2012 Indie Travel Challenge Week 5: Asia

The Great Wall of China. Image from


Okay, so I missed last week’s Indie Travel Challenge post, but it was all about Asia: If you’ve never been to Asia, tell us about your dream trip in the region.  Would you rather find your own paradise among the Thai Islands, or shop for crazy Harajuku fashion in Japan? Are the uncrowded temples of Burma calling you, or are you dreaming of a visit to China’s Great Wall?

Hmmm…considering where I’m going in less than a month, it was such a perfect prompt that I decided to answer it, albeit a bit late.

I’m heading to Southeast Asia on March 6! This is a huge trip for me for several reasons:

  • I’ve never been to Asia before. I’m so excited for the opportunity to explore a culture so different from my own while enjoying scenery that is vastly different from not only my day-to-day, but much of what I’ve seen so far.
  • I have the opportunity to experience several big things on my list including seeing the temples of Angor Wat, interacting with elephants and walking on the Great Wall of China.
  • I’m meeting up with two of my awesome friends from Colorado, Heather and Brian from The Travelmeisters. They’ve just started on their round-the-world trip and will be meeting me in Bangkok.

I’m so excited to have travel partners for this part of the trip as I have to admit–Asia intimidates me. I think it’s the fact that the language is so different that I can’t even try to fake knowing a bit (like French or Spanish).

Here’s the plan:

Fly to Bangkok on March 6. Meet up with Heather and Brian. Explore Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and hopefully Laos. Be in Bejing by April 30. Meet my mom, who is flying in for the China/Tibet adventure. Fly home May 17.

It’ll be a good combination on the trip, I believe. We don’t have any set plans for almost two months, though all three of us have things we want to do. I’m hoping to volunteer at an elephant sanctuary while in Thailand. I want to see the sun rise over Angor Wat. I want to take a boat trip on the Mekong Delta. I want to eat street food and shop at the local markets. I want to meet a monk. I want to see the rice paddies in Sapa. I want to get lost and realize that I wasn’t lost at all.

Then, when I arrive in China, most everything is planned out as my mom and I are taking Viking River Cruises’ “Roof of the World” trip. I’m not usually a fan of cruises, but this one is actually only a few days on the water. AND we get to go to Tibet. Traveling with my mom is great, but I think it’ll be nice for us to have things planned out and assistance getting where we’re going.

The last time she let me pick the hotel, we got on a bus in Mexico and when we got to the town, I just started wandering towards the water. “Where are you going?” she asked. “Towards the ocean. I know the hotel is on the water, so there’s not many places it could be.” I think that was a bit disconcerting. Granted, it was a tiny town. And yes, we found it.

Family and friends while traveling–what more could you ask for?


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