The Border crossing was not that difficult, and arrived in Battambang i found fast a good hotel… Okay, I had no AC nor a lavatory, but it didn’t matter. First day I made a Tuk-tuk trip to the Bamboo train, a Winery, Phnom Banan, Phnom Sampou and to the Bat cave, where thousands of Bats were coming out after sunset.
In the night I visited the Phare-Ponleu-Selpak circus school. For that they all are children it was really good! Amazing show with a lot of jokes.
Next station was Siem Reap, where nearby the biggest religious building in the world Angkor wat is located, but first I was visiting the Museum and then the outer temples. I found the nice Chinese roommate April to share a Tuk-tuk.
I was surprised by the not-so-crowded temples, only once I had to escape… The Site is so big and built in a rainforest, what a feeling of discovering like Indiana jones comes near, but actually one temple was the coulisse of the movie Tomb Raider.
After a great Party I needed a rest at the beach, so I went, with a short stop in Phnom Penh, to Sihanoukville. But I spend there only a night, because I preferred to spend more time in Kep, what was a great Idea.
The Guesthouse was owned by a Swiss guy, and I had a really great time there in the national park, on the rabbit island and on the motorcycle trip, even I had a small accident and took some injuries with me.
Back in Phnom Penh I visited the S-21, Tuol Sleng museum, where from 1975 to 1979 the khmer rouge killed sometimes 100 people a day. The stories about the victims was ha hard work for me…
On the way up to Laos I made a brake in Kratie, to watch the Irawadi dolphins together with Juliette and Régine, and celebrate the New Year!
The border crossing from Myanmar wasn’t that easy, but very interesting. In Myanmar was only a dirt road to the border, but they are building now a big street for a cargo connection from Bangkok to the sea of Myanmar. Directly after the border in Thailand we got on a highway, it was a little bit curious. After a while of searching a transport to Kanchanaburi, we decided to hitchhike. Chris got bad luck and gave up after trying of 10 minutes. I finished my lunch and went to a pickup nearby, and they took us in nearby 1 hour to our hotel. If I had asked Chris about this situation, he didn’t said any word.
Kanchanaburi is famous for his bridge over the river Kwai, as the start of the infamous World War 2 Death Railway to Myanmar, where 100’000 of 200’000 prisoners were killed by building this railway. After finishing the connection of 415km from Bangkok to Rangoon in record time of 16 month, it was in use for 23 month.
We rent a motorbike and went to the hellfire pass, which was probably the worst part in the history of this railway.
But on the way we were surrounded by a beautiful landscape.
Then we took the train to Bangkok, I think most people know this city. For that I don’t have to explain anything about that… Chris and I met some friends and had to say goodbye, because he went to Indonesia by flying, and I want to spend more time in this region, before heading south.
I decided to make some stops on the way to Cambodia, and the first was in Pak Chong, near the national park KhaoYai, the oldest in Thailand. Because it was ending the high season, I got a guide for my own, which is better for watching animals in compare to a group.
In Nakhon Ratchasima, the second biggest city in Thailand, I made only a short stop for print out my e-Visa (it was challenging to find a place for that!) for Cambodia, visiting some Wats and the night market. When I was walking trough the town and next day to the bus station, I had to laugh about the planner of this city. A lot of streets are not connected to others nearby, so I had to make often a big detour to reach my destination…
In Aranyaprathet I arrived late so I had to spend a night there, and found a bar with live rock-pop-rap-music, and I was not long time alone…
Bethel nut (makes beautiful red teeth, a heaven for dentists),
and best translations ever!
That’s all Myanmar, but not only of course, so I will explain a little bit of my experiences and the new records!
The way from Myawaddy down to Hpa-an after crossing the border was only every second day possible, because of lot of accidents in the past. So we rent with a positive meaning a shared taxi and enjoyed the ride. There we decide to visit the nearby caves and pagodas by our self, so we rent a motorcycle and by navigating with my maps.me app and GPS we found they really easy!
