Planned route:
India: Delhi → Goa → Mumbai → Gujarat → Saurashtra → Pushkar → Jaipur → Delhi → Agra → Varanasi → Kolkata

Thailand: Krabi → Koh Lanta → Koh Phi Phi → Patong → Phuket → Koh Samui → Koh Phangan → Koh Tao → Hua Hin → Pattaya → Bangkok → Chiang Mai → Mae Hong Son → Chiang Rai → Chiang Khong

Laos: Luang Prabang → Vang Vieng → Khammouane → Vientiane

Cambodia: Siem Reap (2 weeks of volunteer work) Battambang → Koh Kong → Kompang Son → Kampot/Kep → Koh Thonsay → Phnom Penh

Vietnam: Saigon → Nha Trang → Hoi An → Hue → Hanoi → Sa Pa

Final route:
India: Delhi → Vagator → Arambol → Hampi → Mumbai → Udaipur → Jaisalmer → Jaipur → Amritsar → Rishikesh → Agra → Varanasi → Kolkata

Thailand: Krabi → Koh Phi Phi → Patong → Koh Samui → Koh Phangan → Koh Tao

Myanmar: Kawthaung

Chumpon → Bangkok → Chiang Mai → Pai → Chiang Mai → Chiang Rai → Chiang Khong

Laos: Pakbeng → Luang Prabang → Vang Vieng → Vientiane

Vietnam: Hanoi → Hue → Hoi An → Nha Trang → Saigon

Cambodia: Phnom Penh → Sihanoukville → Siem reap

Malaysia: Kuala Lumpur →  Taman Negara →  Cameron Highlands →  Georgetown

Singapore: Singapore

Thailand: Bangkok

When I started planning for this trip, I was in a bad place. Dumped by a boy. Stuck, both in school and in general, desperate to get it overwith so I could escape. I think my trip was just that – an escape.
I so desperately want to find my passion in life, be ambitious about something, but how could I possibly do that without knowing myself? To be honest, I have always felt that I was in between every personality trait – shy but social, smart but dumb, trusting but cynical. One thing I always knew for sure, was that I am selfish and dependent, and I hoped that this trip would force me to throw that away with my extra luggage.

In some way I guess this would be an Eat, Pray, Love-kind of experience. And by that, I mean I would deal with my issues, develop some strong personality traits and gain more confidence. Then I would discover my passion in life, and go back to accomplish something.

While this all sounds very unlikely, it was what had helped me in the past. Everytime I have been away from home since my parents divorce 4 years ago, I’ve become a little more independent, a little less shy, and a little more sure what I wanted to do in life: travel. Being away for 4 months however, was something I had never done until now, and it didn’t feel right as soon as I actually left. Maybe it was our choices of countries (where people could sometimes be rude, the food awful, and the cities dirty and loud), but it could also be because my travel partner and I turned out to be incompatible.

Of course, this all just sounds so negative, and of course this experience hasn’t been at all. I’ve gotten to see amazing places – many that I want to return to – and met some great people, and that is what I wanted all along. I finally got over the guy who dumped me, which gave me a lot fewer lonely nights and fits of anger.

Basically, I had some great highs and awful lows that made me see things only a tiny bit clearer, but I am on my way. I learned that I enjoy the simple things in life, like a sunset or a little kid waving at me, because deep down, there is a war in me, and I never know which side will win. Some days, I think I am a fun and outgoing person, always seeing the best in people. Other days, I don’t dare talk to people, and I think I am destined to live a life of sadness and loneliness. That is why I rely on the only ones that understand, my best friends. Away from them, I felt hopeless and less “free”, and I know that this is something that I have to get used to as we start to move in different directions.

This post will probably forever be a mess, like my feelings about my trip. There is so much I want to say, yet nothing I can think of. It was the experiene, but not the time of my life – at least not as often as I wanted it to be.

113 days away from home
18 things crossed off my bucket list
13 books read
7 countries traveled (if you don’t count Burma)
Not nearly enough hangovers.

Final thoughts: India

20140331-200927.jpgOur final route

Originally supposed to be Delhi > Goa > Mumbai > Gujarat > Saurashtra > Pushkar > Jaipur > Delhi > Agra > Varanasi > Calcutta

Ended up going to Delhi > Vagator > Arambol > Hampi > Mumbai > Udaipur > Jaisalmer > Jaipur > Amritsar > Rishikesh > Agra > Varanasi > Calcutta


During my first week here, I was asked to describe India in a few words. I couldn’t.

