North America, Asia, Europe · 59 Days · 46 Moments · January 2019

Kris Cross The World

16 March 2019

Arrived in Athens this morning after a 12 hour flight. Got to the hostel and set out to explore. Walked the small cobblestone streets of Athens and explored some of the stores. Went back to the hostel to check in and gather myself. Then I set out to see the acropolis. Saw the Pantheon which is HUGE. Met a girl from my hostel at the acropolis who is from Thailand. Spent the rest of the day with her, watched sunset, got dinner, and went home!

4 March 2019

Thaintro Group: 22 People Leader: Caiden Ali; Grimsby, UK; 24 Emily Buttery; Leeds,UK; 18 Yasmin Chambers; South Hampton, UK; 27 Ellie Lofthouse; Hull, UK; 22 Bridget McMaster; Toronto, CA; 23 Lewis Dargie; Scotland; 28 Maurnica Williams; Houston,TX; 28 Andy Sandgerath; Germany; 23 Verena Wechsler; Germany; 23 Daria Golubyk; Ukraine; 29 Katie Sykes; England; 22 Lindy Hillo; Holland; 18 Callie Pers; Chicago; 27 Moritz Distler; Germany; 20 Carolin Zofall; Germany; 20 Laura Buffin; Lancashire, England; 23 Sasha Cochrane; South Hampton, England; 22 Jack Bevan; England; Ana Solo Cambodia; Mexico; 18 Geraldine Ochoa; Mexico; 24 Dani Mcmurdo; Scotland; 25 Fiorella Vacca; Italy but grew up in France; 28

28 February 2019

Still in Bangkok. Did a thai cooking class today where we made Tom Yam Soup, Pad Thai, and green curry. Food was amazing. They barely use salt but use so many other spices and chili!!! After we had time to walk and shop before getting dinner and preparing for the overnight train. Going to Khao Sok National Park tomorrow.

27 February 2019

First day officially of the tour but still in Thailand. Visited two temples today. The first one we had a monk perform a blessing on us. The second was the temple of love (I think). We took a short boat tour across the river where the ladies will attach to the side and sell you things through their mini floating market. Later in the night we went to dinner and drinks. I tried frog leg which was salty and fishy, and then a bit of cricket that was crunchy and salty. I couldn’t get passed the mindset and spit them out🤷🏼‍♀️. Bugs are not for me, but a lot of the others enjoyed it. Boy pictured: Sasha from England Girl: Bridget from Toronto

26 February 2019

Spent the day time walking and exploring with my friend Will. Later on I waited for my group tour to start. At night we had dinner, 22 people in total, and then went to a rooftop for a drink and view. Being on a group tour with so many people after months of being alone is insanely overwhelming and caused me somewhat anxiety and stress. I appreciated being on my own schedule and budget much more now.

25 February 2019

Bangkok. Today I woke up and met these two girls at a hotel who I was taking a cab with down to the Wildlife Friends Foundation of Thailand where I would spend the day learning and with the elephants. Elephants body structure is not built to carry things, which includes logging and humans. All of the elephants here were saved from these awful jobs and placed into a safer captivity. The only reason you can touch them is because they were abused to be used to humans in their prior jobs. The hope one day is to not have any elephants in captivity. There are many “sanctuaries” that are still for tourism but still abuse their elephants to do these things. So next time you see a cute video of an elephant painting think about all of the abuse that animal had to go through to be trained to do that for the pleasure of humans. Later I got back and explored the malls of Thailand which are in abundance and all super high end expensive stores. I didn’t know this part of Bangkok existed.

24 February 2019

Bangkok. Said see you soon to Holliann this morning :(. I couldn’t have asked for a better travel buddy and was able to make a lifelong friend along the way. Can’t wait for more adventures to come. After I sent her on her way to the elephant sanctuary (Wildlife Friends Foundation), I headed into main Bangkok to explore and get settled. I had a spa day and got my toes and nails done. Later when I was wandering around I passed a a Muay Thai boxing match! This happens every Sunday in Bangkok. Muay Thai uses all limbs, hands, elbows, legs and knees.

