Page 4 of Nomads Travel Blog Posts

Asia » Cambodia » South » Phnom Penh January 8th 2007

The music started at 5am after which, sleep was almost impossible. It came from a loudspeaker mounted on a dilapidated building facing the square. Sunrise was still an hour away but - by the time it was light - the market square was already busy with people going about their daily business. Market traders who had spent the night asleep at their stalls were re-arranging produce or chatting with their neighbours. Barrow boys with wooden carts laden with fruit, sacks of rice or tins of paint, ferried purchases or stock to and from the market. Cows walked nonchalantly through the streets, and in amongst the crowds of people and piles of rank smelling rubbish weaved the ever present motorcycle taxis, known locally as "moto-dop" or more simply as a "moto". The music that had started at ... read more
Kratie Market
Border Crossing
Phnom Penh Sunrise

Asia » Laos » South » Si Phan Don December 27th 2006

A bumpy ride down an unmade dirt road culminated finally in a swirling cloud of dust outside a crude collection of shacks in the village of Ban Nakasang. Jumping down from the truck that had taken us there, seven of us - two Brits, two Australians and three French guys - stood looking around ourselves, squinting in the harsh light of mid day. It was like a scene from a spaghetti western; the unshaven jaws - or legs, in Viv's case - the sidelong glances, the settling dust. All it lacked was the Morricone soundtrack. Where did we go now, we wondered, dusty packs sitting at our feet. It was a Laotian voice, not a mexican one that came to our aid. A group of men sitting in the shade of a nearby shop were pointing ... read more
Bamboo Huts...

Asia » Laos » South » Bolaven Plateau December 24th 2006

Vientiane was hot: almost unbearably so. Even sitting at a street cafe sipping a cold drink, I could feel the sweat running down my chest and soaking uncomfortably into the waistband of my trousers. A stop in the nation's capital - home to a surprisingly small population of around 200,000 people - was almost inevitable on the long trip south but for us, it was a necessary evil as we wanted to organise onward visas for Cambodia. The Laos / Cambodian crossing at Voen Kham was not an officially recognised border entry or exit point by the Governments of either country. Increasingly however, adventurous travellers were managing to get through and - since Thailand had introduced new immigration laws from early November that would affect us - we had decided to extend our stay in Indochina ... read more
Flying the Flag
Bolaven Plateau
Tadlo Waterfall

Asia » Laos » West » Vang Vieng December 1st 2006

Striking off across rice paddyfields amid stunning limestone karst scenery - unfeasibly shaped mountains with saw-toothed ridges all around us - we revelled in the sense of freedom and drama our new surroundings afforded. We were in Vang Vieng in central Laos and it felt good to be able to wander unrestricted across the fields and not have to worry about landmines. Bombs, Mines and Stone Age Jars Only a few days before, landmines - and other forms of unexploded ordnance (UXO) - had been a very real concern. We had been in Xieng Khuang province, close to the borders of Vietnam and China. During the Vietnam war, the province had seen some of the heaviest bombing of the conflict - as evidenced by the number of bomb craters that still scar the province today. At ... read more
Ordnance from a Secret War
Miss Bombshell, 2006
Stone-age Jars

Asia » Laos » West » Ban Houayxay November 18th 2006

There is a saying in travel that says, "It is not the destination that matters but the journey" and nowhere on our trip so far has this been more true than on the 2-day boat trip down the Mekong in Laos. We had left Thailand on a fish-tailed ferry boat for the short crossing over to Hauy Xai, lugging our packs up the boat ramp with a last, fond look back at Thailand before going through customs procedures and entering Laos. I had wanted to do the Mekong boat trip ever since reading Dervla Murphy's account of a similar journey undertaken in the nineteen nineties. Admitedly, things had changed since then - it had become a lot more popular and commercialised for one thing but the same old rice barges were still being used today and ... read more
Into Laos
Full Speed Ahead!
Bargaining For A Beer

