TLC - Go chasing waterfalls. Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Februar-April 2008

Reisebericht

TLC - Go chasing waterfalls. Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Februar-April 2008

Reisebericht: TLC - Go chasing waterfalls. Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Februar-April 2008

Mein englisches Reisetagebuch, das zusammen mit meiner besten Freundin im Frühling 2008 entstand. Ich hatte schon länger einen weiteren Trip nach Südostasien - diesmal v.a. nach Laos und Cambodia - geplant, und kurzfristig hat sich meine beste Freundin Romy angeschlossen. Ihr zuliebe hab ich dann zu Beginn noch kurz meine Highlights in Nordthailand, Chiang Mai und Ayutthaya, gemacht.

Day 1 & 2: Bangkok, 15.2. - 16.2.2008

We're finally here. Arrived in Bangkok around 7 pm on February 15th, found our Guesthouse (K.C. Guesthouse, nice staff, good rooms at reasonable prices) and went straight out to meet Vera who we met over the internet before and Frank, who I (Dunja) work with, Benjamin, his friend and Katharina, who we met on the flight. We had a fun night on Khao San Road. We went back to the hostel around 4.30 am, had 2 hours of sleep and got up somehow to pick up our sleeper train tickets at the train station which were supposed to be handed over at 9 am. We took a train to Ayutthaya (about 2 hours), the former capital. Together with Vera we found a nice room at P.U. Guesthouse, slept a little bit and enjoyed a beautiful sunset at Phra Rama Park. We had a fantastic Thai dinner - a mixture between hot pot and grill. Tomorrow we'll explore the rest of the city and get onto the sleeper train to Chiang Mai at 7.20 pm.
It's so beautiful being back in this wonderful country - fantastic people, great weather (around 32 Degrees) and delicious food!



Day 3 & 4: Bangkok - Ayutthaya - Chiang Mai, 17.2. - 18.2.

After taking it really easy yesterday in Ayutthaya (we were in no shape to do much sightseeing after our whisky-liaison the other night), we decided to explore the city a bit more. After breakfast we were approached by a Tuk Tuk driver who convinced us to go on a sightseeing tour all over the town. Initially we wanted to to a bike tour, but changed our minds, which we didn't regret considering the scorching heat.
He took us to the most interesting spots, starting with Wat Yai Chaya Mongkol with one of the biggest laying Buddha figures in it. Since it was a Sunday, the place was pretty crowded with locals who were attending their religious rites at the temples - quite interesting to observe.
The second we visited was a Chinese style palace - we thought everything looked pretty kinky, almost like a Las-Vegas-China with flashing lights and loads of decoration everywhere. The next stop lead us to the King Palace which was surrounded by some nice markets with lots of food of which we had no clue what it was supposed to be...decided to go for some unadventurous waffles
By the parking lot our guide wanted to persuade us to ride some elephants, but we rejected - the animals looked pretty untended and had to take tourists for rides along a main road - not very authentic we thought.
The nicest place we saw that day was Wat Lokayasutha, a UNESCO world heritage site with beautiful Cambodian-style temples and spectacular views from the top. After yet another temple visit we were templed out for the day and went for dinner next to our Guesthouse. Vera and me had some delicious Thai food and Romy was daring enough to try a super spicy Tom Yam soup - big mistake - she couldn't eat anything else that day...
After a bit of relaxing we made our way to the train station to catch out night train to Chiang Mai.

We slept surprisingly well on the train, even though we heard an interesting snoring concert, as all the beds were in the same compartment.

Today we want to take it a bit easy and do some shopping (yey!!!) at the night market. We are about to check into our Guest House now and finally take a shower

Tomorrow morning we are heading towards Laos, where our Gibbon experience starts the following day.



Day 5: Chiang Mai to Huay Xai, 19.2.

Überfahrt von Chiang Khong nach...

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On Tuesday we took the bus from Chiang Mai to Chiang Kong at 8.30 am. It was a nice and comfortable air con bus and for 282 Baht (around 5 Euro), they even provided some water, cookies (not edible though...) and a movie (it was in Thai, but they showed "I'm legend" that we understood pretty much without subtitles). We arrived in Chiang Mai 6 hours later, around 2.30 pm. We got a Tuk Tuk to the border for 30 Baht and afterwards the ferry to Huay Xai, Laos for 30 Baht each. We checked into Houay Xai Guesthouse (200 Baht for a double room with own bathroom; the room was all right and they have a nice balcony) and headed straight to Animo Travel, the transport service for the Gibbon Experience. They told us to come at 8 am the following morning and to bring gloves that we can buy in a store nearby and one bottle of water for the next day - last thing a big mistake, but about that later.
We found a cozy restaurant with a beautiful river view lodge (Mouang Neua Restaurant, right next to Animo Travel) and enjoyed the sunset and had a relaxing time.
We then changed places and went to our balcony at the Guesthouse where we met some really nice Thai people from Bangkok who shared their Laos beer with us. We exchanged Email-adresses and might meet them again for the water festival on April the 13th in Bangkok.



Überfahrt von Chiang Khong nach Huay Xai



Day 6-8: Gibbon Experience, Bokeo, Laos, 20.2. - 22.2.

Day 1
After an early start from the Guesthouse to grab some breakfast we watched a short movie at the Animo Travel place about how to use the cables and what to be aware of; then we got onto the Gibbon truck with some other travellers. We rode about 2 and a half hours - at first the roads were surprisingly smooth, but started getting fairly bumpy later on.
At the village where our trip was supposed to start there were a lot of groups pulling in at the same time and we were a bit ashamed, because some of them were dressed completely inappropriate.
We started our trekking into the forest around 11.30 am and soon split up in smaller groups. 4 hours and our first 6 cables later we arrived in Treehouse number 5 (there are 6 Treehouses so far in that area) where we were supposed to stay for the first night.
The first cables came with a bit of adrenaline, but it was already lots of fun - racing throught the forest in about 100 - 150 meters height!!!
In the evening we did one more trek through the forest, and the more cables we took the better and safer we felt. Sometimes we didn't make it all to the end, but then we just had to pull ourselves to the platform or to the Treehouse - good to wear gloves then even though the ones we could buy in Huay Xai were horrible, we wish we would have brought some really good ones from home!
The guides - so far not nice at all (they were just hurrying through the jungle, usually both at the beginning of our group not caring about what happens to the people at the end; and they obviously disliked the two of us taking pictures and looking around, taking our time), dropped us off at the treehouse and another guy - this one very nice - brought us some dinner and hot water for tea and coffee.
He sat down to chat with us for a while and later on made us break all the rules we were given before the trip - we went zip-lining in the dark and were yelling through the jungle.
Back at the treehouse we were happy to have a toilet and a shower in the treehouse, very refreshing after all this trekking.
On that evening we got to know our group a bit better, we were 7 people (there is a limit of 8): the two of us, Ben, John and Jess from England and Bart and Robby from Belgium. We had a funny evening together, but we went into our "honeymoon suite" (we took the only bed on the second level) pretty early since that was an exhausting day.

Day 2
The following day we got up at 6 am to do some pre-breakfast-trekking. Quite exhausting walk on muddy paths, as it rained the other night, especially on an empty stomach...
We came back to the Treehouse around 7.30 am, had breakfast (rice, meat and vegetables as in the evening - same same but different- famous word of mouth here in the area). Romy couldn't eat the breakfast - too hearthy to start off with...

