Asian - Transsiberian Adventure 2012
- Thursday, May 24, 2012
- Friday, May 25, 2012
The same as the other times i went to Bangkok. Have a feeling to leave the same day, it is sort of a love/hate relationship I guess? So did the whole Bangkok thing to give it a chance. Seeing beautiful temples, take a boattrip on the river, ringside to Muya Thai Boxing, wandering around the streets, saying no a million times to all kinds of suggestions and trying the local food and local transport incl. a tuk-tuk which is one of those things you only try once in a busy hot city like this. Oh yeah- and drinking more water than I have the last week. Damn its hot. And even though I will never say I think Bangkok is a beautiful city, it certainly has charming and interesting places...
- Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (5:25 pm)
The plane flew over Ho Chi Minh City (or Saigon as I and some locals still prefer to call) and the sight was amazing. Saigon River which twisted and turned around the city and a hectic buzz of traffic. I noticed the many motorbikes driving like conducted miniatures and thought that it would be interesting to see up close. It didn't let me down even though the word interesting about the traffic doesn't quite cut it. It takes a certain amount of blind trust to cross the street. The cars and many motorcycles doesn't stop for anybody (not even old ladies) so it's about keeping your eyes open and taking one step at the time guessing if the bikes will pass you left or right and don't let it fool you if the street is oneway, some will still drive the wrong direction. In the guidebook it is described as a living organism that breathes life and vitality into all who settle there and visitors cannot help but be hauled along for the ride... I now think that what they mean is you are so happy to be alive and well after crossing the hectic streets that you feel the vitality running though your body!!
Apart from that Saigon is a safe, easy and interesting city to walk around in. It has a cool atmosphere and its even cheaper than in Bangkok and the food here is also excellent. However, after trying one of the streetstands my stomach didn't quite agree. It has been hot here but I have really relaxed, reading a book (Paolo Choelo - Eleven Minutes), getting nice massages and basically just chilled out which is easy to do in this city.
When a person has a store life takes place there. It opens early, they eat in the shop, sleep in the shop at midday and close late. The same goes for others, anything goes from sleeping on a blanket on the street to on a motorcycle or a few chairs.
Normally when going to a foreign country I learn hello and thank you the first day. Here in Vietnam I quickly also learned no! because they really hassle you about taxi, massage, boom boom and different kind of drugs and don't respect a no.
- Friday, June 1, 2012
Nha Trang (6:30 pm)
The long beach of Nha Trang is strethed out over some kilometers and is used by the tourists at day who are busy getting a sunburn and the locals in the evening when the sun is almost down and the weather is cooler (but the water still very warm). The beach and water is really amasing, but for the cultural fun I took a local boat tour and spent a long day at the sea. I wasnt disappoint as for the cultural aspect. I was the only european on the boat and there were only 3 foreigners. Here we snokelled and cruised around the islands off the coast and spent some time at a floating village where we had a party in the water, it was crazy! The tour also dropped us at a resort and at a strange aquarium which was really badly made, but nevertheless fun to see how bad it can be made :) At the end I had talked to quite a few vietnamese and it was great to be with them in a situation like this where it is not only people who want you to buy something you talk to. However, the tourguide, ofcourse said he had some hot girls for me, I could just call him... I can just picture him being tourguide at the sea at day and driving around in the city on a motorbike at night asking tourists for massage, boom boom and what have we not...
Back in Nha Trang itself there really isn't that much to see except a wonderful old Cham ruins and towers so after that I made a motorbike take me to the countryside where I saw the daily life of the people away from the city. It was just 3 hours on the back of a bike but it was a bit rough terrain at times so back at the hotel I thought I could take a relaxing massage there because that must definitely be professionel there without any other wierd suggestions at the end of the massage... wrong again!! :)
- Monday, June 4, 2012
Boy was it great to walk the old streets of Hoi An. In the daytime its walking street so it was so quiet and delightful to get away from the noice of motorbikes and horns. The old town itself doesnt take long to see so I took my time and enjoyed the atmospheric UNESCO city. It almost felt like I was in China since many of the houses, temples and buildings was buildt by Chinese. I stayed at a hotel who had a wonderful view over the ricefields and the city. One day here is enough though if given more time it could be a cool place to relax, get some clothes from the many tailors here and just chill out.
- Tuesday, June 5, 2012
This Unesco World Heritage site is a former imperial capital with a lot of history. I mainly visited the Citadel in the center of town and just strolled around, enjoying myself. Then decided I couldn't be bothered with a 15 hour journey to Hanoi and booked a plane ticket instead. Which would leave me less time in Hue but give me more time up north in the hope to go to the highlands as well as Hanoi.
- Thursday, June 7, 2012
Imagine 2000 islands rising from the emerald waters and you have a vision of breathtaking beauty. I cruised inbetween all the limestones for 2 days and one night on a ship and even though it rained a bit on the second day it was just an extraordinary trip to a very beautiful and tranquil place (once you get free of all the daytour touristboats...)
