Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Luang Prebang

Posted on April 1st 2012 in Travel with Comments Off on Luang Prebang

Luang Prabang is famous in Laos for its beautiful architecture and picturesque location. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see any of this, as I arrived – tired and frustrated – at three in the morning. No guesthouses were open at this point (can’t blame them), so the two English travelers I met on the ride over and I trudged down the street in a vein attempt to find or own manger to stay in. We failed. We resigned ourselves to spending  the rest of the mroning on the streets. Luckily,  Luang Preabng has a curious early-morning tradition that was to…

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Day 19 and 20 – Vang Vieng

Posted on March 29th 2012 in Travel with Comments Off on Day 19 and 20 – Vang Vieng

Vang Vieng is the religious center for all travellers in South East Asia. If you aren’t wearing a dozen or two string bracelets on your wrist, given out at each of the innumerable Vang Vieng bars, then you are automatically shunned and cast out as a heretic. For Vang Vieng is the summation of the backpackers life; travellers from every neighbouring country arrive to revel in the frenetic quantities of sex, drugs and rock and roll, while simultaneously relax in the peaceful scenery of a quiet mountain village. But like all tourism, it has suffered from the irony of the…

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Day 16 to 18 – Vientiane

Posted on March 22nd 2012 in Travel with Comments Off on Day 16 to 18 – Vientiane

You would think a train advertised as going to Vientiane would terminate in Vietiane. Hell, you would think it would end up in the right country. But my train from Bangkok decided to stop just short of the border, where several dozen tourists and I had to wait around for an hour for another train heading to Laos. This one also didn’t go to Vientiane, instead shopping 20km short in a town called Thanaleng. There I got the privilege of paying a taxi driver to take me to the center of town. When I finally arrived in my ticketed destination,…

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Day 14 and 15 – Bangkok

Posted on March 17th 2012 in Travel with 1 comment

This amazing collection of buildings is the Grand Palace, built by the first king of the Chakri dynasty Rama I, and where I spent the morning and early afternoon of my second day in Bangkok. There was so much to see, from the Wat Phra Kaew (temple) with the most sacred of all Buddhist sculptures, the Jade Buddha, to the eight-story tall gold covered Stupas, to the hundreds of frescoes detailing the epic Thai story of Ramakien. I took so long, wondering around all this fantastic architecture, I completely forgot about lunch. Although I was immensely hungry, and it was…

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Day 13 – Bangkok

Posted on March 14th 2012 in Travel with 1 comment

I woke up late on my night train. My occupation of the bed had prevented the bunkbeds being converted into normal train seats, leaving the woman below me horizontal and therefore annoyed. I tried to apologise the best way I could, with exaggerated sympathetic expressions, but I don’t think it helped. After a few minutes of watching the rural countryside roll by, she seemed happy enough. There was still an hour or two till we got to Bangkok, so I watched as the view outside got more and more industrial, till at 10am I arrived in Hua-lumpong Central station. My…

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Day 12 – Surat Thani to Bangkok

Posted on March 13th 2012 in Travel with Comments Off on Day 12 – Surat Thani to Bangkok

Tha Kham – the town I stayed the night in Surat Thani  – really was a no horse town. As such, I had to take a tuk tuk back to the largest city in the area – confusingly also called Surat Thani. This place was similarly devoid of attractions, but I saw on the map that it was close to the sea, built on a large river delta system, which I thought would be interesting to explore.  I headed to the main river channel and there found a man who was about to set off in his boat to deliver…

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Day 11 – Phuket to Surat Thani

Posted on March 7th 2012 in Travel with Comments Off on Day 11 – Phuket to Surat Thani

While most of the temporary residents of Phuket were recovering away in their hotel rooms, I decided to flip flop my way down to Patong Beach. Away from the tawdry sights of the tourist streets it was very beautiful, with long sandy beeches receding into the distance and a cool sea in front to swim in.The sun baked me till I was soft and golden, which took about 2 hours at gas mark 4. I felt very relaxed walking back, feeling like I could cope with the hectic streets infested with masseures and taxi drivers. I began walking away from my hotel, taking pictures here…

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Day 10 – Penang to Phuket

Posted on March 7th 2012 in Travel with Comments Off on Day 10 – Penang to Phuket

I felt like a bit of an idiot when I woke in my hostel this morning, because I had stupidly booked a flight the night before to Phuket. It was stupid because firstly I was rather enjoying myself here in Penang, and didn’t want to keep rushing onwards to new destinations quite so rapidly as I had been up to now. The second reason came retrospectively, when I arrived at my destination 7 hours after I originally started. I booked the flight to save time, but because of having to change flight in KL 300km to the south, and because…

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Day 9 – Penang

Posted on March 6th 2012 in Travel with Comments Off on Day 9 – Penang

My final stay in Malaysia was on the island state of Penang, in the north of the mainland. This meant taking a 5 hour coach ride again, but seeing as the one I had booked turned out to be equivalent to a first class air ticket, I wasn’t too bothered. The views outside were similarly premium in their appearance. Rolling hills evolve into  bulbous mountains, each looking homoegenously green from a distance, but up close were a teething mat of interlocking species of different flora. Disappointingly, I occasionally saw huge tears in this vegetative carpet, mining scars of orange and brown, remind…

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Day 7 and 8 – More Kuala Lumpur

Posted on March 3rd 2012 in Travel with Comments Off on Day 7 and 8 – More Kuala Lumpur

The next day I went outright touristy and hit the museums. At the National Museum of Malaysia, I learnt more about the tense period of history that existed between the British colonial period and the modern day independent state; a fraught battle between  the nationalists and the communists that lasted until 1989. The Malaysian Ethnography Museum next door, by comparison is less violent, showing the variety of different lifestyles embraced by the umbrella term ‘Malay’  – from the mainland peninsula people to the peoples of Tonga. It began raining much earlier than usual – normally a late afternoon shower is expected – so I…

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