Asia has come to an end. It's been an incredible month full of laughter and experiences from tuk tuks to flooded hotel rooms and amazing sunrises.
On to the next journey - New Zealand!
First stop Batu Caves, just outside the city, shrines built into the mountain walls. Even with our conservative choice of outfits Annas shins were deemed offensive and had to walk with a scarf wrapped around the thighs, not easy for the 200 odd steps to the top but gave us a great view over KL city and lots of monkeys.
Some of us enjoyed the afternoon trip to the Bird Park, biggest walk in avery, someone discovered they were not a big fan of birds, sneaky creatures.
Big night out in KL we dolled ourselves up only to Dine in the Dark, 4 course mystery menu served completely in darkness by blind or partially sighted waiters, amazing experience. No probs finding our wine glass.
Our hopes of rooftop cocktails were dashed by our flip flops so we headed out for beer buckets in Bukit Bintang. Kerry was told she looked like a famous actress, Chloe offered an arranged marriage in Libya and Anna got advice to enjoy and live life to the full by a man who said she looked like his dead ex-fiance.
Had a bit of a lay in this morning due to two late nights. Went to our favourite breakfast place and then went into KLCC.
Went on a hop on hop off bus around the city. We nearly made it the full circle before the rain started - we were sat outside, attempted to ride it out but ended up running into the inside of the bus. We also got a little sunburnt before the rain started.
Quick shop for some winter clothes for New Zealand. And then had a stroll around the park before getting our taxi to the airport.
13 August 2017
Hello Kuala Lumpur!!
Nice little snooze on the plane and we arrive in Malaysia. After collecting our latest passport stamp and jumping in a taxi we arrive at our nice hotel and get ready to explore. Made our way the the Petronas Towers for the iconic KL view, taking the metro system in our stride. Bought a special camera lens for £2 to ensure we got the perfect shot.
Amazed by the size of the shopping malls and Chloes excitement at chocolate chip cookies!!
A interesting walk through the aquarium, a selfie for stingray and back out for the night view of the towers and researching plans for tomorrow.
Now eagerly awaiting Kerrys arrival at the hotel at 3am, ready for tomorrows adventure.
Nearly missed our flight this morning! We booked a taxi for 6:15am and after pressing snooze a few times we finally woke up at 6:30am. Luckily we are pros at packing now so we made it in time!
12 August 2017
After sleeping for maybe an hour a loud noise woke us like the sound of a shower being turned on, jumped out of bed to investigate but the shower was dry so assumed that it was a generator or the air conditioning, closed the door to dampen the noise which received a Well done from Chloe and back to sleep we went.....until I woke again to find 2 Lao Men stood in our bedroom doorway with the door wide open staring at us. They couldn't speak English and said nothing to us in Lao. I woke Chloe in a fright, still sound asleep, and got up to turn the light on, only to find that the floor was flooded and like a swimming pool. Turns out the loud noise was the sink water pipe bursting and flooding our whole room, the hotel corridor and all our belongings and freshly washed clothes 😭 We lay on the bed in our pj's for 30mins whilst the men walked back and for in silence trying to fix it before then placing an electric fan on the floor to dry it and leaving without a word. Goodbye Vang Vieng.
Adventure day in Vang Vieng. Headed out to the Mekong River for our first and favourite activity - kayaking. Initially super confident until seeing the speed of the current and the prep talk from our guide, warning of capsizing, undercurrents, getting stuck in trees or mangroves. There were 3 support guides available, we were told "You European, you go alone" All was well and no dramas on the journey down to the cave stop. We hoped into rubber rings and floated through the cave, crawling through the small spaces avoiding the holes, mud, spiders and bats. Bbq lunch and a beer before getting back on the river. Quiet hammock with a view then onto "Blue" lagoon, not so blue in the rainy season, had a swim and chilled on the river swim in the rain.
Enjoyed an evening of free beer and gossiping with other travellers who had gone to Cardiff Uni and swapped travel stories. Tucked up in bed at 2am for a solid sleep until getting up at 8am for our bus, or so we thought......
