Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Koh Tao

So I am lousy at updating my blog! Sorry for this!

From Siem Riep we took a bus to the border and it was packed! there was no luggage space under the bus (as there usually is) so all the backpacks were pressed behind the backseat and there were even some backpacks in the aisle! Crossing the border was no problem at all (we had heard some horror stories but it went fine!) we had fixed our visa in Phnom Pehn to get a longer visa than 15 days (that you get on the border) and it turned out that we actually got 2 MONTHS! I only thought we got one...
When having crossed the border into Thailand we took a comfortable minibus instead of a crowded bus! that was nice! The minibus stopped close to khao san road were we found a cheap guesthouse for the night! did some shopping on that street and i ended up sending lots of stuff home from bangkok (some of the stuff had been bought just the night before and most of it had been stuff i had been carrying around for a while...) so now i have better space in my backpack :)
We spent one night in bangkok and the next day we fixed our tickets to get down to the islands! we even payed for the place where we were going to dive and sleep! and that turned out to be great!
CARABAO DIVING RESORT has been such a great place to get our diving license! When we first arrived to Carabao a girl, who worked there greated us and she turned out to be Norwegian! her name is thea and she has been so great! after we finished our diving licence we went on a so called FUN DIVE with her! and it was great!

DIVING is amazing! it is so interesting to see different kinds of fish and how they live underwater! (that was a bad explanation) BUT it is really a great experience! and you never know what you are going to see! when we were 24 meters under water we saw saddleback clownfish (almost nemo) and our teacher john said that he had never seen them there before! so that really cool!

We enjoyed diving so much that we took an ADVANCED ADVENTURE course! it consisted of 5 different dives. 2 of them were: deep dive (we are now certified to go diving down to 30 METERS!) and the other a night dive (I almost did not sign up for the course because i was so scared of this dive but it turned out to be really cool!) when ascending to water surface it was dark and we could see all the stars in the sky! it was really nice!

Tommorrow will be our last day here on Koh Tao! and we have decided to go fun diving again because we want to do it once more before we leave Koh Tao!
The next place we are headed might be Ko Phangan but we are not sure yet!

Hope all is well!

Friday, February 13, 2009


Sosidei (hello in Khmer)

So once again i haven't written for a long time! :/
We have now been in Cambodia for almost two weeks and the last time i updated was in ho chi Mihn.. but oh well! There is not much i can do.. So I'll update it now and write about our adventures in Cambodia!

In Cambodia we have been travelling with Katharina (a German girl who met in Halong bay) and it has been fun! We met up with her in Ho Chi Mihn city.

The three of us crossed the border by bus and arrived in Phnom Pehn. With our backpacks on our backs (quite full now and therefore a bit heavier than the starting weight) we decided to walk to the guesthouse that we wanted to stay at. It was warm, we were tired but we got to the guesthouse of our choice and found a room (2 dollars each per night!) The room was basic and completely fine but we just need a bed, mosquito net and a bathroom! The guesthouse had a great location! It was right by a lake and had a deck where one could relax during the day or watch the sunset. We lived in the backpacker area which was a road with restaurants, some bars and if you walked very far down the road where one would think the was nothing to see, we found some yummy cake!
Apart from eating we also did some sightseeing..
We went to the royal palace and to a pagoda within this palace called the SILVER PAGODA. It sounds really nice right? The description in my lonely planet book made it sound amazing (it was nice) but not as great compared to some of the other things I have seen.. but oh well.
We also went to the Psar Thmei (central market) and haggled a little off everything. bought a watch there since i have none and i keep asking Maya for the time :P the unlucky thing is that now i have lost it again!
But the day that shook me the most was our day when we went to the killing fields and the s21 (also known as the tuol sleng) I was shocked when i heard about the Khmer rouge who for about less than 40 years ago killed around 2 million people. They had set their mind to killing all the intelligent people (doctors, teachers etc.) even if you used glasses you were killed! This was a terrible mass murder that i have never heard about! neither had Maya and she had a lot more history in high school than me! The killing fields is where they (well you understand..) and s21 was a school which had been transformed into a prison. It was a shocking day for us but now i know about it! scary to think that it only happened 40 (or a bit less) years or so...

