We began 2014 on the road, backpacking across SE Asia. The year started in Cambodia, and over the next six months we also traveled in Laos, Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, and Indonesia. It was the trip of a lifetime and something we would highly recommend you to do if you possibly can – Southeast Asia is a fascinating part of the world, and each country is unique in its own way.
Having only spent a few days here on our first trip we were excited to get back to Laos and have a few weeks to embrace the country’s unofficial moto – ‘Please Don’t Rush’. We took it really easy in the 4,000 Islands, did a motor bike loop stopping for waterfalls and coffee along the way, met up with some other friends and had an epic return to Vang Vieng for In the Tubing part 2 – The Tube Strikes Back.
Oh Thailand, how we love thee. Let us count the ways. We had so much fun spending a month there in 2011 that we spent two months there in 2014. The first month was spent in the north exploring Chiang Mai, doing the famed Mae Hong Son loop and visiting the ruins at Sukhothai. We wound down the month by renting an apartment in Bangkok for a week where we got our visas for our next destination….
Myanmar is by far one of the most fascinating countries we’ve ever been to. It’s like stepping in a time machine as most of the country still operates much the same as it did 100 years ago. We went to the big four tourist destinations of Mandalay, Inle Lake, Bagan and Yangon (Rangoon). We didn’t want to only do the Lonely Planet route so we spent a few days in Pyin Oo Lwin, took one of the world’s greatest train journeys to Hsipaw and spent three days trekking to the villages in the mountains above Inle Lake.
Thailand Reprise – this time to the islands in the south. We got our diving certifications on Koh Tao, partied hard on Koh Phangan, crossed over to the Andaman Coast and relaxed at the Pirate Bar on Tonsai Beach and explored the old prison ruins on Koh Tarutao where a monkey nearly attacked us and ate our Pepto-Bismol.
Excited to add another country to the list we crossed into Malaysia. We were pretty exhausted after Thailand so we moved more slowly and only went to a few places. We started on Penang Island in the capitol city of Georgetown where Rachel had a battle with bed bugs and lost. From there we enjoyed the cool weather in the Cameron Highlands, checked out all the hot spots of Kuala Lumpur and spent our last few days in the historical city of Malacca.
Indonesia’s slogan is ‘Wonderful Indonesia’ and we personally think it’s an understatement. We spent the most consecutive time of any country here – 45 days and it kept us still wanting more. We traveled by land all the way from Jakarta to Lombok. We did too many things to name here but some honorable mentions are standing all alone atop the world’s largest Buddhist temple, hiking down into an active volcanic crater to see blue fire and diving with massive sea turtles.