23 February 2019

Last day in Siem Reap. Last day with Holliann :(. Today we walked around more, saw a temple, and hung out. Picture 1 is Durian. Durian is a fruit popular in Southeast Asia that has an extremely pungent smell, so strong that it is banned from being brought into many hotels. Later tonight we fly to Bangkok.

22 February 2019

Today we boated around Khplong Phluck which is one of many floating villages near Siem Ream. Right now is dry season. During wet season these houses would give the appearance that they would be floating and the road would instead be a river. It was amazing to see moms carrying babies while climbing down these steep stairs from their stilted homes. Later tonight we met up with Nick who arrived in Siem Reap, and his other friend Will. Will ironically is close friends with a guy I worked with this summer. Small world!

21 February 2019

Today we left our hotel at 4:40 AM to go to Angkor Wat for sunrise. We then explored the different ruins including the one where Tomb Raider was filmed. Angkor Wat is the largest temple in the world (?). Later that night we walked around and explored Siem Reap.

20 February 2019

Siem Reap 1. We relaxed in the morning. Got our laundry done, got my GoPro stuff, and walked around. Later in the day we picked up our 1 day Angkor Wat pass and watched sunset and went to one ruin that is free past 5 pm. On the way back our tuk tuk driver stopped quickly at a bug cart because his brother asked him to pick some up. He offered me to try but I declined.

19 February 2019

Last sunrise and beach day in Koh Rong Samloem. I could’ve stayed here forever. Later we fly from Sihanoukville to Siem Reap.

18 February 2019

Beach day Bea bday beach day! While eating breakfast we met two guys who were American, Nick and Craig. Hol and I just hung out in the sun getting tan and falling asleep in hammocks. Lazy day.

17 February 2019

Today I went scuba diving off the coast of Koh Rong Samloem. We were staying on the east side, but the best diving season for right now is on the west side of the island. So to meet with the divers I had to do a 30 minutes trek through the jungle to get to the other side. Once I arrived, I learned that scorpions and king cobras live in this jungle. I have no photos from diving since I didn’t have my gopro supersuit. But we saw lots of fish, nudiebroncs, sea fans. It was pretty, but more importantly a good refresher since doing my Padi two years ago. We stayed on that side for sunset. When I arrived back at the other side I felt sick during dinner. I think this was due to dehydration which I forgot the importance of while diving.

16 February 2019

We woke up this morning and got a bus from Kampot to Sihanoukville . Sihanoukville used to be a very popular backpacker and tourist destination full of beaches, however, over the past 10 years has been invaded by the Chinese who are building skyscrapers and have the entire town under constructions. Now locals call it “Shit ville”. After arriving there, we took a ferry to a small, undeveloped island called Koh Rong Samloem. The mother island is Koh Rong and is a huge party island, and from speaking to people who went, is run down and full of trash. We arrived in the afternoon and dragged our suitcases down to our hostel. We stayed at Onederz hostel which is one of the few that has WiFi on the island! Spent the rest of the day in the water and enjoying the serenity of the beach. What a day!

15 February 2019

Kampot day 2. Today we rented a motorbike to go to a pepper plantation. My trusty guide drove us. It was a hard days work. We arrived back around 2 pm and had lunch. Then we walked along and watched the sunset and had dinner.

14 February 2019

Travel day from Phnom Penh to Kampot, Cambodia. Kampot is a small town on a river known for pepper! We arrived mid day and walked around. Saw the Dudian roundabout. Durian is a fruit with a pungent smell, so strong it is often banned in many hotels. People either love or hate durian, and most can’t stand the smell. I don’t mind it, but still haven’t tried durian. Tonight we went on a $5 sunset boat. Our boat was not the best, the other companies (still $5) were better, but oh well. Sunset was pretty, we just saw it while still docked. Boat should’ve been called night boat ride.