After spending 4 weeks in various places around the country, I’ve decided that it’s a place of contrasts. On a broken and dirty road, you’ll see a group of women in colourful sarees walking. Next to a lavish temple full of flowers, colours and carvings, you’ll see a beggar without legs. I’ve been in the desert, I’ve been on the green fields. I’ve seen devastating poverty, and I’ve seen over-the-top luxury. So, incredible India is a country of contrasts.

First of all, let’s talk about the people. 80 percent of them are out to get your attention. 5 percent want to grope you, and 5 want nothing to do with you at all – they will flat out ignore you. The remaining 10 percent are the most helpful and friendly people you will probably ever meet. We’ve been so lucky to meet a few in the sea of annoying or digusting locals that have crossed our path. Women don’t seem to like us very much. I don’t know if it’s in general, because of the oppressed and rapey culture, or if they hate us because we look different, vulgar even, and are intrusive. It sucks, because we usually rely on women for help, it feels a lot safer. Many local men seem so horny, they will back their elbow into your chest, just to get some sort of human contact. It’s great, because all places are swarming with men.

We learned a few words in Hindi that we used so many times a day, it’s going to take some getting used to when we leave.

Namaste – hello, goodbye
Sukriya – thank you
Nahi – no
Ha – yes

Service here is almost non-existent, at least in restaurants. The waiter – there’s usually only one – will be gone most of the time, or visibly unhappy with either you or his job. Food is also served whenever it’s ready, so if you order multiple dishes or are in a group, you often get your food at seperate times. Funny thing is, the best service we had was at McDonald’s. They sure looked happy and attentive.

Scams are inevitable. Taxis, tuk tuks, you name it, they will try to scam you. Bargaining is a daily struggle, especially those places where all the drivers will agree on a fixed price for you, so no matter who you ask, they all know that they have to offer you the same price.

Hygiene isn’t very good. Sure, they insist you only use your right hand for “clean business”, like eating, shaking hands, handling money, and touching stuff. Still, you see men on the side of almost every road, urinating or spitting. Their spit is an orangey-red. There is also trash everywhere and NO trashcans. You’ll see plenty of cows on the side of the road eating the garbage.

I’m not a fan of the food, either. I can’t handle spicy food (interesting that I chose to go to Asia, I know), but most of the food here is a thick gravy or puree made from peas, or spinach, covered in various spices, that basically makes everything taste the same, and then they might drop some paneer into the mix. I do love naan bread and masala chai, or even a good lassi.

India is a very beautiful country, yet there’s an unpleasantness to it. The atmosphere is busy, and colours and religion is thrown in your face, and you have to take it all in – but don’t stand there too long, or you will be swarmed.

I will definitely go back to Vagator for the lazy afternoons with a beer in hand, Mumbai for the colourful movies, Jaipur for the Pink City and all it had to offer, and I wish I could see the Taj Mahal everyday. I will definitely be back, but until then,

Namaste, India


Sorry for the vulgar pun. We’ve had a bad day.

Our train stops at a Kolkata suburb (it’s usually called Kolkata, not Calcutta). We get an expensive (280 rupees) prepaid taxi to city center, where our hotel is supposed to be. We are dropped off at city center 2. It’s basically a highway with a big mall. Like we had done at the taxi booth and when we got in, we yet again show him the address. Some local guys walking by have to translate, telling us this is where we have paid to go, and going to our hotel will be an extra 300 rupees. Angry, we get out of the car and start walking towards a group of parked autorickshaws. It is intimidating approaching so many guys, curiously staring at us, only to get refused. Apparently, only taxis can go to the city center. What the fuck is this bullshit? How were we supposed to know there are TWO city centers!?

Now, it’s fortysomething degrees, we are both wearing two heavy backpacks, we are sweaty and haven’t showered or slept on a real bed in two days, so what do we do? At the mall, a golden M lights up, and fuck it, we go there.


We have some fries, a soda and an ice cream, and our spirits are back. We find a bunch of cabs, all asking for 500 rupees to go to the hotel, even though this is the exact place we were dropped off after refusing to pay 300 extra. The very last cab driver in the row is being stubborn and so are we. If he refuses, there are no other places to go to find another cab. Luckily, he finally agrees to take us there for 300.

The hostel’s okay. We want to go ship some of our stuff at the Post office, but it’s closed. We decide to go see a movie, Youngistaan, but we go to three different cinemas and none of them show it. We get lost in the bazars, and it’s annoying us, but this is definitely the place to shop, if that’s what you need. We already have our backpacks full, so that will have to wait until some other time, probably when we get to Thailand. Now we’re just waiting to go to the airport. We’re ready to get out of here!



After spending the night on a train, we end up in Varanasi and reunite with the Ganges river. As our time in India is running out, we have to book a train to Calcutta on the same day, so we have about 6 hours to spend in this holy city, which I wasn’t happy about at first. I soon realize we don’t need much time there.


