Just booked myself on this trip, my second with Exodus, really excited :o)
Would love to hear from fellow travellers!
My name is Marilyn and I am also on the Vietnam Adventure! First time that I have booked a trip as a solo traveller so very excited and somewhat nervous to say the least!! How did you find your first trip with Exodus and did you all manage to meet up at heathrow before going? Look forward to hearing from you and any other fellow travellers!!
Good to hear from you! I did my first trip with Exodus last summer to Kenya, also as a solo traveller, and the experience was fantastic. A couple of us met at Heathrow but the bulk of the group met at Nairobi. We all got on really well and we had meals together, etc. So great overall! Where in the UK do you live? Are you doing the Angkor Wat extension?
Good to hear from you as well! I live in Swansea in South Wales which is extremely cold at the moment! I am not doing the Angkor Wat extension. As this is my first solo adventure, I thought that I would do the basic trip and if all goes well, as I am sure it will, I will be more adventurous on my next one! The Kenya trip must have been fantastic. Have you enquired about vaccinations and malaria tablets yet for the Vietam trip and where abouts are you living?
I am not doing the Angkor Wat extension either. I can only take two weeks of annual leave at a time at work, unfortunately. I live in High Wycombe (Buckinghamshire). About the vaccinations, I have had a look at the NaTHNaC website, which gives information on what vaccines would be recommended and which ones are compulsory. The best thing really is to ask your GP. My GP luckily has a travel clinic so it was easy to get advice for my trip to Kenya. I had most of the vaccines but I didn't have to pay for the ones I needed. If you go to a travel clinic you'll probably have to pay and some of them can be quite costly. About malaria, for Kenya I went for doxycycline instead of malarone. Again, doxycycline is a lot cheaper but you have to take the tablets for longer. I'm seriously considering malorone for this trip, I ended up a bit fed up of taking tablets for so long! Have you been to South East Asia before? I haven't and all I've heard it's good things about Vietnam from people who have been, so I think Vietnam has been an excellent choice :)
Shame you guys didn't book on to the Trail of Vietnam one instead. I nearly booked into this but the idea of trekking through villages most of the day appealed to me more. Either way, I wonder if we cross path while out there? or if we all take the same flight? I am going with a friend of mine who is half Chinese/Vietnamese but have never been back home so should be interesting. It was meant to be a solo but managed to convince him at the end.
Anyways if we're on the same flight than would be cool to meet up at Heathrow if that is the airport you'll be using.
By the way, I also recommend Hong Kong if you want to explore Asia, this will be my second trip to the far east. We will also be stopping two extra days in Malaysia on our way back. Really excited just like you!
Hope you guys have a lovely trip either way :)
.....and hello to Ray. I have never been to Asia so this will be a whole new experience for me. Thanks for all the info on vaccinations and malaria tablets ...will have to have a chat with the practice nurse at my GP surgery for advice but I will definitely be asking him about the malarone you have mentioned. Organising a visa will also be on the 'to do' list. Have wanted to go to Vietnam after seeing the 'boys' travel the length of it on 'Top Gear'...they were astounded by the scenery and they filmed a lot in the Halong Bay which looks stunning! If you haven't seen that episode, it is always being repeated and is well worth watching! Hope you also have a lovely trip Ray and maybe our paths will cross at some point!
I would think that all trips to Vietnam starting on the same day will go on the same flight... Either way I'm happy to meet at Heathrow. It's nice to have someone to spend the long hours with :) Oddly enough the only country in the Far East that I have visited is South Korea (twice) and I always thought it was a shame that having been in that part of the world I didn't get the chance to visit China and/or Japan.
Oh, bless, funny story, not a big fan of top gear myself I'm afraid :) By the way, a colleague has just got a prescription for Malarone and she's paid over £50! Might go for Doxycycline again...
Ray, it's wonderful that you'll be stopping in Malaysia! Could I fit in your suitcase? I'm sure they won't miss me at work :)
Anyway, hope to hear back from you.
Well Marilyn, i am going for the exact same reason. I watched that Top Gear episode last year and I promised myself that I would visit the place the next chance I get. I managed to go Hong Kong first eventually and now I am finally going to Vietnam. I am also a big fan of history so the fact that Vietnam is a big part of history especially in my favourite era (60's/70's) during JFK's years etc... so much history there and I cant wait to say I have been there. So you definitely need Malaria tablets? My travel nurse hasn't got back to me yet on that subject.
