While in Alaska my partner Alex and I pulled the trigger on purchasing flights to Bangkok! With the tickets already purchased we couldn’t say no!
We left the States on November 4th. Our return flight was scheduled for March but our itinerary was largely unknown. In general, the plan was to do a circuit of-sorts from Thailand to Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, and ultimately back to Thailand.
We started in Chiang Mai then headed north to Pai where we then motorbiked the Mai Hon Song loop. This track led us out of the tourist traps and into more rural and scenic areas. We rode past limestone cliffs and caves, roadside stands and huge markets, school children and broken down tour buses! It was at this moment that we knew the motorbike was the key to our Asian adventures. Returning to the busy roads of Chiang Mai made us wish we were back in the countryside! Friends from England invited us to join them on the “slow boat” to Luang Prabang, goodbye Thailand!
After a two-day cruise on the Mekong River we landed in Luang Prabang. After an epic visit to Kuang Si Waterfalls and several days of fun in the city we migrated to Vang Vieng for a week of floating the river, exploring caves, and a bit of rock climbing! Continuing south we headed for the capital of Laos, Vientane. With plans to head to Vietnam via bus we applied for visas at the Embassy and, to our dismay, had to wait several days. Feeling rather stuck in this city we made the best of it by trying out the waterpark and all of the museums. Visas in hand we headed south again to Thakek. Our initial plans to climb were delayed and instead we rode the local motorbike loop and visited the Kong Lor Cave! After climbing for a couple of days we jumped a bus to Vietnam!
We met a friend, James Le, in Hue and he gave us an insider’s tour of his family’s city. We spent the Christmas holiday in Hoi An and had custom tailored clothing made as treats to ourselves. The weather to the north was not agreeable so our journey continued south to Nah Trang (can you say skyscraper roof-top bar and huge theme park!?) and Mui Ne where we played in the sand and enjoyed the New Year. We met a group of Germans who invited us to a music festival on Phu Quoc. With nothing major planned we purchased flights that night! After stopping through Ho Chi Minh City along the way we spent the last 5 days of our Vietnamese travels on the beach of the island.
The first stop was the islands in the Koh Rong region. Most of them have been discovered by the backpacker crowd but we located a couple of incredible spots. We even found the nicest beach of the entire trip here where the sand squeaks under your feet. After leaving the islands we spent a couple of days enjoying the chill vibes of Kampot before visiting the classic cities of Phnom Phen and Siem Reap. Next stop, Indonesia!
Kuala Limpur to Bali! Our German friends invited us to their villa in Bali and we happily joined! Alex and I headed to Nusa Penida for more amazing motorbike adventures before meeting up with the Germans again on Gili T. Snorkeling and fun nights out prevailed. We flew to Labuan Bajo to begin a diving course and spent about ten days in the waters of Komodo National Park, a life-changing event most certainly. A quick stop in Ubud for yoga and a meet up with a friend from Alaska and we were headed back to Thailand!
The limestone cliffs of Railay called our names. We climbed a day and spent time on the beach before getting deathly ill and promptly leaving the could-be-paradise. Alex’s friends from Seattle joined us on the island of Koh Lanta where we rented a huge villa and cruised the island! We were sad to see them leave because it also marked the near-conclusion of our trip. Onward to Khao Lak for diving and a visit to the truly epic Khao Sok National Park marked the end of our travels. We met up with our English friends briefly in Bangkok and boarded our flight to Seattle. Of course this involved mega-shenanigans with the Chinese at 2 am but we made it all the same. It was in the cab on the way to the airport when we decided that Australia would be a great destination!