A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: wayneanna

Our last night :(

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Well here we are back again at the Happy Dragon Hostel in Beijing ...well sort of. They managed to mess up the booking so we're staying at the 'sister hotel' - not as fun but close enough for us to spend time in our favourite bar and a free peking duck party!

We were safely taken to the airport by our friend 'Monty' the tuktuk driver. The journey from Phnom Penh went much more smoothly than we expected after hearing stories of the airport staff trying to scam people but as we arrived at 5:30am it was probably too early even for them!
After an unexpected stop in Guangzhou, we arrived in Beijing and this time knew exactly how to get to the hostel. As soon as we arrived our friend Jon was there to meet us!!

So we are now chilling in the bar with a cold beer and our favourite dumplings with Peking duck to follow!

If only we could start this trip all over again.....hmmmmm.....sounds like a plan............!!!!!

Posted by wayneanna 03:52 Archived in China Comments (1)

Cambodia - Siem Reap and Phnom Penh

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We are nearing the end of our trip now :-(. We were a little dubious about Cambodia after stories we had read about robberies and pickpockets but it wasn't half as bad as we thought! There may have been a few too many tuktuk drivers hassling us and beggars and children wanting money but I think visiting Cambodia has been one of the most eyeopening experiences of the whole trip. Cambodia is a country that is still recovering from the atrocities commited by the Khmer Rouge in 1975 and therefore is one of the poorest countries we have visited. Never the less, the Khmer people we met in the hotels and even the tuk tuk drivers were nothing but friendly. They are just trying to earn a living after all!
Our first stop - Siem Reap - was a great place and a lot more lively than we had expected. There was a pub street that was actually called 'Pub Street' with loads of bars and restaurants. There was also a fantastic night market selling some really nice clothes and gifts. On the first day we were there we went to Angkor Wat - the biggest temple area in the world and has been branded the 8th wonder of the world - a must see. Although we only spent a day there (you could get a 3day and 7day ticket), we just about had enough time (and energy!) to see all the main temples. Even though most were ruined we could still see the intricate stone work and magnificent towers. We hired out a tuktuk driver for the whole day and he took us to each temple for only £6!
That evening, after having a delicious Khmer meal at the hotel, we went to the night market bar we'd spotted the night before, only this time we made it in time for happy hour! So we got some yummy cocktails then enjoyed 33pence a pint beer. We also made friends with two girls from Japan!

The second day we hired bikes for free from hotel and cycled to the Genocide memorial - Wat Themi. We tried to sneak back into Angkor Wat but couldn't as we didn't have tickets. On our way back to the hostel, we were caught in a torrential rainstorm and got soaked!
After drying off though we went onto pub street where Wayne ordered beef with red ants! It tasted a bit odd but wasn't unpalatable! We also ordered some yummy frozen cocktails! Then we went onto another bar for 33pence beers and free popcorn! Think Anna might have had a little too much as she was ill later that night - it was either that or the ants!

The day after we made our way to Phnom Penh on a mini bus - the most luxurious way we have travelled over land on the trip! Although the minibus was comfortable, the journey definitely wasn't! The distance - 153km at home would have taken just over 2 hours, whereas here it took 5 because the roads were attrocious! Potholes left right and centre - anyone would think we'd gone off-roading!
We eventually made it to our hotel in Phnom Penh - Me mates place and went to explore the capital. We looked round Wat Phnom and took the walking tour from our guide book. At certain points we felt a bit vulnerable but we made it back to the hotel safely without being pickpocketed or scammed!
That evening we went to the river front for a meal and drinks.

Today we visited the Killing Fields (Choeung Ek) and S-21 (Tuol Sleng). It was such an overwhelming and emotional experience especially for Anna who had studied this genocide at university. It was shocking to actually be in the fields where so many innocent people were tortured and died. S-21 was perhaps more chilling as there were still the torture instruments and iron beds there. Nevertheless, we could not have come to Phnom Penh without acknowleding and learning about its past.

Tonight we will enjoy our last night in Phnom Penh before making our way back to Happy Dragon Hostel in Beijing!

This may be our last blog entry before we return home so we hope you've enjoyed reading about our experiences and mishaps and look forward to hearing more details when we're home!!

Thanks for reading

Anna and Wayne xx

Posted by wayneanna 04:39 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

Thailand, Party and more!

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Hello again.
The Jungle train was fantastic, even if for the first hour we were practically thrown about the place, only to be told the suspension was broken!! We moved down a carriage, which was much comfortable.

After crossing the border into Thailand we boarded our train to Surat Thani where we got our over-night ferry to Koh Samui complete with cockroaches which as we were sleeping on the floor didn’t please us (Anna!) too much.

Our beach hut at World Resort on Koh Samui was amazing, complete with swimming pool, spa and restaurant which were all real luxuries for us. The first night there we booked a speed boat trip over to Koh Phangan where we joined thousands of people for the Full Moon Party (photos to follow). Despite the stormy weather it was an amazing and surreal experience, people dancing everywhere, huts/stalls set up all along the beach selling drinks, fire breathers/jugglers, fire skipping ropes and a fire slide which Wayne went down. By midnight, after thousands more had joined, the party was packed and pretty crazy, even people going swimming in the sea!! The journey back was pretty chaotic though, with everyone trying to board the speedboats at once. It was a bit scary at times, but we got back safely at about 5-5:30am.

The next day we spent relaxing and sunbathing, in fact relaxing a bit too much as Wayne managed to jump in the swimming pool and after a few minutes realised that his iPhone was in his pocket, and to top it off an arm from his glasses came loose and lost the screw!! But after a couple of days of drying out the iPhone it’s now working, and Wayne has temporarily fixed his glasses with a paper-clip!

