To Bulgaria!

We’ve managed to avoid flying for two months and twelve days, but today we’re boarding a plane bound for Bulgaria. Stoytcho broods while we wait in the Vienna Airport, calculating the likelihood of our survival. “Of all the things,” he tells me, “flying into Bulgaria is the one I wanted to avoid the most.” Stoytcho’s concerns are not entirely about the flight. Bulgaria is another country on the trip around the world for me. But for Stoytcho, this is also going home, and he hasn’t been for the better part of a decade.

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On the other side of this flight lies three weeks of Bulgarian food and driving as we make our way to (nearly) every single member of Stoytcho’s extended family. Wish us luck!

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Off to Da Nang!

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We line up to march onto the tarmac at Da Lat Airport.

It’s time to head on to our next city, Da Nang. While a lot of backpackers attempt to bus or train around Vietnam, we’ve found it’s insanely cheap to fly. Our average flight per person flight cost is $100 USD, and this flight from Da Lat to Da Nang cost us $121 per person. Sure, the bus from Da Lat to Da Nang can be found through a travel agent at $11 per person, there are some horror stories out there and you have to go through Nha Trang, which we’ve heard from fellow travelers is one of the seediest, unpleasant places they’ve ever visited. So yeah, we’re not sad that we’re skipping the on-the-ground travel in this case.

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Walking the tarmac! Off to Da Nang, now.

Looking for flights? Your best bet is to check Jetstar, which had a ton of deals while we were there. Air Vietnam also sometimes has deals to compete with Jetstar.

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This advert was just so weird, so it’s here. You’re welcome!

On to Indonesia

All right folks, we’re off to the next country! We’ve picked up our passports from the Russian Embassy, now with shiny new visas. We’ve said goodbye to our friends and packed up our backpacks once again. It’s time to go.

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Saying goodbye to Hugh. We’ll miss you!

We tap onto to the Sydney metro system for the last time, bound for the airport. Since we’re heading into the city when everyone else is heading out, our train is pretty empty.  The airport is likewise quiet, unsurprising when your flight is the 11 pm redeye.

 

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Packs donned and out on the road again.

Our first flight takes us from Sydney to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, where we’re laid over for six hours. In the usual sleep-deprived state, we find restrooms and food, and settle down for the wait.

 

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Good instructions for restroom use.
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McDonald’s in Kuala Lumpur, serving up versions of the local cuisine.

Despite being a budget airline, AirAsia serves us food on both of the flights. On our Kuala Lumpur to Jakarta leg, we get these tasty little pocket-pies filled with curry. They taste great for airline food.

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AirAsia’s snack food–I’d eat this even not on a plane.

We land in Jakarta and deplane to face the first country where we DEFINITELY don’t speak the language. Before leaving, we downloaded Google Translate’s Indonesian dictionary, but we’re not sure how much it’s going to help us. Thankfully, immigration doesn’t have many questions for us and they speak English, and they’re more excited than anything else that we’ve come to Java as part of our year around the world.

After clearing customs and finding the ATM, it’s time to find transportation into the city. We’ve heard that taxis here are affordable, but we still prefer the bus. The station is outside the terminal and to the left, a collection of kiosks surrounding rows of plastic chairs that serve as waiting area. Through Google Maps, our gesturing, and the patience of the ticket-seller, we get tickets and soon we’re bound for Jakarta’s district of Glodok.

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The bus into town. The only seat with enough room for Stoytcho was at the very back, so that’s where we get to sit!