Usually I write a blog after an exciting holiday, but I thought I might try something different and update you before I go.
Since Canada, I’ve realised just how much of the world I need to see. Mum and I have been thinking about going to explore Asia a bit more for a while. We recently went to Phuket, which was great, but a relaxing holiday rather than a cultural experience. When I was 14 we went to Sabah, which was amazing. We went around the cities in Malaysia, but also went on a little boat down the Kinabatangan river where toilets by the side of the river were holes in a jetty. We saw orangutans and crocodiles in the wild and had to watch out for piranhas in the river. It was such an eye-opening experience.
Mum and I decided we were ready for a cultural holiday again. After weeks of thought and speculation, we decided a small group tour would be a good idea. We don’t usually do tours, and like to make our own way, but because we are so busy with uni/work these days, the idea of booking a tour and knowing all accommodation and transport is organised is pretty appealing.
We wanted to make sure we weren’t in a big group though – I don’t like big tour groups because it’s like you always take the line with you! We ended up finding a company called G-Adventures, and really liked their style. I’m not trying to advertise these guys, I don’t even know if their any good get, but in their brochure they say: “It’s your world, you should come and see it sometime.” I am willinging to accept that invitation. We also really like that the group size is a maximum of 15 people, so hopefully we will get to meet some interesting travellers without being too big of a group. The range of transport this tour uses sounds awesome too – Train, local bus, aircon bus, river boat, tuk-tuk, songthaew, taxi, cyclo and plane.
So we decided we liked the look of this tour, and went down to the travel agent to enquire more about the accommodation and so on. When we got there we learned that there was a 15% special off all tours if they were booked by that day! So… we booked it. And considering we booked the tour (and had to pay in full), we had to book flights shortly after aswell.
So it a very short time… we booked. We went from considering a holiday to going in a just a few days…
This is the route we will be taking:
Our itinerary looks a little something like this (B means we get break fast and D means we get dinner):
Day 1 Bangkok
Arrive in Bangkok at any time.
Day 2 Bangkok (B)
Guided longboat tour of Bangkok’s klongs and Wat Po. Optional Grand Palace and National Museum visit. Overnight train to Chiang Mai.
Day 3 Chiang Mai
Guided Doi Suthep temple tour. Many other options available, including cooking school, bike ride, elephant ride, night market visit etc.
Day 4 Chiang Khong
Head to Chiang Khong via Wat Rong Khun and enjoy your first view of the mighty Mekong.
Day 5 Mekong River
Travel by traditional barge down the Mekong. Border crossing into Laos.
Day 6-8 Luang Prabang (3B, 1D)
Guided tour of Pak Ou Caves, the Ethnology Museum and Kuang-Sii Waterfalls, included local home meal. Optional cooking school, temple visits, night market shopping, bike rides, hiking, elephant treks.
Days 9-10 Vang Vieng (B)
Optional bike rides, swimming, cave exploring, countryside visits.
Day 11 Vientiane
Optional temple visits, national museum, explore highlights of this town.
Day 12-13 Hanoi (2B)
Visit Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum, stilt house and presidential palace. Water puppets ticket. Optional tour of Temple of Literature, museums, Hoa Lo Prison. Flight from Vientiane–Hanoi on Day 12.
Day 14 Hanoi (B)
Depart at any time.
I am getting so excited, and there is so much to do for such a short time. We go in just 5 weeks!
I will keep you posted as our preparations develop!