International Wanderings: Cambodia – Sihanoukville & Siem Reap (Angkor Wat)

Hi all,

After we got off the ferry from Koh Rong, we were now in Sihanoukville (Snooky). This place became incredibly popular after the Laos river tubing got shut down. Dustin, Shawn’s best friend and our current travel mate, had been to SEA on two trips previously and on one of those trips had worked for one of the bars on the Laos river. Through facebook and other social media he had kept in contact with some old friends from this time and they had all moved down here (Snooky) after the river shut down.

We quickly found a hotel, ate some food, and headed to Serendipity beach to explore the shops and bars along the water. The one he was most excited about, and where all of his friends said to go for a good time was Dolphin Shack. By far the busiest bar on the beach! It was a good time! And they invited us to go on their booze cruise that was scheduled for two days from then. We weren’t sure how long we would stay in Snooky, but were happy to stay for this.


The next day we rented scooters and headed off on a trek to find the ‘waterfall’ just outside of town. This turned into a long trek on a dusty dirt road full of pot holes. Not fun for when you’re all doubling on scooters. We made it to the waterfall, but like in Chiang Mai, we were a bit disappointed again. Very lackluster, we didn’t even take any photos. On the way back we passed the Angkor Brewery and stopped to see if we could take a tour! We couldn’t but we did get some sweet photos out front!



Once back in town we decided to go check out Otres beach. The map led us on a real trek to get there (or it could have been my map reading…) but we eventually made it! We were happy to have some late afternoon drinks and snacks and play frisby in the water for a bit before making the trek back to our hotel. We found a store that was filled with american candy and chocolate so we brought a bunch back to our hotel and just pigged out and watched some action movie that happened to be in English.



The next morning was booze cruise time! These guys were serious. Before anyone was allowed on the boat they had to shot gun a beer! Unfortunately, the sun didn’t come out while we were on the cruise but it was fun none the less. Lots of dancing and of course, boozing. We all jumped off the boat when we got close to an island and swam to shore to complete a boat race, where all the girls sat in one line and all the guys sat in another. Everyone has a drink and you can’t start drinking it until the person in front of you has finished their’s and put the cup on their head. The boys won, but I think we fared pretty well! We all swam back to the boat and the drinking and dancing continued as we headed back to shore. Overall, the cruise was a good couple of hours! Would definitely recommend if you’re wanting a little party in Sihanoukville!




The next morning we checked out and hopped on a bus to head to Siem Reap. I was sooo excited about seeing Angkor Wat! We checked into a nice hotel – but lacking a pool. This ended up being just fine and actually a good tip! Our hotel was fairly nice but because it didn’t have a pool it was actually pretty cheap! The hotel across the road did have a pool and as long as we bought a beer or a cocktail, they had no problem letting us swim and relax there during the day.

Finally it was time to go to the temples! We left the hotel at 4:30 am in order to get there before sunrise, as per our hired tuk tuk driver’s advice. We thought we had the inside scoop and were going to get this whole temple all to ourselves! Wrong! Literally every tourist in Siem Reap was there that morning waiting to watch the sunrise. It was verrryyyy beautiful, so who could blame them? The temples were gorgeous! My biggest regret is not either hiring a guide or buying a guide book. As beautiful everything was, I still felt removed from it. I wanted to know the details behind each temple! I feel like this seems obvious, and I’m kicking myself for not reading up on the history more.

Angkor Wat Sunrise












Back in Siem Reap we spent the evening wandering through the markets – do yourself a favour and go into the jewelry stalls! So much shiny glitter! Don’t get ripped off though! I can’t guarantee the jewelry is not authentic, but I can’t guarantee it is either. So please don’t pay too much on that ‘gold’ necklace that ends up turning your neck green. But do go in there and purchase the admittedly fake emeralds that don’t cost you much.

After the markets we went to Pub street (yes, that is actually what it is called!) and went to a fun bar called Angkor WHATTTT. We yelled that a lot. Siem Reap actually has a really fun party scene! If we had more time I think I would have loved to stay there longer. It’s such an unexpectedly beautiful city.

