I love to travel and especially to more than one country at the same time. So last summer when I saw a 3 weeks trip to Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia I was thrilled. I didn’t have to think long about who to go with. I went with the same adventurous friend I took the Trans-Mongolian express with to Russia, Mongolia, China and Tibet with. Also, she’s a doctor and hey, it’s always handy to have one with you when you’re travelling right. We went around September 2016 and it was actually a great time. We feared the rain season but other than a few drops in Hanoi and Siem Reap, we mostly had sun.
Enough said, let’s skip the talk and move over to pictures. Btw, the picture above was taken in Phuket, Thailand. It was on one of the few relaxing days we had on the beach. I’m not really a beach vacation kinda person. After a few days I’m like ‘ok, now what are we gonna do?’. But the coconut beach picture I like. Also, if you are going to travel to Phuket, try to avoid the most popular beach. You will literally be disturbed every minute with someone trying to sell you stuff (literally!). Your only option is to close your eyes and pretend to sleep. Other than that, people there are great. Though I was a bit shocked with the huge amount of older Western guys with young prostitutes. I’m from the Netherlands, and I believe it’s the one country in the world where prostitution is legalised, but still I was surprised by Phuket.
Like in a lot of Asian countries, Thailand has a lot of beautiful temples called a “Wat”. This is one of the most famous ones in Bangkok I believe. It took a while to get used to the smell and noise of Bangkok and it was great to just take a break to a temple.
As you can see, I’m wearing a scarf/sarong with me. You are not allowed to enter a temple if your shorts are above your knee or if you wear a sleeveless top. It is considered disrespectful. You can borrow a sarong before you enter. I believe you had to pay for it. In Indonesia for example they lend you a sarong for free. This was not the case in Thailand. There is a guy at the beginning of the entrance yelling at people who aren’t properly dressed : )
While I don’t have anything with a Buddha in my home as a decoration, many people in the Netherlands do. I had no idea it was considered offensive to use one as a decoration.
One of the things I like most about Asia is the food! It’s just delicious. I’m not a fan of coriander, but other than that I just loved the Pad Thai (very addictive) and curry’s. Any kind of curry’s. Really. Love, love, love. Also, it’s very affordable. In Siem Reap you can actually have a whole 3 course meal for 5 dollars! (actually in a pub not street food which is even cheaper). Nothing Like say Paris or Iceland (Iceland being the most expensive country so far I have ever visited).
I don’t remember the name of this dessert, but they sell it on street corners in Phuket and it’s delicious! The second one was with Nutella, because well, I don’t need to explain Nutella, do I?
You can’t go tot Thailand and not have (practically) daily massages, a manicure and pedicure. It would be a crime against humanity. Also, it helps local women to put food on the table, so don’t forget to tip them! In Thailand people were actually surprised to receive a tip and thankful when they received it. Speaking of a massage, it’s far better to have one in Thailand than Vietnam. Why? Well, in Vietnam they say they have a fixed price but when you go to pay they kinda force you to tip the massage parlor and the tip is almost as much as the massage itself. They are rude if you point that out. So, for a relaxing massage I preferred Thailand and Cambodia.
So after Thailand we went to Vietnam (Hanoi, Ho Chi ming city with all the bikes).
There is this pond/lake in the middle of Hanoi. The pond has a beautiful bridge and is aligned with stores and trees. It’s beautiful to visit at night but also during the day. Here are women doing some kind of gymnastics I believe. They carry a radio with them and well.. do stuff. We stood watching for half an hour and I think they were doing sports, though I’m not sure. I tried to ask but like most older people in Vietnam, none of them spoke English. They were very friendly though and we talked with our hands : )
Hanoi is famous for the street food. For a few dollars you can get a meal and during dinner time street corners are filled with people eating. Honestly, I was not one of them. I feared eating something not hygienic and being sick the rest of the trip.
The Halong Bay cruise and James Bond island.. simply spectacular. No other words for it.
Vietnam is a food mecca. My friend wanted to take a cooking class and I joined her. The first pictures shows the Vietnamese pancakes I made *proud* at this great Eco village. In the second one I’m watering herbs. Looks like I know what I’m doing, but I can assure you it was a disaster getting that thing on my back. I also almost fell a few times : ) (no upper body strength, at all!)
Last, but not least, we went to Angkor Wat in Siem Reap which is just.. wow. You probably know about this place from Tomb Raider. Parts of the movie were actually shot here.
All in all, I loved south-east Asia! I tried my best to give a few highlights. One blogpost just isn’t enough to cover all the places we went. Just go and see yourself : ) You will not be disappointed.