Let’s Get Lost

Let’s Get Lost

By Siani Evans

“Travel becomes a strategy for accumulating photographs” – Susan Sontang

I first met Siani when we were studying together. She is a really beautiful person, so kind and thoughtful, and we’ve kept in touch via social media since that time. 

She recently got engaged to Xavier and I was so taken with their beautiful engagement photos, I asked her if I could share them… and from there, she has generously shared many of her beautiful pics with the LLLT family.

Siani has the passion for travel, as we do, and it’s a pleasure to share a little bit more about her. We’ll be sharing more of Siani’s pics in the future, but if you’d like to give her a follow on Insta, you can find her at @letsgetlost_se.

1. Where in this big, beautiful world have you traveled?

I have been fortunate enough to travel to over 30 countries so far, including the west coast of America, Bali and backpacking in South East Asia (Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand).

I also spent 6 months studying at the University of Miami and travelling the east coast of America and Canada (from the Bahamas up to Niagara Falls), and another amazing 6 months backpacking in Europe (highlights were Italy, Spain, France and sailing in Croatia).

Most recently, we hired a campervan and tripped along the west coast of Australia!

2. Is there somewhere that you’ve traveled that captured your heart?

One of my all-time favourite destinations is the French Riveria (or as the French call it, Côte d’Azur). I have fond memories from Nice in particular.

I visited there on a TopDeck tour a few years ago (not long after the attacks) and the locals were so welcoming and happy to see us, despite what had happened just a few weeks earlier. It was truly amazing and a reminder that love does still exist around the world.

Nice is the perfect combination of sleepy seaside town crossed with tropical paradise. By day you will find little markets, gelato carts and patisseries to buy fresh bread; by night there is an amazing little bar called Wayne’s where people go to dance the night away on tables!

3. Is there anywhere that you desperately want to visit and why?3. Where would you say is your favourite place (if possible) and why?

I would love to turn my phone off for a few weeks and lie on a beach in the Maldives. I often scroll across those stunning pictures of the traditional Maldives huts on Instagram and it just looks like the ultimate slice of paradise!

4. When you travel, what are three things that you can’t leave at home?

1. Some form of camera. For something different, my fiancé & I took a polaroid with us to Western Australia and captured some great shots which now live on the fridge.

2. Notepad. I love to jot down all my best memories from a place. That way, I can go back to reminisce a few years later and have a giggle about the various adventures. It’s surprising how many of the little things you forget!

3. A good book, because amongst the chaos of travelling I think it’s important to find a quiet spot for a drink and a read; whether it’s on the plane or on a beach somewhere.

5. You take some amazing photos when you travel, have you got any tips for capturing the perfect pic?

With the smartphone cameras and editing apps available today, taking beautiful photos is much easier for travellers! Most of my photos are taken on an iPhone and edited using Instagram.

I love to take photos with a high contrast of vivid colours (e.g. the sand against the sea or a group of brightly coloured beach umbrellas). When it comes to taking photos though, the most important thing to remember is to live in the moment. Take your photo, then put the camera away and breathe it all in!

6. What are your travel aspirations for the next couple of years?

My fiancé and I are planning to go to the Maldives for our honeymoon; after that I’d love to go back to France (with him this time, he is French!).

Life is short and the world is wide – keep travelling.

One Species_One Planet

One Species.. One Planet

Discover Humanity

By Denea Buckingham

“Apart from borders, gender, colour, religion, race or other prejudices we have one truth in common…we are all humans. One species, one planet.” – Discover Humanity

I met Denea and Manos when they came to film some of the artists that I work with and I was immediately drawn to them. We have lots of people come to interview and film the artists, that’s not new, but there was something about their story, and their purpose that is just so engaging. Denea is an Aussie so the commonality was there, but her passion for Discover Humanity is what really makes her stand out.

