The collected writings of a Renegade Tourist

Tag Laos

The Big Indochina Trip: final reflections

I’ve been at home for a while now and had time to reflect a bit about the trip and the countries I visited.

Though the region is called Indochina (from the two main cultural influences on the region), it’s much less homogeneous than you might think at first glance. Geographically they are of course very similar with jungles and mountains and very similar climates. The difference lies in the people and culture. In my experience Laos and Cambodia are very similar and Thailand, though more developed, is culturally close to them as well. Vietnam sticks out  as very different from the other … Read the rest

The Big Indochina Trip: back home 

I’m back home and I’ve had a fantastic trip! I’ve actually been at home for a few days now but I haven’t posted anything until now because it’s taken a few days to unpack my stuff and sort through all my photos. Now I’m done with all that and it’s time to write the last post.


Before I sum up my trip however, I want to do a little bit of promotion:
The people I stayed with in Mae Hong Son were so nice and so hospitable I think they deserve a special recommendation. If you (or anyone you know) are … Read the rest

The Big Indochina Trip: taking care of business 

At the end of November I wrote that I had left my motorbike with a travel agent in order to try and sell it. Well, just a few days after leaving Laos I got a message from the travel agent saying she had sold it to some backpackers and now she wanted to know how to send me the money. I told her to send it via Western Union since they have offices all over Asia. Thinking I would be able to collect the money in  few days, Yini and I continued traveling in Cambodia just like planned. When the … Read the rest

The Big Indochina Trip: seven buses and a taxi.

After many trials and tribulations I’m finally in Phnom Penh. I started at eight in the morning at the travel agent where I left the motorbike, with a large tourist bus. The air con was cranked all the way to eleven, some of the airvents even had curtains stuffed in them to stem the flow. Since I was in sneakers and long trousers it was ok though.

We took off about twenty minutes after schedule and stopped a few times along the way so when we reached Nakasong ferry terminal  it was already eleven. I thought the people headed for … Read the rest

Highway 7 near Chub, 8:35 pm.

Our minibus is parked in the side of the road with the engine still running. The driver is outside, trying to call for assistance while the  passengers are stuck inside with the closed-in heat and smell of diesel. The engine is running badly, it sounds like an old tractor and the whole bus is shaking with the thumping rhythm of the piston strokes. The letters VIP, printed in white on the rear window, seem very ironic now.… Read the rest

The Big Indochina Trip: workaround and waterfalls

There are two possible solutions to my border problems that I can think of: to sell the bike here and possibly buy a new one in Cambodia, or to stash the bike here, go to Cambodia for a few days. Then, when I have been away for long enough to avoid the 30 day rule for Vietnamese visa exemptions, come back, collect the bike and ride it back to Vietnam and from there into Cambodia. 

I was lucky enough to find a way to combine the two methods which gives me more options than anything else. I put an add … Read the rest

Tad Fane falls, 3:24 pm

Two rivers, or possible two streams of the same river, flow over the edge and into a large, almost cylindrical hole cutting vertically down through jungle clad cliffs. The left falls tumbles slowly, majestically downwards to the little pool at the bottom. The right one goes bounding over the edge them comes crashing down onto an outcrop of rock where it splits and widens, sending splashes in all directions. The two streams of white water are surrounded by spray thrown into the air as the water hits the rocks. From this distance it looks almost like white smoke billowing around … Read the rest

Tad Champee waterfall, 2:24 pm

The fall comes crashing down with an absolutely deafening roar just a few meters to my right, a wide curtain of water obscuring the view of the river valley outside. On my left, the moss clad rock wall curving upwards towards the lip of the fall, forming a sort of semi circular tunnel that goes behind the fall, then continues along the edge of the little pool at the bottom. The spray from the fall hits me like mist but it’s not enough to really make me wet so I can stand here a moment in awe at the  forces … Read the rest

Tad Champee waterfall, 2:10 pm

I’m sitting on a little two-plank bridge across the stream, dangling my feet in the cool water. The fall in front of me isn’t very tall, only a few meters, but it’s wide, like the large, semi circular brim of a bowl, the water flowing over the edge into the green pool at the bottom. The sunlight shining through a gap in the clouds hits the spray and forms a rainbow that hangs, evanescent and shimmering, in front of the the green clad rock wall.… Read the rest

Tad E-tu waterfall 12:07 pm

I’m by the small turquoise  pool at the foot of the falls. In front of me the water comes crashing down from a ledge of charcoal grey rock. The booming is so deep and so loud it sounds like someone playing the bass drum right next to me. In the background the gurgling of the water downstream and the shriek of cicadas. Around me the steeply sloping sides of the river valley, covered in verdant green.… Read the rest

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