Archive for May, 2013

List 21/52 – The Still To-Do List (Six Weeks To Go Edition)

Not necessarily comprehensive or in priority order, and I’m sure Dave would have some things to add to this list but I didn’t consult him.

1. Get vaccinations for grown-ups (kids have had theirs.)

2. Buy a day pack (or decide to use one we already have.)

3. Buy an e-reader.

4. Cull stuff from house (ongoing.)

5. Plan Lil’s birthday/our farewell party.

6. Apply for travel credit cards.

7. Pack!

8. Book accommodation in Sydney for the night before we fly out.

9. Make arrangements for house sitters to get key.

10. Finish writing information pack for house sitters.

11. Send some winter clothes ahead to the UK via sea mail.

12. Meet with Lil’s teacher and find out what she’ll be missing.

Six weeks!!

Day 24: on my mind #photoadayjune Travel

List 20/52 – Favourite Places in Laos

I’ve written about our love of Laos before. It was probably our favourite country on our last big South East Asia trip in 04/05. On that trip we travelled up the length of the country from Cambodia in the south to Muang Sing in the north, and you can read the blog posts from the time here.

On this trip, although we won’t be able to visit as many places as we did the first time, we’re hoping to get back to Laos for a little while. This list is our favourite places from last time. I tried not to just list everywhere we went!

1. Don Det – our first stop after arriving from Cambodia, this little island was a great place to stop for a few days and we had a very quiet New Year’s Eve here. We borrowed bikes and cycled around, enjoyed the guesthouse’s honesty system where we wrote down everything we ate and drank in a book and paid at the end, and watched the Mekong flowing by. This was also the cheapest place we stayed at $1.50 for a little bungalow.


Don Det Bungalow



Don Det Mekong View

2. Tad Lo – another relaxing little place up on the Bolaven Plateau. We read books, napped, swam in the waterfalls, rode an elephant, and had a cute bungalow. Oh travel without children, how relaxing you were!


Tad Lo Bungalow

3. Vientiane – after travelling in northern Cambodia and southern Laos, arriving in Vientiane was a bit like returning to civilisation. I remember splurging on pastries from a European bakery and eating dinner by the river at sunset.


Mekong Sunset Vientiane

4. Luang Prabang – LOVED this place and hope we can get back here this trip.


Luang Prabang

5. Nong Khiaw – the boat trip to get there was absolutely stunning and well worth the sore bum from eight hours on a hard wooden stool.


Nong Khiaw Guesthouse Window

6. Muang Sing – I was recovering from a cold here and this bungalow and view was the perfect place to recuperate.


Muang Sing Bungalow View



Muang Sing Sunset

Love you Laos!

List 19/52 – Crossed off the to-do list this week

1. Travel vaccination consultation with doctor.

2. Kids’ vaccinations.

3. New fence!

4. New computer! Blogging to you from it right now. It’s a spiffy little light thing. Still trying to get my head around windows 8. This will be our first time travelling with a computer. No more need to seek out internet cafes like this one:

014 Internet cafe

Jaisalmer, 1999

5. My wardrobe cull completed. (Some stuff went to the op-shop, some sold on ebay and some sold to a local second-hand clothes store.)

6. Kids’ wardrobe culls completed.

There are now only eight weeks to go and still plenty remains on the to-do list but I feel like we made good progress this week.

Trip Planning Itinerary Update – 9 weeks to go!

This time in nine weeks we’ll be at Sydney airport ready to fly to Singapore and the start of our big family adventure. So how is the planning going? Pretty good! Here’s how the itinerary is looking so far.

As much as I would like to be a fly by the seat of my pants type of traveller it appears I am not. My love of planning, along with the fact that we have to work around a few things with set dates (eg. wedding, volunteering month, Christmas) means that we have pretty much mapped out most of the six months. But, there are still some places with wiggle room.

PICT0212 - flags

Kuala Lumpur – our honeymoon in 2004.

We are set for the first 16 nights, accommodation booked and all, which takes us from Singapore – JB (for Legoland) – Melaka – KL. After that we have 20 days until we need to be at the wedding location (Ko Pha Ngan) and only a vague idea of where to go in between. Penang is on the list, possibly Ipoh and the Cameron Highlands, some places in Southern Thailand. Not sure, really!

