Where to Wander: Part I

Well, the past few months have been quite the rollercoaster personally! I moved into a new apartment, started my new teaching job, and have traveled to a few places around Bangkok. While I’ve successfully written in a daily journal since I’ve arrived, I’ve also ignored this blog. What else is new?

Thus far I’ve been to four places: Pattaya (has potential but was unfortunately mired in the “sexpat” scene), Koh Samui (beautiful and need to return), Koh Phangan (site of the notorious Full Moon Party and essentially nothing else), and Cambodia (a technicality as I was there for 30 minutes on a border run). All were lovely little jaunts, but I feel as though I came here for a reason – to travel! It’s important for me to start planning out where I really want to go while I’m here. So, I shall publicly display them here in the hopes it will remind me to plan. I’ll think big and start with other countries.

Laos

Pak Ou (Source)

Luang Prabang has a reputation for being extremely relaxed and relaxing, which I am all for. Phu Si will give me my workout for the day (329 steps up!), and the Handicraft Night Market also seems like a lovely place to wander, though I have a feeling that I will soon tire of markets as I will temples. What doesn’t sound tired is Pak Ou, a cave temple (!) just outside of Luang Prabang. It seems absolutely eerie and magical. Not too far from Pak Ou is Ban Xang Hai village, where they are famous for locally-produced wine and whiskey (right up my alley). Finally, the sheer number of waterfalls and lagoons (like Blue Lagoon and Kuang Si) is impressive. I don’t think I could resist a soak in those waters.

Cambodia

Choeung Ek (Source)

Again, technically I’ve been here but it certainly didn’t constitute a check off the ol’ travel list. Of course, there’s Angkor Wat, a prolific landmark of the country. I’ve had friends who have been there already. I’m also fascinated with Cambodia’s dark history and the reign of the Khmer Rouge. The Tuol Sleng Museum of Genocidal Crimes and the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek are both landmarks of this tumultuous and frightening time, and visiting them would be a good way to learn more and to pay my respects.

China

darchen-full-view
Darchen (Source)

Oh man, this country will be a challenge to see in one go. A whopper of a trip. Honestly I sucked the life out of Lonely Planet (process ongoing) to try and pick out my top sights. I really enjoy nature and natural sights, so the Tiger Leaping Gorge and Yangzi are definitely up there. Both seem totally surreal. My golden gem of a visit would be to go to Darchen & Mount Kailash in Tibet, if I can get there. In addition to the outdoorsy stuff, I’d love to see the Forbidden City in Běijīng and Tiánzǐfáng (French Concession) in Shànghǎi. And, of course, who could forget or ignore the Great Wall. I can envision the touristy selfie now.

Vietnam

thien-duong
Thiên Đường Cave (Source)

Parks on parks on parks on parks! Cat Tien National Park seems like a wonderful place to observe wildlife, and its exclusivity (you have to call ahead) makes it enticing. Thiên Đường (Paradise) Cave in Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park may ignite my bathophobia, but for a good cause. Imagine seeing one of those ginormous fangs of stone hanging right in front of your face. I’ll just make sure to meditate twice as long before I go. There’s Halong Bay, of course – but nearby Ba Be National Park looks incredible, secluded and lush. A hiker’s paradise. Also, someone please remind me to get my malaria shots. Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi seem quite similar to Bangkok in terms of energy, so I will probably spend very little time in either. Hoi An, however, sounds much more up my alley – an old marine town.

Okay, that’s about enough research for today, but I will definitely be writing about India, Malaysia, Japan, Indonesia, The Phillipines, Nepal, and Australia later.

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