While we were there, Shawn and I were getting a bit concerned about how slowly my ankle was healing. We ended up asking a tuk tuk driver to take us to a clinic to get an x-ray done. We went to three different ones before we found one that had an x-ray machine and were able to take us. This was somewhat difficult to communicate but everyone was so nice and wanted to help that they kept telling us different clinics to try. Our extremely sweet tuk tuk driver was so concerned about my ankle! It was adorable, he ended up only charging us the originally agreed to price to take us to the first clinic! The doctor at the clinic was so nice! And thankfully, spoke perfect english! He reviewed my x-ray photos and confirmed it was a sprain, nothing more. He gave me some extra strength aspirin and a velcro/foam wrap that was easy to put on and take off. I was pretty thankful for this, as we had been wrapping my ankle with hockey tape before! Hockey tape fixes everything though.

Cambodia X-ray

Cambodia and I were not the best of friends. The people there were certainly some of the nicest we met; butttt I had the worst luck!! Like I said previously: I got food poisoning; sprained my ankle; and to top it all off on the bus from Siem Reap to cross the Thai border my phone was stolen!! Yeap, worst luck! A lot of people said Cambodia was their favourite country in SEA, so please give it a shot if you’re in the area! Hopefully your experience in the country is better than mine! Not that I can really blame all my bad luck on the country; just my silly actions.

Have you been to Cambodia? Did you love it?

xoxo Alice Rose


International Wanderings: Cambodia – Phnom Penh & Koh Rong

Hi all,

First off, I want to apologize for not posting much lately!! I’ve been very busy looking for jobs! As some of you know, this is my last semester in Uni. Time to become a real adult and find some employment for after!

Ok, continuing on with recapping our SEA adventures. We arrived in Phnom Penh very early in the morning and had no idea where we were or where to go. We were totally lost and as much as we didn’t want to, we let a tuk tuk driver take us to his ‘recommended’ hotel. We didn’t like to do this, as it’s widely known that the taxi or tuk tuk drivers will rip you off in a heart beat. The hotels that had been recommended by friends were all booked up, so we had no other choice but to trust the drivers. Luckily, the hotel our driver took us to was actually quite nice and we ended up staying there for two nights. Phnom Penh was an interesting city. I think with more time, we would have loved to explore a little bit more and get a better feel for the city. Our first day we hired a tuk tuk driver who took us out to a gun range and we shot a couple rounds of the M16 and AK47. This was my first time shooting a gun so it was pretty fun! We just shot at coconuts lined up. Apparently if you ask the right people, you can shoot a bazooka! But this comes with a pretty penny, I’ve heard around $300. How badly do you want to shoot a bazooka??

Cambodia Guns

Once back from the gun range, our tuk tuk driver, who ended up being this really funny all around good guy, invited us to go watch the fights. It was Cambodia vs South Africa and was supposed to be a pretty big deal as it was team Cambodia’s first ring fight. According to Boombastick (Our tuk tuk driver’s nickname, I have no idea was his real name was. And yes, this is after the Shaggy song) Cambodia usually only did cage fights. We bought beers to bring in with us, as this is apparently normally allowed at the fights, but because Cambodia Beer was sponsoring, we weren’t allowed to bring the beer cans in with us. So we got creative! We ended up going back to the little shop across the street and bought a big water jug and filled it with the beer we had previously purchased! Somehow, this was allowed in with just a few laughs from the security guard. Unfortunately, team Cambodia did not fare very well against SA. Boombastick explained that they weren’t used to the brute strength style of fighting that was seen with SA. According to him, Cambodia usually fights with quick high impact moves rather than the total domination style we saw with SA.


Our beer jug!



Just cooling off with all my Cambodia Beer swag


The next day Boombastick picked us up in the morning as we arranged to go to the killing fields first thing in the morning. I knew briefly what had happened in Phnom Penh under the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s, but was not prepared for all the details I learned while visiting the killing fields that day. If you are interested in the history at all, please read up on it. It’s truly awful what this country went through. After an emotional couple of hours at the killing fields, we drove back into the city to observe the S-21 Prison. This proved to be too much for me, after observing the first building where the torture rooms were and the next building filled with photos of the individuals taken in, I decided I did not want to see any more. I go back and forth whether I’m happy with this decision, and I’m still not sure. I felt like I had seen enough sadness for one day that I really did grasp the awful torture this man did to the country, but I still felt like I should have gone into the other buildings to get the full impact as to what life really was like for these poor innocent people. Following this, Sue and I just took it easy and spent the evening going to a wonderful restaurant called Friends. They take youth that would otherwise not have very good opportunities in their life, and train them to become chefs and servers. We received the most friendly service while we were there and the food was so good! I highly recommend you check out this restaurant if you find yourself in Phnom Penh.





