Friday, February 22, 2008

one more week

This morning I bought a ticket to fly from Bangkok to Chengdu early on the first of March. It's worth it to avoid 4 days of buses. So tonight I'm taking a train up to the north of Thailand to relax for the last little bit of vacation before I have to return to cold Chengdu.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

in Bangkok

I'm currently in Bangkok, trying to work out a way back to China.  Flights are expensive, buses take forever.  It's a tough call, and unfortunately today is some Buddhist holiday and all the Chinese travel agents in the city are closed, and they're the ones most likely to have discounted flights.  Not to worry, though, I'll find a way back.

I got here yesterday on a bus from Siem Reap, the Cambodian town next to Angkor Wat, one of the largest temple complexes in the world.  And it was impressive.  Very impressive.  Big.  Old.  Ruins.  I rode a bike around from temple to temple, stopping both at the busy, touristy ones and the abandoned, empty ruins.  Just wait until you see the pictures. 

Thursday, February 14, 2008


After going as far south in Laos as I could and using all but one day of my visa, I crossed the border (two huts on a dusty road in the middle of nowhere) into Cambodia.  I went straight up into the mountains in the northeast to Ban Lung, a small, dusty town surrounded first by farmland and then jungle.  Just 6 km from town is a beautiful lake, 50 meters deep and perfectly clear.  They say it's the best swimming pool in the country.  I swam across it (800 meters or so) with a Welshman I met there.

Now I'm in the capital, Phnom Penh.  It's a real city, but the roads are full of motorbikes instead of cars.  I plan to visit the usual tourist sites here, including S21, a school converted to a prison where the Khmer Rouge under the rule of Pol Pot tortured thousands of political criminals.  It's amazing how nice the people are in a country that was ravaged by civil war up until about 10 years ago.

From here I'm going to the famous Angkor Wat.  Until then, take care.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Bolaven Plateau

I'm back in Pakse from the trip around the Plateau. It's a really wonderful place to travel. Not too many tourists, but enough so there are guesthouses. Lots of waterfalls, villages, and coffee plantations scattered throughout relatively dense jungle. The people were really friendly, of course, and the food wasn't bad either. I wish I could spend more time there but my Laos visa is running out - I need to leave the country by the 10th or get it extended. I think I'm going to visit Angkor Wat in Cambodia - everyone says it's simply amazing. First, though, I'm going to visit a wat in Champasak that's from a similar time period, and then relax in the islands for a few days. Mmmm, hammocks and fruit shakes.