Travels

I have travelled a little over the years, my favourite countries being Thailand and Vietnam. When I have the energy I’ll update this as it’s over 6 years old now.

Thailand March 29, 2007

Three of us didn't know what to expect when we arrived in Thailand. Sam had a few friends there: Prapum a respected monk, Mr. Chachai a meditation teacher, and Chris who showed us some of the many sights. These people looked after us very well, and we look forward to seeing them again. Read more...

Bangkok
Wat Pho Big Buddha
Bangkok was used as a central base to explore the rest of this amazing country.We spent at least 2 weeks in Bangkok...
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Chiang Rai
There is livestock including chickens, ducks, cows and pigs that roam freely around the houses.
Further north is the Chiang Rai province, this is as far north you can go before crossing into Burma. Prapum takes up to have a look up there.
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Koh Samui
Koh Nangyuan postcard shot. We walked to the lookout point and took this standard shot. Very common photo
Sam and I go to the Koh Phangan Full Moon Party and get fried snorkelling the neighbouring Islands of Koh Toa and Koh Nangyuan.
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Lopburi
Playful monkey
We take a train up to Lopburi from Ayutthaya to visit a troop of monkeys that call a temple their home.
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Pattaya
Outside the Tiffanys show
We felt a little out of place in Pattaya. For one, we are not fifty years old. Secondly, we don't have heaps of cash...
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Hua Hin
Monkeys everywhere on Monkey Mountain.
A weekend away from Bangkok was a nice change, especially at a nice beach called Hua Hin. We visit the King's beach Palace and climb the Khao Chong Krachok
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Kanchanaburi
Closeup of a tiger watching the next lot of tourists ariving
After quite a spell in Bangkok we finally got organised again and took a tour out to the Kanchanaburi province, west of Bangkok
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Chiang Mai
We stayed at a temple named Wat Nong Boa, outside of Chiangmai. We were lucky to ordane some novices.
We stayed at a Temple on the outskirts of Chiang Mai. Taking part in the Buddist new year celebrations called "Songkran" was a highlight
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Phuket
Wat Chalong is Phuket's biggest Buddhist temple. People would set off fire-crackers all the time.
Karon Beach at Phuket Phuket is on the western side of Thailand. We had to cut this trip short as Full Moon on Koh Phangan beconed.
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Ayutthaya
This white temple also features courtyards of Buddha statues
The former capital of Thailand has so many temples. A day tour lets us see the main temples, but instead of coming back, we stay in Ayutthaya.
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Cambodia May 26, 2007

Cambodia and Ankor Wat is definetely one of those of things you can't miss if you come to South East Asia. We arrive through the land border and travel to Siam Reap, travel further south to the capital to investigate the Khmer Rouge, and soak it up in Shinoukville on the south coast. Read more...

Siem Reap
With the crowds of Koreans,Japanese, and English everyone missed the sunrise on this cloudy morning
The trip to Siem Reap was memorable only in terms of the number of times my head hit the car ceiling.
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Chau Doc
Most of the roads are pretty bad in Cambodia. Can be quite a spine shattering experience
With a majority vote on how we were going to Vietnam, we decided to take a taxi the border crossing closest to Tinh Bien.
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Phnom Phen
A wall of the killed prisoners. There were many rooms like these - so many dead
With all its history, Phnom Phen was a very sad place.
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Sihanoukville
A couple share the beach
Not too much too see here apart from the lovely beaches. We did some snorkelling but was not as a good as Thailand.
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Vietnam June 12, 2007

A beautiful country messed up by war. Sam and I take a 6 week trip through hectic cities, beaches and vast wilderness as we travel north along the coast, though stopping in Dalat for not-to-be-missed Easy Rider tour. Read more...

