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zanzibar138
01-12-2012, 02:43 PM
So after a suggestion from PIO, I decided I would start a PTR of my very own :goodvibes

I'll start off with a grand plan for the trip, and I like to include the night before and the night of the wedding as part of our honeymoon lol! So I'll start off with them.

So without further ado... from Friday 2nd March:

2 nights in Healesville at the Sanctuary Park Cottages
1 night in Melbourne at the Park Royal Airport Hotel
1 night in Ho Chi Minh City at the Grand Hotel
3 nights in Nha Trang at the Mia Resort (yet to be confirmed)
1 night on the train from Nha Trang to Danang
1 night in Halong Bay at the Novotel
1 night in Halong Bay cruising the bay on a junk
1 night in Hanoi at the Sunway Hotel
4 nights in Hong Kong at the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel
1 night on the plane from Hong Kong to Africa
2 nights in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe at the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge
5 nights in Chobe National Park, Botswana at the Muchenje Lodge
1 night on the plane from Africa to Perth (stopping for dinner with my family)
1 night on the plane from Perth to Melbourne

Not bad huh? :woohoo:

Next I'll go through our plans so far in more detail for each destination.

zanzibar138
01-12-2012, 07:21 PM
Apologies I am at work at the moment, so don't have access to all my photos. Will update when I get home.

So as mentioned previously, we'll be staying at Sanctuary Park Cottages.

http://www.sanctuaryparkcottages.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/grounds1-e1271059273299.jpg

The rest of the cottages have also been booked out by members of my family coming from Perth.

I will be heading up with the girls (my mum, MIL and SIL) on the Friday, stopping for some pampering on the way.


Then on the Saturday we are getting married :love: at Healesville Sanctuary.


On the Sunday we plan to have a brunch with whoever is staying in Healesville who wants to come. Thinking of Giant Steps/Innocent Bystander at the moment.

And then onto our next super exciting destination... the airport :rotfl:

zanzibar138
01-12-2012, 09:35 PM
I was thinking, because we've got 4 nights at HK DL, and haven't actually purchased our park tickets yet, it might be worth at least one of us getting a magic access (annual) pass. I investigated the dates and if we go red or silver we could have access to the park for 4 of the 5 days we'll be there (the 5th day is a Saturday, but I honestly can't see us needing 5 days there...).

As a matter of interest, I did contact Disney with a couple of questions. I wasn't sure if I'd be able to apply the accommodation discount as we've already booked, and it was through a travel agent, for an expedia deal. Also I knew it was a long shot, but was wondering if we would be able to use any of the birthday benefits for our honeymoon instead.

I got quite a useless reply really, saying that I will need to contact our travel agent regarding the accommodation discount. And, as expected, the birthday benefits can only be used for birthdays...

However, having done a few figures, I've worked out that if we want 3 days at the park, even the silver magic access card would work out to be better value than day passes. And that's not taking into consideration any of the food/merchandise discounts.

Red magic access pass = HK$650
Silver magic access pass = HK$850

2 day ticket = $499
1 day ticket = $399

So I think it's still worth investigating.

Opinions anyone? :confused3

PrincessInOz
01-13-2012, 01:45 AM
:yay: You started your PTR/TR. Subbing in. :thumbsup2


Regarding the Magic Access Passes. I think you should check with your TA as to whether they can provide Disney with the information to apply the discount. Have you paid money to your TA and what happens if you cancel?

If you can get the discount off your accommodation, then it is definitely worth it. I figure that the difference in the 2 day park entry compared with the Magic Access pass would be more than covered by the discount.

zanzibar138
01-13-2012, 09:57 PM
:yay: You started your PTR/TR. Subbing in. :thumbsup2


Regarding the Magic Access Passes. I think you should check with your TA as to whether they can provide Disney with the information to apply the discount. Have you paid money to your TA and what happens if you cancel?

If you can get the discount off your accommodation, then it is definitely worth it. I figure that the difference in the 2 day park entry compared with the Magic Access pass would be more than covered by the discount.