We left with our backpacks at 9.30 am and had a stop for lunch at a small, but beautiful waterfall where we could have a swim and arrived at Treehouse Number 6 around 2 pm. Like the first one it actually had a shower and a toilet, but since we didn't have running water that didn't help much. The guides - still the same unfriendly ones from the first day, explained us a little bit how to get to the treehouse if we wanna do some more zip-lining and how to get down to the river, then they left.
Our couple Jess and John stayed at another Treehouse since we only had room for 6; Ben, Bart and Robby left to do some more zip-lining straigt away so we figured it's a good time to enjoy some peace and harmony at the river all by ourselves. We were hanging out there for about 2 hours and took a "shower" before the boys came to join us in our little paradise.
n the evening we went a little crazy zip-lining - in prospect of the near end of all this fun. This was already the last day for that, on the third day we'd have only 3 more cables ahead on our way back! We even became brave enough to take our cameras out while we were on the cables to take some pictures and movies.
When we arrived back at the Treehouse someone had brought us dinner again together with some hot water for tea and coffee - the whole day no cool drinks - we even drank water out of the river!!! What an organisation, that can even ruin such a fantastic thing like the cables and all together we were pretty disappointed about the guides, the non-provided drinks/potable water and the information beforehand - nobody took even 5 minutes to tell us about how those 3 days are going to be arranged, also the information on the internet was wrong - it said it was 4 days and only 4 people in a group!!!
Still: a funny experience and we would have loved to stay for a couple more days!

Day 3
Since it rained all througout the night we didn't get a lot of sleep and trekking turned out to be very difficult since it was all muddy and slippery. We did a good portion of the way sliding on our bums.
We started off around 7.30 am and had breakfast at the waterfall (once again rice and veggies - Bart and Romy couldn't eat, as they woke up feeling kind of sick. Besides, we are all riced out by now...).
With muddy clothes we arrived back at the village around 11 am where the trucks picked us up - it was funny to see those new Gibbon Experiencers arrive - all with clean clothes and neat hair, smelling all good - we couldn't help but imagine them after 4 hours of trekking, especially under those circumstances (after the rain). One girl was even wearing white pants; well good luck then :)
We arrived back in Huay Xai around 4 pm and mobilized our last bit of remaining energy to find a bank and exchange some traveller checks. It took ages and we came out being millionaires...the currency is so weird here.
Romy spent the rest of the day in bed feeling horribly sick and kinda feverish and Dunja went out for dinner with one of the Thai's from the other night.



Zipplining im Gibbon Experience, Laos



Day 9: Huay Xai to Luang Nam Tha, Laos, 23.2.

Coming back to Huay Xai, we both had a rough night feeling quite sick and woke up not feeling all to superb, but still decided to move forward and take the bus to Luang Nam Tha. At first we we quite happy to spot a minibus at the station, but our hopes for a comfy ride were shattered as they started cramming as many people as possible into the bus. We had to put up with seats in the middle row (We have never ever seen that before on buses...) which were nicely tilted to one side, so we found ourselves leaning onto some total strangers (at least they were not smelly ) The roads were curvy and we were quite wrecked as we finally made it to Luang Nam Tha (the ride took 4 hours for 55.000 kip which is about 4,50 Euro), or more like 10 km from there, as the bus station has been displaced at the end of 2007 (probably to make more profit off of tourists who are forced to take a Tuk Tuk to the center).
Along with a Swiss couple we went to look for the Lonely Planet's recommended Guesthouse Thavyxai (a double room is 70.000 kip, that is around 6 Euro), where Robby and Bart from the Gibbon were staying as well and weren't disappointed. We had the nicest rooms so far with even a TV (coming straight out of the jungle this is pure luxury!)

After a little nap we met the guys and decided to do some Kayaking with them the next day (for 4 people 251.000 Kip each). We signed up for a one day trip at the local operator Green Discovery with whom the guys already did a mountainbiking tour that day; we asked for the same guide they had since they really liked him and the boss gave us a good chance on that.
Afterwards we went for dinner with the them, more of a liquid dinner for us, as we still couldn't eat much.



Day 10: Luang Nam Tha National Park, Laos, 24.2.

Kanutrip im Luang Nam Tha NP, Laos

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Our Kayaking adventure was awesome - we started our day with a nice breakfast and we were happy to have an appetite after all...we took of all energetic and went by Tuk Tuk to a small village to pick up our Kayaks. As for our guide - we got the requested guide named Xai - he was fantastic. The guys didn't promise too much, he was so unlike our Gibbon guides - a really chatty and friendly guy who spoke really good English.
At the village we pumped up our Kayaks, loaded everything onto the Tuk Tuk and drove down to the river for about 20 minutes.
We were equipped with life vests and helmets (which came in quite useful later on...) and were sent off for a little test round up the stream.
After, we all took off down the river - we really sucked, we went zig-zag with our Kayak most of the time and the other 2 Kayaks were waiting for us quite often.
As we got to one of the first rapids, Romy got catapulted out of the boat and hit a rock with her back. Our guides got really scared and suggested we each sit in a Kayak with one of them. That worked out for the better, since there were quite a few more big rapids ahead and we are sure we would have flipped over on most of them
Our first stop was in a small village with a tribe of Chinese origin. They used to live like Nomads, continuously moving down the Mekong until they eventually settled in in the National Park next to Luang Nam Tha. Our guide showed us around and told us about their traditions (for example all of the women have the same hairstyle, and when they turn 15 or 16, they eyebrows are being shaved off, as a sign of being ready for marriage).They all wore black clothing, which they made themselves all the way from the cotton to dying it black with some strange root.
As we were about to leave, a woman gave us a small purse to take with us. Very friendly people!
Next stop was for lunch, our guides had plucked some banana leaves to build a table and we had sticky rice with a spicy dip, some grilled fish, veggies and sweet potato chips - delicious.

Afterwards, we went further down towards our last stop at another village, in which one of our guides Chai had a friend he wanted to visit. As we approached we heard loud music playing and learned that there was a party that day. Most of the 270 villagers were circled around the new house, which was reason for the celebrations.
We were instantly directed into the house, where we felt like in a zoo for the first time. We always perceive the locals to feel this was, whenever foreigners come to visit. Here, everyone was staring at us, greeting us, touching us and leading us into the house, where a sick stomach's worst nightmare came true....we found ourselves in a large room full of whiskey kegs, over which at least 50 men of all ages were squatting, each trying to talk us into drinking with them. We didn't mean to be rude, so we drank...Gosh, did we drink.
After about half an hour we left the village stumbling towards our Tuk Tuk.
We changed our initial plans to go on a boat trip in Northern Laos and decided to head straight to Luang Prabang with Robby and Bart. Our Tuk Tuk took us to the bus station from where we wanted to take the night bus leaving at 4.30 pm (for 70.000 kip, around 6 Euro for 8 till 10 hours). As it pulled into the station, we purchased our tickets and hopped in to search for our seat number. Ours indicated 14 and 15 and we took a seat, wondering a bit why someone left all their stuff (food, garbage and something that looked like dirty socks...) dangling by one seat. We didn't think much of it, cut it off and dumped it somewhere else. Shortly after, an angry elderly lady appeared claiming this was her seat. She started hitting Dunja, rushing us to get off her seat. We were pretty appalled and nobody at the station spoke English well enough to explain to us what was going on with our seats and this bus, which started to fill up more and more. We were crammed in between rows once again, this time instead of on seats, on rice bags....Turns out eventually there were no seat numbers for anyone, it was fist come first serve. But all the seats were already taken as the bus got here.
We decided we couldn't take it (at least we got our money for the bus tickets back without any discussion) and went back to town to Green Discovery who were probably happy to see some good customers again...we arranged for a minibus the next morning and found another British couple - Ross and Mary - who wanted to join, so we shared the bus by the 6 of us and split the cost of 150 USD - still more then we had planned to spend!
Afterwards we went to our luxurious Guesthouse again (good choice for travellers arriving late - it's a bit off the main street but still close, so there is quite a good chance for a room even if the Guesthouses on the main street are full as it was in our case) and had some dinner with Xai (our guide from the Kayak Trip) before heading to bed early in prospect of our get up at 4.30 am the next day.