Did you ladies have a Rabies shot? It was optional but I said no.. not sure if i'd need it to be honest.
Marisa, I'll try to make some space for you in my bag :)
Excellent, I hope you bring a decent size suitcase.
No rabies shot for me. You do need the malaria tablets. I'm very interested in history too, can't wait to see the Vietcong tunnels. Apparently some of them are really tiny! Are any of you claustrophobic? Would be a shame having to stay outside and miss it.
Went on my first Christmas 'doooo' yesterday and surprisingly am not feeling too bad today! Would love to meet up at Heathrow as it is such a long journey...may drive to the airport but problem is I would have to cope with the jet lag on return so that might not be such a good idea ....will think about that one! Appt arranged with practice nurse on Weds to discuss vaccinations and malaria tabs...if I don't have to have any jabs, I won't! If you count not liking any doors in my house to be closed(except the front and back doors of course!) then I suppose I may be very slightly claustrophobic but I will force myself to go in the tunnels and just hope I don't get stuck!.....maybe losing a bit of weight before March would be a good idea.......think I'll go on a noodles diet to get myself acclimatised!
It went well thanks. In fact I had the polio/tetanus/diptheria in one arm and the hepatitis A in the other arm! Need to see a more experienced nurse after Christmas for advice on the typhoid one and any others that may be needed. Have you had the typhoid jab? .....what have you had/or going to have altogether? Apparently only a doctor can dish out the malaria tabs so will make an appt in January. Did you take out the Exodus travel insurance last time? I have noticed that it is £83 compared to a policy offered by Asda at £50!
If i have any more chocs in work I am sure that I will overdose!! Silk market .....will have to have a think about that one!
Happy new year :) Oh, I have never heard of mefloquine. I still have to go to the doctor and get a prescription. I put all the papers together for the visa and got my brother to take them to the Vietnamese embassy in London (I have the advantage that he's flexible at work). My visa will be ready for collection next week. If I can help it I'd rather not send my passport backwards and forwards over the post... The visa costs £44. When you start adding bits and pieces you end up spending quite a lot in preparation for the trip...
I think I will take most of my money in US dollars. Perhaps I will bring some pounds too.
Can't wait to wear some summer clothes. I'm so pale that my skin reflects the light!
Just got my visa today. I put the date to start on the 10th March and they've given me one month from then. Well, I live only 40 mins from Heathrow, but knowing me I will be there quite early. If I was you I would go there by 6.45, just in case there's some problem (delay on your journey for example). However, in all likelyhood you'd be fine with the 8.05 :)
Do you happen to know how many of us are on this trip? I wonder whether it's a small group or more a medium size group.
My name is Ang and I am booked on AOV on 12th March, with my friend Julie. We live in Bristol.
After reading all the above, I am very curious to know how you got your visa for £44. Everywhere I look at is £75. Even going through the Exodus link from todays general upcoming info email, I am still routed to £75 for a visa.
Thanks in advance in your answer.
Thank you very much. I think I will be taking a trip. I do live in Bristol. There might be lots of ladies on yours..................
Hi Ang and Julie - I am Marilyn from Swansea and I am also on the same trip.......about visas - go on the vietnamese embassy for London website - I sent them an email to say that I was going on this trip and could they advise me. The help and information they gave was so good. ....absolutely everything you need to know about applying in person or by post so don't make the trip there until you have contacted them........and the fee is £44!.
Thank you very much.
Thanks for the advice. I contacted the Vietnamese embassy and have been quoted £44 plus p&p. If it wasn't for reading your chat Julie & I would be paying £75 each!
You may or may not know that we will need an overnight bag for the time on the boat in Ha Long Bay and at the homestay in Mekong delta. If it says this in the itinerary, please excuse me, I haven't studied it.I'm counting down the weeks, I can't wait.
