A Travellerspoint blog

Sivilization!

Whoah, so much to write about that I really have no idea where to start. So lets just take it from the beginning.

The 15th I left Luang Prabang. It was another bumpy ride, and I also found out that VIP busses just are some turist crap. They promise air conditioning and toilets, but that's really just if it works! Also they fill up the bus totally, so the midway has luggage at the bottom and locals at the top. Meaning: if there were a toilet there's no chance you'd ever get there.

The next morning I arrived Huai Xai, and then took a tuk tuk directly to a guesthouse I had got recommended by some girls that I met. The reason why I stayed in this dead town was only to join the gibbon experience which i had booked on the 17th. The gibbon experience is a two ore three days trip in Bokeo nature reserve, where you do zip lining, live in tree houses hundreds of meters up in the air and hopefully see the gibbon monkeys. The money you pai for the trip goes to protect the forest, that's getting smaller all the time cause villages near are cutting down the forest. More information at " http://www.gibbonexperience.org/ "

We started in the gibbon office to watch security movies and get some information on what would happen. It had been raining the day before and all the night, so we were all prepared for many hours walk, since the truck aren't able to drive all the way to the village as it usually does in the dry season. First we drove about one hour by car, then we had to walk the first distance. It was mud everywhere and only up hill. The sun was burning, and it didn't take long before we all were baded in sweat and mud. We continued for about for hours, then we finally heard the sound of a car. They had managed to push the car up the worst hills, and we got a on-and-of (had to push the car up almost every hill) ride the last 30 minutes in to the village. There we had a quick lunch before we started trekking up in the jungle. We had plastic boots, knee high socks, and all in all were covered in sweat and mud. Guess it must have been quite a look! The knee high socks were for the liches that you had both in the trees and the grass around the mud. We walked up hill for one and a half hour, and then arrived the "kitchen", where they made the food that we would get in our tree house. All the food were carried there by donkeys, since the road there is so steap and hard to walk. By the kitchen they gave us gear for the zip lining, instructions, and then we went furter into the jungle.

I stayed in tree house nr. 1, in a group of totally nine people. Three girls from Canada, a couple from Australia, two siblings from Brazil and a guy from England. The tree house had three floors, kitchen, bathroom with rain shower - everything you could possible need. Still it was simple and exactly what you would expect a tree house to be. After dinner we just talked ansdd played cards until the solar power went out. Not much to do in the middle of the jungle in total blackness, so we all went to bed.

The next morning we all woke up at six. Why? Well, the jungle were filled with this strange sound, a kind of melody but really high, that were repeating itself. The gibbons were singing! After a while they moved closer to the cabbin to eat from the trees surrounding the cabin (still they were a good hundred meters away). We watched them play, swing from tree to tree, so elegant and in control. The brown one were males, and the black one females. There were about seven of them, including a male carrying a little black baby. Our guide told us that the male gibbons usually take care of the children. Impressive! After about an hour they disapeared, and we had a quick breakfast before it was time for some zip lining. Unfortunately it was raining all day, but we still zip lined and trekked for several hours. The mosquitoes and leeches were eating us alive, but it really didn't matter, the jungle was breath taking! And also the zip lining, there's something special flying hundreds of meters above the jungle.

The last day we also had a lot of rain, and therefore had to walk all the way back. 6 hours walking. We were all exhausted, but it felt pretty good being back to the sivilization. A group of us were staying one more night in Huai Xai (since the border closes at 18.00, an many of the busses leaves latest 17.00), and we went to a place called "bar how?" for some mango mohitos and Thai food. Soo god!

The day after (the 20th) I crossed the border and left Laos behind. Thailand next! Arrived Chiang Mai in the evening, and got picked up by the man owning the place I was volunteering; Spicy villa. A place one and a half hour out side of the town, the Thai countryside. My job were to help cooking, cleaning and building, whatever help needed. Got my own bungalow for the week!

