Shauna Murphy

Joined July 2017Living in: Leixlip, Ireland
  • Day13

    Last night in Vietnam - Chill Skybar

    July 27, 2017 in Vietnam ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C

    To celebrate our last night in Vietnam we decided to treat ourselves and go to a skybar (we went at 6pm so we could get happy hour prices). We put on our best dresses and our first bit of make up and headed of to the skybar. When we got there a man not only opened the lift door for us but also pressed the button to get us up to floor 26. It was probably the fanciest place I have ever been. We managed to use up the last of our Vietnamese dong buying the most amazing cocktails and were home in bed by 10 o clock which was definitely a bonus.Read more

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  • Day12

    War Remnants Museum - HCMC

    July 26, 2017 in Vietnam ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C

    Today we went to the war remnants museum. It has three floors and two outdoor displays. It was incredibly informative and has given me a whole new appreciation for the struggle of the Vietnamese people, but it was also very upsetting. I had heard of agent orange but never truly understand the effect it had on Vietnam until seeing this exhibit. What struck me the most was a little girl born the same year as me who was had life debilitating disabilities that I have never seen the likes of. She was a third generation victim of agent orange. There was also a very physically and mentally disabled boy born in the late 2000s who was a fourth generation victim of agent orange. So far in Vietnam there have been 2000 cases of fourth generation victims with severe disabilities documented. As hard as it was to read their stories I think it is important to know and understand what happened so the same cannot be allowed to happen again .Read more

  • Day11

    Cu Chi Tunnels

    July 25, 2017 in Vietnam ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    Early start today up at 6.45 but were greeted with a lovely breakfast from our host. Then on board the bus to the Cu Chi tunnels. Instead of paying a couple of hundred euro for a private tour we opted for a group one of 15-20 people but when the bus arrived we lucked out and there were only 5 including the 3 of us!!!

    The Cu Chi museum was incredible. We were shown why and how the tunnels were built. We learned the tricks they used to survive underground for up to 18 hours, including making mounds of dirt with holes in them to look like termite mounds where the holes actually worked as a ventilation system. We were also shown the many traps they used. We got the chance to get in to some of the old tunnels and travel between tunnels and chambers. It was a pretty horrible experience being squeezed into the dark dingy tunnels; it gives a new understanding of the Viet Cong dedication to win the war.
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  • Day10

    Ho Chi Minh City

    July 24, 2017 in Vietnam ⋅ ⛅ 31 °C

    After a six hour delay, we finally made if to Ho Chi Minh City and it definitely is a complete contrast to the calmness of Hoi An. We are staying in a really nice little guesthouse right in the centre of the city. We went out for some traditional Khmer BBQ which was delicious, now to bed before a big day out tomorrow.Read more

  • Day9

    Hoi An Ancient Town

    July 23, 2017 in Vietnam ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    Today we got up early with the rest of the Congo Family (the nickname we have for the little group we have made whilst in Hoi An) and we got a taxi in to the old town. Hoi An is famous for its lanterns and cute colourful side streets. The four sacred animals of Vietnam are the turtle (longevity), the dragon (strength), the unicorn (happiness) and the Phoenix (beauty).The town is full of temples with statues of these different animals.

    We went back to the hostel for lunch and a pool party which was so fun, we were in the pool from 1 till almost 6 playing a big volleyball tournament and other games which led to some very wrinkly skin but was so funny. After burning through factor 50 on the beach the previous day' I decided to put 30 and top of 50 much to everyone's entertainment but I didn't burn so I guess factor 80 works.
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  • Day8

    An Bang Beach - Hoi An

    July 22, 2017 in Vietnam ⋅ 🌙 25 °C

    It's official, we found paradise. It has the odd pushy salesperson with some allegedly real pearl bracelets and too many Americans, but with a pair of earphones in it's definitely paradise. We spent pretty much the whole day lying on this amazing white sand beach which had the clearest water I've ever seen. I could see my toes perfectly while standing. It was also warm enough to be like a bath while also cold enough to cool you down. Not sure how Vietnam can possibly continue to impress us, but it's definitely doing well so far.Read more

