In today’s story I won’t tell a fairy-tale before. Because this story is already adventurous and exciting itself. I will tell you about my travel in South East Asia, which was not just a normal travel. I will split it in three parts. Two of them tell the story and in the third one, I will interpret it and tell you, what those times teaches me and what I have learned.
Crazy, dangerous, exciting and heartily. Have Fun 😊
It was November 2015. After my first long travel I have been back home in Germany for a few months. But I decided quit quickly to travel again. So, me and a very good friend Kristina decided to go for a year to New Zealand. I have visited this beautiful country already and couldn’t wait, to go there again.
But just New Zealand seems too boring for us. We wanted another adventure, so we have booked a flight to South Thailand first, without any further flight to New Zealand. We wanted to be spontaneously without any time limit in Asia.
The adventure started.
Our first stop at the Airport in Frankfurt was the information centre to ask, where our check in is. We have booked an Airline which is famous for bad Service and the guy at the information stand just confirmed that. He was laughing, showed us the way and said, “good Luck with that Airline, hopefully everything will be good.” But we weren’t worried too much in that moment. We were happier that we have got a very cheap flight.
After the check in we were waiting in the passenger hall just in front of the boarding gate as we heard an announcement of our Airline. They overbooked the Plane and six Passengers couldn’t take the flight. But if they would find six volunteers who take a flight 9 hours later, they would give them a compensation payment of 600 Euro. We weren’t in rush and 600 Euro was a lot of money, so we went to the counter and told the Lady that we are willing to take the next flight. “Amazing”, she said and brought us to an area where we had to wait for further information.
After we were waiting at least 45 Minutes, the Lady came to us and said that we must take the present flight now, because they made any mistake. We were wondering, because the check in was already a while ago and they probably put our luggage already out of the plane. But the Lady confirmed that everything will be alright. So, we trusted her and she brought us to a man, who droves us over the half Airport directly to our Plane. This plane was about to leave and opened the doors again, just for us. So, we jumped in.
After 12 hours flight we arrived the Airport in Phuket, Thailand.
At the bagging claim we waited for our Backpacks. We were waiting and waiting. And waiting. After a long time, there were just two suitcases going around the treadmill, which were obviously not ours. We started to be worried and asked some people at the Airport. But nobody could have help us, they didn’t even spoke English very well. After a while a Lady came finally to help us. After a few phone calls she told us, that our Backpacks are still in Germany.
We were shocked but happy that we still got our handbags which contains at least a shirt and shorts, Walled, Chargers, Phones and Laptops. She said that our Luggage will arrive at our Hotel in the next couple of days.
We have booked a little Bungalow Hotel on the tropical Island Koh Phi Phi. The positive thing was, we didn’t have to carry our luggage, the negative there were no supermarkets.
So, we walked through the Streets markets and try to find at least a tooth brush, mosquito spray, shower gel and sunscreen. In a little convenience store we found what we were looking for and bought also a Bikini at the Market. So, we had one shirt and one short, one slip and one Bikini. That must be enough for the next days, we thought.
The next two days we totally enjoyed the island. We danced in the water at the party beach. Amazing music and the moon escorted us. We had walks through the wonderful Island and got a taste of the delicious Thai food.
The second night we went to a little restaurant which was built like a tree house. A very cosy atmosphere with light strings on the trees and relaxing music surrounded us. But suddenly I felt weird. I felt out of energy and just wanted my bed. So, we went back to our bungalow and I went straight to the Bathroom. I have empty almost my whole body. I have spent hours at the toilet until I felt comfortable to walk back to the bed. There, Kris gave me a Glass of water but after every Sip, I had to threw up again. I had fever and at this point I was even too weak to make it to the toilet. You can imagine the rest. One of the worse things in those Situations is, that on that kind of Islands are no doctors or hospitals.
Late at night or rather early in the morning I finally made it to fall asleep. As I woke up a few hours later I still spend time at the toilet and had fever, but felt a little bit better than before. We decided to get another hotel with a proper bathroom. Because our recent bathroom was more a little hole in a wooden shed without a good working flush.
Our Luggage was still not there after three days waiting. But the women who worked there wanted to let us know when it arrives at the Bungalows.
