Our Trip to South East Asia

October - November 2003

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The initial idea for this trip probably hit us all when we saw "Tombraider."

Dan and Dodo had taken several European tours with our friends the Kendricks, focusing on areas of architectural/archaeological interest. We found that we loved climbing around and exploring ruins, but were gently frustrated by the limitations of traveling with a mostly-elderly tour group. So at some point in the wreckage of ancient Greece, Dodo turned to Dan and suggested Angkor Wat for the next year's adventure, ideally with a group of younger people who would be more hiking-oriented.

Claire, who had met Dodo on the Inca Trail in Peru, came for a US vacation that mostly involved sitting on the beach in the Florida Keys. While we were there, she mentioned that she was planning a trip to Angkor Wat in the fall. Dodo said "We're coming with you."

Besides Ruth and Claire, an English couple had planned to go along, and they had specific dates in mind, so Claire planned the trip around their date restrictions and then they dropped out. Nevertheless, with the aid of a travel agent in England, Dodo's dubious Expedia/Travelocity skills, and Claire's considerable research prowess, we put together an agenda for the four of us to fly into Bangkok, visit parts of Laos, and then go to Cambodia for a leisurely exploration of the Angkor area ruins and a final few days at the beach.

Dan and Dodo took advantage of their Washington, DC location to get tourist visas for Laos and Cambodia before leaving home. Claire and Ruth waited in long queues at the airports but had no difficulty in getting on-the-spot visas, using photos they had brought along. We all took antimalarial medications and we'd gotten various inoculations in advance: Hepatitis A & B, typhoid, and diphtheria.

The Brits got to London by car and train, and flew across Asia non-stop from Heathrow. The Yanks flew from Baltimore/Washington Int'l to San Francisco, thence to Tokyo, and from Tokyo to Bangkok. Once in SE Asia, we flew from Bangkok to Vientiane, the capital of the Lao PDR; took buses to Vang Vieng and Luang Prabang in Lao; flew from LP back to Vientiane, flew to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, then flew to Siem Reap, and took a boat back to Phnom Penh, buses to and from Sihanoukville on the Gulf of Thailand, and finally flew from Phnom Penh to Bangkok and back to our native lands.

The pages that follow are organized so that you can navigate them in a number of ways: use the Thumbnails Gallery to click on individual photos, or the Journal to see the summary of each day's adventures. From the photo pages, you can click on the top arrows for a "highlights" tour with only selected photos, or the bottom arrows to see every picture.

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