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Hilltribes from Yunnan, Laos,Vietnam, Yuanyang

And a bit of Bangkok, KL and Angkor Wat


mapA detailed map of our travelplan

The photos we made.

flag Kuala Lumpur

Monday, 3 November: We have a 10’oclock morning flight to KL and spend our last kips at an expensive coffee at the airport. We have to pay 15 usd extra for the overweight on Air Asia as we are only allowed 15 kg each. Next time we will increase the weight of our hand luggage.

Kuala Lumpur is the capital city of Malaysia and also the largest.  K.L. as the locals call it is the country's central hub for politics, business and modern living.
With an estimated population of 6.9 million, it is also a veritable melting pot of nationalities and ethnicities, ranging from Malays, Chinese, Indians, Eurasians, as well as Kadazans, Ibans and other indigenous people from Eastern Malaysia.

We arrive at 15.00 hrs at the KL airport; a huge place and we need some time to get orientated. Luckily we booked a hotel near the airport: www.tunehotels.com. Tune hotels have cheap and clean rooms, very recommended.



We take the bus to town, a half hour drive and realise that this is another world than the laid back Laos. We only have half a day and decide to see the Petronas Towers. The former tallest, 88 storeys high building, houses an enormous shopping mall full of exclusive shops like Cartier and others. With its 452 meter it is still a challenge to get that in 1 photo.

petronasFrom there we take the metro to little India to visit the South Indian temple. The temple is under restoration and the noise of the drills chases us out quickly. We then walk to Petaling Street, where all the counterfeit clothes and watches are for sale. But it also houses a lot of Chinese restaurants and when a monsoon rain starts falling down we run into one for cold beer and a nice Chinese dinner. It still rains when we leave the restaurant and we decide to take a taxi to the bus station. The taxi driver is an Indian guy who has never been to India.When we get to the hotel we immediately go to bed. We have to get up at 4.30 in the morning for an early morning flight to Siem Reap. Again, this is a place we should have spend more time, especially our taste buds wanted to stay longer with all the goodies we saw at the food stalls.


flag Angkor Wat (Siem Reap)


Tuesday, 4 November: We leave KL at 7 in the morning an already two hours later we land in Siem Reap, Cambodia. A tuk-tuk is waiting for us when we get out of the Airport. I have made a reservation at the Golden Temple Villa and they have also organised the transport from the airport.


Highly Recommended!

The hotel is wonderful! The rooms are very clean; the reception desk is smooth, free use of the  internet and a lovely restaurant. Why can’t all hotels be a bit like this one?


We were a bit worried coming to Siem Reap and Angkor Wat as we heard so many complaints about hordes of tourists and matching persistent vendors. We came with a cargo load of Ruskies as Air Asia does Moscow, but the local salesmen are not on the same pain level like “kling-ons” of North Africa. The whole scene is pretty relaxed and a no thank you seems to be enough.









arrival at Siem Reap





In the afternoon we have a look at the balloon flight, but when we get there it seems a pretty lame experience, as it is just a hot air balloon on a string going up and down. We go back to the hotel for an afternoon nap as the lack of sleep and the heat are wearing us down even if we have not done much yet. In the evening we go for the sunset at Phnom Bakheng were a huge crowd is trampling all over the ruins. To many people for such a small place, I would not recommend doing the steps if you have fear of heights. I guess pretty soon most of this temple will be cordoned off, or a least I hope lest there be some temple left in a few years.

After the sunset we go to one of those tourist place where they have a show going on. It comes with a buffet. We treat ourselves to a bottle of sour but chilled white wine while we watch the dancers do their thing.









Wednesday, 5 November: again we get up real early. At 4.30 we wake up to watch the sunrise at Angkor Wat. I am not a morning person, but then how often can you see the sun rise above the temple of Angkor. After the sunrise we have a nice breakfast of fruit, eggs and tea. We then have tuk-tuk driver Keo tells us to hurry to the Temple of Bayon before the crowds swarm over the place.

This is the nicest temple of the lot, and together with the Angkor Wat temple the two not to be missed. We continue the day with a huge amount of other temples. I make like 500 photos today. By the evening we are completely wasted. Rita has a slight fever and I don’t feel well myself. Running around in this heat and humidity is not for us – cold climate – people.


