I had planned to write a whole post to look back at 2018, with details and photos of highlights, but life gets in the way in the usuals crazy and beautiful way, so I decided to divide it for now, and share with the world the first few months of 2018 and our first adventure in Asia.
So please enjoy, and share any of your own personal favourite photos from trips to Asia!
We left UK on January 31st 2018 and flew to Phuket for a couple of days of holiday, before the holiday began!
Exploring around Phuket was an crazy and adventurous at the same time, I’ve never seen such chaotic and dangerous roads before (bare in mind I lived in China for a year), but we managed to rent cars here and there to have a look at a couple of Phuket’s most iconic places:
Day trip to James Bond Island
The Food markets on Patong Beach were adventurous to say the least, but we stack to simple Veggie Pad Thais
From Phuket, we took a flight to Siem Reap, Cambodia. That was were our travel adventure really began; here we we were, with two massive suitcases being picked up in a tuk-tuk; taken to a guesthouse that had no proper pavement, but a thousand smiling people everywhere! This was my first encounter with small lizards in rooms and mosquitoes everywhere, and I must admit it was a shock to the system, but I tried to embrace it as much as I could.
We moved into the second month of the year, and into the second country on our list: Cambodia. This was our first experience in a hostel together in Siem Reap, and it was unforgettable (hello, lizards in the room!), but it was also a return to basics, with us having all these wonderful fruit, and trying to getting used to being just the two of us. In terms of my impression of Cambodia – being picked up from the airport in a tuk-tuk, to staying on a street that was more rural than anything else (hello, also mosquitos and rats!) to our amazing experience around Angkor Wat for the 3 day tour. I think Cambodia is an amazing and colourful country, but after finishing our tour, after the first lot of amazing sunrises and sunsets, and a catch up with one of my friends, while watching Phare the Cambodian Circus we decided to move on to the capital of Cambodia – Phnom Penh.
We spent a couple of days in Siem Reap with the main goal to visit most of the Angkor Wat temples:
Back to basics: me and my favourite past-time – melon eating
Humbling moments visiting all these sites that have been around for thousand of years
Valentine’s Day 2018 was spent watching the most beautiful sunrise coming over the Angkor Wat; it was really once-in-a-lifetime moment. Even with hundred of people around us, when the first ray of sunshine came across the temples, everything went so silent and majestic:
More temples, more tuk-tuk rides, more amazing historic testaments:
On our last night in Siem Reap we met up with an old colleague of mine from my China adventure, and we went together to see the Phare Circus, an amazing society that helps the youth of Cambodia through a more artistic approach.
From Siem Reap we moved to the capital of Cambodia, Phnom Penh. And although we found it quite an interesting place, the capital had a very different vibe than Siem Reap.
The last leg of our insight into Cambodia was the hard journey to the Killing Fields. The Khmer Rouge regime is a very big part of the Cambodian history especially during the 70s’. It was a hard thing to experience, because you can have a walk around the killing fields(a guided walk, where you listen to a lot of the survivor’s testimonies and stories) and that was heart-breaking. It was a good reminder of humbleness but also for me to treat everyone with love and kindness.
From Phnom Penh, we moved into our next destination: the amazing Vietnam. And Vietnam was probably the biggest surprise for me – all the history, the difference in cultures between North and South, the still-pristine beaches in the central part of the country. I would reccommend Vietnam to anyone that wants to have a different kind of an all-inclusive trip: culture, beaches, mountains, history, European vibes – Vietnam has it all!
Best sandwich I’ve had in Asia: Bánh mì Cha was the best snack! Fresh bread, eggs, green veggies, coriander and a sauce to die-for.
Ho Chi Minh City (formerly knows as Saigon City) and it’s beautiful vibes
In Ho Chi Minh we sent postcards to all our loved ones back home
From there, we moved into Hanoi, the actual capital of Vietnam. The city had a completely different experience than Ho Chi Minh. While Ho Chi Minh felt really welcoming and easy to get around, Hanoi felt really cold, crowded and hard to navigate. We did however the best we could of our time there, and we had a wonder around some of the attractions.
From there, we decided a break from the hustle and bustle would be welcomed, so we picked Sa Pa as the next destination. Big was our surprise when we got there after a couple of hours on a very hot bus, to see that Sa Pa was not really the green paradise between the mountains, but instead has been transformed into a tourist trap. At every step you turn someone was charging for money for this and that. And don’t get me wrong, the people need to make a living, but I felt like that was pushed far too much, that was taking the character away from the place and the people that lived there.
I will end here this lengthy post from the first part of our travels in 2018 – I will be back shortly with our following part of travels to my favourite part of Vietnam and our amazing Bali trip!