11 August 2010

angkor wat

our last stop was cambodia. we flew to siem reap, the town just outside of the ancient temples of angkor wat. i can't say that we got a true taste of cambodia - siem reap is quite the tourist town - but angkor wat was well worth the stop. below are a handful of photos from the hundreds i took on our single day visit.

after angkor wat, we made our way back to bangkok by bus (if you try this route, schedule yourself a full day of miserable travel, by the way. you'll get to take exceedingly long and completely unnecessary travel breaks to your heart's content). after a night on khosan road (yowzas) and an afternoon at the movies, we caught our flight back to d.c. wonderful trip, though fast-paced and too too short. if you have any questions about anywhere we went or my experiences travelling the connections i mentioned, leave a comment and i'd be happy to answer any questions.

as for now, i'm back in micronesia getting started on another year teaching public health at the college of micronesia. look for some posts from the pacific in the near future.

ps - on all these travel posts, you can click on each photo to see a larger size!

09 August 2010


crunched for time, we flew into hanoi and spent a few days exploring the north of vietnam. many people take advantage of the 'open bus' and travel the whole country more leisurely. if we'd had the time, it sounded like a great way to explore many towns and experience the regional differences of north and south. maybe next time!

hanoi itself is wild! swarming with motorbikes and very FAST - more so than any other city we visited. here's some sidewalk parking:

we explored as much of hanoi as the 114F heat index would allow. specifically, we visited the prison museum at the 'hanoi hilton' and the temple of literature, a millenium-old center of learning.

outside of hanoi, we visited two tourist hot spots of northern vietnam: halong bay (a would-be natural wonder of the world) and sapa (a region on the chinese border known for its terraced rice paddies).

halong bay is gorgeous. there are thousands of islands throughout the bay, and what feels like millions of boats carting tourists around. i enjoyed the highly international flavor of our boat - the 18 of us represented the nations of the US, new zealand, switzerland, france, germany, russia, south korea, the netherlands, denmark, england, and spain.

in halong, we swam and kayaked, dined and karaoked. most unexpectedly, we also visited caves.

my favorite view? sunset.

after halong we took a night train up to sapa. no way to describe it except to say that it was absolutely stunning and post some shots.

our guides were these lovely, friendly women.

the mountains are a natural boundary with china to the north, and brought thoughts of switzerland and colorado to my mind.

yowzas, the length of these posts is exploding!

thankfully, only one country is left to report - cambodia.

01 August 2010


we entered laos from the thailand border at chiang rai. it's a really common point of entry for people hopping on the mekong. we took the slow boat trip to luang prabang, a two day trip that i really recommend. despite warnings that our stopping point would be run down and without power, our overnight was pleasant and well-lit. the river itself was absolutely gorgeous.

luang prabang as a town is a UNESCO world heritage site, and so enjoys plenty of funding and protection from over-commercialization. it felt at times like a small french village, and was one of my favorite places to stay. i definitely hope to return one day! while there are excursions similar to those we did in thailand (cheaper, too), we stayed in town for our two days. we escaped the sun at the royal museum and by climbing to the shady temple at the top of town. walking around town was a lot of fun, and there are many wonderful cafes to pass the time. also, lots of shopping and art galleries.... plenty to do!

from luang prabang, we took an overnight bus south to the capital, vientiane. we skipped over vang vieng, which is a town very popular among tourists for its tubing in the river. almost everyone and their mom seemed to have a 'tubing in vang vieng' t-shirt, so perhaps we missed out. sadly, three weeks isn't enough time for everything, and so we passed by vang vieng in the still of the night. (well, perhaps not the still of the night. overnight busing isn't really meant for quality sleep.)

vientiane wasn't nearly as quaint as luang prabang - rather, it fit the bill as a capital of a developing country (though still small and navigable.) we took out bikes for the day, and enjoyed exploring the city - especially a beautiful sunset on the mekong.

in all, laos was my favorite country to visit. i will definitely return - it's a beautiful, friendly, fun place. next up? we fly to hanoi and explore northern vietnam.