Luang Prabang, Laos

The visa to Laos was fairly easy to get from Chang Khong. It was $36 USD.

Slow boating it to Luang Prabang on the Mekhong River. It is a two day boat ride. With cooler stocked with beer and lao whiskey we boarded our slow boat.

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Large lush Green mountains line the river with the compliment of colorful long boats. Stationary fishing poles with nets are set up on the rocks that line the river. Loud vortexes swirl in the middle of the river in some places. These can pull you under and drown you, so no one swims in the river.

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Our night stop is at Pag Beng. It is a super small town. Tons of people greet us at the dock to try to have us stay at our hotel or to carry our luggage for money.

3 Canadians, one American and a Brit make up my new friends. We ate and had some beerlao and shots of tiger loa whiskey.

Huge bugs with big wings start to fly up from a tree right outside the restaurant. There are tons and the local children swing and them and try to catch them. Easily caught in my hand, I throw one at an Australian boy. ¬†He freaked out as it flew into his face. I’m really good at making friends, here’s a bug for your face! ūüėČ

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Next day we head to Luang Pra Bang on a bigger boat. I gladly welcome the rain and allow the rain droplets to sprinkle on my face.

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There was a street market with tons of trinkets to buy.

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The next day, Levi and I both have major A.D.D. Once we’ll be looking for a book store then we’ll change directions to check out something else. We are just overwhelmed with everything. Food and puppies are just a couple of examples of our A.D.D. escapades.
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After wondering the streets in the rain, we stumbled upon a bar called Utopia. We had heard people talking about it previously, so we decided to check it out. This place has a cool outdoor lounge with mats you can lay on and take in the view of the muddy Mekong River. We order some Beerlao and some lao food. The loose parts of the hillsides would slide into the river.
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After that we played some beach volleyball court that was right by the bar. There were about 4 Lao guys that were really good. They were really short, but man did they have hops like you wouldn’t believe. They can get on top of the ball and kill it. This was really fun and it was a good workout.
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At night this town closes down at 11:30pm. Woow that’s early, right? Not to fear, everyone heads to the local bowling alley to continue the party. Locals play barefoot, so we did too.
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Hanoi is next on our itinerary. Flight was super quick and nice!
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Pai, Thailand

Major backpack community. Views are breathtaking. There are tons of cool bars.

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We got a free motorbike rental for an hour to look for a place to stay. Check out the gas station we stopped at for gas.

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Paiburee is where we landed. It says hostel on the big sign, but there were separate hut guesthouses. The A/C didn’t work well and there were tons of bugs. Thank god for my 50% deet spray!

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We motorbiked up one of the mountains and pulled over and hiked up to a beautiful view of the mountains of Pai.

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On the way back we stopped by a random river and crossed a bamboo bridge to rice fields. Bright red dragon flies hovered over the water and beautiful butterflies flutter around.

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Red dragon fly

Next we went to the Muang Pang Waterfall. There are three pools/levels. You can sllide down on the second and third level. I did the second level. The limestone slabs of rock were very slippery when wet. There was a local boy, about 6 years old, who instigated people to go down from a high point, which was really scary.

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Bottom of waterfall

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Butterfly hanging out at the waterfall

On the way to the waterfall,  woman would gesture with their hands and lips in a smoking manner, basically letting us know we can buy weed from them.

Next we Mini-bused from Pai to Chiang Khong. It left at 7pm and we didn’t get there until 2:30 am. We were told we’d arrive at 12 am. The hotel is right on the river where you can take a slow boat to cross to Laos. It will take two days.

Chiang Mai, Thailand

A lot slower paced, food here is really good. They are known for their vegetarian dishes.

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The red eye train ride from Bangkok to Chiagn Mai was rough. I slept on a top bunk and it was super rocky. I didn’t sleep a wink. Note to self get a bottom bunk next time! In the morning I went on the bottom bunk to take in the beautiful view of jungle.

We stayed at Baan Jaja the first night because the Awanna House wasn’t available until the next night. ¬†I really like both places. Awanna is cool because it has a pool and a roof top deck you can hang out on.

We rode scooters to Mae Rim, which is north of Chiang Mai. After being lost for about 30 minutes and going back and forward on the rode 3 times, we finally came to our destination, Tiger Kingdom. It was about 5 pm, which is when they were super active and playful. If you want to be able to lay on the tiger you should go earlier in the day when they are sleepy.