We then left the exotic Koh Samui for the hustle and bustle of Bangkok by night train which was a very different experience. The seats on the train folded out to make the bottom bunk and the top one folded out from the ceiling. They were pretty narrow though! And we got woken up at 5am for ‘breakfast’ if you could call it that. Not sure the Thai definition of toast means that the bread actually has to be toasted!!

When we arrived in Bangkok station we decided to wait for bus number 53 to take us to Khao San road - where all the bars restaurants and market stalls were. Our hostel was situated two streets away from Khao San. We eventually found ‘NapPark’ – our hostel and were very impressed with it! Bangkok was definitely one of the liveliest places we’ve visited. After visiting the temples through the day, we would browse the market stalls and relax with a cheap but nice and cold beer! We managed to get used to the constant hassling of the tuk tuk drivers wanting to take us to where we were going! And we also managed to practise our haggling skills and we’re pros now! Well we think we’ve got the knack anyway! On the Saturday we were there we didn’t realise that it was Election Day and unfortunately with all the previous trouble there has been in Bangkok, they banned alcohol which we were a bit gutted about! But the second night it was banned, bars just decided to serve it in paper cups instead! Very sneaky!

We also started taking the malaria tablets in preparation for Cambodia whilst we were in Bangkok as well which often caused Anna to have weird dreams and talk in her sleep! Not sure all the other 22 roommates found it quite so funny though!

Coincidently we also bumped into a family that had been staying at our hotel in Koh Samui, in Bangkok! How strange!

Our next journey, to Siem Reap in Cambodia, wasn’t one we were looking forward to after reading stories about the many scams, pickpockets and bag snatchers. After finally getting to the Bangkok Bus Station we got the bus to the Thai/Cambodian border, the first scam was getting you to buy your Cambodian visa, normally £15, for £20-£25. Luckily we had already bought ours back home, first one avoided. The second one was after Thai passport control, the Cambodian visa officers would scam you out of more money if you bought your visa at this point, avoided. Third scam was the transportation from Poiphet to Siem Reap, many different scams of touts claiming to taxi or bus you there cheaply, but then take you to a Hostel/Guesthouse to get commission, but we had already reserved ours so demanded to be taken there.

Hopefully another update later today.

taraa

Posted by wayneanna 18:55 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Bye Australia, hello Malaysia!!

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Hi,
We have now reached Gemas in Malaysia after a fantastic last week in Oz although it did start to get very cold - especially at night. Since our last post we travelled from Byron Bay to Sydney via Coffs harbour, Newcastle and the Blue Mountains. They were all brilliant especially the Blue Mountains although our campervan almost didn't make it to the top as it was so steep! And the freak hailstorm was a bit scary! After the Blue mountains, we made our way to Lane Cove River campsite which was in the national park yet only 10km to the centre of Sydney. We had a fantastic time there especially because of our trip to the Opera House. It was so amazing just to be inside let alone see the Sydney Symphony perform!
The campsite was also good because we saw lots of wildlife including tree possums!

After Sydney we made our way down to Melbourne where we had to hand the camer-van back! WHen we arrived in Melbourne however, we had some trouble trying to find somewhere to stay the night and thought we might have to sleep in a carpark somewhere! We managed to find the shadiest looking caravan park in the city and decided that the carpark would actually be the better option! But we managed to find Huddsons Bay Caravan Park who very kindly let us in! The following day we looked round Melbourne which was a really nice city with some great shops and restaurants! Then we made our way to the airport evern though we were 8hours early for our flight!

We flew to Kuala Lumpur last night and arrived at 6am this morning. We then took the train from Kuala Lumpur central station to Gemas. Luckily we managed to check out some hotels online in the airport and more importantly found out which ones not to go to! We managed to find a nice clean hotel, although we suspect it is definitely a converted prison!

Tomorrow we will catch the 09:17 train to Wakaf Bharu through the jungles and mountains which lasts 10 hours! Good job we've stocked up on water and snacks!!

Hopefully there will be another update soon, night xx

Posted by wayneanna 07:21 Archived in Malaysia Tagged train_travel Comments (2)

New South Wales

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Greetings,

  Since our last update quite a bit has happened.

  As we put in our last entry we were waiting for the weather to pick up to go to Fraser Island, so we decided to stay on a peninsula called Inskip Point, big mistake!!
  First when we arrive we saw that the sites were on the beach, great we thought, until we drove onto the wet sand and got stuck. Anna got out to push and luckly a kind man came over to help, and just 5 meters further we got stuck again, but Wayne managed to rock out with Anna pushing. At this point we were debating wether to stay the night, but as it was getting dark we thought we'd better stay and get on with tea. We decided to go to bed early as it was pitch black and had started spitting. About 10:30 we were woken by the most violent thunder storm we had ever heard, and as the rain was so terrential started to worry about being swept away off the narrow peninsula, and the campervan flooding.
  After a sleepless night the rain was still pouring we scrapped trying to go to Fraser Island but still had to get the van off the peninsula without getting stuck, which we luckly managed!!

  Brisbane was our next stop, where we treated ourselves to a paid campsite with running water!!! (mainly of the hot variety) We went into Brisbane for a few hours before getting a curry for tea and a good nights sleep, 10 hours!!

  We are now at Byron Bay after a brief sunbathe at Surfers Paradise. We're hoping to catch the sunrise tomorrow morning on the beach.

Tatty bye!

Posted by wayneanna 02:42 Archived in Australia Tagged automotive Comments (0)

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