Summary of San Kamphaeng

San Kamphaeng (SK) is a place that changes you.  At first, the lack of restaurants and activities is frustrating.  You realize how many hours there actually are in a day.

Eat, train, eat, sleep, eat, train, eat, sleep. Repeat.

Any extra hours are spent melting slowly in your room.

So how is it that I extended my stay, and after two months, I can’t stop thinking about returning to SK? How is it that as long as I’m missing from SK, SK is missing from me?

You learn to slow down.  Sabai, sabai.  Trips to the juice lady become a key part of your day. As a friend once perfectly described it: if buying bread is one of the main items on your “to do” list, you know your lifestyle has changed.

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Summary of 6 months in Asia

I left Montreal six months ago to come explore Asia on my own.  After falling in love with Hong Kong and Japan two years ago, I decided to travel through more of Asia – the food, the temples, the cultural differences, were all things that I was looking forward to discovering.

I didn’t really know what to expect by traveling on my own to this part of the world, but I quickly felt at ease when the first night of my trip, I wandered around Wangfujing Night Market in Beijing with two hostelmates. Dumplings? Yes please.

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5 things I have learned from 5 months of travel

After traveling for five months around Asia, I have learned a lot about different cultures, foods, transport, about solo travel and about myself.  To celebrate the five-month mark, I figured it would be appropriate to list five things I have learned during my travels so far, that can apply to all of the countries I visited.

Here we go:

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Biking through San Kamphaeng

After injuring my knee during my first week of Muay Thai (sigh…), I had to find something to entertain me and keep me active.

So, I bought a bicycle! Obviously, the only reasonable thing to do!

I’m currently living in a town called San Kamphaeng, about 20km away from downtown Chiang Mai.  It is a relatively small town, which means that when you see a foreigner walk down the street – you know they are training for Muay Thai too.  Okay, maybe not every foreigner, but that is what it feels like.  It is a really relaxing place to be.  If you’re stressed out here, you’re doing something wrong!  This also means, that when you aren’t training because of an injury, there is not much to do.  Which is why my biking solution is perfect!

It is really beautiful to bike around San Kamphaeng, so I thought I would share some photos with you.

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Mom’s first local Vietnamese restaurant!

By the time we reached Hue, we had eaten many local dishes, including picking apart our own fish and wrapping our own spring rolls by the Mekong Delta. 

However, we hadn’t really eaten at a local restaurant just yet.  We had eaten at more tourist-oriented places, which were all delicious, but hadn’t ventured into the typical food venues.  So on our first day in Hue, we did just that. 

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Photo: Shake Stall at the Phnom Penh Market

phnom penh shake stall photo image food

 

The market in Phnom Penh was my absolute favourite place, because it was truly authentic.  This is where the locals came to buy their fruits and veggies, pick out their fresh (ie: live) meats, get their hair washed, and pull up a stool to one of the many food stalls.

While hiding from the sun, we grabbed an iced coffee and watched as one family set up this fruit shake stall.  When we initially sat down, there was not a single trace of this stall, but slowly, goods arrived via motorcycle, and the stall was ready for customers.  Every day this family has to set up and take down their business.

We spent the afternoon watching cars, motorbikes and tuk-tuks drive along this street that always feels so alive.  And then we got our hair cut on the side of the road!

Summary of Vietnam

For this part of my trip, I was lucky to have my mom with me! We met up in Bangkok for a quick tour of Wat Pho and Wat Arun, and headed back to the airport for Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC).

We had an intense itinerary in Vietnam. We toured with a company called Vietnam Alive, which really took care of us throughout our 11 day whirlwind tour. From HCMC to Hue to Hoi An to Hanoi, our schedule was packed, but we still managed to squeeze in some naps by the pool and some market-wandering.

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The Killing Fields (This post will upset you)

“Killing fields?” “Killing fields?” “Drive to killing fields?”

I stepped out of my sleeper bus from Siem Reap into Phnom Penh, and, as usual, when arriving anywhere, tuk tuk drivers are waiting for you, essentially harassing you, to get a lift to your hotel. Except this time, Phnom Penh was different.  Yes, I was still being harassed about where I was headed, but thrown into the mix, actually, dominating the discourse, was whether I wanted a lift to the killing fields.  Big friendly smiles, calling out to me at 7am about the “main attraction” of Phnom Penh. 

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