Page 6 of Sophie and Dale Travel Blog Posts

Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand » Ko Chang June 19th 2009

After enjoying the good food of Phnom Penh and not doing a whole lot else for the best part of a week we managed to drag ourselves away heading for Thailand and the island of Ko Chang. After a relatively straightforward bus ride via Koh Kong where we changed buses to the border, crossing the border, getting a minibus then having to change again (why so many changes?!) we arrived in Trat where we'd planned to spend the night instead of getting to Ko Chang late in the day. While we were in Phnom Penh we'd taken advantage of the Thai 'special offer' for a free 60 day tourist visa. This saved us quite a bit of money as the visas were $35 each and we were both feeling quite pleased with ourselves. We had to ... read more
The beach bar at Lonely Beach
Sophie and the mahout on the elephant
Lonely Beach

Asia » Cambodia » South » Phnom Penh June 10th 2009

To get from the beautiful 4,000 islands to Cambodia we'd booked a package that would take us over the border and the remaining 50odd kilometres to the town of Stung Treng. The crossing was fine, little huts either side of no mans land, but we did get ripped off in the usual border fee manner because that day the Cambodian border police had decided that they needed some extra money and decided to charge $21 instead of the usual $20.. a fact reinforced when the visa sticker clearly had $20 printed on it! Sophie did her best to argue but as usual with these things she was on a losing battle! Things were made worse still when we were then charged another $1 for the stamp.. bloody cheek! The bus journey was fine once we got ... read more
CCH girls
Dale with CCH boys
Sophie & SreyLeak

Asia » Laos » South » Si Phan Don May 18th 2009

Oh wow what a way to spend our final days in Laos.. the 4000 islands could not have been more perfect unless we'd tried and we were certainly glad we'd saved it for last. The 4000 islands is.. well 4000 islands which are all found in the Mekong, some very small but a few quite big with communities living on them. We'd caught a jumbo tuk-tuk for the 3 hour ride from Pakse to Ban Nakasang which is the jumping off point for either Don Det or Don Khon and we spent it getting to know Jocelyn on the way who was to be our good friend for our time on the islands. We'd already decided that we wanted to relax here rather than get high on happy shakes so chose Don Khon as our home ... read more
Dale watching for dolphins
Dale & Jocelyn on the bikes
Boats on the islands

Asia » Laos » South May 13th 2009

After leaving Vientiene we decided to miss out on the elephant salt lick because we just felt we weren't up to the mission to get there so headed straight for Ban Nah Hin which is the jumping off point to the 7km cave of Tham Kong Lo. Well when we say we headed straight there we actually had to get off the bus at Vieng Kham and hitch hiked the remaining 30km there as there were no buses at that time of day. Ban Nah Hin & Tham Kong Lo On arrival in Ban Nah Hin we thought we'd made a terrible mistake when most of the guesthouses we tried were full up, thankfully the last one was free and the cheapest too so we unpacked in our bamboo hut and enjoyed a meal in their ... read more
Village on the other side of Tham Kong Lo
Scenery around Tham Kong Lo

Asia » Laos » West » Vientiane May 5th 2009

We actually went to Vang Vieng after leaving Phonovan but for a number of reasons we only stayed here one night and left the following day. The 2 main reasons for this being a flying visit are that a) this is THE main backpacker place in Laos and therefore is nothing like the real Laos. The streets are lined with bars playing Friends on repeat with lots of stoned teenagers lounging around inside dressed in their bikinis.. not our cup of tea, and reason b) is because Sophie was still very sick at this point and stayed in bed the whole time so was not up to the main activity of tubing and getting smashed out her tree so we moved on the next day to Vientiene... As with most of the places we'd been to ... read more
Pha That Luang
Buddha inside Pha That Luang

Asia » Laos » East » Phonsavan May 3rd 2009

We got the bus ok to Udomaxi but had decided on the way that the place we all really wanted to go to was the little known town of Muang Vieng Tong in the far east of the country. Our bus didn't arrive in Udomaxi until 5pm and we really didn't want to stay there a night so were a bit disappointed to learn that there was only one bus a day at 9am to Nong Khiaw, which was where we needed to get to in order to get yet another bus to Muang Vieng Tong. We hadn't eaten all day so found a local restaurant to fill us up then Max suggested trying to hitch hike our way there as the road seemed pretty busy so we thought we had nothing to lose... We made ... read more
Hunting man
Plain of Jars
Plain of jars

Asia » Laos » North » Luang Namtha April 29th 2009

Along with Max & Yinca, we all had high hopes of what we could do in the Luang Nam Tha Provice.. promises of experiencing the hill tribes, trekking through the Nam Ha NPA (National Protected Area) all awaited us but sadly it was not all we had hoped... After getting dropped off at the usual bus station arrangement 10km outside the town we protested against paying the 10,000kip cost to get us into town and told all the greedy drivers we'd rather walk than pay nearly half the cost of what it had cost us to do a 7 hour journey, so headed off along the main road bound for town. We didn't really want to walk as it was so hot but we were getting a bit fed up of this arrangement and just hoped ... read more
Monks watching a rocket reach for the sky
The pink Laos ladies
Launching tower

Asia » Laos » West » Luang Prabang April 25th 2009

We were all quite surprised by Luang Prabang when we pulled up to the centre in our tuk tuk from the bus station. Perhaps naively we had all expected the second largest city in Laos to be a little more built up than it was. Not that this came as a disappointment as it was lovely not to see a highrise in sight and it was literally all made up of small rows of colonial houses scattered with ornate Wats here and there.. just beautiful and so relaxed. Our first afternoon was spent in the usual way of filling ourselves with food and seeing what there was to see. Luang Prabang really isn't very big so it's very easy to walk around and see lots it in a very short space of time. Back to the ... read more
Wat Manolom and monks Dale befriended
The Royal Palace Museum
Sun setting in Laung Prabang

Asia » Laos » West » Nong Khiaw April 21st 2009

After being given some helpful advice from our guesthouse lady in Hanoi we'd decided to cross from Vietnam to Laos by the Dien Bien Pu/Tay Trang crossing in the far North. This was a triple bonus for us as it meant that we could spend an extra day in Sapa, we saved money on getting the train back to Hanoi and we would enter Laos in the far North which is exactly where we wanted to be. Our first stage of the journey was a minibus ride from Sapa to Dien Bien Pu. It was in this minibus that we met our fellow worldwide travelling crew who we would spend the next few days with. It was a relief to us to have quite a big group as this border crossing was relatively new and as ... read more
Dale helping to carry a boat to short
Girls on the riverbank
Muang Khua

Asia » Vietnam » Northwest » Lao Cai » Sapa April 18th 2009

We had our first proper sleeper train experience from Hanoi to Lao Cai and a very good one it was at that. We'd booked the hard sleeper beds which are second most expensive option but still only $11 each so good value (note to other travellers doing this route... never book the train though an agency or hotel as they charge up to double the price of getting it direct from the train station). The hard sleepers have 6 bunks per cabin and we'd bagged top bunks which worked out perfectly after we'd managed to climb up there with Sophie giving the lady & gentleman below a flash of her knickers by mistake.. bloody loose trousers! We were glad we had the top bunks as the other people in our carriage seemed to sit on the ... read more
Starting  work young in the rice terrace
Rice terrace
Hmong people weaving

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