Ren & Andrew


Ren & Andrew

This blog documents the feeding of our travel addiction - one country at a time.

Travel is an essential part of our life, and we'll continue to travel until our addiction wanes (which probably won't be in this lifetime)! The more we travel, the more we see; and the more we see, the more we understand that we know so little - which is a brilliant thing.

We love the little corner of south eastern Australia we call home, but we are at our happiest when throwing ourselves into a new adventure and experiencing new cultures. Rather than doing round-the-world trips, our preferred style of travel is to spend a block of time in one country or region and get a real feel for that area and its people. We also love love love eating and drinking! We think that getting to know the food and its associated cultural nuances is a brilliant way to understand a our posts are bound to contain many epicurean details.

If you are interested in our travels please feel free to Follow us, or if you aren't a Travel Blog member and wish to receive an email alert whenever we add a new blog entry, you can subscribe to this blog. If you have any questions or comments, you can contact us through the Comments section at the very bottom of each post or via the Message function.

Hope you enjoy our travel stories as much as we enjoy writing and sharing them with you! 😊
Ren and Andrew

And if travel is like is mostly because it's a heightened state of awareness, in which we are mindful, receptive, undimmed by familiarity and ready to be transformed. That is why the best trips, like the best love affairs, never really end. ~ Pico Iyer

Oceania » Australia » Tasmania March 15th 2021

We are all visitors to this time, this place ~ Aboriginal Australian Proverb This is a very different type of blog for us. Firstly, we won’t be writing it in a HE SAID... / SHE SAID... style. I (Ren) will be doing most of the writing with input from Andrew. Secondly, this Tasmanian trip will span the whole year, with day trips, long weekends and possibly week-long excursions being undertaken whenever we have the time. As is our usual routine before we travel, we’ve started immersing ourselves in books, films and TV shows about/set in Tasmania. Tasmania has many faces and moods, but it seems that many writers and directors have chosen to focus on stories about the bleak and austere aspects of island life. It’s even been given a title – Tassie Noir – a ... read more
maps and brochures at the ready
unimpressed mia :)
worried jasper

Oceania » Australia » Tasmania March 8th 2021

May as well be here we are as where we are ~ Aboriginal Australian Proverb Hello people! Between COVID issues sidelining most of the world last year and us being unpredictably crazy busy for 12 straight months, we’ve only just started thinking about travel again. When we returned from our overseas trip at the end of January 2020 (at the start of the coronavirus pandemic), we decided pretty much straight away that 2021 would be the year we focus on travelling locally in Tasmania – the little heart shaped island State at the bottom of Australia. Obviously no one could have possibly foreseen the chaos that has been unleashed on the planet over the last 15 or so months. However, we generally tend to err on the side caution when making travel plans, because careful scheduling ... read more
map of tassie :)
travel viewing
travel reading

Asia » Laos January 31st 2020

HE SAID... In this short trip we travelled through two Southeast Asian countries. We spent six days in Thailand (travelling northwards from Bangkok to Chiang Khong), and then ten days in Laos (travelling southeast from Huay Xai to Vientiane). We usually try to contain our travel adventures to a single country, as it allows us to get to know the place – the food, the people, the political atmosphere, the historic impacts and the currency. However, we’ve occasionally swayed from our one-country travel rule, and with fantastic results. We explored Guatemala, Belize and Mexico in 2016, and Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria in 2018. Both trips were extraordinary, and with the exception of Belize, I really felt we gained a real sense of each individual country. With this in mind, we weren’t too worried about breaking our ... read more
bangkok - nam pla prik (fresh chillies in fish sauce and vinegar)
bangkok - wat pho reclining buddha
bangkok - som tum (green papaya salad)

Asia » Laos » West » Vientiane January 29th 2020

HE SAID... Having checked out of our Vientiane hotel (Family Boutique Hotel) in the mid-afternoon, we shared a light lunch just around the corner at Makphet, the same place we’d lunched the previous day. We were quite taken with the place, as it is a vocational training restaurant for young Laotians, and it is achieving life-changing results. We walked back to the hotel and settled in the lobby for an hour or so, then jumped into a taxi and headed to Wattay International Airport at 6pm. We were leaving Laos. Free face-masks were being handed out by officials at the airport in a half-hearted attempt to protect against the rampant coronavirus that had flared in China in early January. However, the masks really only offered a placebo-induced peace of mind. We were certainly not fully protected, ... read more
our last taste of laos :)
vientiane airport
vientiane airport

