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Travel Plans, Part 2

Biking and eating our way through Indochina and Thailand

4 days to go!! Almost hyperventilating with excitement now!

In the last entry I told you all about our trekking plans in the Himalayas; now it's time to reveal what else we've got planned for the rest of our adventure in Asia.

In mid-November we leave the glaciers and gompas of Buddhist Sikkim for a change of pace in Vietnam. Our down jackets and thermal base layers will be surplus to requirements as we cross the Tropic of Cancer and head for sultry Hanoi. We'll be based here for a week, and top of the agenda (apart from counting our blisters) will be to visit the incredible Ha Long Bay area.

Hanoi is also the starting point for our next activity, and some of you will think it's even crazier than the trekking! We have signed up for a 3-week mountain biking trip into the northern highlands of Vietnam and across the border into Laos. The trip is run by a specialist UK company called Redspokes, and you can read all about it here - all 1200km of it! Along the way we'll encounter Hmong hill tribes and the historic city of Luang Prabang.

The bike ride finishes in Vientiane, the capital of Laos, from where we catch a flight to Phnom Penh in Cambodia. From here, it's a short hop to the coast where we will only have one thing on our minds - beach, beach, beach! A few days in the backpacker mecca that is Sihanoukville will hopefully ease the saddle-soreness and achy legs. We can't visit Cambodia and not include Angkor Wat in the itinerary, so our next port of call will be Siem Reap, from where it's easy to arrange trips to the temples. We may even feel ready to hire bikes and cycle round them!

As we head into the final month of the trip, we'll be on the move again, this time hopping across the border into Thailand and catching a night train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai in the north of the country. There's lots of sights and activities in this region, including National Parks, waterfalls, caves, elephant camps, Thai cookery schools and trekking - if we haven't already had our fill. We will also be celebrating Christmas with the Thais in Chiang Mai.

Southern Thailand will be our final destination, but we'll only have three weeks to see some of the highlights. We start by flying to Phuket and heading up the Andaman Coast to Khao Lak, the starting point of a 3-day snorkelling tour of the Similan Islands. New Year will be spent in Khao Sok National Park in search of gibbons, bears and hornbills. We'll be staying in a traditional raft house and looking for jungle wildlife by boat and on foot.

We'll use buses and ferries to island-hop down the Andaman Coast to Koh Tarutao National Park, via Krabi and Koh Lanta. Here, we want nothing more than an idyllic beach on which to pitch our tent and enjoy the last few days of freedom! Finally, we hot-foot it to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia for our return flight home and the harsh reality of the British winter, bills and work!

Posted by Chris Parsons 12:43 Tagged cambodia thailand vietnam laos planning

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Looks like you'll be doing the night train to Chiang Mai exactly a month after I do :)

by Andrew Gameson

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