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There were about 7 – 3 month old tigers in one cage. They were just beating each other up! Their paws were so big it reminded me how big they will get. Levi and I were allowed in the cage to pet them.

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The scariest part was going into a cage of 6 large tigers! Very intimidating. There were 4 handlers that would keep them in check by hitting them with a stick and making a Ceaser Milan “sstt!!” How that works, I have no idea! Its gotta be the training!! ¬†A big one stared at me and I slowly stepped behind the handler. I swear it want to leap and play with me or maybe eat me because their feeding time was right after we got out of the cage.

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My favorite tiger was cross eyed. You never knew who or what he was looking at.

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After this experience, I realize this would never happen in the US. Too many lawsuits waiting to happen.

The next day we checked out the elephants ūüôā

I rode a baby elephant in a river. Did I forget to mention I bathed him in the river and got to jump and stand on him? To top it off it was raining which made it so much cooler. We got a lot of time with the elephant because all the other tourist didn’t want to get wet. They missed out majorly! I think they had fun watching us try to balance on the elephant and of course falling into the water.

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I felt his tongue when I fed him bananas. So gross, but so cool at the same time.

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We also rode a big one and we got to fed her.

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There was a little baby elephant that the mother was very protective of. This little guy tried ramming me into a tree, he’s pretty strong.

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Go with Noi Nid Happy Toure Service, their half day elephant trek. It was an awesome experience! you can arrange to be picked up with Am Cool Travel. Lek will help you out. She speaks good English and is really helpful.

Next stop is Pai(4 hours north of Chiagn Mai). It is time to take my malaria pill because I will be in Laos, which has a low-risk malaria zone, in 2 days.

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Ayutthaya, Thailand

We took a train from Bangkok to Ayutthaya. The train was super late, but it was expected.

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Bangkok pimp on the train lol

Rented scooters rode to elephant river market.
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We also rode the bikes to Wat Phra Mahathat which is where budda’s head is engulfed by tree roots. My scooter was sweet; I would never ride a scooter in Bangkok, but Ayutthaya is doable since it isn’t busy and as fast paced.

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Then we went on a boat tour to three different temples:
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Way Panan Chowng
Has largest ancient Buddha. We were a part of a ceremony with orange sheets that were wrapped around the statue and that we covered out heads with. It was like we were connecting with Buddha.
Two old monks were in the back praying with people and hitting their head with a bundle of sticks while chanting something.
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Wat Phutthaisawan
I enjoyed the reclining Buddha (vihr) and the rest of the old temples. Cool thing about this reclining Buddha is that he was outside.
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Wat Chaiwatthanaram
Really ancient temple – the sun was low so it was really pretty. I did some yoga.
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When Passing through the channels, which have mostly make shift homes lining it, Thai resident fish and wave with a smile; sometimes waving excitedly  with two hands.
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After the tour we ate dinner and caught up on emails and hopped on the red eye train to Chiang Mai. We were situated right by the bar car which had music, disco lights and of course alcohol!

Bangkok, Thailand

I had the opportunity to stay with my friend, Wes, who moved to Bangkok about 6 months ago to pursue his passion for cooking at Le Cordon Bleu. He has been super hospitable and even let my friend, Levi, stay with us. Levi quit his job and is traveling just like me. Crazy thing is that we didn’t know that we were both doing the same thing until a mutual friend informed me.

I arrived at 2 in the morning and Levi and Wes were out drinking which was perfect because I got dropped off close to where they were and we just walked back to Wes’s place.

Here are some highlights of my experience of Bangkok:

1.) Great street food available on almost every street. Great curry and noodle dishes and fried chicken and sausage and chicken on skewers. Fresh fruit like mango, lychee, jack fruit, watermelon. We even tried durian, which is a pungent fruit that smells like BO and onions. The consistency is soft like an avocado. It tasted like an avocado, onion and garlic mixture.
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2.) Crazy drivers don’t slow down for pedestrians, yet there’s a method to the madness, just don’t hesitate and just go! Also, when crossing the street on a one way, look both ways! Thai sometimes drive on the wrong side, especially motorbikes. Wes got in a really hard accident. Jk see the pic below we found this wrecked bike on the side walk.