We have kept in touch as she traveled Cambodia and beyond and I just knew that I had to get her onboard for an LLLT interview. So here’s Denea, in her own words, and all photographs are from Discover Humanity… give them a follow on socials for more info!

1. Can you tell us about Discover Humanity is and why you began this journey?

Discover Humanity is a huge dream – a world more connected as a human species, and more encouraging of diversity. We are creating a ‘global mosaic’ of films to offer a look at aspects of the life and culture in every country and most importantly, share messages from local people to the rest of the world. 

The end goal is to create these films from every country (yes, all of them), release them free online for everyone, translated into as many languages as possible (eventually, every official language) in order to offer a snapshot of our world free to view for everyone in it. 

My partner and co-director Manos Mitikas and I came up with the idea together. It made a huge impression on both of us how so often we have these misconceptions or prejudices about foreign places and cultures which may come from many sources – media that loves to show the negative stuff, something someone wrote online that has become a type of 21st century ‘wives tale’, hesitations of friends, family, you get the idea. How many times have you said, “I’m going to…” and been met with “Oh gosh, don’t use your phone in public, don’t this, don’t that, be careful, be careful.” But then you go, have an amazing time, meet incredible people and wonder where on earth did all of those negative preconceptions come from? 

We want to challenge those pre-imagined stories almost all of us have for foreign cultures and people, by offering a look through an unbiased lens at the lives of others – others who, when it boils down to it, are really just like us except born in different circumstances – around the world. 

As humans we all have differences, and we believe those things are what make us special, and should be grounds to connect with others but ultimately we all have so many similarities and commonalities that in this increasingly connected world it’s time to break the wheel of fear and prejudice about our fellow humans, period. 

2. So where in this big, beautiful world have you traveled?

Well, I haven’t really been counting but I’d say I’m around 60-something countries by now. I’ve seen most continents except for Africa (well, below Egypt) and South America. 

For Discover Humanity we began in Haiti, followed by the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Mexico, Guatemala, Bulgaria, Serbia, Kosovo, Cyprus, Lebanon, Egypt, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and now Singapore. But with a goal of making a film about the culture and people of all 199 countries, we have quite a way to go yet! 

3. Where would you say is your favourite place (if possible) and why?

So I love different places for different reasons. I love the people of Cuba, Guatemala and Cambodia – so welcoming, kind and genuinely friendly. And with such rich cultures. 

I love the nature of Australia and Canada – so peaceful and majestic with fascinating animals and landscapes. 

For food I absolutely adore Lebanon and also southeast Asia. 

To feel like you’re inside a computer game I love cities like Tokyo or Hong Kong. 

Greece is magnificent for its history – you can practically trip over archaeology on any old hike. Plus it has some of the most addictive seas in the world – super clear, amazing water and great exploration both underwater and on land. 

For elegance I love the French culture, I feel like the Canadians are hilarious and the Aussies are always good for a laugh, China is sort of like tumbling through Alice’s looking glass, India makes you feel down a whole other rabbit hole altogether, and on and on. 

I think right now one of my favourite places is the Sahara desert. 

I went to the Sahara outside of Siwa Oasis in Egypt last year and I don’t know how to even describe the soul-filling majesty of being in the desert under the stars at night. I would really like to spend more time in the desert.

4. Your home is in a beautiful Greek Island, some would call it paradise, what made you decide to leave that and found Discover Humanity?

Yes, Greece is paradise, and in many ways it does feel like home. The language is beautiful and somehow I learned it very quickly. Greek kind of tastes good to speak, if that makes any sense. 

That being said, I have always felt a deep and inescapable need to explore the world. I guess I have the road in my blood. I’ve been traveling, for different reasons, my whole life. When I was in my mid-teens I left home and have been moving about as life washed me to many places – I’ve lived in Sydney (which I feel is where I became who I am so I guess that’s ‘my home’), Melbourne, Los Angeles, Seattle, Boracay (Philippines), the Solomon Islands, New Delhi, the list goes on. 

