Tag Archives: Laos

One year of Travelling… Our trip in numbers!

ONE YEAR AGO ago we set off from Australia attempting to get back to the UK without flying and so far we have made it to China! So how exactly have we done it? Well heres a short post on our trip so far in numbers….

Countries Visited:  10 (Australia, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and currently in China)

Distance traveled without a plane: 47,000 km or 29,200 miles (6,500km longer than one full loop around the earth)

Beds slept in: 177

Transportation – we have used:

111 buses, 41 boats, 21 cars (taxi, private or rental), 32 trains, 13 subway systems, 6 mopeds and a variety of tuk-tuk type vehicles.

Our most expensive accommodation (per person): £28.54 ($55 AUD) – Boss Legend Hotel, Hanoi, Vietnam (Christmas Treat)

Our cheapest accommodation (per person): £1.27 ($2.33 AUD) – Aman batik house, tuktuk, Sumatra

Our Most expensive meal (Per Person): £13.98 ($27 AUD) – Moose and Roo Pub for Christmas Dinner, Hanoi, Vietnam

Our Cheapest Meal (Per Person): £0.24 ($0.44 AUD) – 1 Naan Bread, 1 Bowl of Curry, 1 Fried Bread Pastry and a cup of coffee. – White Cafe in Hpa an, Myanmar

Books Read: 30

Bed Bug Experiences: 3

Pairs of sunglasses Broken: 13

Pairs of Flip-Flops worn out: 9

Celebrity Spottings: 1 (Hugh Dennis in Laos)

Free Things we have been given: 4 x Free bus rides, 2 x Ice Tea, 1 x Longhi (traditional Myanmar skirt), 1 x Free lonely Planet guide book, 6 x pieces of fruit, 2 x Bars of Chocolate, Free clothes wash, 2 x Bowls of traditional Thai Fish soup, 5 Malaysian Ringet, 1 x key ring, lots of flowers (mainly little Myanmar girls giving them to Ella), 2 x Cups of coffee, 1 x toilet fee (The last two were from a monk), 1 x free night of accommodation, 4 x bottles of water, 5 x noodle soups, 1 x free breakfast, free rice and chilli sauce, 2 x free coconuts, 2 x silk scarves, 1 x free tuk-tuk journey, 1 x free snake (edible), 2 x Banh Mi Sandwiches, lots of free potatoes and bananas, 1 x free tote bag, 1 x free ferry ride, 1 x free tourist boat trip, 2 x free ice coffees,  beer (we have actually lost count of how much), 1 free stick of BBQ goat’s udder, 4 x free dinner, 1 x taxi ride, 4 x bananas, 1 x chocolate dessert, rice wine…, 1 x free use of a motorbike, 2 x Jagermeister shots, 1 x free xe om journey, 2 x free bike hire, 2 x bowl of noodles, 1 x blueberry juice, and even more rice wine…..

We will keep writing stuff like this down and update it again in another 3 months…

R&E

One Year Ago…

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Today…

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Waterfalls and Insect soup… The Bolaven Plateau

“Have you eaten?” Asked the friendly bar owner, where we were sipping super cold beers and mojitos… Before we had a chance to answer he produced some of their own meal for us to try; bamboo shoot curry…spicy and full of insects! (yes you read that right…insects). Some of them were the size of your thumb and tasted like chewy pate. Well after that how could we say no to joining our host at a goodbye party for a French guy we’d never met and drinking their homemade lao lao (rice whiskey)? Don’t worry we didn’t… DSCN6492 Continue reading

A long dark cave…Kong Lo

With a driver perched on the front and one at the back, the tiny wooden boat zipped through the darkness, the only light coming from our inadequate and dim headlamps. Through the semi darkness you could just make out the scale of the cave. One minute there was barely enough room for the boat to pass through… the next you where in cathedral-like caverns over 100m high, with water spilling through the limestone roof and pattering on the river (and us) below.

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Vientiane…Bad journeys and fake legs….

Don’t get us wrong, we actually quite like bus journeys. Having taken over 70 bus trips in the last 7 months one learns how to enjoy the simple pleasures that can be found from a bus seat. Idly staring out a window watching the world trundle past and enjoying the downtime to catch up on some podcasts or a good book usually helps the time pass quickly and rather pleasantly, however this wasn’t the case for the bus trip between Luang Prabang and Vientiane… This was probably the worst bus journey so far…

Offerings at a shrine in Vientiane

Offerings at a shrine in Vientiane

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Celeb spotting in Luang Prabang

The UNESCO world heritage site of Luang Prabang is the top of most tourist itineraries in Laos and with good reason. Shuttered colonial buildings cluster on the banks of the Mekong and without too much imagination you could see the French officials of a hundred years ago sweating in the southeast asian humidity, under spinning ceiling fans sipping coffee. In fact most of the french tourists here are doing exactly the same! The old town is full of falangs (foreigners) but luckily it has been able to keep its beauty and charm…

Market food

Market food

‘How much?’