During the week there we did a lot of things. The owner were building a school for learning the children in the village English, and he were also building a new bungalow resort for tourists. We did some planting and building. We also went to the village and spent some nights there, cooking and generally living with the locals. Some days we went to one of the many waterfall for shower (there were normal shower as well, just not that much fun!). We also did some trekking, since we were as good as in the jungle all the time.

In the middle of the week another volunteer came, a girl from NYC! We had a lot of fun, and it were good to have someone to talk to again. While working with the staff they preferred Thai, so the communication were minimal sometimes.

The second last day I got to go with some of the tourists staying there to do bamboo rafting and tubing in the river! So much fun! The day after we also went to the elephants, and got to ride them and give them a bath in the river. Amazing animals! Could control them only by voice! Definitely one of my biggest experiences this far.

2UploadedFile0.jpg

After this we went back to Chiang Mai, no matter how lovely the bungalows were it was good to be back in a city. Especially a lovely city as Chiang Mai! Emily, the girl from NYC came with me and we found a hostel together and shared a room. We went to the big Sunday market; walking street, and it were huge! You could buy everything, and there were food stalls everywhere. Yum! I bought a pile of clothes for the same price that I would get half a T-shirt at home. Perfect!

The day after we started the day with some fruits for breakfast, then we went to a Internet cafe. So many things to sort out after a week in no where; mails to answer, where to go next etc. Finally got to book my flight from Bangkok to HK, weird to see the end of my traveling... When we were finished we had an hour Thai massage before we walked to a big shopping mall close to the airport. Weird to see all the fancy stores, restaurants etc, seen no such things in the places I've been earlier on this trip! In the mall it also were a cinema, a really fancy one! Before the movie started we all had to get up and they played the national song. That's something we don't do at home! We saw a Thai movie called Shambha, lovely movie about traveling with some complicated love. The perfect movie at the moment, and a movie I definitely will recommend!

The next date were my last in Chiang Mai, and we went to the biggest temple called Vat Phra Sing. So beautiful!

2UploadedFile1.jpg

After I went to the guesthouse, packed my stuff and went to the bus station. Twenty hour bus ride to Chumphon! The bus were so good! Air con, food included, massage in the seats and you could choose between tons of movies. The best ride of this trip so far, and quite cheap as well! Thailand is such a good country for traveling, no wonder people go here time after time!

Now I'm in Chumphon, waiting for the boat that will take me to Ko Tao, a paradise island! Soo looking forward to white beaches and sea breeze. Going to take a four days diving course, to get diving sertification for open water. Ko Tao is the ultimate island for diving, so it should be good!

Take care at home, I miss you all!

Posted by pokriefke 03:58 Comments (0)

Soon on the road again

Ahh, I'm enjoying Laos as much as possible. Are really lucky with the weather these days, so it's hot and sweaty. Since my last entry I've been exploring Luang Prabang, eaten way to much and just chilled with "old" and new friends. And done some shopping, soooo many pretty clothes, scarfs etc.

Been trying to taste as much Lao food as possible, there's so many good specialities!

1UploadedFile0.jpg

This is Liel trying seaweed with sesame seads!

One morning we got up at five to watch the munks doing a walk to collect food from the locals. Quite an impressive sight :) they usually get up at four, meditate and then do the walk.

UploadedFile2.jpg

1UploadedFile1.jpg

We've also explored the other side of the river, walked to some small villages and played with the children. They are so cute, and love to look at themselves in the camera. Theres a lot of places turists can go here to help learn local kids english. For example the library have a couple of hours every day when you can play and talk to quite small children, and there's also the big brother project with older kids. They are so interested in learning!

I've also visted a lot of temples here, they are almost every where in Laos, so quite hard to miss. Luang Prabang is On UNESCO's world heritage list because of the many old magnificent temples, so still worth a look. You also have temples on both sides of the river, thats on a hill, so you can watch the whole LP from above.

1UploadedFile3.jpg

1UploadedFile4.jpg

Now I'm just waiting for my night bus to Huai Xay, a city close to the border of Thailand. Going to stay there until the 19-20th and do "The gibbon experience", a three days trip up in the jungle to watch the gibbon monkeys. Quite expencive, but the money goes to protect the monkeys. Gonna stay in tree huts and do a lot of zip lining, so think it will be a lot of fun!

