During my 10th month of travel, I finally left Thailand. Having spent the past six months in this wonderful country, it truly felt like home and I was devastated to be leaving.
However, there was so much more of South East Asia to see and with just 2 weeks to explore, I decided to spend them having a short introduction to both Laos and Cambodia.
As always, these weeks weren’t without drama and I had some of the best, and worst, experiences on my trip to date.
It all began with the slow boat to Luang Prabang.
I’ll be writing about this traumatic journey over the next few weeks, but let’s just say that the scenery was incredible and what I imagined would be an extremely peaceful and relaxing experience was somewhat tarred by the fact I was sat about a metre away from a dead woman and her grieving husband for the entire journey. She had died from malaria mid-boat trip and with nowhere to put her, they stuck her at the end of the boat with her grieving husband.
Arriving at my guesthouse in Luang Prabang, I ended up in a room that locked me out and could only be opened when the guesthouse owner brandished a huge machete and hacked the door down. I was then locked inside the room as soon as I closed it. A room which now had no door handle and so I had no way of getting out. I remained there for two hours before someone heard my cries for help and could finally let me out.
Refusing to stay there any longer I was moved to the only other free room which had cockroaches in the bed, enormous bugs flying into my face and a toilet filled with cockroaches and other dead animals. I couldn’t take it and spent the night sitting on the ground outside crying. I thought I had been saved when two Dutch guys returned from a night out and said I could sleep in their room that night. Ten minutes later, I woke up to find one of them attempting to grope me. In the room which you could not open from the inside.
I left the guesthouse the next morning and decided it had been the worst night of my entire trip.
From that moment onwards everything improved. I treated myself to an amazing room and fell in love with Luang Prabang. I spent my time eating delicious baguettes, exploring the temples, watching a gorgeous sunset and being disappointed by the appalling behaviour of tourists at the morning alms giving ceremony.
After Luang Prabang, I decided to skip Vang Vieng because I don’t want to die and head for some relaxation time in Si Phan Don.
It was amazing.
I don’t think I’ve ever felt so relaxed before in my life. I spent every day lazing in my hammock, napping and catching up on my favourite TV shows.
The only time I actually did something was when I forced myself to rent a bike and ride to the nearby island of Don Khon. It was one of the highlights of my time in Laos and I loved cycling the dirt tracks and feeling like I was the only living soul around.
When I took the turning signposted as “beach” I was rewarded with deserted sand dunes and a gorgeous lagoon. I spent the rest of the day sunbathing, watching the local children swimming in the Mekong and fisherman wading out to catch fish with their bare hands.
The final stop on my whirlwind tour took me to Siem Reap and Angkor Wat. I took nearly 2000 photos over the 2 days I spent at Angkor and it was one of the most incredible sights I’ve seen on my travels to date.
I was devastated to be leaving Cambodia after just four days as there was so much more of the country I was desperate to see. Sadly, I’ll have to save it for a future date as it was not just time for me to leave Cambodia, it was also time for me to leave Asia and head to Europe.
That was never in the plan!
It’s true. It wasn’t. I fell in love with South-East Asia from the moment I arrived and immediately made plans to travel through that area indefinitely. I didn’t want to ever leave. If you take a look at my plans before that, I was going to be heading to Australia on a Working Holiday Visa in March.
As much as I adore Thailand, being there for the rainy season didn’t sound like an awful lot of fun so I began exploring other alternatives. I started my trip in Eastern Europe and with only 6 weeks to explore the region, I left wishing that I could have stayed longer. With a huge list of countries in that area that I still want to visit it seemed like the perfect decision to return there for the summer!
Tomorrow’s post will be a detailed outline of my plans for the next 6 months, but I can tell you it will be spent exploring Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Onto the statistics for the month!
Distance travelled: 13,041 km
Countries visited: Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Egypt, The Netherlands, England.
Cities Visited: Chiang Mai, Chiang Khong, Pak Bang, Luang Prabang, Pakse, Don Det, Siem Reap, Bangkok, Cairo, Amsterdam, London.
Number of photos taken: 6192
Number of flights: 4
Number of trains: 0
Number of buses: 5
Number of boats: 2
Thailand: £215.25 over 12 days = £17.94 a day
Laos: £85 over 9 days = £9.44 a day
Cambodia: £190.46 over 4 days = £47.61 a day
Egypt: £15 over 1 day = £15 a day
The Netherlands: £96.20 over 3 days = £32.06 a day
England: £7.50 over 1 day = £7.50 a day
Total amount: £609.21
The next month:
I’ll be spending the next two weeks back home in London, where I plan on catching up with friends and family, eating my weight in cheese and drinking 500 cups of tea.
On the 1st June I fly out to Ljubljana – my favourite city in Europe. I’ll be spending a week in total in Slovenia and will be celebrating my birthday there too! I have lots of exciting adventures planned for my time there, including a hot air balloon ride over Lake Bled and trying out canyoning for the first time. I’m sure this will result in a dramatic near-death experience.
With a short stopover in Vienna, I’ll be flying to Morocco to travel solo on the 10th June and I’m very excited about taking my first step onto the continent of Africa.
Looking to follow along with my travels through my monthly summaries? You can read the previous month’s summary here, the next month’s summary here, or head on over to the monthly summary page to read from the very beginning!