This blogging thing is becoming a bit of a chore. It’s getting in the way of quite a few things… sleep, food, drink etc. But, because those of you who bother to read this are near and dear, I’m persevering (Selfless huh?). So, quick update for you lovely people.
Ams and I are currently in Chiang Khong, a small place at the top of Thailand. From our cool little guesthouse porch we can see Laos which is just over the Mekong river – which we’re due to cross by ferry tomorrow morning. Apparently we’re in for an “interesting” border crossing (you know – attempted bribe takings, arduous visa process, paperwork checks etc.). But, for now I’ll backtrack to quickly let you know of our journey from Kuala Lumpur to here.
So we left KL, having stayed for two nights (in which time there were potential sub-blog postings “Royce & Amber visit a Malaysian Hospital”, “The Awesome indoor Rollercoaster” and “The Mystical Misleading Map”) and flew to Langkawi for 3 nights. Pulau (“island”) Langkawi was very nice. The aim here was to chill out on the beach and relax and, despite some rain and inclement weather (first time I’ve EVER used the term “inclement”. Boom), we did just that. As well as… catch up with a cool South African couple we met in Melaka, drink cheap beer on the beach, under-estimate the power of the S.E. Asian sun and go “lobsterish”, finish a book in 24 hours (“High Fidelity”) and generally laze about worrying about… nothing.
From Langkawi we flew to KLIA (KL International Airport) for (what we thought) would be a straight-forward connection-of-sorts to Bangkok, Thailand. What it ended up being was a slightly-manic “Amazing Race” (we, of course, were the stereotypical couple in this reality show who were clueless and naive… mostly due to two lazy days on the beach) type mission, involving an over-priced taxi ride with an illegal tout, to a completely different airport. It turns out KL has a separate “Low Cost Carrier” (LCC) terminal/airport which happens to be 20-30 minutes away from KLIA. We ended up with more than enough time and from there we jumped on our AirAsia flight to Bangkok.
“One Night in Bangkok, duh-de duh duh duduh (unsure of the actual lyrics?)”. We stayed at a very cool hostel/guesthouse right across the road from the giant MBK mall. It was a pretty “express” in-and-out stay as we were up at 5:30 to get to the Stray office to start our next leg up through Thailand and Laos. Stray are a kiwi company who have been operating hop-on hop-off bus tours in NZ for years and have set up a similar operation in Laos. They’ve only been up and running here for 6 months but, so far, I definitely recommend them. I’ll chuck in a link… at some stage.
We boarded a train in Bangkok and rolled on up to Sukhothai, the original capital of Thailand (back when it was Siam). Stayed there for the night and hired bikes in the morning to check out some temples/ruins. Very cool. Then we jumped on the train again and it was up to Chiang Mai.
Chiang Mai is pretty cool. Despite some apprehension on our behalf related to the spate of recent deaths in the area (I won’t go into detail but suffice to say we were careful), we had an absolute blast of a day (yesterday) involving “Flight of the Gibbon” – a super-cool tree-top zip-lining adventure including a 950 metre zip-line, Thai curry, Chang beer (probably too much), Muay Thai boxing (more Chang with the rest of our Stray crew – one of which got in the ring blind-folded), topless lady-boys, a Thai reggae bar and a few new fun games involving magic, more Chang and some gullible tourists.
Today we jumped in a minivan (all slightly jaded) and headed up here to Chiang Khong via Chiang Rai – which has THE most awesome temple ever (that I’ve seen so far). The best part of the trip up (for me) was when I realised we were a van of 9 poms and 2 kiwis (Ams & I) and the stereo was playing “Shimmerman” by Fat Freddy’s Drop (our pommy tour guide Tony’s favourite tune) and a couple of the lads were watching, and thoroughly enjoying, Flight of the Conchords on their iPhone. Kiwis are awesome.
I’m unsure what the internet/wifi situation will be through Laos but I’ll endeavour to keep y’all updated.