Page 6 of Mat and Trace Travel Blog Posts

Asia » Laos May 4th 2005

We are in Vang Vieng again, after about 1000kms of riding up and back from Xam Nua in the north east of Laos on roads that consist of 25km corner, after 25km corner, after 25km corner, after 25km corner. Its like the Parapara road north of Wanganui gone wrong. Tomorrow we ride south to Vientiane, then catch the night train down to Bangkok, then the night bus/boat to Koh Tao to meet Trace on the 6th (yeah!). During our trip I have had three punctures. THREE PUNCTURES!!!! and one mechanical failure. Jeremy has had.... nothing go wrong.... mechanically, although he did land on his face (helmeted) after using a little too much front brake in the wet, but the roads are so devoid of grip that he just slid on the wet tar and suffered little ... read more
On the road Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang
"I thought you had money"
Plain of Jars.

Asia » Thailand April 10th 2005

10th April 2005 On Ko Tao diving again Jeremy and I have been in Ko Tao, Thailand, for a week now. He has his open water now, and I have taken him for 4 dives. We are heading back to Bangkok this afternoon (get there at 3am) then are going to head to Burma, Laos, or Northern Thailand - haven't decided yet. Its so good here. 16th April 2005 Ramble of an update We are heading to Luang Prabang tomorrow (Laos) CANT WAIT, love Laos. Have been kind of stuck in Chang Mai (which is not too bad a thing - $3.60 for a Thai massage, same each for our room) because with the new years thing everything is shut or booked. Was definitely an experience, for 5 days you could walk outside without being drenched ... read more
The most important stupa in Chang Mai
Hmong kids
Our guide got us lost in the Laos jungle

Asia » Thailand » South-West Thailand » Ko Tao September 28th 2003

Heading down the highway, looking for adventure, and whatever comes my waaaay, BOOORN TO BE WIIIILD............... I just bought a motorbike. Well a glorified scooter actually. Is 110cc and has at least 2 horse power. NZ$280 worth of motoring glory. It’s a dream... no really it’s a Dream (Honda). Her name is Lola. Have done my CPR course and have a free bungalow on the beach for three nights. Going for a deep dive tomorrow to 40m on enriched air. Excellent. Hot and sunny here. Must have a beer. I hate my life. 30th September I got a Thai sim card for my phone, so now you can call and send text messages etc, which I am sure you are all dying to do... Bit weird seeing as I am on a small island in the ... read more
My bungalow on Ko Tao
"Snorkel test" to celebrate finishing my divemaster
Climbing at Railay beach

Asia » Laos » South » Si Phan Don September 27th 2003

I have been away from internet cafes for 10 days or so (which is harder to do than you would think). I think when last I wrote I was talking about going on a five day trek in Savannakhet province. For some reason (which due to communication difficulties I was not able to ascertain) this trek is not being run any more. So instead I went to the very southern-most part of Laos to an area called the Four Thousand Islands. It is an area where the Mekong stretches to 14km across. In the dry season there are many many small sandy islands in the area (four thousand at last count apparently…) in addition to the larger ones with vegetation and even villages. At the moment it is the rainy season, and the area is more ... read more
Livestock transport
Locals after a successful fishing excursion on Don Det
Kids on Don Det

Asia » Vietnam » South Central Coast » Khanh Hoa » Nha Trang September 12th 2003

Jesse has left for the UK so I am now wandering around Vietnam by myself. I am at Nha Trang which is 10 hours north of Saigon, on the East coast. Yesterday I went on one of the boat trips around the islands. The only way they make any money is by selling beer (the day trip was US$6 including a huge lunch, snorkelling gear, taxi there...) so they encourage drinking to excess. They tally your beers and you pay at the end, according to the hosts I got the biggest score and "won". I went on "Mama Hanh's" tour. She is a legend around here, and used to go out on the boat 7 days a week and drink all the western boys under the table (she is about 70). Unfortunately she went to prison ... read more
On Mama Hanh's boat trip
On the train to Hue
Shot up church in DMZ

Asia » Cambodia » North » Siem Reap August 29th 2003

I am in Cambodia, which is a change from the diving island paradise of Ko Tao. I arrived in Siam Reap at about 9pm last night. Have got a styley guesthouse for $5US for both of us. The night in Bangkok before we travelled here was excellent, five of us bought some big decorated north-Thailand-hilltribe-women’s' hats and went on a bender. Even got a cheer from half of Gulliver’s (a pub in Khao San Rd) when five of us walked/danced in with the hats on. Standard stuff for Ponsonby Rd but it was received very well here. Stupid kiwis... I was working on the principle that if I got one hours sleep the 13 hour trip would pass quicker due to crashing on the bus. It worked for the Ko Tao - Bangkok trip a day ... read more
Old text at Bantay Srei
Bantay Srei
I am at the top

Asia » Thailand » South-West Thailand » Ko Tao August 15th 2003

What a night! The full moon was WAY bigger than any new years I have been to. And everyone wants to go mad. Very fun, went to bed after 8am, lost some chunks of memory but not my jandals (onto the fourth pair now). Watched the sun come up over the water. Magical, and also weird because nutters were still dancing in the full light of morning. I am in now in Ko Tao, a small island to the north of Ko Phangan (which is in the Gulf of Thailand). IT IS VERY BEAUTIFUL. Better than Ko Phangan. More peaceful. Less potential to lose sandals. Start my open water diving cert tomorrow, four days. Then am going to do the advanced PADI course. Deeper, night nav etc. Can't wait. I just had the best green curry ... read more
After the full-moon party
Sunset on the Masterdivers pier
Happy Jess

Asia » Thailand » South-West Thailand » Ko Pha-Ngan August 11th 2003

Yes, that is Jesse checking out the island scenery. Snapped. We are in Koh Phangan. It is the stereotypical beach paradise. White sand, blue water, hammocks between coconut trees... horrible place. The full moon party is tomorrow and the place is packed with westerners. There are some beautiful people (read girls) here, my god (nothing like you though Trace...). Not a very cultural experience, but oh well. My trip to Kanchanaburi was very cool. There is new museum about the death railway, which was first class. Saw the bridge on the river Kwai. Stayed on a floating guesthouse and sat around with the others on the trip and got "Chang-ed". Chang beer is about $1.50 for a big bottle at the service station or 7/11 and is 6.4% Alc/vol, brilliant. Floated down the river on a ... read more
Bridge on the river Kwai
Tourist train, Kanchanaburi
Hellfire Pass

Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand » Bangkok August 5th 2003

Yes, I have arrived, and am loving it. I've got no idea about much, am out of my comfort zone, excellent. Quite a mad place Bangkok compared to Clevedon... Although it’s surprising how familiar the place seems when you are sitting in a bar with a big beer. Its hot. I walked out of the plane and thought "hell its hot for 11pm" but didn't realise the airport was air-conditioned... We arrived into Bangkok at 11pm local time, and went with a mad Thai woman who was on the plane next to us to a hotel in the middle of the business district. Shower, air con, TV, fridge, for $14 each. Dodgy-looking though. First priority today was massage. Had an awesome Thai massage for an hour for $6. The little Thai massage girls loved us and ... read more
Mat and Chang
Our first morning

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