Month 34: Travel Summary and Statistics


Sheikh Zayed Mosque at sunset

I landed at Heathrow airport and bounced my way through security and into the arms of my sister, Victoria.

It would have been more exciting if she’d actually recognised me.

It had been two years since I last saw her and I’d changed a lot since then — though I didn’t realise I’d changed so much physically. Victoria had to look at the squawking girl waving manically in her direction a couple of times before realising that the girl was, in fact, me.

Flying into Heathrow
Flying into Heathrow — I can see my house from here!

Like most visits back home, I planned for friends and family time, as well as taking a trip to a doctors to see if I had contracted cholera or dengue or Travel Death. This time, however, I was visiting because I had swollen, painful glands all over my body for seemingly no reason. I was convinced I had lymphoma and had begun making plans for how this would affect my travels — you know, how I’d fit in chemotherapy around flights.

I breathed a confused sigh of relief when a blood test showed was just mono. I found out after a five mile walk around a nearby park. Shouldn’t I have been feeling worse?

Still, I took the prescribed treatment of naps and applied it to my life with gusto.

Family fun at home!
Family fun at home!

Aside from naps, I spent time falling back in love with London and wondering how I could convince Dave to spend an extended period of time here next year. Highlights included: introducing my family to Mexican food and margaritas, admiring my dad’s jukebox, stuffing my face with cheese, meat and olive oil at Borough Market, a badass Mad Hatter-themed afternoon tea experience, watching The Bodyguard, eating delicious burgers with Victoria, and seeing *cough* Miley Cyrus at the O2. As always, I was super-sad to leave!

It was time to make a decision. I’ll be writing an article in a couple of weeks fully explaining exactly why I changed my travel plans, but there were quite a few factors that led to me canceling my time in Latin America and deciding to head back to Southeast Asia. For those of you who have read this site for any amount of time, you probably won’t be surprised to hear that I’m heading back to my favourite region of the world. After many hours of research and planning and soul searching and bickering, Dave and I decided to forgo our return tickets back to the US and buy some flights to Vietnam.

Although, let's be honest: I mostly returned to Saigon for soups!
Although, let’s be honest: I mostly returned to Saigon for the soups!

Whenever I have a long haul flight, particularly from Europe to Asia, I immediately start planning for long layovers to break up the journey. There are so many countries I haven’t visited between the UK and Vietnam.

It took me at least a week to narrow down where I most wanted to visit: I could visit Stockholm, or Oslo, or Helsinki — all exciting because I’ve yet to visit Scandinavia but all expensive after spending so much money in recent months. I could finally stop being frightened of India and book a flight to New Delhi or Goa for a quick taster of the country. I could terrify my parents by visiting Iran, or terrify myself by visiting Egypt. I could go far out of my way and visit Mongolia for the first time! There were too many options and I just couldn’t narrow it down.

In the end, though, I knew that I wanted to visit the Middle East — it’s one of the few regions of the world that I’d yet to visit. After a bit of research, I excitedly booked flights for two nights in Muscat and a night in Abu Dhabi.

Muttrah, Oman
Muttrah, Oman

It was a struggle to find somewhere to stay in Muscat. The city is actually made up of three small towns that gradually expanded to form one sprawling city spread out over something like 50 kilometres. There’s the fancy, expensive resort area on the beach that had little to do and was crazy-expensive; Muttrah, which is exactly where I wanted to spend my time but only had really crappy sounding guesthouses; or the Ruwi area that was where all the business-type hotels are. I wanted beaches, I wanted things to do, and I wanted to see the pretty waterfront in Muttrah. Given that public transport doesn’t really exist in Muscat and I didn’t want to blow hundreds of dollars taking cabs all over the city every day, I must have spent hours trying to work out where on earth I could stay!

In the end I opted for a lovely hotel in the Ruwi district, that offered a deal for two nights for the price of one, a free breakfast and a free airport transfer. It was perfect! While I didn’t get to do all the activities I was hoping for — thanks to a combination of jetlag and mono — I still managed to spend a wonderful day exploring Muttrah. It was so beautiful.

