Review of the Big IndoChina Adventure with Contiki

I initially chose to go to South East Asia because I wanted to travel to a tropical location for my winter holiday. Other then wanting to catch some rays, I had no other aspirations. But I now have a new love and appreciation for asian culture and solo travel.

This trip introduced me to a completely foreign culture, new (amazing) foods, friendly people, peaceful cultures, exotic adventures and stunning landscapes. This trip put me out of my comfort zone and completely emerged me in different ways of life. I can honestly say I have returned as a stronger, braver and more confident person. I recommend going on this adventure alone. You will meet many like-minded travelers and you will discover so much about yourself.

When I booked this trip I expected to stay in mostly hostels and cheap hotels…expectations were blown out the water. We stayed in mostly 4 and 5 star hotels. Every place was nicer then the last. But my favorite places we stayed we not the 5 star hotels. We stayed at two charming guest houses and on a beautiful junk boat in Ha Long Bay. Every place we stayed had free wifi, water bottles, safes and hot water!

I couldn’t have asked for a better group of fellow travelers. I will forever be friends with many of the people I met. Especially my tour manger Lee (Hailey). I can safely say she made my trip. Lee is super cool, chill and fun. She showed us the best bars, hangouts and foodies in town. She was familiar with the locals and even spoke most of languages. I told her initially I planned on turning my brain off for most of my trip. So it was awesome having her plan most excursions and helping me have the time of my life.

The coolest thing about this trip is you’re not stuck on a bus all day long like many other contiki trips. Don’t get me wrong there are bus trips. The longest was 6 hours. To get through the different countries you will take an overnight train, boats, tuk tuks, buses, vans and jets. I loved our overnight train ride. It really gave everyone a chance to bond.

My favorite things I did on the trip were the Wat Phrathat in Chiang Mai, Thai cooking class in Chiang Rai, Elephant riding, “Kangaroo Sunset” bar and kayaking in Luang Prabang, causing a street dance party in Siem Reap, jumping off our boat in Nha Trang and sailing in Ha Long Bay.

I would recommend this trip to everyone. I always felt safe, culturally submerged and had a blast.

Tips I wish I had been given:
-Bring temple wear (Long pants, t-shirts)
-Pack your bag and then take out half. It’s super easy to do laundry.
-Bring only one swim suit. There are water activities, but not consecutive ones. You only need one suit.
– You should not need more then $25 a day if you don’t plan on doing much shopping.
– Invest good pair of flip flops. You have to remove your shoes a lot and they’re easier to get on and off then sandals.
-Don’t bring a huge suitcase. A back pack is better.
-You don’t need to bring makeup. Most of the girls on the trip won’t wear it. It will just sweat off.
-Bring your own bug spray.
-Bring or be prepared to pull out american dollars. You will need to pay for most excursions with USD. Also Cambodia widely prefers USD over Riel.
-If you’re coming from the states you don’t need an adaptor. All outlets take the US plug!
-Wifi is everywhere. Turn your phone on airplane mode and don’t bother getting a plan. Just Skype and iMessage people using wifi.
-Pack playing cards!
-Pack your own portable charger!

Bustling Hanoi

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We arrived into busy Hanoi mid-day and headed to the famous Temple of Literature. It was college graduation day so the temple was insanely crowded. But it was cool to see the locals dressed up, celebrating and socializing. All of the girls looked stunning in their traditional Vietnamese gowns and the boys looked like models in their perfectly tailored suits.

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Then we went to this great restaurant right outside of the temple. The restaurant supports local kids and provides job training. I had delicious Pho and Water Melon Juice. Everything was heavenly.

Rainy day in Hue

We arrived in our Coach to the very flooded city of Hue, Vietnam. Because of the rain we thought our cyclo tour might be canceled but the rain died down just in time! So we sat back and relaxed as we were biked around Hue and into the imperial city of Hue.   1533718_10152765342945813_5207528779908952106_n10173586_10152765343005813_2185265111394011859_n

Next stop the Tu Duc Mausoleum. Our Local Guide showed us around the enchanting old palace. We learned about the emperors and visited the temples, pagodas and pavilions.

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10351897_10152765343110813_5165044007555301462_nThen after a quick bus ride we visited the breath-taking Thien Mu Pagoda. We had the privilege to witness a buddhist monk prayer session. It was truly mesmerizing.

Where did I stay? The Asia Hotel Hue

Going to Asia!

After season 7 of “A Haunting” wraps production I will be heading out on my first solo adventure. I will be heading to South East Asia with Contiki on their Big Indochina Adventure!

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From Contiki: The Big Indochina Adventure is just that…big on adventures, incredible sights, experiences & good times. From the hustle and bustle of Bangkok, to the serenity of Thailand’s north, to the amazing colours & culture of Vietnam & the rugged terrain and archaeological treasures of Laos, it’s all here. Finish it up with the rich, but tragic, past of Cambodia & more as 25 days unfold Indochina’s best.

Where am I going?: Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam

When?: October 26 – Nov 19th

What am I excited about?: Riding Elephants, Kayaking, Eating Pho, Swimming, Halong Bay

What am I nervous about?: Traveling solo, Meeting new people, Not liking the food, getting sick

What am I packing?: TBD