Archive for February, 2010
February 24th, 2010
After successfully reuniting with Mike and Sarah in Bangkok, we headed east by bus. Our destination: Siem Reap and the Temples of Angkor in Cambodia. It was a long day of bus travel, with a slow border crossing in the middle of it, but we arrived in Siem Reap in one piece and early enough to plan our expedition to the temples for the following day. The idea was to leave at 5:00am by tuk-tuk in order to be at the temples for sunrise. We were in for a day of heat, sweat, and ancient ruins. This was a destination that we’d been looking forward to for some time, and we’d finally arrived. We went to sleep with excited minds.
Our wonderful kindred couple friends Mike and Sarah have come all the way to Bangkok to visit us! We are beyond excited to see them. After allowing them some time to recover from their 25 hour journey, we’ll be heading over to Cambodia to visit Ankor Wat. After that we’ll be parking it on a beach on Koh Tao for a couple weeks. Beaches, bridge and Mike and Sarah: our most favourite things in the world. Life is good.
One of my favourite aspects of travel is that it helps me to appreciate where I’m from. Mobile phone rates aside, I am so proud of my home and native land.
Mark and I were feeling especially proud after having watched the Olympic opening ceremonies. Our dear friend Rachel generously gave us a night at her fly guesthouse in Vientiane and our room had a t.v. for us to watch it on. We both got goosebumps and all teary-eyed for home while watching.
We’ll be following the action as much as possible and wishing we were at home to be a part of it.
Our last destination in Laos was the capital, Vientiane, where we were meeting our friend Rachel for a short visit. We took the bus from Vang Vieng (which left on Laos time, meaning about an hour late) and arrived in the city at dusk. Vientiane is a small capital, with a population of just over 200,000 people. Still, it felt pretty big after some of the smaller places we’d been recently.
We hopped in a tuk-tuk from the bus station and went in search of Rachel’s guesthouse. When we found it, she was waiting for us with refreshingly cold Beer Lao at the ready. It was so great to see a friendly face from back home! We only had one day to hang out before Rachel had to carry on to Bangladesh, so we made the most of it.
THE thing to do in Laos, on the backpacker circuit, is tubing in Vang Vieng. It’s not just backpackers making their way here, it has become a Euro/Aussie spring break destination as well. It’s a freakish sort of adult fantasy land with bikinis, booze, adrenaline and breathtaking scenery. As odd as it felt to find this party vibe in the middle of rural Laos, we couldn’t miss out and allowed ourselves to have a fantastic time of it.
The idea is to gently float down the Nam Song river, stopping in at riverside bars along the way to become completely inebriated on buckets of alcohol and beer whilst enjoying and/or injuring yourself on the multitude of slides, swings and ziplines into the water.
One of the things that makes Vang Vieng a destination for so many travelers (besides tubing — more on that later) is the landscape that surrounds it. In nearly every direction, huge limestone karsts, or cliffs, soar upwards in sheer masses. And as it that weren’t enough on its own, the karsts are full of caves and clear, cool springs. We had to get up close, so we rented a motorbike in Vang Vieng and headed west on a bumpy gravel road that stretched towards the karsts through the rural countryside.
“We tend to seek happiness, when happiness is actually a choice.”
~ As read on a menu in Luang Prabang
Luang Prabang is a city tucked in between the Mekong River and the Nam Khan river, surrounded by forested mountains and full of temples. Our first morning there, we woke up feeling fresh and recovered from our two day boat journey, and eased ourselves out into the city. This was our first true destination in Laos, and we were excited.
February 11th, 2010
200 days of traveling have come and gone! Here’s the latest numbers:
– 40095 kilometers traveled, over land and sea (Equal to just over once around the equator!)
‚Ä®- 971 hours spent in transit
‚Ä®- Countries visited: 21
‚Ä®- Distance breakdown: 56% ship, 30% train, 7% bus, 6% car, <1% other ‚Ä®- Time breakdown: 67% ship, 17% train, 7% bus, 5% car, 3% foot, 1% other More than once around the equator! And we broke the equatorial milestone on the 200th day, with a motorbike tour around Vang Vieng. How cool is that. Check out the breadcrumb for the latest routes.
Good movie, if you don’t consider the plot and the dialogue. However, this is about a blog avatar. If you’d like a little photo of yourself to appear when you comment on people’s blogs, like wewander.ca, it’s easy! Go to gravatar and sign-up. The photo is related to whatever email you sign up with. So whenever you type in your email to a site like ours it will automatically appear! FYI.