Not sure about internet connection in Huai Xai, but I guess I'll write again sometime soon :)

Posted by pokriefke 00:21 Comments (0)

Update!

A lot has happened since my last entry, and it`s getting harder to make an entry every day, so much to write about! But here we go:

After Hong Kong I had two days of travel in China. At first I went to Guangzhou. That`s just a couple of hours away from Hong Kong, and the train was very comfortable. The arrival in Guangshou was quite a shock from HK, only chineese people (and there`s quite many of them...) and NO ONE could speak a single word english. I tried to ask for a taxi, and the woman sendt me in the opposite direction. When I finally found a taxi I had my next problem, how to tell him where to go? I arrived at the East station and needed to go to the main station. Luckily I`ve downloaded this offline app on my iPhone that you can read about different cities all over the world, and they had written "main station" in Chinese. Puh! At the main station it was just to get in line to buy a ticket for the next train, - Guangzhou to Nanning. A twelve hours train ride. Since I got there quite late I only got a ticket without a seat, but from interrailing last summer I know that sometimes you get lucky and theres a seat fre now and then. The first hours I got to sit most of the time, met three lovely chinese girls about thirteen years old that tried to communicate with me. They gave me food, and came with english phrases they had learned at school.

UploadedFile0.jpg

After they went off I met a whole family that made space for me at their seats (they were quite small, as most chinese people in the south, so there was room enough for us all). One of them was a teacher and we could talk quite well.

UploadedFile1.jpg

Then they went off as well, all seats were taken most of the night, so tried my best to make it comfortable at the floor with the rest of the chinese budget travelers. Had to get up at like every stop, cause the only floor space was by the door, but still I got a few hours sleep. Still, quite good when we finally arrived!

I spendt the day in Nanning, just walking around in the sun. A quite weird experience. Still not a single white person anywhere, and that would be completely fine if it wasen`t that me as the single white person got a lot of attention. Everywhere I went people were pointing, looking, laughing and taking pictures of me (later I`ve talked to many others that also traveled in China, and they said it happened to them as well). I felt it was quite uncomfortable, and actually it was like being an animal in the zoo. Still I couldent communicate with anyone, and not a single word was written in english. The town wasen`t a turisty place at all, and I found people quite unfriendly when I tried to ask for help. I found a lovely park though, Nanning People Park, with a lake full of koi fish. For the train I got a "hard sleeper" ticket. I got a "room" that I shared with five others, and I met a lot of nice people. One of them was a vietnamese girl that gave me many tips about Hanoi and what to do. One other girl was a chinese, from the north which also were traveling alone. She had been to europe as well and told me that China was a little bit like Europe, in the north people are more wealthy, traveling a lot and know english quite well, but in the south there`s not that turisty and the people are more poor. Therefore theire english isn`t that good either, since less can afford an education. We arrived in Hanoi early in the morning, and I spendt the day with the chinese girl before her flight left. We did a lot of shopping, ate some local food and went to a beautiful lake. After she left I went to the BBQ party at the hostel, Hanoi Backpacker Hostel, where I again met a lot of people. The hostel was relly good, well organized, and a great place to met people from all over the world. After we had a couple of drinks before we went to a pool party organized by "Couchsurfing", that were in this really fancy hotel. The pool, that were outdoors, were surrounded by three big skyscrapers and we had a lot of fun :) After a while a storm came, and there were lightening for sever hours with quite strong wind. Still it was that far away so it didn`t affect the party, it was just a beutiful sight with the sky lightening up with just a couple of seconds in between.

The day after it was time for the trip to Halong Bay! We left the hostel eight in the morning and then had a five hours bus ride to Halong Bay. We had a stop at a pottery where you could buy all kinds of vietnamese specialities, silk, vases, pictures etc. From Halong Bay there was a four hours boat trip to Castaway Island, the tiny island where we spendt the next two days. We had rain almost all the time, and there was a lot of activities we couldn`t do because of the rain, but still the view was so amazing and we had a great time. Because of the rain the air was really humid, and we (and all our stuff) was constantly wet for three days. I came back from the trip yesterday, and immidiately sendt all my clothes for laundry. About time since I have almost no clothes, and been walking around in humid thirty degrees, for a week.

