Otres Village and Beach!

We moved from Sihanoukville to Otres for a few nights and stayed at a place called Moms kitchen in the village. Its nice here and pretty chilled! Accommodation is a little more expensive ay $12 a night but food is so cheap you can get a whole BBQ with meat of your choice including a wide range of seafood, chips, salad and garlic bread all for $3 and it is delicious. Beer is also really cheap here!

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We didn’t really do much just chilled on the beach or around the guesthouse in the day and then ate nice food in the evenings.

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The beach is totally nice, (not as white or quiet as Koh Rong though) we enjoyed swimming in the sea and tasting the drinks at all the local beach bars. we also played pool at the hostel accompanied by the biggest dog i’ve seen in Asia, must be crossed with a great dane or something. Super cute.

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Once again we have been plagued by mosquito bites mine this time seem to be worse. Although Joe did out do me on the last day by getting a bite on his eye causing half his face to swell up! It has now however gone down. So nobody panic! 

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We extended our stay here by one day to stay and see the market which is apparently the best night in Otres town! And I have to say it was worth it. Its a cute little hippie inspired undercover area where everyone seem super chilled They have live bands on and a DJ after midnight! We didn’t quite make it to midnight as opted for a night in with the rugby instead. The food at the market was also amazing, a tiny food court with loads of different stalls and an amazing bakery! We brought some double chocolate chip and salted caramel cookies as a treat! Its not often that you get anything like that around here. Joe however decided to get up in the middle of the night and eat them all… but apparently they were delicious! 

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Paris X

New Years Resolution update:

26.02.2017 (Week 9 of challenge) Books Read:

  1. A Dance With Dragons 1: Dreams And Dust – George R. R. Martin
  2. A Dance With Dragons 2: After The Feast – George R. R. Martin
  3. Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
  4. Comfort food – Kitty Thomas
  5. Mark One – John Hindmarsh (must read sequel at some point)
  6. Girl Undone – Marla Madison
  7. The Sick House – Ambrose Ibsen
  8. The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
  9. On The Road – Jack Kerouac
  10. Survivor The Triumph Of An Ordinary Man In the Khmer Rouge Genocide – Chum Mey
  11. The Little Old Lady Who Broke All The Rules – Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg

Status: TWO WEEKS AHEAD

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Sihanoukville

So we arrived in Sihanoukville and we had mixed feelings about this place with having heard a number of different things from different people.

First impressions were not that bad although accommodation seemed expensive! After a bit of hunting around we managed to find a room for $10 a night, money is getting tight now and realistically this is out of our budget but we figured it would do for a few nights at least! One thing thats not expensive is alcohol you can get a beer for 25cent. And it is ice cold and tastes pretty good so we headed to the beach for a few of them!

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I even treated myself to a $2 pedicure even though we’re skint we are still very much on holiday! Sitting on the beach is the cheapest place to eat and drink and seems really nice, you do get over run by children trying to sell you friendship bracelets, sunglasses etc. Which is quite hard, a lot of people seem to recommend not giving them money as that encourages them to stay on the beach and not go to school. Which makes sense to me although we spoke to a local bar owner who said that they have to make $15 a month to be able to pay for their education and a lot of them get beaten up if they don’t make enough money for there families. So its pretty hard to know what to do. After 3 days they all seem to know us pretty well though and enjoyed playing cards with us a few nights.

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There are also older people more begging than selling anything wondering along the beach and fireworks and Chinese lanterns seem to be popular every single night. One thing about this place is the food is amazing and you can get anything from local Khmer food to Japanese/Chinese/Italian and so far its all tasted lush! Joe’s favourite are the lobster like things they sell on the beach. And I enjoyed an amazing coconut ice-cream yesterday.

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Sihanoukville is a bit of a funny place, we won’t be doing any activities as we don’t really have activity money and thats all there really is to do here! But I think we’ll have a nice chilled time instead. Our plan is to stay for a few weeks anyway and wait for Ross. We have found some accommodation for $2 a night. And once you’ve stayed for one night its free… But the online reviews are not ideal stating that people left with bed bugs and fungal infections also with reports of rats and cockroaches. Apparently 26 people sleep in one room on one mattress! Shall we brave it?

You’ll have to wait and see.