The waterfront in Muttrah
The waterfront in Muttrah

I can’t wait to write about Muscat in more depth. Even though I’d read plenty of articles insisting that Oman was one of the safest countries in the Middle East, I still had a few safety concerns. I didn’t know if I’d have problems with the men, like I did in Morocco. I didn’t know if I’d feel unsafe as a solo female… I had no idea what to expect. Fortunately, I found the little time I spent in Oman showed me that it was nothing like Morocco in terms of hassle. The locals were incredibly friendly, always greeting me with smiles and welcoming me to their country. I received no hassle whatsoever from anyone, and, at times, felt like I was the only tourist around! I loved my brief time in Oman, and I can’t wait to return to explore it in more depth.

The only downside: I don’t really travel with light, long-sleeved clothes that would allow me to remain cool while covering up, and didn’t see much point in buying some just for my three days in the Middle East. So, I found myself exploring in 46 degree heat while wearing jeans and a hoodie, and a scarf. I felt like I was melting!

Muttrah
Muttrah

Next, the UAE. I visited Abu Dhabi for one reason, and it was the only thing I did while I was there: Sheikh Zayed Mosque. I love visiting mosques around the world, and this seemed like the ultimate one.

It was definitely worth the heat, exhaustion, and rushing around. Sheikh Zayed Mosque was incredible!

Sheikh Zayed Mosque
Sheikh Zayed Mosque
Wearing my rented abaya (traditional robe) and shayla (headscarf)
Wearing my rented abaya (traditional robe) and shayla (headscarf)
Sheikh Zayed Mosque at sunset
Sheikh Zayed Mosque at sunset

With my quick jaunt through the Middle East over, it was time for me head back to Southeast Asia far earlier than I expected.

Like most of my returns to this part of the world, it didn’t take long for me to feel right at home and realise I made the right decision in returning. More on this in a couple of weeks.

I can’t stop eating soup.

 

Onto the statistics!

Month 34 travels

Countries Visited: 4

Oman, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Vietnam

Cities Visited: 4

Abu Dhabi, London, Muscat, Saigon

Distance Travelled: 11,999 kilometres

Photos Taken: 428

Highlight of the Month: Reuniting with Dave after five long weeks apart! Dave and I try to make sure we always spend at least six weeks travelling solo each year for many reasons: 1) We love solo travel just as much as couple travel and use this time to make friends and get out of our couple bubble. 2) We often spend 24 hours a day together and struggle to find our own space. While I’ve been absolutely astonished that we’re able to spend every second of every day together without having a single argument, we still find ourselves craving space every now and then. So, solo travel is great for us but it’s still a struggle to go from spending every second together to only chatting for 20 minutes a day over Skype. This particular time apart was perfect — especially as we used our time to visit our respective families — but being reunited is always fun. I’m happy to have my travel partner in crime back with me :-)

Lowlight of the Month: Discovering that I had mono and spending my time back home unwell. My mono definitely could have been a lot worse — I didn’t have a fever and didn’t have crazy fatigue, but I still felt a bit odd for much of my time in London. Blood tests are also never fun for a fainter like me.

My Favourite Photo: 

Sheikh Zayed Mosque at sunset

I visited Sheikh Zayed Mosque an hour before sunset so that I’d be able to take photos during the day and at night. One of the highlights was getting to wander at sunset, when the sky turned pink and I finally had some respite from the 46 degree heat.

Money Spent: 

Accommodation: 

  • 2 nights in Muscat: $83 ($41.50 a day)
  • 3 nights in Saigon: $15 ($5 a day)

I stayed with my parents in the UK, so no accommodation expenses for there.

Transport: 

  • 2 x Trains to Central London and back: $32
  • Flight from London to Muscat: $559.43
  • Flight from Muscat to Abu Dhabi: $127.27
  • Taxi to and from Abu Dhabi airport: $40.00
  • Flight from Abu Dhabi to Saigon: $429.79
  • Taxi from Saigon airport: $7.50

Food: $488.76

Miscellaneous: 

  • Shopping (I used my time back home in the UK to finish replacing everything in my backpack, as well as my backpack itself!): $921.18

Total Amount Spent: $2703.93 [So much for saving money during my month at home!]

Amount by Country (excluding flights): 

UK: $1370.50 over 24 days = $57.11 per day

Oman: $111 over two days = $55.50 per day

UAE: $71 over one day: $71 per day

Vietnam: $34.50 over three days = $11.50 per day

 

The Next Month: 

Month 35 travel map

I’ll be spending the next three weeks based in Saigon while I attempt to try as many soups as possible. I hope they’ll help me recover quickly from The Mono. I’m feeling much better compared to last month but I’m still spending a lot of my days asleep.