‘60,000, lucky day lucky day 35,000kip for you.’

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A hammock on the river Nam Oo

We stopped at a small village along the road, laid out on both side were piles of identical melons in different shades of orange to green. The only other product on offer were live grubs, still in there hives, which presumably you eat while wriggling in your mouth? your guess is as good as ours. Declining the protein hit we jumped back on the bus and rode our way along dirt roads, passing recently overturned trucks and small hill-tribe villages, towards the small town of Nong Khiaw… This really was rural Laos…

Tasty Tasty Grubs… (They were still moving)

Tasty Tasty Grubs… (They were still moving)

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Opium and Chickens… Northeastern Laos

‘Sabaidee, sabaidee.’

A small wrinkled lady approached us as we ate our rice, smiling. She was an Akha lady, one of the largest ethnic hill tribe groups in northeast Laos, and you could tell by her clothes. She wore the traditional headdress, complete with sliver coins and buttons hanging from her head. ‘2,000 only 2,000’ she said pulling out dozens of handmade cloth bracelets. Politely declining she next produced an array of highly detailed embroidered bags and even when we said no to these this wizened old lady wasn’t giving up on a sale…. “Smoke Smoke” she whispered in our ears, candidly producing a bag of green herbs  – The old lady was trying to sell us drugs! Judging by the look on our face I think she gathered that it wasn’t our thing, but just before she left..”Opium?”.. All we could do was laugh.

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Flying like a monkey…The Gibbon Experience

I clipped my safety harness onto the steel cable, then the ‘runner’, with the recycled old bicycle wheel attached as a brake, and then slipped my hands into the only thing between me and friction burns, some thin woolen gloves. Then I waited for the sharped bangs on the cable to say all was clear at the other end and it was time for me to go. I stepped off the platform, leaned back and suddenly I was flying!

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Almost across the Mekong…Getting to Laos from Thailand!

It is always a strange sensation to know, when you wake up in the morning, that by the time you fall asleep you will be in another country. Breakfast in Thailand, lunch in Loas. So after quickly eating our meal of rice and spicey sausage we grabbed our backpacks and climbed aboard the local bus to Chang Khong, the Thai town on the border.

The friendship Bridge

The friendship Bridge

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6 Months in… Our Trip in Numbers

Six months ago we set off from Australia attempting to get back to the UK without flying and so far we have made it to Laos in SE Asia. So how exactly have we done it? Well heres a short post on our trip so far in numbers….

Countries Visited:  7 (Australia, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar and currently in Laos)

Distance traveled without a plane: 27,650km or 17,200 miles

Beds slept in: 90

Transportation – we have used:

61 buses, 33 boats, 10 cars (taxi, private or rental), 11 trains, 4 subway systems, mopeds and a variety of tuk-tuk type vehicles.

Our most expensive accommodation (per person): £13.50 ($25 AUD) – Tropicana hotel, Perhenthian islands, Malaysia

Our cheapest accommodation (per person): £1.27 ($2.33 AUD) – Aman batik house, tuktuk, Sumatra

Our Most expensive meal (Per Person): £8.15 ($15 AUD) – Irish Bar in Penang, Malaysia

Our Cheapest Meal (Per Person): £0.24 ($0.44 AUD) – 1 Naan Bread, 1 Bowl of Curry, 1 Fried Bread Pastry and a cup of coffee. – White Cafe in Hpa an, Myanmar

Books Read: 21 Together

Bed Bug Experiences: 3

Pairs of sunglasses Broken: 9

Free Things we have been given: 2 x Free bus rides, 2 x Ice Tea, 1 x Longhi (traditional Myanmar skirt), 1 x Free lonely Planet guide book, 6 x pieces of fruit, 2 x Bars of Chocolate, Free clothes wash, 2 x Bowls of traditional Thai Fish soup, 5 Malaysian Ringet, 1 x key ring, lots of flowers (mainly little Myanmar girls giving them to Ella), 2 x Cups of coffee and 1 x toilet fee (The last two were from a monk)

We will keep writing stuff like this down and hopefully update it again after another 3 months. 🙂

R&E