Thanks, we will check with the TA. I'm actually not that concerned about it TBH since we got such a great deal anyway! DF is happy to consider both getting red level magic access passes so we will have a bit more of a think :idea:


So our 3rd night is at the very exciting and exotic location of Melbourne airport lol! Still, it's a necessary part of the trip and staying at a flash hotel makes it kind of exciting.

http://i450.photobucket.com/albums/qq224/zanzibar138/Wedding%20stuff/hilton-airport-melbourne_1.jpg

Our flight to Vietnam leaves at about 11am so if we were going from our place we'd need to leave home no later than 6:30am.

We're kind of relying on someone to give us a lift so we don't have to worry about what to do with our car for the 3 1/2 weeks we'll be away... Hate to think what the airport parking would add up to for that :scared1:

I booked a room at the Park Royal (for anyone familiar with Melbourne airport, that's the one located directly above the short term parking) through wotif. It looks like a nice room, and apparently we'll have a city view. Amusingly, if you wanted a view of the runway you had to pay extra :laughing: Personally I would take a view of the city over the runway any day!

DF found out that we can get Krisflyer (that's the Singapore Airlines FF program) points for staying there, so we'll have to make sure we flash our IDs when we check in.

We plan to sleep in as long as possible, wander across to the airport to check in as soon as it opens, then wander back to the hotel for a leisurely brekky before going through customs etc.

Next up, our plans for Ho Chi Minh City!

zanzibar138
01-14-2012, 11:42 PM
Xin chao Vietnam! (Apparently that means hello...)

Our flight leaves Melbourne at 11:25am, and arrives in Ho Chi Minh City at 4:05pm. With the time difference I think it works out to about an 8 hour flight. We're flying with Vietnam Airlines.

DF has discovered that Vietnam Airlines offer a highly discounted upgrade to business class upon check in if available, so we hope to check in as early as possible to increase our chances of this happening! Either way, they're a full service airline and it won't be an overnight flight (I'm one of those people who can only sleep in a bed, at exactly the right temperature, with no noise and no light :rotfl:), so it shouldn't be too bad.

Our TA has booked airport transfers at each destination (usually we'd just get a taxi or shuttle bus or something, but we figured since it's our honeymoon we can splash out a little).

We're staying at the Grand Hotel Saigon, which is apparently in District 1. Seems to be quite a decent location, although we won't have that much time there to check it out properly. We're booked in a 'junior deluxe' room. Breakfast is included so we won't have to go too far afield in the morning.

http://i450.photobucket.com/albums/qq224/zanzibar138/Wedding%20stuff/grandhotelsaigon.jpg

In the morning we have a tour of the Cu Chi Tunnels booked. I believe it will be an early start :sad2: Should be worth it though - it looks very interesting.

http://i450.photobucket.com/albums/qq224/zanzibar138/Wedding%20stuff/images.jpghttp://i450.photobucket.com/albums/qq224/zanzibar138/Wedding%20stuff/untitled-2.jpg

We'll get back to Ho Chi Minh City mid afternoon, in time to leisurely grab our luggage and maybe have a bit of a wander before heading back to the airport for our next destination.

PrincessInOz
01-14-2012, 11:46 PM
I'm definitely going to live vicariously through your PTR/TR. You're going to a lot of places that I'd love to visit....someday. :goodvibes


Well....maybe not the staying at Melbourne Airport bit; but most of the other places.

zanzibar138
01-16-2012, 03:30 AM
PIO feel free to live vicariously :rotfl:

So where were we? Oh that's right. In Ho Chi Minh City.

So next we take our flight to Nha Trang, which is on the southern coast of Vietnam. We don't arrive at the airport until nearly 9pm, so we won't be doing much our first night.

We're staying at the Mia Resort Nha Trang - I'm soooooo excited :banana: It looks so awesome and only opened in September so is brand new!

http://i450.photobucket.com/albums/qq224/zanzibar138/Wedding%20stuff/pool01.jpg
http://i450.photobucket.com/albums/qq224/zanzibar138/Wedding%20stuff/Villa_1.jpg

We're staying in a villa on the beach with a private pool and outdoor shower :woohoo:

The owners have a chain of highly acclaimed, prize winning restaurants in several Vietnamese cities, and from all the reviews we've read the one at the resort is equally excellent. Breakfast is included in the room rate, but I suppose other meals will be fairly pricey.

There is also a spa there which sounds lovely too!

