Hanoi, here we come.

It’s only four months till we head over the waters towards Vietnam.

So much of the preparation for the trip was done much earlier in the year I’ve almost forgotten everything that’s already been arranged.

Reach for the green folder with the information-filled plastic sleeves that will travel with me like a well-trusted friend  holding onto secrets. Ah, I feel secure already knowing it’s all there: a multitude of facts inscribed in black & white that lock us into dates & places.

Of course, when imagining ourselves as travellers/ tourists again, we first needed to decide where we wanted to go, and then exactly ‘when’.

Tour schedules played a big part in the decision making. Knowing Intrepid organises a plethora of well-managed tours, we sought out their web pages &, through our local travel agent, hooked ourselves onto the fifteen-day Laos Discovery tour.

Because I feel you need to settle into a place before you go jaunting all over the countryside, we decided on flights that would allow us, firstly, some time in Hanoi  (initially at the Hanoi Backpackers Hostel in Ngo Huyen, in the Old Quarter), and then additional time in Bangkok, and even Kuala Lumpur when the major tour ends.

I desperately wanted to visit Halong Bay again. This extraordinarily beautiful place needed to be shared & experienced with my travelling companion:  son Ben.

We allowed the necessary days to join up with a 2-day/ 1-night Blue Dragon junk tour and paid up our American dollars in April while the Aussie exchange rate was still high. A timely decision now the Aussie is tracking a downward path below ninety cents.

After this we decide we’ll  return to Van Mieu Hotel in Quoc Tu Giam because it’s the Tour’s joining point ( as noted by an Intrepid reply to an e-mail) and so it will assist with a smooth touring transition.

When the Aussie dollar shows signs of continuing weakness we determine it’s best to buy our American greenbacks while the goings as good as it is. We purchase through Australia Post and now our notes sit plumped up in bum-bags as silent reminders of  past wealth; though as future gifts  to Asian shopkeepers & tour guides.

Flicking through the plastic sleeves I notice the next fifteen days  proceed as per the trip notes. And though I’ve  already visited all the stop-over places before on a prior alternative tour, it’s sure to feel like a totally different experience ’cause this time we’ll be travelling in the opposite direction, and ending where I previously started, in Bangkok. However to improve this experience abroad , I  purchase a Lonely Planet ‘Laos’ booklet from the Book Warehouse in Lismore & begin reading, & planning  more detailed excursions in the various stop-over points so as to make the most of every minute abroad. Still there’s something to be said for letting serendipity take us where we need to be at any particular time. It happened once long ago when visiting Britain; when I headed off in a hire car to find Stonehenge only to find myself arriving at the site as the sun was setting, noticing it perfectly framed within the upright stones & the horizontal lintel.

After booking extra nights at our finishing point hotel, the New  World City Hotel in Samsen Road, Banglumphu, we discard initial arrangements & bookings that send us hopping across  to  Ko Samet. It seems there’s plenty on offer in Bangkok, even an exploration of the Phra Adhit Fortress that might prove an adventure, or even the street sights & their exciting possibilities.

So Bangkok looms as a go-with-the-flow experience,  even a winding down, dollar-spending opportunity filled as it is with colourful attractions.

It’s at this point I realise I haven’t organised transport to the airport for the trip to KL. I perhaps believe the hotel concierge will help out with these arrangements in time.

Yet because KL is a totally new travel destination, I find  arrival & departure transfers are arranged, and paid for, through Viator ; as is our accommodation in a Superior Double room at the Hotel Central Pudu at No. 310 Jalan Pudu, Bukit Bintang, for three nights.

What to do when we arrive in KL, to round out our KL experience? It seems I’ve given this some thought already.

A friend recommends a perfect & reasonable  Tour Guide . I make contact with Anuar Ismail & lock us into a mystery tour of his design. Hope we have enough greenbacks left for what he has in mind,

‘Dear Margaret
Greeting from Kuala Lumpur and thank you for writing.

Apologize for taking sometimes to get back to you.

Here is the situation, the detail of the tour you can find in the attachment but it’s still far from the tour date. The itinerary and prices especially tour to Elephants Sanctuary might change due our Wildlife Dept in a process implement the wildlife act to all the park.

I am not guarantee we will able to do all the activity list in the attachment for Elephants tour.

If you like to booked the tour I can block the the date for you until I get the latest developments all the activity you can do at Elephants Sanctuary.

Thank you

Anuar Ismail
Tour Coordinator and Consultant ‘

Seems the planning stage is well covered by sufficient inked-in arrangements.

I guess I’ll leave it at that for the time being, and rest easy in the fact I’m a planner.

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