Asia » Laos » West » Vientiane January 27th 2020

When you’ve heard it, you must see it; only after you’ve seen it make a judgement with your heart… ~ Lao Proverb HE SAID... Today we were continuing to explore the friendly and peaceful city of Vientiane. We woke late and headed down to the Family Boutique Hotel’s large dining area for a late breakfast. It was the last few days of our Thai-Laotian holiday, and we were focused on relaxing in Vientiane. As was becoming customary on this trip, I enjoyed fresh baguettes and omelettes – my favourite way to start each day in Laos. I also helped myself to cornflakes, toast and jam, excellent coffee, terrible tea and the strange orange cordial that features at every breakfast buffet in the country. After our leisurely breakfast, we shared a jumbo (motorbike with a covered trailer ... read more
pha that luang
pha that luang
pha that luang

Asia » Laos » West » Vientiane January 26th 2020

You know, you teach. You do not know, you learn … ~ Lao Proverb HE SAID... Today we were travelling south from Vang Vieng to Vientiane. We woke early (5:30am), as we had an early start. We were leaving for Vientiane at 8am, and it was our last destination in Laos. We headed down to Phetchaleun Hotel’s large dining area at 7am, where I helped myself to a fresh baguette, omelette, tea, coffee and the ubiquitous orange cordial that our Laotian hosts always offered in the morning. With breakfast complete, we loaded our packs into a minibus and made our way out of Vang Vieng. Within minutes we were speeding towards Vientiane, hitting every conceivable pothole on the way – the roads in Laos are not in the best of condition. At first the terrain was ... read more
iced coffees
khao soi
khao piak sen

Asia » Laos » West » Vang Vieng January 25th 2020

Don’t blame the buffalo if your fence is not good… ~ Lao Proverb HE SAID... Today we were exploring the caves and villages on the outskirts of Vang Vieng. Having arrived in the late afternoon the previous day, we had not explored much of this tourist-centric town on the eastern bank of the Nam Song (Song River). However, we had the whole day ahead of us, and we were intent on getting out of town and into the caves on the western side of the river. We woke late and had a late breakfast – it was the first time we’d taken it easy in Laos. The buffet breakfast at Phetchaleun Hotel was fairly basic, but there was an incredibly fresh baguette on offer, and it mixed perfectly with the freshly made omelette, so I had ... read more
morning view from hotel room
khao piak sen (chicken noodle soup)
nam song bridge

Asia » Laos » West » Vang Vieng January 24th 2020

When the buffaloes fight, it is the grass that suffers… ~ Lao Proverb HE SAID... Today we were travelling south from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng. After bearing witness to monks collecting alms from devotees (and non-devoted tourists) in the old city centre of Luang Prabang, we made our way back to Hotel Legend in pre-dawn darkness to finalise our packs and prepare for a gruelling seven hour road trip to Vang Vieng. We settled in the hotel’s dining area around 7am, where I enjoyed a reasonably simple breakfast of muesli, omelette, tea, toast and jam, along with a couple of glasses of the ubiquitous orange cordial that is a steadfast component of every Thai and Laos breakfast buffet. After a quick trip in a songthaew (a converted pick-up truck with benches down either side) to ... read more
road to vang vieng
road to vang vieng
roadhouse lunch

Asia » Laos » West » Luang Prabang January 23rd 2020

Although he who walks behind an elephant may feel secure, he is likely to get splattered with elephant dung… ~ Lao Proverb HE SAID... Today we were continuing to explore the calm and alluring township of Luang Prabang. We woke early, but headed to breakfast fairly late at 7:30am. I enjoyed muesli with yoghurt and milk, but I made the mistake of ordering the special eggs with toppings – a type of baked eggs with sweet bread and sweet Chinese sausage. I simply didn't like it (which is VERY rare for me), so I had to re-order a vegetarian omelette, which was so much better. The woman in the kitchen wasn’t very impressed with me at all, but then again, I don’t think she was all that impressed with people in general. Cold orange cordial and ... read more
mandalao elephant conservation
mandalao - panda
mandalao - tu

Asia » Laos » West » Luang Prabang January 21st 2020

A person’s stripes are inside; those of a tiger are outside… ~ Lao Proverb HE SAID... Today we were arriving in the calm and alluring township of Luang Prabang. After another full day on the Mekong in a long wooden slow boat (we’d pushed off the riverbank at Pak Beng about eight hours earlier), we arrived at a berthing area for slow boats just outside Luang Prabang in the early evening. We clambered onto the riverbank, struggled up a particularly steep set of stairs to the roadside and jumped into a waiting minibus – we were heading to Legend Hotel, our comfortable accommodation in Luang Prabang for the next three nights. In the lead up to this trip, I found time to read A Dragon Apparent – Travels in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam by Norman Lewis. ... read more
wat ho pha bang
streets of luang prabang
morning market

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