Laos can be a challenging country to travel through at times, with transportation being one of the more difficult (but most interesting) aspects. When adventuring gets hectic we prefer to smile and roll with the punches. We opened our eyes, and became captivated by the People of Laos.
Thinking back across our three week north to south adventure through Laos, we felt the full spectrum of emotion, from stress, frustration and traveller’s guilt to wonder and sheer amazement. Unlike Thailand with its modern conveniences, Laos was a whole new world for us.
It made us wonder, who are these people and what are their stories?
There are seemingly endless (and hopelessly contradictory) blog posts about Myanmar, yet for some reason it’s not usually on the radar for a lot of South East Asian adventurers. So, we ditched the guidebooks, turned off our computers and set out to discover Mesmerising Myanmar for ourselves.
Myanmar is a Land of Contrasts – okay I know that’s one of the most overused clichés in travel writing – but it’s true. And it’s those very contrasts that make it one of the most interesting and confronting countries to explore.
In early June we found ourselves in the middle of France, deep in the region’s most famous wine region of Bordeaux. We’d seen the sights, taken in delicious food and summer night life, experienced the culture and breathed in the history of this old stone city. What else was left to do?
Time to flee the hot and breathless confines of Bordeaux for greener pastures; past the medieval tourist-inundated town of St Emillion to a gorgeous countryside chateau at Terroir Feely. Caro and Sean Feely are the wonderful owners of this estate where they produce a range of organic and biodynamic wines in both red, white and sparkling varieties, in the French style of ‘terroir’ wine making. It’s all about the connection between the taste of the wine and the region in which it’s produced; taking advantage of natural micro-climates, geography and soil quality to produce the best and most delicious grapes possible.
Taking a deep breath, we gather our courage and take turns grasping the big black rope to work our way up the boulder. Step by step, leaning backwards so as not to slip, silent words of thanks are uttered for grippy shoes. Finally we reach the summit. At almost 1500 metres in the air, we look out over the ledge at a world of white before us, only to wonder at what lies below.
While researching our trip to Japan we came across a beautiful subtropical island off the southern coast of Kyushu. Known as Yakushima 屋久島, everything we read told us there would be mountains, forests, beautiful fresh water and miles and miles of hiking trails to explore. It sounded like heaven!
So armed with a long list of things we wanted to see and do on the island, we got in touch with Cameron from Yakushima Experience to be our guide and work out a good itinerary for us. This turned out to be a great decision; not only were we able to see everything we wanted to see, we also got to visit places that the guide-books don’t know about, and didn’t have to worry about driving on unfamiliar roads (or getting lost!) along the way.