With a boat trip we went to Mawlamyine to get the worst Guesthouse ever on my trip, and for 25 USD it was also to expensive for what you get. But it was the only one we could book one day ahead… Nearby was the biggest lying buddha in the world (see main picture) located and, of course, some stupas and Buddhas.
Then we decided to take a Train directly o Rangon, the biggest (but not main) City in Myanmar, where we met Jodi, a friend of mine, who I met in Japan. And yes, the shwedagon pagoda we didn’t missed of course, where I had to buy a lounghi, because I forgot to take the long pants with me. But it was not bad, because when it is really hot, you do not sweat much on the lower region of the body… 😀
Because we want to go once to the Beach, and not pay to much for a night, we went to Chaungtha, but we had to make a stop in Pathein, for some food and a Cigar for Chris.
We arrived after sunset and didn’t booked a Guesthouse, what was a mistake. We asked maybe on every hotel but all what we got was the answer: full… At least after 2 hours of searching, we found, at least really a good room (with shared bathroom for the first night), but it was hard enough…
After two nights we went back to Pathein, now for a night, to search the umbrella factory, but we did not success… 🙁 On the way to the north tho Nyaung U (near Bagan) we made a stop in Pyay because we had no idea how to get further, there were no descriptions in our guidebooks… But finally we arrived Nyanung U (after a misunderstanding with the busdriver, we had to change the Bus in Magway), and went by bicycle (of course we take NOT an e-Bike!) to the big region full of Pagodas, impressive!
Then by boat to Mandalay, to a slowly, but big City, with the biggest book of the world, a 2 x 2 km big palace complex and the mustache brothers with some regime-critically jokes.
After Mandalay we had a really good bus to Nyaungshwe, located by the Inlay lake, where we visit the lake by boat (of course) a hot spring, and a winery (the white wine was actually really good!) by bicycle.
Then we had to think about how and where to leave Myanmar, because our Visa was ending nearby. And so we want to have a last train ride in Myanmar to Bago, a 27 Hours trip. Until Thazi the train was shaking from the left to the right. But the landscape was fantastic! In Thazi nearby every tourist left the train, and we figured out why very fast. No, we couldn’t sleep one minute, because the whole wagon was jumping (I am not joking!) on the rails, and we could see the people bouncing like us, mostly over 50 cm up and down. It was funny, yes. But also a little bit tiring for the whole night long, every 10 minutes… I will never forget this Train ride…
The Hotel in Bago was not on on the same place located as the map in the Booking app showed, so we were really outside of the city, and there was not really something else to see as more Buddhas, Pagodas and a Lake…
I Kinpun finally we could do something for our body. Up in the hill is located a golden rock, where every 10 minutes drives a delivery truck full of pilgrims and tourists.
The way back we take a walk and we did it in 2.5 hours instead of the recommended 4 hours, but we had to, because we forgot the flashlight and after arriving in the city the sunset was already over.
The Nightbus ride from Mawlamyine to Dawei was the worst I ever had. At first we paid for a Air Condition Bus, we got nothing like that. We had not space for our luggage, first they thought to put the backpack under our legs… The girl behind me was puking on the floor, and the juice was floating between my feeds to the front. It began to smell really awful. A Baby was crying from time to time the whole night long. And the road was under bad condition… Nope, not sleeping again at all.. But our Hotel was really good in Dawei, and it worth to stop there, because there was a buddha with 6 fingers!
Then we took a taxi back to the border to thailand, and had to say goodbye to the beautiful country Myanmar. I enjoyed really much, and I have to say thank you Chris to share the time with me! It was fun!
Because you get only a 15 days permission by overland entry to Thailand, I have to separate the trip in several parts. This also fits for my travel route trough south Asia. First I met my father in Phitsanulok, where we went to a local museum and a buddha sculpture factory.
Then further in Sukhothai we went by bicycle to the „little Angkor Wat“, a historical center with a lot of „Wat’s“ and temples.
The complex is quiet big, so it was a good choice to take a bicycle. And in the evening i showed Chris how to play shit head. Hey! I have to take care about my self t cold turkey about playing games! 😀
Next destination was already the border to Myanmar. We got luck, that we got to Myanmar without spend a night somewhere in between. And so I can only say, that the landscape on the road is very beautiful! If anybody has the change to do the same, go for it!
