Posts Tagged ‘Asia’

  • See you soon Asia

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    Time goes fast if you don’t think about it. We haven’t thought much about it and without realising, it is almost one year since we started our trip in Asia. So far we have been travelling in India, Nepal, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, and there are still loads of places to visit. Our dream of travelling in Asia is still alive and somehow we feel, it will never ever be over. We love this continent and its people. We love the whole planet and will never stop discovering it. It will take us long, aproximately a life time, but we will cover the world from one side to the other. Promise!

    The past months have been very intense and rewardful. We have learnt and experienced a lot of things and have had a lot of fun doing it, but now we feel like having a pause for a while, returning to a more boring life and recharging batteries and money supplies for new future adventures. This means we feel like going back home, to Valencia.

    Once having decided that, we are catching a flight back in October, spending some time in Germany first to visit some friends before arriving in Valencia. We feel strong and adventorous. Be aware Valencia, we will be back soon!! And bye bye Asia, we let you rest for a while!!

  • Trekking in Umphang

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    Early in the morning we got up, had breakfast and started our 3 hour long trip down south along the sinuous mountain roads. We all four –Julia, Hector and a couple of kiwi guys- end up feeling motion sickness due to the over 1200 bends of the way. Appart from that, the first day of the trek was perfect. We started with a 4 hour rafting in the Mae Klong river, stoping aside to collect “jungle food” such as bamboo shoots and mushrooms. Then we arrived to a camp on the river side, where we prepared dinner –Thai food of course- and where we spent the night and felt asleep hearing the beautiful jungle sounds.

     

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    The second day started with another 2 hour raft down the river, entertained with the moonson rain and some more stops along the way before starting a 3 hours trek –all wet and miserable- through muddy paths in the jungle forest. It was great that they provided us rubber boots for the trek, so that we felt confident and free to step anywhere, either streams, puddles or mud. The trek ended in a kind of camp site near the National Park entrance where we spent the whole afternoon and night with other people from other trekking companies, still raining…

     

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    On the third day we visited the highest waterfall in Thailand (Tee Lor Su, which in Karen language means waterfall), it was quite impresive and full of water at this time of the year, although we missed the opportunity to swim in one of its pools due to the heavy rain and the chilled air. On the way back to the camp, where our guides were waiting for us, we had the best experience of the trek when we found a 1,5 meter long King snake –apparently quite poisonous, as our guides told us later- and played with it for a while. It was the first time we have seen such a big and dangerous snake in its habitat and it was one of the few animals we were able to see during this trek (they either don’t like rain or us).

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    After that we kept on walking –all the different groups separated although very close to each other- on the way to the Karen village where we were supposed to spend the night with a local family. We didn’t feel very welcomed in the village and could not interact much neither with children nor with adults of the tribe, they did’t seem very interested in us, so we respected them. We arranged a gathering though with all the non locals in town: the tourists and their guides. We spent a nice evening with an international taste: kiwis, english, danish, thais and spanish all together singing and chating for many hours.

     

     

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    The fourth and last day was the shortest and also the worst one since we only did the way back to Umphang on the back of an elephant, who didn’t seem to be very happy with the treatment it received from its owner (bastard!), plus the uncomfortability of this kind of transport. From there we were driven back to Mae Sot, where we spent hours chating with Mr Om and had a very good recovering night on a mattress again.

  • Mae Sot

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    Thanks to a very friendly Thai family who picked us up from the side of the road after we were waiting for a a bus which was not coming and decided then to try to hitch-hike, we arrived in Mae Sot after a good 4 hours ride under the sun and the rain and against the wind, sitting on the back of their pick up van.

     

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    Somebody had told us about the Nº4 guesthouse so we decided to look for it and check it. We got a quite basic room with a mattress on the floor and a -very important- mosquito net, but for only 2 euro a night. Besides, the guest house was an old teak house with a lot of character and full of Thai artifacts and music instruments hand made by Mr. Om.

    We came to Mae Sot with the idea of joining a trekking tour through the jungle to any hill tribe village of the area and Nº4 guesthouse had been one of the first companies arranging this kind of tours for “farangs” –western tourists in thai language-. Mr Om, owner of the guesthouse and former tour guide, seemed to be very professional although a little bit shy and taciturn person. After having red feedbacks of other travellers and a couple of different guidebooks rewiews, we decided to book a 4 day-3 night trekking with his company, starting the next morning travelling on a van to a southern town on the Tak province, Umphang, the closest town to the National Park of the Tee Lor Su Waterfall and close to the Burmese border.

