1/20/10: Southeast Asia
Top Five To-Dos
- Cruise Ha Long Bay through the real Sinh Cafe
- Tour the Central Highlands of Vietnam with the real Easy Riders Da Lat
- Explore Angkor Wat and the surrounding temples
- Learn to cook with Chiang Mai Thai Cookery School
- Eat at as many street stalls and food courts as you can find
Top Five Don’t-Dos
- Get scammed in Bangkok, or anywhere else for that matter
- Take the overnight bus from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh
- Spend too much time in the dirty, overpopulated capital cities (except KL)
- Get your kidney stolen in Vietnam
- Joke and laugh in front of a prison where 20,000 people were killed three decades ago
Top Five Things We Learned
- If you are light-skinned you’re no more than a walking cash machine to many locals. While it’s usually easy to say no to merchants selling you junk, it’s not as easy to pick out the scammers. Use your best judgment as some people are actually trying to help, but in general do not trust any stranger, no matter how friendly.
- There are more cars, buses, tuk-tuks, motorbikes and bicycles clogging the streets than there are pepperonis on a large Donato’s pizza (mmm… pizza). Do not wait for traffic to clear before crossing the street, as you’ll never get anywhere. Simply take a deep breath and start walking slowly through the street. Vehicles will tend to avoid running into you if they can help it.
- Cambodia only uses rial when giving change under $1. Many places in Vietnam take the dollar and it actually hurts to pay in dong. In Cambodia you can withdraw USD at ATMs, but bring plenty of US dollars.
- The original Sinh Cafe carries such a good reputation that nine out of every ten travel agencies in Hanoi have changed their name to Sinh Cafe. Do your research to find the real one (40 Luong Ngoc Street) and book all your tours and travel arrangements in Vietnam and Cambodia through the real Sinh Cafe.
- Because we’re traveling on a fairly tight budget, we’ve always said no to unnecessary expenditures like information books and tour guides. Sometimes though you miss 90% of an experience by walking blindly through it by yourself. You’ll learn and appreciate so much more if you splurge on cheap tour guides when available.
Kevin’s Top Five Favorite Pictures
Zhou’s Top Five Favorite Pictures
- Total days: 44
- Days over budget: 17
- Days under budget: 27
- Total dollars under budget: $31.85
- Countries visited: 5
- Combined number of fruit shakes consumed in Thailand: 41
- Hours spent on buses and trains: 132.8
- Nights spent on buses and trains: 7.5
- Average lodging expenditure per night: $14.90
- Average daily food expenditures per person: $8.39
- Kevin’s new fruits: 8
- Money paid for ATM fees: $17.92
- Times Kevin watched the Chargers/Jets game replay: 2
Puzzles for Postcards
Hidden Colors (Remember, at least five letters long, can be hidden forward or backward)
The penguins wore matching tuxedos to the stop global warming shindig on a melting icecap.
Did someone paint polka dots all over my piano, or am I seeing spots again?
Picture of the Day: A flashback to Zhou standing next to the symbiotic crane and turtle in Hanoi.