Page 5 of Jon Plunkett Travel Blog Posts

Asia » Thailand » North-West Thailand » Chiang Mai » Doi Suthep October 9th 2011

Chiang Mai – Thai cooking and my rude awakening to the level of my mountain biking ability. As described in the lonely planet Chiang Mai is a cultural darling, a cool place to kick back and relax. I have to say the lonely planet guides have been fantastic and the info is so up to date and current it’s priceless. There have been so many occasions where it has saved me a fortune by just knowing what prices I should be paying for stuff. Big praise for the LP! Chiang Mai turned out to be exactly as described, it was a really relaxing city with a homely feel about it, it was quite apparent that tourism is stamping it’s mark here but it’s not a massive scene like some cities. Whilst in Chiang Mai I wanted ... read more
Chiang Mai - BaanThai cooking school
Chiang Mai - Wat Phra Singh
Chiang Mai - Cooking school

Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand » Ko Chang October 3rd 2011

Koh Chang – A perfect break on a paradise island at the white sands beach resort. Following a few days in Bangkok Maam and I headed to the Island of Koh Chang for some rest and relaxation. We took a mini-van to the nearest town called Trat and got a ferry across to the Island. Because I had a first class guide (I know you will hate me for saying this ha ha) everything was nice and simple and the journey was drama free which makes a nice change for me. I have to confess I got a bit lazy having Maam around because it meant I didn’t have to worry about anything or struggle with the Thai language. Once we reached the island we hired a moped and had the freedom to explore. Things here ... read more
Koh Chang - View from the tiger huts
Koh Chang - Me again
Koh Chang - Don't worry he is still alive!

Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand » Bangkok October 1st 2011

Bangkok – The city were anything goes! After leaving Nepal I headed to Thailand and after saying I didn’t fancy India at the moment the irony was my flight stopped at Delhi for 1 hour before the interconnecting flight, but there was no stamp in the passport. I only had one hour to make the interconnecting flight which is normally fine but the flight was delayed by 30 minutes in Kathmandu and then to make things worse the doors wouldn’t open on the plane when it landed in Delhi. After a stressful time trying to clear the slowest and most stupid security system I’ve ever seen I finally made my plane just before they were about to close the gate, it was rather stressful for a few minutes and I had to run about 1.5km to ... read more
Bangkok - Wat Arun
Bangkok - Wat Arun
Bangkok - Wat Arun

Asia » Nepal » Chitwan September 23rd 2011

Chitwan National Park – Rhino spotting, elephant riding and being attacked by leaches, just another normal day at the office really. Although I may have spoken rather negatively about Kathmandu and Pokhara in my last blog my time in Chitwan National Park was a totally different experience. After a 5 hour bus journey from Kathmandu I reached the national park gates and was greeted by my guide in his flame red open back pickup truck. Several of us piled in and we headed to our hotel on some very bumpy dirt tracks. It was a very strange experience because the vast majority of the traffic on the roads inside the national park were that well known automotive brand from back home…… the elephant! It was the most bizarre thing I’ve seen, elephants were almost replacing taxi’s! ... read more
Chitwan national Park - The Rhino's
Chitwan Nation Park - A quick game of football!
Chitwan National Park - Sunset

Asia » Nepal » Kathmandu » Thamal September 20th 2011

Nepal - Kathmandu and Pokhara, this is when I realised I’m not quite ready for India at the moment and a change of plan was required. After a tentative night’s sleep following the earthquake the night before, the border crossing into Nepal was relatively uneventful, it did take several hours to get across but this is to be expected. The one thing that will stay with me for a long time is the image of the women and families crossing into Nepal with what seemed like their whole life possessions on their back. Women no taller than 5ft were carrying loads in excess of 40-50kg on their back and heads, this really put me to shame when I was complaining about having to keep my 16kg bag on my back because the floor was to disgusting ... read more
Kathmandu - Monkey Temple
Nepal - The road/river to Kathmandu
Kathamndu - Land slide!

