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  1. Getting a Vietnamese Visa in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

    February 24, 2015 by IFOTC

    The best advice I have about getting your Vietnam visa in Kuala Lumpur is: don’t do it if you don’t have to. Vietnam now permits visas on arrival if you are flying into Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, or Danang via an international flight. You simply find an agent to get you a letter of approval (Google ‘Vietnam visa on arrival’ and you’ll find a bunch of companies to choose from), print out the letter, and bring it (along with the visa fee in USD cash, your passport, a completed copy of the Entry and Exit form, and one passport size photo) to the “Landing Visa” counter when you arrive in Vietnam. The cost depends on what type of visa you get – $45 for a one month or 3 month single entry visa, $65 for a less than 30 day multi-entry, $95 for a 30 day or more multi-entry. On top of that you’ll have to pay the visa agent… usually about $10. The only downside is, there may be a long wait at the airport. Some people get through in 15 minutes, for others it takes an hour. It all depends on how many people are doing it, and what airport you go to (HCMC is busier and will take longer).

    So far, this article has been a little off-topic. If you need to get your Vietnamese visa in Kuala Lumpur it costs more, and requires a couple trips to the Vietnamese embassy, but here’s how to do it:
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  2. The Best Travel Insurance for Backpackers

    February 4, 2015 by IFOTC

    “No Mom. I’m invincible. I don’t need travel insurance.” *Mom smacks me in the head and makes me cry.

    For the longest time, I was against travel insurance. I rarely get sick. I don’t have accidents (including the ones that happen in your pants). I’m generally a pretty safe guy. What I didn’t think about was the different lifestyle that I’d be adopting while traveling the world. First off, there’s a lot more unknown variables. You can’t predict things like you can in your hometown. Secondly, you take more risks while traveling. Maybe it’s because it doesn’t matter as much if you fail — you’ll be in another town tomorrow. Or perhaps, it’s the adrenaline that comes with new and exciting things. I’m not sure. But trust me, people do crazy things while on vacation. Speaking of crazy things, there are all kinds of vacation activities that you would never do in normal everyday life: bungee-jumping, river-rafting, surfing, rock climbing, driving a scooter around Vietnam. These are things that your normal insurance company wouldn’t necessarily cover. You need a souped-up, pimped-out, bad-mofo of an insurance company. World Nomads is that company. They’re the best travel insurance for backpackers. They cover extreme sports like the ones mentioned above, plus a whole lot more (check out their list of 200 adventure activities). And, since you’re young and connected, you’ll probably be traveling with your laptop, tablet, and camera. World Nomads covers that too.

    My favourite thing about World Nomads’ insurance is the fact that you can order online, from anywhere, at anytime. If your plans change, you can change your insurance plan. If something happens and you need to make a claim, you can do it online, nice and simple. If you’ve ever had to make an insurance claim before, you know how bloody awful it can be — going into a stuffy office with a bunch of white collared business dorks who are friendly in the fakest way possible. World Nomads actually cares about their customers. They offer travel tips, safety tips, and they encourage travellers to make a difference and give back to the country they are visiting. They even have a program that offers travel scholarships in photography, writing, film making, food, and language. Other insurance companies be like: blah, blah, blah, give me money, blah, blah, that’s not covered.
    I never thought I’d be hawking travel insurance, but I never knew there was a company like World Nomads. If you want to read more, please check out their site. If you want to get a quote, it’s real simple. Fill out this form:

    I’m finally insured. You can rest easy, Mom.


  3. The Best Way to Visit Cuc Phuong, Vietnam’s Largest National Park

    February 3, 2015 by IFOTC

    Conservation in Vietnam started at Cuc Phuong National Park. It was consecrated by Ho Chi Minh in 1962, right in the middle of the Vietnam War. The bombs dropped and the defoliants used during the war, destroyed much of Vietnam’s forests and fauna. Ho Chi Minh told the people that protecting the environment is protecting their future. Since then, 29 other national parks have been created in Vietnam, but Cuc Phuong remains the largest.

    Cuc Phuong National Park, Vietnam

    Cuc Phuong National Park on a hazy/smokey morning.

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  4. Hanging out in Hanoi

    January 25, 2015 by IFOTC

    Hanoi Vietnam old quarters.

