Location: Sydney, Australia
Well hello from Australia (a month on)! Its been a long trip and a long time coming to our final destination, but here we are and loving it. Both of us have started work, and are in the process of finding somewhere to live, which is impossible here by the way. Especially when you're from overseas. How and ever, keeping positive, and we'll see how it goes!
Sydney is an amazing city, so many beautiful things and so many beautiful people. Its easy to see why the Irish come over this way and just never go back... And trust me, there are A LOT of Irish here! We've done all the main sights; the Opera House, Harbour Bridge and even the infamous Bondi beach. Managed to fore-go the "Bondi tan" though. I suppose 3 months in Asia will give to pretty good base protection!
Our best wishes to everyone at home and all our friends overseas. There won't be as many updates (not that we were too good at it in the first place) anymore, but we will keep up with the pictures!
X X X
Location: Koh Lanta, Thailand
Once again, sorry for the lack of updates... And even MORE sorry for the fact that we haven't been replying to your messages... We really love hearing from everybody, so PLEASE don't take it as us being ungrateful!
Anyway, its time to move on from Thailand now. We've pretty much lived on the islands and we kinda feel like its time to get on to the mainland; well, the peninsula of Malaysia, if that counts! So, we have about 7 days there, then into Singapore for a couple of nights, then a flight onto Java. A week in Java and then we fly from Bali to Sydney... CIVILIZATION! Seriously craving a steak... A real steak... NOT WATER BUFFALO STEAK, but a cow steak!
Other than that, there isn't much to be saying. We've loved Thailand. And fell in love with diving. Great Barrier Reef, here we come! Has to be one of the best experiences for both of us, seeing a sea turtle eating jelly coral, 20 metres underwater... Just incredible!
Anyhew, onto Malaysia!
Kim and Hannah
Location: Hat Ton Sai, Thailand
Soooooooo sorry about the lack of updates! We've been absolutly on top of our heads since leaving Cambodia. Between meeting new people and doing crazy things, we haven't had a second to ourselves. Not complaining though. We've made some unforgettable friends and done some unforgettable (stupid) things so its all good. But now's the time when I fill you in on all of it...
We headed into Southern Laos early December and went straight up to Vientiane. Very pretty capital, but not much to do. So we went further northa gain to a little village called Vang Vieng and thats where the party started (and hasn't really stopped since!). Vang Vieng is a backpackers haven, possibly due to the wonderful creation of "tubing". This involves sitting in a rubber tyre (the inner of a tractor tyre) and floating down the river (some tributary of the Mekong that I can't remember the name of). No no no, it not quite that easy going. There have been about 5 purpose built bars set up along the river bank which have built HUGE ope swings and zip-lines over the river. Basically, you get absolutly sloshed and then swing out about 25 ft over the river and let go... You know what happens when you hit the water from 25ft? You get a big bruise on the inside of your thigh!
It WAS in Vang Vieng that we met some of our best friends yet. A group of about 8 of us ended up tubing, travelling and partying together as far north a Luang Prabang. Saw the most incredible waterfalls (water was bloody freezing mind you, so it was a nice reminder of home!) and then we all had to go our separate ways. Kim and I headed south for our Xmas in Bangkok, where we met James (he went to Chaing Mai from Luang Prabang, but we didn't have the time as Kim was doing a cooking class) and his friends... Not much of a Christmas though (I guess you get that with Buddism, aye!), had lamb chops and creme brulee! After a couple of days in Bangkok, we headed further south again, to the island of Koh tao where we both did a 4 day diving course... Yuh huh, we're qualified scuba divers now! Doing the course we made even more friends who we are now travelling with as far as Malaysia. That pretty much brings us to the present, here in Ton Sai, which is a peninsula just on the way to the island of Phi Phi on the west coast.
Phew... Well, thats it, really... We're preparing ourselves for a return to the normal life in Sydney when we arrive in just over 3 weeks and I promise, we'll put up photos (we have 3 countries to catch up on now!).
Hope all is well at home, and soooooo sorry for not updating more... Bigger effort over the next little while!
X X X
Location: Siem Reap, Cambodia
So, here we are again; new day, new town. We're getting a bit tired of travelling (it takes alot out of you!) so we decided we'd take some time out. We've just gotten back from a 6 day stint in the beach town of Sihanoukville, which is the longest we've stayed in the one place, and which was well deserved! Anyway, back on the road now again. We're here for just one day to see the Temples of Angkor (Tomb Raider, Indiana Jones, Two Brothers; all filmed here) which are the largest Buddist temples in the world. Really excited about it. Was a main highlight on the trip, and after such a relaxing time in Sihanoukville, we'll all in the perfect frame of mind for some Buddisim!
I guess you want to hear about the has been rather than the will be though...