So I was never like Manos, who legitimately comes from a (albeit gorgeous) little rock in the Aegean where his family have been for generations and generations. I don’t have many roots holding me down like that.

But my life in his Greek island was indeed lovely, diving, freediving, spearfishing your own dinner, camping on the beach whenever you want, exploring, enjoying the singularly comfortable atmosphere of a small town. Then we came up with this project and it was only natural to pack everything up again (it’s pretty normal practice for me) and move back into my backpack. 

In fact, I love living out of a backpack. I have basically everything I need. About 6 outfits (yes, even one dress!), 3 pairs of shoes, a TSA-approved plastic square that holds all the toiletries I need, and most importantly – filming gear, my computer and journals. I don’t miss any of my other stuff to be honest. It’s so nice to have a house that’s also a museum of your life, but I don’t feel the need to “live” there every day. I love being on the road, changing places, seeing new things, meeting new people, experiencing new cultures, learning new languages, all of it. I guess I’m a nomad, vagabond, gypsy, whatever you want to call it, to my core. 

The concept of Discover Humanity was very important to me and it’s for that reason that I committed completely to it and left, not just my life in Greece but also my previous work, etc, to do this full-time. I believe we are at a turning point in our civilization right now, and we must hope to forge a more-connected and compassionate future worldwide. So, if I, and this project can help to do that, then it was absolutely worth any difficulties or sacrifices of my previous life. 

5. Since starting Discover Humanity, you’ve met a lot of people, with very different lives. What would you say has been the biggest lesson you’ve learned about your own life?

I think there are two – gratitude and humility. I have struggled with both at various times in my own life. I didn’t grow up with much but then as life gave me some wins I got very used to having luxuries and fancy things, and once we get used to something, it quickly becomes a given, and we stop feeling grateful for it. 

Experiencing other people’s lives, more often with far fewer luxuries than our (my) own, you see the things they appreciate in both the small luxuries (like lollipops in an Akha village in northern Laos, or indoor plumbing in the same place..) but also the things they have that are lacking in many modern cultures – deep connections with family, time spent really connecting with friends, people, nature, etc. And taking things slower. 

Seeing other lives makes me grateful for aspects of my own, but also reminds me to be grateful for some very core things that we tend to overlook in our fast, consumer, tech-obsessed world. 

Second is humility. I had a lot of need for approval from others growing up, and I think that’s closely linked with ego. And ego has no place in experiencing other cultures, really it doesn’t. You have to quiet the wiring inside your head that has come from your own culture, and be able to go into the culture of another genuinely open and inquisitive, without judgement. Then, in a sort of poetic irony, the inclusion and openness of others to show you how they live, who they are and what makes their world go round has its own gentle humbling effect on you. It is a gift when people let us see into their lives, and I try not to take it for granted even for a moment. 

Hoi_An

For the Love of Hoi An!

Vietnam 2019

By Rachael Mussig

“There is no time to be bored in a world as beautiful as this” – Unknown

I first went to Hoi An in 2013 and immediately fell in love with this little sleepy town in Vietnam and I knew that our Vietnam itinerary needed to make time for it when our family visited it with our wonderful friends. It is one of those places that could let you believe that you’re in another decade as the cars are kept out of the town and the people are so warm and friendly that you feel immediately at home. With the streets blocked off to cars, it’s easy to roam around and feel like you’re in a time past.

But don’t let the aged facades fool you! Hoi An is every bit the modern tourist destination with coffee shops serving the insanely delicious Vietnamese coffee and WiFi being very accessible. There is also a few bars serving boutique beers and restaurants with a distinctly western target market.

I was warned that it had changed alot since 2013 and was a bit concerned when I was planning the itinerary as I feared that it wouldn’t be how I remembered. That is not the case. There are definitely more tourists, but it doesn’t take away from the experience at all. It’s still very easy to fall in love with Hoi An. As Declan (our 14 year old son) said “I never imagined that I would ever get to visit somewhere so amazing!”