I’ll be celebrating my birthday on the 7th June and I was surprised when I realised that I’d be celebrating in Vietnam for the second year in the row! I definitely didn’t expect that to happen after my less-than-amazing Vietnam experience last year. I’ll be taking a weekend out from the pollution of Saigon and heading to Mui Ne for some beach time and seafood treats. I haven’t visited Mui Ne before so I’m excited to check out a new destination in Vietnam.

In other news, I maintain a list of my top five countries I most want to visit and recently resolved to visit one of them this year. For those who are interested, my current list is: Ghana, Greenland, Iran, Madagascar and Nepal. Well, I’m working in a trip to one of those countries for my birthday, too: I’m going to Nepal!

Of course, even booking my flights wasn’t without incident, as I accidentally booked the flight for the wrong day. AirAsia doesn’t offer refunds or free changes, even within 24 hours of booking the flight, so I had to pay a $95 fee to change my flights! “Hi, I’m Lauren. I’m an expert traveller!”

Still, even being an extra $100 out of pocket can’t dampen my mood. I’ve wanted to visit Nepal for SO LONG! I haven’t decided how long I’ll be staying there and where exactly I’ll be going, but I’m planning for chaos and culture shock in Kathmandu, relaxation and yoga in Pokhara and jungle trekking in Chitwan, where I really hope I get to spot rhinos and tigers! Most excitingly of all, I’ll be taking a two week vacation when I visit Nepal — no working, no writing, no answering of emails — I can’t wait!

Do you have any recommendations for Mui Ne or Nepal? How do you feel about me returning to Southeast Asia again?

 

Looking to follow along with my travels through my monthly summaries? You can read the previous month’s summary here, the next month’s summary here, or head on over to the monthly summary page to read from the very beginning!

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74 Comments

  1. Katie @ The World on my Necklace
    May 23, 2014
    Reply

    That’s great that you are starting to feel better. Good on you for changing your travel plans if you want to, you have got to do what feels right and if you have the flexibility to do it then that’s great. I am always changing my travel plans, Canada for me is what Asia is for you and I am always drawn back there. I have never regretted returning despite there being lots of other places I want to visit as well. Follow your joy :)

    • Lauren
      June 24, 2014
      Reply

      Thanks, Katie. I seem to change my travel plans every few months even when they feel like they’re set in stone! Definitely no regrets about heading back to Southeast Asia! :-)

  2. DebbZie Leksono
    May 23, 2014
    Reply

    just googled about Mono and it sounds awful for a traveller like you.
    Hope you will get well really soon, Lauren and welcome back to SE Asia :D
    Can’t wait to read your stories about Middle East and Nepal!

    • Lauren
      May 23, 2014
      Reply

      Yep, it can be pretty awful! Friends that have caught mono have been unable to get out of bed for weeks. Fortunately mine wasn’t as bad :-)

  3. Mostly Amélie
    May 23, 2014
    Reply

    I spent 2 days in Mui Ne and it was plenty for me. Very Russian. A bit.. meh. I made a blogpost about it if you are interested. If you haven’t been yet, go Phong Nha instead! And I loooove your photo of the mosque at sunset!

    • Lauren
      May 23, 2014
      Reply

      Ah, I just want to go somewhere close to Saigon for my birthday, and Mui Ne fits perfectly! :-)

      • Mostly Amélie
        May 23, 2014
        Reply

        I see. Well the sand dunes and the fairy stream are a nice distraction for a day :)

        • Lauren
          November 26, 2015
          Reply

          Yep! ;-)

  4. Yvette
    May 23, 2014
    Reply

    Nepal is really nice but shame you’ll be there during the monsoon season- not many pretty views of the mountains (I did spot them from Pokhara when waking up at like 6am, but it got cloudy within an hour or so).

    If you want a good place to chill out a few days in the mountains btw, check out The Last Resort- it’s a few hours north of Kathmandu near the Tibetan border with the bus included to get up there, a bit of a “luxury backpacker” type place where you stay in tents w beds and they have adventure activities you can also do if you want (I did abseiling, super fun!). I also remember the prices being WAY lower than the Internet ones when in Kathmandu itself, so keep an eye open for their office. :)

    (I also did a whitewater kayaking school for a few nights along the Seti River, which was awesome but might freak you out a little. :-p )

    • Lauren
      July 30, 2014
      Reply

      Thanks for all the tips, Yvette!