Paris X

New Years Resolution update:

24.02.2017 (Week 8 of challenge) Books Read:

  1. A Dance With Dragons 1: Dreams And Dust – George R. R. Martin
  2. A Dance With Dragons 2: After The Feast – George R. R. Martin
  3. Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
  4. Comfort food – Kitty Thomas
  5. Mark One – John Hindmarsh (must read sequel at some point)
  6. Girl Undone – Marla Madison
  7. The Sick House – Ambrose Ibsen
  8. The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
  9. On The Road – Jack Kerouac
  10. Survivor The Triumph Of An Ordinary Man In the Khmer Rouge Genocide – Chum Mey

Status: TWO WEEKS AHEAD

Koh Rong

To get to our new destination we had to first get a bus to Sihankouville. This was a mini van that was air-conditioned and at first seemed like a good alternative to what we’re used to. The driver was a nutcase and stopped for nothing so it was a very very bumpy ride to Sihanoukville. Once there we had an hour to kill before our boat left so we sat tight and chilled with a beer of course. The boat ride was interesting it was a ferry rather than he usual long boats and everyone kind of sat underground so you couldn’t see out of any windows thus leaving most of the passengers feeling very sea sick. We arrived at Koh Rong and had to find our way to the hostel. With no tuk tuks we didn’t really have much choice other than to walk! So we set off walking with all our bags. It was about a 15minute walk to police beach hostel where we arrived. When we got there no one seemed very helpful and checking in was a pain in the arse. Eventually we were shown to our dorm handed a fitted sheet and pillow case each and told to bring them back when we checked out. Oh well, in good sprits and on an island that resembled paradise we headed out for some dinner and of course a beer! That evening we chilled at a bar and enjoyed $1 beer. We met a Polish/Danish couple and enjoyed a fire show with them and shared some travel stories. We ultimately decided on an early night and headed back! In the morning it turned out Joes mosquito net had about 30 holes in and and he’d been bitten alive he had about 50 bites on his feet alone and they are still itching.

We’d agreed to get up early and meet Freddie and Karo from last night, so we headed off to their hostel with walking boots on all ready for a hike. I know a hike. The hike we were going on was over a little mountain to a 7kilometre beach also known as long beach. We had a quick discussion  about the hike back and understanding it would be dark as we wanted to watch the sunset we decided the it might be best to book a boat back.

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We were all really keen to see the phosphorus plankton (glowing stuff in the sea) so booked a taxi boat that included that for $5 not a bad price. The guy we brought the bus tickets off tried to put us off walking and make us splash out on a $10 round trip but we were adamant to hike. He even added in the 60% of people that do it turn back! The hike was easy I think we all expected it to be a lot harder it was quite steep but there was a visible path to follow and going up was quite gentle plus we all took our time and helped each other out. The going down was very steep but we all made it alive in good spirits with an amazing view of the stunning beach.

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When we arrived it was clear that to get beer or food we would have to hike right along 7k beach great! We made it just over half way with a few breaks to swim on the way and managed to find a cute little restaurant where we all enjoyed some delicious seafood (apart from me who had a schnitzel).

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We played cards, swam and sunbathed the afternoon away then walked back along the beach to watch the sunset and get our boat. The sunset was so stunning the best one we’ve seen so far.

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We then embarked on the long boat that was packed with tourists, very few of them British. The boat was so packed there was hardly anywhere to sit and only 6 visible life jackets should we capsize. Not fancying the hike back we boarded the boat anyway and hoped for the best. No-one spoke to each other as we headed off into the darkness. After about 25minutes we arrived at the plankton and it was incredible. As you dive down into the water you feel like a space man on another galaxy somewhere; as the whole sea lights up in front of you. As you climb back onto the boat the plankton sticks to you and you can see it in your hair as the water runs off of you. Seriously cool. We had dinner together, at a local BBQ place it was delicious! Joe and I had Chicken and Barracuda and the others had tuna and Barracuda, we enjoyed some drinks in the village before another relatively early night.

The next morning Freddie and Karolina met us at ours we were checking out and they gave us a hand with our bags while we moved into the village we found a little bungalow with little water or electricity, just behind where they are staying for a reasonable price and moved in. We’d collectively decided to go on a walk to another beach today this one is called 4k beach. We headed out and the path was flat which i’m glad about as my legs were aching today! This beach was equally lovely and we found a nice restaurant to chill at but headed back into town for dinner. We ended up at Co Co’s one of our favourite bars and had pizza!