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We found this wrecked bike on the sidewalk

Play it safe and take the BTS. It is really easy to get around and it’s a lot more advance than i thought it would be. Plus it is air conditioned which is a nice break from the hot humid weather outside.
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3.) Very hot and humid, but the occasional rain cools everything down. It makes the streets really dirty, you’ll probably want to wear some tennis shoes instead of flip flops the streets can get really dirty. I’m glistening in most of my pics especially because we did a lot of walking.

4.)¬†Grand Royal palace(where former royalty use to reside)- there is a dress code. You have to have your legs and shoulders covered. “Your pants are too short, you must cover!,” A man yells over loud speaker when we got to the entrance. Of course he wasn’t yelling at me because I was prepared! But for those who are not prepared, they rent out coverups, silly rainbow colored ones.

There were many temples within the grand palace. Some you could take a picture and some you can’t.
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We bought gold paper to decorate the monks statute at the entrance of the grand palace. And you can shake a cup of sticks that have numbers until some randomly fall out. Somehow the numbers are interpreted, but let’s just say I’m playing the loto with those numbers.
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Wat Phra Kaee (which is on the same grounds as the grand palace) – We saw the emerald Buddha, which I thought would be a lot bigger, but he’s a little guy on top of a huge gold shrine. It is actually made of Jasper which is more of a marble green. Pictures are not allowed, so sorry no pic.

Wat Pho – oldest and largest temple in Bangkok.
It houses the largest Reclining Buddha (15m high and 46m long) that’s a whole lot of buddha! The pose illustrates the passing of Buddha, which is ironic because he definitely doesn’t look like he’s dying. He has a little smirk as if he laughs at death.
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5.) Terminal 21 Mall ­ A mall designed like an airport. Each floor has a different city theme. Each city is a major city like Hollywood, Istanbul, Paris and London. The bathrooms are design just like they would be in that particular city. For example, the toilets in London had a seat warmer and bidet with seat cleaner.
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6.) Thai massage ­ Chaba on 11 soi Sukhumvit. They have you change in baggy pants and a shirt and lay on a thin mattress pad on the floor and curtains separate the different areas.

6 foot Levi was ‘too looong’ for a little 4’5″ Thai lady and my masseuses said ‘yo bady too skinnea’ They were cute and laughing the whole time while we were trying to enjoy it.

Thai masseuse must be certified to give Thai massages, so if you see a certificate you should be good. In fact, in Chiangmai there’s a job training program for woman inmates, so you can stop into the local jail and get a massage. ¬†I want to go and try it, I just hope I don’t get a mean Thai lady that killed someone.

7.) Bangkok is super Americanized. ¬†Also, the Expat community is large and pretty hip. ¬†I tagged along with Wes and his expat friends to Sonic¬≠ bar with dj’s, WTF bar with story telling sessions and a vintage market. There are tons of Americans and Europeans that get great international jobs here and they’ve made a pretty good expat community in Bangkok.

8.) This city never sleeps. There’s always something to do, just walk out on the street and grab a drink at one of the many tricked out vdub vans.

9.) Muay Thai  РRajadamnern stadium
Not sure about the betting system, but it looks like they bet amongst each other by signing with their hands and yelling.

Each fighter does a ritual dance around the ring before the fight. They do it to each side of the ring.

Traditional Thai music plays in the back while the fighters fight. It is a really fast drum beat with something that sounds like a bag pipe and a small symbol chime. It almost sounds out of synch; it gets your heart pumping.

They kick to the kidneys and punch in the face and they try to grab the opponent’s foot to trip them.

Caleb an American made his opponent bleed so much that it sprayed all over him; he was covered in his opponent’s blood. He’s from tigermuaythai, a training camp in Phuket. One of his team mates, Necdo, a South African, ¬†knocked his Thai opponent out. They literally had to take him out on a gurney. Both opponents were Thai.

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Getting Excited

It is 2 AM and sleep is not an option. ¬†There’s a one way ticket to Bangkok, Thailand with my name on it and I cannot control the excitement. ¬†Take off is today at 12:30PM.

Bangkok is the first stop in my 6-ish month journey through out Southeast Asia.

How did I get to this point? I was run down at work, suffering from insomnia and unhappy in a relationship, so I quit my job, dumped my boy friend, got some sleep and decided to travel. Call it whatever you want, a quarter life crisis, personal hiatus or Eat Pray Love; simply put this blog will document my travels.

Wish me luck!