And if you don't feel like walking up the hill to the facilities, you just call reception and they send down a little buggy for you!

There's a golf course down the road which DF might enjoy, and you can do a tour of some islands, or take a cooking class... or just enjoy our villa!

Did I mention I CAN'T WAIT!!! :banana:

The resort is about 20 minutes from the actual city of Nha Trang. Apparently the resort has a free shuttle bus, but taxis are supposed to be fairly cheap and I don't think we'll have much need to go into the city. Will be nice to just hang out and relax at the resort for a few days.

After checking out on our last day, we'll make our way into Nha Trang and spend the afternoon/evening there waiting for the train.

zanzibar138
01-17-2012, 02:43 PM
It was DF's idea to catch an overnight train somewhere in our journey... will be kind of a step down after our 5 star villa with private pool :lmao:

We may try to arrange a late check out on our last day at the resort so we don't have to rush into Nha Trang, where we haven't got a clue what we might do! I'm sure we'll manage to find something interesting though. There's always shopping :thumbsup2

The train for Danang doesn't leave until 11:54pm, and arrives in Danang at 10:18am. Not sure how well I'll sleep :confused3 but we do plan to book in to a sleeper cabin. Apparently that particular train only has hard sleepers, which have 6 bunks to a cabin. I want to try and get the lower or middle berth so we can at least see out the window when it's light enough.

Not sure what we plan to do in Danang either as our next flight doesn't leave until 6:20pm. But again, we're bound to find something interesting.

Next up, the next stop I'm really looking forward to - Halong Bay :cool1:

PrincessInOz
01-18-2012, 03:40 AM
This is one heck of a honeymoon! You sure aren't leaving yourself much time to ......um........sleep in the same bed for too long....;)



















:rotfl:

Anaheim boy
01-18-2012, 04:17 AM
I don't know, you two must be super UBER Disney fans if you're planning 4 days for HK Disney. In my opinion a day is more than enough. Maybe 2. It's a small park with not many rides compared to other Disney's. We did it easily in a day with no crowds and to be honest, we went on several of the big rides more than once to fill out the day. We mostly stayed for the fireworks at night. Two days would be overkill unless, like I said you guys are HUGE Disney fans and can't get enough. There are a lot more things to do around HK that would be worth making it to the city for. Keep in mind, other than the park and the 2 Disney resorts there is NOTHING else around you (as of last year when we were there). If you want any other kind of entertainment you got to hop on the metro and head towards the city.
Either way, sounds like a great honeymoon. We did ours Disney, with a cruise in the Mediterranean on the Disney Magic!

zanzibar138
01-18-2012, 02:42 PM
This is one heck of a honeymoon! You sure aren't leaving yourself much time to ......um........sleep in the same bed for too long....;)

:rotfl:

We made sure to build in a decent few days at a few locations - Nha Trang, HK and Chobe should give us some time for... ahem... proper honeymooning :lmao:


Anaheim Boy - we're not really planning to spend all 4 days at DL, we just happen to be staying there. Sounds like it's pretty easy to just hop on the train to the city. The main benefit I see in the annual passes is that if we do want to go into the park on our 'non-park' days, just to see the fireworks or check in with Mickey, we'll be able to.

I am keeping in mind though, that while most people say that 3 days is plenty of time for DL in California, FH and I spent a whole week there (in low season with no crowds) and left feeling like we had missed a lot and could have easily spent another week there. And that's especially true of DCA - most people say it's a half day park, but we spent heaps of time there! We really enjoyed just hanging around and soaking up the Disney atmosphere more than just hopping from one attraction to the next.

I'm very jealous of your Disney Mediterranean cruise though :worship: If we hadn't already decided on Africa, I would have seriously considered something like that.

