Frequent Traveller Monthly Recap July 2016
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Frequent Traveller July 2016
July 2016 was yet another huge month for us. Coming off the back of all our travel during the previous month of June 2016 saw us finish off our Asian countries journey.
The month began with us arriving in Hong Kong via Jetfoil feeling relaxed from spending 3 days in Macau for a house sit looking after 2 beautiful cats in a lovely apartment on Hong Kong Island.
Hong Kong is one of our favourite Asian cities and no matter how many times we visit we never grow tired of this charming city. As we were fortunate this time to be spending an extended period in our apartment so we were able to immerse ourselves into daily living and get to explore in depth the many back streets of Hong Kong island.
July weather in Hong Kong can be unpredictable with rain forecast most days so many excursions around the island saw us dodging showers which appear out of nowhere at times. Fortunately, rain periods tend to be brief and the rain offers welcome relief from the scorching heat. Part of the attraction doing house sits is the face that we get to stay in homes or apartments which offer all the amenities of home so we are able to eat in if we choose thereby saving some meal costs. We get asked by many people how we got started House Sitting and we are more than happy to share our experiences and suggestions on how to go about finding house sits. If you would like to know more feel free to leave a comment or contact us direct.
Next Stop Vietnam:
From bustling Hong Kong it was time to take off again and start making our way back to our second home in Thailand. This time we though let’s do a quick visit to Vietnam. Our initial plan was to arrive in Hanoi then time permitting work our way down to Ho Chi Minh city before departing for Thailand at the end of the month.
It was our first visit to Vietnam and we had a basic list of things to do and places to see but with limited time knew we would have to prioritise our list. Besides we could always return in the future as Vietnam is a short distance from Thailand.
We had many highlights this month but three that stand out were spending time with two adorable cats in Hong Kong, Discovering the energy of Hanoi and the beauty of Halong Bay.
We were scammed. (slightly)
We like to think of ourselves as fairly well travelled and aware of the usual tourist traps and scams that are just part of everyday travel but it just goes to show you can easily be taken advantage of if you let your guard down. Every seasoned traveller has their bad taxi experience. As a general rule in most cities we visit we try to use public transport rather than taxi unless it’s absolutely necessary. This is partly because we enjoy walking soaking in the surrounding. We also enjoy taking the local public transport such as buses and subways where available as this is generally a good way to mingle with the local population.
Naturally there are certain times when a Taxi is just necessary and after visiting the very moving War Remnants Museum in Hanoi we decided that we should just grab a Taxi back to the main town centre. Besides it was very hot, a little overcast and we were in a hurry to get to the next attraction before closing time. We headed to the Taxi rank only to be stopped by an official looking guy just inside the gate of the museum asking where we wanted to go. We actually thought the guy was working for the museum so told him we wanted a taxi and where we wanted to go. The guy then ushered us to what looked at first glance to be a genuine taxi and we hopped inside. To our surprise the guy then jumped in the front as a driver. Glancing at the meter it showed the 12,000 Viet Dong starting fare which I was aware was the flag all. Hoverer within a couple of hundred meters of driving it became apparent that this was not a regular taxi as the meter started spinning like a poker machine and going up at a rapid rate. This is also when we noticed the meter was only attached by a flimsy cable and looking around the cab we could not see any identification of the driver.
I immediately told the driver to pull over as we were getting out but he refused to pull over straight away and had conveniently became unable to understand English. Which was surprising given that he spoke perfect English just earlier. Anyway he eventually pulled over then pointed to the meter which was showing 80,000 Dong for what should have been well under 15,000 given that we had only been in the cab a few minutes. Ros had wisely jumped out so I just pulled out 100,000 dong and quickly thought let’s just get out of here. I’ll pay the meter and be done with it.
This is when I was scammed the second time. Gee he was good. As soon as I handed min the 100,000 dong note a quick slight of hand and he waving a 10,000 dong note at me implying that I had given him the wrong note. I knew this was not the case and then started arguing with him telling him I knew what he was doing. He started yelling in Vietnamese pointing to the meter and making gestures toward a couple of police nearby. It was then I thought I’ll just pay and threw another 100,000 dong at him and jumped out. Overall it’s not a lot of money but the principle of the thing and the fact that we let ourselves get scammed. I have since read that it’s a common ploy at the war museum catching inspecting tourists. The Taxi was silver not white and green so if you ever visit the war remnants museum be very careful that you don’t get scammed with the fake taxi like we did.
Most Popular Post:
4 Days in Manila. After our June visit to Manila our story on our short trip was well received with over 997 likes on Facebook. Thank you everyone who took the time to read it.
5 Days in Singapore. A catch-up of our recent House Sitting assignment in and trip to Singapore.
5 Days in Hong Kong. What we visited and saw in Hong Kong during our recent trip. A place we never get tired of visiting.
News and Announcements:
After a huge month in July it’s back to Chiang Mai Thailand for a quick break before planning our next trip. Where to next? We are still up in the air and talking to a few contacts about our plans for the future. Stay tuned.
Most Popular photo on Instagram:
One of those beautiful shots of the Bay. Truly a magical part of the world.
Coming up in August 2016:
Exploring more of Chiang Mai and researching some of the best places to eat and drink. We will hopefully be putting up some city guides for first time visitors on what to do and see.
We hope you enjoyed our Frequent Traveller Monthly Recap July 2016 and welcome any comments or suggestions on what you would like to see us cover in the following months.
What are your plans for August? Share away.