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The beers really flowed tonight as we discussed plans of tomorrow and we even had a cheeky shot of Jager and finished the night off with a kebab, I went to bed early as I was knackered think i’ve had too much sun! Joe had a few more beers and then joined me. Joe woke up at all night being sick and didn’t feel much better in the morning. We called off our planned snorkelling trip and instead all went to the beach and sat in the shade. Joe still felt rough at lunch time so headed back for a sleep and I chilled in the sun reading my book. We headed back early with plans to meet Fred and Karo for dinner if Joe was feeling up to it! Joe and I went out to get some food we didn’t bump into them and my phone wouldn’t charge. I had a pizza again as Joe fancied trying a few slices and we’ve found a really nice place. Later we bumped into Karo sat outside their hotel, turns out Freddies been really sick since getting back from the beach. I had a few beers with Karo and we put the boys to bed. Fingers crossed we don’t get ill! The only positive is that it’ll save us some beer money in the meantime. I was ill all through the night. Totally not impressed right now day in bed for me! Although Joe feels better! Not currently sure how Freddie and Karo are doing.

We leave tomorrow back for the mainland and still have little plan! Just going to find somewhere cheap and cheerful and chill out for a few days to recover from our illness. Koh Rong has been amazing and we may return who knows!!!

Paris X

New Years Resolution update:

19.02.2017 (Week 8 of challenge) Books Read:

  1. A Dance With Dragons 1: Dreams And Dust – George R. R. Martin
  2. A Dance With Dragons 2: After The Feast – George R. R. Martin
  3. Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
  4. Comfort food – Kitty Thomas
  5. Mark One – John Hindmarsh (must read sequel at some point)
  6. Girl Undone – Marla Madison
  7. The Sick House – Ambrose Ibsen
  8. The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
  9. On The Road – Jack Kerouac

Status: ONE WEEK AHEAD

Kep and Rabbit Island

So we left our second night at Bandinis with little direction… we need to get to Siem Reap but that involves going back the way we came! Bit of a mishap on our part. On our way here we drove through a little fishing village called Kep. After doing some research we heard that it has a world famous seafood market and this little Island called rabbit island. So we headed there for a few days soaking in all the sights along the way.

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The guesthouse we booked is nice and very cheap £6 a night for a private room. The room is massive and has 3 beds in it. We got bicycles again as we’re 3km from town and cycled around looking for something to do. We decided against the beach even though it looked lovely and headed to a hotel with a pool where we chilled all afternoon and enjoyed some delicious sea food.

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We got back into the room and decided to chill for the rest of the day/evening. I tried to shave my legs in the sink… the light was poor in the shower. Those of you who know me will understand that this is something I don’t do very often but it is valentines day tomorrow after all. I put my foot in the sink and the whole thing pedestal and all came crashing down and smashed into about 2 million pieces on the floor. Joe – who’d been having a little nap – woke up screaming and rushed to my assistance. Thankfully no-one was hurt but we did have to rush upstairs and  get the guy in charge to come help! By the time we got upstairs the whole bathroom was flooded. Joe was not impressed and neither was the guy in charge but I still feel like the sink should have been attached to the wall therefore this was not entirely my fault. We played pool and drank a few beers that night Joe kept making sink jokes.

The next day we got up early and headed off by tuk tuk to get to rabbit island so call named because apparently it is in the shape of a Rabbit.

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Joes not to thrilled with the prospect of no electricity on the island although his main worry appears to be how they are going to refrigerate the beer. The Island was nice and chilled the boat ride over however was not the most enjoyable aspect for me. We sat and called all day getting a tan and drinking cocktails to celebrate Valentines day.

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We picked out a cute bungalow a lot like our jungle hut in Pai it cost $8 which was pretty good going! We spent the whole day relaxing and then had a nap before getting up to watch the sunset and east some seafood. Earlier in the day i’d ordered a grilled fish and Joe had curry squid. (not what e was expecting) so later that evening we shared a grilled squid and I had a pancake for  dessert! All in all a successful night on rabbit island. Nothing to do apart from swim and chill. Perfect Valentines day if you ask me.

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We even got to see the most beautiful sunset how romantic!

