How to Travel to Vietnam & Cambodia

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(on the cheap!)

 Though still very much jetlagged, we are back from our bucket list trip to Vietnam and Cambodia 🙂 It was nothing short of amazing. We packed our days exploring everything and anything we could. We were immersed in history, food and culture so unique to our own.  It was two weeks of trying the new.

Try it we did. Love it we did.

The verdict: Cambodia was our favorite, so much so we stayed an extra day and booked a brand new flight directly out of Cambodia. ( New flight… not on the cheap plan.) However traveling to these two countries can be done on a travel budget: heres how!

1) Flight:  We researched for months. In the end we used cheapoair.com, which saved us $500-700 over any other tickets we found. Just be warned, this service may change your flights on you! If you are willing to take the risk, it does provide a much cheaper option.

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2) Hotels: Hostelworld.com. Use it. Read the reviews.  And I’m not talking about hostels.  Check the hotels and bed and breakfast options.  We stayed for around $15-$29 a night. (These were not even backpacker hotels. Quite the mix of people) Breakfast included. Best breakfast Pho for days 🙂

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3) Food: Street food. Eat at the vendors pushing their carts, sit on the teeny tiny plastic stools and sip your dollar beers. The best and cheapest food we found was on the side of the road. It is the most authentic and will cost you around $5 for beer and multiple entrees.

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4) Tours: If there are day or overnight tours calling to you, book them through your hotel.  This will ensure they are legitimate and they may discount them for you as well (See saving more money).  Entry fees at most museums are not more than $2.  Google and find self guided tours around the cities.  There are also free tour guides available wanting to practice their English or other languages.  Check the day prior, as some start as early as 7am.  We had the most fun following a self guided tour through Hanoi, at our own pace, taking everything in.  We saw the things that “were once there” but no longer existed….. which of course only leads to numerous inside jokes. We got our bearings with the city and post tour got around walking just fine.

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When in Cambodia and off to discover the world heritage sites of Angkor Wat and the multiple temples; get the three day pass.  You will need more than one day to explore, and the sunset and sunrise tours are unbelievable 🙂

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5) Transportation: Cabs should only cost you a few dollars. It may be best to negotiate your price prior. Also, a word of advice, never sit in the front seat….. we had the most brazen robbery attempt by a cab driver I’ve ever seen/heard of. Tuktuks should also only cost you a few dollars. Negotiate with them. But really, see the cities by foot if possible! Grab a free city map. Your hotel will have one, with all the sights nearby pointed out.

6) Visas. If you have a US passport, you will need a Visa for both countries.  Apply early to the Vietnamese embassy just to ensure there are no issues.  For Cambodia, you can  buy a Visa upon arrival.

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If you follow me on Instagram, you saw some of the 1200 pictures I took 🙂 If you’re not following, lets be friends! Follow me at olivedoesthecity.

I’m sure another post or two on our travels are yet to come! If you are headed to either country anytime soon, I’d love to offer more tips, feel free to email me, found on my contact page 🙂

Hello 29

Well hello, I hope this post finds you well 🙂

I hope I am waking up to the sounds of a new country, new culture and new experiences.

I hope the first day of 29 brings peace while exploring the lost temples.

I hope 29 brings a calm, while even in the midst of bustling Asian cities.

I pray 29 brings deeper compassion into my life than I’ve previously known.

I’d like for this trip to reconnect me with pieces, sights and feelings from my childhood. Some of my first and clearest memories are of Asia…

I hope to meet and learn from many over these two weeks.

My past birthday posts have been a reflection.  here and here.

This year, I’m looking forward. I have a feeling 29 may be one of the best yet 🙂

So happy Monday to you; I hope you find the same peace, calm, compassion and reconnection this year 🙂

And hello 29!

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Vietnam Bound

The anticipation has been building like a thousand knots in my chest.  Like a swarm of pverbial butterflies bursting out.

The excitement can no longer be contained! The duffel is packed, my comfy clothes are on, and we are off. Our Vietnam adventure begins.

I do not think words can convey my excitement.  My wanderlusting soul is like a kid on Christmas morning..

Hopefully by the time you read this, we are sipping morning cocktails at MSP, or rushing to our connection Chicago flight, or enjoying a plethora of wine on the 14 hour plus flight to Asia.

Or hopping on a small plane to eventually land in Hanoi. ( I may need more wine to survive all these flights!)

Its almost unreal. We are about to cross off a major bucket list item. A country I’ve wanted to explore for years. Well, two countries 🙂 See you seen too, Cambodia.

It started with a thought… then an action. More doing, less thinking. 2014 was the year of stepping up my exploring; or at least planning such stepping up. The year of making decisions and going for it.

An out of the blue text to my now roommate, and here we are, Vietnam bound!

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Cheers to you my fellow wanderlusting friends, happy Friday 🙂

And because I cannot think of a better Friday Fav,

Linking up with Katie, Heather and Claire for Friday Favs!!

