Location: Our last entry, Thailand
We have had a great time and it has finely come to an end!! what we will be left with is great photos and even better memories!
- walking on the great wall
- terracotta warriors - xi'an china
- river cuise and bikeriding around the limestone casts - yangsho china
- riding our first motobike in vietnam - HCMC
- not the meekong delta tour
- Angkor wat and surrounding temples, climbing steep staircases in blistering heat - siam reap, cambodia
- street food - pad thai - bangkok
thanks everyone for following our adventure!!
See everyone soon!!
Location: Bangkok, Thailand
HAPPY AUSTRALIA DAY EVERYONE!!!
we are listening to JJJ hottest 100 online!!
we have done some shopping, some sight seeing and a little drinking but not much eating as we both have dodgy stomaches!!!!!
alex also got a $2 hair cut and shave - the results are of $2 quality - its a bit asian looking, short back and sides - but i have a week before work to let it settle!!!!
we are off to have a beer to celebrate AUSSIE DAY! CHEERS
Location: Bangkok, Thailand
i think we got a scam bus to bangkok!
it took us 16 hours to get here - 1 motobike, 4 car ferries and 3 minibuses later and a lot waiting in between we made it, only to be dropped off on the side of the road. were staying in the backpacker district. just a bout anything goes here!!
we are planning to see the sights and hit the many markets in the next couple of days - and avoid bus trips!
see you soon
Location: Sihanoukville, Cambodia
Hello!! We have spent 2 days doing absolutely nothing except reading and swimming and having a massage. its a tough life. Honestly though we can't sit still for more than 2 days!! so we are off to bangkok tomorrow on a 10hr bus ride! yay! so on to the last chapter of our adventure
See you all soon!!
alex's mum - can you keep me posted on what is happening with my registration - thanks - i cant start work without it
Location: Siam Reap - Angkor, Cambodia
we have just finished a marvelous 3 days exploring the temples of angkor and beyond! what an amzing place! we hired a tuk tuk driver to take us around to the temples [far to hot to try and walk or ride between the various temples].
the temples were built from the 9th to 14th centuries and many are still in good condition due to restoration works. its hard to imagine something that old. At some stages the city had over 1million people living there, whilst london had 50 thousand and was stuck in the dark ages!
it would have been unbelivable to stumble across the temples in the jungle! there were so many tourists, but if you planned what temples you saw, you could get a few minutes of peace and quiet before the busloads of japanese/french/korean tourists arrived!
checks out the pics! there are too many great photos to choose from!
we are heading to the beach area of cambodia tomorrow. the beaches are supposed to be as good as thailand but with 1% of the toursists. then we are heading across the border into thailand
we deserve a break after 3 days of getting up at dawn.
hope everyone is enjoying the holidays
Location: Phnom Phen, Cambodia
We made it to PP finally last night and stayed in the backpackers district over looking a very poluted lake. all was fine, until about 1am a party started up in our restaurent and finished around 3am. needless to say we didnt sleep. we also changed guesthouses in the morning to a quieter one!
we wandered around the city today. checked out the royal palace, a few wats and the silver pagoda. did some shopping, but everything is in US dollars and it is quite hard to get our heads around!
Cambodia is a very nice place, although it poorer and dirtier than vietnam, but everyone is so friendly! it is so hot here, and it is without the sea breeze of vietnam! but hopefully we will head to the beach soon!
Location: Mekong Delta, Vietnam
The Mekong Delta Experience!
we spent the last 3 days on transport with short stops along the mekong. we saw some interesting things and people! but the tour was very touristy!
we went on many boat rides along the mekong and up many tributaries - seeing how the people live off the land and river. went to a crocodile farm, with 2 random sun bears in a cage - they export most of the crocodiles ALIVE to china for meat and leather.
our 3rd day we got on a small boat at 730am and made our way to Phnom Phen - we got to the border at 12pm and left again at 130pm, getting onto a boat we might recognise as a refugee boat. 4 hours later we swapped to a bus and made it to PP fpr 730pm.
We would not recommend this tour to anyone and arent too keen to get on a boat anytime soon!
Location: Mui Ne, Vietnam
We went on a day tour to a Cao Dai temple (a religion of SW vietnam) and to the Cu chi vietnam war tunnels. the temple was a little wierd, we watched a pray service. the tunnels were very interesting and so small - alex actually fitted into a real tunnel (30x60cm)- we also crawled 100m through widened tunnels for westerners (60x80cm). but it is harder than it looks in the picture. we saw all kinds of booby traps and lots of bomb craters. We had a good day!!!
we spent the last 2 days in a sea side village relaxing at a resort, it even had a pool. we hired 2 motos with drivers and went on a tour to see the local sights (check the pics) - yellow sanddunes, red canyon, white sand dunes and lotus lake, and fairy stream. riding the motos was pretty cool, but the landscape wasalso amazing.
the rest of the time we spent reading our books by the pool. now we have a our energy back, tomoorow we are heading up the mekong river on a 3 day tour to Phnom Phen!!!
