Saturday, May 23, 2009

2 Months on the Road

Luang Prabang, Laos - Last week we passed our two month mark on the road.  At times it seems like it is going by quickly but at other times it still feels like we have a long ways to go.

Some observations from the first couple of months:

Favorite Cities/Towns:
  • Halong Bay, Vietnam - Beautiful Scenery, lovely boat, fun co-passengers
  • Hoi An, Vietnam - Cheap Happy Hours! Lots of restaurant choices and nice town
  • Saigon, Vietnam - Vibrant cosmopolitan city, great food choices, huge improvement over Hanoi!
  • Luang Prabang, Laos - Similiar to Hoi An, very nice town, great food, shopping, tours. World Heritage site
Least Favorite Cities/Towns:
  • Hanoi, Vietnam - Big, dirty, loud, Hoan Kiem Lake was nice but that was about it.  Saigon was much better!
  • Chau Doc, Vietnam - Mekong Border town, spent 1 night which was plenty.
  • Battambang, Cambodia - Countryside tour made it worthwhile but the actual town had little redeeming features.
Favorite Restaurants:
  • Foreign Correspondents Club in Phnom Penh - Cheap Happy Hour, good food if a little expensive but great atmosphere, very colonial feel.
  • El Camino - Siem Reap, Cambodia - Authentic tasting Mexican food and great margaritas reminded us  of home
  • Texas BBQ - Nha Trang, Vietnam - Some of the best BBQ we've ever had, another reminder of home
  • Plenty of great little local restaurants that we've since forgotten the name of throughout Vietnam and to a lesser extent Cambodia & Laos.
  • JOMA Cafe in Vientiane & Luang Prabang - Good Sandwiches and great Lemon-Mint "Smoothies" for those HOT days.
  • Friends Cafe in Phnom Penh - Cafe trains former street children how to work in the restaurant industry and in the process serves some of the best food we've had anywhere in Asia.
Favorite Activities:
  • "Mahout for a Day" - Elephant Park Project, Luang Prabang, Laos - We each had our own elephant that we got to take down to the river and bathe, quite the experience!
  • Halong Bay 3 day/2 night tour on the Prince II.  Stunning scenery, great food and other travelers made this a highlight.
  • Red Bridge Cooking School in Hoi An - Great Food, nice riverside location.
  • Tuk-Tuk Tour through the countryside of Battambang, Cambodia, seeing villages, ruins and talking to our Tuk Tuk driver a survivor of the Khmer Rouge.
  • Killing Fields in Phnom Penh while not a "favorite" definitely the most moving.
Favorite Things:
  • Great Fruit Shakes/Juices
  • Cheap Beer (Beer Lao, Tiger Beer, Angkor, Singha etc), big bottles for a $1
  • Hotels with Air conditioning and wifi!
  • So many great eating options in most towns and cheap!
  • Not having to go to work every day!
  • Seeing interesting things and meeting interesting people

Least Favorite Things:
  • Expensive cocktails (Betsy - Can only drink so much beer!)
  • Having to figure out accomodation in each new town.
  • Staying near bodies of water (Mekong River) that you can't swim in and it is 100+F
  • Tuk Tuk drivers constantly asking you if you need a tuk tuk
  • Vietnamese trains - expensive and dirty, the buses are much better value

Even our least favorite places had some redeeming features they just aren't places we would rush back to or tell anyone they had to see.

Two months down and three and a half to go at this point we are in no hurry to head home...

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