It was late at night on a quiet Hanoi street (yes, such a thing does exist) and I was learning how to ride a motorbike. As I practised turning in the road Mr Nguyen, who’s renting me my slightly battered 125cc Yamaha for just £25 a month, advised me: “Make sure you use the horn so they know you are a bad driver!” The next comment was just as surprising:
Our initial 15 month trip ended with three weeks in Taiwan; a tiny island in the east of Asia not to be confused with Thailand and certainly not part of China! We really liked the cleanliness, orderliness of the Taiwanese, especially in the capital city Taipei where we stayed with a fantastic Couchsurfing host Jackie. Take a look at our Taiwan video for the highlights of our trip.
In February and March 2014 we flew out of our beloved Thailand to the unknown land of Burma. Although Burma was one country where we needed a lot of preparation, with Amy as planner extraordinaire, it was a cinch! We flew into Yangon from Bangkok and we organised our Burma visas and US$ during the two weeks before we entered. We spent our time visiting the main tourist sights of Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan, Kalaw and Lake Inle. We booked most of our accommodation in advance and we arranged all of our domestic transport through our hotels and left the country by flying back to Bangkok from Yangon. Here’s how much it cost to visit Burma for 20 days.
How do you plan your trip to Burma? It isn’t as easy as heading to other nearby countries like Laos, Cambodia or Thailand. You can’t just cross overland into the country, you can’t just pick up a visa on arrival at the airport, you need all your money in crisp, unmarked US$ and you have to book your accommodation in advance, or so we thought. Burma travel planning is full-on! Read on to find out more.
Cambodia doesn’t have a wealth of options when it comes to tourist transport; there are no trains (other than the touristic bamboo train in Battambang) and flights are out of the question for budget travel. To get from city to city we had no choice but to use a mixture of buses. So read on to find out more about bus travel around Cambodia; expect breakdowns, bribes and bundles of air con! Here are our travel tips for Cambodia.
Although we’d heard mixed reviews of Cambodia we were still keen to see what the country held for us. We certainly weren’t disappointed though. Other than meeting some of the friendliest and most genuine people we managed to explore the ancient temples of Angkor and learn about the more recent gruesome history at the killing fields and Tuol Sleng Prison in Phnom Penh. We checked out the circus and took the bamboo train in Battambang and spotted the endangered Irrawaddy Dolphin before heading up the Mekong to Laos’s Four Thousand Islands. Here are our Cambodia Video highlights:
Our eleventh month on the road was spent in a country that charmed, awed and saddened us: Cambodia. From temple hopping and dolphin spotting to visiting the notorious Killing Fields, our time in the country was full of activities and we fell in love with the people who treated us like true Cambodian brothers and sisters. Despite the tragic recent history and poverty in Cambodia we were surprised at how expensive it was to get from one place to another and to see Angkor Wat; here are our Cambodia travel costs for four weeks.
What will it be like to return to the place our adventure began, all those months ago? I vividly remember sitting in the departure lounge at Heathrow in March last year after saying our goodbyes, unable to comprehend that our new life of travel was about to begin. Back then we had no idea what was in store for us, we couldn’t have imagined that we’d end up volunteering in a disaster zone; that we’d sleep out in the jungles of Borneo, get homesick in Indonesia, learn to ride a scooter or end up spending nearly a third of our trip in Thailand. So on Thursday when we say goodbye to this adventure and board a plane back to England, I will do so hoping the next phase of our lives will be as unpredictable, intense and incredible as these past fifteen months have been.
We ended our travels in 2013 with a one-month trip to Vietnam. Our journey started in the north of the country, where we discovered our favourite Asian city, Hanoi. During our week-long stay there we spent day after day in museums, palaces and temples and took an overnight boat trip in the beautiful-yet-crowded Halong Bay. We then headed south on the train to Hué to see ancient tombs and the old Citadel, continuing on from there to Hoi An, a UNESCO World Heritage City which wasn't quite as nice as Laos’ Luang Prabang.