Lost in an Irish Field….

One of my biggest joys in life is to explore the new.

To try new things. To say why not.

To get lost in a new to me city.

Like that one time, outside of Dublin, Ireland. We hopped on a train, on a whim and recommendation from a taxi driver. And all of a sudden, found ourselves lost in an Irish field and traipsing through a breathtaking ruin of a castle.

But for taking that taxi, the magically Irish castle would have never happened.

Our picturesque lunch by the water and afternoon Guinness would have remained a dream. A wish, even possibly a regret.

While I am no longer traipsing through the rolling greens and damp cold of that field, I still apply the same why not attitude to life. Try the new.  Explore. Meet new people.

So when Jen, over at Apartment Wife, reached out to meet, I was ecstatic. Her writing and creativity is inspiring to me. Head here to see what I’m talking about 🙂

New friends must check out a new restaurant, right?

We decided Libertine, the newly replaced Cafeteria, was a must.

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The smoked salmon was my favorite.

Heres to many more meetings, new places and new friends.

Happy Weekend! What are your plans?

Take Me Back: Vail

Vail was like living in a picture.

A picturesque European painting.

I truly felt as though I was back in Europe.

My pictures can never do it justice.  Vail was jaw dropping, amazing, stunning, not even describable.

We stayed at The Tivoli, which you must stay at during your next trip to Vail 🙂 The staff was amazing, the breakfast spread delicious, and I was even treated to a spotting of the celebrity dog, Speedy (Speed). I may or may not have fed him a few strips of bacon….

Stopping at Loaded Joe’s for coffee every morning is a must. And the best post bike ride sandwich has to be at Big Bear Bistro.

Me on a bike, for the first time in like 10 years, at over 8,000 Ft above sea level…. pure comedy 🙂

I’m already dreaming of planning a trip back to experience this wondrous place in the winter 🙂

Have you been to Vail?

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Vail Bound

 

Good morning and Happy Friday!

I hope you are off to wonderful weekend plans.

I’m about to board a flight to Vail and head off to another quick summer trip. This time to celebrate the wedding of college friends. Mountain views, reunions and celebrating are about to occur. I cannot help but sit here reminiscing on all that has happened since college. So many moves, job changes, marriages, heartbreaks and joys for us all.

This morning I look back on all of it with a smile.

My excitement for this trip is on another level, as baby sister is accompanying me as my date!

As we are off to make new memories, I felt a little flashback Friday was in order

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Happy Weekend!

Lets Go Already: Bucket List

The proverbial bucket list. I have one running in my mind and one on my phone.

Actually the one on my phone is purely a restaurant bucket list…

My travel list; now that one is ever present in my mind. Father joked last weekend that my wanderlust is too strong.. I’ll explore one place and instantly crave another. So of course I informed him that my travel obsession  was all his fault…

Right, blame dad?

There is one place for years I’ve wanted to go.

Devoured articles on it. Watched travel and food shows.. poured over pictures.

Read fiction and nonfiction about it.

Then finally two weeks ago, I decided it was time. Less thinking, more doing.

Lets go already!

photo (270)The doing (planning) has begun. See you in February 2015 Vietnam!!

Have you been? If so, any tips/recommendations?

What places are on your travel bucket list?

I Heart Austin Pt 2

Again, I love Austin. Cannot get that city out of my head.

I’m quite convinced that at some point, I will live there.

The eclectic, the weird, the perfect. As the saying goes, keep Austin weird.

I’m on board!

Weird patio décor high up in the trees…

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Hey Mr. Rooster.

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In Austin, we opened bottles with hoof openers…

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I failed to get myself a pair of cowboy boots…..

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Keep it weird yo 🙂

 

I Heart Austin

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 l left my heart in Austin…… and his name might be Freckles..

Joking! Only nine of us will ever get that reference. We may not have known each other well in the beginning… but by the end… we knew more than is ever “bloggable” 🙂

We shopped, explored, ate, danced, lake partied and popped a few bottles.. all in the name of the soon to be Mrs. KPD’s last single fling.

And now I need to move to Austin. The people, the houses, the ever popular taco truck. Who is hiring?!

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I miss our house!

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Yep, still in Texas…..

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Hey Garage….What will you do before you die?

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I heart Austin! Have you been?

Adult Spring Break

Girls weekends are necessary. Adult spring break with your best college friends, priceless.

A four day weekend on a beach… the perfect treat.

Now that we are back and I’m hit hard with multiple realities, heres a (mostly) visual recap 🙂

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The most perfect welcome.

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Classy T-shirt shop stops may have happened.  I may have made a purchase…

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Shopping makes me hungry…

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Rides with classy ads are required on Adult Spring Break. But really, I have the contact info for the best, most reliable, most comedic driver in all of Daytona Beach. I’ll introduce you 🙂

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Sushi a must.

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So dearly miss waking up to this view.

Thank you ladies for an amazing Adult Spring Break 🙂

Are you taking a vacation? Where are you headed?