Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Thao rai!

Isn't it supposed to be cooler, the more north you go? Today has been my temple spotting day in Chiang Mai, but now I'm having a siesta on the computer to escape the heat. Chiang Mai is beautiful. I stay in a cute guest house in the narrow streets of the old city. The old city is an square shaped area surrounded by water and a wall built to protect it from the Burmese. The city is touristic but it has a lovely vibrant vibe and the old town is really cute.

My trip in Thailand started with the fullmoon party. It was definitely an experience! Me and Sandra had really much fun painting ourselves with bodypaint and then we headed to the beach to party. This fullmoon party wasn't the busiest one but there were definitely enough people for me! The beach was crammed with people dancing, downing buckets and playing with burning skipping ropes. We had an really authentic experience since someone broke in to our bungalow while we were partying. But luckily we had heard that that can happen and had everything valuable in a safe. Next day we switched to a beach resort to the other side of the island where we relaxed at the beach and pool for a few days.

Lunch at the beach
Koh Phangan
Next stop was Krabi. Sandra wanted to stay in a hotel and me with my smaller budget in a hostel so our ways departed. In Krabi itself there was nothing to see, but I met a few French people with whom we went to Railey beach. We had a awesome day climbing down to a peaceful lagoon and then chilling on the beaches of Railey and Aonang. In Krabi I also tried rock climbing. That was awesome! Hard work also though, after the first climb already my hands were all shaky. For me Southern Thailand was a weird experience, since I heard Finnish several times and in Aonang they even had some shop names in Finnish.

Rock climbing in Railey - yes it's me!

I needed to renew my visa and heard that you could do that in Maesot. I was sceptical how it works but it was really easy. Maesot was a small town with lots of foreigners going there to do voluntary work in Burmese refugee camps. To get a new stamp I just had to pay a bit to get a day visa for Myanmar and then after wondering around in the country, walk over the bridge back to Thailand.

Maesot temple and Vicky taking a pic

Now it's almost the end of my trip. A week to go anymore. Right now I'm really happy to go back home. It's actually really tiring to haggle about everything and to be careful in every situation not to be cheated. My list of places to visit has certainly not become smaller while travelling but now I'm excited of the thought of going to study next fall. And I'm really excited of getting an own apartment and living a steady life for a while.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Visit to Cambodia

Here a few pictures of Cambodia. Our visit was quite short but full of interesting stuff to see. Cambodia is definitely a place I'd like to go back to. I had heard that Angkor vat is amazing but didn't think I'd be so excited about old temples. The day at the ruins was great in the end. All the buildings had their own special feeling and I got really excited taking pictures of the arcitechture. And the challenge of the day was trying to get as much as possible with the money we already paid our tuktuk driver, since he's interpretation of 'I'll take you around where ever you want for the whole day for 12dollars' was a bit different then ours.
Pnohm Pehn

The most peaceful market I've been to

Sunrise at Angkor vat


                                                                           Ta Prohm

Night bus first class
From Siem Reap to Koh Phangan we had quite a journey! In total we spent 30 hours sitting on a bus to Bangkok, then one to Chumphon, then a ferry and a tuktuk taxi to our hotel. In Chumphon the bus dropped us 7km from the city centre at 4 a.m. and continued towards the centre... There was a really helpful gentleman offering a terribly overpriced taxiride waiting for us on the stop. Great how they take care of us travellers here! Well we said politely no and started walking towards the direction we thought was right and luckily some genuinely helpful picked us up and took to the train station for free. There we where able to book the ferry to the island then. And luckily we met irish Alan who came all the way from Siem Reap to Koh Phangan also. The journey would have been quite an experience alone.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Southern Vietnam

I'm sitting on the computer in Phnom Pehn, Cambodia now. Our bus here was a pleasant surprise. We were a bit suspicious after having one bad experience in Vietnam. Please guys, don't travel with Camel travels since half of their route is operated by T.M. Brothers which is the worst bus company in Vietnam... The drivers and staff were really rude and the bus really dirty with the beds falling apart and toilet full of pee. After yelling at the office for half an hour because the bus really wasn't what we were supposed to get, they just tried to blame us from smoking in the toilet which we didn't do. Great!

After Hanoi, our first stop going South was Hue. We had such a awesome day there riding with motorbikes in a bigger group. The perfect day had a perfect ending watching the sunset at the beach.

In Hoi An we strolled around the streets of the old town and I designed my own dress and had it made. I was so excited making drafts of the dress, that was my paradise ;) If I would have had more money, I would have had shoes made too.

Nha Trang was a small beach town full of Russian tourists. There we relaxed on the beach and did a jeep tour to the Fairy spring and sand dunes.

 What I'll remember of Vietnam is learning lots of interesting facts about the war, the crazy traffic, ice coffee and pho (noodle soup, which I finally got to try and many times) and haggling hard for things. I think my route is going the right way since Vietnam seemed much easier to travel after China so I liked it but now being in Cambodia and seeing how much nicer people are here, I like this even more.


20e superior hotelroom in Hoi an

Old town Hoi an

Sand dunes and my new 9e shoes :)

Ice coffee & soup breakfast

Ho Chi Minh - Why need a stationary wagon when you can fit your family on a motorbike?