Overnight trains are fun, but this one comes with the added bonus of a brilliant view between Da Nang and Hue (on the right hand side of the train going north).
We paid 450,000 dong (about $30) each for a top bunk berth in a four-bed carriage. Lower bunks are more expensive, but probably nicer for views and storage space.
The train comes all the way from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi. If you are getting on half way then you may need to strip the bed of its old linen and ask the not very helpful guards for 2 new sheets.
Food is included, but not particularly nice (cabbage and mackerel stew on boiled rice anyone?). Vendors follow the official trolley selling much nicer fare.
There are several trains a day. We caught the 14h15 from Da Nang so that we'd get the coastal views up to Hue. Everyone seemed to bunk down and sleep by about 20h30 so arriving in Hanoi at 04h30 did not seem too traumatic! And then you are just in time to dump your luggage and join the early morning crowds at Hoan Kiem lake.
Buy tickets in advance from the train station (not sure if you can buy from a station other than your departure one- tried to find out and failed). The earlier you buy the better as tickets do sell out.
This cable car - the Transbordador Aeri - takes you from Montjuic Park to the beach at Barceloneta. It travels over the harbour, suspended across two 400m-high towers. Not advisable if you are in any way scared of heights, but the views across the city are amazing, particularly around sunset.
Leaves from Montjuic, Barcelona's World Trade Centre and the Torre de San Sebastián. Usually open 10.30am-5.30pm and later in summer. Single journey €7.50 or €9 return.
The Metro is Tyne and Wear's version of the underground. I always find Metro is a quick and cheap way to get around Newcastle and also out to the coast and airport.
Get on for £1.60 umlimited travel in newcastle all day.
Stops throughout Newcastle and Tyne and Wear
If you're staying for a couple of days, it's worth cultivating a regular moto driver (many guesthouses have a bunch of reputable guys).
Saves hassle, and can be great if you strike up a rapport, even better if they speak a bit of English.
Pay 2000 riel per journey (maybe 3000 at 3am), or negotiate a day rate.
Plus if you're planning on being out late, having a moto driver you trust who you can ring up on a mobile is worth the extra peace of mind.
Ask your guesthouse owner
If time is limited perhaps the best way to see the city is by blue
tricycle taxi. There are plenty by the railway station and they
comfortably seat two.
Many would class the ride as white knuckle but most will admire the way veteran drivers skillfully maneuver their vehicles through the city traffic.
If you have a little more time a boat is better giving a view of the older buildings which contrast the new development in both Shaoxing and the region as a whole.
One of the coolest things about Copenhagen.
Look out for bikes with advertising on the filled-in wheels – there’s about 400 of them attached to racks around the city. They work just like shopping trolleys; you just put in a Nkr20 coin and its yours until you put it back, and retrieve your money.
The bikes are obviously pretty shite, your thighs will ache by the end of the ride, but considering it’s totally free, you can’t really complain.
If you are driving into town from the ferry port, and you have something taller than a car, such as a camper or caravan, then take care.
There is a 2.1m bridge over one of the main roads, and it is very poorly sign-posted.
We managed to stop about 1 metre from turning our camper into a cabriolet.
Other than that, Copenhagen is an attractive town with friendly people.
On the way to Copenhagen by road, from Esbjerg, the car ferry between Fyn and Sjælland is well worth taking a ride on, because it only takes about an hour and runs right beside The Great Belt Bridge, which is very impressive viewed from the sea.
At the halfway point of the ferry journey, you get the impression that the bridge is disappearing into the sea at both ends it's that long, at 1,624 meters. The pylons are 254 meters high.
Between Fyn And Sjælland.
Here's an interesting page with photos of the bridge and more details:
Brilliant way to get to Copenhagen with a car. It's really good fun. Overnight ship with a great nightclub. They've always had really good bands playing whenever I've been. On the down side, it's quite a long drive from Esbjerg, and you still have to get a ferry to Sjælland.
I had great fun taking a day trip into the countryside near Battambang with a local moped driver. You can see a couple of sights - a killing field area and temple - but the best thing is just seeing the small villages and hearing a bit about how locals live. There's a crazy thing called the 'bamboo train', powered by outboard engines on the underused railway line that you can ride. A most unusual means of transport.
One of the Battambang hotels will set you up with a guide.
It's a long journey by land, but that old adage about the journey holds true for those that make the effort to reach Cambodia's most remote outpost. Sandwiched between the Vietnamese and Laos border, Ratanakiri is a wilderness of jungle and wide rivers, dotted occasionally by villages where, it seems, traditions are unadulterated by modernity.
Travelling east from Phnom Penh up the Mekong is an adventure in itself. The strange torpedo like motor boats that plough the waters seem out of place in this spectacular country, but they do the job nonetheless.
It is necessary to spend a night in Stung Treng before reaching
Ratanakiri. When I was in there, there was little to do in this town, but the guesthouse was suitable and there was a cafe that served decent fayre.
Moreover following the journey thus far it was a welcome respite, and gave me time to digest the richness of all I had passed that day. North from here is the Laos crossing, famous for its proximity to the many islands within the Mekong and the river dolphins you struggle to glimpse - but that was for another time.