After leaving our luggage in the railway station’s cloak room, we go to the Assi Ghat (steps leading down to the holy river), where we have an awesome breakfast and sundae on a Sunday at Aum Café. There is an eccentric woman sitting there, talking to a girl, who can do nothing but listen, as this woman takes being hippie to the next level. She claims she’s never been to Goa in her seven years of coming to India. She says she only eats boiled vegetables with hummus at night, and that she avoids food during the day. Her body feels stronger when she doesn’t eat – red flag. Yet, while the girl is in the bathroom, the woman takes a bit of the girl’s cake. She claims yoga is bad for you and ruins meditation. Basically, she talks about herself and all her weird beliefs for all to hear, because the restaurant is so small, and we all chuckle a bit to ourselves. Unfortunately, the place is so small and popular (the Lonely Planet recommendation curse), that we are politely pushed out after our meal. My back has been killing me since the night before, and it is only getting worse, making me less willing to walk around just for the sake of walking. I want to stay and have more ice cream!


We take an autorickshaw to the main ghat, Dashashwarnedh, which is pretty empty when we get there. We move on to the main cremation ghat, Marnikarnika. From here, we see a few bodies covered in cloth being dipped in the Ganges, while the fire is being prepared. A priest trying to lure us into a building for a better view tells us, that they walk around the fire 5 times for every element; earth, water, fire, wind and soul. It takes about three hours to burn the body, after which they discard the remaining bones in the river. No wonder this is one of the most polluted rivers in the world! It isn’t graphic, or smelly, like I had imagined, but there is a very calm and respectful atmosphere, and I kinda like it, although there is not much to be seen. We head to a rooftop restaurant and share a beer(!!), the first one in ages, while looking out over the Ganges river, where people are bathing, washing clothes, and playing. In seriously dangerously polluted water.

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We go back to the railway station for our stuff, and on our way there, we see the main ghat again, and it is quite busy and beautiful at this point. I wish we could stay! We take an autorickshaw to our next railway station, and patiently wait for our train at 20.10. 3 hours and 20 minutes later it arrives, with a guy already sleeping on my bed. I wake him up, but he tries to make me get the bed under him, which is for a guy waiting just behind me. How rude! Finally, some locals come to my rescue, and that young guy is pissed off. Whoops. I guess you can’t win no matter what.

We have a decent sleep on the train – no more fear of falling off the top bed – and wake up to being the main attraction at the circus yet again. Yes, people are already up and staring at us. Next stop: Kolkata.

Virtual Vi-Agra


Agra is bigger than I expected. I guess I thought there would be a few sights, a handful of hostels and a restaurant or two. Not much. Instead, we’ve been more out here than say, Rishikesh.

After the movies and going back to the hostel, we go to McDonald’s for dinner. For reals. It’s right between the hostel and the cinema, so why not? Behind the counter, about 8 young guys are standing, ready to take people’s order. I would say it’s a bit over-staffed, but this is definitely not uncommon in India, from what I have observed. Of course, all the guys behind the counter are all giggly, but hey, I get fries with that.

We get up at 5 in the morning and put on our clothes from Jaipur – Sara her custom green maxi dress, and I my pink sari. We meet up with Steve from England, we call him Papa Bear because he looks out for us, and we share a tuk tuk to Taj Mahal. After paying the 750 rupees fee for tourists, and waiting in a painfully long line for the “high value ladies”, Taj Mahal is right in front of us as the sun is rising. This place is more beautiful than you can imagine. I’ve never given much thought to how it would look up close, but the details are pertty amazing. Damn, Shahjahan could make buildings.

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If we are to believe what they say, he built this as a memorial for his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died during childbirth. Their bodies are buried in the center of this glorious building. Now that’s a real monument of love!
20140329-142542.jpg20140329-134429.jpgThe view from Taj Mahal – quite an impressive gate, hey?

We spend ages at TM, just admiring it, talking and taking awkward pictures like these:

20140329-161048.jpg20140329-161056.jpg20140329-161114.jpg20140329-182359.jpgWith Papa Bear

Once we are done, like 3 hours later, we go see “Baby Taj”, which is also a tomb. We are the only tourists there, which is quite nice, although kind of creepy too. Coming from one of the most crowded places in Agra, the silence at Baby Taj is almost unsettling.


After breakfast at a rooftop restaurant, Papa Bear goes back to the hotel, while we check out Agra Fort, which is the prettiest fort we’ve seen so far – but also like the 3rd or 7th, so we’re not that interested.

SONY DSC This has been a magical day… Except this is what I look like when my Sari comes off (sorry to those who get offended by my red butt)