Friday, 21 September 2012

Summer 2012 Recap : Update on my bucketlist

Remember the bucketlist I posted before I left for SE Asia? Well I thought I would share how I managed! Keep reading if you are intered in knowing whether or not I suceeded in achieving the goals I set for myslef for this summer :)

1) Dive in Koh Tao

Status : Success

Yep :D we went for a total of six fun dives in Koh Tao, all of which we're amazing. The reef is beautiful and there are so many fishes. Loved my experience and loved Koh Tao <3

2) Eat Pad thai

Status : Success

Well that's kind of an obvious one. I did even better than only eating it though. I went to a cooking class and learned how to make it. I will be making it at home quite soon! Would you all like to see pictures of the result?

3) See Angkor Wat

Status : Success

We went to Angkor wat and we quite enjoyed it even though it was a very hot out and there were pretty impressive crowds. The ruins are beautiful and the carvings are really well preserved.

4) Go to half/full moon party

Status : Success

We went to the full moon party. It was a blast! There were 9 bars along a huge stretch of perfect white sand beach, all playing different kinds of music. I got a neon dragon on my arm and danced in the sand until dawn. So much fun <3

I just realised I forgot to blog about Koh Phangan entirely :S oops! Here's a pic of me at the Full Moon Party though!

5) See "the beach"

Status : Success

We did and unfortunately it's really not that impressive. Don't get me wrong, Maya Bay is quite nice, but it's way too crowded and honestly, I've seen quite a few nicer beaches in Thailand. It was cool to be where the movie was filmed though!

This is Maya Bay, about one hour before sundown :)

6) Drink juice in a bag

Status : Success

Check! I had some juice in Hanoi from a street vendor. It ended up tasting gross (to me anyways) so I gave it to Mathieu after a few sips. Does it still count? XD

Not my best shot, but I had to get proof XD

7) Have coffee in a can

Status : Success

I had Nestlee coffee in can at least 10 times. I love the stuff. I wish we had it here.

8) Eat from street carts

Status : Success

We did it at the very begining of the trip. We had chicken on sticks from a cart. After that we had a bad experience with beef which smelled like poop (no kidding!) so we laid off the street food for the rest of the trip. :P

The offender

9) Go to Hanoi

Status : Success

While writing this list, I had no idea how much this particular item would mean to me later. Hanoi was simply a place I had heard the name of. Now that I have been, I can say it has been my favorite place in Vietnam by far. Hanoi is an amazing city.

10) Go on a multiple days hike

Status : Failed

I didn't do this one. Didn't really feel like sleeping in a village in the jungle. We did a one day hike though!

11) Leep my pack under 20 pounds

Status : Failed

I was almost going to check this one until the very end of the trip. However, with all the souvenirs I bought along the way, when we left Vietnam my bag weighed bit above 20  pounds (23-24 pounds). To make matters worse, once we arrived in Bangkok I bought a second smaller backpack to carry all my shopping and I filled it to the brim XD.

12) Take food pictures

Status : Success

This one doesn't need any explanation. I have about a million food pictures. I'm sorry to all who do not like seeing them. I must have aggravated you like crazy lol.

And in case you were not sick of food pictures yet, here is some banh cuon :P

13) Get in better shape

Status : ???

I'm not sure! lol I probably haven't gotten worse, but better? Who knows. Let's say I did, it can't be worse than the couch potato I was before I left, can it? :P

14) Go to a night market

Status : Success

We went to the Chiang Mai night market and I got a couple souvenirs there :D

15) Eat Pho

Status : Success

Again, I even learned how to do it! I love pho especially with loads of bean sprouts and rice noodles. Yummy <3

16) See the Mekong Delta

Status : Failed

We decided against it. Going there would have meant traveling south of Saigon, which was in the opposite direction of every other destination on our itinerary. We could have booked a day tour from Saigon, but we heard that the cheap tours were rip offs and the pricier alternatives were really expensive T_T.

