South East Asia 2013

6 countries, 15 cities and 33 days later Emma and I had conquered South East Asia. It all began when I posted on facebook that I wish more people would travel, when Emma popped up and said she would love to! Joys. We began planning and on 7th January we set off for our whirlwind tour.

First stop Singapore! We only had 17 hours in the city so we did what tourists do: Merlon Lion, Orchard Rd and dinner on the river. At the merlo lion we had an asian couple ask to take photos with us because we were blonde hehe.
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Next day we were off to Kuala Lumpar! After arriving in KL and finding our hotel we met up with my friend Joe from uni and we went and got a feed in chinatown. Afterwards Joe showed us his dodgey 18RM hostel room which had rats running through it..lovely. The next day we went to the Bantu Caves and walked up the 272 stairs into the caves. There were monkeys everywhere! We also went to KL Tower (421m high) and then to Berjaya Times Square. For our last night in KL we met up with Joe and went to Bukit Bintang which was a great street for night life, ladies night meant free drinks for us!

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Day Four and we were onto our third country, THAILAND. Bangkok was the first stop and unsurprisingly we got lost getting into to town because we tried to take the locals way haha. Finally found our hotel which was right next to Kaho San Road. Was too keen for food and got some pad thai asap, then we got some $4 massages, oooh the life. Started doing some shopping, could tell my suitcase was going to be full by the end of the trip! Next morning we got up and went for breakfast and were greeted by a very drunk african guy at 7am, was too funny. Then we were off to the floating markets which were unreal, boat crashes everywhere hehe. After that we came back and went to the salon, got nutella crepes then went downstairs to meet our Intrepid Travel our group! Turns out we would be travelling across Cambodia with 4 irish Couples (58-70 years old) and 1 Aussie couple (60’s)….interesting. We all went for dinner together and my love for thai food became stronger.
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timeee to go toooo….CAMBODIA. I was not too sure what to expect of Cambodia but I absolutely loved it. We first stopped in Siam Reap where we spent the next few days discovering the Angkor Wat complex…wow. It was the most surreal feeling walking through these large old temples which were crafted so beautifully! I just cannot believe how old it all is. We got up very early on the second day to see a breathtaking sunrise over Angor Wat. We also visited the Tomb Raider temple and so of course I turned into Angelina Jolie. We went to a land mine museum and stopped along the road to try grasshoppers/crickets/bettles/spiders!!! The bettle was the worst!
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Then we were off to Phnom Phen but on our way we stopped to eat sticky rice cooked in bamboo shoots and at a silkworm farm where we learnt about making silk and got a cambodian buffet cooked for us! After arriving in Phnom Phen we went on a tour around the city on cyclos which is where you just sit in a carriage and someone peddles you! The oldies on the trip are hilarious, definantly adopting them as my grandparents haha!
In Phnom Phen we visitied Tuslong Prison and the killing feilds. These were two places were in operation during Pol Pots regime. I cannot believe I had not heard more about this, the things that happened to Cambodia during this time (only 40 years ago) were absolutely horrendous. It was a very deep day.
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HELLO VIETNAM! We headed off from phnom phen by boat and crossed into Vietnam midmorning via the dodgiest border crossing I’ve seen. After a while we arrived in Chau Doc which is a quaint little river town in the south. We went on a cyclo tour before having our first traditional vietnamese meal!
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Then we were off to SAIGOIN/HO CHI MIN CITY. On arrival we went for a stroll around town and then had dinner with our tour guide MR.U as this was our farewell dinner because our tour was coming to an end! We then all went to the Rex hotels rooftop bar for cocktails, it was gorgeous being able to overlook the city at night. While in HCMC we went to the Ben Thanh Markets, Notre Dam, Post Office (not just a normal post office!) and the war museum. That night we had dinner on the 14th floor of a hotel with our old intrepid crew. The last day in HCMC we went to the Cuchi tunnels which were used during the Vietnam war. They showed us all the weapons/tricks/techniques they used and we got to crawl through the tunnels (which were tiny)! Was an awesome experience. That night we also found…CADBURY! We have been craving home chocolate for a while so it was a good find 🙂 Loved HCMC, it was so clean and pretty, even with 5million (not an exaggeration) mopeds zooming around!
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Now it was time to face the overnight train to Hoi An…17 hours long. BUT it was not too bad at all, I slept heaps and then in the other times we ate/talked/read etc. Was pretty dirty but hey it was cheap.

