We traveled through South East Asia from 28th December 2008 to 26th June 2009.
This was our first big trip together… 6 months of everything I’ve always dreamed of – and I am sure Taz had a ball too. There is no feeling quite like the first time you set off on a one way ticket to somewhere like Bali. Liberating is an understatement.
The big adventure started 28th December 2008 when we flew from Manchester to Bali. We experienced a bit of culture shock but soon settled in to a relaxed Bali life. We visited 3 islands – Bali (beautiful), Lombok (got ill) and Gili Trawangan (love it or hate it?!)
We flew to Malaysia a month later and stayed in Kuala Lumpur for a while where we enjoyed the city life with starbucks, cinema and shops. We went up to the cool Cameron Highlands, got peppered with mozzies on Penang Island and then chilled out for Valentines on little Pulau Pangkor Island.
We flew to Bangkok on the 21st February. I couldn’t wait. Bangkok amazed me, it was spectacular. After a flying visit to Pattaya to visit Paul (Taz’s dads friend) and his family, we spent 3 weeks climbing on Railay and Tonsai beach in Krabi. Climbers mecca! We went to Burma (or Myanmar as it’s now called) for a new Thai visa and visited a few small destinations on the way back up to Bangkok for our flight to Vietnam on the 4th April. The most memorable being Ranong, where many people pass through but very few stay and explore the hot springs. We loved Ranong.
Visa run: what we saw of Burma was a little unsettling compared to everywhere we’d been so far… it looked poorer and more desperate, but we just saw the port so I presume there’s some beautiful sights.
In Vietnam we have visited Ho Chi Minh City where we drank a lot of Saigon beer and visited some cool sights, Da Lat (it was one of those places where it’s ok to wear socks at night), Nha Trang (expat central but a great night out, so many more Saigon beers consumed!) and Hoi An. Hoi An was beautiful, all lit up at night with lanterns. We had clothes made there for our friends wedding. The best thing to come from Vietnam is undoubtedly Pho Bo (Noodle soup with beef).
We spent a little time in Laos to preserve some pennies for our return to Thailand for a 3 week holiday with Sarah (my friend) and Anneka (Taz’s cousin) in June. We split our time between Savannaket and Pakse. Both quiet. Taz was ill whilst in Laos, I think it was all the veg we ate! Either that or the straight Laos spirits and the jugs of beer that passed our time there. We skipped Vang Vieng, glad we did – teenagers running about pissed, half naked, half drowning ain’t our thing.
BACK TO THAILAND AND MALAYSIA
Sarah and Anneka arrived late May. Our last month commenced 😦 We managed to squeeze in a bit more climbing in Krabi and spent a lot of time on Thai islands. After a great birthday on Samui for Taz we experience a Koh Phangan full moon party. Taz and Sarah got tattoos, I chickened out. We visited Phi Phi and Bamboo island on a speed boat trip. We squished in a quick 4 day shopping trip to KL too (our Thai visas needed renewing half way through the girls holiday), where Sarah experienced appendicitis – resulting in removal! Apparently it’s common in females travelling to hot countries?
We came home at the end of June 2009, I finished my last year at University, Taz went self employed in his electrician trade and we bought a house that needed full renovation. I am now a childminder after deciding hotel management isn’t for me – it also gives me the self-employed flexibility that I need to travel. And the money’s better 😉
I can’t tell you how much good this trip did me. So in 2012 we were off again.