I felt much better in the other room. I also went to a pharmacy to ask what it could be. The Lady inside said it sounds like a food poison and gave me some antibiotics. In countries like that it is quite common for tourists to get an infection because of food or drinks. The hygienic standard is very different to the western culture and it is important to be careful, especially with the tap water.
After a few days I was healthy and our Luggage arrived finally. We decided to travel up to Bangkok. We took a boat to Krabi and from there a Night Bus to Bangkok. The Bus was alright. We have got a Lunch packet and the seats were good enough to sleep. Just the Bus driver’s talent of driving wasn’t that great, but we survived. After 12 hours we arrived Bangkok in the early morning.
We have got a taxi to our hotel. Taxis in Bangkok can be a little bit tricky. It is important to make sure that the taxi has a taximeter. Otherwise they will cheat the people and probably demand a lot of money. Also, the fact that most of the taxi drivers don’t speak English makes it not easier. So, the best is to write the address down, best case in their language.
Bangkok is a very busy and fast city so we didn’t stay for a long time. After a couple of days shopping at the markets and walking through the busy streets, we took a night train to Chiang Mai. The drive with the train is much better than the busses. It is almost the same, very cheap prize, but more comfortable, faster and you have the possibility to move a little.
In the north of Thailand, we have spent two wonderful weeks in Chiang Mai and the little Hippie town Pai. From there we rented a scooter. It is very common for tourists to rent scooters. They are very cheap and perfect to discover the areas. And so, we did.
One day we visited some beautiful caves close to the border of Myanmar. We shared one Scooter and drove around a beautiful area. We have been surrounded by mountains and it was sometimes quite hard to get the scooter around the steep and sharp curves. But we made it. It was already late as we arrived the caves and we did the last guided tour. A small bamboo boat brought us on a little creek inside the cave. It was very quiet inside and I totally enjoyed this silence. We could just hear a few bats and the murmur of the creek. After we arrived the middle of the Cave, we moved on by feet. While we were walking through the cold stones we saw a spider, sitting on a stone. This spider had the size of a Pan. And even though I am not that afraid of spiders like many others, I hoped that this massive creature please wouldn’t move. It didn’t.
In the end of our tour, the guide told us that every day at exactly 6 o clock the Bats and the birds change their place in the cave. The bats are flying outside to hunt and the birds inside to sleep. We didn’t want to give that a miss but the guy said that will happen on the other side of the cave and we won’t have enough time. So, back outside we were waiting until he left the place and moved to the other side of the cave by ourselves. It started to get dark and the way to walk was about 20 Minutes long. We arrived that end of the cave and found a place to stay inside. And it was true, at 6 o clock all the bats were flying outside and the birds came in. It was nice to see and worth it to go there by ourselves.
Back to the scooter we were concerned about how to get back to Pai. It was a four to five-hour drive and it was already dark as anything. We both felt very uncomfortable with the thought of going back. But in that moment, we have met two very nice girls who were travelling as well. They told us that they have booked a Hostel not far from the caves and that we should come with them to stay the night there. It sounded like a very good solution to us and we followed the girls, who have got a scooter as well.
Who have read my travel advice's on my homepage probably saw the lodge cave hostel already there. The girls were leading us to one of the nicest and most beautiful hostels I have ever been. It was in the middle of the jungle. The rooms were little bungalows with tester beds. In the middle was a cosy Restaurant with a huge fireplace. In this area the days will be very hot, but the nights are cold. It is a good mix. We enjoyed our stay there and drove relaxed back the next day.
We have booked a Mini Van further to Chiang Rai, to see the white temple and go further to Laos. But before, we had to return our scooter. As we rented it the guy gave us two helmets as well. But as we wanted to return it, he said that one of those helmets is not his and that we must pay for the missing helmet. We couldn’t believe it. For sure it was his Helmet, why should we have another one suddenly. But he sticked to his mind and wanted money. After a long discussion we watched the security cam to see if we will find something there. But no success. So, we ended up paying for the helmet and keep the one, which was apparently not his.
