Finishing off in South East Asia

It’s about one month since I last wrote a blog post partially due to a bit of writers block so I thought I’d jot down a note saying how I finished off my time in South East Asia.

The circus at Battambang

My last post talked about how I took a train ride on the Bamboo Train in Battambang, but there is something even better in town – the circus. It’s a Cirque Du Soleil style show where French trained locals put on a nightly show for $8. It’s truly magnificent and I wanted to write a full blog post about it, talk about how they are funding two people to train in Montreal, the fun’ness of the show, the smiling happy people… but words failed me. I just don’t know how to write up how truly extraordinary the spectacle is complete with a Cambodian backdrop.

Suffice to say, if you go to Battamnbang, make sure you get to the circus. Heck, if you make it to Cambodia, go to Battambang just for the circus!

A couple of Thai islands

After Cambodia I had a choice – spend a couple of frugal weeks in Laos or have a “holiday” in Thailand for a week. I chose the later and flew from Bangkok to Phuket, a boat out to Koh Phi Phi and then onto Kho Lipe.

Koh Phi Phi is exactly as I imagined it to be, loud, crass and full of tourists. I arrived in the early afternoon and couldn’t find accommodation anywhere, literally every single hotel was full. Those that weren’t full were charging extortionate amounts for a simple room – in the end I had to pay £20 for one night and that was the cheapest place I could find anywhere. The beaches that I saw aren’t overly pleasant little strips of sand and the town is a sprawling mess with shops displaying buckets for sale and all the bars vie for your attention with touts trying to pull you in at every juncture. It’s not my scene. I’m sure if I stayed there a little longer and found some more secluded spots and met some people to party with it’d be different, but as it stands, Koh Phi Phi sucks.

In the morning I boarded the speed-boat ferry to Koh Phi Phi. The first half involved sitting in a stuffy cramped cabin but the second half was amazing – it was a proper speed boat and I stood up front with music playing in my ears, the wind ruffling my hair, the sun blazing down glistening on the rippling sea… It was so peaceful I stood there for the three hours or so it took. Koh Lipe proved to be the same as Phi Phi when I arrived – everywhere was fully booked and finding accommodation was a nightmare. In the end I found a place for £9 a night and settled in for the week.

Look the right way and the beaches on the snorkelling tour were deserted!

Koh Lipe was mostly the opposite to Phi Phi in that it is much more relaxed, but this creates a different problem – it’s mostly a couples/tourist retreat. Thankfully I was in Koh Lipe to meet a friend and we spent a lovely few days sitting on the beaches, swimming in the sea, snorkelling in the rain… Whilst Koh Lipe didn’t overly impress me, I did have a great time there.

In preparation for Australia

Whilst in Siem Reap I applied for my Australian working visa and they required me to go for an X-Ray so I popped back to Singapore. Once I’d got my X-Ray and my Visa sorted I found a ticket to Melbourne a week later for £200 – I therefore waited a week working on my CV, applying for jobs etc.

Sitting waiting around got me really bored as I didn’t really get up to much. I met a few nice people in the hostel, popped to the cinema quite a few times, wrote a few things for the blog… Nothing that exciting. On the last weekend though I caught up with two fellow travel bloggers and we shared a pint or three in Holland Village. It was really nice to meet up with other people who like proper travel and we shared tales all night.

On Wednesday 29th February I left the hostel for the “final” time and uttered Doc Emmet Brown’s immortal line “We’re going back, back to the future”.

Click here to load a map showing you the location of this post and images from the digitallery taken nearby.