Thursday, 6 November: we decide not to do the temples today so we sleep out and have a late breakfast. We organise a bus ticket to Bangkok for 14 usd. We then walk around Siem Reap, buy some silk and other stuff and in the late afternoon we go to visit Angkor Wat again to see the sunset. You really need half a day to do the place and so we run out of time. Still the sunset was nice and no need to get up early! We decide to treat ourselves a bit and have an evening dinner in a German restaurant called Tell. No bad.


Friday, 7 November: Today we want to continue the temple tour and we start earl to get to the furthest away temple Bantey Srei. A beautifully carved temple where we meet a elder couple of Indians from Karnataka on a pilgrim tour. They show us a carving of Vishnoe. In daytime it has the shape of a human and at night time it turns into monster. I guess a universal story of Vampire and werewolves.  Prometheus comes to my mind.


Then we visit the “Indiana Jones” type of temples. The fig and silk trees grow out of the buildings, removing them would destroy the buildings structures; not removing them guarantees a slow destruction of the buildings. I love it for photography, but still cannot help having a kind of film studio feeling. The whole place seems like a Disney location than the actual ruins of an ancient civilization. Still we love the location

Preak Khan and Ta Prohm are both the best places to wander around looking for the decay feel.

By now we have been walking a lot and want to go back to the hotel to relax in the AC room. Keo is a bit worried, our time is not up and when he will return us to the hotel they might think we are not happy with his service, we are talking about his bread and butter!  We assure him we are happy with his tour, but that old people need sleep like babies. That convinces him a bit but he is still a bit nervous as we near the hotel. A couple of dollars as a departure tip brings on a happy smile again.






You really need three days to properly visit the whole area of Angkor. We did it in two and a half days because we were too tired to climb all over the place, as said before you have to adjust your rate to the climate.









flag Bangkok - Oriental city with the ultimate swing

Sunday, 8 November: Today is another full day of road travel. A van picks us up at the hotel, goes around some more hotel to pick up other passengers to finally drop us at the bus stand that would have been a five-minute walk from the hotel. There we have to wait a bit for a bus to pick us up. This bus does the same as the van and drives a bit, aimlessly around town, swaps passengers with another bus and then finally takes off to the border with Thailand. The road is a mess and is only recently completely surfaced. Still in an old bus with no suspension it is not one of those nice rides. Still, the scenery makes you forget the discomfort a bit.

It is around noon when we arrive at the border of Poipet. Already for some time there is a border dispute over the 900 year-old temple complex of  Preah Vihear. In 2008 the UN decided to to designate the temple as a world heritage site under the sole jurisdiction of Cambodia.

We are a bit worried as the tension between the two countries increased now that Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen appointed ousted Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra, who lives abroad to escape a jail term for corruption, as economic advisor of him and his government. Both nations have recalled their ambassadors since and the border might be closed. We need to be in Bangkok for our onward flight. Luckily, it is more a war of words and although chaotic, we have no problem getting into Thailand.


By the time we arrive in Bangkok it is already 6.30 in the evening dark outside. Again we have a wonderful hotel, which we found via www.travelfish.org. We are given a spotless room with a lovely bathroom. The hotel Sam Sen Sam place is a mere 10 minutes walk from the Khao San Road, but it is located in a very quiet soi.


Monday, 9 November: We are ready for some sight seeing and head towards the river to start with a boat trip to Wat Pho. It houses the largest reclining Buddha, which is 46m long and 15m high. After a lunch of Patthai we plan to visit the Royal Palace. We find the 350-bath entrance fee to high and as we find royalty not a democratic form of society (Hail Plato’s Republic) we do not enter. This means we miss the emerald Buddha, but the heath is annoying us and we decide to go to the air-conditioned shopping arcades of MBK and Paragon. Paragon is a huge complex where are the Vitton & other posh shops can be found. A very fancy place with nice AC temperature. We do not need anything so we tire quickly from the window-shopping and head to MBK, which is for the less rich and famous. It is a funny place where knock offs can be bought 5 meters away from where the originals are being sold. We buy a trolley that we can take on board of a plane to overcome the 15 kg limit of Air Asia, as well as some shirts and other stuff. A taxi takes of for little money to our hotel.


Later on I have a haircut for 60 bath, which is like 1.20 euro and I start to make a Mc Donald's index calculation. I find hairdressers expensive in Belgium with price from 10 euros and up. I once paid 25 euro for just a simple haircut. We see a lot of older, mostly male tourists who stay here on a semi-permanent basis and can understand it a bit. You can get buy on a moderate pension while living in a safe place with great food and friendly people, if you can handle the heat that is.