11 August 2017
After a terrible night bus. A Chinese family who were lying next to each other needed to shout through the night to ensure the person next to them heard. A woman in the group also kept burping and spitting into a bag. The driver played his music very loud and then wailed (sang along to it). The road was again very winding and as we were on the top bunk, every corner Chloe felt like she was going to roll out of the bunk. Finally got to Vientiane.
We booked a hotel to stay in for the night. We paid an extra £10 for luxury, we had a swimming pool, gym and breakfast!
Also found a nice bar that looked out on to the Mekong river. We had food and listened to the live band.
10 August 2017
A trip to some beautiful waterfalls. We hiked to near the top, luckily we turned back at the right time as it started pouring down with rain and we probably would have had to slide down the path as it was so slippery before the rain hit!
These waterfalls are called Kuang Si. The beautiful colour of the water is from the rich calcium levels from the limestone.
We went for a swim. The initial sight of the waterfall literally took my breath away!
They also had a bear sanctuary. They were campaigning and trying to raise awareness of how to protect the bears.
Luckily we didn't have food poisoning from our BBQ the night before. We got up and went for an explore in the morning.
Luang Probang is a World Heritage listed town. The architecture has European influence as you can see in some of the pictures. It was a very pretty walk along the river.
9 August 2017
Arrived in Luang Probang. The hostel we arrived at had the sweetest two young guys at reception. We had a nice drink and fruit platter waiting for us.
The room was nice and decorated with swans. The guys were very happy and helpful. After a quick shower we went out to explore. The place next door was hosting a birthday party and it was hard to block out the screeching from karaoke.... luckily it was over by the time we came back to bed.
We were advised to try a BBQ buffet overlooking the Mekong river. When we got there we realised we would be cooking our own BBQ - this was a bit nerve racking! We had to pick from loads of dishes. We didn't have a clue how to cook some of the things so just hoped for the best. They kept adding rubbery food things to the BBQ and we did have a little panic that we weren't meant to eat them and that's why they kept adding them back.
After the BBQ we strolled around the night market. The hardest thing is not having enough room to buy anything!
Currently on a very long, winding road to Luang Probang. The journey is taking 7 hours. We have had to stop off many times for the driver to have a break. Views have been stunning though.
7 August 2017
We arrived in Vang Vieng after a nervous drive. Only bus journey Anna hasn't slept on yet!! They had put our bags on the roof of the minivan and we were caught in a storm, expected all our things to be soaked but luckily they had put a cover over them!
This place is so pretty with mountains as you he backdrop. It is a tourist town with lots of young people walking or stumbling around drunk at 6pm! We booked a day tour of kayaking, tubing and going and going to a blue lagoon.
We had a beautiful meal and drinks watching the sunset behind the mountains.
Then got stuck in torrential rain so found shelter in a bakery that sold beer - pretty good combination.
Chloe bumped into a primary school friend! Very small world. Then we went to a bar that served free beer from 22:00 - 23:00. So far love this place.
Goodbye to our favourite couple coming to the end of their year long travels. Our last day on the island we hiked through the forest to Lonely Beach for a swim in the crystal clear waters, only getting slightly lost on the way in a local village, kids of 8yrs old driving 3 of their friends home on a scooter from school. An evening of card games and wine Craig and some other travellers. Chloe's skills at remembering the rules and short term memory loss a struggle for the drinking game! Heavy rainfall throughout the night made it a little easier to take that we were headed back to the mainland to leave Cambodia.
Hours to kill before our bus we finally treated ourselves to massages and a pedicure, pure luxury at £8 each.
Jumped on our night bus, which has quickly become our favourite mode of transport and headed back to Siem Reap for the airport. After a "toilet stop" (stopping at the side of the highway in front on oncoming traffic) we enjoyed a full 9 hours sleep in our double bed.
Spent time walking around capital of Laos - Vientiane. It is popular for its temples so that was the main sight seeing we did.