  • Ayuthaya and Sukhothai: ancient capitals of the Thai Kingdom

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    From Bangkok we headed up north for something more than an hour and arrived to Ayuthaya, one of the former capitals of the ancient Thai Kingdom. The city itself has not much to offer, although some good guesthouses, bars and street markets together with the ruins of the old city (not many in quality but widespread) make it a “must” for people staying in Bangkok. We spent one and a half days there and it was our first contact with old Thai architecture, Thai rented bicycles and Thai rainy weather. Yes, it rained quite a lot. So much that we think now that the monsoon season, which should start in Thailand by the end of May or the beginning of June, has gone ahead this year. F**ck!!

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    From here we took another train to Phitsanulok (this time a six hours journey), surrounded by Thai families with kids and babies, by monks and by army rangers, again in a 3rd class carriage. This is the best way to travel around in a foreign country and we really love it, although it is not as comfortable as a VIP bus service… Once in Phitsanulok we spent the first moments wandering around a street market and trying different delikatessen from the food stalls before leaving our backpacks in the most beautiful guest house we found, the London Hotel, and walking along the river to the night market and the food market again.

    At the end, our room in the hotel wasn’t that good since we could hear everyone’s shower in the common bathroom beside us and we ended up waking up earlier than planned (at 7 am!!) and therefore sleeping little, otherwise we would have started up the day one or two hours later. Anyway, after a good refreshing shower and a full pineapple for breakfast, we did another one and a half hour bus ride to Sukhothai (this time air-co because there was no other choice at that time) where we first looked for a guest house and then later started to explore the ruins of the ancient city, these ones much more interesting and well kept than the ones in Ayutthaya. Highly reccomendable!!

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  • Bangkok

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    Bangkok has been a good surprise for us: it is clean, well organaised and much less noisy than we had expected. It is a very crowded city but everybody seems to be in his given place and we never felt overwhelming as in another cities, such as Delhi or Mumbai in India. We had the impression that Thailand is going to be much easier to travel than India or Nepal, although we really like challenges…

     

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    We found a cheap place to stay in Soi Rambutri, a most likely backpackers zone around Kao San Road, where many guest houses, shops and restaurants fulfill the needs of all the independent travellers arriving in Thailand through Bangkok. One can find everything around these two streets: from small food stalls selling fresh Thai food to westener style bars to party and dance.

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    But this was not what we were looking for in our trip, so we caught some public buses (non air-co, to come closer to the Thais) and explored some parts of the city which are kind of hidden to the tourist. Once again we got surprised as many of these “hidden streets” looked the ones in “touristy Bangkok” alike, I mean, we couldn’t get as deep into local Thailand’s as we wanted to. Is this, what we are looking for, non existing? We will have to wait until the next time we will come back to Bangkok to make sure of it, since we left the city after some 4 or 5 days of getting acclimatized (and this is real, we came from a pleasant temperature average of 25 ºC and arrived at over 35 ºC and a very high humidity in the ambience) and started our way up to the north of the country on the cheapest public transport in Thailand: 3rd class sitting train.

     

  • Hitting the road again!

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    After a one month visit to our roots, our family, our friends and our traditions, we come back to the new, to the unknown, to the surprising things that a trip to south east Asia has to offer.

    The best and cheapest option we have found to fly back from Spain to south east Asia is from Mallorca to Bangkok, Thailand. We have taken advantage of having friends in many places and have stayed at Niko’s place in Palma de Mallorca. Niko is a real Berliner, one of those you don’t find easily in Berlin and who I (Hector) met during the almost 4 years that I was living in Germany. He showed us the city and took us to some nice places and parties in the 2 days we spent there and it was really good fun!!

    Now we are in Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, and fun has just started now. It’s nicer, cleaner and less noisy and polluted than we thought and we are very curious about this culture. Besides, Thai people seem to be very friendly. So, it seems we are gonna have a good time here!! Our unique big problem right now… we are in the hot season, which means temperatures around 36-38ºC during the day and with a big humidity. This seems a sauna!!! Hopefully we will get used soon…