Location: Ho Chi Minh CIty, Vietnam
Well it is now hot hot hot and oh so humid - just the way we like it! Vietnam has a great vibe - so coulful and the people are very friendly! we found a place to stay last night and also for the next two nights.
we spent the day wondering the city. we went to the war museum and various markets. We are trying to understand the cost and currency as 1 auzzie dollar = 12000 Dong!!
We rode motorbikes for the first time he he it was fun!
We are going on a day trip tomorrow to the underground war tunnels and a temple. We are also organsing a 3 day boat trip along the Mekong Delta into cambodia!
thats all for now! by!
Location: Hong Kong Airport, Hong Kong
hello everyone - we are about to fly to Ho Cho Minh City.
We arrive 10pm local time and we are catching a taxi to the main tourist district in search of accomodation.
we have no plan for the next few days - the world is our oyster - write again soon
Location: Hong Kong, Hong Kong
HK = another dirty great big city! the type of shop til you drop stop over city. everything is expensive compared to china and the atmosphere is hectic!
We have made travel plans today to be finalised tomorrow. We are going to fly Ho Chi Min city at 8pm on 4th instead of going to bangkok. we will then make our way overland through vietnam and cambodia into thailand and fly home from bangkok on the 28th as planned.
tonight was our liast night with our group, had a nice dinner in the night markets. we are looking forward to the next leg of our trip, when we will write again
Sorry everyone about not posting for a week, as a earthquake destroyed the internet cable to china (ahh technology), but HK uses satelite technology.
take care. xoxox
Location: LongJi Valley - Rice Terraces, China
Happy New Year!! We have been hiking in the rice terraces for 2 days - it is the 8th scenic wonder of the whole world?!! we had really good weather for winter, so the visibility in the mornings was good. it was all very nepal. we would have liked to walk longer, but cest la vi!
meet 2 minority groups - the yao and zhong people - yao women are very aggressive sellers whilst zhong people are very placid and freiendly. we had a cultural performance and dance on NYE, watched a horable movie and went to bed at midnight!
On the bright side the country food is much better -- awesome pancakes and deep fried banana and french toast!
Gemma reconfirmied her vegetarianism after inocently coming across a pig being killed for dinner - Yum!
The bus ride down the mountain was a little hair raising as it was drizzling with blind curves and landslides. We passed 2 car accidents!
Now it is time for our final leg out of China and into Hongkong. The last overnight train!!
Location: Yangshou, China
So...We arrived at Yangshou. xmas on the train wasnt as bad as you would think! cofortable warm bed, drinking games and secret santa! 26 hours of pure bliss!
we have really enjoyed Yangshou, a quite backpackers town. it was nice to see some grass! the landscape is amazing - there are 100-150m limestone karsts (we will post photos) everywhere, and this is why everyone comes here.
We have been on a river cruise, bike riding a round the countryside, chinese cooking school (the food is a little better when you cook it yourself), gemma did watercolour painting and we had a foot massage! happy hour(s) made up for some of our xmas missery!
Location: Shanghai, China
Arrived in Shanghai, a little tired and sick. however we walked around the city. the are lots of high rise shopping malls, it is all very expensive and western.
the area along the water (the bund) is very nice but, very touristy. infact we are felling quite city'ed out. we are going for a river cruise along the river this afternoon, and checking out some markets.
Hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and santa is good to you. hope your day is not too stressful. have a beer and some christmas cake for us. cant wait to talk to you all!
We plan to go out for breakfast and lunch (probably have something western to celebrate xmas - maybe a brazilian bbq), before we get onto our overnight train in the afternoon. 26 hours long - so we are taking a case of beer to ease the pain.
our group has done a secret santa - the challenge being to get a present for 10 yuan - $1.80. we are giving them out on the train - something to break the boredom.
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!!!!
Location: Xi'an, China
The terracotta warriors were amazing - "the eighth scenic wonder of the world". We are so glad we came here in winter (low season), as the tourists were minimal and we could actually spend time apreciating them!
We hired bikes and round 14km around the citywall - extremely bumpy and not to much to see due to incredible polution!
Alex caught Gemma's cold, and now we are both strugling! We spent a whole day slepping!
About to catch another overnight train (only 17 hours)
Location: Xi'an, China
We arrived this morning in Xi'an after a luxurious overnight train ride from Beijing. We didn't get much sleep, but glad we were not on indian trains.
Xi'an is another big city. It was the place were the first emperor to unite every province in china ruled from. It is his terracotta warriors that guard his tomb, and that is were we are headed tomorrow.
We are heading out to explore the city today. Xi'an is one of the only cities in china to still have fully intact city walls. We plan to ride the 14km around the city, on top of the city walls, whilst we are here.
Location: Great Wall of China, China
We have spent 2 days walkign aong the Great Wall of China. There are so many stairs, it is unbelievable! The wall snakes along the ridge line continuously towards the horizon. It is so crazy and stupid that they bothered building the wall on such ridiculous terrain - many workers (slaves) would have fallen to their deaths.