Cambodia is beautiful. A really beautiful country with really beautiful people. Especially considering what they've gone through in our life time, our generation... For those of you who don't know, just over 30 years ago, in the 1970's Cambodians were subject to the vicious rule of the Khmer Rouge. Anyone who had an education, anyone who wore glasses, anyone who was in any way different, was taken away from their families and either brutally killed in the mass graves of the Killing Fields or locked up for torture and interogation in S21 prison, where they would more than likely die anyway.
Both the Killing Fields and the S21 Prison (now Teoul Sung Genocide Museum) are open to the public and let me tell you, it is heart wrenching... As you enter The Killing Fields, the first thing you see is a square tower, about 20 meters high, and maybe 5 meters wide and deep. Its made of glass. Row after row after row of shelving, all the way from the ground to the top. On each shelf, the skulls of the victims brutally tortured and murdered here. Old, young, male, female... The Khmer Rouge didn't distinguish. The fields themselves are just a widespread collection of deep holes (most of which resemble a bomb site) where the mass graves, holding the bodies of over 8000 people, were discovered. Following a sobering morning wandering around the fields, you then get a tuk tuk back into the city (all around Phnom Phen) to visit Teoul Sung. There are no words I can use to describe this place. You are left on your own; no guide, no audio headset, just a sign every so often explaining the building you are in, or what the different ''equipment'' was used for. Cell after cell, you can still see the blood stains on the ground. The chains that were once around a prisoners ankle, still concreted into the ground. Barbed wire, surrounding a building to prevent prisoners from committing suicide still wraps the walls with the rust stains looking ominously red on the white wall. Most distressing, the pictures... Although brutal, the Khmer Rouge were meticulous with their records; every single prisioner (and torture method) was photographed and documented. And so, the faces of thousands stare at you from the walls. Men and women as old as 78... Children as young as 2... All locked away... All died horrible deaths... Because they were different...
The most chilling side of the 2 and a half years of Khmer Rouge genocide... That alot of the work of the Khmer Rouge was done by children, no older than 17.
I couldn't bring myself to take pictures of this place... Just the signs that tell the story...
Location: Siagon, Vietnam
Just a quick goodbye from Vietnam. We hope you enjoy the photos... Its absolutely magical here...
BUT, on to Cambodia!
Lots of love!
X X X
Location: Mui Ne, Vietnam
Well we made it into Vietnam.. after many long overnight trains through China! We immediately liked Vietnam, the people are so friendly and the weather (was!) hot so what more could you ask for?! We spent 4 nights in Hanoi, one of which we spent on a boat in Halong Bay. The boat trip was amazing, we got well fed on local food, went kayaking, visited the "amazing caves" and went swimming in a lovely lagoon (we'll get those pics up soon)
We then spent two full days travelling by bus (it wasn't pretty!) to come down south to a little beach town called Mui Ne. Its gorgeous down here but not so sunny because we caught the tail end of a cyclone so there was lots of flooding on the way down. But we hired out some scooters and went exploring! We went sand-sledding on the sand dunes and did a bit of dirt -biking (Hannah's white tank top came out the worst of it!)
So we're off to Ho Chi Minh tomorrow then into Cambodia a few days later...another day, another country!
Love to you all and talk soon,
Kim and Hannah x x x
Location: Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Sorry for the lack of updates guys, been busy getting lost in Hong Kong! Its really nice here, although more expensive than what we've gotten used to... We're heading back into "real" China first thing in the morning though, and beginning our move to Vietnam. Can't wait for that! Anyway, early start and all that, so best be going.We'll put up new photos soon, promise!
Lots of love,
Kim and Hannah
Location: Shanghai, China
So here we are, new town once again. At least this time we're further south and enjoying a bit more pleasent weather. Hasn't stopped Hannah from getting a cold though. And there's nothing over here but traditional Chinese medicine, so I'm stuck eating flowers and berries and all sorts of stuff... That isn't working! Oh how I miss the Western way! How and ever, fingers crossed that it wont last too long and we'll all be on our way again soon! Will try anad put more photos up soon, but bare with us; internet isn't the best over this way! Oh.. and leave us a message! We'd be delighted to hear from you all!
Kim and Hannah
Location: Xi'an, China
So, the Great Wall was GREAT! 670meters and we climbed it all! Now, don't turn your noses up, its alot more difficult than it sounds! Its like climbing a ladder for about 2km straight up... And they're not perfectly crafted steps either! Still, we now all have the privilege of saying we climbed to the highest point of the Great Wall of China (in the region!).
At the moment we've moved down to Xi'an and hopefully tomorrow we'll be out to see the Terracotta Army. We'll post pictures of that another day, but these will hopefully do you all for now!
Love Kim and Hannah
Location: Beijing, China
So, here we are in Beijing, China... Its cold, just like home, and a bit bizarre to think that we're here, the other side of the world, but great to finally be away on this trip that seemed to take forever to come along! We've already seen Beijing zoo (Panda's are soooo cute!) and now we're up bright eyed and bushy tailed this morning in anticipation of our tour to the Great Wall!
Signing off for now,
Kim and Hannah