15.10.2008 11 °C
We are keeping an open mind as to where we will go, although we do have a rough itinerary. I have worked all my life with travelers in international education and many of them know south-east Asia well, so I began by asking them for recommendations of places to visit and those to avoid. If you have ever checked out trip advisor, you will know that you can very quickly get confused by the range of opinions, but you also get a sense of stars.
We decided to start in Bangkok; a central location and a good spot to begin and end our journey. I have a hidden agenda of doing some shopping there before I head home. We will only have one small backpack each as we travel around, so there will be no room for extra weight. As it will be the beginning of November, it soon became apparent that we should head north first and then head south with the sun. Who would have thought that Chiang Mai and Hanoi could sink as low as 12 degrees? This feels cold when you get used to 30+. From northern Thailand, we plan to go into Laos and to Luang Prabang , a star, “this once sleepy capital is perhaps the most sophisticated, photogenic city in the whole of south east Asia” (Lonely Planet). We may be able to take a cargo ferry from there to the capital of Laos, Vientiane, along the Mekong River. We’re not sure how, ( I have read about grueling bus rides), but from Laos we’ll go to Hanoi and then travel south through Vietnam and into the Mekong Delta to Tra Vinh where we know a warm welcome awaits us at Tra Vinh University. Again, we are hoping to use water transportation to cross into Cambodia and visit another star, Angkor Wat.
Our route onward from Cambodia is a spider's web of possibilities. Maybe we will fly from Phnom Penh to Malaysia and work our way onward to Indonesia; perhaps we will follow the sun or the monsoon rains; alternatively, we may be guided by others travelling a similar path. We will go wherever the wind blows - providing we can get a visa and a ticket.