Rather than get into every little detail, I thought I’d give you some highlights of visiting this area in Vietnam.

1. Coffee Coffee Coffee!

Every morning we went in pursuit of the delicious deep brown nectar of the gods and we found it in so many amazing places! Vietnamese coffee is STRONG and with a generous dash of condensed milk, making it a sensational, not-to-good-for-you treat! We loved the Hoi An Roastery for the coffee, but also for the chilled out vibes and beautiful area. The Bird House was another one a beautiful area, but their menu is quite limited

2. Tailors Galore!

Hoi An has a reputation for being the tailoring capital of Vietnam and this was certainly a priority when we got here. Our friends, Rob and Kel did some research on the best places to go and we chose Tuong Tailor and have no regrets. They were extremely professional and had our clothes ready in just two days – and that included a fitting on the second day! They also have a family business next door that makes belts and shoes… so yes… we got belts and shoes….

3. Night Markets

No visit to Hoi An is truly complete until you visit the captivating Night Markets. The stunning illuminated lanterns line the streets and you can’t help but feel a certain sense of romance in the night market area. Yes, the streets are lined with markets stalls that you get everywhere in Asia, but what we loved is that the stall owners were not pushy and were only too willing to help. There are some really nice bars along that side of the river as well, so take some time to just relax and enjoy some people watching.

4. Where to from here?

The advantage of Hoi An is that it also puts you in a great spot for adventuring a bit further away on a day trip to Ba Na Hills (home of the incredible hand bridge), My Son, and Da Nang. The Tourist Information Centre in Hoi An was super helpful in arranging a tour for us. Sadly it was a very foggy and gloomy day in the mountains (it rained all day) but after not seeing rain in Cambodia (where we currently live) for so long, this day was actually the highlight of the teens whole Vietnam experience. They loved that it was so cold and we had to wear raincoats and we laughed so much at the craziness of it all. A lesson in letting go and an awareness that despite the meticulous planning, we can’t control the weather!

There is so much more that I could share, but it’s one of those things that you need to experience for yourself. Hoi An is definitely in my Top Five Asia experiences and I know you’ll love it too. Reach out and we can help you to make memories in Hoi An x

Aussie Adventure

Let’s Talk Aussie Adventures!

The LLLT Travel Aspiration Interviews

With the Dawe Family

“Live for the moments you can’t put into words” – Unknown

So full disclosure, this weeks LLLT Travel Aspirations Interview is written by my sister, Kaddie, for two reasons: 1. Because she is amazing 2. Because her, Shane (her fiance) and their two boys had the most incredible Australian experience two years ago when they went from Gladstone in Queensland, to the red centre of Australia, taking in Uluru and other amazing landmarks along the way!⁠

I’ll admit, while traveling this big, wonderful world of ours, I have been rather neglectful of my own country, and seeing the adventure that Kaddie and her family undertook, really made me realise how much more I have to see. I cannot wait to add more of Australia to our list of experiences we have had!

This was a monumental trip for Kaddie, Shane and the boys, as not long after they returned home, Shane was diagnosed with Acute Myloid Leukaemia and the memories that they had made gave them hope and a goal to travel more in the future.

After an incredible fight, they received the amazing news that Shane is in remission but it’s absolute proof that you never know what is coming in life, and you need to treasure every moment.

1. How long was your trip out west?

21days – 6,786Km
While we had an itinerary, it didn’t eventuate as planned. We used the WikiCamps app and although some free camps had good reviews, they were literally gravel patches on the side of the road which were hot and noisy so we’d move on. We also found places we loved and spent more time there so made time up the following days etc. It was a guide to work with as Uluru dates were firm, everything else we winged along the way and were flexible to accom options etc. 