Village im Luang Nam Tha National Park, Laos



Day 11: Luang Nam Tha to Luang Prabang, Laos, 25.2.

Our wake up that day at 4.30 was painful, but since the road was very curvy and a bit bumpy sometimes (though it got better the closer we came to Luang Prabang on Highway 13) the minibus was worth every dollar, still - the scenery along the road was stunning, beautiful forest with cute villages, later on we drove along the Nam Ou River.
The ride was once again very bumpy and had its effects....
We arrived in Luang Prabang around 2 pm and all went to different guesthouses, as it was quite challenging to find affordable accommodation for all of us in one place. We stayed at the Oudomphong Guesthouse, which is a very cozy little place, always quite busy though (double rooms with shared bathrooms downstairs for 80.000 Kip, around 7 Euro).
That day we took it easy and just did some shopping at the night market before heading back to the hostel.



Day 12 - 14: Luang Prabang, Laos, 26.2. - 28.2.

Luang Prabang, Laos

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The following day we did a little sightseeing in Luang Prabang; there is one main road and the road along the river, those two build one loop which takes around one hour without stop to walk. We really enjoyed the temples Wat Souvannakhin and Wat Xieng Thong. Around 4 pm we went up to Phu Si where we had a beautiful view over the city and enjoyed the sunset.

Day 13 startet with a Tuk Tuk - tour to the famous waterfall Kuang Si, together with Bart, Robby, Ross and Mary. We started even though it was raining, and weren't disappointed. As we arrived there (around 30 minutes, Tuk Tuk for 30.000 Kip each 2-way including 3-4 hours waiting-time (plus 20.000 Kip entrance fee, so around 4 Euro alltogether) , the weather cleared up and it was just perfect for climbing up to the start of the waterfall, and there were hardly any other tourists around. The waterfall is absolutely stunning, with 3 lagoons to swim in - but since it was a bit too chilly we didn't go in.
We got back to Luang Prabang around 3 pm, Vera arrived by slow boat from Huay Xai at 6 pm and we got dinner from the market and ate in front of our Guesthouse. Afterwards we did some more shopping at the night market and bought tickets for the minibus to Vang Vieng for Friday. (110.000 Kip, ca. 8 Euro, around 5 hours).

Day 14
Since it was raining again in the morning the two of us and Vera skipped our original plan about going to the waterfall again and were just wandering through the town, enjoying the city's flair. Around 1 pm the sun came out and we grabbed a Tuk Tuk to Kuang Si Waterfall, together with Seth and Erin from Texas.
It wasn't exactetely warm, but we went into the water anyways and had a fun time.



Phu Si in Luang Prabang, Laos



Day 15: Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng, Laos, 29.2.

The promise from the travel agency about the minibus - 10 seats, 8 people - was such a fake!!! We got picked up with a nice and comfy minibus, but they drive everybody (no matter where they booked, some even paid 140.000 Kip) to a bus station where they load the people in bigger and not so comfortable minivans (about 15 seats with 15 people each, the one we were supposed to go into even had plastic seats!!!) Ross luckily made a big fuss and we ended up arguing with those people for half an hour until they finally agreed on a minibus similar to the one we came in. We finally left at 9.30 am and arrived in Vang Vieng at 4 pm. Since we didn't feel like walking around too long with our heavy luggage we just took the closest affordable Guesthouse (Amicable Guesthouse, 40.000 Kip for a double room, around 3 Euro), but it wasn't the best choice since the room wasn't very nice, the toilet was smelly and the water in the bathroom was dripping all night, so on our first tour through town we already checked for other places to stay and fell immidiately in love with "the other side bungalows" across the river, so we decided to move there the next day.
We had a great dinner at "Jaidee's" at the river and went back to the main street for a drink where we met Seth and Erin from Texas who we met on our second day excursion to Kuang Si waterfall. Funny that we keep bumping into the same people over and over again. We stayed a bit with them at the restaurant/movie bar "DK 3" (good and valuable food) and went together to the "Smile bar" - very young people (mostly between 18 and 20), but nice atmosphere with bonfires and music. People were quite smashed there though, but it was all good fun.



Day 16 - 18: Vang Vieng, Laos, 1.3. - 3.3.

Day 16
As we planned the day before we checked out of our Guesthouse and moved into our beautiful bungalow (also 40.000 Kip a night for a twin bed, but shared bathrooms) where we hung out all day in hammocks and a cute pillow area on the porches right by the river. For dinner we went back to "DK 3" and watched some movies - that's actually what the city is all about, there is hardly any bar in Vang Vieng where they have no TV!

Day 17
That day we did what Vang Vieng is known for - tubing. We rented two big tubes and a dry bag (Tube with Tuk Tuk from starting point from the tubing office for 40.000 Kip each, dry bag from a store nearby for 20.000 Kip) and went tubing into the river around 3,5 km out of town. The first km there are bars all along the river with huge swings, each of them blasting music and trying to pull people out...the last 2,5 km there are only small ones, except the one signed as "last stop". We had stops at one of the first big bars, at one small one in the middle and at that last one, but since the ride already takes 3 hours without stops and we had to give back the tubes by 6 pm (or they charge an additional 2 USD overtime - fee) we didn't stay long.
It was very relaxing since the water flows very slowly and you hear music from all the bars.
It was an expensive day though - Dunja lost her sunglasses somewhere in the water and just realized minutes later that they where gone, wondering if they sunk or kept floating. Romy offered to find that out using her sunglasses for the experiment, and without waiting until Dunja's in front of her to catch them she just let go - and they were gone as well!!!!!!!!!!!
Thats true friendship We both had a pretty good laugh...
In the evening Romy went to her candlelight dinner with Robby while Dunja went to DK 3 and to Smile bar again with Vera who had arrived in Vang Vieng that day.

Day 18
On that day we did a beautiful Kayaking and caving trip (150.000 Kip), again with the operator Green Discovery (like in Luang Nam Tha). It was perfect weather and a nice trip who started a couple kilometers further than the tubing. We ended up at the "last stop bar" from the other day again and had lots of fun there, especially on the swing into the water. We went kind of crazy swinging and jumping in the water.
After kayaking all day we went to bed pretty early after a quick dinner at "DK 3".



Vang Vieng, Laos



Day 19 & 20: Vang Vieng to Vientiane, Laos, 4.3. - 5.3.