We travelled further with Backpack, Hand luggage and now also a helmet. The Mini Van drove fast and rapidly through the curves and mountains. I was struggling with my stomach and almost threw up. After this amusingly ride I was so happy to finally arrive Chiang Rai. There, we rented another Scooter, visited the white temple, discovered the surroundings and spend time in our lovely little Hotel with a nice outside area. We even made it to sell our Helmet.
After a few days we were about to leave and go further to Laos. But for any reason we decided instead of going to Laos, which was pretty much just around the corner, to go to Cambodia, which was 1300 kilometre away from Chiang Rai. We booked a night bus to Bangkok and a following one to the border of Cambodia. After one Day and night we arrived Cambodia.
It took us a long time to make it to the other side of the border. We had to take pictures of us and passed a lot of offices for paperwork until we could enter the country.
Around three hours later, in the afternoon, we were staying on the other side in Cambodia.
And there, the real adventure began…
I felt immediately the different vibes of the country. Many people in Cambodia a poor and the political structure is very corrupt unfortunately. Especially behind the boarder I felt it. It is an area with a lot of broken buildings and streets, dust and poorness. But what I loved at this place was the fact that people are still happy. Children are playing and laughing, Families are looking happy and satisfied.
We walked through the streets to find either a Hostel or a Bus to go to Siem Reap, which was the next city and the place we wanted to go. But we couldn’t find anything. There were no busses and not even any hotels or hostels close by. But a lot of people who offered us a ride to Seam Riep as a private Taxi. But we felt uncomfortable to do that as we just arrived and didn’t know the culture that well. But after a few hours, we realized that we didn’t had another chance than take one of the offers. So, we found a guy who took us for not too much money to Seam Reap.
We ended up sitting in the car with two guys in the front, us in the back plus two more women and a child with high fever in the back as well. It was a tiny car, and I was struggling to breath inside, but at least we arrived the city at one point.
We booked an amazing hostel with beautiful pool and house restaurant. We enjoyed the city and especially the good and cheap food. We hired Bikes and made a tour through the old Temple City Angkor Wat. I think this was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen in my life. It was stunning and unbelievable how old and huge those temples are. It was magical to discover the area and very mystical. I felt like back in the time and even felt spirits around me. It is an amazing feeling there. The temples are full of monkeys, which are sometimes not that friendly. So, if you are there, take care about your stuff they might grab it. But the monkeys even make it more mysterious and I thought about the old temples in the movie the Jungle Book. Also, Elephants are walking around in that area, but mostly for rides which I absolutely defy.
We booked a Over Night Sleeping Bus from Siem Reap to Sihanoukville. From there we planned to go the Island Koh Rong. Inside the bus were little sleeping cabins, but they were half the size of a single bed and we had to share one cabin. I was so happy that I have been with Kris, because a cabin needs to be shared anyway, even if it’s with a stranger. We squeezed us in the little bed and tried to make it as comfortable as possible. But as soon as the bus started I realized, that the size of the bed wasn’t not at all my problem anymore. I have got another problem
“How do we survive this ride??”
The Bus driver was driving like he just drunk 2 Bottles of Whiskey. With full speed he drove into huge holes in the street, he overtook cars and just got back to his lane in the last minute, before hitting the car in front. He didn’t stopped speeding, no matter what was on the street. I was praying and my heart was bumping like a jackhammer. But I also realized, that I can’t change anything and I told myself whatever will happen, it is supposed to happen. After a while I really made it to fall asleep.
We woke up with the announcement of the bus driver, that this is the terminal and we all must go out. We moved out, grabbed our Luggage and went into the bus station. There, we realized that we are not in Sihanoukville, were the bus were supposed to go. We have been in the Capital Phnom Phen. We double checked our tickets and it was written Sihanoukville. So, we went to the office of the bus station. They told us to wait, until another bus will pick us up. We were quite pissed off because we paid for a bus ride directly, without a stopover. We were waiting around two hours until a little Mini Van came to pick us up. We were around 10 people sitting in that car, included all our Luggage. I sat in the front next to the Driver. The windscreen was about 3 cm in front of my nose and the engine of the car were sitting inside the car, just in the middle of me and the bus driver.
