Rachel James


Rachel James

Recently returned from a trip out east. Reliving the memories through writing a blog (and hopefully providing opportunities to laugh at my mishaps along the way).

Asia » Laos » West » Luang Prabang April 13th 2013

Imagine that, much to your surprise, you find yourself preparing for a first date at a Lao restaurant. This is that story. As all girls know, the story of a date does not start with the date itself. There are outfits to choose and make up to apply and, oh wait, you’re backpacking in Laos. Your least stained vest top and some baggy harem pants should do the trick. Make up is a bit of a push at 35°C, and frankly if you’re still straightening your hair in this heat then you need to take a long, hard look in the mirror and sort out your priorities. Having got yourself ready and looking delightful, you head out to the restaurant. Watch out for the neighbourhood dogs and chickens on your walk, and try not to be ... read more

Asia » Laos » North » Luang Namtha February 18th 2013

In a break from my previous location by location efforts, I have decided to compile a list of hints and tips of how to be a happy bus traveller in Laos: 1. Don't bother to turn up on time. Yes, they may tell you over and over again that the bus leaves at 8, and emphatically circle the departure time on the ticket, but this is all an illusion. The bus will go when it's good and ready, not when you need to. 2. But don't turn up too late - having a ticket and a seat number does not entitle you to a seat. It's surprising and strangely impressive how many people companies in Laos can fit in a bus. I've heard a fellow backpacker describe how she shared one seat with another woman, and ... read more

Asia » Thailand » North-West Thailand » Lampang February 8th 2013

We reached Lampang, our next destination, by a suprisingly nice and well-fed train journey. Having grown up with National Rail we were instantly suspicious when the food trolley trundled its way down the aisles, but it turns out that in Thailand the trains are not only cheaper and more spacious but also insist on giving you vast quantities of free food and water. The only issue is there is very little warning when a station is approaching, and besides any information is given in Thai so constant vigilance is recommended. Upon reaching Lampang we managed to find a guesthouse after some confusion and a missing hostelworld.com reservation (which I have not managed to forget as the website continually email me asking 'so how was your stay at R-Lampang Guesthouse?' I wouldn't know hostelworld, your booking wasn't ... read more

Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand » Bangkok February 6th 2013

So it turns out that blogging while travelling is harder than I first thought. Must try harder. For the sake of my memory and trying to keep things clear I will blog location by location so first up - it's Bangkok. Bangkok can be covered by three h's, namely hot, humid and hectic. It's a somewhat overwhelming introduction to Asia, but there are some gems to discover. One of the biggest of these gems is travelling the river by local taxi-boats, which ply their trade up and down the Chao Phraya and give you a breather from the traffic and the heat. Not that the river is a calm place to be, oh no. Taxi boats compete with the more expensive tourist boats and the longtail cruises, while other taxi boats cross the river at odds ... read more

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Greater London » Stratford January 8th 2013

I'm currently sat on my bedroom floor in the UK, surrounded by half packed bags and several unfinished cups of tea. I leave for Southeast Asia in just over two hours. I should probably focus a bit more on that and not on typing a blog entry. The problem is that it's very hard to imagine that by tomorrow (or at least I think it'll be tomorrow, I haven't got the time difference straight in my head yet) I will be in Bangkok. I think it's probably got something to do with the soul-destroying 15 hour plane journey that's ahead, and the fact that I am scared of flying, and also the fact that I am a lazy packer. There's a whole lot of boring stuff to get through first, and not for the first time ... read more

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