We hired a tuk tuk for an hour and he took us to the main parts. We will miss this cheap way of getting around. Also you can just see a cat in a picture with Anna, a few seconds after this it attacked her skirt!
Also they love a bakery here so we tried some food and cake.
The monument that looks like l'Arc de triomphe was built after America gave the Laos government money to build an airport..... they thought this would look better!
3 August 2017
After sunrise we went back to bed. Woke up refreshed and had the most amazing banana and Nutella pancake!
There was a big storm that lasted a while with heavy rain, thunder and lightning. We spent the time chatting to the owner and a couple we had met.
After the storm past we played some badminton, we were quite good after a few practice rounds. Went for a walk in the evening which didn't last long as we went the wrong way.
We had a romantic kayak into the sunset.
A pool tournament was held in the evening. We drank wine to improve our chances of winning. Our team name was Ddraig (Welsh for dragon). We were knocked out after our first game!! So we got drunk and were meant to be acting as umpires but kept getting distracted.
Once the tournament finished we all went out to swim with the fluorescent plankton at around midnight. Numsa the dog also joined us for a swim, she looked magical with the plankton glowing around her.
Woke up early to see sunrise this morning. Some beautiful colours in the sky.
Also a local dog joined us. Love seeing the dogs living their own lives, he was looking over his territory and just wanted to sit with people. As we went back to the bungalow to sleep he sat outside.
Also we found quite a big lizard - hopefully he keeps eating the mosquitos.
1 August 2017
We just swam with fluorescent plankton in the sea. Felt like we were fairies!
So we've found paradise and it's on an island called Koh Rang off Cambodia. We arrived via a bumpy boat ride and instantly loved to relaxing vibe, beautiful beach and a beach Hut as home.
An evening spent chatting with others and we'll travelled staff with cocktails.
Today we sunbathed and kayaked, sneaking a peek at the £1200 a night island opposite.
An evening workout out on the beach with Chloe resting in the sea after. Gin and tonics on our balcony before dinner, heaven 🏖❤
31 July 2017
Our last evening together was spent watching the sunset at the royal palace in Phnom Penh. The sky was beautiful and the atmosphere was good. Lots of local people and their families sat in the park having food. Groups of monks also sat around talking to people.
After the sunset we went for a last cocktail and said goodbye to Vicky.
That night we had a hotel room instead of a hostel which was a nice treat. Early bus journey for Anna and I to get to an island and Kerry flies back to Bangkok.
We hired a tuk tuk for the day. We asked to go to Silk Island and he took us to Thailand Embassy!! We all laughed at the miscommunication. After sorting out where we really wanted to go it was a nice drive outside of Phnom Penh city.
We went on a boat across the river and drove through pretty villages where lots of cows and chickens were wandering around. A lady showed us to her home where her whole family made silk scarves - it was very interesting to see all the hard work put in to it. It takes them 5 days at 8hours to make one scarf!!
We then went to a silk farm and saw the larvae that made silk cocoons. One cocoon could make 200metres worth of silk.
30 July 2017
Wine at the rooftop bar 👌 Well deserved after an emotional day of learning about Cambodian history at the Killing fields and Genocide museum.
Our next stop is another lovely rooftop bar called Le Moon! Beautiful views of the city.
Beautiful sunset from 11Happy bar!
We've found a nice relaxing sky bar for a few drinks and snack! It's called 11Happy!
WARNING - THIS IS AN UPSETTING POST
We had a very tough educational day learning about the horrific things that happened in Cambodia in the 1970s.
Millions lost their lives and were tortured. Cambodia has nearly lost a whole generation. We went to the killing fields first where people were moved to from prisons on the pretence they were going to a new home - however music was played whilst they were all murdered. People are leaving bracelets in remembrance.
The second part of the day was the genocide museum. Again it was horrible and very upsetting. We can't even imagine what innocent people were put through. Hopefully this will educate others about the cruelty and how it can never be repeated.
Following this we went for a few drinks to cheer up!
29 July 2017
Kerry flew back to Bangkok for a rehearsal (however we think it was just to avoid the long bus journey).