The Border crossing to Vietnam was quite easy, and the first difference (of many) what I remarked was the noise in the street. Because in China nearby all drives a electrical motorcycle, walking in the street is not so terrible for my ears than in Hanoi. So the first thing what I’ve done after check in in the hostel was finding a park to chill out.
For the next Day I bought a tour to the Perfume Pagoda,I was really surprised that we met nearby no other tourists… But on Vietnamese New Year in the middle of February this place would be crowded by many local tourists.
The pagoda is build in a big cave, and the atmosphere was really mystic there.
On the Way back with the boat, we could enjoy the beautiful landscape a second time.
In the Evening we went together to a water puppets theater in Hanoi. It was really funny, even I didn’t understand a word…
I was not really sure about having a trip to halon bay, because I’ve heard a lot of bad experiences, but I thought that in Cát Bà it would be better, so I booked a tour, and I was right. Even we didn’t sleep on the boat, and the whether was cold and not for swimming, we had a nice journey trough these great costal region.
In the middle of the way, we sit in kayaks and went through a cave to visit the monkeys living there.
Arrived on the Island I was surprised, because I booked for a dorm room and got a single very beautiful Bungalow!
For dinner, we went for a short hike on the top of the island. The guide said, it would be a easy hike…
Next day I went alone for the other of the two hikes on this little Island to the sunrise beach to the other side, and in the way were waiting some pigs for me. Cuute!
Then we went back to Hanoi with average 40 km/h, (faster is not possible) and took the night train to Lào Cai, near the Chinese border. The tourist office sold me a ticket to the next day, but on the train station was it easy to fix the problem. Nice and helping people!
In the morning then with a mini Bus direct to Sa Pa, a mountain Village with a lot of hiking possibilities. Because of the foggy and cloudy whether I didn’t went to a 2-day hike, but I did a short one for my own to a nearby village and surrounding.
On the touristic path is also a small waterfall located. Sorry, it is a big one of course! 😉
The day after, I went directly to Laos with a overnight bus and a short stop in Điện Biên Phủ.
In the bus was a poor local women very sick the whole journey long, and could only puke all the time. Very lucky that the bus had a good air conditioning system.
Next: Laos, the country with the worst road condition the happiest people.
First City in Laos was Oudomxay, but I went only for one Night, because there is not much to do. Next Morning I went to Luang Namtha and decided to book a 3 days hiking tour trough the primary and secondary rain forest. We were a great group and had a lot to laugh together.
In the first night, we had a stay within the forest. In the night, after 6 o’Clock were a lot of different sounds around…
Blub blub! (Insider)
But yeah, big animals, apart from the villages, were not visible on the way.
The Village has its own School, but there were no students by our visit…. Where they are?
Ah yeah, of course, its holiday, and they are playing outside!
Thanks for the great time to Frank, Jungle Ninja, Corinna, Honey Hannie, Patty, and of course our Guide, Boy.
Then I had to go back to Oudomxay to meet Daniel from Switzerland for one night, before I went directly to Vientiane, to apply for the Myanmar Visa. I was surprised that it would be cheaper than in Hanoi, and I like the quiet, little Capital of Laos on the Mekong, near the Thai border really, so no problem for me to spend a little more time here.
But here is not much to see, some temples, the COPE centre (Information about cluster bombs) and a Buddha Park one hour bus drive away.
On the way to the Buddha park I met Joe, a Lao English teacher, who invited my for dinner in his house.
And the day after I had a Dinner with the whole Family, who are living in summertime in Paris…. From now I’ve a Lao Name: Mr. Dee, what means Mr. Good!
So, I hope after some misunderstandings with the Hostel to pick up finally my Myanmar Visa here and meet my Father in Thailand…
After rushing trough Korea again, I took the ferry from Incheon to Tianjin. The Food on the ferry was not really good, because I got sick in the morning. Also I recognized, that the Chinese doesn’t take same care about hygienic than Korean, but this I knew already before.