2. Where did you go?

West from Rockhampton through to Longreach, Winton, up to Mt Isa then onto the NT border. Down through Tennant Creek to Alice Springs. West to Kings Canyon on our way to Uluru.
Left Uluru to Kulgera, visited the geographical centre of Australia to Mt Dare then headed east through the Simpson Desert to Birdsville. Then north-east to Barcaldine and then back east towards Rocky.

3. What was the highlight of the trip?

There were many. Every day we were astounded by a different beauty of our country. 
Uluru literally took my breath away. We were keeping a keen eye out to see who could first spot it.
When we did, OMG! 
We set up camp and went for a drive and I’ll never forget the moment we saw the whole rock in the flesh. We drove around it, continually gasping and its beauty. 
We parked the car at one of the shorter walk entrances around the back and we sat on a bench approx 3pm in the afternoon. The sun had shaded the side of the rock. The birds chipped then there was silence. I had goosebumps and tears welled in my eyes. It was such a profound experience and at that moment, definitively felt the spiritual connection of Uluru. (I get emotional remembering the moment).
The NT was much more than I expected. So many beautiful places to see & we only touched the surface.
The dinosaurs at Winton was pretty cool! To see what they’ve found out there is so amazing and having a budding palaeontologist in the family, it was a no brainer that we’d stop there. Great for the family & so much to take in – in a good way! 
The Simpson Desert – incredible stars!! I was a bit apprehensive about the Desert as it’s so secluded and no help etc if we needed it but Shane’s knew what we needed to do and he’s very mechanically minded so could do repairs if needed etc (thankfully they weren’t needed) and I was pleasantly surprised. There was not a soul in sight for hours on end and definitely an adventure!! 
Stood at the Poeppel’s Corner spot where Qld, NT & SA meet. 
Lambert’s Centre was pretty cool too. The geographical centre of Australia. When we opened the google maps, we were literally dotted in the middle of the country 😱 
Dalhousie Springs at the start of the Simpson Desert. A hot, fresh spring literally in the middle of nowhere. 
So much history and so much to learn!

4. What was it like traveling with kids with long periods of no internet and no technology to entertain?

We broke the trip up so there were only a few days with long hours in the car. Even then, there’s so much to see along the way you can break the trip up. 
We’d stop at random places to make lunch (we carried everything we needed so made sandwiches, wraps, leftovers etc wherever we stopped). We’d wander whilst eating so explored random little places along the way – abandoned buildings, small farms etc.
Kids had iPads which they played games from time to time. We were busy most days – walking tracks, trekking, museums, shows etc so when we weren’t in the car, they were occupied. A few places we stayed had pools so swimming was always a highlight. We had some tv shows downloaded so at night, we’d watch a show before bed. Apart from a few nights where we stayed in a cabin, we had no television so the iPad shows were a treat lol.
No internet wasn’t an issue. 
We always let family know what our plans were in case we didn’t have signal.
We also hired a satellite phone – especially in case we had trouble in the Simpson Desert. It was piece of mind that we thankfully didn’t need. 

5. As a family, did you learn anything about each other that you didn’t expect?

The boys were amazing really. We all walked miles, literally climbed mountains etc and they never whinged. They embraced the opportunities and enjoyed it all. Shane conquered Uluru – he was the one of us that wasn’t sure if he wanted to climb it, but the only one who did the full climb (possibly with the onset of Leukaemia too mind you).