The next day we took a bus to Sihanoukville where we took a ferry to the most adorable island, Koh Rong. There are no roads or electricity on Koh Rong. There are two ferries there and two ferries back in a day. The island runs on generators once the sun goes down, but only until about midnight. After midnight, you can find many backpackers and locals alike crowded around candles telling stories and drinking beer. It’s pretty remarkable. Unfortunately for me, I made the awful choice of eating a burger on the beach. This led to food poisoning and a very unpleasant 36 hours. I highly advise you to never consume a burger on an island that doesn’t even have electricity when the sun’s out. Please, don’t do it!

Once I recovered, it was the morning of our third day on the island and Shawn and Dustin arrived! It had been a week since we had left them in Nha Trang, and I was ecstatic!! It had been fairly hard on me being away from Shawn. I had not expected to feel so sad without Shawn, and had wanted to be more entertaining to be a good friend to Sue but I just could not pull it together. I remember being soooo excited when the ferry pulled up and saw Shawn walking off the dock! We decided we were going to hike to the other side of the island to visit the Seven Mile Beach. A friend of mine had highly recommended it, so we were very excited! The hike started off very nice and we followed the blue ribbons for the most part but then we got lost and ended up on the red ribbon trail. Oops. This was the more difficult trail. I’m not sure how it happened, but somehow I misstep and put too much weight on a shifty rock. Down I went. And twisted my ankle. A girl can just not catch a break on this island! I may have been in shock but was able to make it the rest of the way and saw the miraculous beach! It really was beautiful! We spent the afternoon wading and floating in the shallow water. The beach was full of sand flies so it was much more comfortable to relax in the water. When I eventually tried to stand though, I realized my ankle had totally swelled up and was huge! We ended up paying to catch a boat back to the other side of the island as I knew I would not be able to make it back on my ankle. Sorry guys. I took the rest of the night pretty easy.

The next day was a total thunderstorm, and I was thankful! It was just a lounge day for us and we could lie around undercover and stay dry and rest my ankle. It was fun to take a break and just play cards and watch movies. We left the next day on a ferry back to Sihanoukville. I wish that I had done things differently, because this island was soo adorable and so fun!


Seven Mile Beach on Koh Rong, soo beautiful!



Our stormy day of relaxing, much needed!


Best boyfriend, icing my swollen ankle




I was going to try to get all of Cambodia into one post, but I think this is a good place to stop.

Have you guys had any mishaps when you’ve been traveling?? Let me know in the comments!

xoxo Alice Rose

International Wanderings: Vietnam – Nha Trang and Ho Chi Minh City

Hi all,

Second part of Vietnam coming your way.

From Hoi An, we kept traveling south to Nha Trang. This city was good for Shawn and I because a big thing we wanted to do was get our dive tickets, and Nha Trang offers many many dive schools that are comparable prices to Koh Tao in Thailand, they may even be slightly cheaper but also your classes are going to be more one on one. Shawn and I had an instructor just to ourselves. There were about 4 or 5 other guides on our boat and about 10 other divers, the guides work together to be able to afford the boat costs. It was such a fun and cool experience! I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do the course initially because I tend to get claustrophobic and was worried my anxiety would act up under water. I was incredibly wrong! I recommend this to anyone, it’s an amazing experience unlike any other!! However, if you don’t plan on doing a dive course, I don’t recommend Nha Trang. It was a strange city, almost Vegas-y? There’s an amusement park, Vinpearl Land, that you can get to either by boat or by cable car, I was pretty excited about the cable car but unfortunately they were doing some kind of maintenance on it so we were unable to ride it. We got to Vinpearl and were so excited to ride the first roller coaster! It seemed like such a cool place, but once we were passed the roller coaster entrance, we realized this place was pretty deserted. The water park did have some life but after about an hour we were pretty bored so we caught the boat back and called it a day. Nha Trang has some upscale beach bars that looked pretty cool, unfortunately they also had a pretty high (relatively) cover charge that did not fit into our backpacking budget so had to forego those. The rest of the bars were mediocre.  On our last day, Sue and I had been wandering the city and decided to duck in to a big hotel to use their washroom, and then realized we could use their pool facilities as long as we bought a drink or two. We loved this and although the pool was a bit shady and windy, the lounge chairs on the side were glorious. If it wasn’t for our dive course, I think we would have skipped over Nha Trang and headed for Mui Ne instead. Mui Ne is said to be a similar type of place centered around a beach but with more fun activities and a smaller less ritzy vibe. We found out that Nha Trang was a big Vacation destination for rich Russian families, which explains it’s Vegas-y ritzy vibe.