17) Go to Halong Bay

Status : Failed

Almost! We got all the way to Cat Ba island near Halong Bay, but the weather was horrible. We stayed one night and left right away in case the weather worsened. We were afraid that if the weather got any worse we would get stranded on the island until it calmed down.

18) Go back to Chiang Mai

Status : Success

We went twice on this trip. Once at the begining and another time one month later with our friend from Quebec who had never been. I just love Chiang Mai. The atmosphere, the food, the people, the activities. Everything is great!

19) Drink a bucket

Status : Success

I had more that one :P (never by myself though!)

My total : 15/19 

Not bad :P

SE Asia Travel Series : Bangkok and Krabi (The Conclusion)

So this is the last installment of my SE Asia travel series! I've been back for three weeks now and it's been somewhat of a challenge to get past the jet lag and get back into the swing of things. We started university two days after our return which didn't help. Anyway, now I'm all better and my energy is starting to come back which means I'm motivated to make blog posts again!

So let's pick up where we left off last time. We were in Hanoi just about to fly back to Bangkok. That night we had pizza and I bought a Vietnamese hat ( I had to carry that thing around for almost two weeks, such a pain in the rear). The next morning we left for the airport of Hanoi and one hour later we were in Bangkok. We didn't do much in Bangkok except hang around the MBK Center Mall all day, playing arcade games, eating ramen pretty much every day and going to the movies once or twice (I believe we went to see Total Recall and Ted).

We also spent some time on Khao San Road. Funny story, we heard that one of Quebec's local celebrities had opened a poutine shop (for those who don't know it, it's a dish from quebec consisting of french fries with gravy and cheese curds on top) in Bangkok recently so we decided to check it out. We ended up meeting him which was really cool. We obviously had some of the poutine which was really good and reminded us of home.

MBK Center :D
One of our favorite places to hang out and have a drink : Black Canyon Coffee :)

Most days I ordered tea which always came with crackers!
DJ Max Technica, this game is so hard X|
Another music game, also ridiculously difficult, lol
We love Pump It Up <3
One of Mathieu's favorite mid after noon snack : matcha ice cream :)
The menu at the poutine shop! We tried the schnitzel poutine, the hot-dog poutine, the italian poutine (missing from the menu apparently :P) and the bacon and onion poutine. All equally yummy!

The poutine place

This would be the bacon and onion poutine!
Hachiban ramen's menu. My all time favorite ramen bowl <3

The Tom Yam based ramen

Not 100% sure, since on the menu it's simply called "soup", but I think this is shoyu ramen with japanese style roast chicken. My fave <3! I must have had this bowl at least 10 times over two weeks.
I love gyoza :D
Mathieu with the poutine shop owner! He's a well know comedian in Quebec :)

Last but not least : Shabu Shi! I love this place. It's a all you can eat, shabu shabu. You choose your ingredients for the soup from a rotating conveyer belt. There is also a sushi buffet, drinks and ice cream. Love!

From Sha Shi's buffet

Right before I started making my soup
Night out in Khao San
Takoyaki!!! I can never get enough of this

After about six lazy days in Bangkok we left for Krabi on an overnight bus to conclude our trip with a bit of beach time. Unfortunately it rained most of the time we were in Krabi, but the few sunny days we got, we really took advantage of. We went rock climbing on the breathtaking limestone cliffs of Rai leh beach (it rained for at least half of the time we were there, but we had time for a couple climbs before the walls got too slippery) and we went on a island tour to a couple amazingly beautiful beaches. After that we went back to Bangkok, shopped around for souvenirs (and myself for some asian makeup :P) and flew back home!

Rai Leh Beach

Getting ready for some rock climbing in Rai Leh

In retrospect, I think it's safe to say that this trip was my favorite so far. It was unbelievable from begining to finish and we did so much, learned so much, saw so much. It was truly and incredible experience. Oh, and Thailand has the most gorgeous beaches I have ever seen. I really recommend anyone to go there sometime!

 Anyway that is all for this travel series. I hope you all enjoyed following me in yet another backpacking adventure :) Tell me in the comments if you would like to see more of these and what you did this summer! I would love to know <3


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