At five tonight I`m taking the "hell bussride" to Vang Vieng (through Vientiane). Totally it will be about 30 hours buss ride, if I`m lucky. I`ve heard about people spending three days on the trip since the busses brakes down all the time. Actually it isn`t that far, but the roads are so terrible that they have to drive really slow. Looking forward to a bumpy ride!

Today I just had breakfast the vietnamese way, noodle soup on tiny stools almost in the road. The streets here are really busy, and everyones riding a motorbike or a scooter. And they know very well how to use their horns! The streets are small, and you have no other choise than to walk in the traffic. Theres street food everywhere, and everything tastes delicious! Vietnamese food are defenitely my favorite now :)

Now I`ll just have to wait for the bus. Got about seven hours so perfect for exploring more of the city! And also eat some more food. Really looking forward to Laos, everyone that`s been there says there jealous of me because they want to go back. And that`s a good sign :)

Sooo, see you in Laos!

Posted by pokriefke 07:03 Comments (0)

Luang Prabang!

Still in Laos, but have moved to Luang Prabang! A beautiful city with a lot of street food, markets and temples. The city is quite small, and small villages and the forest is really close. I came here yesterday after a quite rough buss ride. It was up and down between mountains, swirling roads and a lot of bumps. But so beautiful! Seem common in Laos.

UploadedFile5.jpg
View from the bus!

Yesterday I just went to the local market, so good! You can buy all kinds of handmade stuff, clothes and whatever you might need. They also have a food market, and the food is really good! Also got one hour massage that costed like nothing. Perfect! Today I met some other girls and we went to see the waterfall quite close to the town. So beautiful!

UploadedFile3.jpg

Climbed all the way to the top and then crossed the river. The forest is like rain forest, and have a lot of beautiful butterflies! By the end of the waterfall we could go for a swim, and they had also a bear rescue center. The bears are almost gone here because people hunt them illegal to sell different parts as "magic" medicine etc.

Tonight I'm gonna go to a place called Utopia with some girls from the guesthouse and also a could of girls that I met on the Halong Bay trip in Vietnam. There's quite a lot of cities most of the backpackers goes to, so you often bump into the same people you've met before. Small world :)

UploadedFile4.jpg

Posted by pokriefke 17:00 Comments (1)

Amazing Laos

rain 30 °C

After the longest buss ride in my life I finally made it to Laos! The buss was actually much better than expected, we had beds, TV, and a lot of stops for food and to stretch our legs.

UploadedFile13.jpg
Sleeper bus

The information given along the trip was rather bad, so we had to figure out things by our selves. Like when we got to the border between Vietnam and Laos no one told us that we had to walk a couple of km "between" the border, to get a visa to Laos. Normally you go out of the bus, stamp out, cross border by bus and then get your visa at the other office. But no, we walked. In red mud.

UploadedFile12.jpg
Walking at the border

Getting a visa was ok, if you just could pay the right amount in dollars. So after two hours on the border we were finally on the bus again, heading for Vientiane. The sleeper bus took about 24 hours and I think I slept almost all the way! Then from our stop in Vientiane it was about half an hour by tuk tuk to the other station. Off to Vang Vieng!
UploadedFile19.jpg
This part of the trip was about four hours, in something that felt like a moving shaker. I've never seen roads as bad as in Laos. And there's also that few cities that you only have one choice, meaning one road.

Got to Vang Vieng in the evening, got a tuk tuk to the hostel and then went out for some food.

UploadedFile17.jpg
My hostel!