Anaheim boy
01-18-2012, 03:20 PM
Ahh, totally understand :-) One thing, check the timings for the HK metro. Can't remember how often they run at night. The metro from Disney that connects with the other line is literally only for Disney. Stops at the resort and then at the other end at the connecting station. It's only a few miles long. I somehow remember it being very scarce with people when we left. (may be wrong). Just check the timing.
Perhaps you are right about DL. I grew up there so I can go there in a day and get my fill. But if you don't get there as often, I'm sure you can always find little things that you've missed. I haven't done the little caves all over Tom Sawyers Isle in YEARS for example. Anyway, have a wonderful honeymoon, believe me, I envy you for some of where you guys are going!!

zanzibar138
01-18-2012, 03:35 PM
Thanks for the tip - will make sure we check that out before we go gallavanting of an evening :-)

Will get onto my next post about Halong Bay shortly I promise!

zanzibar138
01-18-2012, 07:31 PM
I think I better make a start on the next section of our trip, even though I can't access my photos at work. Will have to back-fill tomorrow night (going to the cricket tonight, much to my dismay :laughing:).

We arrive late the first night - around 9pm, so I expect we won't get much of a view of the bay until morning. This first night we'll be staying at the Novotel Halong Bay, which is directly across the road from the bay. With any luck we'll get a bay view room so we can see it as soon as we wake up!

http://i450.photobucket.com/albums/qq224/zanzibar138/Wedding%20stuff/270.jpg

It won't really matter if we don't get a bay view from our hotel though because the next night, we'll be actually ON THE BAY on the junk! I'll have to confirm with the travel agent, but I think the junk leaves shore quite early (like mid morning). I know it doesn't get back until mid-afternoon the next day (was screwing with our flights to HK :eek:).

http://i450.photobucket.com/albums/qq224/zanzibar138/Wedding%20stuff/Halong-Bay-Junks-1.jpg

Although the cabins on the junk are all described as 'twin' (there are 5), they do seem to have double beds, and all have their own private ensuites, so we won't be roughing it! There is a gourmet restaurant onboard and a bar. For entertainment (apart from taking in the views), it has a games room, sun deck, and kayaks :woohoo:

http://i450.photobucket.com/albums/qq224/zanzibar138/Wedding%20stuff/JewelRoom01.jpg
http://i450.photobucket.com/albums/qq224/zanzibar138/Wedding%20stuff/Sundeck.jpg

I think there will be lots of lounging around, taking in the view (will have to make sure the camera is fully charged!), and will definitely be making use of those kayaks if we have the chance!

Next up, Hanoi.

zanzibar138
01-20-2012, 09:28 PM
Got photos up for Halong Bay now :thumbsup2

We were planning to go straight from Halong Bay to Hong Kong (well, we'd have to go through Hanoi, but weren't planning to stay the night). But because the junk doesn't get back to shore until mid afternoon, then it's another couple of hours to get to Hanoi, and the latest flight left at about 6pm, we just weren't going to make it. So we've had to add a night in Hanoi (we had to take this out of our time at the resort in Nha Trang :sad2:).

The road transfer from Halong Bay to Hanoi was about 3 hours, and since it doesn't seem that far on a map, I figure it takes so long because there's lots of hills and the roads are windy. I'm one of those annoying people you can't take anywhere because I get car sick, and the thought of spending 3 hours of my honeymoon feeling :sick: just wasn't going to work for me. So we decided to catch the train instead.

The train takes about 2 hours, so saves us a bit of time, and big bonus, I don't get sick on trains :woohoo: I'm looking forward to being able to really enjoy the journey and take in the scenery. On the trains there's 3 options. There's 'hard seat' air-conditioned and non air-conditioned. Apparently these are just hard bench seats with no cushioning, and obviously either air-conditioned or not. The non air-conditioned ones have opening windows. The third option is the 'soft seat' which is air-conditioned, and have actual chairs that have cushioning. I think we'll be trying to get one of these.

The train doesn't arrive at the main Hanoi station, but one slightly out of town, so we'll have to get a taxi or something to our hotel. I can't see that being a problem.