- Friday, June 8, 2012
Vietnams capital and some say the most graceful and exotic in Asia. I don't really agree but it is certainly is a vibrant city with amazing outdoor life, street kicthens, markets and other activity. It is less hassle to walk around Hanoi compared to the southern cities which is a nice relief.
- Saturday, June 9, 2012
Hong Kongs main attraction is really the city itself. With its more than 8000 skyscrapers it is a remarkable and unique city unlike any I've seen. It has a western feel to it, especially when coming from Vietnam. The traffic and lights here are organised, and it is really a city where anything can happen. Had some late nights since they had great bars where I could see Denmarks football matches and some other teams.
- Wednesday, June 13, 2012
I was raining all day but that didn't stop me exploring this city. Being an old Portuguese colony the old part of town almost had a European feel too it from the pavement to the houses. It was very charming to walk around in it and feel the mix between European and Chinese. At the end I of course had to burn some money at the casino, but it didn't take long to loose :)
- Thursday, June 14, 2012
Will be great to see how the city is now since last time I visited in 2003. Will revisit the forbidden city and the wall and take some long walks in this vibrant city.
This is the starting point of the transsiberian/transmongolian adventure the 20th of June where I will join a group of fellow travellers and jump onboard the train.
- Thursday, June 21, 2012
The world's most remote capital - Ulaanbaatar.
Crammed between superpowers Russia and China, the now independent nation of Mongolia is a destination that has only recently been opened up to tourism. The capital, Ulaanbaatar (UB), is a city in which new meets old as Mongolians in traditional dress mingle with the nation's business elite. The nation's close relationship with the old Soviet Union is evident in the Soviet style architecture and the old Russian cars.
Exploring the city's many museums is a real eye-opener into a turbulent history including the time of that most famous of Mongolia's historical figures, the feared and respected ruler, Chinghis Khan.
Will see the most important Mongolian temple complex - Gandan Monastery, and learn about the history of Buddhism in Mongolia, will see chanting monks and - if lucky - might get an advise from the local fortune teller. After the Monastery, the tour will continue in the Winter Palace of the last Mongolian King (the only King's palace survived the Revolution). And at the end of the tour we'll visit Zaisan Hill - great viewpoint with a monument to Soviet soldiers.
- Saturday, June 23, 2012
- Monday, June 25, 2012
A long trainjourney with a little break in this bordercity.
The evening before we board our two-night train (40 hrs) that takes us into southern Russia. This train is the most local of all the trains we take on this journey and we shouldn't expect the height of luxury.
We reach the town of Naushki where we go through our border formalities at the Mongolian/Russian borders, processing passports and waiting for nothing in particular. Around 3 pm we continue on to Irkutsk (one more night on train).
- Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Old buildings and time-worn mansions lend a beauty to this remote but flourishing city, sometimes called The Paris of Siberia. Founded over 350 years ago it prospered as a market town on the ‘Tea Route’ between China and Europe. Irkutsk today is proud of its place in Russian history, and is always a highlight of any Trans Mongolian rail journey.
- Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Over 600 kilometres long and up to 80 kilometres wide, Baikal contains one-fifth of the earth's fresh water and is home to many unique species. We enjoy the lakeside village of Listvyanka and a chance to walk along the lake shore and for the adventurous - a swim!
- Friday, June 29, 2012
After 2 days on the transsiberian railroad we arrive to Jekaterinburg. A city founded by Peter the Great in 1723 and situated just 40 kilometres inside Asia, Ekaterinburg's main attractions are its associations with historical events. On our walking city tour we will take in the history and intrigue surrounding the murder of the Romanov family, an event which ushered in the Communist era in 1918.
- Monday, July 2, 2012
The great city of Moscow has seen Russia through some of her most turbulent years. The city has survived the trauma and tribulations of centuries of revolution, from the days of the Tzars through the communist era to the growing pains of democracy. Despite the glamour and show of modern capitalism, exploring Moscow is like taking step back in time. Names of places such as the 'Kremlin' and the 'Red Square', bring forth unforgettable images of the Cold War era. It's worthwhile taking the time to explore the streets of this evocative city and visit Ivan the Terrible's extraordinary St Basil's Cathedral.
- Thursday, July 5, 2012
One of Europe's finest, the city is largely built of baroque European architecture combined with the opulent palaces of Russian royalty. Its tree-lined streets and cosmopolitan atmosphere make it a favourite destination for travellers. On the morning of arrival to St Petes we take a walking tour of the city. The afternoon is free for you to explore the northern Venice.
On the morning of day 20 we visit the Hermitage museum - one of the biggest museums in Europe, famous not only for its amazing art collection, but for being Tsars' palace for almost 200 years.
- Saturday, July 7, 2012
- Sunday, July 8, 2012
- total distance: 13,463 miles (21.667 km)