After those 20 mystery days we have 11 days booked of family wedding fun on Ko Pha Ngan and Ko Samui. Then we head to Bangkok for a few days before moving on to our one month homestay and volunteer placement in North East Thailand (exact location TBC) for September.


Ton Sai Bay, Krabi (2004)

From the beginning of October we have about a six week gap in the itinerary. We’ll need to leave Thailand to renew our visas but will probably come back and spend more time exploring. This is the biggest itinerary hole and one that we’ll decide how to fill while we’re there.


Perhaps a side trip to Laos? The Mekong River from Vientiane (2005)

In mid November we’ll be flying to London and will spend a week there (with Dave’s family) before two weeks in Scotland. In Scotland we’ll probably spend a week or so based in each of the places we used to live, Glasgow and Dundee, and do day trips from them.


Scottish View (Ullapool, 2007)

From Scotland we’ll fly to The Netherlands, spend a few days in Amsterdam and then move on to The Hague to stay with our friends there for a few days. After that we’ll play it by ear again, I think, and make our way to Paris via one or two other places and spend a week there before back to London for Christmas and New Years with the family.


Dave and Lil at The Hague, Christmas 2007

We’ll be flying out early January and hope to have a short Asian stopover on the way home to warm up again. And shop. If there’s any money left. Dave is due back at work on the 13th January.

So that’s the plan so far. Very exciting!

List 18/52 – Things I’d Like To Do In Bangkok


View from our hotel on our 2007 visit.

As promised in my Olden Days Bangkok post here’s my list of things I’m looking forward to doing in Bangkok. Some old favourites and some new things too. I’m not sure how long we’ll be spending in Bangkok on this trip. At the moment we have set plans for three nights there in August between the family wedding and our homestay/volunteering month. No doubt we’ll return for a longer stay before we leave Thailand in November. Three days is not enough!

1. Has to be visiting the Grand Palace and getting that family photo taken.


Grand Palace

2. Eating eating eating!

Bangkok eats

Lunch time!

3. Riding the river ferries.


Dave happy on the river.

4. Shopping at MBK. At the end of our three month SE Asia trip in 2005 we spent four nights staying just over the road from this mall. We spent a LOT of time in there doing stuff like getting haircuts, buying clothes and new glasses, and generally making ourselves presentable for a new life in the UK.

5. In all our visits to Bangkok we’ve not been to the main railway station. We usually arrive/depart by bus but this time we’re hoping to do it by train. I’m looking forward to seeing the station.

6. Fantasia Lagoon looks like fun on a hot day (and they all are.)

7. Spending some time in the parks. On our first ever Bangkok visit in 1998 we had done zero research. We only had two nights there on our way to India. We went for a walk from our hotel and happened across Lumphini Park on Children’s Day. There were kids everywhere doing all sorts of fun activities and we had a lovely wander. Along with Lumphini, Benjakiti Park looks like a good place to let the kids run free for a while.

Yay Bangkok!

Olden Days Bangkok

I’ve posted some of these photos before but have just been looking at them again and thought I’d share them here too. I love them!

My mother visited Bangkok in 1961 when she was almost eight years old. One of the things I’m looking forward to doing when we visit again is taking a family photo in this same spot:

Grand Palace Bangkok 1961

I’ve been there before but did not know at the time that my mother had stood right there!


Here’s some more photos of Bangkok in 1961. My grandmother and aunt at the Grand Palace:

Grand Palace Bangkok 1961

Emerald Buddha Temple Bangkok 1961

So quiet!

Grand Palace Bangkok 1961

Outside Grand Palace Bangkok 1961

The view from their hotel, the Erawan Hotel. I believe it is now the Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok. I love the buses!

From Erawan Hotel Bangkok 1961

And now I think I’ve chosen my list topic for next Sunday: things I’m looking forward to doing in Bangkok. I have quite a soft spot for the city after staying there five times before. It was the first overseas city I ever visited back in 1998 on our way to India. Can’t wait to get back!