In the evening disaster strikes when I want to copy my film and photos from the memory cards to a hard disk a virus deletes all my photos as well as my film from Yunnan and Bangkok! I am heartbroken. The great film I made of the wedding in Galanbang, the musical performances, all is gone. I promise myself that next time I will travel with a small. Still, luckily it did not delete all my photos on the portable hard disk and most of my Laos and Cambodia film survive.



Tuesday, 10 November: Our last day we start by looking for a silk shirt for me. The hotel owner suggested to have look at:


which has stunning pieces of silk for stunning prices. Still this is top end quality and I and up buying some shirts and a pyjama. When we go out of the shop we are approached by a Thai saying we should not buy here, but at a local store just around the corner. He is so convincing that we follow him and end up in the shop buying 3 silk shirts at 35 euro apiece. They measure my seize, let me choose the color and promise that it will be ready by 4 in the afternoon. As I do not need to pay in advance I am not worried if they should turn out to be rubbish.

We then spend some time strolling around China town and people watching in Khao San Road while having a couple of Mai Tais and by 4 we are back in the shop. The shirts fit perfectly and 35 euro is the price I would pay for a ordinary shirt in Belgium. So I am happy but decline their request for a suit. Still, they also sell via e-mail.

We then hurry to Wat Arun to do some night photography. Wat Arun is an Indian temple and it is located on the west bank in a quiet area. Afterwards we head to the hotel for our last night in the comfy hotel.


Bangkok is a great city is a lovely country. The most accessible oriental location with an ultimate swing!


Back to Laos Forward to Vietnam










map of KL - click to enlarge



Petronas Twin Towers

This landmark dominates the Kuala Lumpur skyline. Suria KLCC, located at the base of the towers, is one of Malaysia’s largest shopping centre’s. The park behind the towers offers a relaxing walk, with many features and art by local artists. The Malaysian Philharmonic hosts their concerts at the towers, and the sky bridge connecting the two spires offers a wide-angle view of the city.















Fun reading: "Phaic Tan: sunstroke on a shoestring". No one is spared being made fun at. A mock “travel guide” set in the Mekong area.






Following website have a wealth of information about Angkor:

www.angkor.coma portal site to Angkor, Cambodia and Khmer information

www.theangkorguide.com : an english translation of Maurice Glaize's 1944 guide to the Angkor monuments. If that information will not overload you, nothing will!


Nice colourful maps of the area



a side view of Angkor Wat


You can enter the park at 5 pm you can purchase a ticket that takes effect the following day and they will then allow you to spend the remainder of the afternoon (about an hour), inside the park. Most people use this either to go to Angkor Wat or up Phnom Bakheng for the sunset.



In the hotel you can buy some T-shirts. One of them has “Loser’s Planit” printed, I guess LP is a victim of it’s own success.




Like the Nile created Egypt, Angkor was only able to rise thanks to the Tonlé Sap waters



In Cambodia, corruption has been elevated to an art form. Democracy has been supplanted by kleptocracy, governance by theft....

National service is dead, it is all about self-service

Lonely Planet



The 3 day pas comes with a photo























The art of saving face as told by an Asian

Cambodia, Thailand to solve problem of Thai troops stationed in disputed area


Three Thai protesters were arrested Tuesday for jumping an immigration checkpoint to reach the temple. Thai troops then came to fetch them, thus triggering the face off.
Meanwhile, about 380 Cambodian troops were living and staying around the same pagoda named Wat Preah Sat and slept inside the pagoda together with Thai troops, he said.
 The Thai troops on Wednesday morning also offered food to Cambodian monks at the pagoda.
"I am optimistic that we could solve the matter soon," a spokesperson said, adding that Cambodia and Thailand do not have a military stand-off but it is just a misunderstanding.
We stopped Thai troops from entering any further into our territory. The Thai troops are not invaders. They had a misunderstanding about the map. They used their own map and we used our map too that we had the treaty with each other in 1907," he said

www.chinaview.cn 2008-07-16















It is believed that the first Thais migrated here from modern-day Yunnan and we also followed the route down the Mekong from Yunnan.









Always take a taxi instead of a tuk-tuk. Taxi’s are dirt-cheap, metered and have AC, while with a tuk-tuk you will have to negotiate a price you have no idea of, and you drive in an open carriage on the polluted roads.



Wat Arun by night






If you want a tailormade shirt, suit or dress