Asia » Thailand » Northern Thailand » Chiang Khong November 11th 2006

Drifting in and out of sleep. Light from outside the room catching on the mosquito net. A guitar being played nearby, a Thai-accented voice singing the words to a John Lennon song - "Don't Let me Down." In Southeast Asia, it was sometimes hard to discern the difference between the waking moment and the dream. So many sights, sounds, smells and tastes. Colour and experiences beyond your wildest dreams.... or nightmares. Was I dreaming and where were we? How many times would we ask ourselves those questions during the course of our trip? We were still in Thailand of course, but only just and stood on the brink of entering a new country. That day, we had arrived in Chiang Khong in Thailand's northeast corner. After finding somewhere to stay we wandered out to the edge ... read more
Bamboo Rafts
"Look Like Crokalai"

Asia » Thailand » North-West Thailand » Mae Hong Son November 5th 2006

2nd NOV : Doi Kong, Mae Hong Son The air at the top of the hill was much cooler than it was down below and the view extended out across the mountains of Myanmar (Burma) to the west. We had hitched a lift up to the mountaintop temple of Wat Doi Kong Mu with a Thai couple, who like us, were visiting to participate in festival celebrations at the temple. The celebrations were part of Loy Kratong, the "Festival of Light", and Thai visitors were sending up paper balloons beneath which hung a small cup with a candle inside. Make a wish or a prayer and send it to the Gods in a hot air balloon, that was the general idea anyway. "Look at the balloons Laurie", said Viv pointing upwards at the little trail of ... read more
Mae Sariang
Sign of the times
Hill Tribe Women

Asia » Thailand » North-West Thailand » Kamphaeng Phet November 2nd 2006

Four days after our arrival, we cast about for somewhere we could go and acclimatise gently to the heat and tumult of Asia. Kamphaeng Phet was a six-hour bus journey north of Bangkok and seemed to fit the bill. “A small provincial capital”, the guidebook said, “dominated by a number of Sukothai-era temples, that sees few foreign visitors.” It sounded so promising that, a couple of days later, we were ensconced in a small guesthouse close to the walls of the old city. The journey there by bus took us across the flat central plains which now, in the wake of the rainy season, were a vast flooded waterworld. Trees stood knee deep in water and waterlogged fields stretched as far as the eye could see. Even small villages had not been spared, their ramshackle buildings ... read more
Ticket to Ride
Let Sleeping Buddhas Lie
Wat Phra Kaeo

Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand » Bangkok October 22nd 2006

No matter how prepared I thought we were Bangkok was still a shock to the system - particularly after the cool, leafy confines of home in Cornwall. The temperature is the first thing you notice. You feel it the moment you step outside the air-conditioned halls of the airport: it’s like walking into a solid wall of wet heat. Within minutes, you’re sweating profusely and wondering if you’ll ever get used to the humidity. As if that isn’t enough to contend with, you quickly realise that you’ve somehow got to cope with Bangkok as well, no mean feat when you’re lugging a backpack that suddenly feels like it’s full of bricks. Bangkok is somewhere you either love or hate. Home to around 6,000,000 inhabitants, the city is noisy, polluted and choked with traffic day and night. ... read more
Tuk Tuk
Khao San Road at Night
Temple Architecture, Bangkok

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Norfolk » Norwich October 16th 2006

….”Six, Five, Four…” All Journeys have a beginning and an end. Ours began in Cornwall. The idea was born in the cold depths of winter. Most trips to hotter climates often are and frequently follow hot-on-the-heels of one too many dark winters. Life, we had decided, was too short to put things off. There are times in all our lives when we are reminded painfully of the fragile nature of our existence. You never know what’s around the corner and it really doesn’t pay to put off something you want to do until tomorrow. And besides, we both wanted to feel again - " The heat of life in a handful of dust ", as Joseph Conrad once described it - that passion for life that we must squeeze from every moment before it is gone. ... read more
Constable Country
Dreaming Spires

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