After all the sightseeing we relaxed one afternoon at the deck of our guesthouse. We saw a local putting out his fishing net in the water. A few minutes later i saw another rowing boat coming towards our deck and i knew at once that it wasn't locals... there were 2 guys in the boat and they both had a strange looking oar. One had a long stick with a part of the fan attached to the end and the other guy used a dust pan as an oar. they stopped at our deck to get some water out of the boat ( it was quite full of water) and we found it quite funny! they had borrowed a boat from their guesthouse and had rowed around using their strange utensils! We ended up watching the sunset with those guys over a few beers and they were nice guys but the boat was so comical to see all of a sudden on the lake!

We spent a couple of days in Phnom Pehn and we continued our trip down to Sihanoukville (famous for its beaches..) Initially we hadn't really thought of going there but we were recommended to go there by the 2 danish girls we met in Nha Trang.
We stayed at Victory Beach in a cheap guesthouse (here in Cambodia one can find really cheap accommodation so why not exploit that?) The beach in itself was okay but the place we stayed was quite interesting and quite gross. The room in itself was nice it was just the people were... old. there were many old people there and when sitting at the Internet (too slow in sihanoukville..) at night one could see men (plural) bringing taxi girls (prostitutes) to their hotel rooms! and there wasn't only one or two... But other than that it was a cheap place to stay where we based our trips from...
We did of course go to the beach a couple of days to work on our tan :P One day we went to Otres (or close to Otres not sure) where it was nice! But on the way back to our hotel we had a scary experience.. We lived quite far away from Otres and had to take a tuktuk back... We found a tuktuk and agreed on a price. After having driven maybe 1 or 2 minutes the tuktuk stops and the driver starts checking something. We see that there is some type of liquid pouring down on the ground and we thought it was gasoline so we jumped out of the tuktuk and said that we didn't want to take it because it was unsafe... We didn't want to pay for that short distance and the driver became so mad and when we started walking he followed us yelling at us.. We ended up going into a store and asking for help because we found it uncomfortable and i didn't know what to do.. We ended up paying him a little and he left.. I guess you have to pay even though you are only driven part of your way to your destination...

One night we ended up playing pool for a couple of hours. it was fun! first the 3 of us played against each other but then a drunk old danish guy (completely harmful) wanted to play with us.. he was teamed up with katharina and it was funny because he was drunk! Later i was teamed up with a Swedish carpenter and he ended up shooting the black ball into one of the holes really early in the game (so we lost :( ) It was a fun night!

The beach that we all thought was the nicest in sihanoukville was the one we went on during a boat trip (with bad snorkeling once more). The island was called BAMBOO ISLAND and the beach was PERFECT! Whote sand, clear water! It was great! GO THERE!

Now we are in siem riep and staying in a dorm for 1 dollar (consists of a mattress, pillow etc and a mosquito net) it is totally fine and very comfy!

We have now spent two days exploring ANGKOR WAT and it is so B-E-A-utiful! There are so many temples to see and it is amazing! I especially enjoyed Ta Phrom (might be the wrong name) where part of tomb raider was filmed and BAYON (the highlight for me) Ta Phrom has been left as it was found with many trees growing into the temple! Bayon is famous for the 216 faces and they are so great!

We are going to stay here for 1 more day before we head to Thailand (Bangkok). We will stay in Bangkok for 1 or 2 nights before we head towards the islands.. It is quite possible that i will take my diving license!

Hope all is well where ever you are!

Sunday, February 1, 2009


I haven't written since Hoi An!
Now we are in Saigon. We have been here for 4 days and tomorrow we are going to Cambodia!