  • Day7

    Hoi An

    July 21, 2017 in Vietnam ⋅ ☀️ 32 °C

    We have arrived in the beautiful town of Hoi An. We spent three hours sitting at gate 5 which both our boarding passes and one of the staff told us to sit at. Our flight was due to leave at 12.20 and at 12.10 our gate announced it was flying to Saigon and we realised there was a problem. We then found out it had been changed to gate 14 with no warning so we had to run through the whole of Hanoi airport where some poor stressed Vietnamese man rushed us to a bus which brought us to the plane. When we got on the whole plane was looking at us very unimpressed by the delay.

    Hoi An is a beautiful river side town and our hostel could be a five star hotel it's so nice. To one side we have the river and the other side has a pool surrounded by rice fields. Yesterday we spent most of the day at the pool watching a volleyball match that was taking place in the pool and seemed to mostly consist of some very competitive English and Irish lads. In the evening we went out for a lovely dinner in a riverside restaurant where Eva and I tried some traditional bhan xeo, which is an odd sort of deconstructed spring roll that you make up yourself but was very nice. Then we headed into town with some people from the hostel and found what I think is Hoi An's version of Coppers.
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  • Day6

    Hanoi - time to explore

    July 20, 2017 in Vietnam ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

    After arriving back in Hanoi from Halong bay we only had one day to explore before we started travelling South. We spent the day exploring the old quarter and getting used to crossing the road (much harder than it sounds). We went to the old city gate and made our way through the city up to Hoan Kiem lake. It's a large lake just outside the old quarter with a temple in the centre. The map we had was pretty awful so it was very hard to find our way around so we were very impressed when we made it to the lake. After having dinner overlooking the lake and temple we headed back to the hostel for a good night's sleep.Read more

  • Day5

    Ha Long Bay

    July 19, 2017 in Vietnam ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

    Waking up and looking out your window at clear sea and the most amazing limestone cliffs is an unforgettable experience (especially when it's at 6 am - much to early). Today we got the little speed boat out to Sung Sot Cave (which translates as amazing cave or cave of surprise). It is so special because it used to be under the sea but is slowly being pushed up out of the water so you actually have to hike up to it. This gives it a very distinctive roof that many Vietnamese people believe was artificially made. After having to hurdle over three boats to get to our own (the Vietnamese boat parking is as bad as their bike parking) we went back to the boat for spring roll making classes and another 5 course meal, before rolling ourselves back onto the bus for our 4 hour journey back to Hanoi where our guide Bien (or as he liked to be called Beer) announced how much he loved his Irish girls.Read more

  • Day4

    Ha Long Bay (Bay of Descending Dragons)

    July 18, 2017 in Vietnam ⋅ 🌙 26 °C

    Today was one of the best days I have ever had. We had an early start to the day and a four hour drive from Hanoi to Hal Long. When we arrived in Ha Long Bay we were brought to our boat and showed our amazing cabins. For lunch we had a traditional Vietnamese lunch of sea bass, squid and clams which believe it or not I ate all of and enjoyed.

    We spent the day on kayaks and row boats exploring caves and lagoons and saw two Ha Long monkeys which apparently only happens once a month or so. We then went to Ti Top Island, named after the Soviet leader who supported the Ho Chi Minh side during the American war. We hiked up some painfully steep steps for what felt like hours but apparently only took 20 minutes and we got a view of the whole of Ha Long. Afterwards we went swimming in the water which is 23 degrees, so felt like more of a bath. Then came dinner which was a massive meal with nine courses of sharing dishes. This time it included crab , shrimps ,catfish and tofu, definitely a long way from the soup and chicken I used to order in all restaurants.

    After dinner the captain was squid fishing and let me and Eva have a turn. I had one on my rod and just out of the water when it let go, much to everyone's amusement; the captain caught two. We also saw a really big jellyfish that glowed in the dark Tomorrow we are getting up at 5.20 to see the sunrise so hopefully I'll have some good pictures.
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