13 February 2019

First day in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Cambodia has some rich and recent history that effects are still seen and felt every day. Cambodia’s civil war started after the US pulled out of Vietnam and Cambodia after the Vietnam war. Then the Khmer Rouge rose in Cambodia and believed in a new start, which lead to a genocide of 25% of the population. People were forced from their house into working villages. Many died due to starvation and being overworked. Others were sent to be exiled. The first photo is from the killing fields and is the “killing tree”. The killing fields is where people were sent to being exiled. The killing tree was used to smash babies heads before tossing them into the mass graves. The next two photos are the S21 prisons where they kept people before they were sent to be exiled. There are only about 6 survivors who were the ones with trades most useful such as a painter, photographer, etc. These survivors are still alive and sit at the prison of visitors. War ended 1979

12 February 2019

Travel from Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam to Phnom Penh, Cambodia by bus. 6 hour journey + border crossing. Met a tour group on G Adventure Vietnam-Cambodia that was a group of 60 year old Canadian women living it up on their girls trip. They always made sure we were with the group!

11 February 2019

Today was our last day in Ho Chi Minh City. We did most things already so today was just more wandering. Went to the Ben Than Market in the morning to get some goodies, nothing too exciting. Then we went on search for a proper super market. Went near city hall again. Grabbed Banh Mi for lunch. At night we had date night at the opera house! We saw a show called Teh Dar. It was a dancing/performance show where they danced with large bamboo sticks and climbed all over things. It was awesome and interesting. Last photo is us with them!

10 February 2019

Today we did a day trip to the Mekong Delta. It was a very touristy trip where you were just shuffled around from boat to tea tasting to coconut candy making, and then lunch. Overall I didn’t love the experience. The Mekong Delta is a maze of rivers that was used to transport goods and connects Vietnam, Cambodia, and the Gulf of Thailand.

9 February 2019

Today I walked around Ho Chi Minh City. I saw the Opera House, the post office that was created by Eiffel, Cathedral of Notre Dame, and the War Remnants Museum. The War Remnants Museum was intense but well done. One of the most impactful areas for me was the presentation of all of the photos from the war photographers. Most of the photos were “their last roll of film” that was found on their body after being killed. Some photos depicted a group of civilians right before they were shot. Another section showed the affects of agent orange on the future generations that came after the war. Agent orange is a chemical that was sprayed into the jungle meant to kill the plants to allow for soldiers to see better. This chemical has had affects on people. Later in the day we went to the skydeck and Heineken tour. We did the Heineken tour because it was 11 floors higher, but it was eh. The views were pretty!

8 February 2019

First full day in Ho Chi Minh City, also known as Saigon. This was my least favorite place in Vietnam, but commonly the place people choose as an expat to live since it has access to everything necessary. When Vietnam was north and south, it was known as Saigon. They tried to change it once Ho Chi Minh took over, but people still call it Saigon. Today I went to the Chu Chi Tunnels which are small paths underground used during the war for people to hide. They’ve since increased the size of them, but to crawl through then you are still smushed. It is a little anxiety inducing but I did it! The other thing I’m in is a manhole that people went in to hide.

6 February 2019

Today we spent the whole day at An Bang Beach. It was beautiful! Went to a restaurant/beach called Soul Kitchen to get chairs on the beach. Relaxing day. At night we went back out to the town to walk around and get food. I got a banana sticky rice grilled dessert that had condensed milk drizzled over it. It was okay. Watched the sunset as we walked and went around the night market again!

