Page 4 of Gemma and Stephen Travel Blog Posts


Asia September 14th 2009

We expected Malaysia much like our experiences in Thailand, Lao Cambodia, and Vietnam but it wasn’t really. We had been mulling over our time in Malaysia so far and it was hard to put our finger on exactly what had changed but something had. Even though we were still in Asia with the same climate, same region of the world it was different. Was it that there weren’t as many tourists, or was it fewer budget backpackers like us? Was it that everything seems to run slightly more efficiently or perhaps that the population was less? Perhaps a different majority religion? We were now in a predominately Islamic country. Or maybe that Malaysia is a wealthier country compared to its northern counterparts? We think it is a combination of all of these things and we reflected ... read more
Sepolik Orang Utan Sanctuary
Sepolik Orang Utan Sanctuary
Sepolik Orang Utan Sanctuary

Asia September 11th 2009

The easiest was to get to Kuala Lumpur was to fly from Phuket, and thanks to Air Asia it was the cheapest option too. We were back in sightseeing and culture mode and it was straight into the busy and exciting city of Kuala Lumpur. We managed to find a B&B centrally and close to the Monorail line which made getting around easy. Straight away we could see that Kuala Lumpur was different from the other cities we had been to in SE Asia, a little more ‘westernised’ than we were used to. Public transport was cheap and efficient, more accessible, and of a greater variety. Sightseeing suddenly became very much of a do it yourself affair as it was easier to get around whereas elsewhere we had been organising all-inclusive day tours from our hotel ... read more
Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur

Asia » Thailand » South-West Thailand » Railay September 5th 2009

Asia August 14th 2009

After a busy few months travelling and being on the go constantly we left Vietnam and spent a time on a few of the Islands in southern Thailand. Having visited the previous year we knew what to expect and we were very much looking forward to relaxing and soaking up some sun. First we went to Koh Samui and Ko Pha Ngan in the gulf of Thailand with Rob & Lorraine and then on own we moved over to the Andaman coast where we spent a further ten nights in Krabi and Phuket. This was our holiday from our holiday. We picked Rob & Lorraine up at the airport in Bangkok and from there it was back to our old reliable Shanti Lodge for accommodation. We were all buzzing with the excitement of seeing each other ... read more
Ko Pha Ngan
Ko Pha Ngan
Ko Pha Ngan

Asia » Vietnam » Northwest » Lao Cai » Sapa August 7th 2009

Our last week in Vietnam was spent between Sapa and Hanoi. Before getting the overnight train up to Sapa we went to the water puppets show in Hanoi which was excellent, it is an ancient technique for puppetry that has been used by rice farmers for about 1000 years but has only been known outside Vietnam since 1969. At first we were trying to figure out how they did it but 10 minutes in we were just as mesmerized as everyone else. The hour show was little skits based on a rice farmer’s life and Vietnamese mythological figures. It was a fantastic way to enjoy our evening. After a rather long and uncomfortable overnight journey through the mountains of northern Vietnam we arrived early into Lao Cai and then a bumpy mini bus journey for the ... read more
Sapa
Sapa
Sapa

Asia » Vietnam » Northeast August 5th 2009

Halong Bay in Northeast Vietnam was without a doubt the highlight of our trip so far. We organised a two night tour of the bay from our base in Hanoi and were collected from our hotel early the day after we arrived in Hanoi. It was a three hour drive to Halong Bay where we boarded our boat and were immediately treated to a big lunch before settling into our room on board our junk boat, we would spend the first night on their boat and the second night on Cat Ba Island. We then set sail through the most breath-taking scenery imaginable while sitting on deck with a cold beer in hand. We stopped at cave where we wandered through the many rock formations, before we climbed what felt like 342 million steps to a ... read more
Halong Bay
Halong Bay
Halong Bay

Asia » Vietnam » North Central Coast » Thua Thien - Huế August 5th 2009

It took us only four hours to reach Hue from Hoi An, once there we found ourselves in a nice little hotel where we managed to get a great room, right on the top floor so had a great view of the city. One of the main sights we wanted to see was the citadel and for this we decided to explore by bicycle, as it turned out this was a great way to cover loads of ground and see as much as possible. It was a little nerve wracking at first as we had to contend with some very hectic traffic, there were lots of motorbikes and we came only second to people in the food chain, or rather road chain. The citadel also known as the Imperial city was built by Vietnam's past Emperors, ... read more
Around the grounds of the Citadel
Around the grounds of the Citadel
Around the grounds of the Citadel

Asia » Vietnam » South Central Coast » Quảng Nam » Hoi An July 26th 2009

After a late night bus from Saigon we found ourselves in Nha Trang, a town on the coast of Vietnam. We spent three nights here, chilling on the beach by day and drinking in the bars by night, this town was definitely a party town and we had no shortage of bars to choose from. We did a pub crawl one night which was great fun, we ended up at a rave at a bar on the beach called the sailing club. After Nha Trang we head up the coast to a sleepy little town called Qhy Nhon. There was nothing to do here but relax, we settled ourselves in a little spot called Barbara’s Backpackers which was right on the beach front. And the best thing about Qhy Nhon was that we were two of ... read more
Qhy Nhon
Qhy Nhon
Qhy Nhon

Asia » Vietnam July 20th 2009

We arrived in Ho Chi Minh City mid-afternoon after crossing the border from Cambodia. We got a coach from Phnom Penh early morning and arrived at the border, we had to get off the coach with our bags which were put through scanners just like at an airport, we had to go through immigration as well, and again similar to the immigration desks that they have at an airport. Unlike our previous border crossing which was a river crossing and a walk down a dirt track in the middle of the jungle we were surprised at the border with Vietnam, it’s seemed much more official and serious, armed guards dotted across the border and a huge increase security on the Vietnam side. Everything went ok though thankfully and we passed through with ease. We dumped our ... read more
Cao Dai Temple
Cao Dai Temple
Cu Chi Tunnels

Asia » Cambodia » South » Sihanoukville July 11th 2009

We spent just two weeks in Cambodia and our second week was split between Sihanoukville in the very south of the country and Phnom Penh, the capital. We were originally planning to spend three nights in Phnom Penh, but having heard concerning reports from various travellers in regards to bag snatching and pick-pocketing we decided to cut it down to two nights and spend first part of the week in Sihanoukville. There are some great beaches here and we spent our days lying on the beach relaxing by day and drinking cocktails by night, what a way to pass our time in this pretty corner of the world. We took a boat trip out to a few of the nearby islands one day, did a spot of snorkelling, stopped for lunch on this little island called ... read more
Sihnoukville
Sihnoukville
Sihnoukville




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