Vietnam is fantastic, but can be exhausting. Even for cats in rice wine breweries.

So... this is 2016! 2015 was completely different from what I had expected - I hadn't expected to go nomadic again until late 2016, but 2015 began with a big urge to leave London. We've been on the road since June now, and will be for quite some time to come.

Anyhow, December continued much in the same vein as November... 

Hanging out in Da Nang

NEVER ever go with airbnb in Vietnam. We had five attempts in the last weeks, and except one, all of them were a catastrophe... last minute cancellations, bug and mouse infestation, leaky air cons, broken kitchens and incessant noise made our trip a lot less pleasant than it should have been.

This was my third time in Vietnam, and the first time that people seemed rude and out to rip us off everywhere we went. I now understand why people can dislike and never want to return to Vietnam, although I'll definitely be back and see this as a one time hick up.

We ended up spending 10 days in Da Nang, a city that offers very little do to and is not very pleasant to hang out, because other accommodation options had failed us.

Discovering Dalat

We had a much better time in Dalat, Vietnam's garden city, which is popular with Vietnamese tourists but not so much with foreigners... because it looks a lot like France or Switzerland! We had a great time discovering the surrounding countryside, walking around the lake and parks of Da Lat and exploring the French quarter and the Da Lat crazy house, which is like a real life Dali painting. 

We then spent a week in Hanoi, my favourite city in Vietnam and SE Asia, in a fancy but extremely noisy flat. Pollution in Hanoi was terrible. My favourite thing came at the end of the trip: We took a trip to the countryside with Bloom Microventures, about which I will blog in a while. Then it was off to Thailand

From Bangkok into Isaan

sometimes the path less travelled is less travelled for a good reason
We hadn't planned to spend time in Isaan or Thailand, but general unhappiness with South East Asia and lack of reliable internet stopped us from going to Laos or Burma, as planned initially. Isaan is the poorest and least visited area of Thailand (only 2% of tourists come here). While it's a relief to not be pestered by vendors and embarrassed by drunk, scantily clothed backpackers, I understand why nobody comes here. The food sucks, it's pretty much all meat and rice, plus terrible muddy fish sauce that goes into ALL local food. I've never seen to many cockroaches and rats in my life. Transport is terrible. Local buses are crammed to the brim with no aircon or even fan. Even tuktuks refuse to take us places. Yes, there is a lot of stuff to see and do, but all this puts a damper on it.

The verdict: SE Asia is still my least favourite part of the world, but I tried. I'm just unable to relax and enjoy the "easy life" you can have here as a weahlthy foreigner, when I see to much social injustice, and especially the sexpats with their Thai wives and girlfriends. I just can't. We've been focusing on work, studies and using the pools and gyms that seem to be included in most accommodation we stay at. 

We're in Isaan for another few days, and will fly back to Europe after a week in Bangkok. I'm happy to be leaving. 

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