Posts Tagged With: Top 10

Day 101

Yesterday was our 100th day since leaving home. We’ve been in 6 countries (including Hong Kong, not including the disorganised stopover in Germany), spent not quite as much money as we thought, eaten a lot of rice, slept through a typhoon, met some brilliant people and seen some amazing things.

Our volunteer placements finish at the end of this week, and we will get back on the road again. There are still 6 weeks or so left in Southeast Asia, but it’s hard to imagine that we will be able to pack in more than we have done in our first 101 days. We’ve spent days on end aboard a train, hiked in rice paddies, ridden mopeds, paid a border bribe, watched sunrises and sunsets in spectacular scenery and eaten spiders. From here we head to Thailand, Laos, Malaysia and Singapore, before flying to Sydney for a long weekend and then onto New Zealand. The time has flown by, and this pause from travelling to be Phnom Penh ex-pats has us itching to get going again.

In no particular order, here are some highlights and thoughts so far:

1. We were so lucky with the group of people we did the Vodkatrain tour with; so many people have horror stories from tours and our group was great. Unless we were the annoying ones…
2. Mongolia, I think, is my favourite country so far. Beautiful, interesting and not too many people. We would love to go back there and would recommend it to anyone. Well worth spendings several days on a train for.
3. The rice terraces at Longji in China were amazing, and kick the ass of the ones at Sapa in Vietnam.
4. Karaoke in Ulaanbaatar, and tobogganing off the Great Wall of China – two things we didn’t know were on the bucket list until they were done.
5. I lost my pyjama trousers, that I bought in Peru years ago, somewhere in Russia or Mongolia. I’m not over it.
6. Hong Kong is way too expensive for tight backpackers, but the Star Ferry ride, for around 30p, is pretty cool.
7. Volunteering has been a rewarding and worthwhile experience; it has also been frustrating and draining at times too. I’ll miss my class, if not the lesson planning.
8. Eating Phnom Penh’s famous “happy herb pizza” on a school night was a bad choice. As was going to the very bizarre, expensive and freaky North Korean restaurant here – maybe being it’s not a bad thing that there aren’t many of them outside of North Korea.
9. Packing our bags is an art form.
10. After everything, we are still very happily married!

Still happy!

Experiencing everything so far, and having everything else to look forward to, whilst still being on honeymoon, is awesome. Everyone should do it.

Categories: Cambodia | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Moving on, goodbye China

We are sat in Hong Kong International Airport, waiting for our flight to Hanoi. Leaving HK and China feels like the end of the second leg of our trip. Before we left, a lot of people said that China would be the hardest part of our journey – no longer with the Vodkatrain group, and in a country that isn’t as used to backpackers. Whilst it’s been hard work at times, as you’d expect from such a massive country, it has been a truly amazing experience; from the scorching heat of the Great Wall to walking around Victoria Peak in the aftermath of a typhoon and everything in between.

Typhoony

Some things:
1. Chinese people are (generally) very nice – people were usually helpful and seemed to appreciate the effort we made with the language.
2. Hocking and spitting is a national pastime, wherever you are. No matter the city / street / building / cultural icon / train, people will be spitting.
3. Having a horn on your vehicle means you must use it at all times (even when driving around a cage on a stage).

Crazy drivers everywhere

4. Back home, we look down on pot noodles. In China, they are so common and popular that most public places have a hot tap.
5. Tourist attractions are expensive, but getting around, eating and drinking is not too bad.
6. Chinese food is amazing! All of our meals would have 4 or 5 dishes at least, and would cost about £5 – £6. Unfortunately they haven’t made us sick, just fat.

Food

7. You can get used to the crowds, but try and escape to the country a bit.
8. China is huge – have a good idea of what you want to do when you go, and give yourself more time in less places, not the other way around.
9. Allow a good amount of time for a simple task – our trip to the post office to send some stuff home took a while.
10. When planning 3 days of beaching, island hopping, climbing and sightseeing in Hong Kong, double check that there isn’t a typhoon on the way.

Glorious HK weather

Categories: China | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

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