Our TA has booked us in to the Sunway Hotel, which she says is in a great location right in the city.

http://i450.photobucket.com/albums/qq224/zanzibar138/Wedding%20stuff/SunwayHotelHanoi.jpg

So that night I'm guessing we'll wander around the city for a bit, find somewhere for dinner, and get ready for our next 'magical' destination... HK DISNEYLAND!!! :woohoo:

PrincessInOz
01-20-2012, 09:44 PM
I love what you're doing in Vietnam! Sounds fantastic and I can't wait to see your pictures when you get back.

zanzibar138
01-22-2012, 11:07 PM
I got our tickets! :cool1:

We ended up deciding to get magic access passes. I got a silver one, and DF got a red one. It's a bit of bad timing as the weekend prior to when we get there is one of 3 weekends where red and silver magic access passes can actually have access to the park. But nevermind. After 3 days there I think we'll have had our Disney fill and will want to avoid a crowded park on the Saturday and spend the day checking out HK instead. And if we're that desperate, hey we can buy day passes :rotfl:

We'll use my silver card for all our dining and merchandise purchases at the park and the hotel (and we're staying at the hotel for 4 nights, so I reckon we'll get our money's worth) so we can get the 10% discount.

After reading the terms and conditions, which state that the 10% discount can't be used with any other offer, it doesn't look likely that we will be able to use it for our accommodation, but I don't feel ripped off as we're saving 25% there anyway :woohoo:

So I am OFFICIALLY a DISNEY PARK ANNUAL PASSHOLDER!!! :banana::cool1::banana:

Lol! Can you tell I'm a little bit excited about that? ;)

ETA - I just read the title of this post and realised we're up to HKDL in our scheduled broadcast anyway lol!

PrincessInOz
01-25-2012, 03:05 PM
Congratulations! :dance3:

zanzibar138
01-25-2012, 10:05 PM
Our flight to Hong Kong leaves Hanoi at 10:40am, so it will be a pretty early morning by the time we get to the airport for an international flight. BUT it arrives in HK at 1:30pm, giving us a good portion of the afternoon to enjoy our new destination - Disneyland! :cool1:

We're staying at the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel, in a garden view room.

http://i450.photobucket.com/albums/qq224/zanzibar138/Wedding%20stuff/1926667_26_b.jpg
http://i450.photobucket.com/albums/qq224/zanzibar138/Wedding%20stuff/1926667_14_b.jpg
http://i450.photobucket.com/albums/qq224/zanzibar138/Wedding%20stuff/1926667_10_b.jpg

We got a great deal through Expedia, got 4 nights for the price of 3.

We don't have much planned at this stage. I haven't booked any meals or anything. With our magic access passes (insert happy dance here :dance3:) we'll be able to come and go from the park as much as we like every day except for our final day which is a Saturday.

On that Saturday (and whatever days we decide we've had enough of Disneyland), we will go exploring in Hong Kong. We'll probably decide what to do when we get there.

PrincessInOz
01-26-2012, 05:50 AM
Nice deal from Expedia. :goodvibes

I'm hoping that you'll come back and have nice things to rave about the hotel...plus tips on what you liked.

How many days to your wedding?

zanzibar138
01-26-2012, 02:25 PM
There are 36 days until the wedding :scared1: :laughing:

I will definitely put up a detailed TR when we get back, but it might not be in time for you to read before you go. I'll make sure I let you know specifically how we enjoyed the DL Hotel though.

zanzibar138
01-30-2012, 02:18 PM
Our flight tonight doesn't leave HK until nearly midnight, so we pretty much still have a full day. This is the Saturday that we won't be able to visit the park though. I did consider booking a high tea at the HKDL Hotel, but on second thoughts if we're going to be out exploring it seems silly to have to interrupt our afternoon to go back to DL for high tea. So I'll see if I can book it another day.

Not much interesting about our flight. It's a long one! Nearly as long as Melbourne - LA. We're flying South African Airways, and get into Johannesburg at 7:10am local time.

PrincessInOz
01-31-2012, 02:20 AM
High Tea in Asia is an experience that I remember from my childhood. Instead of the DL Hotel, have you considered a hotel in the city? The InterContinental is meant to have great views as is the Mandarin Oriental. The Peninsula is the most famous but that comes with lots of people and queues.

zanzibar138
01-31-2012, 02:21 PM
Actually I did consider a hotel in the city, but I wouldn't have known where to start! So thanks for the advice :-)

zanzibar138
02-05-2012, 12:17 AM
A bit off topic, but I was in a car accident during the week. 2nd from the front in a 4 car pile up. I'm ok, just got a bit sore from whiplash, but have been given the all-clear from the doctor etc. My car however, is not ok, and we'll probably never see it again :sad1: We have insurance, and the accident wasn't my fault, so we should get paid out, but I really liked my car! And in the meantime it's going to take me 2 hours to get to work on public transport.