5 February 2019

We finally arrived in Hoi An on the first day of Tet! We grabbed bikes from our hotel and bikes about 30 minutes to a beach called An Bang Beach. You ride through the paddy fields on the way. We chilled out at the beach in the afternoon. Later we went and ate dinner. We tried to go to a famous Banh Mi (Vietnamese sandwich) restaurant that Anthony Bordain went to, but like most things during Tet, it was closed. The 2nd, 3rd and however many more top Banh Mi places were also closed... we know this because we checked all of them... After eating dinner we walked around the night market and the lanterns. Hoi An is known as the lantern city. There were endless amount of boats with lanterns that you could go for a boat ride. We made wishes on the candle and set them free on the river. I tried a coconut cake tonight which was fantastic. Two little pancake cup things, and on the inside shredded fresh coconut, some peanuts, and condensed milk. The desert is tasty but not really sweet.

4 February 2019

Today we hired a car to go to Binh Dong Pogoda, Trang An, and Hang Mua. These are all located around Ninh Binh area. Our bungalow was in Tam Coc. 1st photo is of our bungalows. It was serene. Next three photos are a small rowboat tour through Trang An. We went through caves, stopped at temples, and the last stop was where a King Kong movie was filmed. We then went to see the pagoda. This area is a large plot of land that slopes uphill with various temples, Buddha’s, and finally a pagoda. The highlight of the day was going to Dragon viewpoint, or Hang Mua for a “hike”. It was a series of 500 stairs up to this beautiful lookout. We stayed just until sunset started, as we only have the car until a certain time. We then went back to the bungalow, showered, and ate dinner before boarding an overnight bus. This was one of the last buses out of the small village since the next day was Tet Holiday (New Years), and most places and things are closed for 3 days and up to a week sometimes.

3 February 2019

Today was the second day of the Ha Long Bay tour! We got to go through caves (before the tourists came). Then we went to the viewpoint which was gorgeous. Kong: Skull Island was filmed here along with James Bond tomorrow never dies. It is magnificently huge and beautiful. After our tour ended we took a bus to a small town called Ninh Binh. When we got off the bus I accidentally left my sneakers on the top shelf over my seats. The office guy was not very helpful in helping me get them back. He just told me the driver looked and they weren’t there. Story tbc on the next day. Anyways, we arrived at Ninh Binh and stayed at these little “bungalows” and our room was beautiful and huge. A double room was two QUEEN beds. We lived like queens, that is for sure.

2 February 2019

This morning we got picked up abruptly from Hanoi to go on our 2 day/1 night Ha Long Bay boat tour with a company called Vega Travel. Our tour guide Duc was amazing and funny. We got there mid day and kayaked around a smaller area and went into caves. There were about 18 people on our boat including so Spanish, Australians, Americans, Swiss, and others. At night we had a “cooking class” where we learned to make spring rolls. They’re quiet good in my opinion, but similar to a taco, everything falls out if you stuff it too much. The water when kayaking around was beautiful and serene however, there was so much plastic and trash. There is way more plastic pollution in SE Asia than we see in America.

1 February 2019

Woke up this morning and tried to take myself on a mini street food tour. I tried Banh Coun which is a sticky rice cake filled with pork, mushroom, and shallots. You were suppose to dip it in a fish sauce but I couldn’t handle the smell. I didn’t love. It was very sticky and an uncomfortable texture.The second thing I got is egg coffee! Egg coffee was sweet and thick on the top. We then walked around Hanoi and attempted to go to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. We walked there except couldn’t go inside because we had tank tops on. We walked around the town and practiced crossing the street. In Vietnam, and especially Hanoi, you just walk anywhere in the street and somehow all the drivers avoid you. We went into the shops and got little bags! We then decided to get a ticket for a hop-on-hop-off bus. We saw a pagoda, the prison that was known as “Hilton Hotel”, a cathedral, opera house, and post office.

30 January 2019

Today we traveled to Macau. Macau is similar to HK where it is not mainland China, but has its own government and currency. This is the ruins of St.Paul which had multiple fires. Second is St.Dominics Church. Macau is known for being the “Las Vegas” of China because they have a ton of casinos. We tried to explore that but we went on a Wednesday and it wasn’t as poppin’ as we thought. Typically people dress up, but when we went everyone was very casual.