Day 19
On that day we took the local bus at 12.30 to Vientiane. We arrived there around 3 pm. We checked into Youth Inn near the Mekong (triple room 120.000 Kip, around 10 Euro) and did some sightseeing in the city. We bumped into Robby and Bart once again and had a drink with them (Shade bar along the river - best frit shakes so far!). In the evening we decided to treat us for some Japanese dinner and cocktails.

Day 20
We started the day at the city's viewpoint Patuxai.
Actually, we found out that the highest building of Laos is also in Vientiane and we got to observe it from above - believe it or not, it is a 14-storey building...
After viewing the town from above we walked over to the cities most famous Temple Pha That Luang and then got a Tuk Tuk to the Talat Sao Market, which is a gigantic shopping mall which makes you wish you had a Platinum Visa Card. Some of the stores are extremely cheap, others sell gold and silver jewellery and tailor made clothing. Too bad, or should we say thank God they were just opened for another hour when we got there.
After the market we instantly went to search for a Post office to find out about shipping prices...turns out its kind of expensive so we'll be stuck with all the baggage for a while longer and need to urgently cut down on the shopping.
Went for dinner to the Full Moon Bar and once again met a British couple that is on the road for 2 years...you guys think 2 months are long...we only meet people that are travelling for a year and longer.



Pha That Luang, Vientiane, Laos



Day 21: Vientiane - Tha Khaet - Savannakhet, Laos, 6.3.

The place turned out to be Ghostcity with absolutely nothing to see and do, so after one beer we decided to leave to Savannakhet immediately.
The receptionist was confused and charged us half the room rate, we so didn't care and were glad to get away, even if on the slowest Tuk Tuk we'd ever been on. Luckily there was a bus that left immediately and we didn't even care that we had to sit on tiny plastic chairs in the middle row...the ride was 2,5 hours and arriving in Savannakhet we checked into the nearest Guesthouse by the station (Soulinsouk Guesthouse), we were so crushed.
It's a bit of a shame that once you want to experience something off the beaten paths, everything is so unorganized. I guess we'll just stick to the main tourist route from now on.



Day 22: Savannakhet, Laos, 7.3.

The three of us had some delicious crepe breakfast and strolled through the town a bit but there was nothing that captures our interest all that much. Besides, Romy was a bit sick again, so we needed to stay close to a toilet...
We headed down to the Mekong river and were lucky enough to find some beach chairs over thereon which we toasted for a while. Later we spent almost 3 hours on the Internet uploading pictures, drove us nearly insane!!
We went for dinner to a cute restaurant where some locals were celebrating a birthday. They kept inviting us for more and more whisky...
There were absolutely no Tuk Tuks around as we wanted to go back (where are those darn things if you need them?) so we had to walk home, but went to a bar full of locals (all staring at us) on the way, or as we liked to call it gas station to fill up our spirits.



Day 23 - 25: Savannakhet - Pakse, Laos, 8.3. - 10.3.

Day 23
We went on a local bus today and luckily found seat to ourselves (since we leaned seats are not to be taken for granted on local buses) but later on the bus filled up so much and we felt sorry for the moms carrying their children standing up (the drive was about hours...) and we squeezed with 4 people onto 2 seats eventually and got to Pakse pretty twisted and wrecked. Grabbed a Tuk Tuk to the Sabaidy 2 GH and were lucky enough to get the last room for 3. Went to the Green Discovery Office where Dunja and Vera booked a tour to the Bolaven plateau. Romy was going to spent the day with Robby who wanted to come the next morning and rent some motorbikes.
In the evening we explored the town a bit more and had dinner at the Champady - really good food!

Day 24
We left early in the morning to go to the Bolaven Plateau.
The Trip was beautiful, leading through Green Tea and Coffee Plantagen to a stunning waterfalls with some swimming before we tucked in the lunch the guide had prepared for us. After some more trekking and another 2 waterfalls we arrived back in Pakse around 5 pm.

Day 25
The day began hot and humid as usual. We went with Robby and Vera for breakfast together at the Sabaidy Café. Went back to the Guesthouse where Bart arrived from the 4000 islands shortly after. Vera, Romy and the guys were hoping to find a swimming pool at the city's fanciest hotel, but our hopes were disappointed...we abused their lawn sprinklers for a bit and went to a beer garden by the river once again. It was just too hot to do anything, it must have been around 45 degrees - unbearable. We all split up a bit and met again for dinner at the Champady's - we always end up at the same places....it was really nice there though.
Dunja spent the day strolling along the Mekong, having a drink with locals now and then on the way and went for another 2 hours of Massage.
After having dinner altogether we bought 2 bottles of whisky, some coke and ice and played some funny rounds of UNO at our Guesthouse. Went to bed around 3 that night and woke up hungover in the morning (at least Romy did)



Tham Cham Pee Waterfall, Bolaven Plateau, Laos



Day 26 & 27: Pakse to Don Khon, Laos, 11.3. - 12.3.

Day 26
On the 11th we took a minivan to Ba Nakasang and from there a boat to Don Khon, a cute little island at the 4000 islands in the very south of Laos. We found some nice bungalows (30.000 Kip)and went right to the Dolphin Beach, a beautiful sandbeach sprinkled with gold, and we were all by ourselves. In the evening we had dinner at the Bamboo Restaurant.

Day 27
In the morning we rented bicycles and drove over the bridge to Don Det, which is the Backpackers' favourite of the 4000 Islands and right next to Don Khon. We checked out a few Guesthouses since we wanted to move there the following day, afterwards we went back to our "Lonely Beach". In the evening we met Marion and Kerstin, 2 german girls, at the Bamboo restaurant and had a fun time there until they closed the bar around 10 pm. The days here are very short and after 10, there is nothing to do on Don Khon, because there is no more electricity...interesting experience. The only thing you can do is try and save yourself under the mosquito net in your bed, before those creatures eat you up...



Don Khon, 1000 Islands, Laos



Day 28 - 30: Don Det, Laos, 13.3. - 15.3.

Day 28
The next morning we moved from Don Khon to Don Det and checked into our first Guesthouse, "Khammonaye Giesthouse and Sunrise Restaurant" just 2 minutes walk of Don Det Beach (40.00 Kip/night). We had a relaxed afternoon in our Hammocks before we went to the beach in Don Det around 3 pm. In the evening we met Vera, Marion and Kerstin for dinner and went to the campfire on the beach at 11 pm. It was a wonderful atmosphere, we felt like in "the beach"!

Day 29
In the early morning we pursued our nomad lifestyle tradition an moved into another Guesthouse closer to the beach in Don Det, since the shared bathrooms at our place were more than gross...
We settled into Mr. Vath's (30.000 Kip night)where we had our own bathroom. We rented bikes again an drove over to the other island again to our lonely beach where we fried like chicken from 12-4pm. The sun was incredibly hot and we went to cool off in the river every few minutes. We also got our first minor sunburns - we were so proud we didn't get burned at all so far, but the sun's very aggressive the further you get to the south. For dinner we went to our lovely Sunrise Restaurant again and afterwards had some drinks with Marion and Tom, a crazy German guy who's been coming back to Laos since 7 years now. When he first came to the island this place was in no guidebook and there were only few families living here, there wasn't even an open border to Cambodia. Hard to believe after seeing the islands today...it is still a little paradise though. Of course in the evening it was campfire time again.

