Monday, December 27, 2010

Goodbye South East Asia

Goodbye South East Asia

After 2 months travelling around South East Asia we finally said our goodbyes on 7th December..... 

Thought I'd do a little top ten highlights from our trip so far...

1. The top highlight of our trip so far was definitely snorkelling in Koh Phi Phi - it was just breathtaking crystal clear blue sea with the most amazing sealife right underneath the waters surface... 

2. Spending the day with the elephants in Chiang Mai - can't believe we got so close to them and got to spend so much time with them, was fantastic

3. Taking a Thai cookery course - get ready for the dinner parties!

4. Food glorious food - so much amazing food and we WENT for it! Mart was definitely more adventurous than me.  

Top things I liked were: Vietnamese fresh spring rolls, iced vietnamese coffee and pad thai in Thailand and the FRUIT... oh the fruit.. so fresh and tasty and SO cheap... mangoes, pineapples and melon were my favourites and they did these gorgeous fruit ice crushes in Thailand for about 1pound, I had tons of the watermelon ones

Top things for Mart: pork massaman curry in Thailand, crispy spring rolls in Vietnam, red curry in Thailand and the lethal Thai whisky buckets!

pad thai and whisky buckets

more thai rotees. oh dear.

iced coffee and spring rolls

5. Staying overnight on the lake and trekking in Khao Sok National Park, Thailand - our 'waking up view'

6. Caving in Laos

7. The history of Vietnam - we definitely soaked it all up and even though it was harrowing to hear all the stories, it was so interesting to see/hear what this country has been through

8. Railay Beach - our best beach so far

9. Halong Bay, Vietnam

10. Swimming in a waterfall in Laos

11. Sorry, a cheeky number 11... the Sunsets..

Even though we know how lucky we are taking this time out of work to travel around, there have definitely been some bad points!

1. Long Journeys
The worst was the 7 hour bus journey from Luang Phrabang to Vang Vieng which travelled around winding mountain roads for the whole 7 hours, turning my tummy on each bend... blurgh!  Another pretty rough journey, although only for me I think.. was the day spent on the motorbikes in the pouring rain in Vietnam visiting the sites around Hue.. so miserable!  

22 hour train journey from Hue to Saigon

2. Mozzie bites 
They were relentless, you had to apply spray every single day, and if you forgot, they GOT you all over! and sooo itchy! but rubbing on tiger balm to bites is a good tip

3. The food poisoning from Thailand... definitely one of the worst days of our lives

our sickbed :(

4. The constant threat of being ripped off but on the flipside it was really nice to have the option of haggling, wish I could haggle with my hairdresser or the Trainline!  

5. The language barrier
It was ok to start with but got much worse in Vietnam and Laos, especially when trying to buy paracetamol was a series of charades acted out in the shop - it was quite a shock to get to Australia and people understand what you're saying when they serve you in the shop or at the hotel.  

6. Bathrooms
The cold showers I'd had enough of arching my back to avoid the icy cold water trickling down my back and not forgetting the toilets.. I've experienced some seriously disgusting ones during the trip so far, but luckily a few of those were whilst I was a bit tipsy so it didn't seem so bad at the time!

7. Food
We discovered that when you're backpacking you suddenly have a lot more time on your hands, so you spend a big chunk of it thinking and talking about food.. what you're going to have as your next meal, what you're missing from home, what will be your first meal when you get home..... you definitely get sick of rice and noodles after a while and so the things we missed the most food wise were: real cheese for me, they only serve plastic wrapped sliced cheese in S.E.Asia..... they've never even seen a block of mature cheddar and good tasty sausages for Mart.. the ones in Asia were hotdog looking things with god knows what inside them!

8. Missing our friends and family
There's been plenty of points along the way we've wished our friends and family could have been here with us... sunny days on the beach for a big picnic with wine and beers, nights out, sights like Halong Bay that I know our parents would just love.. we miss you all

9. The weather
Very unpredictable.. after doing some climate research we spotted that it should have been sunny in Thailand whilst we were there - this was not the case! In rained for a good 15 days out of the 30 while we were there! We felt really sorry for the people that had just come for a 2 week break and had nothing but rain! Think it would put us off booking Thailand at that time of year again.

We arrived into Sydney last week (this blog written on 13th Dec, uploaded later), had fantastic weather and we spent 4 days exploring the city and found some gorgeous beaches and coves that I hadn't seen when I lived in Sydney, so a big chunk of it was new to me too which was good.  We flew to Melbourne on Monday 13th December, I LOVE this city, all the girls are so trendy and so all I want to do is shop shop shop shop, but I can't as we don't have enough money to buy me another pair of sandals or a new vintage handbag! not to mention the seriously limited space in my backpack!

We're just about to set off on our 5 day trip along the Great Ocean Road, arriving into Adelaide on 22nd December where we fly from Adelaide to Brisbane to meet up and stay with Martin's sister Dawn for Christmas and New Year!! 

It's not feeling too Christmassy here.. but there's definitely more decorations in Melbourne than there was in Sydney.  Today we heard carols whilst we were sat in Federation Square, which was lovely and last night we found mince pies in the supermarket so had a couple after our dinner!! So it's definitely not the same as being at home and I'm beginning to feel really envious of my facebook friends updates when they say they're feeling "Christmassy and cosy"!! Well... only for about 5 minutes and then I put some more suncream on and lay back down with my book!! haha.

Will update the blog with Sydney and Melbourne in the next few days

Merry Christmas!!!
Lots of Love
Ems & Mart

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