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We got the boat back the next morning and headed into a discussion about what next? Siem Reap is meant to be the plan! But it is annoyingly in the wrong direction as i earlier mentioned. Also money is tight now and for once I am not exaggerating! The things we want to do in Siem Reap are all expensive. So we’ve made a joint decision  – look at us! – to just do the south of Cambodia on this trip we will go to Thailand on the 8th of March to meet some friends and family and then come back to Siem reap after a month as I will hopefully have a little more money (thanks mum). Bit of a detour and not ideal but it seems like the best option for us at the moment so later today we head off to Koh Rong. We’ve booked somewhere in the main “town area” to stay for the first night and then we’re looking at tents on the beach. So keep posted and i’m sure i’ll soon fill you in with our newest adventures!

Paris X

New Years Resolution update:

17.02.2017 (Week 7 of challenge) Books Read:

  1. A Dance With Dragons 1: Dreams And Dust – George R. R. Martin
  2. A Dance With Dragons 2: After The Feast – George R. R. Martin
  3. Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
  4. Comfort food – Kitty Thomas
  5. Mark One – John Hindmarsh (must read sequel at some point)
  6. Girl Undone – Marla Madison
  7. The Sick House – Ambrose Ibsen
  8. The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini

Status: ONE WEEK AHEAD

Cambodia continued – Kampot

So we awoke early for a bus that we felt was never coming due to taking a considerable amount of time but it arrived! WOOP. We both managed to sleep a bit on the bus and Joe read a book we’d purchased previously about the 12 survivors of the S12 prison. We arrived in Kampot and first impressions are good it seems a lot more relaxed and there are definitely a lot less cars on the road. A tuk tuk was agreed for our 2km journey to the guesthouse – Joe had booked – for $2 and off we set. I was dubious about what the guesthouse would be like as last time Joe had booked two beds in a female dorm but in good faith I hadn’t checked out any of the online reviews or pictures. We arrived in what looked like bliss the road down was a bit sketchy but the place was situated in beautiful gardens with hammocks and reclining chairs dotted around the place the room too was lovely so all in all very impressed. I’ll post the link if anyone wants further information because it really is very lovely here, good work Joe.

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http://www.bandiniskampot.com/

What Joe hadn’t mentioned was that the room comes with free bicycle hire. Anyone who knows me can understand that riding a bicycle is not really in my skill set, but Joe was very encouraging and off we set to find somewhere for lunch. It was very successful and went without injury. I only had to go up one hill which I was grateful for as we haven’t done much exercise in the 5 months we’ve been away and i’m feeling rather unfit. We arrived at a cute river side bar and enjoyed some grub! I had local fish and chips and Joe enjoyed a beef burrito, both dishes were throughly enjoyed after this we headed back to the Hostel to enjoy an afternoon nap!!

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We chilled for the rest of the evening and enjoyed some really nice sandwiches at the guesthouse. They also provided us with plenty of board games to entertain ourselves with. I beat Joe at both Rummikub and Mastermind and he wasn’t too thrilled with my choice of game! But we had fun none the less and retired early to watch a film in bed and get some sleep.

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We got up late the next morning settled up and waited for our tuk tuk to arrive then we headed to Arcadia (the place with the water slide) we arrived in good time and sat down for a few beers at $1 a pop who can blame us really?

The water park here looks pretty goddamn crazy so we’ll see how that works out later. Jo was like a big kid and loved everything… the Russian swing was his favourite and he was soon flying through the air every 5 minutes! I’ll put some pictures up so you’ll all get the idea.

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After all day of waterpark fun we had a lot of drinks and partied on. Joe stayed up with some Essex lads to stream the rugby and I went to bed.

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In the morning we were both feeling a bit rough. In fact I was sure I was going to die from a hangover, the hostel drink provide a pretty tasty full english breakfast though.

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We still have little plan for where to go next and Arcadia was fully booked so we headed back to our original guesthouse for an evening of rest and relaxation.

