Kate Travels: In Pictures

A bit of an early treat for you this week from kate :

Some pictures from my Asia travels, I hope you like them :)

1

This picture was taken on the first day of my trip last year. I think I like it because it was the first ever day I spent in Bangkok and it was such an incredible culture shock… imagine living in this house. Now, I realise it’s quite a swish place to live… 2 stories, riverfront view… what more could you want?

2

My hair is not this ginger anymore… at the Grand Palace, Bangkok.

3

This is Angkor Wat, which is an ancient Buddhist temple in Cambodia. There are no words to describe how beautiful it is. I learnt so much about Cambodia when I was there and I loved it. I’d hopefully like to go again someday. I love learning about history and the Cambodians certainly have an interesting, if not very, very sad, history.

4

This a picture of our tour guide at Angkor Wat. I forgot his name but he was really sweet. It’s so good to get a tour guide when you go to places in quite poor countries because they know so much, they help to keep you safe and you don’t realise how far your western money can go for them and their families. Plus they’ll work really hard to earn their dollar.

Angkor Wat is where they filmed one of the Tomb Raider films. It’s awesome, but – oh my goodness – I have never been so hot and sweaty in my life.

5

We went to a floating village in Cambodia and all the kids who live there float around in what I can only describe as wash tubs. They’re all very poor and they come up to your boat saying things like ‘one dolla, one dolla?’ but you can’t give them money because one dollar won’t save them from poverty and they need to be in school. Sometimes they come up to with snakes or kittens draped around their necks as an extra incentive for you to give them some money.

6

See?

I almost felt like giving him a dollar so he’d take his snake away from me.

7

My fist sight of the Pacific Ocean – the beaches get way better than this though. Sihanoukaville, Cambodia.

8

This is a town in Vietnam called Hoi An. It was probably my favourite place in all of Vietnam. There was such a mix of architecture and it was so peaceful and different. There are all sorts of Chinese and Japanese influences and, weirdly, it felt really quite Mediterranean – to me anyway.

9

This is a picture of my friends and I in Ha Long Bay, which is in Vietnam. I’m the one in the middle on the right. Me and charles felt like purchasing a bottle of Vietnam’s finest white wine would be a really good idea and, after discovering it tasted similar to what I imagine cat wee tastes like, we added sprite to soften the blow. Unfortunately our trip to Ha Long bay was very wet and a bit chilly but we made the most of it and had a lovely day. We went kayaking, which it turns out I am not very good at. Me and Sophie (who was my kayak partner) really sucked at going anywhere very fast and I think we spent a lot of time going around in circles. I think we attached ourselves to the back of one of the boy’s kayaks for quite a considerable amount of time to speed things up.

Ha Long Bay is famous and so, so worth it. It is beautiful. I want to go back when it’s sunny. Actually, I’d happily revisit all these places.

10

I did not take this picture, photo credit for this needs to go to Charles ‘Alan’ Balchin. However this was one of the most fun days we had. We’re in Vang Vieng, which is a town in Laos. It’s where tubing happens so there are a lot of young travelling types. It’s also one of the best places I’ve visited – Laos is just incredibly, spectacularly beautiful. We rented dune buggies for the day and I’d just like to point out how excellently I am driving – left side of the road, hands at 2 and 10… ok so I am not currently looking at the road but one has to be aware of their surroundings. My buggy partner Ian was not such a fan of my driving but I think that’s because everybody knows Canadians are babies and I kept driving through elephant poo, which may, or may not, have flicked up and hit him.

11

Elephants in Laos!!!! My elephant was called Ping Pong and she was a bit daft, she had to be attached to the elephant in front because she had a habit of wandering off. We got to ride bare back as well, which was even better because, I guess, it’s probably more comfortable for them and they have squishy heads and also, elephants use their ears to hold you onto them. It’s AH-MAZING. I’ll never forget you Ping Pong <3

12

Some right cuties in Laos. It was so funny, the bigger boy hopped on the bike and started riding off and the little one on the back did a hilarious little jump to catapult himself onto the back. I think they are both quite accustomed to this mode of transport. These guys belong to a Laotian Hill Tribe, who live alongside the Mekong River.

13

Back in Thailand!!! Tiger Kingdom! This is a place where tigers are raised as a tourist attraction. I suppose looking back I have mixed views. It was an amazing day and I’ll never forget how scary and beautiful they are up close. But I’d rather see them in the wild from afar, or just know that they’re out there in the wild. They aren’t drugged at this place and they don’t wear a chain, which is good, but they have to be raised from babies so they aren’t quite so dangerous. It’s not right but at least their trainers are good to them, or so they seem to be… You decide. I guess tourism like this is a way of preserving the species but it’s just the wrong environment for them and they aren’t meant to be tame and docile like this. But they are beautiful, and if you’ve read Life of Pi, you might think a bit differently about zoos and similar establishments. It certainly makes you think.

14

KOH PHANGYAN!!! This is the last photo I have. It’s meant to be ironic. Russians were always doing really racy, impromptu photo shoots and when we were on a beach on Koh Phangyan there was a couple doing a particularly odd shoot down the beach so we decided to do our own…

I hope you enjoyed my photos. Next week I am going off on another adventure so you can expect plenty more.

Love Kate

(Read more about Kate here)

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