After having never been to Thailand before I entered through the North and spend my first three weeks in this area. With never being any further south than Udon Thani I think I’ve seen a very different side of the country to the regular tourist. The South is, of course, yet to come and I’m sure it will be a completely different experience, for one there will be no need for a hoodie morning and night. I really like what I’ve seen of the country so far and its all been really well priced, I’ve not done much in the way of tourist attractions, rather, just hanging out and I’m getting by on less than £10 a day, which is what some people told me I’d be paying for the room alone.
Monthly Archives: December 2011
After travelling for five months or so now I’ve really got in the swing of moving from place to place and keeping my bags as packed as I can, all the time knowing I still have months to go. I knew roughly when I would be going home(after about two months of travel anyway), that it would be just before Easter for some family engagements and guaranteed good British food to compensate for the lack of a Sunday Roast or Christmas Dinner all winter. Or ‘winter’ as I should say.
But today I booked the flight home and now there’s a set date and I know its final so now I’m panicking and looking at all the places I still need to squeeze in before I leave and it suddenly seems like time is so short despite still having over 3 months, and a third of my journey, left.
Laos never initially took my liking and I was planning on skipping it all together until I was faced with not really liking Cambodia and having to spend 30 days there to time my Thai visa correctly. So the only solution was to pop up into Laos and find out what that has to offer. I was pleasantly surprised, I expected something that would be almost identical to Cambodia and feared the worst.
All three of these countries share a similarly dismal past, were ruled by the French a hundred or so years ago and have huge amounts of trauma in living memory. Vietnam was never a particularly powerful country, it was part of China on about four separate occasions, was taken over by France and then dealt with an internal war between the north and south over communism. Because at the time the Americans hated anything even close to having a sickle on it they decided to join the south and bomb the hell out of the border area. The Americans didn’t stop at this as there were sporadic bombings in Cambodia, who I think had been letting the northeners walk down through their land, and blanket bombing in Laos, who as far as I remember had very little to do with anything. Laos is now officially the most bombed country in the world and many areas are scattered with UXO’s (unexploded bomb stuff that kills adults and children regularly, in some provinces as many as one per day).
For those of you not familiar with the phrase ‘same same’ it is what you will often hear round the streets of SE Asia from people such as market sellers comparing two things which are at the same time similar but often very different, i.e different qualities of product. In a way I think this phrase really sums up the three countries; Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. In a way the three countries are quite similar, the streets can look and function the same and the food has very similar staples but at the same time any two can feel worlds apart.