If you dont already know, in just a few days I’m off to explore Laos and Cambodia, two countries I should have visited a long time ago on my gap year, but failed miserably. Well anyway, this Friday once the working day is done I shall be getting on a plane to Bangkok and setting out to right my wrong of 6 years. Along for the ride as ever will be my other half, but now at this late late stage another party has joined the … erm … party. You know what I mean.
Along for the ride
So, if you haven’t guessed from the title of this blog post, the heavyweight hosteling powerhouse called HostelBookers.com is now along for the ride. The people who ever so kindly named me as their blogger of the month for Dec 2012. We are honestly way too excited about this!
So how did this come about you may ask, well its mostly their doing to be fair, I cant take very little credit. Back in November of last year I was lucky enough to be invited to the HostelBookers travel blogger awards night as a nominee for best late night blogger, it was a night that went down in travel blogging history. Despite not winning (not that I ever expected to), the awards evening was one seriously epic party. I met loads of cool people, bloggers and of course the guys from HostelBookers who I still cant thank enough for such an epic night. I scrapped the last train home and felt none to clever the next day at work. The sign of a good night!
A few days later and with a couple of very shady looking drunken facebook pics uploaded for the world to see, an email pings into my inbox. Its a feedback form from HostelBookers asking about my blogger awards evening experience. Safe to say almost everything was 10/10, but at the end there was a section asking how the HostelBookers team could further help travel bloggers like myself and further cement a positive relationship between themselves and us bloggers. I chanced my arm a little it must be said, I replied asking if any hostel review opportunities were a reality. I didn’t think much would come of it, I almost wished I hadn’t asked as I felt even a little rude for asking, but now 3 months odd later I’m so glad I did ask.
Of course when I say HostelBookers are coming with me to Laos and Cambodia I don’t mean an individual from the company, I mean as a sponsor. Whilst wandering around these two countries they shall be providing me with accommodation and I shall be acting as an on location hostel reviewer. I tell no lie, its a fricking sweet gig!
Laos and Cambodia
So I have a crush on HostelBooker, that much is clear, but this is travel blog not a top hostel booking totty blog so I think its time to get to the travel part dont you!?
So here you have it, our whirlwind 3 week plan for Laos and Cambodia. Yes you heard me correctly, just 3 weeks, but you have to work with the tools you’re given, and as I’ve mentioned countless times I work a 9-5 job at present. It no secret that i’m on limited time when I travel, but answer me this, do you have to have been on the road for a certain amount of time before you can be considered a backpacker – not in my book. This trip will be fast and furious I’m sure, but I’ll still be living the backpacker lifestyle for the duration. Bring it on!
Stage 1 – London to Laos
So it all starts with a flight to Bangkok. From there its an overnight sleeper train to the Laos boarder and then sooner enough we’ll touch down in the capital of Veintaine. We’re only in the capital for one night, but in that time we hope to make a trip out to the Big Buddha Park.
Stage 2 – Veintaine to Vang Vieng
A 4 hour bus ride is all thats stands between us and the form tubing mecha of Vang Vieng. Whilst the tubing scene was shut down for a while, I hear whispers that it might once again be enticing traveler to the area. I’m not going to lie, I’d like to try it if possible, but if its not possible there is loads more of this beautiful area that needs to be checked out, I might try my hand at a spot of kayaking instead.
Stage 3 – Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang
Another bus ride away is Luang Prabang the area I’m possibly most excited about visiting. I dont think i’ve ever heard a bad word said about LP, and most people wax lyrical about it. The food, the markets, the temples and wats, the Nam Khan river, the sunsets, the waterfalls nearby, it all sounds amazing! I’ve got a good feeling about LP.
Stage 4 – Luang Prabang to Phnom Penh
What, you’re skipping the 4000 islands? Yes regretably so, to be able to experience all the other locations on our itinerary for more than just a single day something had t0 give. Being such a long way from any other destination on our plan the 4000 islands were the destination we decided it was logical to drop. Instead of getting the bus from LP to Paske, we’ll be flying from LP to Phnom Penh in Cambodia.
Now a flight is more expensive and worse for the environment but its quicker and I am genuinely have plans to volunteer and plant some trees in London this summer, so hopefully you can forgive me?
Once in PP we’ll be looking to take a tour of the Tuol Sleng museum and the killing fields so that we can learn a little bit about Cambodian history. I doubt this will be an entirely enjoyable experience, but we will no doubt learn a lot from it.
Stage 5 – Phnom Penh to Sihanovkuille
Time to hit the beach, simple as. I want to be lying in a hammock with a beer in one hand and a book in the other.
Stage 6 – Sihanovkuille to Siem Riep
Tomb Raider time, Ankor Wat is obviously a must upon a visit to SR and I’m thinking a cycling tour of the temples might be good fun, but playing Lara Croft aside i’m also looking forward to catching up with a good mate too -@backpackerbecki. She doesnt know it yet, but she’s going to be our unofficial guide.
Stage 7 – Siem Riep to Bangkok and then home
Boooooo, not looking forward to this part much, although I do get to go on another train and I like trains! Sadly Siem Riep is the last stop on our Laos and Cambodian adventure. We have a single night in Bangkok and then we’re on the plane home.
Real time photos of the trip
If the above is in any way of interest to you, follow our trip via the magic that is real time photos. Just click the link <— <— it wont become live till April 5th though.
What do you think?
So there you have it, our plan in a nutshell. Do you like it? Hate it? Have you got any tips you wish to share? Or are will you be in any of these areas in April and fancy grabbing a beer? All and any feedback is welcome, just drop me a note below.