Xin chào tất cả mọi người (Hello Everyone) from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. I took the salutation from Google Translate, but I have already started learning some Vietnamese. As a tourist I cannot achieve anything here without speaking their language. I am in the capital city, but even then I cannot get around with English. The success mantra for me is some broken Vietnamese and Google Translate for wherever I cannot get through with my gibberish.
It is Day 77 of my trip and I am in my 3rd country after traveling through Thailand (53 days) and Cambodia (22 days). The initial plan was to get to Vietnam by early January, but then I am just a month late. What can I do? I liked Thailand and Cambodia a lot! Due to this change in dates and also due to the fact that I have a multiple entry 3 month visa into Vietnam, I have decided to change my trip plan by a little bit. Why I ended up getting a 3 month multiple entry visa is a different story!
What I have now decided to do is be in Vietnam till the third week of February (around Feb 24-25) while enjoying Tet, the Vietnamese and Chinese New Year here and then go to Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. This detour should not take me more than 2 weeks. Hong Kong and Macau was in my initial scheme of things, but I have just brought them up earlier in the sequence. Taiwan is a new entry as it costs just $100 for a return flight between Hong Kong to Taipei and that has really tempted me to drop in to Taiwan too, albeit for a short duration.
After this detour, I will return to Vietnam, spend another 3 weeks in the northern part around Hanoi and the remote north-west and then enter Laos in the first week of April. The rest of the trip will continue as per the initial plan in terms of sequence of countries, but I am thinking that the duration will most likely get extended by 2-3 months, which will make this a 9-10 month trip instead of a 6-7 month one.
P.S. I hope you are all finding my articles useful and interesting. Let me know if you would like to know more about any of my experiences in specific. I will try and publish them too.