HWZ Forums

Login Register FAQ Mark Forums Read

Singapore to London Overland in 75 Days!!

Like Tree2Likes
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 12-07-2018, 03:03 AM   #46
Arch-Supremacy Member
 
coolhead's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 17,612
Hanoi D2 - 11/6/18

On 2nd day, I headed to Old Quarters to have Vietnamese breakfast of Beef Pho and Vietnamese springroll.


Thereafter, I chanced upon this street art along a probably disused railway.


This was along the way from Old Quarters to a Vietnamese Fine Arts Museum which I thought of visiting. The museum has depictions and various influences about their ancient art culture.



The atmosphere in the museum felt solemn as alot of art pieces was about war, resistance and revolution against the colonial masters. This is worth a visit and I spent about 2.5 hours thinking about the art in this museum. It is not that often that you feel close to what the artist depicted thru their drawings as their focus on war, sadness was as if they did not experience other emotions in their lives.




__________________
Please stop the brainless brainlessness. Copyright 2007 - 2015, coolhead. All rights reserved.
coolhead is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-07-2018, 03:15 AM   #47
Arch-Supremacy Member
 
coolhead's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 17,612
Hanoi D2 - 11/6/18

Now I saw an interesting directional instruction at the museum. If you are standing outside the museum and you saw this, what will you do? Push in or pull out?



Thereafter, I strolled to a cafe, Kalina Cafe, which had good reviews on Google Maps. I was not disappointed! Vietnamese coffee with a roast of caramel was great under the air-conditioned respite from the Vietnamese summer heat.




For dinner, I headed to Mcdonald's nearby and had big macs. The big macs meal was average, though it cost only S$5. However, what was interesting was the garlic chili and honey mustard sauce which were interesting dippings for both the fries and burger. Best of all, they are free!



After dinner at Macs, I strolled 1 round around Ho Hoan Kiem lake where alot of residents can be seen jogging or soaking in the aura of relaxation as nature merged with the winding down of the working day.


On the way, I managed to catch a wedding procession taking place at a rather stylish restaurant.
__________________
Please stop the brainless brainlessness. Copyright 2007 - 2015, coolhead. All rights reserved.
coolhead is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-07-2018, 03:46 AM   #48
Arch-Supremacy Member
 
coolhead's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 17,612
Hanoi D3 - 12/6/18

So today I had a mild panic when my fav pair of havaianas slippers was missing from the hostel's common shoe porch. That is freaking supposed to last me the whole trip and more; yes, havaianas slippers are darn reliable. Thought of ways to recover it back and I suspected one of the angmoh girls worn it amongst old rubbery common sandals.. Did an English and Vietnamese Google translate and stuck this note on the shoe porch.

Lo and behold, the mystery stealer returned back my havaianas slippers a several hours later and stuck the note to it. Good people do exist.
Note: I wanted to mention I had foot rot but afraid the stealer would throw it away.

Back to my last day, I went through google reviews and decided on this cafe, Banh Mi Cafe for morning breakfast, that makes good Vietnamese baguette sandwiches. It was indeed awesome and washed down with hot authentic Vietnamese coffee with milk.




Next, I visited the Thang Long Imperial Citadel which was a palace during Ancient Vietnam, built in the era of 1000-1400.


When I went up the citadel gate, I observed the amount of workers that were tending to the garden and their efforts to perfect the aesthetics was commendable. However, I could not help but infer that labour is really cheap in Vietnam. 12 workers and 4 supervisors to tend to that small garden area. Productivity is really low in Vietnam. One of the other things I noticed was that roadsweepers will use worn-out broomsticks to clear the fallen leaves from pavement when a blower saves effort and time.


There was quite alot of Chinese influences that can be seen in the displays such as the golden dragon and wording/pronounciations. For eg, east gate in Vietnamese is Doan Mon.


However, personally I feel that the Vietnamese depictions seem to show an inferiority complex against the Chinese as there was neither an explanation that the influences were from Chinese culture or that influences from Chinese culture was credited to their development.
There were also displays of Operation Command that took place here during the Vietnamese war against US.
This is the underground tunnel to the Operation Command.

__________________
Please stop the brainless brainlessness. Copyright 2007 - 2015, coolhead. All rights reserved.
coolhead is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-07-2018, 03:58 AM   #49
Arch-Supremacy Member
 
coolhead's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 17,612
Hanoi D3 - 12/6/18

Thereafter, I visited the Ho Chi Minh museum to understand why he was so revered and his life story.


As most of the original articles were written in French, only very brief descriptions were given in English. If there were translation of his French articles, I would have appreciated the museum more, alas it was an unfortunate letdown from what would have been an interesting museum. I will advise that coming to this museum is a waste of time if you do not understand either Vietnamese or French. Nonetheless, some pictures of the exhibits at the Ho Chi Minh Museum.




Late lunch was at Hoang Thai restuarant in Old Quarters where I had beef pho, vietnamese spring roll as well as traditional Vietnamese fish. The food is tasty and I had to cook the traditional Vietnamese fish on the hot stone with the raw vegetables. I will then use the rice paper to make the roll with the vegetables and fish, with side condiments such as egg, sweet sauce, prawn, spring onion, peanuts etc. It simply tasted wholesome with a right mix of slight sweetness, crunchiness, oomph!