I'm starting to feel like I really deserve this holiday!

And back to the PTR...

We arrive at Victoria Falls early afternoon (well, about lunch time, but by the time we get through customs etc and actually get to the hotel...). We're staying at the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge - it looks beautiful!

http://i450.photobucket.com/albums/qq224/zanzibar138/Wedding%20stuff/1.jpg
http://i450.photobucket.com/albums/qq224/zanzibar138/Wedding%20stuff/5.jpg
http://i450.photobucket.com/albums/qq224/zanzibar138/Wedding%20stuff/5a.jpg

The lodge is situated on the border of the Zambezi National Park, and 4km from the falls, with a complimentary shuttle. There is a waterhole onsite for game viewing so we'll be able to get a taste of it before we start the 'safari' part of our trip. All rooms have private balconies overlooking the National Park, and most also have views of the waterhole.

There are so many activities to do around Victoria Falls, with only 2 nights, it's tricky to decide! Some options we can choose from include:
* Hide sits and guided safari walks down by the waterhole
* Game drives (we'll probably give this one a miss since we're also visiting a specific game lodge)
* Sunset river cruises (shortlisted)
* White water rafting (probably a bit too adventurous for me)
* Walking with lions at the lion encounter (shortlisted)
* Scenic flights over the falls (shortlisted)
* Crocodile farm and nature sanctuary
* Elephant back trails (we'll probably give this one a miss since DF did this in Thailand only a few months ago - and I think I'll stick to riding horses lol!)
* Horse riding (now we're talking!)
* Spa treatments
* Steam train trips
* Trips to Zambia
* Canoeing

And of course, viewing the falls lol!

March is apparently at the end of the wet season, so the falls will be absolutely thundering! This means that we may not be able to get very close or do the whole walk along them. And we will get wet. But it will be at its most spectacular so I want to make sure we do a scenic flight to really take it all in.

Next up, onto Chobe!

PrincessInOz
02-05-2012, 12:23 AM
I cannot wait to see your pictures from this part of your holiday. Victoria Falls is on my bucket list.

PrincessInOz
02-05-2012, 12:26 AM
Zanzibar - Friends of mine have just come back from holiday in Vietnam and Cambodia. They had a great time but they came back with a warning about catching taxi's. They said that they were glad that they pre-booked transfers to/from airport to their hotel.
They heard of a number of people that were ripped off by taxi drivers on the tours that they did.

zanzibar138
02-05-2012, 01:52 AM
Thanks for the heads up!

zanzibar138
02-10-2012, 02:55 AM
Next stop is Chobe National Park in Botswana. We're actually doing an 'independent tour' throughout Africa, which means that basically we'll have private transportation and a local guide for things like border crossings etc, but there is no group so we can still do things our own way (for example, we added 2 nights at Chobe). It worked out a little more expensive and a little less flexible than doing it on our own, but neither of us were that keen on taking on Africa without some professional help lol!

We're staying at Muchenje Safari Lodge. It's on the west side of the park, so will be a little more driving from Vic Falls, but it's apparently it's less crowded so hopefully we'll have better viewing on our safaris.

The lodge overlooks the Chobe River and flood plains. The lodge offers river safaris (as in on a boat) as well as 4WD drive ones morning and night. They also offer visits to the local village. Not sure how far away that is, but we're interested in doing it. They are all included in the price so we can do as many as wel want.

Chobe has the Big 5, and is especially famous for its massive herds of elephants. There are also leopards, which I hope to see, and African wild dogs, as well as numerous other animals of course.

http://i450.photobucket.com/albums/qq224/zanzibar138/Wedding%20stuff/MuchenjeLodgeatthefront.jpg
http://i450.photobucket.com/albums/qq224/zanzibar138/Wedding%20stuff/Muchenjebedroom.jpg
http://i450.photobucket.com/albums/qq224/zanzibar138/Wedding%20stuff/RiverboatcruisesontheChobe.jpg

PrincessInOz
02-10-2012, 02:38 PM
It it weren't for the fact this this trip is also your honeymoon, I'd so be crashing your party and tagging along!