Southeast Asia

 January 2011
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        We decided to start off 2011 with a trip to Southeast Asia.  We had been looking at the GAP Adventure trips to this area for quite some time and since we know what to expect from GAP we booked a month long standard/classic trip with them.  Once again GAP did not disappoint as we had a wonderful guide for the entire trip and we were able to immerse ourselves in the culture of each country and meet many of the locals.  Our guide, Lek, is from southern Thailand and the love for her country really shows.  She went out of her way to make sure we experienced the food, culture and friendliness of the people of the entire region.

Our trip took us from the bustling busy cities of Bangkok, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Phnom Penh to the quiet laid-back towns of Chaing Mai, Luang Prabang and Hoi An.  We added a day trip with Lek at the end to the Kanchanaburi area in western Thailand

We traveled through four countries, by planes, overnight trains, local bus, private van, songthaews  and tuk tuks.  We floated down rivers on boats, had rides in cyclos pedaled by old men and had an early morning flight in a hot air balloon.  We rode bicycles, elephants, kayaks, hiked up to the top of waterfalls and trudged though hip deep water to explore caves .  We were on the move most of the time, staying only a few days in each place and cramming each day with as much as we could manage to see and experience.

The trip included visiting the Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand; the Karst mountains of Halong Bay, Vietnam; floating down the Mekong river for two days and visiting a secluded Laotian village;  visiting the Cu chi tunnels in the Vietnam countryside; the killing fields and Angkor Wat in Cambodia and so much more.   

 

     

We sampled local cuisine from crickets and worms to stir fried tarantulas.  And of course had fantastic Larb in Laos, Pho in Vietnam, Pad Thai in Thailand and Khmer Bar-B-Q in Cambodia.  It was truly a culinary delight.  Lek made sure we tried all kinds of foods from the area we were in, many times buying snacks and surprising us with them later.  The dragon fruit and jackfruit and fried bananas were all such a wonderful treat.  I can not say the same of the durian, however.

 

     

We were also lucky to meet some great, fun people on this trip and hope to re-connect with many of them in the future.  It was a fabulous month and a great start to 2011.  Just click on one of the tabs at the top of this page and you will be taken to a report of our experiences in each country including many photos.  Each page has a photo album as well as some underlined links to photos, web pages and videos.  If you just want to see the photos, click on the photo button at the top of the page.