__________________
Please stop the brainless brainlessness. Copyright 2007 - 2015, coolhead. All rights reserved.
coolhead is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-07-2018, 04:04 AM   #50
Arch-Supremacy Member
 
coolhead's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 17,612
Hanoi D3 - 12/6/18

I went back to hostel to relax and nab awhile after lunch. When I had freshened up, it was already evening. I booked a Grab to Gia Lam railway station where I awaited the train to Nanning railway in China.



The sleeping area was decent, the train manned by the Chinese stewards and I was boarded in a cabin of 4 together with an Indonesian family of 3: Mum, dad and daughter. We traded stories for awhile and I got to know they were in Vietnam for a holiday before taking a train to Guilin as stopover before going to Zhangjiajie in China.


It was not long before we reach the Vietnamese border and I managed to catch 1-2 hours of not-so-deep sleep. Managed to sneak a pic of the Vietnam immigration before alighting the train.
__________________
Please stop the brainless brainlessness. Copyright 2007 - 2015, coolhead. All rights reserved.
coolhead is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-07-2018, 05:18 AM   #51
Master Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 2,770
I once did a 24 hour train journey backpacking alone in china seated on the floor near the toilet, train was packed to the gills.
It was bad.
kennysme is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-07-2018, 05:27 AM   #52
Arch-Supremacy Member
 
coolhead's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 17,612
Guilin D1 - 13/6/18

To reiterate from my previous post, I was awaken to clear the checkpoint at Vietnam border. Having slept only 1-2 hours, I simply followed instructions, cleared immigration with all my baggage and then got on the train again, repeating the procedure at the border immigration China side 1 hour later.
I got off at Nanning at 10a.m and could not explore the city much as my baggage was with me.

Had lunch at railway fastfood Deco and ordered a chicken tonkatsu rice dish, which did not taste as good as beef rice shown in the picture. I only needed something to keep my stomach filled.



Coincidentally, I saw Gongcha here near the railway station too. Being not a fan of bubble tea, unfortunately, I didn't try.



Considering that I am a jiak kentang, hence it was a major accomplishment that I was able to exchange my online form for train tickets, order a meal, courier my controlled item (Swiss Army knife) to Guilin, get my directions around the railway station. Now, security on the public inter-city and intra-city trains in China are rather strict. I didn't realise I could not bring my penknife onboard the baggage and subsequently have to courier it as a check-in controlled item with a small fee of 10yuan, what a bummer.
Little did I know that flammables such as anti-perspirants/deodorizers were also not allowed. There goes my dove anti-perspirant which was very handy in keeping my BO off in thetropical heat.
After entering the railway station, it was a wait among mountains of people waiting to get onto the train as well.


And as they say, when in Rome, do as the romans do. So here I am, being more on the kiasu side to board the train as well! But as long as I do not open my mouth, I am one among many.


I got on the bullet High Speed Rail from Nanning and reached Guilin in 2hours, at 1630hrs. This is the train which brought me on this 2 hour trip and travelled around 195-200km/hr.


Took some pictures of the scenery along the train travel to Guilin. Those toothy peaks are what anyone who has visited Guilin will automatically associate with this beautiful place.

__________________
Please stop the brainless brainlessness. Copyright 2007 - 2015, coolhead. All rights reserved.
coolhead is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-07-2018, 05:39 AM   #53
Arch-Supremacy Member
 
coolhead's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 17,612
Guilin D1 - 13/6/18

Took more pictures of the Guilin Railway station with a close-up front of the High Speed Rail.



Before exiting the railway station, I chanced upon a seemingly govt controlled tour group which advertised rates for the Li river cruise. Compared to online rates of 100-130USD, they were only charging 230Yuan (35USD), I simply jumped at the opportunity to get such a good deal.
Guilin is a nice quaint city and while we were apprehensive of taxi touts, thankfully, the taxis at the stations were monitored by guards and metered fairly. It probably helped that I look like Chinese and was able to converse in Mandarin, though my accent was probably strange.

Reached Ease Hostel, another very decent, hospitable accommodation with English-speaking hosts and nice mix of domestic and Western travellers coming to Guilin for a holiday.



After settling down, I walked to central area of Guilin for dinner. Just a random shot on an average street in Guilin.



Missing my mala so much, the first meal was beef mala mian and it satisfied my cravings temporarily, because mala is so awesome I just got to have it again soon! This big bowl cost only 10yuan (2sgd), talk about low cost of living here!


The night skyline of Guilin is nice to look at and while window shopping,there were departmental stores that resemble Takashimaya. I am deeply impressed that Guilin as a 2nd-3rd tier city appeared as an affluent and relatively well developed city especially in the city centre. It also felt that the city had good fengshui.



