Belfast, so often overlooked when considering ‘where to go’ in the UK, Ireland and indeed Europe. Belfast has really formed its own, very special identity over the years. It’s not England, it’s not Ireland – It’s very much just Northern Ireland.
Straight away, we ordered a tuk-tuk to take us to the hospital. By this stage, the pain was excruciating for Ben, he could not walk without assistance.
The first stop in the Southeast Asia part of our trip was Luang Prabang in Laos. Our main destinations in Southeast Asia were to be Vietnam, Myanmar and Thailand. Laos was something of a last minute decision, as it was the most convenient place to access from China. After researching into it a bit more, I became increasingly interested in the country. We planned to spend time in Luang Prabang and Vang Vieng, before finishing off in Si Phan Dong, the ‘four thousand islands’.
We spent around 15 days in Japan, each day presenting us with something new and exciting. Japan is a fantastic place to travel, it’s an overhaul of the senses and really a very easy place to get around. The Japanese are the nicest, most accommodating people I have ever come across. Even when there is a language barrier, they try their utmost to help you.
Here is a selection of my favourite pictures taken in Japan.
Xishuangbanna was a bit of a wild-card destination. Known as a ‘mini Thailand’, I was quite intrigued to explore this area, close to the Burmese border.
Xishuangbanna was different. Really different. It didn’t feel much like China at all. The majority of the people of Xishuangbanna are of the ‘Dai’ minority. The Dai language looks like a hybrid of Lao and Burmese, and the scenery is tropical. It felt as though our South-East-Asian leg of the trip had begun.
After four hours crammed into very narrow beds on the sleeper bus, we arrived at Jane’s Tibetan Guesthouse around midnight. The staff seemed quite confused to have guests arriving so late, even though the bus appeared to go on a pretty regular basis from Dali to the Shangri-la. After a fair amount of door knocking and phone calls, we eventually found refuge from the chilly mountain air.
While living in Hong Kong, my cooking skills were well and truly neglected. The combination of small kitchens, abundance of affordable restaurants and generally busy lifestyle, made cooking at home a fairly rare occurrence. The eating out culture of Hong Kong did expose me to all kinds of dishes, which got me more interested in food. I vowed that upon returning to the UK, I would do my best to learn how to be a better cook.
By the time we finished our horse-trekking adventure, our time in China felt like it was beginning to draw to a close. When we applied for our visa, 30 days seemed like a long time to spend in one country just travelling around (this was the first time i’d been on a backpacking trip..) After spending two weeks in the Sichuan province alone, we found ourselves with only eight days left before we had to leave China. Eight days didn’t seem nearly long enough to explore our final destination, Yunnan. However, we were determined to maximise our time.