Paris X

New Years Resolution update:

12.02.2017 (Week 7 of challenge) Books Read:

  1. A Dance With Dragons 1: Dreams And Dust – George R. R. Martin
  2. A Dance With Dragons 2: After The Feast – George R. R. Martin
  3. Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
  4. Comfort food – Kitty Thomas
  5. Mark One – John Hindmarsh (must read sequel at some point)
  6. Girl Undone – Marla Madison
  7. The Sick House – Ambrose Ibsen

Status: ON TARGET

Tips, Tricks and genuine advice to anyone buying or traveling by motorbike in Vietnam

So anyone who has been following this blog will know that we spent nearly four months traveling Vietnam on a Motorbike that we brought in Hanoi. Due to this we now consider ourselves experts in the field and wanted to share with everyone some of our advice! We had some sound advice before setting off (From Joel Hodder hope you’re reading) as he’d done a bike trip before. And we are really keen to pass on some general info and tips specific for Vietnam… Please enjoy and let us know if you have any other tips!

1. Buy from someone you trust – Now this may sound like stupid advice because you are just going to land in Vietnam and not knowing anyone how are you going to know whether to trust them or not? I would say to get loads of advice from different people and visit a lot of places. We looked online and asked people around. In the end we brought from a shop where most of the mechanics are British or American. i think after what I know know about Vietnamese people and mechanics it would have been just as safe to buy from a local. But having just arrived in hanoi this gave us a bit of piece of mind and took away the language barrier making communication very easy. In hindsight I think we probably paid a little more for that piece of mind than if we’d brought from a backpacker or local but you live you learn. The going price for “Honda Wins” (because lets face it no-one knows what these bikes are) is around $150-$350 and it all depends on what you want! I would says its not always true you get what you pay for we’ve seen people pay $350 for a bike thats ascetically pleasing but breaks down all the time. We paid top end and were lucky Hettie the Honda broke down a lot but more wear and tare than any actual major malfunctions!!

2. Try before you buy – This should go without saying but you would honestly be surprised. If you have never ridden a motorbike with gears before my honest advice would be DO NOT LEARN HERE! But I know people who have and they are (some by a miracle Rosannah) still alive. A lot of backpackers off lessons to people wanting to buy and Joe taught a few people along the way so maybe this is a sensible idea. Test the bike. How does it sound? How does it feel? How are the brakes? If like us you know nothing about motorbikes don’t be put off from asking questions. Ask everything even if you think its silly! When was it serviced? When was the oil changed? If you’re buying from a backpacker ask about breakdowns? police checkpoints? And use your judge of character and common sense! If in doubt, ask to go for a ride on the back with whoever’s selling. Might give you an idea of how they’ve treated the bike the whole time so cant hurt.

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3. Practice makes perfect and drive within your capabilities – Sound advice we had from Joel straight after buying the bike.. practice braking from a fast speed and practice swerving at a fast speed too. if you’ve got loads of luggage to carry practice with that because extra weight can make a big difference to how the bike handles. Get to know the bike and drive within her capabilities! Joe has driven a few since we’ve been here and i’ve sat on the back of a few they really are all different so before you head off find some land and practice. Drive within your capabilities… if you were formally part of nitro circus then by all means fly round corners, jump over ramps, pull wheelies and  ride with no hands. If you are not however maybe just air on the side of caution. We have had the best time in Vietnam and a lot of that has been down to the motorbike but we’ve also seen a few nasty injuries and accidents a lot of them were caused by people going too fast when they didn’t really know how to ride a bike or dare I even mention people who were drunk. DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE its illegal in most countries for a reason and its really stupid. Sure, have a beer or two at the waterfall before you ride back to town but treat it like you would a car, if you’re struggling to walk, it’s never going to end well. (my -Paris- driving capabilities are that i can’t drive a motorbike i tried and failed therefore I don’t drive simple right!)

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4. Download maps.me (or another offline map-app) – We did two days with a road map and then discovered this gem! My sense of direction is not the best and i’m pretty sure without maps.me,  we’d still be in Vietnam!! The road maps are not very good out here and we scoured for the best we could get and half the roads were missing to the extent where we were constantly ending up in peoples gardens. maps.me works offline and has a lot of tourist attractions and hostels pinpointed on it so it really is a helpful app! Not to say that we haven’t been lost or taken down a dirt road since we had the app but that is part of the adventure. At least when you do bottle it, you can re-trace your route to find somewhere to stay.

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Photo is actually from Cambodia but you get the idea!!!