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VinPearl Land!

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The roller coaster really was heaps of fun!

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Like so deserted!

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We look so profesh!


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Shawn lounging in the sun with some friends we made that were also out for a dive!

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See, the pool was extremely shady but sometimes it was nice to escape the heat!

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Our day of luxury!

Mike and Lauren separated from us while we were in Nha Trang so that they could pack in everything they had wanted to see in their trip, and Shawn and I could sense the tension between Sue and Dustin as we forced them to hang out. So we decided we would split up for a little while, Sue and I would go on ahead, while Shawn and Dustin stayed and explored more of Vietnam.

So after about four days in Nha Trang, Sue and I headed south for Ho Chi Minh city. Ho Chi Minh is a pretty cool, vibrant city. Our first day there, we wanted to check out the War Remnants museum. Part of traveling though this area of the world comes with the desire to understand the culture and the hardships of the people that live there. The War Remnants museum was not a happy place, it was fairly hard to look at some of the exhibits. In particular, the Agent Orange room was very difficult. The exhibit did a good job of portraying how this chemical affected those that were around during the war as well as future generations. We ended up just spending the rest of the day wandering around and exploring the city. The next day we went on a cruise along the Mekong Delta that included a stop at a river market. After we got back to the city, we went out in the city with some friends we had made from the cruise, which ended up at the sky bar, Vietnam’s version of the famous Bangkok one.




Fresh Spring Rolls were sooo amazing! Loved these!


We didn’t take many photos inside the War Remnants museum for obvious reasons, but outside they had many of these recovered air crafts that were so cool to look at!


Vietnam’s version of Notre Dame Cathedral


The Mekong Delta was so beautiful!




These two were making puffed rice


Making rice paper! Such a delicate process!


Just doing our tourist duty!



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We went out for dinner and drinks at a Mexican restaurant with our new friends from the cruise, we were all craving something a little different this night. Mmmm Margs!

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Views from the Sky Bar rooftop patio

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Vietnam’s version of the Sky Bar


The night life in Ho Chi Minh – The Crazy Buffalo, although we didn’t go in there, we heard it’s a rowdy place to be!

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The absolute worst bus ride we had been on, we rode like this from Ho Chi Minh all the way to Phnom Penh! Oh and the air conditioning was broken so we were all covered in sweat!

I hope you guys have been enjoying reading these as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them! Let me know in the comments where your favourite places to travel have been!

xoxo Alice Rose

International Wanderings: Vietnam – Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, Sapa and Hoi An

Hi all,

Sorry for the lack of posts lately; we’ve been very busy celebrating my brother’s birthday, visiting my Granny in the hospital, school, and well a bit of fun at the Canucks game on Thursday night as well.

I am so excited to continue this series of posts. This trip was so amazing, definitely some of the best times of my life thus far. I know we all are so different and have different priorities and what not but when someone tells me they don’t have any desire to travel and would rather just save their money, I really do feel sorry for them. Traveling is the most eye-opening experience! I’ve been fortunate enough to do a reasonable amount, but I don’t think I’ll ever feel like I’ve seen enough. To experience another culture is the most wonderful thing.

Ok, on to Vietnam. We flew with Air Asia from Bangkok to Hanoi, Vietnam. I cannot begin to explain my excitement over the fact that I was going to get to see Shawn! Meanwhile Sue felt the exact opposite as we had just left some great new friends behind, and unlike me, she didn’t know any of the people we were meeting in Vietnam. I’ll do a whole post on traveling with friends vs a boyfriend vs solo, there’s lots to discuss!

