A Travellerspoint blog

Kayaking, Caving, tubing and organic mulberries....

sunny 32 °C

Hello Everyone,

Will have to back track a few days as I have not been near a computer for the last few days. After sadly leaving my beloved Cambodia I flew to Vientiane, the capital of Laos and spent one night ( more than enough) in this sleepy rather uninspiring town. My highlight was my first cup of the wonderfully strong Lao coffee before boarding my bus for the mountains and the small town of Vang Vieng set among the stunning limestone cliffs on the beautiful Nam Song river. The town has become a backpacker mecca in recent years. I opted to stay out of town, up river, on a delightful organic farm. What a find! A picture perfect spot. My room was a mudbrick bungalow on the edge of the Nam Song...the clearest water I have ever seen. I would wander town in the early evening to bath with the local people and even washed my hair ( organic shampoo of course) in the pristine water. The farm established by Mr T and his wife is a wonderful example of sustainable living. He is passionate about protecting this stunning enviroment as well as running many community based projects. I picked mulberries, went to visit the local school and tried my hand at making mudbricks discovering that I am quite the country girl afterall!! I also spent a remarkable day with a local guide, Om, who took me on a day of adventure. Om is part of Green discovery, the biggest adventure/Ecotourism agency in Laos (could not recommend them more highly) We drove in an old jeep some 20 klms up the river and kayaked down stream through the rapids and crystal clear waters. We stopped to explore caves by candlelight and trekked through the beautiful rural scenery. One of the caves we visited served as a bunker for the locals during the war and has been named the sleeping cave. The caves were filled with beautiful stalactites and inside it was like a starry, starry night. Om made me a picnic Lao style bbq lunch on the side of the river ( all served on a banana leaf) before we continued our kayak. Once I returned to the farm I joined the many other travellers floating down the river in huge inflated tractor tyres. The locals have bars set up along the way and stretch out long bamboo sticks for you to grab on to as you float by so as to stop off for a drink...it was loads of fun. I met lots of people and soon we were all floating along in convoy...this is just one of those things you have got to see to believe. We were on the river until sunset and then I returned to my organic hideway. After a couple of days chilling out on the farm and eating lots of mulberries and organic veggies I made my way through the mountains north to what I perceive to be the jewel of SE Asia...Luang Prabang.

Phop kan mai x

Posted by janie23 19:01 Archived in Laos Comments (1)

Angkor what???

overcast 29 °C

Hi All!

After a 5 hour bus ride from PPenh I arrived in the bustling town of Siem Reap...gateway to Angkor Wat. Immediately it felt more like a tourist town and less like the Cambodia I had grown to know. Luckily a friend had recommended a charming little guesthouse on the banks of the river. It is run by a french Canadian lady, Michelle and her photographer husband. They came to Cambodia 5 years ago on their honeymoon and stayed....I can understand that. I have had fun exploring the old town with it's colonial buildings and bustling market place, however it was in witnessing the sun rise over the shadows of the Angkor Wat temples that I found an incredibly inspiring experince and one I will never forget. It rightly earns it claim as one of the jewels of South East Asia. My favorite temple was in fact not Angkor Wat but Ta Prohm. Undoubtedly the most atmospheric as it looks like it is being swallowed by the jungle and the most natural of all the temples. I spent hours clambering among the ruins, one of the local police men offered to be my guide and called me Tomb raider 3!
I also took a long boat out on to the Tonle Sap, part of the Mekong river system to see the floating villages of the Chong Keneas. You could not imagine how these river people live. It was certainly confronting in many ways. My guide, Bo, was 14yrs old and earns $5/mnth as a boat driver. I was the only person on the boat so he let me take over the controls... we stopped off to visit his family and had tea on the bamboo platform. Smiling was our only communication but we seemed to find a connection there.
My time here in Cambodia is sadly coming close to an end. I have a few more things I want to do before leaving and then it will be destination Laos....will be in touch from there,
Take care,
Janie x

Posted by janie23 03:34 Comments (1)

Some pics...

sunny 32 °C










Posted by janie23 22:03 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

Paradise found....