5. Take your time! – One of the best things for us about Vietnam was the view, I know I sound like my nan. But seriously if you’ve never been you won’t understand just how beautiful it really is. The dramatic difference in landscapes between the different provinces is stunning and something you really have to experience. So take your time that was the one thing we had plenty of don’t rush! If you have limited time concentrate on doing a little bit and don’t try to cram everything in! We were pretty lucky that in the four months we were there we got to see a lot of it! But we by all means didn’t see everything and thats something we have to look forward to in the future because we’re 100% sure of one thing and thats coming back. If you’re in a rush, take a little more care in planning a route on decent roads so that you can barrel along but otherwise go for it and explore.

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6. Look where you’re going!!!! – Like most of this advice this should go without saying it really is not rocket science but you’d be surprised. The road surface can change about 30 times on a 1km stretch from mud, to gravel, to grass, to pot holes, from narrow to wide. Thus making it important to look so you don’t come a cropper to a massive pot hole (some of them are about half a foot deep). theres also a lot of hazards on the roads in Vietnam. Look out for these trust me you do not want to run into a water buffalo. I’ll list below and am welcome for suggestions of things i’ve missed off… *please not this list is not exclusive just contains some of the more common hazards you may face:

-Water buffalo

-Children

-Goats

-Cows

-Chickens

-Chicks

-Chickens with their chicks

-Children (again)

-Children on bikes

-Children on bikes going the wrong way up the road

-Dogs and puppies  (lots of puppies)

-Rats

-Lizards and potentially snakes

-Tractors

-Cows on leads with babies and children

-Rope – there may be a buffalo on the other end

-Pop up Markets

– Crazy Locals

 – Crazy Non-locals

Basically, take your time and keep you’re eyes peeled. The second you stop concentrating will be the very moment that the 8 year old loses control of her herd of cattle and that could be messy.

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7. MAINTENANCE!!!! – Can save you a lot of breakdowns. Compared to some people we were a little lazy with this at times and hence broke down a lot more than some people we met. Brakes, chain and oil are the main ones every 200 – 350km and you should be good to go. Its not expensive so really there is no excuse. If you hear a rattle of something that doesn’t sound healthy, work out what it is and get it seen to, it’ll only get progressively worse.

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8. PPE – Also known as Personal Protective Equipment – You’re an idiot if you don’t wear a helmet, although its tempting when none of the locals have one on and after all you’re only going up the road! But yeah just wear a helmet end of. Also, like cover up i’m guilty of being on the back with little on because its hot and i’m on holiday but if you do come off like that you’ll be left with some pretty nasty road rash. Full leathers are probably a little extreme but at the very least some jeans and shirt should help you getting seriously cut up if you do happen to come off.

9. Meet and quiz other riders – Loads of people head down the same routes on popular bike trips such as in Vietnam. If you bump into someone who has been the way you’re heading, quiz them on every aspect of the ride. It’s so easy to miss an amazing waterfall or a particular hostel which could potentially make your trip. Also, there’s a couple of hot-spots for police who can make an easy buck from issuing fines to travellers. Sometimes this is unavoidable and then you just have to wing it but it’s always good to know what to expect. As a general rule when it comes to police, if you cant confuse them with masses of paperwork and fake phone call’s to the embassy, offer a bribe that will keep them happy and not break your bank account. Just don’t call it a bribe, call it a fine which you want to pay directly to them.

Finally, return the favour, if you’ve just had an amazing ride for the day, tell people. You might not think it but you could prevent someone from having one of those nightmare days full of getting lost and ending up staying in a dump. Surely, that must do something for your Karma right?

10. HAVE FUN!!!!! –  If you have half a good a time as we had it’ll have have been worth every penny so enjoy yourselves you only live once!! #YOLO

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NOTE: When it comes time to sell, try not to take the piss. What we mean is, if you paid $300, don’t try too hard to sell it for $350. You will have had an amazing time with that bike, so let someone else feel just as good about it. At the end of the day, the bike will be going back to another traveller who will also be on a budget. We lost a bit of money on the bike but we know we would have spent more on public transport and not had half as much fun. Hopefully this will all be good karma and you can reach enlightenment like us twits!!!! 

Any questions ore extra advice you feel you need! Please feel free to comment and we will do our best to help you have the trip of a life time!!!

*Please keep an eye out for the gopro edit of our trip to follow!!!