Asia » China » Tibet » Everest September 17th 2011

Everest Base Camp – A distinct lack of oxygen and possibly the scariest drive I’ve ever had the misfortune of taking. And all finished off with an Earthquake, I’m just a hard-core thrill seeker. After a few days sightseeing and acclimatisation to the altitude in Lhasa, it was time to begin the final drive to Everest Base Camp. Needless to say this didn’t get off to a great start. Our guides decided to go to a club the night before and therefore didn’t make it to the permit office until 10:30am the following morning, the original plan was to leave at 10am so it was clear to see that wouldn’t be happening. Nothing moves quickly in Tibet and at 2:30pm they arrived at our bus with the permits and the reception they got from our group ... read more
The final shot of our group before we spilt.
The journey to Base Camp
More prayer flag hanging.

Asia » China » Tibet » Lhasa September 14th 2011

Lhasa – A holy city, a people watchers paradise and somewhere China should not turn into the next Shanghai!! After spending a couple of days in Chengdu before my flight to Lhasa it became hugely apparent my appetite for large Chinese cities had pretty much vanished. After spending three brilliant weeks in the country side around Yunnan, Chengdu just seemed really disappointing and lacking some vital ingredients such as visible blue skies and postcard perfect backgrounds. Even though I splashed out a whopping £10 per night for my first private room giving me the chance to re-pack my bags and switch off for a while it’s still fair to say I was glad to be heading to Lhasa back to the mountains and lakes. Although the Panda research centre just outside Chengdu was cool to visit ... read more
Lhasa - Some friendly locals
Yamtso Tso Lake - Plus a dog
Lhasa - A random local bar!

Asia » China » Yunnan » Tiger Leaping Gorge September 7th 2011

Lijiang – The Tiger Leaping Gorge My next stop in China was Lijiang within the Yunnan province, the main purpose of my visit was to trek the Tiger Leaping Gorge. Legend has it that a tiger jumped the gorge at its narrowest point to escape a hunter, hence the name. The city of Lijiang itself is very peaceful and quite beautiful with its quaint old town complete with canals and numerous street vendors. I only spent one evening here but still managed to get involved with a bit of traditional street dancing before setting off on a two hour bus journey to the gorge. Sadly on the day of departure it was raining very heavily and it’s strongly advised not to trek the gorge in the rain, so a change of plan was needed. In Lijiang ... read more
You have to love the self timer option
Refreshing waterfall towards the end
The view just after Naxi Guest house

Asia » China » Yunnan » Shangri-La September 5th 2011

Shangri-la (and Lijiang) – An unexpected diversion but an insight of what is to come in Tibet. Because the heavy rain meant we were unable to trek the Tiger leaping gorge it was a quick impulse decision between myself, Steffi and Bianca to head to Shangri-la for a couple of days to experience the Tibetan culture and undertake a bit of exploration and trekking. The roads leading from Lijiang to Shangri-la are very much under construction, which is a similar story to the rest of China with large scale development everywhere you go. It’s very difficult to describe the roads but basically they are a cross between mud and rocks, when wet it’s like driving through a shallow stream and when it’s dry it is like going through a sand storm. Two hours of these roads ... read more
Shangri-la - View from above
Shangri-la - Our peaceful hike
Shangri-la - How about some horse?

Asia » China » Guangxi » Yangshuo August 31st 2011

Yangshuo – Don’t talk to me about electric mopeds! After a non-eventful bus journey to Yangshuo it was apparent on the bus ride there the mountains and scenery where exactly as described in the guide books. The panoramic scenery that stood before me was incredibly beautiful with mountains appearing from everywhere and somehow the layer of thin smog and mist that covered them made it feel even more amazing and more like a scene from a movie. It was like something out of Human Planet, although it did have one downside, because I could not stop looking at anything around me I wasn’t really paying attention to other minor issues such as the traffic and uneven terrain and therefore often walking out in front of the odd bike or stumbling over a particularly uneven path, thankfully ... read more
Yangshuo - Bike ride
Yangshuo - Bike ride
Yangshuo - Buddha Cave

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