We caught a bus from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh which took us 5 and a half hours. First impressions is that this is a bit of a rough city.
We went for a little walk, went to a night market where there was a stage and a guy singing but no one seemed that interested. Then we stopped for beer, prices have gone up from 50cents to 75cents. There are lots of warnings about tourists being targeted so we are being extra careful.
Kerry arrived at around 22:00 so we had a beer in the hostel. The owner is from Denmark and only took over the hostel a month ago, she is very friendly!
28 July 2017
Second part of the day was spent visiting a floating village. All the houses are on stilts as the river can rise very quickly when rain comes.
Children have to row a boat to school every morning. We went in to the village and people were asking us to buy books for the children but we were told this was a con used by to get money for other things.
We then had a boat trip in the floating forest. This was very calm and pretty going through the forest.
For this trip we rented a tuk tuk all day for $20! At one point the tuk tuk did break down in the middle of no where but luckily Mr T knew what he was doing. Here were also regular stops to refuel, top up brake fluid and regular top ups for the water.
Some pictures from our epic adventures yesterday temple running and boating through the floating village!
The 4am start was worth it. The reflection of the temple on the water was so pretty.
We went to a few temples including one that is used in the tomb raider films. We wanted to take some Lara Croft posed pictures but they were a bit strict on the rules.
Very impressed with the temples obviously couldn't see all of them as it is stretched over 400+km! The temples were built in the early 1200's and Cambodia is working hard with other countries who are donating help to restore them.
Sad part of the day - Chloe had a packet of crisps she was looking forward to eating and a monkey spotted them in her hands. Unfortunately Chloe didn't fancy her chances against the monkey so had to surrender them!
27 July 2017
After a very short flight (50minutes) we arrived in Seam Reap, Cambodia.
Stayed in a laid back hostel called the hangout. Kerry has now joined us and we are sharing a bunk beds.
Our first night we had a wander around. We had a few drinks in pub street and then an early-ish night ready for an early sunrise trip to see Angkor Wat.
26 July 2017
When you get on a tour to Cu Chi tunnels and your guide says we are going straight from the tunnels to Cambodia. He left us hanging with that joke for quite a while as we panicked about not having a passport!
We did a day tour in Ho Chi Minh. The first stop was the war museum. It was dedicated to the Vietnam and American war - very sad stories. Vietnamese people are still seeing the effects of the Agent Orange which has caused birth defects for four generations.
As it wasn't long ago the pictures were very clear and powerful. Quite an upsetting tour.
We then moved on to a Chinese pagoda and tried some weasel coffee, the coffee is incredible!
In the afternoon is when we went to the tunnels.
In the night we went for some food and ended up in an American craft beer bar. The manager was very friendly and had moved to Vietnam for Chicago, he also had a biker friend from Alabama. They had an interesting menu where they had mixed Vietnamese and American style foods. The beer was also great.
And a very exciting moment was getting our clothes washed in the laundrette.
24 July 2017
A 24 hour bus journey from Hoi An to Ho Chi Minh. We were taken by a minibus and dropped off on a street corner, waited about 10 minutes in hope that the sleeper is would arrive and it did. However they had overbooked the seats so we had a seat but there were people sleeping next to us in the aisles.
The seats were actually quite comfortable - probably more comfortable for shorter people as you can stretch your legs out. We must have had a look of horror on our faces as some other people laughed asking if this was our first time on a sleeper, they gave us some advice.
We settled for the night and then got woken up at 04:00 and told that our next bus would be at 07:00... we were not expecting that.
The next journey Vicky and Chloe had a big bed at the back of the bus that we had to share with someone. It was very strange sleeping shoulder to shoulder with a stranger!
We eventually got to Ho Chi Minh and the journey wasn't actually that bad
After having to drag Anna out of bed we managed to get on the bus for our coconut village tour. We were all feeling a bit delicate.
The boat journey was 45minutes! But luckily we managed to hold on to our stomach contents.