    The old quarters in Hanoi, Vietnam

    In total, we were in Hanoi for about 7 days. Three on the first days of our vacation, and 4 on the last days. We didn’t get bored once. Considering we didn’t really go to any tourist attractions, I think that says a lot for the city.
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  5. VIDEO: Malaysian Paradise – Sibuan Island

    January 12, 2015 by IFOTC

    Yesterday, Sara and I booked our flights for our second trip to Malaysia. I have to go two days earlier, so we have two separate flights. I’m with Air Asia. She’s with Malaysia Airlines. For some reason, they were the two cheapest airlines we could find… We are excited to head back to Malaysia. This time around, we are going to explore the north, going up the west coast and down the east. You can expect lots of information and videos by the end of February.
    In the meantime, I dug up some footage from our last trip to Malaysia and edited this video about going to Sibuan Island. It’s a very small island off the coast of Semporna, Borneo. For more information about our time there, read this: Budget travel to Semporna, Malaysia


  6. Tam Coc, Vietnam and the Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex-icated

    January 10, 2015 by IFOTC

    In 2014, UNESCO named the Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex Vietnam’s newest world heritage site. I hate that name. It’s the cause of much confusion and is even responsible for a rare, but necessary, fight between Sara and I. The to-do list of the area includes a boat tour of the Trang An grottoes, which are usually just called Trang An. There’s also a boat tour that’s usually called Tam Coc, because that’s the name of the village that it’s in. So, when I say, “should we do Trang An?” referring to the boat tour, and Sara says, “We are going to be in Trang An.” “What about Tam Coc?” “That’s the village we’ll be staying in.” “No, the boat tour” “Which boat tour?” “Trang An” “Are you not listening to me?” “You’re stupid and I hate you.” “Go to Hell” “I hope a spider lays eggs in your face while you sleep tonight.”

    We didn’t end up doing any boat tours.

    Tac Coc, Vietnam tour boats.

    Tour boats in Tam Coc’s lake.

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  7. Cat Ba Island: An Alternate Route to Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

    January 8, 2015 by IFOTC

    Cat Ba Island Hills in Vietnam

    The hills of Cat Ba Island from Cannon Fort.

    Not being one for tours, Sara and I decided to make our way to Cat Ba Island, where a day trip into Ha Long Bay wouldn’t involve a bus ride to Ha Long City and back. We took a bus/boat combo from Lương Yên bus station for 220,000 dong ($11 – leaves at 7:20AM or 11:20AM). It included a tourist-filled bus to Hai Phong, where we waited for about 20 minutes before getting on another bus to a port where we took a ferry to the north part of Cat Ba Island and then took another bus to Cat Ba town. It took about 5 hours in total and wasn’t the most pleasant time, but it got us to our destination and didn’t require much thinking from us. If we were to do it again, we would have just taken a bus or train to Hai Phong and then caught a public ferry to the island. It would probably cost about the same, and it would require more planning, but that’s one of the reasons we travel.
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  8. 7 Reasons to Move to Vietnam

    December 16, 2014 by IFOTC

    I think I’ve covered the negative aspects of Vietnam pretty well, so I thought it was about time I started convincing people to move out here. My commune isn’t going to start itself. No, Vietnemura needs people to be successful. Here are 7 reasons to drop everything and move to Vietnam.

    A cook in Vietnam taking orders

    Vietnemura Wants You!

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  9. Video: Vietnam in the Rain

    December 7, 2014 by IFOTC

    A motorcycle ride in Vietnam during the wet season, can quickly turn into a soaking. The rain comes fast and furious. A rain jacket can help, but most people just pull over and wait it out. In one downpour, I decided to strap on my GoPro and embrace the rain. With the right music, a ride in the rain can be a beautiful thing.

    More information about riding a motorcycle in Vietnam.


  10. Backpacking South America – Series 2, Chapter 1: Lake Titicaca

    December 2, 2014 by IFOTC

    If you missed the first series, check it out here: Backpacking South America: Lima to Machu Picchu

    The second series starts in Puno, Peru where we take a boat out on Lake Titicaca. We go to Uros, the floating islands, and stay with a local family on Amantani Island.

    To read about the adventures, including tips and costs, go to the blog post: Budget Travel – Lake Titicaca, Peru