Can Tho
Many boats converge to trade.
The tour around the Delta was an all day event. We boarded our private Vietnamese boat and we headed for the morning market.
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Mui Ne
These guys showed us the best spots
I quite liked Mui Ne. We took motto taxi from Phan Thiet to Mui Ne while it was raining. The 15 kilometre trip resulted in all our gear being drenched.
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Hoi An
Sam and I stop at shop and watch this woman make the standard Vietnamese hat
We arrived here after our Central Highlands trip from Dalat and were immediately struck by the number of western faces we saw after spending 6 days off the beaten track.
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Dong Ha
Mr Tinh owns the DMZ cafe. He was an interpreter for the 101st American Airborne Division
We arrived in Dong Ha at night and found the DMZ Cafe, a cafe known in the Lonely Planet for an excellent tour that covers the Demilitarised Zone just north of Dong Ha.
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Sapa
The reward for 20 minutes of walking up a steep path
The Sapa Valley in the mountains of northern Vietnam is a great place for trekking. The landscapes and views are majestic, but it is also an opportunity to meet some of the interesting hill tribes.
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Ho Chi Min City
Sam took some very nice pictures from our the top floor of our hotel
We thought the capital was going to be a rough place. But we didn't have any trouble with being mugged or robbed.
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Dalat
house blends in the with surrounding garden, very Hobbit like
The first thing that struck me was the temperature. I had to put on my jacket, it was only 16°.
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Da Nang
Already 35 degrees, the slog to the top was worth it
We stayed at a nice place near China Beach. The communal eating arrangement made for story swapping with people who have come from the north.
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Hanoi
Water Puppet Muscians
My memory of Hanoi is the number of rip offs and dodgy deals. A fellow traveler we met coined the term 'Annoy' to rename Hanoi.
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Leaving Vietnam
We nearly trod on this thing when we crossed into Laos
Our mission now was to get to Dien Ben Phu, and there was only two ways from Sapa. By jeep at $200US, or take a local sardine bus at $10US each. We chose the latter.
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Vang Tau
Warm evening, and there are loads of kids about
There wasn't much to see here. Vung Tau is a weekend getaway for city people. When we arrived it was very quiet.
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The Easy Riders
Peter (left) and Sang (right) took us through the Central Highlands
This was easily the highlight of the entire tour. Highly recommended to anyone going to Vietnam. The camera came out often and between us we took nearly a thousand photos.
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Hue
Very colourful insence sticks, we watch them being made in one of the many Hue shops
The former imperial city of Hue is the most important historical and cultural monument in Vietnam . It is also a place of great beauty, despite having been badly damaged during the 1968 Tet Offensive.
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Halong Bay
More than 20 boats share the same unique experience
This really in a beautiful part of the world. We sailed through hundreds of limestone karsts.
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Laos July 31, 2007

Laos' countryside is similar to Vietnam, however the friendly people was a nice contrast to North Vietnam's greedy tour operators. We got ourselves isolated in the north of Laos before rejoining the tourist trail and venture nearly all the way down to Laos' border with Cambodia. Read more...

Udom Xai
Muang La lies over the river. We cross using the one of the two ferries
We walked over the border into complete nothingness. There was no towns for miles.
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Vang Vieng
Another postcard shot, taken from the nearby bridge.
In Vang Vieng the bus station is on an old air strip referred to by the USA during the Vietnam Wat as Lima Site 27. As the war in Laos was secret, they never used the real names of the places.
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Champasak
The two Barays either side are man-made reservoirs and were used by worshippers to wash themselves before entering the temple.
Champasak is on the Thai side of the Mekong River not far from the border. The town itself runs along one main road with buildings on either side.
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Pak Beng
Looking up the road toward the hill
Pak Beng only exsists because of tourists.It lies on the Mekong River and serves as a mid stop over point for people traveling south to Luang Prabang.
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Vientiane
We visited the Stuppa in the late afternoon, too late to go in
We arrived here with the notion of staying just a few days, but unfortunately that became nearly a week. Sam and I met a Laotian, a man named was Kern, and his idea to have a good time was to drink every night.
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Si Phan Don
Papa or 'Papa Maw' was chopped most of the time. He spoke little English but had a warm heart
We arrived at the Si Phan Don area by mid morning by bus. The ride down was comfortable, but now we needed to get onto one of the Islands.
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Luang Prabang
Water flows down 200 feet through a series of pools and cascades
Luang Prabang reminded me a lot of Hoi An in Vietnam, but seemed to be in much better shape. Maybe it’s further along in the restoration/preservation process.
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Pakse
The overcast weather and mist made it difficult to see the waterfall
It's hardly the most picturesque place I've visited so far, but we still had pretty good time here.
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London September 27, 2007

Sam and I go our seperate ways. I stay in London for a short 3 days and visit some of the main sights the city had to offer. Read more...

London Tower
Medieval armour
A fairly restful sleep was interrupted in the early hours by a small buzz saw. An overweight man kept the dorm awake.
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Westminister Abbey
The entrance
The last day for sightseeing started with an eastern stroll alongside the Thames. I was thinking of going up on the London Eye to get better idea of the scale of the city
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Canada October 1, 2007

After a short and dreary time in London, I was off to see the relatives in Canada. Canada's landscape is similar to NZ, but far more impressive. A very enjoyable month in Vancouver. Read more...

Vancouver
This sculpture is similar to a mermaid sculpture in Copenhagen
The flight from London was bearable. The aircraft cabin never got dark as it followed the sun sinking in the east. 12 or so hours later it touched down at YVR and I joined the long queues at customs.
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Victoria
After the museum and the EyeMax, I walked around the water-front.
Visiting Victoria was a great day out. The day began early with an pick from the Sea Island Way bus stop, near the airport.
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Whistler
Zipline: prepare for launch
This was the last weekend with Mike and so it was off to Whistler. Being late October there was no snow, but that was okay as I hadn’t planned to ski
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