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Stop 23 - Ulaanbaatar to St Petersburg


View Overland adventures - UK to Ho Chi Minh City and back without getting on a plane! on Chloemillen92's travel map.

The next leg of our trip consisted of a 75 hour train ride, luckily we had treated ourselves to a first class cabin for this rather lengthy section!

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Time passed surprisingly quickly and was mostly spent looking out the window at incredible views, playing cards, eating and reading. We had a lot of bread, cream cheese and tomatoes, and far too much tea. Seeing the landscape in full summer was a really nice contrast from three and a bit months earlier.

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We had decided to break the journey to St Petersburg with a night in Yekaterinburg, Russia's fourth largest city. We had a slightly odd AirBnB, but the city turned out to be surprisingly fun and interesting, with some beautiful buildings, a great photography gallery, good Uzbek restaurants and some atmospheric cafes. The church above was built on the site of the deaths of Tsar Nicholas II and his family.

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After a two-nighter back in third class 'platzkart', we arrived early into St Petersburg, woke up our AirBnB host and headed for breakfast and coffee. It felt strange being back somewhere European after a few months in Asia. We spent the day wondering round and sightseeing, heading for various churches and cathedrals, the beautiful parks and canals, and Palace Square - the Hermitage is shut on Mondays :(.

Next morning, we jumped on the early Allegro train to Helsinki.

Posted by Chloemillen92 13:42 Archived in Russia Tagged train russia saint_petersburg siberia yekaterinburg trans_siberian Comments (0)

Stop 18 - Niñh Chu and journey back to China


View Overland adventures - UK to Ho Chi Minh City and back without getting on a plane! on Chloemillen92's travel map.

After a blissfully cool few days in Dalat, we jumped on a bus back down to the coast and into the heat. We were headed for Niñh Chu Beach, which was supposed to be very popular with the locals, but turned out disappointingly not to be the cleanest we'd ever seen; throughout Vietnam we have noticed a very different attitude to littering than back home. The bay was beautiful though.

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We hired a scooter for a day and with only a few, minor wobbles, drove north up the coast to the Nui Chua National Park. As soon as we hit the park the landscape got wilder and greener, and the road was incredibly quiet. We stopped off at a bay with a rocky outcrop made of moonrock (or maybe some sort of other geological formation...). Friendly locals gave us a few apples as we obviously looked like we were struggling with the heat (we were).

Driving further up the coast through the National Park, we passed a succession of beautiful beaches, driving along windy headlands. We stopped off at a very picturesque, working fishing village and for a quick dip at a beach before the heavens opened and we had an extremely soggy drive back. Soggy is a bit of an understatement...

It was a great last full day and we will definitely miss Vietnam with the amazing coffee, lovely people and crazy chaotic cities.

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The next day we embarked on a slightly ill-judged mammoth journey back to China. First, was a 27 hour train up to Hanoi followed by a few hours to eat, grab a sneaky bia hoi (daily brewed beer) and another train across the border to Nanning. This one was a mere 11 hours, but you have to lug your bags on and off the train at both the Vietnamese and Chinese borders - no visa issues for us this time! So, we were running fairly low on sleep when we arrived into Nanning, before collecting our tickets for our ~4 hour train to the city of Guilin, where we collected our tickets for our 1.5 hour train to Yangshuo, after which we got on the 20 minute shuttle bus to the town of Xingping. By this point, we were running very low on both sleep and energy and had to walk across town to the river to catch a 5 minute ferry over the river. Finally, all that was left was the 20 minute walk through the farmland to our next WorkAway destination!

Posted by Chloemillen92 01:55 Archived in Vietnam Tagged beach train vietnam scooter ninh_chu nui_chau Comments (0)

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