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In the big wide world A day in a life of ben!

Long time, no speak

VIETNAM | Tuesday, 8 December 2009 | Views [917] | Comments [9]

Ok where do I start? I went to Chiang Mai for a 3 day trek, it was quite fun apart from there wasn’t much trekking involved. We just went to shed loads of waterfalls which was fun but got a bit same same after a while. I jumped off this 10 meter high waterfall after getting the balls to do it, but landed front first & was in a hell of a lot of pain. It’s really hard to surface again once you’re in the water because the pressure of the waterfall is pushing you down. We did this bamboo rafting which was the most fun of the trek, the boat sunk many times. The only thing I didn’t like was the elephant trekking because I hate the way they treat them, they have this big hook thing which jab the elephant with if its not doing what they want. Once I was back from the trek, a few of us went to see a Muay Thai boxing match, & I was quite disappointed with that just because it was a bunch of little kids about 14-16 kicking the shit out of each other.


My next stop was Pai, 4 hours north of Chiang Mai. It’s a little hippy town where you can just chill out & see the scenery. One of the nights I spent 5 hours sitting round the fire chatting to people & only drunk one beer! But I did have a bottle of Thai whiskey before hand lol. Me & Dominic rent a bike for a couple of days & drove up the mountains. Pai has some of the most amazing views that I’ve seen so far, I would recommend everyone to go & see it. The roads are like out of a top gear episode, with curves every 50 meters or so, it’s the most attention that I have had to pay while driving or your go off the side of the mountain!

The next stop was Chiang Rai where the long neck tribe live. Its was my plan to go & see them but I decided against it because it is so commercial, so we didn't really do much there apart from go to a Thai disco, which was quite fun because we were the only frang there & I was playing my "embarthon" game (you have to dance as bad as possible & the next person as to beat it) but non of the Thai people wanted to play, they just looked at us like we're ting tong! (crazy). Dominic saw this "girl" that he thought was fit & trying to get her to dance, but he didn't believe me that she was a ladyboy! After a while I started to think she was a she when I was pissed, until she spoke deeper than Barry White! At that point we got the fuck out of there.

We went on a 2 day slow boat trip down the mekong river to Lao & just started drinking at 11am which was not really a good idea, but it was a 6 hour journey & not much else to do. We meet some nice people on the boat & drunk with them for like a week. The first stop in Lao was Luang Prabang, which was sort of a nothing town just bars & restaurants, but we rented a push bike & went to this waterfall, which was quite shit after all the the waterfalls I saw in Chiang Mai. The bikes kept on braking & some local guy came to help us fix it, to be fair we were going off road on a non off road bike.


From Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng we decided to hitchhike, because A: we thought it would be a funny story & B: we were too tight. First of all we got a turk turk to the petrol station, thinking that we could get picked up by a truck going that way. So we got some locals across the road to write us a sign, which clearly didn't say what we wanted it to say by the reaction we got by people going past. That cost about 15,000 in total for the turk turk there. After just over an hour or so, I managed to convince a Lao couple to take us to the next town over, or as far as they were going. It was sort of like a pick up truck but with a roof. We sat in the back on a mountain of pillows, it was so fun just chilling there seeing all the little kids on bikes behind us waving & laughing. Once we got to the next town (like 1/8 of the way there) they tried to charge us 10,000kip, & we were like what the fuck! We're hitchhiking, the whole point of that is that we don't have any money, but in the end we just gave them 5,000kip. So once we were there at what ever the name of this god forsaken town was, we sat back down with are signs & played the waiting game. We so decided to ditch the signs & walk & just flag people down on the way, we must of been walking for almost an hour maybe more, time really didn't matter at this point. Walking & walking up this steep long winedy road, with are big backpacks in the baking sun starting to think that maybe this wasn't such a great idea. Suddenly some truck stops & picks us up, we chucked are bags on the back & sat in the front with the guy. Amazingly the guy took us the whole way, so we gave him 50,000 when he was getting petrol, it was the least we could do because we would of been stranded in the middel of nowhere. It would of been like 105,000kip (10 pounds) each. So it only cost us 70,000kip together, so we saved a fair bit of money. 


OK this is where the crazy shit happens! Vang Vieng, the well know place in Lao, where you do the "tubing". That is where you go down the river in a massive rubber ring on the Mekong river, & each bar you pass they toss a rope to you & pull you in. There's are about 10 odd bars down the river, but most people only make it to the first 4! I didn't get a tube once because its such a waste of money, cause you can walk to the first 4 bars. The drinking starts at about 1pm & you don't stop till you drop! On the first day I went, I was so wasted I was in bed by 7pm & got carried home by these two English girls I met in Phuket, to be fair I forgot to eat anything before I went! After a couple of days there I landed a job without even asking for one, it was the bar I got wasted in the first day lol. I say a "job" all I had to do was hand out free shots, bands & get people to have a good time. It was a pretty sweet job, I "worked" like 3 hours got all my booze free, my accommodation, food & transport covered! I was there for 11 days & by that time I knew about half the people there. I had a lot of fun there ; ) but I got sick of drinking every single day & night so I had to leave in the end. 


