Banner1.jpgBanner2.jpgBanner3.jpgBanner4.jpg

Planning the Trip

Planning the trip can seem like a daunting task at times, but the reward in the end is a good time had by all!!

So what goes into planning a trip to Asia, a whole lot, I would say.  First when to go, what is the weather going to be like etc. this one was quiet easy, we wanted to go in the middle of Alain's year in Korea, so June it is.  The weather at that time should be quiet warm, and it is the start of rainy season, so we can expect it to be humid and hot I believe that we can handle this one, having stayed in Palm Springs in July.  Now that we got the time frame worked out, how long will we stay, this is partially affected by work, since both of us get a good number of holiday days, we decided that we would spend 1 month (got to get in as much as possible while over that way).

Now where to go, and what to see.  Ah the internet, and search for asia tours, oops seems like there is a lot to look at here, a bit overwhelming I must say.  So I narrow the search a bit more south east asian tours, well not much better a bunch of tours, with a wide range of prices, and things to do.  OK, lets break it down further, where do we want to go, Burma (Myanmar now), Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam.  So I find some tour companies that run tours to these countries, and start looking at the number of days of each, seems that we are short by about 10 - 15 days to accomplish all this in a month.  So we have to narrow things down a bit, and decide that we will drop Vietnam (at least for this holiday).  We talked with people that we know who have done tours in Asia, some with groups, and some just with their own itinerary, and got some ideas about how and who to contact.  After quite a number of hours on the internet, and talking with travel agents, we have a general plan of what we want.  We will take a couple of group tours, with some of our own self guided times in between.

Planning the trip can seem like a daunting task at times, but the reward in the end is a good time had by all!! So what goes into planning a trip to Asia, a whole lot, I would say. First when to go, what is the weather going to be like etc. this one was quiet easy, we wanted to go in the middle of Alain's year in Korea, so June it is. The weather at that time should be quiet warm, and it is the start of rainy season, so we can expect it to be humid and hot I believe that we can handle this one, having stayed in Palm Springs in July. Now that we got the time frame worked out, how long will we stay, this is partially affected by work, since both of us get a good number of holiday days, we decided that we would spend 1 month (got to get in as much as possible while over that way). Now where to go, and what to see. Ah the internet, and search for asia tours, oops seems like there is a lot to look at here, a bit overwhelming I must say. So I narrow the search a bit more south east asian tours, well not much better a bunch of tours, with a wide range of prices, and things to do. OK, lets break it down further, where do we want to go, Burma (Myanmar now), Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam. So I find some tour companies that run tours to these countries, and start looking at the number of days of each, seems that we are short by about 10 - 15 days to accomplish all this in a month. So we have to narrow things down a bit, and decide that we will drop Vietnam (at least for this holiday). We talked with people that we know who have done tours in Asia, some with groups, and some just with their own itinerary, and got some ideas about how and who to contact. After quite a number of hours on the internet, and talking with travel agents, we have a general plan of what we want. We will take a couple of group tours, with some of our own self guided times in between.

Map of South East Asia

We will take our group tours with GAP adventures (thanks to June for the recommendation), and the rest we are on our own, no hotels booked, no transportation booked, we will make that up at the time. So how will we keep this blog updated, I toiled over this one for a while, I wanted to catch the events of the day, or experiences that we have so that they do not get confused at the end of the trip. I have a EEE PC that I got as a bank promotion, so we can bring that, but I am not sure that I want to bring a computer along. We could just visit internet cafes along the way, and post to the blog from there, but what a waste of time, finding one etc. We could just keep a journal in a paper format (they still have this type of thing), and update all when we get back, but what fun is that, people back home will only see and hear what we have been up to after we have told them in person. So after talking to some people, we have been convinced to bring that little computer, and update things from it. Now for luggage, what does one bring for a one month vacation! I do not like waiting for luggage at the airport, so we have decided to bring carry on size luggage. Packing will be a challenge, trying to fit all the toiletries, clothes, etc. in the small bag. For me it is a little easier, my hair care consists of a razor. We plan on taking a weeks worth of clothes, and washing them regularly, so if you see us in pictures with the same clothes all the time, you will know why. So I hope all the planning part of the trip is done, if not, then we will have to make it up as we go along (part of the adventure).

We will take our group tours with GAP adventures (thanks to June for the recommendation), and the rest we are on our own, no hotels booked, no transportation booked, we will make that up at the time.

So how will we keep this blog updated, I toiled over this one for a while, I wanted to catch the events of the day, or experiences that we have so that they do not get confused at the end of the trip.  I have a EEE PC that I got as a bank promotion, so we can bring that, but I am not sure that I want to bring a computer along.  We could just visit internet cafes along the  way, and post to the blog from there, but what a waste of time, finding one etc.  We could just keep a journal in a paper format (they still have this type of thing), and update all when we get back, but what fun is that, people back home will only see and hear what we have been up to after we have told them in person.  So after talking to some people, we have been convinced to bring that little computer, and update things from it.

