We did it! We're packing it in and leaving our lives in Victoria ... at least for a little while.
We'll be gone for about six months and we plan to visit India, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia and Indonesia. Although we've got our trusty guidebooks in hand, we don't intend to stick to any timelines or itineraries. We're going to go where the wind takes us ... okay, more likely where a third class train ticket takes us.
We've decided to create this journal so that our friends and family can check in to read about our adventures and more importantly, so that Becky's mom can see that we are alive and well.
Take Care! We'll see you when we get back. - Chris and Beck
To email us through the site, you can hit the "Private Message" button. If you'd prefer to reach either of us individually, you may continue to contact us through our personal email addresses.
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November 11th 2008
So we have been back from our trip for about three years now. I wrote this blog entry in 2009 but for some reason I never published it. Better late than never! The memories of our daily adventures in Asia are all that we have left now and those are fading pretty fast, so I'd better get this blog up before we forget everything. If you remember, we left our brave travelers on the Thai island of Kho Phanang. From there we took a ferry to the mainland and then an overnight train through southern Thailand toward Malaysia at last. We had been eager to get to Malaysia....but we were also a little apprehensive as we knew that it was going to be the last leg of our trip. As we drew closer to the border ... read more
August 11th 2008
June 23 - July 6 I know, I know, we're home ... we should be done with these blogs, right? Unfortunately, we fell a little bit behind with the entries so we still have a couple to write to wrap it all up. Sorry if we have already told you these stories in person. After returning to Bangkok from Vietnam, we wasted no time in heading south to Koh Tao - billed as a diver's paradise on the southeast coast of Thailand. Although Thailand has more great islands and beaches than you can shake a stick at, we decided on Koh Tao because many of our friends (new and old) were converging there all at the same time - Sam, Wills and Ried from Victoria, the Irish, who we met in Nepal, and Sean, an excellent ... read more
August 10th 2008
June 10 - June 22 It was a long, long journey from Ninh Binh to Hoi An, made longer by the fact that every piece of information given to us by the person who sold us our tickets was a lie. Don't get me wrong, Vietnam is a great country, one of our favourites on this trip, and the Vietnamese people who are not involved in the tourist industry are friendly and interesting, but the bloodsuckers involved in the industry will stop at NOTHING to get every little cent out of you they can. Had it not been for our India experience, which taught us to look beyond the people who want to make money from you, I'm not sure we would have liked Vietnam as much as we did. Okay, rant over, on with the ... read more
August 6th 2008
May 31, 2008 - June 9, 2008 We arrived in Hanoi after a sweet one hour ride on a Vietnam Airlines jet. We'd heard too many horror stories about the 24 hour bus journey from Vientiane to Hanoi, so we decided to buy our way out of that headache. When the city bus dropped us downtown, we ran into our first and biggest hurdle in Hanoi - crossing the road. We'd heard about this terrifying right of passage from other travelers and we received lots of advice on how to tackle the challenge - close your eyes and just walk. We stood on the corner of the street with our backpacks on and and just stared at the street for a few minutes. Although we only needed to cross three lanes of traffic, there were about ... read more
July 21st 2008
May 20, 2008 - May 31, 2008 After the Gibbon Experience, we planned to head south to Luang Prabang (LP), then Vang Viang (VV) and finally Vientiane before moving on to Vietnam. In first leg of the journey, we had three choices about how we were going to get to LP and none of them sounded all that good: 1) The slow boat - a two day journey down river in a very basic and uncomfortable boat; 2) A 15 hour bus trip through the mountains and this is if all goes well ... it often doesn't; and 3) The Fast Boat - a six hour speed boat ride, which is described by Lonely Planet with words like "frequent fatalities". We decided on option 3 ... sure we might have died but at least it would ... read more
July 15th 2008
May 17, 2008 - May 19, 2008 We left Northern Thailand and headed to Laos. Our first stop in Laos was the "Gibbon Experience", which was highly recommended by fellow travellers. We'd been told that the Gibbon Experience is a jungle trek where you live in treehouses and zipline over the jungle canopy. Well, as you can imagine, that was all Chris needed to hear, so we contacted them to get booked in. The office was incredibly unorganized and did not return our emails. We were persistent, though, and finally managed to force a confirmation out of them. This different approach to doing business is exhausting! We made it across the border into Laos and made our way directly to the Gibbon Experience office. Given our previous sketchy dealings with these guys, we were prepared to ... read more
July 12th 2008
April 29, 2008 - May 16, 2008 I guess everything is relative. Your perception of a place can be changed so dramatically by what you have to compare it with. Our first blog entry about Bangkok back in January had a distinctly negative tone ... we may have even used words like dirty or chaotic. I guess that is because we were coming from little old Victoria. Flying back into Bangkok on April 29, after two months in India and Nepal, left us with a very different impression of the city - Amazing, Clean, Quiet, Ordered ... I could go on, but I think I made my point. We spent the whole first day cleaning the grime out of all of our stuff (and off ourselves), sipping on fruit shakes and eating meat for the first ... read more
July 7th 2008
The Wet - White Water Rafting Through the Mountains A day after returning from our trek, we headed back up into the mountains on another rickety bus, this time to raft the Kali Gandaki River with 16 other brave souls (made up mainly of Irish, Aussies, Brits and Canadians). We set out in two rafts and spent the first half hour learning a few basic skills. The first major rapid was called "Little Brother" and because it was reportedly too dangerous (several deaths in the last three years), we all got out of the rafts and walked around the rapids. This gave me confidence in my decision to go white water rafting in a third world country ... clearly the guides really knew what they were doing and held a high standard of safety like what ... read more
June 15th 2008
The bus ride from Kathmandu to Pokhara had its highs and lows ... quite literally. The scenery was beautiful as our bus careened along the exposed and guardrail-less mountain roads in a manner I thought better reserved for sports cars on the Autobahn. Every bus driver in Nepal seems to feel it is a personal insult to have to have another vehicle leading the way. As a result they desperately try to pass everything in sight, no matter how narrow the road or sharp the corner. Bex slept through scariest bits ... I, on the other hand, just clenched my jaw, gripped the armrest and hoped for the best. Luckily for us, our bus arrived in Pokhara safe and sound (although many others do not, judging by the wrecked buses in the ravines next to many ... read more
May 28th 2008
Both of us let out a long low sigh of relief as we stepped off the plane onto the Nepali tarmac. After the stifling heat and pollution of Delhi, the cool mountain air of Kathmandu was an immense relief. We had heard that Kathmandu was a polluted and chaotic nightmare and that we should get out of there as quickly as possible...but those people had obviously flown in from somewhere other than India. As our cab pulled away from the airport towards the backpacker district of Thamel, we both couldn't help commenting on how clean and peaceful the city seemed. We immediately knew that we were going to love it in Nepal. For those that don't know, Nepal is a small mountainous country to the north of India. Although there are areas of hot steamy jungles, ... read more