  5. Lindsey
    May 23, 2014
    Reply

    I can’t wait to see Nepal through your eyes! I’m heading there in November and it’ll be wonderful to get some first-hand input before I go.

    It completely sucks that you had mono, but I’m glad that it wasn’t as bad as it could have been – maybe your travel luck is starting to turn around?… or maybe not ;)

    I love that in the course of a couple of months you can replace your entire wardrobe, and the bag you use to carry it. I can’t wait to live like that! What sort of backpack did you replace the Osprey with?

    • Lauren
      June 24, 2014
      Reply

      I’m loving Nepal so far! I suspect it’ll be even more enjoyable in November when it’s not so rainy. I still stuck with Osprey but replaced with a Farpoint 70 litre pack. I still carry the same amount of stuff but having the extra space means I can pack super quickly now!

  6. Rachel of Hippie in Heels
    May 23, 2014
    Reply

    You should totally come down to Goa. From Nepal, head to Delhi and fly down. I’ll show you around! There’s absolutely nothing to be afraid of!

    • Lauren
      May 26, 2014
      Reply

      I was actually looking at visiting Goa for a week or so as part of a visa run :-)

  7. Veena
    May 23, 2014
    Reply

    When you’re in Kathmandu, you HAVE to go by the Snowman Cafe in Freak Street. They have amazing cakes and other sweets, you’ll end up going there every day. And while you’re at it, eat lots of buff[alo] momos — they’re delicious!

    Happy travels!
    Veena xx

    • Lauren
      May 24, 2014
      Reply

      Thanks, Veena! I’ll make sure to go! :-)

  8. Jacob
    May 23, 2014
    Reply

    Just returned from Nepal and had an amazing time but you have to be prepared for what feels like going back in time! Kathamndu is ok for a few days but you get templed out and is very dusty and busy. We went trekking (ebc) and this is where the best mountain views and village life is you need at least 2 weeks for ebc and about the same to do the annapurna circuit/base camp from pokhara. Pokhara is ok to relax post trek but not a lot to do and yoga there is not really that big, we found a class but not like in india. Chitwan was a hugee disappointment on the wildlife front, we saw rhinos but u will not see tigers (im quite sceptical as to whther they even exist as my guide hadnt seen one in 6months…but they r nocturnal i guess). Also our 3 day package was too regimented n rushed

    Overal because of the trekking n amazing views in the mountains after india nepal is my second fav country, philippines third, new zealand fourth and thailand fifth!

    • Lauren
      May 24, 2014
      Reply

      Thanks for the tips, Jacob! Unfortunately, I won’t be doing any kind of trekking in Nepal — my glandular fever has completely wiped me out! :-)

  9. Joanna
    May 23, 2014
    Reply

    Hi Lauren,

    You should read the book ‘Little Princes’ before you go to Kathmandu. It’s one of my favourites and gives a lot of description of the country.

    I lived in Jakarta last year and traveled a lot of Indonesia and S.E Asia. If you get a chance, you should definitely check out some of the smaller places throughout Indo. It’s an amazing country.

    Enjoy!

    • Lauren
      May 26, 2014
      Reply

      Thanks for the recommendation, Joanna! I’ve just downloaded it for my Kindle :-). Would love to see more of Indonesia!

  10. Ayesha
    May 24, 2014
    Reply

    Does that mean Antarctica is off?!

    In Mui Ne, definitely visit the Fairy Stream, you will absolutely love the colours. Also visit the sand dunes.

    I’m dying to go to Nepal too! Have a great time.

    • Lauren
      May 26, 2014
      Reply

      Unfortunately, it does. It was looking like it was going to be too expensive, and I didn’t want to blow the entire contents of my bank account on the trip! We’ll keep saving up while we’re back here in South East Asia and will hopefully be able to afford it next year :-)

      Thanks for the Mui Ne tips! :-)

  11. Jessie Broad
    May 24, 2014
    Reply

    Hi Lauren!
    I love your blog, it’s always so entertaining :)
    I’m starting to plan long term travel, so love hearing where you’ve been! When u do 6 weeks solo travel a year, how long do u do at a time?
    I like the idea, I think me and my better half would do well from this :)
    Again, thanks for the great content!!