Now for luggage, what does one bring for a one month vacation!

I do not like waiting for luggage at the airport, so we have decided to bring carry on size luggage.  Packing will be a challenge, trying to fit all the toiletries, clothes, etc. in the small bag.  For me it is a little easier, my hair care consists of a razor.  We plan on taking a weeks worth of clothes, and washing them regularly, so if you see us in pictures with the same clothes all the time, you will know why.

So I hope all the planning part of the trip is done, if not, then we will have to make it up as we go along (part of the adventure).

Itinerary

This blog has been setup as an online scrapbook of our travels to Asia in June 2009

logo

Our itinerary is:

Date Place Comment
May 30 Leave Vancouver  
May 31 Arrive in Seoul Visit Alain
Jun 4 Travel To Bangkok  
Jun 7 Start GAP trip Cambodia/Laos  
Jun 8 Battambang Cambodia
Jun 9-10 Siem Reap  
Jun 11 Phnom Penh  
Jun 12 Kratie / Steung Treng  
Jun 13 Don Khong Laos
Jun 14 Champasak /Pakse  
Jun 15-16 Luang Prabang  
Jun 17 Vang Vieng  
Jun 18 - 21 Vientiane  
Jun 22 Chaing Mai Thailand
Jun 23 -24 Chaing Rai  
Jun 25 Yangon Myanmar
Jun 28 Bagan  
Jun 30 Leave for Vancouver  

So I believe we will be quite busy with planes trains and buses.  We should also find some time to relax in there somewhere, or maybe we will have to take a vacation when we come back to recover.  We will take lots of pictures, and keep the blog updated with our comments, stories, and many pictures.

Wish us well

Ian & Phaydy

Chore of Packing

Help!  Is  anyone out there can help me with the most difficult task of packing very little for a long trip.  I am not good at deciding what I'd like to wear every time I'm away on vacation leave alone packing one month clothes on back packing.  My medication & toilettery are already fill up my bag!  what about my clothes & shoes?  After 5 no 6 times of  trying to reducing from nice to have if needed to a must have only it's sooo hard :-(  Here they are finally this is final decision...oh may be I still have a week to change things around.  A pile of tops, bottoms, bag of medication & couple pair of sandals.  Oh well the worst thing could happen is I might have to buy new clothes, wait aminute that's actually the best! :-)  I should leave my credit card behind otherwise I might need new suitcase to bring stuffs back.  I'm so excited!!!! this coming week at work might be the longest week ever.

img_30241packing1

The Crazy Packing thing continued

This packing thing is a little trying, as we are trying to get by with just carry on bagage.  We do not want to have to wait for baggage at airports etc.  Also, we will be moving from place to place every couple of days, so carying big bags on busses, trains, boats etc.  would not be that much fun.  So we got the small bags, Phaydy got hers in the states, it has rolling wheels, and a back pack style thing, mine is a little bit bigger, without wheels, but a better back pack strap, and a zip off day pack, so I guess you can not have it all.  If you see us in pictures wearing the same clothes all the time, you will know why, not so many clothes in the bag.  I also found out that clothes are only half the equation, all the other stuff takes up so much space as well, the sandles, the sun screen, the toothpast, the this the that, etc.  So now our bags are packed, we have a week to go, and then we are off, if we do not have what we need, then we will have to buy.

img_3020

A little bit of flu anyone

So this past week Phaydy and I both got sick, no its not the flu (H1N1) or whatever they want to call it, but just a nasty little cold, that has us coughing, sneezing, and all stuffed up.  Well I am glad that it will be over with before we travel.  It is not that nice to have at any time, let alone while you have to be on an overseas flight for 10 hours.

I am however concerned about how we may be welcomed at our destinations.  I have heard on the news about Canadians being quarantined in China, not because they have the flu, but because they are from Canada, and some Canadians have been reported to have the swine flu.  So I also remember back when the SARS thing was going on, that Canadians that traveled to Thailand had some restrictions put on them, something like having to wear a mask for the first 5 days or something.  I should look it up (tried but could not find anything on it).

So we should be better soon, and hope that there are no more colds etc. that we will pick up before we leave.

Mask or No Mask

Mask or No Mask

Getting ready to travel

Well here we are getting ready to travel

The planning is mostly done, and we plan on having a little bit of free planning while we are on the trip.

