Overland Travel Odyssey – Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos

Why Do It? or An Introduction

We had arranged to have the teak decks replaced on Pipistrelle from 24th November, the date we returned to Yacht Haven with Ingemar and Ann-Britt after very enjoyable cruising around Phang Nga Bay with them (blog to follow).  We believe the work will take 5-6 weeks so decided to spend 4 of them travelling overland in South East Asia.  We had read an amazing article about Myanmar, and after obtaining more information, booked 2 weeks with a local Yangon company, Santa Maria Travels & Tours.  For the further 2 weeks from Vietnam onwards we chose Buffalo Tours.  When we organised our travel to Myanmar, it was impossible to get visas online, so we booked 3 nights in Bangkok to allow enough time to apply in person at the Embassy there, but in the event we were able to use a new on line service introduced in September 2014.

Up and away amongst towering cumulus

Up and away amongst towering cumulus

Bangkok Stopover

We stayed in downtown Sukhumvit at the Amari Boulevard Hotel, a good choice for being close to the Burmese Embassy, central in the city and sightseeing, with loads of restaurants around.  Also plenty of massage parlours and girls on the streets!

With some time to spare, we took a half day tour of 3 Buddhist temples or Wats, which were interesting even though getting around in the minibus was testing for driver and passengers.  Traffic jams are dreadful, and you are joining a seething mass of humanity coming at you from all directions…..!  Bangkok’s population is 7.7 M, and vehicles including scooters 7 M.

Here some Wat photos:

Solid Gold Buddha at Wat Traimit

Solid Gold Buddha at Wat Traimit

The Thai King is revered - his 87th birthday was 2 days after our visit and elaborate preparations were underway

The Thai King is revered – his 87th birthday was 2 days after our visit and elaborate preparations were underway

Wat Pho which houses a Reclining Buddha

Wat Pho which houses a Reclining Buddha

Reclining Buddha in relaxing pose

Reclining Buddha in relaxed pose

Detail of door in mother of pearl

Detail of door in mother of pearl – Wat Pho

Stained glass window

Stained glass window – Wat Pho

Wat Benchamabophit or marble temple depicted on 5 Baht coin

Wat Benchamabophit or marble temple depicted on 5 Baht coin

Having read in the Lonely Planet to avoid the tuk-tuk tours as they are a rip off, we were a little surprised to be dropped off at a gem centre at the end of the tour, where we could see precious stones being cut, polished and set in their designer ring or pendant, and were then ushered into their sales room!  Company mini buses then took you back to your hotel, setting off from being parked alongside the owner’s Rolls Royce!  Clever marketing!

Next: Mingalarbar Myanmar!

This entry was posted in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.