    • Lauren
      May 26, 2014
      Reply

      Thanks, Jessie! :-) We’ll usually spend a month apart, and then an extra two weeks apart at another point. It’s not like it’s a strict rule or anything, it just always seems to work out that way. Our relationship does well for having the breaks so I can recommend trying it out! :-)

  12. memographer
    May 24, 2014
    Reply

    What a month, Lauren! Your favorite photo is my fav too.
    Welcome home :) Get well soon.
    Can’t wait for your posts from Southeast – my happy part of the world :)

    • Lauren
      May 26, 2014
      Reply

      Thank you so much! It’s my happy place, too :-)

  13. Miriam of Adventurous Miriam
    May 24, 2014
    Reply

    * I absolutely love your picture of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque! * Nepal is on my top 5 as well, so I can’t wait to hear your perspective on it.

    Have fun!

    • Lauren
      May 26, 2014
      Reply

      Thanks so much, Miriam :-)

  14. Raffaella DeAmicis
    May 24, 2014
    Reply

    Nothing beats going home!
    I’ve heard Oman mentioned before, and it’s great to see you had such a positive first time experience trying out the Middle East. Beautiful mosque photos too!

    Here’s to feeling better soon – I really thought mono was the purview of college kids, too bad you had to find out first-hand.

    • Lauren
      May 26, 2014
      Reply

      So did I! I definitely didn’t expect to catch it. Apparently it’s quite easy to catch on planes so I guess it makes sense. Pleased I only had relatively mild symptoms! I would have been devastated if I’d gone home and had to spend the entire time sleeping.

  15. Alouise
    May 24, 2014
    Reply

    Oh the mono sounds horrible – hope you’re able to get better soon. Love the sunset photo of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque – the colours are amazing.

    • Lauren
      May 25, 2014
      Reply

      Thank you so much! Feeling a little better already :-)

  16. Tiana
    May 25, 2014
    Reply

    These pictures are AMAZING! That Mosque is officially going on my bucket list. WOW. Thank you for being the inspiration to add so many things to my “must-see” list!

    • Lauren
      May 25, 2014
      Reply

      No problem — thanks for the compliment! :-)

  17. Casey
    May 25, 2014
    Reply

    Sad to hear that you won’t be coming to Peru but I can understand the pull of Southeast Asia! I’ve been wanting to visit that area, particularly Thailand, for a LONG TIME! I’m excited to hear about Nepal too!
    Casey

    • Lauren
      May 26, 2014
      Reply

      I’m sad about it, too — I was super-excited about visiting South America for the first time but I had to change my plans. It was for the best! I’m hoping to head back to Latin America in 2015 for a year or so :-)

  18. Catherine
    May 25, 2014
    Reply

    Sounds like yet another very exciting month! I cannot believe you’re scared of India – you’ve been to so many places I would be scared of going, but never to the one place outside of Europe that I’ve ever been – that’s pretty crazy! It’s definitely not scary, you should get yourself there soon!

    • Lauren
      May 26, 2014
      Reply

      I know. I’m intimidated by the inevitable sexual harassment I’d face in India. I was so ill-equipped to deal with it when I was in Morocco that I cut my trip short, and I think it’d be even worse in India. I’m sure I’ll get there eventually, though! :-)

      • djkj
        May 27, 2014
        Reply

        sounds a bit racist..

        • Lauren
          May 27, 2014
          Reply

          Why? Sexual harassment towards women is something that every single one of my female friends have faced who have visited India — many of them cutting their trip short because of it. Several of my friends had locals attempt to rape them, others had local men call them a whore and angrily grab their breasts. My friends back home who grew up in India, both male and female, have told me flat out that I shouldn’t visit India *right now* because of the harassment I’d receive — they’re scared I’d be attacked. Because I experienced similar in Morocco and had a terrible time because of it, I don’t want to put myself through it again.

          I apologise if you found my comment offensive — by no means do I think that India is the only place that it happens, or that all Indian men behave in this way, I just believe that the minority who do would negatively affect my trip. Additionally, and on a personal level, I don’t want the bad memories of my own experiences with sexual assault to be brought to the surface when I visit.

          Just today I was reading an article that stated “Delhi Police figures yet again show that the city is unsafe for women. Data of the first four months of 2014 show that six rapes and 14 molestation cases have been reported every day.” [http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/City/Delhi/6-raped-in-Delhi-every-day/articleshow/35613569.cms] — and what about the ones that go unreported?