I prayed already to survive the last ride, but this one was even worse. The driver speeded up extremely and we almost had 20 accidents. The fact that the windscreen almost hit my nose and there were no seat belts in that van, didn’t make it any better.
At one point, I felt that the engine was getting very hot. I tried to tell this the bus driver and if he could please slow down a bit. But he couldn’t speak English, he just looked at me with a bright smile. The engine starts to steam because of the heat, the Bus Driver still smiled. But not long anymore because just a few minutes later, the car stopped. A break down in the middle of nowhere. We were all staying at the street and the heat outside was unbearable. We talked to the other travellers. It was a group of English people and there were such lovely. And blessing in disguise, one of them was a mechanical. The bus driver was pretty much just on his phone and the mechanical guy tried to figure out how to switch the engine on again. Successfully. After a while we could continue the way and were happy to arrive Sihanoukville without any more issues.
There, me, Kris and all the English guys had a dinner together. It was already late and we decided to stay overnight and take a boat the next day to Koh Rong. In this city there is a beautiful beach called Otres Beach. We booked a Hostel there and got a Tuk Tuk to get to the place. A Tuk Tuk is a little Wagon with a scooter in front. A bit like a horse carriage just with a scooter.
Our Hotel was a little Bungalow in front of the water in the sand. It was magical to fall asleep with the moonlight shining into the room and listen to the ocean waves.
After a beautiful breakfast at the beach we took a boat to the Island the next day. On this boat, we met a guy, also from England, who we have met already in the bus from Bangkok to Cambodia. What a coincidence we thought. We decided to look all together for a Bungalow to share.
As we arrived at the Island, they told us to first go into a certain Restaurant to get an introduction. Over there they told us that on this Island is no Doctor or Hospital and that we should be careful because it is full of poisonous snakes. I tried to don’t panic because this island was too beautiful to don’t enjoy it for 100 percent. There were absolutely no cars, no scooters or even bikes. The entire Island consist of sand, palms, jungle and for sure clear turquoise water. It felt like we arrived in paradise. There are just a few houses made from wood which are hotels, bars, restaurants or the home of the locals.
It was the 22sec of December and almost Christmas. For that reason, we decided to look for a higher grate Bungalow over the Christmas day. We found a beautiful three Bed Bungalow with a little Balcony and a view over the ocean. Perfect, we thought and enjoyed our first evening at the balcony. The next day I woke up and my whole left arm was itching like anything. It was burning and full of little bites. I was wondering what it was, but waited first a little while.
Kris, the English guy and I went for Lunch in a cute little Restaurant. We enjoyed the food, but I was concerned about my arm, which was already swollen and still itching a lot.
After the food I planned to go to the little Island Pharmacy to ask, what it could be. On our way we saw that the locals from the restaurant we have been before, running behind us. They stopped the English guy, and told him to give them back their money. We were absolutely wondering was going on. But in the end, it turned out that the guy stole money from a poor Cambodian Women. We were just shocked how he could do something bad like that and told him, that we going to move out of the Bungalow. Before I went to the pharmacy and the lady told me, that my arm is full of bed bug bites. I felt extremely disgusted and even my arm was getting thicker and thicker.
Bed bugs are a big problem in Hotel rooms and I went to the owner of that Bungalows to let him know about it, and to get our money back. He didn’t believe us. I was really annoyed of all of this and went into the room with my torch, in hope to find one of those Insects. And it was my lucky day. A big Bed Bug were still lying in my bed and I put it in a little bag, to show it the owner. He apologized and gave us the money back.
We grabbed all our stuff and looked for another hotel. We found a very cute little accommodation and were absolutely surprised as we saw the group of nice English people, we have met in the bus, who stayed as well in that hotel. Me and Kris shared a little cute wooden room. This Hotel included a cosy common area with free coffee and breakfast, TV, Sofas and two cute dogs. I felt very sorry for one of them who seemed like a puppy and had a very bad cough. He coughed the entire day and sometimes I thought he will suffocate. I would have loved to help him, but there was no vet or anything similar at this Island. So, I prayed for him.
It was Christmas Eve and we spend a beautiful Night at the beach. We all had a delicious Dinner together and enjoyed the Island vibes.