29 January 2019

Day 4 HK. Today we walked around the markets which included a Goldfish market, bird market, and flower market. We then went to the Wong Tai Sin Temple (not pictured) and the Chi Lin Numnery (pictured). Afterwards we walked around the garden (pic w hol). Later that night we went down to the waterfront for the light show. Kristen learned how to use a tripod! We met two girls today from Boston College. One is from NJ and ironically went to Lawrenceville! We then proceeded to see them on the flight, and in Vietnam. We’re friends on instagram now .

28 January 2019

Day 3 HK. Had a slower day today. Went to breakfast at a place called Australian Dairy Company. They’re breakfast is known for macaroni and eggs. We waited in line, were seated, had our food, and were gone within 20 minutes. One thing I disliked most about Hong Kong is their food service is all about speed. They seat you with other people, give you no time to decide what you want, and allow you no time to enjoy your meal! Later I visited the HK Goldman Sachs Office. I connected with a Lehigh Alum who then was able to introduce me to all of my counterparts on the HK team. It was very neat and they were impressed that I visited before I even actually started working. Later that night we walked around the town, found some lanterns, dinner and then went back to Victorian Peak. These are the views of Victoria Peak taken at night.

27 January 2019

Day 2 of Hong Kong we went to go see the Big Buddha. We took a metro go Lantau Island where the Tian Tan Buddha is. We took the Nong Ping 360 cable cars up to the buddha. Afterwards we took a short bus to the Tai O Fishing Village. This was on the edge of a little island. It was a beautiful area, but their main profit was from fish markets. Therefore there was fish hanging everywhere and you could smell it for hours. Later we went home and walked around the bright streets.

26 January 2019

Day 1 Hong Kong! We went on the mid-level escalators which is the longest escalator in the world. It is not one continuous escalator, but rather a series of escalators going up hill through the city. We then walked around for AWHILE while trying to figure out how to get to the peak. We wandered through the botanical garden and found some shade. Victoria peak overlooks all of Hong Kong. We visited Man Mo Temple. Later that day we got noodles at a 1 Star Michelin Rated restaurant. Not a ton of people spoke English. Afterwards, we walked down to the waterfront. Then on our way back we stoped by the Temple St Night Market. This market had a bunch of trinkets and clothing. The photo is the view from above.

23 January 2019

Today we explored Jaipur. We toured the City Palace and saw the facade of Palace of the Winds. We then explored Jaipur and shopped in the city known for textiles. Jess got many many scarves. Later, we went for a cooking class at a family’s house. My favorite is masala chai. When we say “Chai Tea” we’re actually saying tea tea since chai stands for tea. Masala stands for mixture of spices. The food was amazing!

22 January 2019

Woke up this morning in Dhula Bagh Village and went for a bike ride. The area is mountainous and bumpy... no first time bike riders allowed here. We road through the village, met some school children, and visited a home. It was a beautiful, small and quiet area full of people waving and smiling at the visitors. Afterwards, we had lunch and started towards Jaipur. We walked around Old Jaipur for a bit (photos to come) which is known as the Pink City. All of the buildings within the old city have to be painted the same “pink” or salmon color regulated by the government. We saw Amber Fort at night time which overlooks all of Jaipur. The colors on the fort looked amazing at night, but it would have been cool to see the town from above during the day. The one fort is covered in mirrors and reflective materials. The one photos is a photo of a mirror with the person reflected into it but it looks like it could be a photo frame.