The food here is delicious! Today I've probably had the best day of my trip this far. Rented a scooter with a guy I met yesterday, and we went to see the caves (two of them) and the waterfall. Amazing! Laos is the most beautiful country I've ever visited! And Vang Vieng is surrounded by this huge limestone mountains. And the caves, they are HUGE! I've never felt that small in my entire life. The biggest of them, by the blue lagoon, was totally dark so you needed to rent a head torch to go inside. You climb inside for a while til you get to the main cave. It's really hard to describe by words, I've never seen anything like it. Loved driving scooter as well, actually my first time! The roads here are surrounded by green fields, small villages and extremely nice people, such a lovely place to be :)

UploadedFile18.jpg
UploadedFile14.jpg
UploadedFile15.jpg
I didn't have time to do the tubing today, and I`m leaving tomorrow, but the trip today was totally worth it. Definitely going back some day, Vang Vieng is the perfect place to both party, see amazing nature, do a lot of sports and chill out in one of the many restaurants watching Family Guy or Friends. Actually going to be quite sad to leave, but I know that amazing Luang Prabang is waiting!

UploadedFile16.jpg

PS: actually had a bit of nice weather today, and I`m sunburned for the first time of this trip. Yey!

Posted by pokriefke 16:57 Archived in Laos Comments (0)

Update!

sunny 30 °C

A lot has happened since my last entry, and it`s getting harder to make an entry every day, so much to write about! But here we go:

After Hong Kong I had two days of travel in China. At first I went to Guangzhou. That`s just a couple of hours away from Hong Kong, and the train was very comfortable. The arrival in Guangshou was quite a shock from HK, only chineese people (and there`s quite many of them...) and NO ONE could speak a single word english. I tried to ask for a taxi, and the woman sendt me in the opposite direction. When I finally found a taxi I had my next problem, how to tell him where to go? I arrived at the East station and needed to go to the main station. Luckily I`ve downloaded this offline app on my iPhone that you can read about different cities all over the world, and they had written "main station" in Chinese. Puh! At the main station it was just to get in line to buy a ticket for the next train, - Guangzhou to Nanning. A twelve hours train ride. Since I got there quite late I only got a ticket without a seat, but from interrailing last summer I know that sometimes you get lucky and theres a seat fre now and then. The first hours I got to sit most of the time, met three lovely chinese girls about thirteen years old that tried to communicate with me. They gave me food, and came with english phrases they had learned at school. After they went off I met a whole family that made space for me at their seats (they were quite small, as most chinese people in the south, so there was room enough for us all). One of them was a teacher and we could talk quite well. Thenthey went off as well, all seats were taken most of the night, so tried my best to make it comfortable at the floor with the rest of the chinese budget travelers. Had to get up at like every stop, cause the only floor space was by the door, but still I got a few hours sleep. Still, quite good when we finally arrived!

I spendt the day in Nanning, just walking around in the sun. A quite weird experience. Still not a single white person anywhere, and that would be completely fine if it wasen`t that me as the single white person got a lot of attention. Everywhere I went people were pointing, looking, laughing and taking pictures of me (later I`ve talked to many others that also traveled in China, and they said it happened to them as well). I felt it was quite uncomfortable, and actually it was like being an animal in the zoo. Still I couldent communicate with anyone, and not a single word was written in english. The town wasen`t a turisty place at all, and I found people quite unfriendly when I tried to ask for help. I found a lovely park though, Nanning People Park, with a lake full of koi fish. For the train I got a "hard sleeper" ticket. I got a "room" that I shared with five others, and I met a lot of nice people. One of them was a vietnamese girl that gave me many tips about Hanoi and what to do. One other girl was a chinese, from the north which also were traveling alone. She had been to europe as well and told me that China was a little bit like Europe, in the north people are more wealthy, traveling a lot and know english quite well, but in the south there`s not that turisty and the people are more poor. Therefore theire english isn`t that good either, since less can afford an education. We arrived in Hanoi early in the morning, and I spendt the day with the chinese girl before her flight left. We did a lot of shopping, ate some local food and went to a beautiful lake. After she left I went to the BBQ party at the hostel, Hanoi Backpacker Hostel, where I again met a lot of people. The hostel was relly good, well organized, and a great place to met people from all over the world. After we had a couple of drinks before we went to a pool party organized by "Couchsurfing", that were in this really fancy hotel. The pool, that were outdoors, were surrounded by three big skyscrapers and we had a lot of fun :) After a while a storm came, and there were lightening for sever hours with quite strong wind. Still it was that far away so it didn`t affect the party, it was just a beutiful sight with the sky lightening up with just a couple of seconds in between.