We walked 11km along the wall between 2 little towns. Parts of the wall have been rebuilt and is just the way it would have been during the Ming dynasty. But lots of the wall is unpassable and the bricks have fallen down the hillside. Ladies trying to sell postcards, t-shirts and posters followed us most of the way along the wall.
We returned to the wall for sunrise, over an hour too early (thanks to poor communication from our guide)! It was freezing up there, about -10 degrees! The breath on Alex's scarf and his sweat on his fleece turned to ice. The light and atmosphere was beautiful, as we were the only ones on the wall, but Gemma scored a cold for her troubles!
Location: Beijing, China
The Kungfu show was crazy awsome last night. It had losts of different styles from ballet dancing to breaking metal rods over their heads to laying on nails and also circus moves on hanging ropes. Their stength is just incredible.
It is so so cold again today that we are just taking it easy. Still no luck with up loading photos - today they won't let us use the USB port!! What!!
Any way we leave beijing to go to the great wall tomorrow. We hike for 16km on the first day and 10 on the second. It will be colder on the wall than in Beijing. CRAZY!
Hope that preparations for the big day are going well everyone!
Today it was extremely cold. - 4 degrees with an extremely harsh wind chill factor. we had 4 layers on and it was still cold. it was colder today than any day we spent in the himalayas in nepal!!!
we brave tianamen square - lined up and saw Chairmen Mao's frozen body and pay our respects to the communist regime.
also went to the forbidden city - where we saw amazing treasures from the ancient world. but sadly the 2 main buildings were being renovated.
unfortunately the day was unpleasant because it was just so cold!!! we headed straight to the markets to buy gloves and scarfs.
tomorrow it is going to be atleast -9 degress. wish us luck, but now we are off to see kung fu.
Location: Beijing, China
today we changed from our windowless room with a hot shower to a fancy hotel, being renovated with a luke warm shower.
we went to the Temple of Heaven - the emperor would sacrifice young calfs and prey for a good harvest. the buildings are sqaure on bottom to represent earth and circular on top to represent heaven.
we are getting around by walking many kilometers and catching the subway (50c to go anywhere)
we can now count to 10 in mandarin and have found one hot drink - hot surgery milk
we meet our intrepid group tonight - everyone is great and all seasoned travellers of vary agers - there is a family of 4 from oz that we havent met yet.
we have great photos, but having trouble uploading them, post them when we can.
Leave us a message everyone!
Location: Beijing, China
we spent all day at the Summer Palace! it was so beautiful, the architecture and history is spectacular. most of the buildings were burnt down in 1860 by the anglo-french and then rebuilt again in 1901 by empress Cixi, but still older than most things in oz. it was a great thrill to walk accross a frozen lake!
so we went to the opera - it was amazing in so many ways but disapointing cause it was very short and didnt have much singing. we got scammed for the price, but what can you do! lots of fighting scenes and acrobatics!
Location: Beijing, China
We have had two wonderful days of exploring the city. It has so many contrasts between the old and the new. Our back packers is the old part of the city (hutong), but these parts are being knocked down to make way for highrisers.
the people are shy but very friendly. we got told "chinese people are like dumplings (closed) and westerners are like pizzas". we played diablo in the park, learnt how to count to ten and practiced mandarin with tennagers.
seen many sights - all very old - including drum and bell towers (time keepers before watches), many beautiful parks, lakes and temples. lots of shopping, but very dissapointed as it is not cheap because of stupid americans paying too much! It took alex 30mins to bargain for a pair of jeans.
we are off to see the summer palace (where royality escaped the summer heat) today and see the opera tonight.
Location: Bejing, China
well we are here! Finally!!
We had a very eventful flight as Bejing had a fog as thick as pea soup! So first of all we had to refuel in Hongkong in case we had to circle above Bejing airport, so that added an extra hour! Then when we landed (blindly) and the fog got so thick they closed the airport ( at least they let us down i suppose!). But this ment that all craft had to remain stationary and wait to be towed by a tracter as there was zero visibilty and they did not want any collisions! Well 1 hour later the tracter arrived but the captain told us the mechanic who needed to connect us was lost in transist - yep he couldn't find our jumbo! so we ended up being a grand total of 5 hours late!
Today we managed to crawl out of bed after 3 hours sleep and walk around the city soaking up the sights. Bejing is so cold but very beatiful with lots of temples, gardens and frozen lakes (with ice skaters)!
so, now off to bed!
Location: Newcastle, Australia
Thanks for veiwing what we hope will be the diary of a fantastic adventure!
We are leaving tomorrow morning and arrive in Bejing at 8pm. Hopefully we have someone waiting to pick us up and take us to our hostel - but you never know! We are expecting it to be -5C or so!
We are really excited and Gemma can't wait to see the great wall. Alex wants to try peking duck (priority one)! he he!
well here we go - wish us luck!