Day 30
For the first time in ages we slept in (at least according to Romy) and decided it wasn't a good idea to go in the sun that day, after all the sun exposure we had the day before. Your can't imagine how hot it gets here during the day, it was around 45 degrees and all you do is constantly wipe the sweat off your face...
In the afternoon there was a big party about to take place at the Reggae Bar right next to our bungalows. There were lots of Irish, British and American people who gathered to celebrate St. Patrick's. We all dressed up in green and had a few drinks there, but Vera and the two of us left around 4 to the beach...some people however got stuck there until the bar closed around 10.30pm. As we left Romy got bitten by their pet monkey, who's tied up on a leash next to the bar. He just went all nuts from all the noise and the beer people gave him to drink. We were a bit shocked at first, as Romy has no rabies vaccination, but no symptoms occurred yet...just kidding, the bite just left a mark, but there was no blood, so nothing is really bound to happen.
In the evening we went to see the sunset at the west shore of the island, it was gorgeous - the sun turned orange, red and pink in the end...Later on we went to the Sunrise once again...by now they already write down orders as we enter, cause we always have Coconut Shakes, best ones we ever had! We met with the 2 German girls Marion and Kerstin again and had a really fun time and some spicy dinner...boy did we sweat. As we wanted to leave Marion's and Romy's shoes were stolen, but this seems to be nothing unusual at this island, happens all the time. We just took some other shoes we liked, it is like a swap-system - this way everyone can get new shoes once in a while! Later on we went to the good old campfire again and almost regretted having purchased tickets to Cambodia the following day. After 5 days on the islands it was like a familiar community, almost like in "The Beach".



Don Det, 1000 Islands, Laos



Day 31: Don Det to Banlung, Cambodia, 16.3.

Grenzübergang von Laos nach...

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We are in CAMBODIA!!
Though it was quite sad to leave behind wonderful Laos, we are happy to be here and amazed about all the friendly people.
We left early this morning, first by boat and then by 3 minibuses...on the bumpy road towards the Cambodian border one of the backpacks fell off the roof (luckily not one of ours) and few minutes later we had a flat tire...the roads speak for themselves...
We felt a bit ripped off at the border, as the Visa was supposed to cost 20 USD and ended up being 24 USD since they would lead us through 3 different check points charging each time we passed (2 Dollars when leaving Laos, 2 times 1 Dollar when entering Cambodia). We knew this money probably goes right in their own pocket, but not much you can do about that.
The bus took us to Stung Treng and stopped at some restaurant where we were sort of expected to have lunch...Us and 2 others left on a minibus to Banlung after lunch and we also picked up Marion and Kerstin along the way. We got kind of ripped off once again, when they tried to squeeze 10 people into a minivan that was designed to be for 8...we tried making a fuss, but those guys wouldn't budge and we had no choice but to come with them - for an expensive 8 Dollars each. The ride was only 3 hours, so we survived!
In Banlung, we were dropped of at the Tribal Guesthouse and were too lazy to search for anything around, especially since that was the one that Tom (the German guy from Don Det) recommended us so we checked in, and the rooms were all right and just 5 Dollars for a double room.
It was so nice to have electricity again and a sink and a nice bathroom after the islands...amazing how we begin to appreciate silly little things like that
In the evening we had some very good dinner at the Star Guesthouse and Restaurant in town where we booked a trip for some Elephant riding the next day (10 Dollars each for 3 hours)- exiting!



Weg nach Banlung, Cambodia



Day 32 - 34: Banlung, Cambodia, 17.3. - 19.3.

Banlung, Cambodia

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Day 32
We started the day early with breakfast at the Star Guesthouse and took off by car around 8 am to a place about 3 km from the Katieng Waterfall. We got an elephant that turned out to be a very lazy and hungry lady; she tried to run off with us into the bushes pretty often and the guide wasn't very gentle getting her back on the track; he punched and whipped her quite often which was horrible to watch. For 3 hours we went through the forest, passing cashew nut and rubber trees - amazing to see that there is only one cashew nut on top of one fruit that looks like some sort of apple (we tried the fruit but didn't like it too much). We arrived at the entrance of the waterfall but passed it - we figured that we go around it since the ride was supposed to be another hour (only 2 hours passed so far), but we were mistaken - we ended up in the bushes nearby watching the elephant eat and being eaten off by mosquitoes (first reason why we wouldn't recommend Star Guesthouse for booking trips). Then we went to see the waterfall (2.000 Riel entrance fee, 50 Cent USD)which was very beautiful.
In the afternoon Dunja, Marion and Kerstin got 2 motorbikes with drivers and went to the Yeak Laom Lake (4.000 Riel entrance fee = 1 Dollar), nice place to hang out and swim, while Romy was stuck in the internet trying to get into classes at university.
We went back to the Star Guesthouse for dinner and booked a 3-day-Trekking trip starting the next day together with Marion.

Day 33
Second reason not to book anything at the Star Guesthouse: they tried to fool us, telling us that they can't take us into the national park because the only village where you can enter it is having some kind of celebration and nobody is allowed to go there, not even Cambodian people - if they do they are fined (1 pig and a couple of Whiskey jars). The guide offered to do another trip with us which sounded pretty boring - 3 days in some forest with just a small stream along the path. Thank god we were told before from Mr. Smey of the Ratanak Hotel and Jam, the one motorbike - guy from the day before that this happened before and people were pretty dissapointed by the trip they actually did.
We asked the guide if we could speak to Mr. Lung, the owner who told us the evening before that we could go into the National Park and especially into the protected Gibbon-area. When the guide told us that he was still asleep we knew that something was wrong - no Cambodian will be asleep at 9 am, especially since Mr. Lung was even there the day before to check if everything for the elephant riding was organized. Thank god we didn't pay in advance, so we took our luggage and left. We checked into Theng Dara Guesthouse right across the street from the Ratanak Hotel (nice room and TV for 5 Dollars), rent bikes and went with Marion to Yeak Laom Lake again. The place where we rent the bikes was owned by Jams brother (the motorbike-guide) and offered to do a trek with us to the National Park (it turned out the guide from the Star Guesthouse really lied to us, of course), but we decided not to spent so many more days here because it would destroy our whole plan, but he really seemed trustworthy (especially since Jam was the one who warned us in advance), so: thats the one place we recommend for booking trips: Sophat Thak, email: sophat2006@hotmail.com, on the street where the Tribal Hotel is, a little open store with bikes in front. The other place is the Ratanak Hotel, Mr. Smey, with whom we did a daytrip the following day.
We had dinner at the Ratanak Hotel and had a little party on the terrasse of our guest house.


Day 34
The two of us, Marion and Jackie met Mr. Smey after having breakfast at the Ratanak. He charged 10 Dollars each for the whole day and we took off with his car. Our first stop was the Katieng Waterfall where we had already been after our elephant trip. The second stop was the Kachan Waterfall (also 2.000 Riel entrance fee) before heading to Cha-Ong Waterfall (2.000 Riel as well, our favourite of the 3).
Around 3 we went to Yeak Laom Lake for a swim before watching the sunset from Elsay Patomak Mountain (2.000 Riel).
Our choice for dinner was the Ratanak again (no way of going back to Star Guesthouse) and picked up tickets to Phnom Penh at the busstation after Mr. Smey made a reservation for the next morning. There is only one bus at 6.15 am (15 Dollars, reserved seats - luxury!), so we went to bed early.



Banlung, Cambodia



Day 35 - 38: Banlung to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 20.3. - 23.3.