The day after it was time for the trip to Halong Bay! We left the hostel eight in the morning and then had a five hours bus ride to Halong Bay. We had a stop at a pottery where you could buy all kinds of vietnamese specialities, silk, vases, pictures etc. From Halong Bay there was a four hours boat trip to Castaway Island, the tiny island where we spendt the next two days. We had rain almost all the time, and there was a lot of activities we couldn`t do because of the rain, but still the view was so amazing and we had a great time. Because of the rain the air was really humid, and we (and all our stuff) was constantly wet for three days. I came back from the trip yesterday, and immidiately sendt all my clothes for laundry. About time since I have almost no clothes, and been walking around in humid thirty degrees, for a week.

At five tonight I`m taking the "hell bussride" to Vang Vieng (through Vientiane). Totally it will be about 30 hours buss ride, if I`m lucky. I`ve heard about people spending three days on the trip since the busses brakes down all the time. Actually it isn`t that far, but the roads are so terrible that they have to drive really slow. Looking forward to a bumpy ride!

Today I just had breakfast the vietnamese way, noodle soup on tiny stools almost in the road. The streets here are really busy, and everyones riding a motorbike or a scooter. And they know very well how to use their horns! The streets are small, and you have no other choise than to walk in the traffic. Theres street food everywhere, and everything tastes delicious! Vietnamese food are defenitely my favorite now :)

Now I`ll just have to wait for the bus. Got about seven hours so perfect for exploring more of the city! And also eat some more food. Really looking forward to Laos, everyone that`s been there says there jealous of me because they want to go back. And that`s a good sign :)

Sooo, see you in Laos!

Posted by pokriefke 09:50 Archived in Vietnam Tagged vietnam china halong_bay Comments (0)

Hong Kong!

sunny 31 °C

After a long journey I'm finally in Hong Kong! The flight vas good, except the three hours stay in Russia. The few people I asked for help at the airport was not interested in helping at all, and just yelled at me. One woman told me to go in line for check in, and when I finally got there the other woman called me stupid for not understanding that I really didn't need to be there at all. Kind of freaked me out, so started asking other travelers instead.

The flight from Moscow to Hong Kong was quite long, but I had enough to read, so it went quite fast :) In the night, somewhere over Russia/Mongolia there was an enormous thunderstorm that we could view from the plane. Quite fascinating watching lightning from above, in the middle of the night.

Now I've found my way to the hostel, and checked out the area around. It's located in Kowloon, quite popular shopping area. It's really hot and the humidity is so high that you're soaked wet almost before you're out the door. Unusual to not have any "fresh" air, but I'm just happy it isn't raining!

Now I'm gonna pack all the stuff that I'm leaving in Hong Kong, and find the storage. It's rain season after all, not worth carrying around my macbook. Also have some clothes for when I start studying that I prefer not carrying around. Don't need much while backpacking :)

Tomorrow I'm leaving for Hanoi! Leaving here tomorrow early, and if it turns out as planned I should be there one Sunday. So the next two nights will be on the rail :)

large_IMG_1824.jpglarge_IMG_1838.jpg

Posted by pokriefke 23:39 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (0)

Packed and ready


View China summer 2012 on pokriefke's travel map.

Tomorrow is the big day! Departure is 12.30, and I will arrive in Hong Kong Thursday 09.45, local time. I'm not nervous at all, but I guess I will feel something when the plane takes off. :) Think I'm all packed and ready, found out it's quite hard to both move out, pack for backpacking AND a semester abroad at the same time.

Tonight I'm just gonna relax, prepare mentally and have a good night sleep.

I'll see you in Hong Kong!

Posted by pokriefke 10:52 Archived in Norway Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 8 of 8) Page [1]