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Round the World in about 200 Days

update - 1 month in

THAILAND | Friday, 1 February 2008 | Views [756] | Comments [4]

well i can't believe it has been over a month already since we left amsterdam! i suppose i have a lot to catch up on, namely south east asia!

after lots of hard work planning and saving and 24 hour straight travel dennis and i split at the bangkok airport... :(

he went on to vietnam to travel with his parents and i met up with my friend annie who was already travling in thialand.

turns out annie and i wanted to see many of the same things and though she had much more time to kill than me we figured travling together was more fun and quite a lot safer so we set out on our 1 month whirlwind tour of south east asia!

after a few days in bangkok our first stop was koh chang, an island off the coast of thailand. absolutely beautiful! we spent new years there at the treehouse; a proper bamboo beach hut experience with a great bar on a deck over the andaman sea and the best veggie menu ever! no electricity before 6 in the evening and cold water bucket showers really added to the authenticity of it all, a gem in the midst of giant resort concrete craziness!

next was the border crossing form hell, just one rip off after another on this mission from the island to poipet to cross into cambodia - your lonely planet tells you what can happen but your really don't expect every single thing to happen to you!

after about 20 hours, lots of extra money spent and a roller coaster, bumper car, dust bowl bus ride, we actually made it to siem reap! totally worth it; we went to the angkor wat temples which were amazing!

after that we headed down to phonm penn to visit the very sobering killing fields and s21 torture museum. those 2 are difficult enough to take in but when coupled with the poverty that surrounds you and the land mine injuries everywhere you turn, some of which are fresh from live land mines that still lurk in their countryside, it is a lot to handle. 

it was an experience i wish everyone could have, teaches you a few things about humanity and humility. one of the best things there is that there are so many programs that help the locals, I relaly liekd that...you could go to a bar/restaurant/shop and some percent was going to support an orphanage/hospital/training program.

next stop was vietnam, nha trang to be exact, to meet up with dennis and his parents. a few days chilling on the beach was a much needed respite from our constant movement.

after that they headed back to new zealand and annie and i went to dalat; a really cool mountain town where you can take a countryside tour on the back of an easy rider motorcycle, so fun!!

on the tour we went to the coffee plantations, gerber daisy greenhouses, silk farms, saw an amazing pagoda and giant laughing buddha, had a great traditional vietnamese lunch and best of all heard great stories about all of it from people who actually live there...well worth the $20 and highly recommended.

this was our last real stop in vietnam and my train station experience in saigon was less than desirable; i only wish i could have spent more time exploring, especially the war history.

but we had to fit in laos and i am sooooo glad we did! by far my favorite place, it is absolutely amazing! something liek 85% of the country is forest and 30-40 of that is completely unmanaged, still real wild land. the mountains are so beautiful it doesn't even look real.

we ended up on a local bus from luang prabang to vang vieng and that was the adventure of a lifetime...first they fill up all the seats of the bus, then they have people fill the aisles sitting in these little palstic stools, very comfortable on a hot day! then as you are driving up these winding, climbing mountain roads in a bus that barely runs with a driver who clearly just learned how to operate a stick shift - they just keep stopping and putting people on the roof! insane, by the end of it there were probably about 20 people sitting on the roof, we were (of course) on the back bench seat with the smoking overheating engine directly under our asses, yikes!

vang vieng was superb! and outdoor enthousiasts dream come true! there is hiking and caving and tubing and kayaking and it is a sleepy, though totally touristy, little town in the middle of no where. it is as though the tourisim is still new enough and actually giving back to the local eceonomy, that they are not yet jaded, whcih makes it a very relaxed place, especially when compared to the "hey lady! hey lady! you buy! you buy!" of every other place we visited.

from there it was a mission back to bangkok to catch my plant to new zealand, the only place i ended up missing that i really wanted to go to was pai in the north of thailand but for a month i reckon i did pretty well :)

so now we are at dennis's parents house in auckland, the wedding has come and gone and dennis's best man speech was a huge hit! monday we are off on a road trip thru the north and into the south island for a few weeks. promise i will try to update more frequently now that i've got it started.

Tags: planes trains & automobiles

Comments

1

Sounds like the trip of a lifetime. Say hello to Rachel when you get to CA. I hope we get to see you sometime. Have fun, stay safe. Talk to you soon. Love Helen

  Helen Feb 4, 2008 11:10 PM

2

Your adventures sound amazing! More pics please! Keep us posted! Love you. Be safe. jc

  JenC Feb 5, 2008 1:09 AM

3

what an adventure! hope you and dennis are ok and that the meeting with dennis' mom went fine.
are you using a phone on the trip? (for sms)

groetjes jaap en maartje

  jaap en maartje Feb 6, 2008 7:02 AM

4

A-Dogg!! I finally found some time to read your journal. Sounds like you are having quite an adventure! Give Dennis a big shout out for me. Can't wait to hear more crazy stories. Later, Rontron

  Rontron Feb 18, 2008 5:12 PM

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