Before heading south for the winter, we went north to freeze our asses off in Harbin. While there, we hit the Ice and Snow Festival and the Siberian tiger park.
Thailand and Laos
We escaped the bitter cold of Beijing and flew to Bangkok, where we embarked on a month-long backpacking trip around Thailand and Laos. We visited islands, national parks, ancient cities, the jungle, mountains, and more. Our trip was bookended by two legendary backpacker rage-athons – the Full Moon Party on Koh Pha-Ngan Island in Thailand and tubing in Vang Vieng, Laos.
We got crazy in Bangkok, lounged on the beach, explored ruins, and did a three-day jungle trek. It was the experience of a lifetime, and it sparked a love for adventure travel and backpacking in both of us.
Great Wall and Pingyao
For a short holiday, we visited Taiyuan in Shanxi province to see one of Rachel’s classmates from App. State. The three of us headed to the ancient city of Pingyao to explore the museums and historical sites for a few days. We also took some couch surfers out on an epic hike at the Jiankou Great Wall.
Day Trips and Music Festivals
We were winding down another school year in Beijing and were also running out of time on our visas. As such, we began searching for new jobs that would help us with a visa. In Beijing, we balanced time between teaching, working out, partying with friends, and doing some sightseeing and exploring in and around the city. Highlights included trips to Shi Du and Long Qing Gorge, as well as hiking on the Great Wall.