We had always wanted to explore more of our world and in November of 1999, after completing a trek of the Gorkha region in Nepal (see Trekking in Nepal), we set out to do just that. This was our big chance to see if we could survive two months of backpacking, living out a suitcase and making all our own arrangements. We became middle aged backpackers on the banana pancake circuit, using local modes of transport and adjusting our route as we went along. It was a great success. In fact, we returned home reluctantly on February 1, 2000 already planning for the next year's trip.
We flew from Kathmandu to Bangkok on November 22, 1999 to start our trip. After touring Bangkok, we travelled north in Thailand, stopping in Ayuthaya, Sukothai, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Chiang Kong, where we crossed the border to Laos. We took a boat down the Mekong River to Pakbeng and then a local bus inland to Udom Xai, then on to Luang Prabang, Vang Vien and Vientiane. From there, we flew to Hanoi. We spent Christmas in the northern towns of Sapa and Bac Ha and celebrated the New Year in Halong Bay. The tourist buses took us south to Hue, Hoi An, Nha Trang and Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). After touring the Mekong Delta, we flew to Siem Reap in Cambodia to visit the temples of Angkor Wat, took a fastboat to the capitol Phnom Penh and ended our Cambodian trip with a beach holiday in Sihanoukville (Kompong Song). We returned to Thailand by boat, crossing the border at Hat Lek. A songthew took us to Trat, where we caught the ferry to the island of Ko Chang and chose a beach resort to enjoy the sun and surf. Finally, we returned to Bangkok where we caught our flight home on Feb 1, 2000.
Jeanne discovered that Internet Cafes were opening in every town we visited. This made communication with everyone back home very easy and she started sending accounts of their trip via email. If you would like to read these emails and hear more about our adventures, click on one of the episodes listed below.
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