Goodbye Asia. It’s been a pleasure!

June 21, 2015|Posted in: Advice, General Musings, Lists

Well, here it is. The end of my Asian adventure. I’ve spent nearly 158 days in 6 different South-East Asian countries and in that time have learnt things, lost things, experienced different food, met people from across the globe and immersed myself into different cultures.

When I left back in January I had umpteen thoughts going through my mind, from ‘Am I actually crazy?’ to ‘Holy shit, I’m actually doing this!’ Those voices have been pretty present throughout my journey, pushing me to do more, see more and generally take in as much of this experience as I can. I know that I have been lucky to be able to do this. I had the resources of a good job and a supportive network of friends and family that helped me to get to this part of my journey. Without them I wouldn’t have been able to follow my dream.

Throughout my 5 and a bit months I have learnt to appreciate the little things in life and that patience really is a virtue. But above all, what I’ve learnt is that sometimes, things just don’t always go your way and you just have to let go and let life happen. Asia is a great place to learn this. Trust me. So, although I haven’t done everything, or seen everything, I will need to come back, and you bet I will! So here’s a rundown on my 5 and a half months in bullet point style of things I did and didn’t do!

Things I didn’t do in Asia…

  • Learn to drive a scooter (blaming the horrible Thai lady in Pai for this one)
  • Climb to the top of a volcano
  • Visit the Philippines
  • Buy a beer themed vest/singlet
  • Experience Songkran in Thailand
  • Dive with a Whale Shark
  • Learn Yoga in Bali

Things I DID do in Asia…

  • Drank too many Changs on Khoasan Road
  • Chased in Erawan National Park

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  • Cycled around the ancient city of Sukhothai
  • Discovered the beauty that is Chiang Mai and the Grand Canyon at sunset
  • Got refused a scooter in Pai, but made 2 new American friends instead
  • Got my first bout of food poisoning from Lasagne (?!)
  • Took the slow boat down the Mekong from Thailand to Laos
  • Drank far too much LaoLao
  • Was sick in a Laotian ladies front garden… because of the previous point…
  • Ate too many tuna baguettes & pastries in Laos
  • Visited some giant jars in Phonsovan
  • Tubed down the Nam Song river in Vang Viang whilst clutching a £1 bottle of vodka

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  • Partied too hard afterwards whilst playing beer pong with Koreans
  • Caught my 1st of many night buses from Vienttene to the 4000 islands
  • Learnt that kayaking SUCKS in Don Det but saw the rare Irrawaddy Dolphins
  • Learnt that having a shouty Laotian man in the back of your kayak can make 2 girls paddle faster than 3 guys
  • Avoided getting scammed at the Cambodian border
  • Ate too much Italian food in Siem Reap
  • Drank too much wine in Siem Reap
  • Saw the sunrise over Angkor Wat

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  • Explored the temples of Bayan and Angkor Thom in the sweltering heat
  • Learnt about the Khmer Rouge and the violent history after visiting the Killing Fields in Phnom Penh
  • Discovered the paradise island that is & partied on Police Beach under a Full Moon

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  • Self diagnosed myself with Malaria… then realised I just needed antibiotics
  • Spent 3 full days with no WiFi on Rabbit Island – but watched GoT instead…
  • Drank too many Bazookas in Phnom Penh
  • Visited the war museum in Ho Chi Minh City
  • Climbed through the Cu Chi tunnels used in the Vietnam War
  • Climbed sand dunes in Mui Ne
  • Scaled waterfalls in Dalat

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  • Got shouted at for no reason on night buses by angry Vietnamese drivers
  • Took a 3 day motorbike tour through the Central Highlands of Vietnam, eating local food, with local people. And getting far too drunk on rice wine…
  • Got 2 dresses, 1 playsuit, and a pair of sandals tailored in Hoi An
  • Drank 15p beers in Hanoi
  • Spent 3 days with nearly 50 people on a remote island in Halong Bay
  • Trekked through Sapa for 2 days and nearly died

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  • Drank most of my daily calorie allowance in the form of iced Vietnamese coffee with condensed milk (Ca Fe Su Da!)
  • Climbed up 2168 steps to a temple in Krabi…in the rain!
  • Got far too drunk on Koh Phi Phi
  • Scoped out Maya Bay, where ‘The Beach’ was filmed
  • Spent my 2nd with glitter in my hair and paint on my arms and realising I may be getting a little too old for things like that…
  • Learnt to dive to Advanced Open Water in Koh Tao
  • Caught my 1st sleeper train from Thailand to Malaysia, and was interviewed by a Japanese film crew in my PJ’s
  • Discovered the wonders of Penang and the amazing street art/Indian food

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  • Spotted turtles in the Perhentian Islands
  • Ate strawberries in the Cameron Highlands
  • Got lost in Kuala Lumpar
  • Drank & partied too much in Kuta – Bali
  • Spent my 25th birthday celebrating with new friends and again, drinking too much
  • Relaxed in Ubud whilst getting attacked in the monkey forest
  • Caught bedbugs in Gili T, ate too much Tuna from the food market and got hit on constantly for my ‘noodle hair’
  • Stole a kitten from a bar and took him home to live in the hostel in Gili Air
  • Took a 5 day boat trip to Flores and back
  • Picked up a few boyfriends on the way
  • Came face to face with some Komodo Dragons

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  • Partied too hard to Taylor Swift & Spice Girls on the boat
  • Went SCUBA diving in Flores, and saw a Manta Ray whilst partaking in my first drift dive!

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  • Got a job promoting a pool party…that sucked
  • Visited Hotel K – the infamous Balinese prison
  • Lost 6 sunglasses and 3 pairs of flip-flops in total
  • Saw luminescent plankton in various places
  • Got eaten alive by countless mosquitoes
  • Ate my own weight in Oreos, Ritz crackers and developed an unhealthy obsession with peanut butter
  • Met the most amazing people from all walks of life and found an international friend list

It’s amazing what one can fit into under half a year and this is just a snippet of what I’ve done! I can’t even believe what I’ve managed to achieve, and it still hasn’t really sunk in that this is the end.

Don’t get me wrong, there are times where I have wanted to pack up and head home, usually around certain times of the month where I have the sudden and uncontrollable urge to buy a few kittens and become a crazy cat lady. But these feelings pass by when I remember that tomorrow will bring something completely new and different, and that’s why this journey has been great for my mind and soul. I know that sometimes, even if I don’t have to do anything, most days my body feels like it wants to do something. I rarely get up past 8 o’clock (even when flipping hungover…!) and even walking around a new place to find something to eat or drink is usually an adventure.

So, for now, goodbye Asia, and onto the next part of my journey. I’ll be heading to the wonderful land of Aus where I’ll hopefully be working for my 2nd year visa then heading down the East coast to end up in Sydney for Christmas/New Years! For those of you I’ve met along the way, thank you for the most amazing memories, and to those of you that I will surely see in Australia, until next time!

Amy is the founder of thewanderlustadventures.com. Currently residing in Reading, UK with a love of adventure travel, writing and photography - she pretty much writes about whatever the hell she wants!

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