I can’t quite believe it but we have now been away from home for a whole year. We’re not anywhere near where we thought we would be this time a year ago or followed any of the plans we made, nonetheless we have a lot of great memories from our time away so far.
So here is a list of the times that stick in my head most, starting at the very beginning.
Our Adventure Begins – Nothing can match the excitement of touching down in your first location, emerging from the underground in Beijing was both scary and exhilarating at the same time. That first glimpse of Asia.
Great Wall of China – Our first big land mark of the trip. We made the effort to go to a more remote part of the wall and were rewarded with incredible views and sections to ourselves. Definitely one of the places that needed to be ticked off our list. I’d love to go back one day and see another section even further from Beijing.
Becoming a recovering heroin addict in Xiamen – Treating ourselves to a hotel room in Xiamen seemed like a good idea at the time but it led me to the worst night of my life. Ending with me sweating, swearing, shivering, bright red and in pain outside a pharmacy at 7am, much to the bewilderment of passing school children and parents.
Victoria Peak, Hong Kong – Another one of the must see points on our trip. Despite terrible weather for most of the day we were treated to a few moments when the clouds cleared and gave us some great views. Staying in Chungking mansions was an experience as well.
Ha Long Bay, Vietnam – This stands out both for the amazing place that is Ha Long Bay and the amount of fun we had on our Hanoi Backpackers tour. So many cool people and so much beer made for one hell of a party. A very nice and intense welcome to the SE Asia backpacker scene.
Dalat, Vietnam – Not completely off the backpacker path but far less visited than most places, Dalat was a real change from our other stops in Vietnam. People selling on the streets actually avoided us rather than running over which was a nice change. It could easily be an adventure capital for the area, so many great options available, canyoning in particular was a lot of fun. Kirsty’s hospital visit, not so much….
Chaing Mai – Far too many good things about Chiang Mai to mention individually. We lived there for three months and fell in love with the place, made great friends, had friends from home visit and could easily have stayed longer. Somewhere we will definitely end up again in the future again and again.
Tubing in Vang Vieng, Laos – Something we had been looking forward to for so long whilst planning our trip and it didn’t disappoint. It’s just as fun as it sounds, if not more. We were lucky to have some great company and I’m excited to take my friends from home back there in November, it’s going to get messy.
Getting a Teaching Job in Thailand – We had to cut our time in Cambodia short but it meant we had the opportunity to live in Bangkok for a year. Kirsty had no teaching experience but got through a nervy test class and is now loving every minute of teaching. “There sooo cuuuuttee”
Malaysian Grand Prix – Kirsty has always been an F1 fan so we headed off to Malaysia to catch this years race, much to the jealousy of her family. A great weekend away and of course any excuse to go away is a good one.
Songkran – Wow, again just like tubing, it’s as mental and fun as it sounds. We got back from Malaysia during Songkan and were wet within minutes of being on the streets. We were able to spend some time with some other bloggers we had been trying to meet for ages and had an amazing couple of days. If you get the chance, do not pass up Songkran.
Visiting Parents – Recently I even managed to get my old folks out here. We spent a week up in Chiang Mai, a week down on Koh Lanta before a final week in our home of Bangkok. Now I just need them to move to Chiang Mai full time so I can have a second home from home.
So there you have it and we’re not done yet, with another 9 months until we fly home to prepare for our next adventure who knows what will make the 2nd year highlights. Coming up we have trips to Malaysia, Chiang Mai and Laos all before the end of the year and I’m sure we’ll be squeezing a lot more in as well.
Have you done any of our highlights? or maybe you can recommend something we’ve missed along the way?