Glad you got the visa information ......just a quick update. My son took all my docs to the Vietnamese Embassy on Tuesday(25/1- he lives in London) and they told him that they were closing on Monday(31/1) for the Vietnamese Lunar New Year so the sooner you get your documents off the better! They told him that I would receive passport and visa back around the 10/2. ...........I will probably take a small rucksack(for the overnight stays) which I will be using as hand luggage on the flight.....for things like camera, book etc .........Not long now!!!! Marilyn
Hi. Well, oddly enough I've just been to my travel doctor and been told that I don't need malaria tablets, as the areas we are going to visit are low to no risk. Look here: http://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/destinations/asia-(east)/vietnam/vietnam-malaria-map.aspx
She was looking at this map. I don't know what to do now!
Bon voyage Ray! I hope you have a really good time!
Marisa..........about the malaria tabs. I was also told that it was a very low risk area along the coast and wouldn't need them. When I mentioned that we were going up the Meekong Delta there was a bit of umming and ahhing!! .....so it was deemed to be safer rather than sorry!.....however we could always ask the advice of our guide when we get there and possibly stop taking them! ......I have already got mine now and I just hope that they don't make me feel ill ......
At my travel clinic I was also told that it was a very low risk area along the coast and wouldn't need malaria tablets. However I did not mention Mekong Delta.
On the map with different shades of pink on, I cant work out the whereabouts of Mekong Delta.
Marisa - what did your doctor say?
I contacted Exodus and they recommend we take Malaria tablets in Mekong Delta.
My understanding is that we only need them for Mekong Delta. Beneath I have copied my email from Exodus. (I asked if we needed malaria tabs for Mekong Delta)
I've been reading lots of stuff on the internet about Malaria prevention in Vietnam. It looks like there's lots of people who have not taken any sort of tablets, including people who live/regularly visit Vietnam. However, some people preferred to take them for their own peace of mind. Just as the email that you received says, it looks like it has to be a personal decision.
I checked the expiry date on my malaria tabs and it is 8/11....so no chance of keeping them for another trip. So as I have actually paid out for them, I will be taking them. Only 1 tab per week and I have to start 2/3 weeks before going. So my first 1 is going to be on Sat 19/2. If I find that they make me feel ill, I will stop them and as they are not vitally important, it won't be the end of the world if I stop! Tried on all my summer stuff this morning.......not too bad at all....few things a bit tight and unless i starve myself for the next 4 weeks, they will have to stay tight! Mozzy repellant spray was bought yesterday and a really comfy pair of shoes from Asda for £10!!
In the end I've bought 11 malaria tablets only, at a cost of £31, given that we are only going to the Mekong Delta for a couple of days. Marilyn it looks like you're almost ready. I think I am too, must look at my check list! and must try my summer stuff too...
I did this trip in November. I took Malaria tablets but discovered once I got there that there was no need - they made me feel a little ill so I stopped taking them. The only time I needed insect repelent was in Lak Lake - didn't see any mozi's any other time.
I took a rucksack but many in our group took suitcases which were also fine. I took a small rucksack as a day sack which doubled up for overight stays in Halong Bay, Lak Lake and Mekong Delta stay where you don't take all your luggage. I took some US dollars and some dong that you can now get from the post office and also withdrew money from cashpoints in several of the towns - all worked well. Food is excellent and very cheap - getting your head around the thousands of dong takes a minute or two!! I took a pair of merrells for everyday and flip flops - no walking boots needed. In November is was comfortable in the North (shorts and t-shirts), very wet in the middle and around 80 and a little humid in Saigon. Nobody put sun tan lotion on until middle of second week!!
There was two opportunities to get washing done - I ended up getting around half my rucksack done for $4.00!! This was my first Exodus and first trip travelling Solo so I was very nervous but it was fab and I am now planning my next trip ..........
Hope you all have a fab trip.
Hello Sue .........thanks for taking the time to post your message which is really, really helpful. I now know what suitcase I am taking!.....and I didn't realise that you can get dong at the post office so thanks for that as well! Good to hear that there are little or no mozzies as they really seem to like me! This is my first solo trip as well and my tummy is doing cartwheels most of the time........but nothing ventured, nothing gained.....
All the best for your next trip.
I was so nervous a week or so before my trip. I'm the sort of person that doesn't even like walking into a pub alone! So many people told me not to worry - that the other people on the trip would be lovely and they were right. Nothing ventured, nothing gained is very true. I took a huge leap out of my comfort box and am so glad that I did - enjoy x
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