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Showing posts from September, 2018

Vientiane

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As our flight wasn’t till 5pm, and we didn’t have to be at the airport till at least 3pm, Ngoc kindly let us stay in our room beyond the usual check out time of midday, and it meant we could have a relaxed morning before setting off the airport. We had booked an airport transfer through her, and at 100k kip it wasn’t that cheap for the short 25-minute journey there. What surprised us even more is a battered old truck pulled up to collect us with ripped seats, bashes and dents and paint peeling off.


Oh well never mind as long as it got us there, which it did and as I imagined, Pakse Airport was tiny with not much there to do. We grabbed some chicken fried rice and a hot chocolate and then just sat about till we were due to leave. There is only one gate here, and we saw our plane arrive and it was a tiny prop plane, probably about 40 seats. And as there was only 20+ people for the flight, it meant there was plenty of spare seats, however before we had even taken off, all the locals jus…

Pakse & Bolaven Plateau

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The journey to Pakse from Don Det was easy compared to how hard it had been to get there. We got a boat back to Nakasong and then got straight in a nice minivan all the way to Pakse, I even managed to get the front seat as it was available.  Our hotel in Pakse was the Xuanmai Garden resort, which was a fair bit away from town, so we got dropped off at the side of the dual carriageway and wandered down a dirt track into the lush green garden surrounding the guesthouse.

It looked like we were the only guests staying here again and we were shown to a comfortable but basic double room with en-suite which apparently had a garden view, but as it had no glass in the windows we kept the shutters closed to keep the room cool and insect free.  We were staying here a couple of nights then the plan was to hire scooters and head onto the Bolaven loop for a night. This takes you past loads of waterfalls, villages and coffee plantations and as Ngoc, the guesthouse owner, was able to look after our …

Don Det - 4000 Islands

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Our journey from Kratie to Don Det in Laos started at 7am with an expected 6-hour journey for which we paid $18 each, we thought we would arrive around 2pm at the latest. You may be surprised to hear it was around 5pm when we eventually got there, but this is SE Asia, and anything can happen!  After an early morning breakfast, our minivan turned up 15 minutes late and we pile in this old vehicle which was already full of locals and only 2 seats remained which were right at the back. After unloading some of the bags in the rear, we clambered (via the boot) over the rest of the luggage and squeezed into our little spot for the first part of our journey which was to Stung Treng, approx. 2 hours north where we knew we would be changing vehicle.



Despite the van being full, we still stopped to pick up another couple of locals, and the rows of 3 seats soon convert into 4 with a little bar that folds down, and a cushion slots in. By now I think there was 16 of us in this little 12-seater, pl…

Kratie

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Never leave your bags on the floor of public transport in South East Asia. I feel like we should have already learnt this lesson but clearly, we hadn’t.
The transport from Kampot was via the Ekareach Express minivan and only cost about $8 each. The van was clean and well maintained and if it hadn’t been for the young girl directly behind us falling asleep and dropping her coffee everywhere, it would have been quite a smooth trip.  Sadly, Pauls day bag containing all documents, laptop etc was on the floor and managed to mop up at least half the escaped liquid before we spotted it.
We arrived at PP about mid-day and had opted to stay 1 night at the Teahouse Urban Hotel, which was slightly posher than the last place and offered a decent breakfast for £25.  The following day we were booked on the 9:45 Phnom Penh Sorya bus to Kratie which Paul had booked online, so we made our way to the departure office and got on a slightly tired looking big bus with a handful of Cambodians.  The entir…

Kampot

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The day started off with an early breakfast at 7am in time for our departure on the ferry back to Skankyville at 8.30am. We got taken the short distance by small boat to the jetty (which to be honest we could have probably walked as quick to) and got talking to a couple from Norway who were travelling for a few months and now heading to Vietnam. We waited around for about 30 minutes when one speedboat arrived, but soon left as it wasn’t our companies one. We didn’t have a proper ticket for this journey, all we had was the receipt that was printed out for us 4 days earlier in PP, which by now had faded away and was almost illegible.

Then another boat arrived and there was a bit of confusion for a bit as we were told it wasn’t our boat, then got told we could use it but to go get another ticket. It wasn’t till some guy came out from the company we had a ticket for, asking why we hadn’t been to see him as our boat wasn’t running today, and we had to use this one. We then realised that …

Koh Rong & Koh Rong Sanloem

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Late pickup, stroppy minivan driver followed by rivers of flood water - That was our journey to Sihanoukville in a nut shell.  We’d arranged a hotel pickup by the bus company at 6:15am which would give us plenty of time to get there, get bus tickets printed, pick up some breakfast and leave on the 7am minivan. At 6:25 we’re getting worried and ask the lobby to ring the company, some weak and wobbly excuses later plus another phone call at around 6:45 the minivan arrives to pick us up.  As Paul sorts tickets I run off to the shop and grab some sandwiches and I get back just as they are saying we’re off, so I take my place in the front seat that I’d booked specifically online.  The driver (this is the same one that was late to get us, shouted at me for running to the shop and generally lacked any social grace) then yanks open my door and says I must move to the back. I declined and said ‘no this was the seat I booked’, to which he grumbled an ok and shut the door. 
The next 6 hrs were …