DCIM101GOPRO

Cambodia – Phnom Penh

One of the easiest border crossings i’ve done very straight forward and very relaxed not at all like our last Laos experience. Joes first comment about Cambodia was “I don’t think i’ve ever been anywhere so flat, this place is like a pool table”. Must be missing Snowdonia. Our first stop is Phnom Penh we’ve booked a private room for £4 so it should be interesting and we’re going to have a busy 2 days here as there is a lot we want to do and see. First impressions of Phnom Penh are all good. It is clear to see that the country is a lot poorer than Vietnam and there are more children walking round with no shoes on trying to sell you anything they’ve got in their hands, we also saw some local childer washing in the fountain. They all seem happy though and the locals don’t seem to stop smiling.

We arrived at the Hostel and had to wait in the bar for about 3 hours as there seemed to be some kind of problem with the plumbing in our room. We decided it best not to ask questions and ordered some beers. I ploughed on with my book and Joe even read half a book today i’m quite impressed! That was when I also took the opportunity to sort out all these blog posts and by the time I post this (fingers crossed) i’ll be back up to date yey!! By the time we saw the room we were starving and sweaty so we ordered food downstairs before heading up for an early night. The room contains a bed and not much else, the wallpaper is missing and some guests appear to have taken it upon themselves to draw abstract flowers on the otherwise blank walls. But oh well £4 and we only have to sleep here… the mattress is squishy and theres a fan so fingers crossed for a good night sleep!

I don’t think either of us got a good sleep if I’m honest Joe is still sleeping (or trying to be at 9.00am) and i’m catching up with blogs and watching Holby City #homecomforts. We have a busy day planned today and we still need to make arrangements for onward travel tomorrow! I’ll include details later but first to wake Joe up Hmmm…

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With Joe successfully woken up we headed downstairs and got some breakfast, I enjoyed some scrabbled egg on toast a new favourite of mine and Joe had a chicken sandwich The plan for today was to go to one of the killing fields that is now a monument and then to head to S21 – the genocide museum. We got talking to a Canadian couple who had similar plans and decided that we’d all share a tuk tuk to cut down on costs a guy right outside the hostel offered us a pretty good price and after a bit of a chat we headed off. It took ages to get there and the roads in Cambodia are questionable but eventually we arrived, paid our entrance fees and started our tour. I’ll include some pictures in a minute of some of the things we saw but just be warned some people might find them upsetting I know we surely did. What makes the experience even more harrowing is that it really wasn’t that long ago.

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After this we stopped for some lunch and a much needed beer break, its a lot of information to take in and i’m glad we had a bit of a rest before going to the museum, the horrific stories of survivors coupled with the stifling heat is enough to make anyone feel sick. S21 itself is a prison that was adapted out of a school once the local people were imprisoned or forced out of their city. It is pretty much exactly how it was when prisoners were housed there and walking through is shocking, you can imagine the horror people faced living in the shocking conditions and the floors and walls are spattered with blood. There are plenty of chairs for people to sit and i’m thankful as again it is a harrowing experience. At the end of the museum you get to meet a survivor who is in his 80’s and to think of everything he went through really does open your eyes a lot. Again i’ll include some photos below which some people may find upsetting. We all left very tired but very well informed after a long day.

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When we got back to the hotel we all sat together outside to reflect on what we’d seen and went on to have a couple of drinks and lighten the mood by talking about work of all things. We ate dinner there which was nice but Joes never came so he opted for a packet of Oreos instead. We met a guy from Wolverhampton who had lived in Phnom Penh for 3 years he took us all for a walk and showed us some of the street art that a couple of local artists had done. I’ll leave you with that!

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Joe booked us an early bus to Kampot the next morning so we soon retired to our – not so – comfy bed. At this point i’ll add the only reason we’re going to Kampot is because Joe has seen a video of a waterslide that he wants to go on and that particular waterslide is at a hostel thats fully booked tomorrow. So we’ll spend two nights in Kampot! But it looks very scenic and chilled and we’ve both had enough of the city by now so i’m quite excited. 

Paris X

New Years Resolution update:

10.02.2017 (Week 6 of challenge) Books Read:

  1. A Dance With Dragons 1: Dreams And Dust – George R. R. Martin
  2. A Dance With Dragons 2: After The Feast – George R. R. Martin
  3. Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
  4. Comfort food – Kitty Thomas
  5. Mark One – John Hindmarsh (must read sequel at some point)
  6. Girl Undone – Marla Madison
  7. The Sick House – Ambrose Ibsen

Status: ONE WEEK AHEAD!!