Day 8: Tongoriro
Tongoriro National park. Long walk (6:45 hrs). No words. It speaks for itself, check out the stunning pics. $35 NZ for the shuttle bus to/from your hostel, you may find a better way of doing this as we just did it through stray who don’t always offer the cheapest option but always the easiest!
Day 9: Wellington
Capital of NZ. Smaller than Auckland. It has a more creative feel here rather than the business feel of Auckland. It’s known for its museums, music and film production scene (Lord of the Rings of course…. aghhhhhh).
It was very wet and windy here, had to go out and buy a new rain jacket and long trousers (NZ is expensive so be prepared for the weather before you arrive).
Day 10: South island commences
Early ferry to the south island. Everyone (but us – too busy sleeping) saw dolphins swimming next to the ferry 🙂 The scenery was amazing on the way in – it sets up the south island well.
Our hostel was close to the harbour (about 10min walk) and we stayed there for 3 nights. The hostel was basic…but it was cheap so we didn’t expect much! We are not really sure how we feel about Gili T, some bits were nice, some bits not so much. The west side of the islan
d is much better, but a bit more pricey as it’s where most of the more expensive resorts seemed to be. If you definitely want to go to Gili T, we would say two/three nights is plenty. We did do a really good day boat trip which was 80,000 IDR pp and went to a couple of snorkeling spots and then to Gili air. Seeing Gili air we think we should have stayed there, seemed much better!
On our last day we met our friend Katie from Oz and cycled around the island and went to take the obligatory Gili T swing pics, bike ride around the island and swing pics are a must! Such a fun day :).
As the weather had calmed down we took the fast boat back to Bali, to a small place called Amed. This boat cost 200,000 IDR pp. We went straight from Amed to Permuteran as we were starting to run out of days, this was our most expensive journey at 550,000 for both of us. That night we stayed in a cute little homestay, the owners were lovely.
In the morning we headed to the main road and got a local mini bus to Gilimanuk, this cost us 45,000 IDR which was a massive rip off, make sure you try and barter more! We just jumped in the first one and after we had paid then saw the locals paying 2,000 IDR each!
At Gilimanuk we got the public ferry across to Banyuangi/ Ketapang which took about an hour and cost 9,000 each. Luckily this was a fixed price so as tourists we didn’t get ripped off again.
Our first stop was Hanoi. From the airport to our hostel we got an uber and paid 265,000 dong which was much cheaper than the taxis outside the terminal. It took about 40 minutes for us to get to the old quarter, where we stayed at ‘central backpackers-old quarter’. The hostel was fine for the money. The biggest bonus was the free cocktail, beer, walking tour and the staff were really friendly. There was also a restaurant which did food really cheap and was yummy. Much cheaper than any restaurant we found on the street!
Hanoi is a great city, imagine manic markets, scooters and people everywhere. Lots of bars and nightlife, seemed to be street entertainment and happy hour somewhere every night! You could sit in the road and drink beer 🍻 from a keg for 5000 dong a glass (that’s 20p).
One thing we did in Hanoi was go to the Musileum, which also had an information centre, this was really interesting and we got to know a lot more about the history of Vietnam.
The second main thing we did was go to watch a water puppet show, this was on the recommendation of Laura who we’d met in Fiji and gave us a tonne of tips for Asia, thank you Laura!
And then last but definitely not least…….Hanoi was where we fell in love with Egg coffee, life will never be the same! and if anyone knows where we can get it in the UK. Please tell us!!