Me and Kris were supposed to spend the New Year’s Eve in the south of Thailand, going to the world famous full moon party. We already booked a Hotel there and a Flight from the south of Thailand to Bali, which was our next direction. But spontaneously we decided to spend New Year’s Eve also in Koh Rong, because it was so beautiful over there.
We have spent the days laying around at the beach, being in the water for hours, enjoying the amazing food and had a great New Year’s Eve Party at the beach.
Two days before our flight was going to Bali, we booked a Night Bus directly to Bangkok. From there we planned to book a following Bus to the South. A long journey was ahead again.
In the morning before we left, I woke up with a terrible cough. I couldn’t stop coughing. I was wondering if I get sick again and just hoped not to. We said goodbye to the English group and took our boat. In Sihanoukville we had to wait two hours for the night bus. We sat inside a lovely café as I received a massage of one of the English guys. He said that the dog stopped coughing since we left the island. I was shocked and couldn’t believe it. Since we arrived the island he almost never stopped coughing and since that morning I have got a terrible cough. I was sure that I saved him in getting his cough or something. It felt very strange.
The bus came and we squeezed us again into that little bed. After a while I felt asleep but just 4 hours later the bus driver woke us up to tell us that we have a break down. “For sure we have”, was my thought and I started coughing. It was terrible. It was 5 in the morning, I felt very sick and outside were around 30 degrees with 90% humidity. We waited and waited. The bus driver couldn’t speak English. We just saw him on his phone and hoped that he will get some help. But much to our astonishment he went into the bus to sleep. It couldn’t be worse. After 4 hours waiting another Bus came to pick us up. This bus brought us to Siem Reap. From there we changed into a Mini Van. This Mini Van was a way too small for all of us. The bus driver just put our luggage inside and the Van was pretty much full until the roof. But there were still 12 people who were supposed to fit inside. We made it somehow. But for sure, not for a very long time. Because after an hour, we had another break down. And again, we stayed on the street, the sun was burning, we didn’t have enough water and my cough was terrible. At this stage we were supposed to be in Bangkok already. We were waiting until the Bus driver is helping us, but this time he clearly made us understand that he won’t be able to help. He put all the Luggage on the street and left.
We end up hitchhiking. Luckily a little Van with some Locals stopped after a short time and brought us to the border. It was already evening and dark outside. We used the internet at Mc Donald’s to figure out how to get to Bangkok. Our flight from Phuket to Bali was going the next evening and it was still a very long drive.
But on the Thai side of the border, the conditions are much better and we found a Mini Van, who brought us to Bangkok. The standard of that van was a way better than any in Cambodia and we arrived Bangkok at midnight. My cough was getting worse.
We were supposed to take another night bus from Bangkok to Phuket but for sure, we have been too late. The next bus to the south of Thailand were going at 5 in the Morning. So, we had to wait. We were extremely tired and decided to book a cheap hotel to sleep a few hours. So, we booked the cheapest and closest we found in the internet.
We took a taxi to that place and as we arrived the room we were just shocked. No Window, the walls were full of disgusting stains and the floor full of cockroaches. I couldn’t sleep any minute there and we decided to go downstairs to a bar and spending the night with having drinks.
Early in the morning we took a taxi to the bus station. Another 12 hours ride was ahead. We almost didn’t sleep for two days and in that bus, we finally had the chance to sleep a little bit.
In the evening we arrived Phuket. Our time was running and the flight was going in not even two hours. We were running to the next taxi and got to the Airport around half an hour later. We ran to the counter. Luckily it was still open but the women said, she couldn’t let us in, without having a further flight from Bali to somewhere else. She said the counter will close in 10 Minutes and that we have 10 Minutes time, to book a flight out of Bali, which was New Zealand as our next destination.
Did we made it to get our flight? And what happened after? Wait until the second part of my story and you will figure it out 😊
Thank you so much for reading my story. Please have a look in my other categories on my homepage. I updated a lot of nice things and published also a healthy recipe blog.
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Thank you so much! Greetings from Auckland and have a beautiful and joyful day, wherever you are right now.