Archives For August 2013

“This is the place we should say we’re from Canada”, we discussed as we took our short flight from Bali to Yogyakarta, Indonesia. As the country is home to the largest muslim population in the world, we figured this was a safe bet.

But it could get worse elsewhere. What about Cambodia where the shadows of the infamous Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge still terrorize the country after they killed 1/3rd of the population? There’s no way these people would be happy to see “rich Westerners” there to see Angkor Wat and then head out. Or Vietnam which must still have a disdain towards Americans for obvious reasons. Worst yet, Myanmar, a country highly controlled by a corrupt regime that until recently had the country closed off to all outsiders.

We had obvious reason for concern as we entered into these foreign lands. However, after our initial fears faded and our experience with the locals increased, each place proved safe. Not only that, some of the places we feared the most proved to house the most friendly locals. The scariest part of the countries was the fear we had in anticipation.

Continue Reading…

Myanmar Spending Summary

Overall score (Dan) = C
Overall score (Jocelyn) = C

Total days = 6 nights, 7 days
Total cost = $1,182
Cost per day = $169 / day
Flight costs = $450 R/T from Bangkok
Cities visited: Yangon, Inle Lake, Bagan

Summary

Myanmar or Burma; regardless of the name, it’s a place I never thought I’d visit. In fact, if we traveled three years ago (before 2010) we wouldn’t have been able to visit because the military regime had the country closed down. Now they’re embracing the outside world while trying to hold on to their history and culture – which unfortunately includes massive amounts of corruption, cronyism, and a general non-chalante attitude towards the welfare of its own citizens.

Continue Reading…

Thailand Spending Summary

Overall score (Dan) = A
Overall score (Jocelyn) = B

Total days = 24 nights, 25 days
Total cost = $1,916
Cost per day = $76.6 / day
Flight costs = none, took train in from Malaysia
Cities visited: Krabi, Railay Beach, Bangkok, Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai

Summary

Thailand is the most visited country in all of Southeast Asia, and they have the tourist infrastructure to prove it. It’s very easy to travel around and a great place to get acclimated to the craziness of SE Asia.

Continue Reading…

Sometimes we get so caught up in planning that we never get around to doing the thing we’re planning.

When Jocelyn first mentioned we should try climbing Mt. Kinabalu in Borneo, Malaysia, I blew off the idea but acted like I was interested to please her. I figured it would be one of those neat sounding things that would quickly prove undoable. First off, we didn’t book the climb months in advance like they suggest, and second, we weren’t physically prepared for the grueling full day climb.

However, when she found a way to climb it one day, my bluff was called. I was too far in at this point so the only answer was “YES” and the climb happened. We easily could’ve spent months preparing for the climb and probably should have… but instead, we just tried, I almost died, Jocelyn cried, but in the end we survived!

Sometimes you just have to go for it. I know you’re smart enough to plan and not do something too stupid, but sometimes we have to push the limits to test that “too stupid” line.

Enjoy the video and be sure to read Jocelyn’s written story which gets even into more detail!

As you might have read on our Laos spending review, we had one of our rougher stretches as we traveled through the northern part of Laos on the Mekong River “slow boat cruise”.  There were some incredible sites, but the lodging wasn’t quite up to the same standards as the rest of SE Asia!!  In fact, we had our cheapest stay of the trip in Huay Xai before crossing the border into Thailand at a small guest house.

IMG_4991

Here’s a similar slow boat to the one we rode on for a total of 19 hours over two days!

IMG_5086

Life on the Mekong River

Here’s our $10 room, which we actually felt like we overpaid for after we spent some time in it!  It wouldn’t have been so bad if not for the dirty sheets and pillows, ants everywhere, nasty bathroom, or the smell of something dead in the corner of the room. Continue Reading…