Anyways, we touched down in Hanoi and took a shuttle to the Hanoi Backpackers ORIGINAL location as per (what I thought were) Shawn’s instructions. Turns out that they were at the Hanoi Backpackers Downtown location. Oops. The management was happy enough to change our room to the other location and Shawn and our friends actually walked over and those nice guys even carried our backpacks for us (Sue’s was fairly light, but I have a tendency to ALWAYS over pack sooo mine was a littttle heavier… ahem, ok A LOT). We stayed in Hanoi for just one night because we were leaving for the Hanoi Backpacker’s Ha Long Bay and Castaway Island tour in the morning. I cannot recommend this wild and crazy tour enough if you are single! I cannot recommend staying away from this tour enough if you are in a relationship!!! I repeat, if you are in a relationship STAY AWAY! There are plenty of other tours of Ha Long Bay that will most likely be more to your liking. This cruise is a riot and gets pretty crazy some times! You leave from the hostel first thing in the morning and a bus will take you to Cat Ba Island where you will depart on this fun little boat. We played a ton of drinking games on this tour, one being that if you said the word ‘mine’ then someone could call T-E-N on you and you had to do ten pushups (I actually got quite strong in this trip!) (also, I just realize this actually has nothing to do with drinking but most of the time we were drunk so I’m just going to leave this…), another being the game, Buffalo, where if you took a drink using your dominant hand then someone could yell ‘BUFFALO’ and you would have to finish your drink. On our way to our destination island, the boat stopped and we all paired up and rode kayaks around the most beautiful islands and scenery! I few times we had to travel through caves to get to hidden gems, these were so incredibly beautiful! Then, back to the boat for a few jumps off the top and then of course – more drinking! We then were on our way to our final destination, Castaway Island. This island is owned by the Hanoi Backpackers Hostels so it was totally private. They plan it so the two nights over lap with another group so your first night you are the newbies, and then your second night you are the ones welcoming the next group.  It’s customary for the welcoming group to do something to make the newbies feel slightly uncomfortable – this usually involves nudity and maybe a mandatory shotgun of a beer. Can you sense a theme yet? Nudity and drinking, maybe? Most people on this trip were single and so they were all fully embracing this whole tour, and that was awesome for them! But for Shawn and myself, plus our two other couple friends from Canada, we were at times slightly uncomfortable. But only at times, during the days you can go rock climbing; tubing; wakeboarding; play volleyball; borrow the kayaks; or just you know, drink to your heart’s content. Over all, this tour was incredibly fun – I’d definitely say be ready to drink and party when you’re here!


The beautiful view oh Hanoi from our hostel window. I wish I had taken more photos of this beautiful city, but unfortunately I did not and we left so early the next morning.


These glorious hats were enforced on the cruise! Well at least for the beginning of it.


Ha long bay kayaking! Shawn was an excellent partner! Mostly because I just reclined like this for the majority and worked on my tan… while he worked on his muscles! Yay Shawn!


See, kayaking through hidden little caves!


It was like really, really beautiful.


Ryan and Ashley, good friends of ours from Campbell River. Ryan and Shawn have played hockey together since they were little, so it was really cool to explore a new country with some familiar faces.


Yaaa, he’s the best. And the view! What a view!


Castaway Island beach. What a dream!


Ash rock climbing one afternoon. So much more difficult than it looks!


And there was like a lotttt of drinking. Pinkies out always.


Leaving Castaway and back to reality… well backpacking reality soooo not reality at all..

After we got back to Hanoi from the cruise, we hopped on a train with our little group of 8 Canadian friends, plus a few others that we had met on the cruise, and were on our way to Sapa, the land of rice fields! This was our recovery trip from the cruise, this trip was a lot less drinking and partying and lot more marveling at the beautiful country that we were surrounded in. This tour was also organized through the Hanoi Backpackers Hostels, the Sapa Homestay trek. We spent the first night on an overnight train which was actually very comfortable! We arrived in Lao Cai very early in the morning and all of us groggily got off the train and stepped into the van that drove us to the town of Sapa. From here, we spent most of the day trekking down to the bottom valley that is surrounded by the beautiful rice paddies. We eventually made our way to our homestay where we had a delicious meal cooked for us, complete with the area’s famous Rice Wine (this stuff is nasty, like dirty tequila-vodka tasting – I think some people did actually like it though, so to each their own I guess!). We spent the evening playing cards and consuming a few more beers. The next morning we continued our trek, which brought us to a beautiful waterfall, and eventually a nice swimming location down below. It was so hot and humid that it was glorious to take a dip in this – albeit dirty – refreshing water! We then started to climb back upwards toward the town, eventually we stopped at a small little restaurant for lunch in a village about half way up our climb and much to our enthusiasm, we found a mini van waiting outside to take us the rest of the way up! Once up to the top we were able to use the showers of a hotel and walk around the town a bit to explore what Sapa had to offer and grab a bite to eat. Then it was back into the minivan to Lao Cai and onwards to Hanoi via our night train again.