From there We took a 26 hour bus to Hanoi (Vietnam), it wasn't that bad though because we just got some valium. The bad thing is that we had no money & no way to get any at this time. They kept wake us up on the bus for food stops, which was annoying. The nicest thing happened on one of the stops, this Lao woman who was on are bus paid for us to get some food. I felt really bad because she's much poorer than us, but we were starving at this point & accepted. 

Hanoi was my time to chill out & relax for a while after going mental for almost 2 weeks. The only thing is plans never go the way you plan, especially if the hostel your staying in offers FREE beer! It was still chilled out compared with Vang Vieng, but I did have 1 or 2 days of not drinking because of the travel mainly. On one of the days there, I went to the prisoner of war camp & went for a wonder after that, & found somewhere to eat. It was good food & these locals asked me to come & sit with them which was quite cool but hard to talk to them because of the language barrier. They ended up giving me a few free local beers, & then for some reason we went kareoking in the middle of the afternoon! The songs were so cheesy but it was funny plus more free beers! On another of the night we went to a Vietnamese club with most of the people from the hostel & the owner. The bad thing was it was not a very accommodating club, they didn't let us leave the table & when we did they started pushing us & telling us to stay at are table. The owner of are hostel took me aside & told me to do what they say because it turns out it was a gangster club & they had guns!! What was the point in the first place letting us in there if we're not aloud to dance or talk to anyone, so a couple of us went to another club which was meant to be a friendlier place. It turned out to be the same but just without the guns. We found another place just 2 minutes away from that which probably was the place "Hill" the owner was on about, the only problem was it was a gay friendly club, or at least I was getting a lot of attention from them anyways. Only me & Brian stayed in the end, because we were like "fuck it where else is there to go". There was still girls there having a good time too, so it wasn't all bad. I stayed in Hanoi about 5 days & had lots of fun there too. So now I'm in Ninh Binh, I brought a open ticket to go all the way down Vietnam, I'm leaving tonight for Hue which is a very old town with loads of temples. I'm sure I've missed stuff out, got spelling & grammar mistakes but its hard to remember so much when you don't update for so long, & I can't be bothered to check it over!


Hope you enjoy reading this, as much as I have writing it.



merry christmas!
whats happened to your arm?
i thought i told you to look after yourself?!
its snowing like crazy here but all turning to ice and slush!
i'll hold on to your christmas pressies untill i see you!
lots of love,
Nanny and Grandad

  Nanny and Grandad Dec 23, 2009 6:51 AM


hello mate,
god, you're stories go on!!!!!
glad you are still going, sounds like one huge adventure you're having and it sounds like you're managing to have a few drinks without getting into any fights!!!!! - maybe you were right, it wasn't you who started them!!!
it's about -7 deg here now & bloody horrible, so you're in the right place.
have a great Christmas and partying new year,and look after yourself.

best wishes,

Sean @ WBS

  Sean @ WBS Dec 23, 2009 7:35 PM


Hi Ben It's great to read about your adventures, sounds like you have had a couple of hairy moments but also lots of good ones. Take care, Merry Christmas and a very Happy New year.(I will give mum some money to put in your bank account for Christmas)
Lots of Love Nanny & Chris xxx

  Nanny Dec 25, 2009 6:38 AM


Merry Christmas Ben
We're all missing you at home, especially at dinner......there was so much left over ;-)
Hope your enjoying the heat, however I just know you'll be missing the freezing cold, slush ladden, slippery roads of wokingham.
Look forward to a chat soon

  Mum Dec 26, 2009 9:31 AM


Happy crimbo Ben... All sounding good out there!!

  Mikee Dec 28, 2009 2:12 AM


Hiya Ben.

I just had a massive catch up and OMG, you've been to a real gangster club, Steve will be so jealous lol. Sounds like you're having fun, glad you're having a good time but i bet you are a little bit gutted you missed the snow ;)

Hope you had a good Christmas, it'll be interesting to read what you got up to on New Year!

Happy Travels good luck for 2010 and stay safe!


  Hollie Jan 24, 2010 12:18 AM


HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! Hope you are still having a fab time! Please come home soon, Grandad has threatened not to cut his hair until you come back...it's nearly in dreds!!

Lots of love

Katy xx

  Katy Apr 14, 2010 4:18 PM


Happy Birthday Ben! Hope you are keeping well and still enjoying your journey. Get in touch soon x

  Nanny Williams Apr 14, 2010 10:32 PM


Hi Ben, happy birthday to you................ Hope your still having a great time, we need an updated blog! Also, did you get my message on MSN??

Speak soon


Victoria xxx

  Victoria Apr 14, 2010 10:50 PM

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