Riding the Bamboo train in Battambang

Many years ago I came across something that seemed archaic – a train made out of bamboo which was dismantled and re-made as it rumbled along the track. It seemed otherworldly and quaint. When someone mentioned it was in Cambodia, I knew I was making a detour!

Angkor

Ten years ago Angkor wasn’t really on the tourist map but nowadays it’s the doozie here in Cambodia. It’s listed as one of the “must see” things and everyone raves about the beauty and spectacular’ness of it all. Just outside Angkor, Siem Reap, is a tourist haven with it’s cheap beds and great food, just a shame there isn’t much to do other than Angkor…

Returning to my biking ways

I always liked riding bikes as a kid but in recent years started to ride a Mountain Bike with vengeance pushing myself hard both physically and technically. I’ve ridden bikes a few times as I travelled but never felt fully fulfilled – In Siem Reap I tried again and boy did it turn out well.

A little bit of Cambodian History – S21 and The Killing Fields

I’m not usually that emotional a guy and don’t tend to be affected by the typical “upsetting” things. However, in Phnom Penh, Security Prison 21 (S21) and The Killing Fields got to me, I was choked up and close to tears walking around. It’s just plain horrible and tugged on my heart strings like nothing else before.

Kampot and Kep

In the south of Cambodia, two hours from Sihanoukville is a sleepy little town called Kampot. It was initially a bad choice as I needed some excitement but once we found it, Kampot became a great place to be.

Sihanoukville or is it Shagaluff?

Welcome to Cambodia, first stop Sihanoukville. My first impression was one of a over-bearing party-town, why then did I end up staying there for a week? What is the draw?

Vietnam has a tourism problem

Vietnam is an odd ball. Part of me highly recommends some places, but overall I can’t say I enjoyed traveling there nor would suggest others come here. I’m still trying to work out what is wrong though!

The Vietnamese beach haunt of Vung Tau

If Nha Trang and Mui Ne are the beach resort of choice for the Western Tourist, then Vung Tau is the place the Vietnamese go. It’s not the nicest beach, nor does it have great food, but it’s awesome all the same.

Cu Chi Tunnels

A lot of tourism in Vietnam focuses on the Vietnam war, it’s hard to get away from and you are constantly reminded of it. Here, in Cu Chi, you get to see a little more of the VietCong lifestyle and be subjected to the propaganda machine in full flow.

Mui Ne – just a kite surfing beach

Mui Ne was next after Nha Trang and it was meant to be a better beach town, slightly less night-life, lots of things to see including amazing sand dunes. For me though it didn’t work out that way though.

Nha Trang Mud baths

Nha Trang is a party place on the Vietnamese coast, most of it’s draw is the sunny weather and the party atmosphere but this is lacking in the constant rain of the Winter – there is still fun to be had though!

Another Party Cruise, Nha Trang

This was a second attempt at the “party cruise”, the first having ended in disaster in Halong Bay. I have to say it was a complete success and everywhere the Halong Bay Cruise failed, the one in Nha Trang succeeded.

Hoi An – Its all about the Cakes and Coffee

After the horrendous stay in Hue, Hoi An was a breath of fresh air. The tourist lined streets, the respectful locals, the nice buildings, the relaxing atmosphere and the company of two great people. Hoi An was perfect.

Huế is a terrible place to be

Hue is a fairly historically important city in Vietnam acting as the capital at one point but also given it’s proximity to the North, South DMZ was home to one of the more important battles in the Vietnam War so it should be interesting. The problem is, it’s a horrid place and in my experience should be avoided at all costs.

Phong Nha Cave

Back on New Years Eve I posted a blog about visiting Paradise Cave in the Phong Nha National Park, this is the companion post about the other cave I visited – Phong Nha Cave and the bicycle journey we took to get there.

Halong Bay in the rice paddies–Tam Coc

The first stop after leaving Hanoi was a little town just a few hours south called Ninh Binh. There are day trips running out of Hanoi, but these are expensive and since it’s en-route, why not stop there?

An Englishman loses his cool in Hanoi

I’ve mentioned a few times that Hanoi is full of hustle and bustle and that if you don’t have patience then it can easily drive you insane. I saw it happen a few times, but the best one was easily an Englishman who was on the walking tour.

Hanoi

Hanoi was meant to be a staging point for Halong Bay and Sapa trips but in the end I stayed much longer than anticipated and it was an interesting introduction to South East Asia travel. Most of my time there was spent just walking around or drinking cheap beers!

A Party Cruise & Halong Bay

Just before I left I spent some time reading various blogs and read one account of a boat trip into Halong Bay and thought it would be a personal type of hell. I arrived in Hanoi, booked my tour and re-checked that blog post. You can tell what I did can’t you! Doh!

Arriving in Vietnam

Leaving Singapore at the last minute meant a bit of organisation and quick thinking but it was worth – Vietnam impressed with it’s craziness within the first minutes

Other snippets from Singapore

I spent a month in total in Singapore and I tried to see most parts, some have been worthy of their own posts, but here are some of the other things to do. Sentosa Sentosa is a big theme park island just off the coast and it is there for one thing – to take […]

Walking the Singapore Formula 1 circuit

I’ve always loved Formula1 but have only really watched the races in recent years. On my RTW trip I intended to go to the Japanese Grand Prix but the cost was too prohibitive (I spent the money in the Galapagos instead) so when I hit Singapore I made sure I walked around the track here.

The perfect New Years Eve – Paradise Cave, Phong Nha National Park, Vietnam

The last few years I’ve spent New Years Eve at Al’s house with an Indian takeaway, beers and a few movies and it’s been great. This year I’m many thousands of miles away from my old bah-humbug partner so decided to do something a little different – visit the place I came to Vietnam for. The place I’ve wanted to visit for a year and has been hyped up in my mind more than you can imagine. Did it match the hype though?

A different type of Christmas

As 2011 comes to a close, it brings with it not only an eight month anniversary of travelling but also my first holiday season away from my family. It’s a strange to be surrounded by 63 other travellers and partying all day!

Singapore lights up the night sky

Singapore during the day is lovely, but the colours are slightly dulled and whilst it’s clean, it doesn’t feel “fresh”. At night however, it’s a different ball game – Singapore comes alive and is staggeringly beautiful!

Trying new foods in Singapore

Eating in Singapore is dead easy – there is every menu available from Chinese, Indian, Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, English, French…. Any meal you fancy you’ll be able to find and sometimes you get to experience a completely different way of eating! Hawker Centres In Singapore the main, cheap way of eating is to use any of the […]

Singapore – wakeboarding

It’s fair to say I like the more extreme outdoor pursuits with my crashing of cross country mountain bikes, face-planting power kites, falling off mountain boards… I’m going to pretend I’m any good, but I like them and therefore I thought I’d give wakeboarding a go. Suffice to say it was “plain sailing”. Splash Back […]