Our dream trip across 12 countries – how much did it cost us?

Having finished our 6-month journey, during which we visited 12 countries  (Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Viet Nam, Australia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Japan, the Philippines, China and Nepal), we often get questions regarding the cost of such a trip. In this post you will find information that will help you to realize that you don’t need a lot of money (which does not mean you need very little of it) to make your travel dream come true. Of course now we can call ourselves smarter and advise you which country you could skip right away if your budget is very limited; and this does not mean that it must be Australia, which many people associate with gigantic travel expenses! Sit back comfortably and make yourself decide after reading our tips whether a long travel is something you could go for taking into account various destinations and travel costs:)

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Vietnam: what things disappointed us vs. what made us want to come back for more!

Before going to Vietnam we kind of couldn’t wait for this experience counting the days until we got there. We heard a lot about Vietnamese cuisine considered to be one of the best in Asia, we heard about friendly and hospitable people we were going to meet there and we hoped that it would be less touristy than Thailand. We got a little disappointed by some situations and people and we thought that at some point Vietnam turned out to be jinxed in our case (especially we had the impression that we had bad luck with people that we were coming across during our journey). Later we changed our minds a little bit and found some pluses in regards to people, tourism and Vietnamese cuisine.


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Coconut Tree Prison on Phu Quoc island – Hell on Earth!

We are all well aware of atrocities of the Vietnam War – there is no doubt about it. This war was hell taking place in the terrain of today’s Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. During the very same war called by the Vietnamese ‘’the American war’’ there was a prison which functioned in Phu Quoc Island until 1973, the jail where the Americans were sending tens of thousands of captives – it was the cruelest prison of the Vietnam war. It was at that time the prisoners were burned alive, had their teeth knocked out, had nails hammered in different parts of their bodies, had their genitals crushed… This post is about the true Hell on Earth …


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Vietnamese New year – how is it celebrated in Hoi An?

Tet Nguyen Dan (known as ” Tet ”) is the most important Vietnamese holiday. This is the period when the Vietnamese celebrate the Lunar New Year (the date is taken from the lunar calendar). It is a movable feast, which falls at the end of January or in early February – at exactly the same time as the Chinese New Year. This year the Vietnamese have celebrated the New Year on January 28. It is said that the celebration lasts normally 3 days, but in practice we saw it continued up to 1 week and it significantly differed from the typical New Year celebration in Europe.  There are no grand balls and parties, it rather resembles the Polish Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, when gifts are handed in to relatives who gather together at a big table covered with lots of nice food. Let’s have a closer look at it then 🙂


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Crazy architecture of Da Lat – come in and feel like you were in Barcelona!

Coming to Vietnam we would never even think that you can discover there ”crazy ” buildings inspired by a Catalan architect, Antonio Gaudi. Feeling for a moment like in Barcelona, and what’s more, sleeping in such a climate, or drinking beer in a ‘’fairy tale cafe’’ is really ‘something’! In the city of Da Lat, which turned out to be the most unlucky one for us (which we will write about shortly), we could feel a little satisfaction in being right there and it was thanks to the so-called Crazy House (Hang Nga Guesthouse) and 100 Roofs Cafe / Maze Bar!


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Swastika on marble statues of Buddha in Da Nang! Where does it come from?

Swastika for most of us has been a symbol of Nazi concepts. Germany during the 2nd World War completely usurped this sign and left it with its negative connotation up to present times. Why did we start to wonder whether this symbol has always been associated with nazism? Well, we went to a place called Marble Mountains located near Hoi An in Da Nang and surprisingly we found the sign of swastika on the marble statues of Buddha, and exactly in the center of his chest .. besides, the symbol was also illustrated separately and it was quite big, so it was not difficult to notice it .. at first it seemed abhorrent for us, then later awoke our curosity and we wanted to find out more about it … and dig into the history of the sign..


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Why was Hoa Lo Prison called ”Hanoi Hilton Hotel” by its American inmates?

Hoa Lo Prison in Hanoi was built by the French in 1896 in Phu Khanh village. The building was one of the largest prisons built by French colonialists in Indochina. They jailed political revolutionists and patriots there. Many leaders of the government and the Vietnamese Communist Party were imprisoned there. From 1964 to 1973 Hoa Lo Prison confined American pilots shot down or arrested during the bombing of northern Vietnam. The most shocking for us was the fact that the prison got named ‘’Hanoi Hilton Hotel’’ by its American inmates. Sharing with you our feelings about it in a moment.


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Magical Sapa and its surroundings – mountains, rice fields and much more!

When visiting the north of Vietnam it’s worth stopping for a moment at one of the places that will delight us with their unique ambience. Cooler mountainous areas with rice fields in the most known Sapa, Ba Be or some other less known places in the area allow you to escape from the crowded cities and get to know local culture, customs, visit small villages, be a part of this picturesque world! The hotels do not have the central heating, but there will bea heated mattress waiting for you on your bed so you will not get cold! And you will pay 10USD per night for a double room 🙂


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Waking up in Descending Dragon Bay!

Just imagine that you spend a night on a boat in a cozy cabin being surrounded by 1,900-2000 rocky islands and islets with caves and grottoes .. And in the morning what wakes you up is an unearthly view from your cabin window and it turns out to be one of 7 New Wonders of Nature… Ha Long Bay or Descending Dragon Bay is situated in the Northeast/Dong Bac region of Vietnam and it has been considered the UNESCO World Heritage site since 1994. This incredible place is visited daily by a large number of tourists, who most often go there for 4/6/8h trips looking from the distance like herrings packed in small boats entering the bay. They all are taken to the same place, so called Surprising Cave, the most spectacular cave in the bay. We did not want to make this kind of hop-on-hop-off trip in a cramped boat. Instead we decided to establish a closer contact with the Ha Long Bay and spend there almost two days and one night – the boat cruise provided us with many unforgettable memories!


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It seems that the most difficult is the first step … And the first post! As everybody is afraid of the unknown and undiscovered. Especially when you need to leave your orderly life. But there comes a moment when you simply know that you must do this! So this is why one day we quit our well-paid jobs, resigned from buying a new car and from other conveniences and decided to set off on a journey to Asia. It started from 2-week expeditions, e.g. to Indonesia, Cambodia, Malaysia and Sri Lanka. And this step led to many others which we don’t regret at all. That step also made us to create this place – a space for commemorating our expeditions, stories about the unknown tastes and sharing impressions from our adventures.

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