          My belief that I would inevitably experience sexual harassment in India is based on reports from friends who have visited, friends who are Indian, and the news reports that seem to come out every few days reporting rapes. I’d love to visit India one day, but I also want to put my safety first, especially as I’d likely be travelling solo.

          • Sarah
            June 16, 2014
            Reply

            Hey Lauren,

            I totally agree with you that its likely that you’ll experience a lot more harassment if you visited India than in other countries, but I also want to reassure you that if youre careful that you can have a hassle free experience. I spent a month there in December 2013, and out of all the countries I visited on my trip in Asia (Vietnam, Nepal, Malaysia, Brunei, Laos & Cambodia) it was my absolute favourite! I’m only 18, and was traveling with one other (female) friend, and although on overnight trains there were a few situations that made me feel anxious, I found nearly everyone I met to be helpful and kind.

            I’ve just started up a travel blog, and am in the process about writing a post to India. Once i get my confidence up (I’m a horrible writer), I’ll share it with you if you want to read more about my experiences there!

            PS youre blog is awesome!

            • Lauren
              June 24, 2014

              Thanks for the reassurance, Sarah! I think I’m a little scarred from all the harassment in Morocco and it’s completely put me off visiting places where I know it could be even worse. I’d love to read your experiences when you work up the courage to write about them! :-)

  19. Carmen
    May 25, 2014
    Reply

    I’m so excited for you going to Nepal! You’re going to have the most amazing time – I really want to get there someday. I hope you recover from mono quickly – I don’t even think I know what that it is but it doesn’t sound too pleasant!

    • Lauren
      May 26, 2014
      Reply

      Thanks, Carmen! Mono (glandular fever) can be pretty horrific. Friends of mine who have caught it have been bed-ridden for weeks with it. I’m grateful I only experienced it mildly but it was still rather awful! :-)

  20. Drew | The Hungry Partier
    May 26, 2014
    Reply

    Great post! This made me so happy :) And I appreciate you sharing stats, beacuse everyone is interested in knowing! Let me know if you ever make it out to Korea !

    • Lauren
      May 26, 2014
      Reply

      Thanks, Drew! No plans to return to Korea anytime soon but, as this big change of plans shows, anything’s possible! :-)

  21. Jessica (Barcelona Blonde)
    May 27, 2014
    Reply

    Wow, I love the picture of the mosque at sunset. Sounds like you had an amazing month! Hope you’re feeling better.

    • Lauren
      June 24, 2014
      Reply

      Thanks, Jessica! It was a pretty wonderful month, even with the glandular fever! :-)

  22. Shez
    May 28, 2014
    Reply

    you could have asked me I have so many friends in Muscat they would have certainly helped you. in fact whenever I go Muscat I stay at Muttrah and last weekend I was on holiday to visit Salalah and Muscat :)

    • Lauren
      June 24, 2014
      Reply

      Ah, such a shame! I was only there for a few days though so likely wouldn’t have had much time :-)

  23. ishagupta
    May 29, 2014
    Reply

    Nice pictures, especially the mosque at the sunset is so amazing to look.

    • Lauren
      June 24, 2014
      Reply

      Thank you! It’s a gorgeous building.

  24. Scarlett
    May 29, 2014
    Reply

    We definitely have to try and meet up if you’re in the UK for an extended period next year! I cannot believe you saw Miley too, that’s hilarious!! xxx

    • Lauren
      June 24, 2014
      Reply

      Definitely definitely definitely! I’ll be in Europe for all of 2015 and visiting home lots of times :-)

  25. Nate
    May 29, 2014
    Reply
    • Lauren
      June 24, 2014
      Reply

      Love it!

  26. jennifer
    June 3, 2014
    Reply

    I love how you are petrified of every disease yet you were walking around with Mono and had no clue!

    At some point in time, I had been scheduled to start travel to Nepal tomorrow! But the China visa thing ended up with me just getting too tired to figure it out So instead, I will just be traveling in Tibet. I will wave at you over Mount Everest! :)

    Definitely looking forward to your posts on Nepal. I hope you get at least one clear day in Pokhara so I can look at your pictures and be jealous!

    • Lauren
      June 24, 2014
      Reply

      I know! Isn’t it ridiculous? Turns out mono isn’t so bad after all!