Day 35
Arrived in Phnom Phen after 12 hours in a bus around 6 pm. We decide to get a Guesthouse near the National Museum and not in the Backpackers area Lake Side. A Tuk Tuk Driver recommends us the Okay Guesthouse - not a bad choice. Clean rooms, nice staff and affordable prices (single room with/without window 4/5 Dollars, double room with/without window 5/6 Dollars). We went to dinner with Marion at "Happy Phnom Penh Pizza" along the river and played a couple rounds of UNO at the Guesthouse.

Day 36
We started that day very relaxed, had breakfast at our Guesthouse and walked along the river, together with Marion. At the River View Bar we had some ice coffee and enjoyed reading the most recent "Spiegel". We got some Lunch from the market (great dumplings and some fruit) and went back to the Guesthouse for some refreshing. Around 5 pm the three of us walked all the way to the Lake Side and had dinner on the beautiful terrasse of Guesthouse Number 9 with a Cambodian guy that Marion had met on the bus to Phnom Penh.

Day 37
We started our Tuk Tuk tour with a driver that we had found the previous day at 9.30 am. Our first stop was the Tuol Sleng Museum (2 USD entrance fee). Interesting to get to know some more about the history of the red Khmer regime, but sad to see all the pictures of the people kept in Tuol Sleng and pictures about the torturing methods.
Our second stop was the killing fields (2 USD entrance fee), which has one Stupa at the entrance where they keep all the bones that they found in the graves and fences around a couple places where the people had been buried.
Afterwards we went to the Russian market but couldn't stand it for long - the smells were just too disgusting. We grabbed some lunch from the market and tried to cool down with some drinks. We used up their entire box of paper towels, because the sweat wouldn't stop gushing down our faces.
When we got back to our Tuk Tuk the driver asked if we would like to see an orphanage so he took us to the National Action Culture Association Naca Orpahanage, Number 107, Street 80, where they keep 31 children, most of them between 5 and 13 years old. First we wanted to bring some rice but since a 30 kg-bag was 30 USD we decided that was not covered by our budget any more and bought a dictionary Khmer-English, some books and some pencils. The kids were very open-minded and after a couple minutes they were all over us: jumping, climbing, horseback riding on our backs, making our hair, playing some sort of "rock, paper, scissors". We had a lot of fun and it was heart-breaking to leave.
We got back to the Guesthouse around 6 pm, took a shower and went to meet Jackie at her Guesthouse. We went back to "Happy Phnom Penh Pizza" along the river where we had been the first evening and had some fabulous food - especially the Aubergine Gratin is to die for!

Day 38
We didn't have any big plans for the day and decided to take it easy and run a few errands along the way. Romy also wanted to walk to the Railway Station to inquire about ticket to Ho Chi Minh city - it looked fairly close on the map...we ended up walking for about 2 hours in the sweltering heat (including few stops) with yet no Railway station in sight, until we got fed up and finally asked some cops on the way desperately waving with our map. We told them which road we were looking for and they started laughing..."no no Moniveng street - Me Tse Tao..." or something like that came as response - we noticed we had walked way too far and almost made it to the airport...
We went back like brave soldiers only to find that the Railway station was a little dirty shack that seems to have been out of order for ages...
We dragged ourselves to the nearby Lakeside No. 9 where we'd had dinner the night before and had some well deserved lunch there. After we took a motorbike to the Riverside Bistro, where we were supposed to meet up with Marion and Kerstin to go to the Russian Market...we chose to skip that though and rather chilled a bit over there. Went for dinner later and met Jackie again and spent a lovely night.
Back at the Guesthouse we tried to get a hold of tickets to Kampot for the following morning and were rudely advised to come earlier next time since "Cambodia is not like Germany"....:-S Asking for further information, we were told to "read first and then ask", as the details must have been listed somewhere on the swamped board...this receptionist probably spent too much time in the army!



Promenade in Phnom Penh, Cambodia



Day 39 - 42: Phnom Penh to Kampot, Cambodia, 24.3. - 27.3.

Day 39
Woke up this morning from the sound of someone hammering at our door (it was only 6am)...the Guesthouse staff was under the impression we wanted to take the 7.15 bus and were about to give us a wake-up call/knock...We quickly went back to sleep and re-started our day later on. Dunja and Romy both got up and left the Gh at different times but coincidentally bumped into one another at the silk store downtown, which Dunja had bought half-empty the day before. Did some more shopping and went back to pack our bags and were on our merry way to Kampot - along the ride, we were thrilled to already catch a glimpse of the ocean!!
Arrived to Kampot around 5.30 and checked into a nearby Guesthouse Ta Eng (Double-Rooms for 8 $ p.n.). The owner was quite a bubbly guy and tried to sell us all kinds of trips right away....he showed us his rooftop terrace from which we enjoyed a nice sunset. Afterwards the four of us (Marion & Kerstin are still with us) went in search for a restaurant along the river, which was easier said than done. After walking almost blindly in the dark, we finally got stranded at the Hang restaurant. For dessert we had some Chocolate & Banana crepe - Dunja almost choked on hers - it was spicy as hell, Romy's only tasted a bit garlicky - seems as they use the same knife for everything here... Very friendly staff though, who even offered to drive us home....we should have taken the offer, but instead walked in circles for a while longer.

Day 40
What a wonderful day, except it began at 5.30 am when Dunja yelped in the bathroom when she realized that Romy's cosmetics bag came off the hook and fell into the loo bucket overnight...everything was soaked in smelly water!
Got up later and the four of us had breakfast downstairs and commonly agreed to move to a different Guesthouse. Ours was OK, but a bit pricey for what we got and overnight we had a million mosquitoes in our room. We all moved to the Kampot Guesthouse and got a much nicer room with a TV for only 6 $. After checking in, Romy was daring enough to get back on a motorbike and Dunja was trust-willing enough to hop on for the ride. This time, it all went smoothly though and we headed South along some gorgeous roads surrounded by fascinating scenery of mountains and the ocean. After some difficulties finding a restaurant (no one spoke a word of English in those small villages we drove trough) we had some merciful instant noodle soup which tasted like heaven, since we were half-starved. We also found a lovely little beach with only few fisher boats by the shore and some curiously watching fishermen in the far back. We weren't courageous enough to go for a swim, after we discovered some poisonous looking jellyfish washed up at the shore. The water was almost hot of top of that, it wouldn't even have been refreshing.
It was quite a challenge to ride the bikes along the narrow elevated paths leading towards the beach and back. We managed, even though we got stuck at times. Marion landed in a muddy paddle on the way back and got herself entirely covered in smeary dirt!
Dunja and Romy were racing ahead with everything this bike had to offer, so she could practice driving a bit before Marion and Kerstin would catch up to us. Everything worked out, except she was scraping off half the skin on her left toe by trying to use it as a break.... We came back to the Guesthouse and ate almost a kilo of Jackfruit and Mango each, that we had picked up on the way.
In the dark we headed out with the bikes once again searching for the market in hope of some more shopping opportunities, but it was nowhere to be found.
The 4 of us ended up going for dinner at a local and therefore still quite pricey restaurant and then split up with Dunja, Marion and Kerstin attempting a stunt going on 1 scooter all together and Romy going online for a bit.