21 January 2019

Dear Mom & Dad, Thank you for allowing me to travel all around the world for a few months. Not many parents are understanding of their child’s need to travel and search outside their own comfort zone. Part of building yourself is becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable, and travel is a great example of this. Thanks for always supporting me in most of my choices. I love you💕 Love, Kristen
Drove from Agra to Dhula Village today. Stoped at a home cooked meal for lunch. We then saw the Abhaneri Stepwell that is 20 ft deep right before it started to rain. Then continued on to Dhula Village which is a camping area. (A picture of the tents will be added eventually). It was a private campground designed for our specific tour group full of bliss and silence. The monument was designed for the owners parents and have two sets of feet on the floor. The two feet symbolize the wife and husband. We all ate dinner and sat around a campfire and talked. We eventually went to bed around 9 or 10.
“You are traveling in a country where beliefs are stronger than science”

20 January 2019

📍Agra Fort: Mughal fort made of red sandstone and white marble. 📍Baby Taj: Built by Queen Nur Jahan for her father. Beautiful and quiet are, with amazing intricate details and arch ways. 📍Taj Mahal: Built by Emperor Shah Jahan for his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Absolutely stunning from every angle. My favorite part was walking around the base of the Taj Mahal which is all white marble. Many people come up to us and ask to take a photo (because we are famous), which became rather annoying when we were trying to enjoy our time at Taj. Many people here have never seen a white person, and even more rare to see an African American. I don’t understand the fascination, but the USA is truly a melting pot.

19 January 2019

Snack: Samosa Lunch: Deluxe Veggie Thali Shahi Paneer: cubes of cottage cheese in a curry spice sauce (right) Dal Makhani: LENTILS (middle) Butter Roti: naan with butter Raita: Yogurt, cucumber, mint (left); did not like. Papad: too most naan looking thing. Made from gram flour. Crunchier and more seasonings than the butter roti. Dinner: Buffet. Food names to come.
The group was 15 people and our leader. Sam: Leader, India Kristen (me): USA, 21 Katie: Canada, 20 Lizza: France, 21 Liz: Australian, John: NC,USA, 30 Chris & Jess: England; 33 & 28 James & Jess: England, 29 & 28 Ben & Ben: 42 & 35 England Sharon: CA, USA Julie (sister to Karen): Gold Coast, AU Karen & Larry: Gold Coast & Canada
Started this morning with a walking tour with Saalam Bulluk. This organization gets children off the street at a young age, help them learn a trade, an education, and find work. Some of these children grow up to help give tours around these areas to explain to people why so many children are left out on the street. Our guide was out on the street at the age of 8 after his mom had left, and dad eventually died of a disease. We then went to the Jama Masjid in Old Delhi. Here we had to take our shoes off and wear cloaks. We then walked through Old Delhi to go to the Sikh Temple of Gurdwara SisGanj. After we got samosas to bring on our drive, and lost John for a little while in the streets of Delhi.

18 January 2019

Today was technically my first day in India. However , the group tour I am a part of doesn’t start til 6 PM. I want to wander around outside but have not found anyone to explore with. My two close friends from home who have been to India both told me not to walk around Delhi by myself as a blonde, white woman. I decided to listen to them and stayed in today and rest. At 6 pm I met with my group and m to dinner. I found three people that had been there and toured today, and was sad I did not find them early in the morning, otherwise I could have joined them. We went to “A Kitchen With a Cause” for dinner. I ate this dish with potato and cauliflower in a tomato sauce, and rice. Dinner + a beer was about 700 rps ~ $9 Katie, my roommate, arrived at 4 AM today. She is from Vancouver and is on her way to study abroad in Perth, AU.

17 January 2019

Landed in Delhi. An airport transfer picked me up and brought me to my hotel. Arrived at around 11:30 PM. Need to go to bed now. Haven’t seen anything yet since it has been dark out.
Hi friends! Today starts my world tour. I have just recently graduated college and have a few months before working. The first stop on this tour is India with G Adventures group travel “Golden Triangle” tour. Delhi -> Agra -> Dhula Village -> Jaipur! But first, a 7 hour flight to London, and then an 8 hour flight to New Delhi.