The coconut village was very pretty. We had to sit in barrels and they showed us around the groves and provided us with leaf jewellery.
Vicky and Anna attempted to catch fish with a net, unfortunately they didn't catch any.... luckily our food did not depend on this.
After the barrels we went to a cooking class. We were all feeling very hungover at this point. Cooking was not the best idea. However we did make some spring rolls and pancakes. We were given loads of food to eat but only really wanted water!
We then relaxed in preparation for our 24 hour bus journey, bought some dresses and a nice baguette for our journey.
23 July 2017
Our last night in Hoi An. We had some street food and picked up a nice Australian man called James. We all found a bar that we paid $5 for unlimited drinks.
Everyone got a little drunk and we danced with men dressed up as watermelons and bananas.
The bars close early so we had to leave and find another bar. We chased down the music as a group of about 15 and found the reggae bar was open. We saw our Gareth Bale lookalike bar man.
Saved a Vietnamese woman from a letchy westerner and tried to tell her that men don't deserve her - female empowerment lecture.
After this Vicky felt a bit unwell and we stumbled back towards the hotel. When we were accosted by a man running down the street screaming "help me, I'm going to get raped by the mafia, a man keeps following me" we obviously took him under our wing and found that the "mafia guy" was a taxi man on a moped. We walked this man back to his hostel.
Got back after a long drunken walk and had to be up early for a boat trip
22 July 2017
Love Hoi An so far. It's a more relaxed beach town. Plenty of pretty lantern lights, good food and a nice beach.
We all got a bit tipsy at a Reggae bar with 2 for 1 drinks. As a drunk snack on our way home we had banana pancake.
We had our first lazy beach day today after cycling for 9km.
Bus journey from Hue to Hoi An. Pretty route through some mountains.
Ended with a look around marble mountain where we literally melted
21 July 2017
Visited the pagoda before heading for a bite to eat, a new furry friend was made whilst we ate at a restaurant sitting in a lotus lake.
In the evening we headed to the Imperial city where the royals once lived and watched some amazing/confusing performances before some Street food.
19 July 2017
Last look around Hanoi, street food where we were kicked off the street when the police patrolled and rooftop beers.
A morning of culture and learning at Hoa lo Prison (a break from our day jobs).
Token Asia travellers shopping purchases.
Mad dash for the train station in torrential rain and panicked swearing from Chloe for a misplaced passport #fuckeyfuckey.
Our cosy 12hr overnight train journey made unbearable by our heavily snoring bunk mate. 3 tired girls this morning who narrowly avoided committing murder on a train.
Went to see a cave this morning that was in one of the rock formations. We also learned that dragons created the formation of rocks to protect the people of the homeland.
There was also a pretty beach. Excuse Lucky Hoi who photobombed us - he was our guide and liked to get involved
We woke up for "special sunrise" - we either missed it or it was too cloudy! However the early morning did mean that we could have a Tai Chi lesson.... won't be long until we are professionals
18 July 2017
Halong Bay Overnight Cruise
Viola cruise along Ha Long Bay did not disappoint!!
Our rooms felt like luxury.
We went on a bumble boat through the rocks and saw floating villages. And we were surprised with a pearl farm, the jewellery was very pretty but we were strong and did not buy any so we could afford to eat on this trip!
We then stopped at a beach to go kayaking. It took a while for Anna and I to turn around - we thought it would be easier to paddle backwards for a while!! Vicky was in a kayak with a guy who had never been in one and could not swim! Vicky returned with a grazed hand and concussion due to co-ordination mishap!
Returned to the boat for sunset party.... spice girls set the scene and a good photoshoot.
For dinner we were treated to a royal meal of an 8 course.
17 July 2017
Our first night in Vietnam. We got soaked - found out this is the end of a typhoon.
Enjoyed a local Hanoi dish called Cha Ca which was cooked in front of us. And then finished the evening with beer.
Got to our hostel. Wet season is definitely here.
There were a few gasps in the taxi but we survived! Quick shower and out to explore Hanoi