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We arrived at our hotel in Hoi An and WOW! It was amazing and so cheap! Hoi An was a lovely town, at night little fairy lights lit up through all the trees, in the day everyone road bikes, awesome. We spent quite a bit of time in the old  town where all the tailors were, emma got a lot of stuff made for work which turned out beautifully! I got a gold ring made, which I still havent taken off! We also rode bikes with Ruth and Frank (our aussie ‘grandparents’) to the beach and had a little swim. On the last day we went out to Cham Island. Our first boat broke down and we were stranded! But luckily one came to pick us up. Cham Island was very secluded and we just got to eat, snorkel and lay in hammocks. I came back way too sunburnt :\ On the last morning we relaised we had way to much stuff and had to ship some things home, so the post office lady had to take us (all 3 of us) on her moped, in the rain while she was on the phone! Now that folks is a true asian experience.
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We travelled again via overnight train to Hanoi, same experience as the first time. We arrived in Hanoi at 5am and got rippe off by a taxi. We couldnt check in so we walked around Hanoi and found Ho Chi Mins Mausoleum which is where he dead body is kept! We also walked and saw a few shrines. It was freeezing in Hanoi and so foggy! I had my first western meal because it was Australia day! I also watched the tennis! Our intrepid family had been to all the same places we had after we broke up the tour in HCMC so we saw them one last time in Hanoi before they all go back to ireland/aus!  Didn’t really like hanoi, so was glad we were only there a day.
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HALONG BAY! Woooooahhhh wooooahhh woooaahhh, our experience on Halong Bay was INCREDIBLE. We arrived on our junk boat and met all the other guests, then we got fed a set menu, 6 course lunch! We then went to Titop Island and walked up the stairs to overlook Halong Bay, after this we went inside Luon cave. Back on the boat we watched a fruit cutting demonstration and then had a buffet dinner, after dinner we tried squid fishing! It was 2for1 cocktails, so I was in a super mood. The next morning we did Tai Chi on the roof and then had a buffet breakfast. After this we went to the surprising caves which the vietcong used to hide from the americans during the war. We met some lovely people and had such a good time, Halong Bay is a must see!
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and then we went to LAOS. We caught a tiny 80 person plane to Luang Prabang and as soon as I arrived I knew I would just love the place. I can’t say exactly why it was so fantastic, it just was.
The first day we did a tour to an elephant camp and then we caught a long tail boat to the Pak Ou Buddah Caves. I tried LaoLao which is a super potent rice whiskey at 9am then we were off the the Kuang Sii waterfalls which were a sight to behold! No pictures or words can do them justice. We also stopped a Hmong village in the afternoon. That night we went to ‘Utopia’ a bar on the Mekong River which was just unreal. I met up with my friend Kate from Canada there and then we made some swedish friends who we went ten pin bowling with after the bar closed (it was just the thing to do)
The day after we did a 6 hour bike ride around the country side which I loved (emma not so much) it was amazing to see all of the countryside and stop at little villages along the way to see how people lived!
On the last day we walked around town and visited some of the Wat Temples and then we sadly had to leave to go to Chiang Mai 😦
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We arrived at our hotel in Chiang Mai and wow was it fancccccyyy! I judge fanciness based on the room keys and here we were supplied with 2 swipe keys (classy). We went to the markets at night time which were so cheap we did so much shopping! We also booked some tours for the next few days.
The next day we went to the white temple (so beautiful) and then the GOLDEN TRIANGLE which is where Laos, Thailand and Burma meet, we got to cross the border back into laos for a short while 🙂 After that we went to the village of the ‘long neck people’ which are the ladies with the rings around there necks. We got to try the rings on nd wowwwww they are heavy!! We found out they wear them for beauty but also to save them from wild animals. We went shopping again later that night ^_^.
The next day we dedicated to sight seeing. We came across the annual flower festival which was lovely. Then we went and saw ALOT of wats, I now have seen enough to last a lifetime but as always I love walking around the city. We got body scrubs and then after a relaxing afternoon we went to the boxing! We apparently got ripped off for our tickets as they were fakes but we still got let in and it was pretty cooool. We saw someone get their arm broken!! We also saw a mock fight with a midget and two other guys blindfolded haha.
The last morning in Chiang Mai we went zipling! That was awesome fun. We did heaps of different ziplining obstacle courses in the treetop. Then it was time for us to go to Phuket!
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Our last stop was Phuket and to be honest I was not excited about it having already been there. We arrived at 1:30am and so slept in the next day. We paid for a very fancy hotel right on Patong Beach. The first night I completely wrote myself off on 50c tequila shots and dont really remember much ahahaha whooopsie. The next day I pretty much just died in bed.Day after we went and did some shopping in Phuket town which was good. We then went to the Gibbon centre and after that we went up to the Big Buddha. We finally got to have a drink at the pool bar that afternoon 🙂 for dinner we went to the mexican place I had been wanting to try since last time and it didnt dissapoint, later that night we did moreee shopping!
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Ooops we did have one more stop, PhiPhi Island! The boat over was so hot so we were so happy to get there an step into the ocean! We just had a chilled night eating dinner, drinking cocktails and looking around. The next day we caught a long tail boat to Maya Bay on the way there we stopped and went snorkling at some other places! Maya Bay was pacccked with tourists but still very pretty. We made friends with an Aussie girl and she let us shower at hers before we had to go back to get the plane.
We got back to patong early so did some last minute shopping and then it was off to the airport we went!
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AND THAT WAS OUR ASIA TRIP!
awesome places, unforgettable experiences,  great people, too much food and too much shopping 😉

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