The final leg of the journey was all I could've hoped for; delays,
breakdowns, burst tyres and appalling discomfort, but that is what you want when you travel to Ratanakiri and anything less really would have been rather disappointing.
Arriving in the province is an achievement insomuch as you feel you have arrived somewhere new and untapped. The slack roads and buildings look different to other places in the country; even the people have a certain unfazed look on their faces depicting, perhaps, their Vietnamese neighbours.
Spending a couple of weeks in this part of Cambodia is healing for those who love travel and love what travel represents. For $50 I went with a guide into the jungle to live out my explorer fantasy. Sleeping in hammocks, removing leaches and trekking through dense vegetation with the slight hope of seeing some beast, or happening upon a new Angkor type ruin is a tad hopeful. Still, you feel here anything is possible, and are honoured to tread such virgin land.
Like anywhere in Holland, hiring a bike is easy and cheap and it's safe because everyone is used to bikes. In Delft you can just pedal to and fro alongside the canals and the side streets, see the whole town not just the main squares - then head out into the country - cycle paths everywhere.
Bike hire from next to the railway station - very cheap for a day, a week.
The new Ngong Ping 360 cable car goes from right near Tung Chung MTR metro station on Lamma, 5.7km up & around Lamma's peaks to the Po Lin Monastary and giant bronze budhha.
The trip is undeniably fantastic, with views of Hong Kong airport to one side. It's very smooth, but those afraid of heights should be aware!
The only downside is being dropped off in "Ngong Ping Village", actually a shopping village full of many of the same international brands elsewhere on HK (Starbucks etc). There's also a 'Monkey's Tale Theatre' and 'Walking With Buddha' experiences, which might keep easily distracted kids amused but otherwise are quite commercially crass against the backdrop of the huge, serene buddha.
Better might be to do what I did: take the ferry to Mui Wo, then the bus up the mountain. Just as cheap and more fun. You can then stop off for food in the village (assuming you've not eating cheaply at the monastary) before being whisked back by the cable car and metro.
One of the worst bus journeys I've ever had, but my, what an experience. Watch your bags at the border town, Poipet - a hustlers' town dominated by 2 large casinos. You'll get told by a friendly hawker that you can't spend baht in Cambodia - and duly be guided to his currency exchange where he'll charge extortionate rates. Humour him but don't take him up on his offer - you can spend baht and get a far more favourable rate in Siem Reap. The road from the border is potholed and remote. The colours are spectacular and the locals curious. The rock hard seats will thwack your ass as you bump along through the potholes, arriving in Siem Reap some 18 hrs after you departed Bangkok. You'll arrive in darkness and be guided to a pleasant guesthouse where you'll find an abundance of Angkor or Lao lager - indulge yourself!
You could fly of course - but I'd recommend the bus....
It is a simple rack and pin railway that takes you up into the Buda hills, from where you can have wonderful views over to Pest and go walking on various trails through the hills. You can also walk to the Children's Railway (a model railway entirely operated by children volunteers) from here, although we did not have time to do this I would recommend it.
It is Europe's third oldest cogwheel railway and when you go up into the snow covered hills in January its very pretty and very romantic.
It is also part of the BKV system therefore if you have day tourist travel tickets you can travel on the cogwheel railway along with the buses, trams and metro.
The lower terminus is opposite the Hotel Budapest in Buda, you can catch a tram to here from Moskva Ter and it only takes 10 minutes at most.
Though most independent tourists hire a moto to take them round the ruins, if you're up to it hire a bicycle and head out in the delicious cool before sunrise.
It is quite a long ride (at least 40km there and back, including the distances between the temples), but you'll have the freedom to explore Angkor at your leisure without the heat, crowds and the pressure of knowing your driver is hanging around waiting for you. It'll also help you see the country more like the locals do, though remember never to venture off the main roads and tracks due to the landmine threat. Wear a krama to spare you the dust and sun.
Available to hire from several guesthouses for a couple of dollars per day.
Angkor Wat is simply brilliant. I recommend that if you are travelling from Bangkok take the train to the Cambodian border rather than the bus as when you reach Cambodia you will probably find yourself in a clapped out minibus rather than the promised air conditioned coach. Although you will probably end up in this minibus anyway for the journey through Cambodia, at least you will have got the chance to travel separately from the vast majority of tourists.
If you arrive at Siem Reap by bus, you will be 'greeted' by wave after wave of moto drivers, all offering rides to guest houses for 500 riel. There was a security guy keeping them at bay with a stick when my bus arrived! Beware - the price seems far too cheap, and it is. Once they've got you on the bike, they'll give you the hard sell to get you to hire them to be your guide around the Angkor temples etc. It's better to negotiate a realistic price with them (around 4000 riel) and then choose your guide yourself once you've checked into your hotel and freshened up etc. Much better than trying to negotiate while screaming along Siem Reap's streets on the back of a bike!
Siem Reap, bus station
The glaciers are retreating, the snow is falling later and more lightly and melting sooner in the spring. If you're going skiing in the alps - TAKE THE TRAIN - it's at least ten times less polluting. And you get an extra day on the slopes...
Send your feedback or queries to email@example.com