Day 41
Once again the two of us, Marion and Kerstin got our motorbikes and headed towards Kep which is about 25 km east of Kampot along the beach. When we arrived we found not a beautiful beach, but at least nice hammocks where we hung out for quite a while before we went back to Kampot at 3.30 pm. The two of us continued towards Sihanoukville for an hour, the direction we took yesterday. Back in Kampot we went to dinner at the "The Green Man Bar" which is owned by who else but an Irish guy who gave us some great advice about what else is worth exploring by bikes.

Day 42
While I stayed back in Kampot together with Marion and Kerstin, Romy went to visit her friend Eva in Ho Chi Minh City.
Marion and me took our bike and took off into the direction the guy from "The Green Man Bar" advised us. We ended up at the river rapids (from this point on we didn't follow his advice - he recommended getting off the street earlier and relax at the Utopia Guesthouse and Restaurant since it lies directly at a beautiful part of the river). Anyways, we continued along the road and ended up paying 1 Dollar each for getting to the river rapids, which turned out to be just a shallow part of the river. I went for a quick refreshing in that bathtub and, since the ground of the river was covered with huge stones I, the only way to get back out was crawling on all four. Suddenly I heard some laughter in the distance and realized that a group of 5 Cambodians was watching me. Not even 2 minutes later they showed up at our spot and started finding excuses all the time to come near us and talk to us. They were splashing around in the water like little kids, trying to get our attention with singing songs including "I wanna kiss you", "I love you" and so on. When finally a group of monks arrived who stared at us the same way for ages (they even smoked!) we felt like in a zoo - but behind the bars - and decided to leave to that beach we were looking for 2 days ago but back then only found a little piece of sand along the ocean. This time we got a better description and found it without problems. From the mainroad there is a big arche leading the way to the Preak Ampil Resort - who would expect a public beach over there!!! Anyways, the resort isn't open yet but will be very beautiful as soon as it's finished. The beach was very nice, we were the only ones around, except for the guys building the bungalows. One of them came over twice, throwing himself on my towel and staring at me while I tried to concentrate on my book!
Back in Kampot we went to the "Green Man Bar" for a beer and met a cambodian woman there who owns the "Jasmine Restaurant" right next door. We decided to have dinner there later to continue the nice chat with her, and it turned out to be the right decision: first of all the food was fantastic with fair prices, and after we had asked around a couple times already how we could get to Sihanoukville and the answer was that there is a Minibus for 7 Dollars (for like 90 km, a ridiculous price) and a taxi for 5 of which nobody can tell us when and where it leaves (they just want to sell the pricy minivan tickets because they get a good commission) we asked her if she's got some advice, and - after a phonecall, she got us a taxi for 3,75 Dollars each, even with a pick-up at our Guesthouse!



Nahe Kampot, Cambodia



Day 43 - 46: Kampot to Sihanoukville, Cambodia, 28.3. - 31.3.

Sihanoukville, Cambodia

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Day 43
Marion, Kerstin and me left at 9 am and weren't surprised when our "taxi" turned once again out to be a "stuffinasmanypeopleyoucanfitinthere" car with 5 seats (2 in the front, 3 in the back) but 8 people in there (4 in the front, 4 in the back), but since the ride was only 1 1/2 hours it was all right.
We decided to look for a Guesthouse at the Weather Hill Station, and together with Sandrine, the other girl they squeezed with us into the back row of the taxi, I got a nice room at the Mealy Chenda Guesthouse for 5 Dollars; Marion and Kerstin moved into the one right next to it, the Green Gecko Guesthouse.
Marion, Kerstin an me had Lunch at their Guesthouse (good menu with fair prices) and headed straight for Victory Beach just 5 minutes walk from our Guesthouses. It was really quiet there, neither too many tourists nor cambodians trying to sell you something every 20 seconds. We got a huge fruit bag with mango, pineapple, dragonfruit, watermelon and banana from a nice old lady who cut everyrhing freshly for us for just 1 1/2 Dollars - I don't think I will ever leave this place

The days 44 - 46 were just relaxed, we took the scooters every day, went to all of the beautiful beaches and made a snorkelling trip to Bamboo Island.



Sihanoukville, Cambodia



Day 47 - 49: Sihanoukville to Siem Reap, Cambodia, 1.4. - 3.4.

Day 47
I got picked up at the Guesthouse at 6.30 am to catch the bus at 7.15 am. At the busstation I had to say goodbye to Sandrine who went to Ho Chi Minh City. I arrived in Phnom Penh around 11.20 and went onto the bus to Siem Reap at 11.45. I arrived there with a delay of a couple hours (I was told that the ride is like 8 till 9 hours)at 7 pm. I checked into the Garden Village Inn Guesthouse (6 Dollars a night for a double room) and waited for Romy who arrived an hour later, together with Nam, a girl she met on the bus.

Day 48
We slept in today and decided not to go to Angkor Wat that day. Instead we wanted to explore the town a bit and started with the Old market on which we had breakfast and did some shopping. Then we drove to the Angkor Inn Hotel to check in Nam, who had her fancy room waiting for her. We rented some bicycles and wanted to drive to the Crocodile farm - everyone said it is far from the center, about 8 km, but it took us only 15 minutes to get there...seems like we are that good! The Crocodile Farm was a bit awkward to visit, bearing in mind what those reptiles are held there for...right next to the Farm there was a souvenir store offering all kinds of Croco-merchandise...
After Romy dropped her sunglasses in one of the cages (those would have been the fourth ones she'd lost on this holiday...) she got someone to fish them out for her and bought some stinky fish to feed those little beasts. There were so many of them and some were too lazy to get the fish - hope that's a good sign that they are fed well at least, but there were also few battles going on over the food. After the farm we went to the Do Do Restaurant to grab a bite and give us some strength for more shopping at the Central Market. In the evening we went to the Rooftop Restaurant at our Guesthouse again and later wanted to find a Tuk Tuk Driver for the next day to get us to Angkor Wat. We walked over to the nearby supermarket and there was a bit party going on on front, as some of the bars had a blackout before, people gathered over there. We bought some beer and joined the party and despite our good intentions of going to bed early we ended up at a private VIP-Karaoke Room with about 30 people and screamed out lungs out! It was good fun, and worth the lack of sleep!

Day 49
Got up at 4 am in the morning to get ready for some Temple-action! Our Tuk Tuk driver Tra picked us up at quarter to 5 and we drove to the Angkor Inn to get Nam on board as well. Arriving at Angkor, we paid 20 USD each to get in and got our picture printed on the pass (thank god it was not a good camera, the way we looked like at 5 in the morning...)
It was still dark, but as we got closer we noticed there were tons of people there already! The street leading to Angkor almost had rush hour going on at 5 in the morning...and here we were, having this irrational illusion we were going to be the only ones by the temples at this time...yeah, yeah, dream on....
The sunset was a bit dissappointing, frankly we didn't see it, since there were too many clouds. We decided to be smart and move on to the next temple (Angkor Thom - Bayon Temple), hoping it wouldn't be so crowded by then - this turned out to be a fabulous idea! This was what we thought of one of the most beautiful temples, it had gorgeous face-engravings in the stone temples. We also saw the Elephant terrace, Chao Say (our second favourite, with huge trees growing out of the ruines), To Keo, Ta Phnom (which had also gorgeous gigantic trees growing out of the walls). We also went to Banteay Kdai, but took frequent breaks.
By the time we got back to Angkor Wat we were sort of templed out and decided to skip the midday-heat spending some time in the shade. The ants bothered us too much, so we took off to the temples soon after. Unfortunately my camera broke that day, something is probably wrong with the software and the camera somehow chose to pick the worst timing and broke right before Angkor Wat.
We all agreed that Angkor Wat itself was not too impressive and we spent just an hour inside. The reason why it is probably the most famous, it because it is best preserved. What was also quite annoying that day were all the children trying to sell you something every part of the way, they would chase us around, even after we told them "no" a million times. We do feel bad for them, but we can't buy from everyone all the time!
It is generally very exhausting to get all the drivers and vendors off your back in Cambodia. This is a little example of how they approach you:
-Hello Lady, Tuk Tuk? Motorbei?
-No, thank you.
-Maybe later?
-No.
-Tomorrow you need driver? Good/Special price for you!
(or in our case
-Have you seen the temples? I have a good route, special price for you only 12 Dollars!
-No, thanks, i don't need anything!
-You want to smoke?
-No.
-Opium?
-No.
-Ecxtasy?
-No. No drugs. Thank you.
And you keep thanking them all the time, but they won´t let you get away