sunny 33 °C

Hi Everyone....hope this finds you all well. So much has happened since my last entry so I will try and bring you up to date as much as possible. I had the most amazing and memorable week of my life in a small coastal town in the south of Cambodia called Kep. You must all promise me to visit this place one day, it is quite simply, paradise. I stayed in what can be described as nothing less than a fantasy treehouse. Bungalows nestled in to the hill with spectacular views of the coast, everything here is elevated and the bungalows and bar are connected by wooden walkways....I really felt like I was living in the trees!. As you will have seen from the photos I put on my site previously, my little bungalow came complete with hammock....what bliss!! I spent many a hour listening to the geckos in the late evening there. This has to be one of my very favorite places in the world and I have found such peace and happiness among the beautiful cambodian people, endless rice paddies and clear waters.

10 reasons you should visit Kep...

1. The beautiful Island of Koh Tonsay...wile away the hours under the coconut trees and swim in the clear blue water.
2. Eat green pepper crab from the local markets...one of the most satisfying, delicious meals I have ever had. There are bamboo shacks right on the shoreline and you pay only about $1/kilo!
3. Ride on the back of a moto through the surrouning hills and it's villages. The locals, children and adults, smile and wave welcoming you to their home.
4. The people. Quite simply the happiest, friendliest folk I have found in all my travels to date.
5. Drinks in the Jungle room at the verandah guesthouse at sunset. The G&T's alone are enough to want you to extend your stay.
6. Explore the limestone caves around Kampot, where the local kids guide you with flashlights.
7. Take a moto to Kampot. A town considered a dangerous place until the mid 90's due to the presence of the Khmer Rouge units in the surrounding hills. However now a charming place to visit.
8. Visit a pepper plantation. It is known to produce some of the best in the world, in fact, before the civil war, Kampot pepper was the choice of some of the world's top restaurants. It must be what makes the crab taste soooo good!
9. Take a boat out to a secluded, deserted Island with a bottle of wine to watch the sunset..;)
10. The magic....it is a place you will never want to leave.

But I had to....but will return. Headed back to Phnom Penh for another night at the Boddhi...drinks at the FCC on the balcony and some wonderful Khmer food before making my way to Siem Reap. Phnom Penh remains my favorite city in Cambodia...and the Boddhi my favorite place of all :).

Love to you all,
Janie x

Posted by janie23 04:52 Comments (0)

Touring by Tuk Tuk..

sunny 34 °C

Hi Everyone,

To my Tuk Tuk driver was out the front of the Boddhi this morning when I woke up....Miss Jane, Miss Jane, I for you!. So we set off in the chaotic streets filled with Motos, cyclos and Tuk Tuks....they certainly out number the cars here. Have seen many UN 4WD's, they appear to have a huge presence here in Cambodia. Loved the gardens at the National Museum. It is filled with pink lotus flowers and Khmer art works. Visited the local markets, the ones for tourists and the ones for locals..abundant stalls of tropical fruits and jovial market stall holders trying to sell you everything from spare tyres to designer bags. Climbed up the hill to visit the Wat Phnom but I have to say that found the masses of beggers in the area very distressing. Small children of an age no more than 3 or 4 nursing new born babies and countless amputees. I have been warned against giving money to them, as hard as it is, usually adults are lurking in the shadows to take the money and it is no benefit to these little ones. I did however buy some books last night from one of the many young children roaming the streets after dark selling photocopied "new releases", they are so endearing and one particular little girl stayed by my side most of the evening. To dropped me off at the FCC and has given me a couple of hours to explore the Riverside area. PP is situated where the Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers meet. It is very low and a cruise on its muddy waters does not appeal...but I am sure there is ample time for riverboat trips ahead. The riverside is lined with palm tree and huge billowing flags....felt that twang of "green and gold malaria" when I saw the Aussie one! Think I will have a leisurely afternoon exploring this part of town. Met an interesting fellow at the Boddhi who is working for the Asian Development bank here setting up micro-financing....we are meeting at the famous Elephant bar tonight so I am looking forward to hearing more about that. The Elephant bar is without doubt the ritziest digs in town so I will have to see what I have hidden in my backpack for such an occassion!. Leave early in the morning via local bus to Kep, a coastal town in southern Cambodia. I may not be near the internet.... I am off to lie in a hammock for a few days.....Take care and big hugs xxx

Posted by janie23 21:32 Comments (1)

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