      We’ve had a few clear days in Pokhara, and a few terribly rainy days but overall it hasn’t been as bad as I thought it would in the rainy season :-)

  27. biren
    June 6, 2014
    Reply

    Hi lauren, just discovered your site through your youtube channel, it is very fun to read your blog i know you have mentioned that this nepal trip will be your vacation and won’t be reading or replying. i hope i’m not too late. let me tell you one place to go actually two places which will be on your way to pokhara or chitwan if you decide to travel by bus.
    There is place called “Malekhu” which is famous for deep fried fish, every people traveling in this route will stop there and i have seen people coming there as far as 500 km away. It is really awesome.
    The other place is called, actually a temple “Manakamana”, Its about 2 hills away, you can get there by hiking or the option i take every single time Cable Car(rs 500/returns) . You will see one of the best scenes during your visit in Nepal. The last leg of this cable car is by far one of the best, it literally goes 90 degrees and it is so high that clouds form during winter.
    I hope you have a good time in Nepal,

    regards
    biren

    • Lauren
      June 24, 2014
      Reply

      Thank you so much for the tips, Biren! I’m still in Nepal so I’ll see if I can take a few detours to check out your recommendations :-)

  28. Joey
    June 6, 2014
    Reply

    The photo of the mosque with the pink sky is absolutely breathtaking. Madagascar, Iran and Greenland are also on top of my list. Yours is my favorite travel blog – so relatable! :)

    • Lauren
      June 24, 2014
      Reply

      Thank you so much, Joey! That’s such a huge compliment :-)

  29. Meghan
    June 6, 2014
    Reply

    What an action packed month … glad your health scare wasn’t anything serious. Stayed in Nha Trang rather than Mui Ne, but I hear it’s much more peaceful … enjoy it!

    • Lauren
      June 24, 2014
      Reply

      Thanks, Meghan! Mui Ne was the perfect place to spend my birthday :-)

  30. Echo Santos
    June 9, 2014
    Reply

    That is one month of whirlwind adventure. Yeah try Southeast Asia again, and the Philippines too.

    • Lauren
      June 15, 2014
      Reply

      Would love to return to The Philippines!

  31. Sophie
    June 19, 2014
    Reply

    Oh-man, now I want to go to Oman!

    Sorry.

    But in all honesty this post made me Google Oman and now I very, very much want to go!

    I think travel should all be about doing what you fancy, so heading back to a region you love can never be argued with. After all, you’ve got plenty of time to see others places. And when you know you want to go somewhere, there must be something strong pushing you to do it.

    • Lauren
      June 24, 2014
      Reply

      Exactly! And the fact that I haven’t felt any regrets about not heading to Latin America makes me feel like I made the right decision :-)

  32. samrus
    July 19, 2014
    Reply

    The photo of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque is absolutely stunning. The open courtyard looks so inviting. It looks so simple yet elegant. Your trip report making me go to UAE/Oman/Muskat.

    I will be visiting Paris and Istanbul soon. Any tips?

    • Lauren
      July 20, 2014
      Reply

      Thanks, Samrus! I haven’t spent much time in Paris but I loved Instanbul! Do all of the touristy things! The Grand Bazaar, the mosques, the markets. Head to Galata bridge and find amazing fish sandwiches for 5 Lira, go to the spice market, find pomegranate syrup and put it on all of the food!

  33. Yok
    June 13, 2016
    Reply

    Was checking out your experiences in Oman. Did you dive into any of the food while you were there that day?

    • Lauren
      June 14, 2016
      Reply

      My trip was a while ago, so my memory isn’t great! I think I had some chicken rice dishes, like a biryani, but I don’t remember anything being particularly amazing.

      • Sander
        June 13, 2017
        Reply

        I know it has been a while since you took this trip, but I really enjoyed this post! Will definitely add Oman to my travel list!

        Somewhere in your post you mentioned that you could visit Iran to scare your parents. I visited Iran (and Iraq) a few months ago and I didn’t feel unsafe for a second! Iran is beautiful and the people are some of the most hospitable people around. I challenge you to visit it soon! You can read some of my experiences here: http://www.nextleveltravels.com

        • Lauren
          June 13, 2017
          Reply

          Oh, I know that Iran is safe, and I really want to go! It’s on my list, but I don’t want to ban myself from visiting the U.S. right now, so I’m not aiming to get there at the moment.

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