Page 6 of mikesrtw Travel Blog Posts

Asia » Laos » West » Vang Vieng July 28th 2015

Once the notorious party town of Laos, it drew swarms of young travellers from all over to lose their self in3 tubing, drinking, drugs and whatever else the town had to offer. It finally reached its peak in 2012, before the government shut everything down following a number of accidents and deaths involving travellers. With nothing else to keep the tourists coming, numbers dwindled and many guesthouses and bars were forced to close. With it beautiful scenary, huge karst mountains surrounding the river that run through this town it is understandable why people keep coming. Jumping to 2015, we arrive after a hairy ride on some thin foggy roads from Luang Prabang, in the underwhelming ghost town of Vang vieng. Even though there was a mix of western and Chinese tourists milling around, the town ... read more
Starting point for tubing
Heavy rain on the currently quiet streets
First person perspective of tubing

Asia » Laos » West » Luang Prabang July 24th 2015

Luang Prabang: A town that almost all travellers in Laos pass through, sometimes the only place in Laos some travellers on a 3/4 week South East Asia tour visit. Attracted by the Mekong riverside location, the abundance of golden glittering temples, the saffron cladded monks that causally roam the streets and the many activities on offer here; Luang Prabang is generally a place in South East Asia that is described as one not to be missed. Arriving in town, we were dropped off at the north bus station around 1.5 kilometres from the centre. As usual a couple of tricycle drivers waited for us patiently and instantly seized upon the opportunity to make money from some unassuming westerners. Unlike the rest of the group who willingly jumped in a shared large tricycle for 20k kip each, ... read more
Largest veggie buffet we've ever seen
Kuang Si falls

Asia » Laos » North » Muang Ngoi Neua July 21st 2015

Muang Ngoi: Another riverside location but more of a smaller village, made up of dirt paths extending only a couple of streets back from the riverside. Unlike Nong Khiaw there was a less developed feel here, possibly owing to its small size and lack of any real road infrastructure and so fortunately (for us) this place had no motorised vechiles. This village could only be acessed by boat. Unlike Nong Khiaw with its sleepy, almost ghost town atmosphere; Muang Ngoi, although smaller felt more alive. We could not put our finger on why it did (as afterall it was still a small riverside village with amazing scenery). Later it dawned on us why these two riverside locations were so different..m With Nong Khiaw (previous village) split into 2 by the river, this created somewhat of an ... read more
Laos sausages
Nam Ou river
Long boat

Asia » Laos » North July 19th 2015

Nong Khiaw After a total of 4 days trekking in the last week we were more than ready to take a much slower pace. Instead of heading further north as initally planned we decided to head south. We were going to 2 riverside villages known for their beautiful scenery and atmospheric but slow paced village life. Getting out of town by local means was not as easy as we initially thought. The tuk tuks work together with the local tour agencies often refusing to take people to the bus station without a pre-purchased ticket. Not wanting the hassle we purchased our bus tickets via a tour agency on the main road which included the tuk tuk ride to the out of town bus station. Our supposedly 6 hour journey to the mid-way town of Pak Mong ... read more
Fisherman checking his net
Village amongst the forest

Asia » Laos » North » Luang Namtha July 15th 2015

Once again we say goodbye to one country and hello to another. See you again China. Crossing the border into Laos was fairly straight forward as the trip went. The time it took to leave Chinese immegration took much longer for us than the other travellers and locals crossing the border. We had the whole bus waiting for us getting irritable due to the extra processes needed to check whether our passports were genuine. Many people were being let through and we were told to stand aside like we had done something wrong. After waiting patiently for 10 minutes after we should have been let through we asked the duty manager if something was wrong with our passports (calmly may I add) and got shouted at agressively and told to step back. Chris told P to ... read more
Our 2 additional guides on day 2
Taking in the view at the end
Adorable girl sussing us out.

Asia » China » Yunnan » Tiger Leaping Gorge July 11th 2015

One of the reasons we visited Lijiang was to do the 'gruelling' 2 day trek to Tiger Leaping Gorge. The legend tells the story of a tiger that leapt from a rock across the raging gorge to the other side. One thing we now know for certain though - There are definately no tigers on the trek. Getting up extra early so we could grab our regular order of baba & bao zi for breakfast we then followed one of the guys from our hostel to the awaiting minibus. The minibus takes you from Lijiang to a small town called Qiatou about an hour away where we were to begin our trek. During the hour bus journey, we got chatting to a couple of others on the mini bus. There were 10 of us in total, ... read more
Local taking in the views
Chris dwarfed by the mountain face
Don't look down

Asia » China » Yunnan » Lijiang July 9th 2015

How was our 60+ hour journey you ask. From Beijing to Kunming (one side of the country to the other) took 44hrs with a 5hr stopover before hopping onto another train for a further 9 hours to reach Lijiang. After all we had been through on the great wall, this journey was surprisingly relaxing. Arriving in Lijiang train station at 6am still blurry eyed we made our way to the bus stop. The sun slowly rising, many people already stood at the bus stop waiting for a bus that seemed like it was never going to come at all. Eventually after nearly an hour, our bus pulled up. We had to brace ourselves and get in position. Everybody wanted to board the bus complete with backpacks, pull alongs and large sacks of food. Everybody squeezed, nudged ... read more
P getting lost in 'old' China
Lady in traditional Naxi clothing
Jade dragon snow mountain in the distance

Asia » China » Beijing » Forbidden City July 9th 2015

...We couldn't just stay there, the chinese guy was just clinging to the rock barely able to move. P was trying to think of the best way around whilst Chris momentarily went into panic mode cursing the stupid wall. Snapping out of it Chris went first maneuvering around shaking but putting on a brave mindset. Going across this dangerous gap, Chris held on with all of his might as he stepped onto the wall then onto the other rocky platform. Failure to get a firm grip or a decent foothold he would have been a goner. This was too dangerous, we all held our breath as he crossed. Chris made it. Watching Chris climb across, P and our friend were both too terrified to cross. Especially looking down at the potentially fatal drop. Our new friend, ... read more
The forbidden city
Summer palace
Crowded bridge at the summer palace

Asia » China » Beijing » Great Wall of China July 5th 2015

2600ft above sea level. Clinging onto a rock with a steep drop below us and the worlds longest man-made structure right in front of us. Chris already with a badly swollen knee, P in survival mode and a Chinese lad (we should really know the name of) completely terrified. Anxiety levels sky high, adrenaline pumping and all wondering how in the world did we get ourselves in such a predicament. Visiting the Great Wall of China should be a joyous and momentous occasion for any visitor. To physically stand on history and be in awe of its enormity. Somehow in our pursuit for that we ended up almost at the complete opposite end of that spectrum. However lets start at the beginning: Beijing - home to 30million people and 6 UNESCO world heritage sites (Egypt has ... read more
The unrestored parts of the Great Wall

Asia » China » Shanxi » Pingyao July 3rd 2015

One of the most preserved ancient cities and walled areas in all of China. When you try to imagine traditional China you may conjure up images of small cobblestone alleyways, quaint brick buildings with curved tiled roofs and dangling red lanterns bringing colour and vibrancy to these streets. This is exactly what you can expect to find in Pingyao. Well known as the place to go if you want to see the real China. Howevera throw in a load of tourism to what China may have been like and you have Pingyao. From Langmusi we caught an overnight hard sleeper train to Pingyao taking around 19hrs. We always appear to be the only western people on these trains and it's like we are some sort of star attraction with people coming from different carriages to look ... read more
Typical archways
Red lanterns

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