6. What would you say to someone who might be considering the out west adventure?

DO IT!!!! Without a doubt.
– There was so very much to see. We can’t wait to have enough long service (or Lotto) to do so much more. We have an incredible country that has so much to discover. 
– Even though you can’t climb Uluru anymore, honestly, it’s not an issue. There is so much to experience around Uluru/Kata Tjuta that you don’t need to climb the rock. And, once you there and experience the beauty and have that connection, you honestly second guess climbing it anyway. (We’d go back again in a heartbeat)
– If visiting during holiday times, you need to book Uluru well in advance. It gets very busy and accommodation can be expensive. The Campground was fabulous for us. I think accom only cost us $124/3nts for the 4 of us. Very clean amenities and staff were really lovely.
– We used swags for this trip which were great – we had camp set-up, packed up within half an hour. However, if we again, for longer periods, we’d invest in a van.
– Always carry plenty of water as some places are restricted – probably even moreso now with the drought. Through the desert, we carried nearly 100L. That was for drinking, showering, dishes etc (but always better to carry more just in case). 
– Travel in the cooler months – the NT is hot!! (However, the Simpson Desert can get very cold so if you do that leg, be mindful).
– Only carry what you need. We packed soooooo much less than we ever do when we go camping regularly. (We were mindful of weight in the desert so didn’t have anything that wasn’t necessary). 
– Let someone know where you are/heading as some places are quire remote and you don’t see people for quite a while.
– Some tourist places are quite expensive but all that we saw were worth it. Some places you can book in packages to make it cheaper (Ie Longreach – Hall of Fame & Qantas Museum)
– Buy locally. Spend money in the smaller towns to support them. Again, sometimes a little more expensive but it their livelihood! (On that note: Fresh fruit, veges & dairy are hard to find the further inland you go – it’s all part of the experience).
– Research! Shane spent a lot of time learning about the Desert so we’d be prepared. He was on many facebook pages where people shared stories, tips etc. We planned out route, we looked at Wiki reviews in planning where to stay etc. Talk to people along the way. We got told about some incredible spots along the way by talking with other travellers, locals etc – things which aren’t on maps etc. It also gave us an idea of how much things would cost along the way so there weren’t too many nasty surprises. 
– Embrace the experience! 
– But, DO IT !!!

Solo Travel

Let’s Talk Solo Travel! –

The LLLT Travel Aspiration Interviews

With Elise Schuster

“Don’t be scared to walk alone. Don’t be scared to like it” – John Mayer

I remember my early 20’s and venturing to the UK on my own to become a nanny. I never felt more liberated. ⁠At first it was scary, coming from a big family, I’m not someone who is used to my own company, but the more I traveled, the more I realised that I could be whoever I wanted to be and do whatever I wanted to do. ⁠Today, travel is more about family, but I am forever grateful for this time I had.

Travelling solo can be anything YOU want it to be. We had the opportunity to speak to our friend, Elise. As well as being a beautiful person, Elise is also an inspiration when it comes to traveling solo. She has lived and worked in South Korea and Thailand, but has also seen so much of South East Asia as a solo traveler.

1. Where in this wonderful world have you traveled?⁠

For work: the Marshall Islands, Kiribati and the Soloman Islands. ⁠For fun: the US, Cambodia and Singapore⁠. For uni: South Korea, Thailand and Malaysia⁠

2. What’s the best thing about being a solo traveler?⁠

You have total freedom! You can go where you want, on your own schedule, and do the things you really want to do. If you feel tired, you rest for that day, but if you wake up full of energy, then you can get up right away and make the most of the day! And you can make decisions that suit your budget too eg. accommodation, places to eat, activities, transport options.⁠⁠ Also you learn to be independent and decisive with the extra challenge of being in a different place / city / culture / country.⁠

3. What is the best thing that you’ve done while traveling?⁠

This is difficult…it’s a toss up between scrambling around Bayon and Ta Prohm temples at Siem Reap in Cambodia, strolling around the French Quarter in New Orleans while jazz bands play on every street corner, going on a bike tour in Bangkok that also included transport via truck, train and two types of boat, and climbing a mountain in Colorado.⁠⁠

4. What do you think you can do a solo traveler that you wouldn’t be able to do if you were traveling with someone else?⁠