Where

Korea (Seoul)

south-korea-map1

Thailand (Bangkok, Chiang Mai)

thai-map-s

Cambodia (Siam Reap, Phenom Penh)

cambodia_map

Laos (Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng, Pakse)

laosmap31

Myanmar (Burma) (Yangon (Ragoon), Bagan)

myanmar-map

I will add some more about the planning in a day or two

 

 

Meeting Alain in Seoul

Well after a couple of hours at the airport, and an 11 hour flight, we are finally here, and have met up with Alain. It was nice to see him, and he was excited to see a familiar face from home. We went to dinner with him, and had some Korean BBQ. The next morning, Phaydy and I went for a walk went to do a loop, but ended up getting a little bit lost in all the twisting side streets, without too much worries we made our way back the main street and were back to the hotel to wait for Alain, who was going to show us some of the sites of Seoul. We went to Insa-dong, which is a traditional Korean Marketplace, and browsed the many shops along the way. At the end of the street, there is a park Tapgoi Park, which was lined by many elderly people just sitting around, we all had a good chuckle as it looked quite odd. Now we were going to walk from here to a royal shrine, and three palaces. The shrine was quite interesting and it goes to show how much space, and energy went into appeasing the king with extravagance and ceremony. Oh did I mention that there were even more old people at this park, playing chess, and just hanging around. We then proceeded to walk to Changgyeonggung palace quite a ways away, when we got there, we found that it was closed on Mondays, bummer. So then off the other Palace Gyeongbokgung, after a whole bunch more walking, we arrived at the palace, and went into the museum first. After walking in the museum, we ended up calling it quits before entering the palace, as we have been walking since 10 am, and it is now 3:00 (just in case the math skills are rusty, thats 5 hrs). Maybe another day we will go into the palace, maybe not.

img_3038

img_3039

Alains Place

Alains Place

Alain Placecold noodles

Alain Place

Keep away the spirits

Keep away the spirits

Shrine

Shrine

 

First day with Alain

Went to see where he live, as expected it's studio room that have bed, one table, fridge & one corner for his luggage I mean a place for his stuff. To my surprise he actually has washer but not dryer for his clothes. Kitchen is kind of not much but enough to do the very little cooking for himself because he likes eating out & is pretty cheap. We went to eat his favorites cold noodle soup for $4 a bowl-very filling & good. We decided to take subway to explore town, what an experience I never seen a subway system that is so big, complicated design that it's amazing for $1 a trip you can go wherever you want in just a short time. After walking around for 5 hrs from shopping to sight seeing I was so poop out. We decided to head back to recoup I had 3hrs nap & recharge for a night tour – street shopping there was crazy street where were so many people shoulder to shoulder on Mon night street shopping & eating! After 3hrs walking around I was hungry again, we went in for another dish of Alain's favorite it's chicken with noodle but it's so spicy hot because there is a handful of dry chillis. It's 12:30AM we were too tired to walk so we decided to call it a day. Phaydy with year of the pig

 

Phaydy with year of the pig

Alain year of OX

Alain year of OX

Navigating the City.

So how do we get around the city. Well we use the subway of course, this must be one of the best subway systems that I have ever seen, there are so many lines, and they have many exchange points. One can go anywhere in a short period of time.img_3102 

Myeong-Dong In the Evening

 Myeong-Dong, Alain wanted to show us this place in the evening, as that is when it is alive. The area is like a street market for the younger fashion crowd. There are fairly high end clothing shops in the buildings on the side, and then a whole bunch of stands setup in the middle of the street. It is mostly a walking area, although cars can drive down the road, which is just full of people, I can not understand why anyone would want to drive, as you would have to go so slow and wait for all the people to part to let you through, and there is a regular street just one block away. Anyway there are street vendors selling all kinds of food and things, as stall just selling sandles (I can not understand how anyone can make a living selling this stuff). So we walked all of the streets looked at all the stalls, had some street food, looked at all the people, then we went for a late dinner with Alain at a place he really liked. We ordered a dish for three, and when it came, it was more like a dish for 5 It was a chicken dish with a soy base, a bunch of clear noodles, potatoes, carrots, onions etc. It was really good, but how can three people finish that, when we were finished, I took a picture of what was left, I was going to show the picture, and say that this was the dish, but I decided that I would show the picture, but let you know that this is what was left over. Crazy isn't it. Quite a nice evening overall. Tomorrow it should be a more relaxing day.

Myeong Dong
Myeong Dong
img_3088img_3089
img_3090

Professional Train Sleeping

What train sleeping? ya train sleeping. We have been doing most of our travel in Seoul via subway and walking. When taking the subway, we see that many of the people come in, sit down, and proceed to fall asleep almost in an instant. They sit completely upright as to not interfere with those next to them. They sleep without a motion until it is there stop, then wake up just in time to exit. Alain and I then joked about if anybody ever sleeps while holding onto the hand straps, do they hook their wrist into the strap and just hang there demo seen below.

img_3093 

Copywrite ian-phaydy.ca 2014