Sunday, September 02, 2007

I have decided to leave Saipan

My flight leaves on October 1...and Ian Catlett and his Mom and her husband are coming.

We're flying to Japan, then we're hopping on a flight to Bangkok. We're going on a tour of Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam.

We're going to hang out in Bangkok for 4-5 days. I'm going to hook up with my old Soccer buddy from the Univesity of Richmond, Raj, who is from Bangkok, and my friend from Takaoka, Josh, who is currently living in Bangkok.

After a few days, we are going to take a sleeper train to Chiang Mai.

We'll spend a whole day and night in Chiang Mai, where we're going to hike up to the mountain temple of Doi Suthep, among other things.

After 1 day in Chiang Mai we are going to take a 7 hour journey by bus through rural Thai countryside to Laos.

We'll take a two day journey down the Mekong River to Luang Prabang (Just like John Kerry!). We dock at the small town of Pak Beng to spend the night. The following morning we re-board the boat and cruise to Pak Ou caves, home to thousands of Buddha images, before arriving in the former Royal capital of Luang Prabang in the early evening.

Luang Prabang is in the hills of northern Laos. On the confluence of the Mekong and Khan Rivers, it is studded with ornate temples and French colonial architecture. We have plans to visit the Royal Palace Museum, the Kuang Si falls and the top of Mount Phoussi.

From Luang Prabang we'll take a short flight to Vientiane where we'll visit Pha That Luang and Vientiane's vibrant, colorful morning market.

Near the Vietnamese border we'll spend the night in the township of Hin Boun, where we'll spend a night as guests in the homes of local villagers.

On our way to Vietnam we'll pass through the mountains of the Ho Chi Minh Trail and the rural plains of Nghe An province. After crossing into Vietnam, we stay overnight in Ninh Binh.

From Ninh Binh we'll drive to Haiphong where we'll cruise amongst the magnificent scenery of the Halong Bay World Heritage Site area.

We'll take a bus from Bai Chay to Hanoi.

We're taking the Reunification Express for our overnight trip from Hanoi to Hue. In Hue we'll visit the Imperial Citadel, one of the Nguyen Emperors' tombs and also enjoy a dragonboat cruise on the Perfume River. Hue, known as the centre of Buddhism and education in Vietnam, has a wealth of pagodas and monasteries to discover.

From Hue, we'll journey south through a rural landscape and the picturesque fishing village of Lang Co before ascending the dramatic Hai Van Pass and onto the World Heritage Site of Hoi An.

Then we fly from Danang to Ho Chi Minh City, where we'll take a cyclo tour of Saigon. We'll be able to go shopping at the Ben Thanh Market and go out to the Cu Chi tunnels.

From Ho Chi Minh City we'll travel by public bus through rural Vietnam to Phnom Penh in Cambodia. We'll visit the former school at Tuol Sleng which served as a Khmer Rouge torture center. We'll also drive out to Choueng Ek and visit the monument at the site of the 'killing fields'.

Other things to visit in Phnom Penh are the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda, the Russian market and the National Museum.

We'll fly from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, and then we'll travel to the ruins of Angkor Wat and nearby Angkor Thom.

Then it is back to Bangkok.

The trip should take 28 days. We've got 7 days to kill after our tour...and we're not sure what we'll be doing yet. I'd be happy to stay in Bangkok or to travel south and find a beach (preferably The Beach). Ian, however, is looking into spending a week in Kuala Lumpur.

27 days and counting until we leave.

...and, oh yeah, I'm coming back to Saipan.

...and, double oh yeah, I totally ripped this from Intrepid.

...and, triple oh yeah, no, I am not going on a sex tour. That was a joke.

...and, quadruple oh yeah, I'll be back the day after the CNMI elections.


Bruce A. Bateman said...

Sounds like a blast. Enjoy

I suggest you spend that last week in KL.. Its a wonderful cosmopolitan city with fantastic architecture, friendly people and excellent cusine. Great hotels and lots to see and do. Singapore is just a hop skip and jump away. There will be plenty of time for 'the beach' when you return.

Jeff said...

That's a lot of lawn signs you'll be missing out on.

EJ said...

have a good time. But I dont want you to bring a girl from those countries you are going to visit. Just leave them when you come to Saipan. . ahahaah