Ten weeks of travelling. Three countries, 15 cities, and four islands visited. More photos (and selfies) than I can be bothered to count. And now it is all coming to an end. Soon, I will be repacking my rucksack for the last time, stripped of ancient, travel wrecked clothing and rammed with more keepsakes than I meant to buy. Heading to yet another new destination, but this time with the intention to live there, not just to travel.
While I have tried to blog, Instagram, Facebook, Tweet and review my adventures to create some sort of lasting record for myself and others, there’s just been so much to take in I know I’ve barely scratched the surface. With time, I’m sure more memories will emerge but for now, I just want to share some of my highlights, for the sake of posterity:
- Flying over downtown Yangon and the Shwedagon Pagoda for the first time as I left Myanmar for the last time.
- Spending a day learning how to care for elephants in Chiang Mai http://www.pataraelephantfarm.com
- Cycling around Sukhothai and Si Sanchanalai in Thailand.
- Taking the train in Thailand from north to south.
- Discovering Phuket Old Town is similar to Georgetown, and they’re both a bit like Hoi An. But that I actually like Hoi An the most.
- The utter decadence of the Renaissance Phuket Resort and Spa and their amazing buffet breakfasts. http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/hktbr-renaissance-phuket-resort-and-spa/
- Enjoying a variety of performances. From Phuket Simon Cabaret http://www.phuket-simoncabaret.com/ to Phare, The Cambodian Circus in Siem Reap http://pharecambodiancircus.rezgo.com/ and the AO Show in Ho Chi Min City http://www.aoshowsaigon.com/. All brilliant in their own way although my heart belongs to AO.
- Whizzing around Angkor, temple running, in a tuk-tuk.
- Rattling along on the Bamboo Train, Battambang, in the rain with my arms outstretched yelling ‘Wooo-hoooo’ as we picked up speed.
- Watching bats flock like starlings in the sunset skies near Battambang at the end of a great day sight-seeing.
- Trekking in the jungle around Dalat. http://www.ptv-vietnam.com/product.php?rid=7
- Conquering my fear of motorbikes and getting on the back of a motorbike taxi to visit a lovely tropical beach near Hoi An, Vietnam.
- Doing a posh cruise on the Dragon Legend II around the less busy area of Bai Tu Long Bay in Halong Bay and spending the night on the boat eating, drinking and laughing. http://www.indochina-junk.com/dragon-legend-cruise/
- Visiting some pretty amazing UNESCO sites in Vietnam including My Son, Hue, Hoi An and Halong Bay.
- Enjoying all the food porn – from street food and amazing seafood in Thailand, new tropical fruits such as rambutan, national dishes from all around Cambodia and Vietnam, trying weasel coffee and egg coffee, and tasting my first fried crickets.
- Doing lots of accidental tourism and taking a few chances along the way, all of which turned out really well.
- Taking indulgent selfies anywhere I fancied. I’ve made a slideshow of them so I can cheer myself up when I need to!
- Treating myself to a posh hotel and spa stay in Hanoi to rejuvenate at the end of it all. http://www.hanoilasiestahotel.com/
- All the amazing people I met along the way – locals, friends and fellow travellers who’ve chatted, laughed, shared stories and tips and made my journey all the more interesting.
- Most of all, I have enjoyed the challenge of finding my way around SE Asia on my own; living in the present; being self reliant and doing exactly as I pleased.
Of course, there were disappointments too, but I have to say, that once again, I have been extremely fortunate in my travels and look forward to my further adventures with great anticipation.