Anyways, we left the site around 4 pm, a little bit exhausted but still rushing around to get things done. We tried to find a new camera for Romy without success, but there were no stores that would sell them with a warranty, exchanged some books, did some more shopping, and then we met with Nam for dinner. Had the worst fried noodles ever - they were swimming in gravy...not such a good day (except for wonderful Angkor Wat of course).
Dropped to bed really late once again, packing took forever!



Angkor, Siem Reap, Cambodia



Day 50: Siem Reap - Bangkok - Koh Tao, Thailand, 4.4. - 10.4.

Day 50
What a long day, with the longest bus-ride ever, especially for me since I went further to Koh Tao, while Romy wanted to stay in Bangkok and do a trip to the Erawan Waterfalls (I`ve been there in 2004 and strongly recommended it to her!)
We caught our totally uncomfortable bus with no A/C or windows to open up and took until 2 pm to get to the Thai border...crossing was so exhausting, we sweated sooo much, it was disgusting! It was quite a walk, first we had to pass the Cambodian Check-Out point and then walked over to the Thai Immigration. Then we waited around for almost an hour for our bus to Bangkok - it was worth waiting for though, it was a Double-Decker VIP Bus and we had the best seats in the top front row!
Finally we got to relax and could stop sweating...
We arrived in Bangkok at 8.30 pm - much later than expected I ran out to the Tour-office right as we stopped to find out if the bus was still waiting. We had called before saying we'd be late, but it wasn't for certain they could wait. Thank god they had another bus to Koh Tao at 9 pm which I could take instead of the one I was supposed to at 7.30 pm. Once again it was a nice VIP Bus, and I ended up in the back row next to a Thai woman around my age working on Koh Tao and Koh Pangan in a pharmacy, and we had a nice time, especially since she told me a lot about Thai people and their way of life.

Day 51
I arrived at the town where the bus stops at 5.30 am and waited for the catamaran to Koh Tao who started at 8 am. I got to Koh To around 10 and somebody from my diving school (Buddha View) picked me up. I have a really nice room and the staff here is so friendly. I went to the beautiful white sand beach to relax from my 26 hours journey and in the afternoon I watched an introduction movie for 1 1/2 hours. In the evening we had a barbecue at the Gueshouse where I met some nice people, so I skipped my plans of completing chapter 2 of my theorie book that day...

Day 52
At 9 am I started with Julie from Denmark our first theorie lesson until 11.30. It's only the two of us together with our dive instructor Daniel from Austria. He's really nice and is taking enought time for explaining everything, we feel so comfortable. I went to the beach until 1 and at 1.15 it was time for our first dive in the pool. I still can't believe how smooth everything went, we managed everything immidiately, even blowing the mask out, I feel so great and can't wait to get into the ocean tomorrow, we start off at 12.45. There have even been 2 whale sharks around lately, maybe I get to catch a glimpse?!?!?!

Day 53
This afternoon I had my first dive in open water - just amazing, and I already love it! Can't wait to go again tomorrow. In the morning I had to continue reading the book since I want to do the written exam tomorrow evening, and since I'm still missing the last chapter I know what I'm gonna do tonight...

Days 54 - 56
Loads of diving, doing the advanced license as well, while Romy is hanging out on the beach. Love it soooo much!!!!!!



Koh Tao, Thailand



Day 57 - 59: Koh Tao to Bangkok, 11.4. - 13.4.

Day 57
we are on our way to Bangkok after some fantastic days in Koh Tao.

Day 58
Did we ever complain about sweating - we have been freezing for the first time here in ages - the city is out of control! There are waterbattles all over the place and there is not a dry spot on our bodies...people are spraying and throwing icewater on us constantly and we decided to find shelter in this internetcafe for just a few minutes...
We still managed to get a haircut and some beauty treatment today, but got no blowdrying done - there's no point
This morning we also went to the weekend market here in Bangkok with Jessie, who we met on the bus yesterday. As we arrived here in BKK at 4.30 this morning it was not easy to find accomodation, because there is so much going on over the Thai New Year; eventually we got a room for the three of us in Soi Rambuttri street, where all the craziness is!
Anyways, tonight we are meeting some people from Laos and also Marion again to get soaked a little more!
Will be fun sitting on the plane completely wet tomorrow...

Day 59
Last entry, the trip is (almost) over. We will have a couple more hours more fun out on the streets before we head to the airport at midnight to catch our plane at 3.15 am.
We look forward seeing all of you again soon, hope you enjoyed this diary!!!


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Kommentare

  • rrobby

    Hi Dunja!
    Da hast Du einen sehr langen, ausführlichen Reisebericht geschrieben über die Erlebnisse Deiner/Eurer Reise. Gut geschrieben, interessant, informativ.
    Eines fällt auf: Stand bei den Backpackern früher, in den 80er/90er Jahren mehr Kultur- und Natursightseeing auf dem Programm, so ist es heute scheinbar mehr Party, Fun-activities. Wie dem auch sei, es war wohl eine schöne Reise, die Du da gemacht hast.
    LG Robert

  • Blula

    Hallo Dunja!
    Habe zwar etwas länger zum Lesen gebraucht, aber Dein Bericht in Tagebuchform hat mit sehr gefallen. Bin ja auch ein echter Thailandfan. Deine Fotos sind supergut.
    LG Ursula

  • Blula

    Hey, ich sehe eben, dass meine 5 Punkte, die ich Dir bereits für diesen guten Bericht gegeben hatte, verschwunden sind. Hier muss man neuerdings alles kontrollieren.... Kriegst sie natürlich nochmal....
    LG Ursula

  • INTERTOURIST

    Am beeindruckendstend finde ich 60 Tage für eine Reise Zeit zu haben.
    Da kann dann auch die Reise das Ziel sein. Allerdings halte ich mich selten an die Sprüche ausgewählter ger zitierter Berühmtheiten sondern habe Eigene .
    Wenn ich als Vollzeitausgebeuteter auf 3 Wochen am Stück komme ist das gut.
    Da muss man sich dann schon auf eine gewisse Art fokussieren - das heist man muss nicht - man kann auch einfach rumbummeln - ist aber nicht ganz so mein Ding.
    Wie denm auch sei, der Bericht ist gut detalliert mit wichtigen Infos.

    grüsse

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