BootsnAll Travel Network

South East Asia Summary


Hours spent on long-haul trips: 212
Longest bus trip: 11 hours (with two twenty second stops and one 15 minute one)
Longest boat trip: 2 days down the Mekong
Longest train trip: 43 hours (Saigon to Hanoi)
Favourite transport: elephant
Types of transport:

  • Aeroplane x2
  • Bicycle (2 tandems, 8 solos, 3 tandems with extra seat)
  • Boats
    ~bumboat x3
    ~ferry x4
    ~glorified canoe x1
    ~hydrofoil x1
    ~junk x1
    ~paddle boat x4
    ~slow boat x3
  • Bus x26 (both local and express)
  • Cyclo (high-seated Phnom Penh variety) x4
  • Elephant x4
  • LRT x3
  • Motorbike x4
  • Private car x5
  • Taxis x24 (need three at a time in “civilised” places!), Taxivan x1, Taxitruck x3
  • Tow truck x2!!!!
  • Train: daytime x1, overnight x3, Skytrain x1, Underground train – but multiple trips x2(Singapore, Bangkok)
  • Trishaw (low-seated Penang sort) x3
  • Tuktuk x25
  • Vans x15


Number of places slept in: 31
Worst guesthouse: Phonsavanh (too many rats for us to sleep a wink)
Favourite: couchsurfing in Hanoi (thanks S&T!!!)


  • R&R: Luang Prabang
  • Jboy13 & Mboy6: Malaysia (it’s a food thing!) – oh yes, Rob too!!
  • Jgirl 14, Kboy11, Kgirl10 & Lboy8: Malaysia and Thailand for the food,
                                                       Luang Prabang for delightful character (not food!)
  • Tgirl4 & ERgirl2: whatever the last person said



  • * Mekong sludge river weed
  • * crickets (crunchy)
  • * live huhu grub (yes, singular – well done Kboy11)
  • * black chicken (sounds OK, but it’s the only thing we only took one bite of – each)
  • * buffalo stew (not that unusual, though the hairs take a bit of getting used to)
  • *  deep fried baby crabs (just like potato chips)


  • Singapore: if you stand anywhere near the curb, traffic will stop to let you cross
  • Malaysia: no-one walks anywhere – everyone drives
  • Thailand: in Bangkok it’s best to wait for a break in the traffic – they don’t stop
  • Laos: pedestrians outnumber motorists and all are polite – hardly any cars, just bikes and tuktuks
  • Cambodia: step out into the stream of traffic and it will swerve behind you – scary, but true – but look all ways as traffic goes in every direction and traffic lights amount to nothing more than pleasant suggestions
  • Vietnam: pedestrians do NOT have right of way – EVER. Not even on the footpaths. Be especially careful in Saigon; traffic anticipates lights will change and takes off even if pedestrians are crossing the road – it is unbelievable – they also regularly drive the wrong way up the road!


  • Singapore dollar
  • Malaysian ringgit
  • Thai baht
  • Lao kip
  • Cambodia riel (not real!)
  • Vietnamese dong
  • Biggest rip-off: US$120 on Cambodian visas that were actually free


  • Jboy13: motorbike exhaust burn
  • Kgirl10: dehydrated and non-specific Cambodian virus
  • diarrhoea (from Mama’s one instance to Papa’s multiple recurrences)
  • Tgirl4: big black unknown flying something sting
  • Mboy6: walking stick in gut
  • allergic reaction rash and headaches for the girls, which all disappeared once we learnt how to say “No MSG please”
  • unexplainable fevers of 40 degrees for a few days at a time for various ones
  • mosquito bites
  • warts, nits: these things just don’t go away!


Temperature range: from only just above freezing overnight in the mountains of Thailand to something that broke Jboy13’s thermometer in Malaysia
Oldest lady met: 105 years
Number of New Years celebrated: 4 (Lao, Hmong, international, Vietnamese)
Number of birthdays celebrated: 4

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2 responses to “South East Asia Summary”

  1. nova says:

    wow!i can’t wait to see the equivalent at the end of your journey! 🙂 i can’t help but wonder, given the magnitude of this adventure, have your medical mishaps been any more frequent than when you’re at home? diarrhoea excepted that is 😉

  2. rayres says:

    Nova, definitely more spectacular – none of the kids have ever collapsed in the street at home! Some years we are all well…other years a spewy bug might go round and round the family, or we might be laid low with chicken pox for three months! Never been dehydrated in NZ though!!

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