As a solo traveler, you are much more likely to meet a huge array of new people. If you’re in a pair or group, there is usually neither the incentive nor the opportunity to strike up conversations with random people. But if you’re traveling alone, you’re much more likely to find yourself chatting to other travelers and locals too. I don’t necessarily trade emails or keep in touch with these people but that’s not always the point – you are making connections with other people, in the moment, and always learn something new or surprising by listening to their stories. It restores my faith in humanity that there are genuinely good people all around, who are willing to share their story and are equally willing to hear yours.⁠

5. Where will your next travel adventure take you? ⁠

My next adventure will be within australia, probably a road trip to Sydney and the blue mountains via Byron Bay, although I’m also really keen to see the states again and visit a lot of friends living up and down the east coast⁠

Ho Chi Minh

The Mussells + 2 take on Ho Chi Minh

By Shez Horn

Day One: Ho Chi Minh is calling!

The planning of our whole Vietnam adventure began when our amazing friends from Australia, Rob and Kel, decided to come and visit us, and the first thing we discovered was that travelling in a group of five people (soon to be six) can be challenging especially when two of the six are teenagers!

First impressions of Ho Chi Minh. Wow! I thought the traffic in Phnom Penh, Cambodia was hectic… but this is next level. The number of motos on the road is huge, crossing the road is definitely a physical challenge. The children are familiar with crossing busy roads but being overwhelmed by the sheer volume of traffic means that we had to really stick together and be aware of where everyone was.

Ho Chi Minh Challenge #1

We googled the address for our hotel and headed in the right direction thinking our driver should find it easily enough. WRONG he had no idea, we had to show him on the map where it was and unfortunately for us, our location appeared to be smack bang in the middle of an intersection. So much of Ho Chi Minh in little hidden laneways and we discovered that our accommodation was down one of these.

Ho Chi Minh Challenge #2

After finally finding our accommodation, we found that it had been closed for renovation, having, even though we had paid received confirmation of our booking and paid, we had no idea that this was going on.

Ho Chi Minh Win #1

As the booked accommodation was not available, they put us up at another hotel that was in a better location and brand new, so a win for us.

Trip Advisor was our bible throughout our whole Vietnam adventure and after settling in we headed out in search of food, before checking out the Ben Thanh markets. They are truly a wonder with plenty of souvenirs, clothes, the obligatory good luck cats and food. After being ‘marketed’ out, we found a great little rooftop bar which has amazing burgers per Niamh’s request and enjoyed some well deserved cocktails and an amazing view of the city in lights. Truly beautiful.

Day Two: Cu Chi Tunnels

We had another early start for the Cu Chi Tunnels, the location of several military campaigns during the Vietnamese War. When we arrived, we were taken through a long tunnel through to the area where the tunnels and information videos were shown. It was fascinating to see just how the tunnels were accessed by the soldiers during the war, and we had the opportunity to climb through the tunnels ourselves to experience just how difficult navigating them was. Niamh was uncomfortable with the first tunnel, but Declan was eager to challenge himself and gave it a go. We all went through the other tunnels and it was claustrophobic and dusty. It was so hard to imagine how they must have felt at war and see the horrific traps and devastating ways in which they fought in combat. After this, we opted to take a boat back to the city so we could see how people lived on the river.

Ho Chi Minh Win #2

After being in hospital in Bangkok for almost two weeks, Rach surprised us in the middle of the night and joined us for the rest of the Vietnam adventure. We had to be really conscious of her pain levels, but just to have her there completed our family, and our adventure in so many ways.

Day Three: Ticking off the ‘Must Dos’

We continued to navigate the city, with much more ease thanks to Grab! We only had the morning in Ho Chi Minh before heading north so hit up what we had left on the ‘must see spots’ in the city, beginning with the War Remnants Museum.

After the museum, the children were in total information overload, so we headed to the Jade Temple which was interesting to say the least. It’s a really fine example of a Vietnamese temple, but has an enormous enclosure with so many turtles! It really was totally random.

Ho Chi Minh DONE! Hoi An awaits!