180 Days Travelled
In the first six months we travelled 54,860 km by 1 cruise ship, 1 jeep, 3 ferries, 6 buses, 8 trains, 11 cars, and 14 airplanes. That doesn’t include the tuk-tuk rides, bicycles, taxis from the airport, water taxis, song thaew trucks, or the endless walking.
We visited 44 cities in 15 Countries with our longest stay in one city being 12 days (Quito and Bangkok tied) and our shortest stay (less than 24 hours in Villa Candelaria). Our longest country stay was 35 days in Thailand and our shortest stay was 3 days in the United States.
We saw 3 of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World: Christ the Redeemer (Brazil), Machu Picchu (Peru) and the Roman Colosseum (Italy). In our view Angkor Wat (Cambodia), Iguazu Falls (Argentina), and the Ciudad El Canto (Bolivia) should be added to the list.
United States of America
As our closest neighbour we have visited the United States many times. Our trip started in Boston as a matter of the best airline ticket deal: Japan Airlines Business Class using Alaska Air Miles. Our three days in Boston was a great start, and not because we got free sushi at our hotel.
We originally excluded Japan from our planning as it is known to be an expensive Country. But, as an enticement to Ben to learn about Samurai and the Ninja we made the stop. It was well worth it. Japanese hospitality for platinum members in Starwood properties is exceptional (pyjamas, bathrobes, shaving kits, great selection of food, beer and wine in the lounge). The Monkey Park and the Bonfire Festival in Kyoto were two of the highlights of the trip.
11 Nights in Japan – $1,630.16
Monkey Park, Bamboo Forest & Kimono’s
Daimonji Okuribi – Bonfire Festival in Kyoto
Douvris Barrhaven – A Karate Family
A Lighter Side of Tokyo
First Impressions of Kyoto
Tokyo – a Taste of History with Temples and Shrines
Konnichiwa from Tokyo
Japan Airlines (JAL) Business Class Sky Suites
The first few days in Vietnam were difficult to adjust with the heat, the crazy traffic and the inability to withdraw money from ATMs. Once we figured out how to walk around the city, and get money we enjoyed the culture immensely. The street food was amazing, the people very friendly and the culture unique.
Phu Quoc – A vacation from the Trip
Vietnam Visa on Arrival for Canadians – How To
Vietnam Money Woes
Hoi An (Ancient Town)
What about the Vietnam War?
Second Class Vietnamese Sleeper Train – OMG Never Again
Da Nang – A Beautiful Beach Town
Road Move – Hue to Da Nang
Hue – Eaten by a Dragon
Hanoi, Northern Vietnam
Live from Hoi An – the Ancient City
Halong Bay – Northern Vietnam
‘Minor Surgery’ in Da Nang, Vietnam
Adventures in Eating – Vietnam Part II
Adventures in Eating – Vietnam
Live from Hanoi
The journey to Cambodia and crossing a land border was interesting. We loved Phnom Penh although it was a quieter time with the Pchum Ben holiday. The visit to the Killing Fields is not to be missed. Siem Reap and the Angkor Wat visit was exceptional and must be on everyone’s bucket list.
Pchum Ben, the Killing Fields, Torrential Rain and Phnom Penh
Day 3 – Angkor Complex
Day 2 – the Angkor Temples
Ta Prohm – Temple in the Trees
A Day of Prices in Cambodia
Crossing into Cambodia
The Labour of Leisure – Where in the World Does the Time Go?
Live From Siem Reap, Cambodia
Our visit to Thailand was incredible. Bangkok is a very cosmopolitan city with excellent infrastructure, good food and interesting sites. We had to watch out for tuk-tuk scammers but other than that no problems. Ayutthaya, Kanchanaburi, and Chiang Rai were all unique visits that added to the wonder of the country. The highlight, and another bucket list activity was the Chiang Mai Lantern Festival – not to be missed.
3 month memory – Bangkok, Thailand
Chiang Mai – Ice Cream and the Lantern Festival
Chiang Rai – Laundry and the White Temple
Kanchanaburi, Thailand – The Death Railway
Ayutthaya – a wonderful excursion from Bangkok
Live from Bangkok in the Land of Smiles
Bangkok (One night or more)
Our brief weekend in Singapore was highly enjoyable to reacquaint with Western style civilization. English was spoken frequently and the standard of living was very high. The highlight was Canadian pizza and the visit to the botanical gardens.
Italy was loved by everyone! The food, the buildings, the history, the sunshine, the cooler temperatures and the friendly people made it a memorable trip that was simply too short. It is on the list to visit again.
With the “repositioning cruise” we made two stops in Spanish territory: Barcelona and Santa Cruz de Tenerife. The visit to Barcelona was too short to really take in the sites and appreciate them. Santa Cruz was wonderful and deserves the moniker, eternal spring. We are looking forward to a visit to Spain in the future.
We visited the port of Casablanca and it was not what we were expecting. It is worth a visit but it leaves you with the sense of a dusty under-developed city that needs some greater investment.
Four ports of call in Brazil that were all too short to soak in the rich history of this interesting country. Our visit to Recife was marred with a daylight robbery/assault, Maceio was a beautiful beach town with a great boardwalk, Salvador Bahia had beautiful architecture and Rio de Janerio fabulous beaches.
We loved the opportunity to see different parts of Argentina including Buenos Aires, Cordoba, and Salta but the most memorable will our trip to Iguazu National Park.
We escaped Buenos Aires and explored Montevideo and Colonia Del Sacramento in Uruguay. Both cities are unique and worth a visit.
The mountains, llamas, cuisine and of course the salt flats all add up to make Bolivia a great place to visit. Starting from Tupiza and taking a tour to the Salar di Uyuni is highly recommended for the incredible views and experiences.