Page 2 of AfricaBound Travel Blog Posts

Asia » Nepal » Annapurna » Annapurna Base Camp October 8th 2011

The trek to Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) is one of the most popular treks in Nepal. It came highly recommended by other travellers that we’ve met and seemed like a great choice for our first trek in Nepal. We decided to organize the trek by booking a group tour, although it’s possible to do the trek independently and many people do. We had porters for our main gear but we carried day packs, cameras, water, etc. For the first several days of the trek the weather was generally overcast and there wasn't much for mountain views. It would normally rain for an hour or so in the afternoon which was just enough to ensure that we were thoroughly soaked by the time we got to our destination for the day. Thank goodness we kept a dry ... read more
Machhapuchhare by moonlight
Annapurna glacier view
Annapurna South at dawn

Asia » Nepal » Kathmandu Valley September 23rd 2011

Nepal continues to treat us with thrilling new experiences and we have yet to leave the Kathmandu valley. After the excitement of the Indra Jatra finale we thought we’d escape the crowds, noise and pollution of Thamel to explore some of the other historic sites in the valley. Our first stop was Bodhnath and its incredible stupa. Normally visited as a day trip from Kathmandu, we decided to spend the night at a guesthouse in the area as a quieter alternative to Thamel. It turns out that our evening was neither quiet nor very restful as it was here that we experienced what one newspaper described as the strongest earthquake to hit Nepal in nearly 8 decades. At dusk we went up to a roof-top patio restaurant overlooking the stupa to have some dinner while we ... read more
Dusk at Bodhnath stupa

Asia » Nepal » Kathmandu September 16th 2011

Kathmandu has left an impression on us that few cities have done before. Our first glimpse of Nepal was at 10,000 meters out the window of the plane of the snow-covered Himalayan peaks rising high above the clouds. It just got better after that. We arrived at our guesthouse in the Thamel district and went for a walk to get our bearings. We wondered in awe of the narrow, cobbled streets and nearly got run over many times by the chaos of motorbikes, taxis, rickshaws, and bicycles zooming through. We've never seen anything quite like it, and it's awesome. As luck would have it, we just also happened to arrive in the middle of one of Nepal's most important festivals - Indra Jatra. The festival lasts for 8 days and it celebrates the end of the ... read more
Kumari and chariot
Crowds in Durbar Square
Durbar Square

Asia » Thailand » North-West Thailand » Chiang Mai September 9th 2011

So for our last little bit of tourism in South-East Asia it was back to Thailand where we took the overnight train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. At this point we've had our fill of Bangkok and we just needed someplace a little more laid back to relax. Chiang Mai has great markets and we were lucky enough to catch the Sunday walking street as well as the usual night bazaar. The weather here has been just that little bit cooler (30C-32C instead of 35C) and it made enough of a difference that it was actually pleasant to go for walks in the mornings and evenings. We had our little route that took us to our favorite spot on the river for pad thai and noodle soup, and then we'd just wander around the markets and ... read more
inside a tuk tuk
Take it for a spin?

Asia » Cambodia » North » Angkor September 2nd 2011

Every major tourist attraction has it's special spots where the masses of tourists gather to watch sunrise or sunset. The temples of Angkor are no different. Sunrise? The ponds in front of Angkor Wat for the reflection and silhouette (left side to be specific). Sunset? Here the definitive sunset spot is apparently from the hill-top temple Phnom Bakheng. They have everyone fooled (including the guide books which state that the main draw is the sunset view over Angkor Wat). Sure it's on top of a hill, but the temple steps are actually quite steep to climb up and the huge crowds make it quite dangerous going up and down. When you get to the top, the surrounding trees are so tall that there is really not much to see other than some rice fields in the ... read more
Face of Bayon
Sunset view?
Dawn at Angkor Wat

Asia » Cambodia » North » Battambang August 27th 2011

Arriving in Phnom Penh was one of the easier arrivals we've had. Getting our e-visas in advance made immigration a breeze as nearly everyone else on the flight were queuing up for visas on arrival. However, it didn't get our bags to the carousel any faster... The French have definitely left their mark here. Phnom Penh is actually a really pleasant city to wander around. The colonial style architecture is a nice change and it was refreshing walking up and down the huge promenade along the river where there was actually some personal space for walking (rare in Asia). Although, the traffic in the streets is crazy as ever with motos and tuk-tuks zipping by. Our other favourite French influences were plentiful - baguettes, pastries, and great coffee. We spent our first day doing what most ... read more
Bamboo train
Kathie's moto

Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand » Bangkok August 20th 2011

So we’re back in Bangkok for another visa run to another embassy. This time we need to get our Indian visas. Timing is a bit of an issue since the embassy in Bangkok only issues 3 month visas and they start counting down from the date of issue rather than the date of first entry. This works for us, but barely as we plan to finish our trip to India in mid-November. Anyways, since we didn’t do much tourism in Bangkok last time we felt like we should make a better effort this time. There was a Muay Thai boxing tournament taking place outside MBK shopping centre which happened to be a block from our hotel. After watching a bit from the overhead walkway we decided to take in a full night of the real stuff ... read more
Massaman curry
Buddha tree
Muay Thai Boxing

Asia » Burma » Mandalay Region » Mandalay August 12th 2011

Travel in Myanmar has been challenging at times but also incredibly rewarding. We’ve found it really useful to have learned a few of the basic words in Burmese and the locals have been overwhelmingly friendly and helpful. Sometimes people are quite curious and sceptical of us until we smile and say “mingalaba” (hello), and the response is almost always a big smile and a wave. In small towns such as Shwebo our faces were sore from all the smiling as nearly everyone on the street wanted to say hello. Most cafes we eat at have no menu and we generally wait until we see someone else eating something that looks good and then point to it and ask for two of that. Café staples are generally samosas, other fried bread things, or flat-bread served with dal ... read more
Yangon apartments
Moto-taxi ride
Street scene near Monywa

Asia » Burma » Mandalay Region » Bagan August 2nd 2011

Bagan is all about the temples. Apparently there are over 4000 temples in the area - the oldest ones date back to the 9th century. The best way to explore the temples is to either hire a bicycle or a horse cart. We were happy that we took the time to do both. The horse carts were fun, and the drivers were quite knowledgeable. The bicycle rentals were a little bit hit and miss and unfortunately, Jordan’s bike ended up with a flat tire one morning. It’s interesting to note how dry it is here compared with what we saw further south. Often we’d see threatening clouds, but didn’t really get much rain. When it did rain, we were thankful for some relief from the heat as it is hotter here than anywhere else we’ve been ... read more
temples 2
temples and horse cart
us on the train

Asia » Burma » Western Burma » Pyay July 30th 2011

So our next major destination is Bagan, but we wanted to break up the journey (normally a 14 hour overnight bus from Yangon) with a couple of stops along the way. Pyay is geographically about half way between Yangon and Bagan but the road conditions beyond Pyay mean that in actual travel time it’s a totally different story. The bus from Yangon to Pyay wasn’t too bad. It took us about 7 hours on a regular average bus with no A/C, but the driver made sure we had plenty of fresh air howling through the windows by doing his best to maintain maximum speed. We were again the only tourists on the bus and the entertainment consisted of soft, happy karaoke music and a cheesy Burmese sitcom with really bad acting. The city of Pyay (formerly ... read more
Our bus to Bagan
10 story buddha
Sunset over Shwesandaw Paya

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