To satisfy my cravings for mala, I bought some instant noodles that had very attractive templates externally and was sure to taste just as good internally.
__________________
Please stop the brainless brainlessness. Copyright 2007 - 2015, coolhead. All rights reserved.
coolhead is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 15-07-2018, 04:58 AM   #54
Arch-Supremacy Member
 
coolhead's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 17,612
Guilin D2 - 14/6/18

The tour bus picked us up outside our accommodation at 6.30a.m and we were on our way. I was observing the daily life of Guilin citizens and this caught my eye. A cart selling breakfast and ordinary citizens congregating near the cart to buy and simultaneously having breakfast. A sense of communal spirit prevailed.



Our first stop was grape mountain literally named, where we observed how a native tribe lived their life in the past.


Among some of the highlights were the hair length of women who will have 3 long cuts of hair in their lifetime and able to tie their hair into a hat, top spinning, fire walking. Thereafter, we were taken to a few scenic places to take photos.







Before the Li river cruise, our tour group was taken to a lunch place and we were introduced to the dish highlights of Guilin which includes the freshwater fish. We chose the freshwater fish dish at 88yuan which we thought were reasonable since it is the equivalent of 18sgd. Little did we know that central Guilin sold it at 40-60yuan. We were ripped off.
__________________
Please stop the brainless brainlessness. Copyright 2007 - 2015, coolhead. All rights reserved.
coolhead is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 15-07-2018, 05:02 AM   #55
Arch-Supremacy Member
 
coolhead's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 17,612
Guilin D2 - 14/6/18

There came the Li river cruise.



We sailed thru the river with the iconic rock formations and a particular scene which showcases the rock formations similar to that on the 20yuan note.



The place was undoubtedly beautiful but I will say the Milford Sounds of NZ were more breathtaking. Still, this place has a Chinese charm of its own. I could not resist taking more pictures of similar rocky outcrops.




Our tour group alighted at Yuanshuo town and again, I chanced upon Gong Cha, this Taiwanese brand is so prevalent in China.



Lastly, our tour was brought to a 'shopping' place, specifically a jade shop. I took note of the name of the shopping place which was literally called Wonful plaza, a direct translation from Wangfu guangchang, I almost thought it was a spelling error as wonderful plaza haha.


In the tour, we also got to know that the Guilin Mee Feng was special, hence we had that at one of the restuarants for dinner. It almost tasted like spaghetti and had a slight crunchy texture(qq) compared to the mee fen that Singaporeans are accustomed to.


I ended the day with street bought chicken cutlet which was fragrant, succulent and better than Shilin chicken in Singapore, moreover it cost only 10 yuan with a funny tasting plum juice drink.
__________________
Please stop the brainless brainlessness. Copyright 2007 - 2015, coolhead. All rights reserved.
coolhead is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 15-07-2018, 05:11 AM   #56
Arch-Supremacy Member
 
coolhead's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 17,612
Guilin D3 - 15/6/18

Our last day in Guilin was spent lazing in the hostel before heading to railway station for our overnight train to Beijing.




It was a classic train that we took and a 6 hard sleeper berth per cabin. As usual, I took the uppermost bed in the cabin, partly to save cost.




Though I could speak mandarin, the locals could somehow tell that we weren't local and asked about our whereabouts. We had a short conversation before minding our business. Here you can see how local Chinese spend their time on the train.



Closer to dinner time, I had instant noodles with my fav mala flavour. It is worth noting that you could get off at stations and there are carts which sell food and other stuff to travellers on the long distance train.
__________________
Please stop the brainless brainlessness. Copyright 2007 - 2015, coolhead. All rights reserved.
coolhead is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 15-07-2018, 11:18 AM   #57
Master Member
 
0385985's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 3,208
Gd thread. waiting for more update from TS
__________________
'Life is not about how hard you can hit.Life is about how much you can get hit and moving forward'
0385985 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15-07-2018, 11:40 AM   #58
Arch-Supremacy Member
 
coolhead's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 17,612
Gd thread. waiting for more update from TS
Thanks for your support. I'm currently in Volgograd formerly known as Stalingrad. It'll be interesting to see the place in real instead of WWII documentaries I see on YouTube online.
coolhead is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 15-07-2018, 01:25 PM   #59
High Supremacy Member
 
invigo79's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 25,471
Tried this long distance train from Yangji to Beijing 10 years ago. 23 hours trip that I consider one of the worse experience ever.

Got the upper berth and cant sit up straight on the bed. Most comfortable place will be the bottom berth where people can sit and chat.

Sent from Home using GAGT
invigo79 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15-07-2018, 02:35 PM   #60
Arch-Supremacy Member
 
coolhead's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 17,612
Tried this long distance train from Yangji to Beijing 10 years ago. 23 hours trip that I consider one of the worse experience ever.

Got the upper berth and cant sit up straight on the bed. Most comfortable place will be the bottom berth where people can sit and chat.

Sent from Home using GAGT
Trans Siberian and Beijing inter city rail has some difference. I didnt find both types to be unbearable though. I actually like the top coz can sit upright and also have your privacy.
coolhead is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply
Important Forum Advisory Note
This forum is moderated by volunteer moderators who will react only to members' feedback on posts. Moderators are not employees or representatives of HWZ. Forum members and moderators are responsible for their own posts.

Please refer to our Terms of Service for more information.


Thread Tools

Posting Rules

Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On