Our disaster with Bali belly, our first encounter with theft, and how we spent our first night out in Hanoi, Vietnam!
TEXT BY JESSICA BLACKMUN // IMAGES BY JACKSON GROVES
After a little more than a week of fun in the sun, salt water showers, and living it up on the small Gili Islands just off Lombok’s northwest coast, we headed back to Kuta to get in some work for a few days before leaving Indonesia and heading off to Vietnam!
THIS WEEK’S BEST DEAL:
We booked a few nights at little place called Beneyasa Beach Inn 1. Our private room cost a mere $10 USD per night and the place even had free breakfast and a pool! We were also more than surprised to find the wifi to be the best we’d had since leaving America.
MY BOUT WITH BALI BELLY:
The second night, after a $1.50 meal from a small establishment down the street, disaster struck. Bali belly can include a multitude of symptoms but for me it meant violent vomiting and being so weak I could barely walk to our patio. I spent those few days running to the toilet, sleeping, and wishing I was home where I was comfortable and knew how to take care of myself. Jackson spent those days running around trying to find me medicine and some sort of sustenance (smoothie bowls) that I would actually be able to keep down, all while getting all of our work done.
FIGHTING OFF A THIEF
On our last day in Bali, while we scrambled to finish getting everything together for Vietnam, we had our first experience with theft. Jackson was driving and I was on the back of the moped using google maps on my iPhone to navigate. I checked to make sure that we were going the right way when a man on a moped drove up from behind us and tried to violently pluck my iPhone out of my hand! To his surprise, I tightened my grip and yanked it back which resulted in both of our mopeds dangerously swerving but led to him deciding that it wasn’t worth the hassle and letting go of my phone. Other than this incident we haven’t had any issues with safety of our gear or for ourselves so far in Indonesia.
VENTURE TO VIETNAM
The cheap overnight flights we had booked had two legs with a 6 hour layover in Malaysia. To Jackson this meant a night of no sleep but to my delight, this meant an opportunity to get another stamp in my passport! The real treat though was landing in Vietnam and finding out just how inexpensive this amazing place is! A $2 shuttle and $0.50 uber ride took us the 45 minutes to our accommodation. For the first bit of our stay in this beautiful country we booked a studio apartment through Airbnb. For a $30 credit click here! Since it was still pretty early in the day, we set out to find some food before succumbing to our lack of sleep. Gluten free Vegan designated restaurants are a pretty rare thing in Vietnam so we ended up walking about a mile to The Hanoi Social Club where I had a great lentil pasta. Jackson enjoyed a Vietnamese Sandwich then we headed home and slept for 14 hours.
HANOI NIGHT MARKET
As the sun sets on the warm weekend evenings, the streets of Hanoi’s Old Quarter are blocked off, draped twinkle lights are turned on, and tents are put up. Hundreds of child sized plastic stools and tables are put out in rows along the cafe fronts so that people can order food and drinks while they watch the night unfold. If you thought that the Old Quarter was hectic during the day, get ready to see a whole other level of crazy. Thousands of people both tourists and locals swarm the area and enjoy the festivities that take place every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evening at the Hanoi Night Market.
Jackson and I showed up early to check out the area and still found ourselves nearly lost in the maze of streets. Jackson struggled to even fit on the tiny stools that lined the streets as we enjoyed our cheap street vendor meals. We then came across a boba tea store (I am lowkey obsessed with boba) and sat out front on some equally mini lawn chairs while I excitedly enjoyed my boba and Jackson tried some freshly juiced sugar cane juice.
So far, we are having an awesome time in Vietnam and can’t wait to keep exploring! While the cost of flights definitely shocked the budget this week, the great prices here more than make up for it! This week we’ll get caught up on work, visit some rooftop coffee shops, adventure, and explore what Hanoi has to offer!
Transport: $17.6 (Ubers, and moped rentals)
Other: $18 (2 SIM Cards with 9GB of data for our month here)
Total: $291.80 USD
**We also spent $460 for 2 one way flights to Vietnam
Click here to check out what we got up to last week while we enjoyed the beautiful Gili Islands!