Johor Bahru to Kuala Lumpur 

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Sunday morning and we are trying to find breakfast before our 10am train to KL. We catch an Uber to JB Sentral hoping to have enough time to find a place to sit down and grab a bite to eat. Unfortunately it’s pretty chaotic. We briefly sit at a place, have a rice dish, and soon make a dash for the train.

The boys have anticipated this moment. They still love the train journeys and I thrive seeing their little faces light up at the sight of them. I know this will not last forever, so I have to enjoy every moment.

The train journey from JB to KL requires a changeover at a station called Gemas. We arrive into Gemas at 2.30pm and catch the next train at 3pm from Gemas, arriving at Kuala Lumpur station at 5.15pm.

About to board the train at Johor Bahru

The train at Gemas to KL

We finally arrive to Kuala Lumpur and the boys check out the front of the train.

Kuala Lumpur station

Walking to get a taxi to our unit

We go out for dinner that evening to a place called Havana bar and grill.

A before family photo

And after shot. The boys put themselves to sleep 😂

Singapore to Johor Bahru

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The journey into Singapore was fairly smooth sailing. The boys entertained themselves a lot better with the in-flight entertainment.

We arrived at Singapore and caught a taxi to Queen st for approx $20Sin. From Queen st we had to negotiate another special vehicle to cross the border over to Johor Bahru (JB). There are government cabs one can catch, which will charge you approx $12Sin per person or $48Sin for a whole car.

We would’ve gone with this option except there was no movement of a very long queue, and people were getting anxious. It was 6pm and we didn’t want to take that risk by waiting heavens knows how long!

We finally negotiated a price of $50Sing for the four of us. Once the driver had a complete car of 7 passengers, we were off.

I did not expect the journey that followed – peak hour at its worst! It was literally bumper to bumper most of the way crossing the border. I was feeling restless, and although we were all tired, the boys did magnificently.

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Mekong Delta

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We were nearing the end of our trip and trying to decide how to go about visiting the Mekong. We shared with our friends Jade and Michael our interest in going to the Mekong but that we were really not interested in being part of a tour. After going on a couple of them already, we just wanted to do our own thing and have the flexibility with the boys.

They told us that they had taken a bus from Ho Chi Minh down to My Tho and arranged their own tour of the Mekong once down there. This sounded like something that we wanted to do. So we caught a bus from Ho Chi Minh. As we waited we thought we’d get Mr 4’s haircut fixed. It was quite funny how people were doting over the boys and taking pictures with them like celebrities.

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Ho Chi Minh

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We finally made it to our last destination by train!!

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on the train to Ho Chi Minh

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Having dinner NYE

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Reflecting upon the ambitious journey we set out to do from Hong Kong to Ho Chi Minh by train, I was somewhat nostalgic of the fact that the excitement and anticipation had come to an end, and yet I also felt so accomplished because we did it!

Out of all the night rides we have done, this trip from Quy Nhon to Saigon wasn’t the best I must admit. We almost had an entire carriage to ourselves as this train was not full, and whilst this was a bonus because it meant there were fewer people to spoil a toilet, the train rocked and shook pretty hard the whole journey. I can still hear the train toot every couple hundred metres and will never forget that distinct smell of Vietnam trains.

We arrived at 4:30am on new years day feeling pleased with ourselves but also a little sad it had all come to an end (I know, I already made this point), but surely you would understand why we were feeling this way.

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Quy Nhon

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pronounced: “oui nion” as in ‘filet mignon’.

Where to go after Hoi An? That was the big dilemma haunting us. Should we go to Dalat or should we go to Nha Trang? Why not go to Nha Trang and then go to Dalat as well?

We asked locals and we asked people we met about what they knew about Nha Trang. Most came up with the same conclusion that Nha Trang has become a big city and whist has some very nice resorts, it is renowned for having some bogans, as we would call them in Australia. After seeing Da Nang, we weren’t sure whether we wanted to see another city like it again.

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Hoi An

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Hoi An is a beautiful quaint town, beautifully lit at night and decorated with smiles during the day. Unlike Danang the place was swarming with westerners and locals keen to sell all kinds of knick knacks. Hoi An actually feels like a place that we want to spend time in.

I was a little reluctant when I heard Jason had booked us into a homestay for what seemed to be so cheap. The common phrase “you get what you pay for” kept running through my head. But so far we have managed to stay at some very inexpensive places that were decent. I trusted Jason’s judgement on this one.

We had to guide the taxi driver to the road of our homestay. I could tell by the tone of his voice and look on his face as he pointed down our street that he must have been saying “are you sure this is the place?” It was late evening, dark and rainy. Not quite the weather we were expecting nor hoping for.

Minh the homestay guy greeted us warmly and the place was thankfully great value for money. The homestay is a family run business and all are so friendly and helpful. We were also pleased our boys were not the only children, as Minh had a 2 year old daughter, plus there was a Dutch couple with 2 boys slightly older and then another sweedish family with two boys – we were well surrounded!

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Christmas Eve – Dong Hoi to Da Nang 

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I love my children. I am a mother – they are my world, but today I have really felt that I have just about had enough of them! I am trying my best to be understanding and I know that we are dragging them along at our pace. I have tried to lower my expectations as they are just little – I know! But there comes a point when you question whether your children are defiant because they like to see your reaction? maybe they’re just bored? Or possibly they are not as bright as you thought they were!
I find myself cursing and thinking FFS, WTF is your problem more than often and I have wished more than once how wonderful it would be to find a baby sitter and just leave the boys sleeping while hubby and I go and have a romantic meal, walk at a proper human pace, not have to carry a little person because they’re tired, no dragging of the feet, enjoy a drink or two or three or FOUR, stay out as late as we want, not have to hear “WEE WEE!!” yelled out at the most inopportune moments, enjoy the night without ANY whinging/whining/crying, and not feel like I have indigestion post dinner!  Am I a terrible parent for wishing this???  Continue reading