After Hoi An we went to Nha Trang and stayed there for 2 days and one night! We arrived very early in the morning and found it very difficult to find a room. Many of the hotels were full because of the Vietnamese new year... We met two danish girls and when we finally found a free room we agreed to share a 3 person room... and it was fine :D we spent the morning looking for our bus office to confirm our ticket to Saigon but the office had moved and when we found the right office they said there were no buses going before the 3 of February or something.. we had to get a new ticket.. it has been fun to experience tet but it has also given us a couple of problems.. In my lonely planet there is nothing about problems that can happen close to the new year or that everything becomes more expensive! but oh well there is nothing i can do about it now..
we spent a long time on the beach in Nha Trang and swam too. The danish girls joined us at the beach and we met Katharina who we got to know on our Halong Bay Trip! We all ate lunch together at a small Vietnamese place. It was so good!
We met Katharina later and we agreed that we will travel in Cambodia together! That will be fun!
After having spent a long time on the beach I had become quite sunburned ( it was my own fault!(on my back) so the next day when we took a boat trip to see some islands I swam in a t-shirt :P
The trip had been recommended in the Lonely Planet but the trip in itself was not that interesting! We still had fun though because the twp danish girls went with us!
BUT the minibus that turned out to be a bus was an HOUR late and when we came to the harbour we had to wait for a long time until we could leave (strange) I think there was something to do with the amount of people on the boat.
We were first taken to an island where one could go to an aquarium but we didn't go in and people who went in said it wasn't all that. Next stop was a place to snorkel and the brochure had promised colourful fish and coral but that was BULLSHIT! The coral was grey and I was lucky to see 3 fish.. The lunch was good though and we had a floating bar in the ocean. The next destination was a beach full of tourists and you had to pay to enter! all the places we went there were loads of other boats. But we got to talk to some fun people and we had a great time with the danish girls! (who unfortunately were travelling north and not south..)
We took the night bus from Nha Trang to Saigon and we both slept so much (I guess we have gotten used to this type of transportation!) We arrived early in Saigon in the middle of the backpacker area and went to the hostel that was recommended in Lonely Planet (FULL OF COURSE!) but we found an even cheaper dorm (4 dollars a night) just up the street!
The first day in Saigon we went to the Behn Tahn Market and just walked around a bit! I really like this city!
The second day we went to the Cu Chi Tunnels which were really interesting! The tunnels used to be 30cm x 40cm wide but were of course made larger for the tourists! I crawled in these tunnels 120 metres! It was so warm and really small! amazing how these tunnels were 200km long! we also went to the war remnant museum and I saw lots of pictures that were quite vivid and I can't forget some of the pictures.. Ate a happy menu at an Indian restaurant and it was good! I am amazed of how cheap the food is here! 30 000vnd (1 dollar = 17 500 vnd you do the math :P) and we found this amazing fruit shake place on the street where you can choose what fruits you want and only pay 10 000vnd. Maya and I have had quite a few fruit shakes and these are by far the best ones we have had!
Today we (Maya, Katharina and I) walked around for a while before deciding that we wanted some Vietnamese food for lunch! we all wanted pho but the restaurant we went to first didn't have any left (or something) so we went right across the street (was a small alley) and had pho there! As we were sitting there a Vietnamese guy driving a moto stopped right in front of 2 western guys and a Vietnamese lady and the Vietnamese guy grabbed of beer bottle that the western guys had been drinking and hit one of them in the head with it! I was shocked! It came all of a sudden and nobody was expecting anything like this.. The western guys reacted by saying something like what did you that for? one jumped up and grabbed hold of the Vietnamese man's moto. The aftermath of this fighting was that one of the western guys was bleeding from the head and the other from the leg. The police were contacted and 5 police men had trouble taking the Vietnamese guy into the car! the policemen were all tiny and the Vietnamese guy was HUGE!
The three of us sat there and wondered why that just had happened and a Vietnamese guy told us that the Vietnamese guy who had fought with the westerns was crazy. he had apparently done something similar a couple of months ago. the guy told us that the guy had studied French, German and Spanish at university and that it all went to his head and he went crazy. and apparently he couldn't speak any of those languages anymore. I don't know what to believe but it was kind of the man to explain us why this happened! We thought that the Vietnamese guy maybe didn't like that there was a Vietnamese lady was sitting with 2 western men. But i have no idea maybe he was crazy! A lucky thing was that this episode happened at the restaurant we went to first but didn't have what we wanted for lunch! Phew!

I have enjoyed Vietnam! I found a t-shirt today that summed up what we have had to say no thank you to SO many times:

the boom boom doesn't apply to us girls but I thought it was funny!

Can't wait to see what Cambodia has in store for us!