought us Blue Pumpkin pastries and we sat on the steps and took about a thousand photos. Then we wandered the ruins all day by bike, had a lunch, and my sister and I were whisked away from the rest of the group to go zip lining across the jungle! It was a blast, and I was really proud of my (terrified) scared of heights little sister! She was a champ! The jungle tour was phenomenal.
We got back to Singapore, spent a day and a half wandering to our final temples and Maxwell Street food court and then got home to the States exhausted and happy. It was a favorite trip for me.