I arrived without chinese money, because I thought, it would be easy to change or us a ATM on the ferry terminal. The ATM didn’t work, and the exchange office was closed. The ferry terminal was something about 20 km away from the next train- or busstation. So hmm, what to do? A taxi brought me to a bank of china for getting money and drove me afterwards to the subway station. This was my most expensive taxidrive ever made, because he scammed me, but I knew it of corse. To find the Hostel was also not so easy, because I didn’t had a chinese address, I was a Flat in a big building without any signs outside, and the guard doesn’t speek any english. Finally I could connect the hostel and got a room. Next morning, I had a great view… for the Smog.
In Beijing was very easy to find the hostel, and I took a tour for the next day to the great wall.
This part (and some other) was reconstructed for the tourists (with help von Germany), the rest of the wall is more a long grassz knoll than really a wall.
In Beijing I visited the Forbidden City, the famous Tiananmen Square and the old and new Summer palace, where I found some kind of fresh air.
Next city was Xi’an, which was the starting point of the silk route and with the located Terracotta Warriors nearby.
Back in the Hostel we met some Chinese guys, who invited us to drink plume whine and eat some chicken feets, it was such a great evening!
Next destination: Shanghai. Because it was a long jurney, I had to take a over night train. The sleepers looks similar to the russian ones, but the have 3 layers of beds instead of only 2.
Arrived in Shanghai I met for a short time Michael, who sent me the invitation letter for the buisiness Visa. Again: Thanks a lot Michael, and the tee is really tasty! The Smog in Shanghai was a little bit better than in Xi’an, but I got still only smoky pictures about the Financial Tower (highest observatorium of the world), and Shanghai tower (not open yet).
Inside Shanghai Financial Tower, there is a really nice model about Shanghai, I was surprised!
Because I don’t like the smog anymore (hust hust), I was only two nights in Shanghai and desided to move more south… actually to the southest point of China, Sanya. But unfortunately by moving of the train to the ferry we lost much time, and we arrived late on haikou, where I met Manuela & Lukas, other travellers from Switzerland. We had the same target and a good time together from the beginning, so we tried together to catch a ticket to Sanya, but there were not any left, so we had to spend a night in Haikou.
Arrived in Sanya I got to the beach and enjoyed the sun by 20°C, meet Manuela and Lukas sometimes until the end of the week. 🙂
Next I have to go to Nanning to catch my visa vor Vietnam. See you there!
Fotos are uploading to the Dropbox, but because China blocks Dropbox, Google and Facefuck, I need VPN, and openVPN is not really stable and Fast…
To get to Japan was a little tricky. For the Ferry to Osaka I had to buy a return ticket, or show another proof to leave Japan again. The Company to Fukuoka, I had to sign a weird letter, that I had do go home, if I would stuck in the immigration to Japan… Good Luck I was not alone with this problem, Melissa from Canada was in the same situation, and together we had enough courage to take the risk. After a 4-hours Speed-boat trip in Japan then, It was quite easy, just say something and yes, we will leave Japan together… 🙂
Hiroshima was really interesting, but the museum also very brutal. To see mostly everything about the results and hear a lot of personally stories whom survived the A-Bomb is really hard stuff. But the Japanese never judge the USA directly, they want only make that’s never happens again…
In Osaka I spent the Christmas-time for my Chinese Visa, and I found out, that my plan to leave with the Ferry from Kobe to Tianjin (China) doesn’t work, because this service doesn’t exist anymore… anyway, on the official Website there is this Service still available.. 🙂 One evening I visited the Castle with the 3-d Visual show, and I was impressed, even it was too crowded for me.
After I got my Visa, i went to Tokio. phooaa… after arriving, I decided to spend only 2 nights there, I felt me too small… 🙂 So I went for new year to Hakuba for Skiiing and visiting the Snow Monkeys, who take the Onsen in wintertime for keep warm… cute!
For Kyoto I had only one Night left, and Yes, this is not much… and over the days off for new year, the temples are getting crowded, and then I don’t feel me very comfortable anymore.