Our first over night train! Featuring: Lauren (blonde, front left) – I actually went to middle school and high school with Lauren, but we never got to know each other until this trip and now I love her, we talk quite a bit when we’re both at home; Ryan – Shawn’s good friend and hockey teammate for years; Sue – one of my good friends from Uni and the only person not from Campbell River lol; Dustin (Top bunk) – Shawn’s BFF since kindergarten; Shawn – well the love of my life, of course!; Me! – See my about page if you feel the need; Michael – Lauren’s boyfriend and another hockey player from CR.


Trek begins with our guide as we wander through the morning market in Sapa




We stopped in at an elementary school once we reached the village at the bottom of our trek. These kids could not get enough of the camera, so cute!


Don’t want to fall into the rice paddies – you’ll sink quite a few feet. Luckily none of us did! Just look at that precision!



The work this guy did was incredible! Can’t believe all of these amazing statues and figurines are carved by hand!


Relaxing and playing pool at our homestay


Beer and Cards – Kings I believe was the game.


Day 2 of our trek!


Taking a much needed dip in that refreshingly dirty water! All the girls posing


And Courtney decided she just needed to put me on her shoulders!


hunka hunka burning love! In Sapa once we returned and showered!


Ryan and Ash while we looked for a good place to eat some delicious food.


Sapa streets – I think Lauren looks just adorable in this photo!

Once back in Hanoi, we quickly said goodbye to our friends that we had met on the cruise and on the trek as well as our Canadian friends, Ryan and Ashley, as they only had a few days left in Vietnam before returning to Vancouver. We then managed to get tickets on a train leaving soon for Hoi An, our next destination. This was May 16th, 2013. I remember exactly because it was my 22nd birthday. By the time we reached Hoi An it was already past midnight, so yea I spent my entire birthday on a hot stinky train. Not exactly how I had imagined, when I had thought about spending my birthday in South East Asia, but nothing really is as planned when backpacking, so oh well! We spent the next day looking at tailors in Hoi An (this is where you get all your Vietnamese tailor made goods! Tailors are every where in this city!), then on to the beach, and eventually out for dinner and to party to celebrate my birthday! These guys made it the best birthday, even if it was the day after! We ended up at a bar called Volcano Bar, this place had all you can drink for $5! You just need to keep your glass with you, and have a stamp on your hand. The city of Hoi An was probably one of my favourite destinations, maybe partly because it was where we spent my birthday, but also partly because we didn’t have any trips or tours planned, we just scootered around and took in the city. We spent a total of 4 days, 3 nights here. I probably could have spent longer, but I think it was enough to really get a sense of what this city was about.


Shawn and I celebrating my birthday with a beer on our 17 hour train ride to Hoi An


This guy was pretty cool, he bought Dustin some corn and paid for him to try all the traditional Vietnamese fare the train offered


In Hoi An, it was soooo hot that we all crowded in to this ATM box while Sue used it because it was the only available place with AC!


Scootering around!


Lovely beach in Hoi An!

bday hoi an

The whole group relaxing at the beach, we had no idea the boys were doing this behind us lol


And cause the beach day was so hard, we had to spend the late afternoon taking it easy by the pool


Birthday dinner with the best crew!


At Volcano Bar… please attribute all one-eye drunk photos to the fact that it was $5 all you can drink. ALL YOU CAN DRINK.


View from our dinner one night on the river


Cao Lau – A dish only found in Hoi An. The noodles have to be made using water from an undisclosed ancient Cham well (Or so Wikipedia tells me).


Lauren and Mike looking dashing on their scooter!!


Unfortunately the only photos I have of the city are from the back of Shawn’s scooter – but I loved this city so much that I still wanted to include one in this post.


The boys all got tailor made suits while we were here! Stay Classy, Hoi An.

I was hoping to get all of Vietnam in one post, but I think it’s going to be just too much so I’ll leave it here and continue on in the next post with Nha Trang!

xoxo Alice Rose

International Wanderings: North Thailand

Hi all,

*Warning, this post is verrryyy picture heavy!

I’m really excited to share with you a trip I took back in the summer of 2013. A year and a half ago! I can’t believe it’s been that long! I always meant to start a blog sooner so I could recap this trip in a timely manner but you know, life got in the way… Anyways, I wasn’t sure whether I could blog about this trip since it was a while ago, but who really makes the rules for blogs anyways? And plus, it was such a wonderful and important time in my life that I definitely wanted to share it with you!

At the end of April of 2013, just 3 days after I finished writing my Uni exams, my friend, Sue, and I hopped on an Air China flight bound for Bangkok!! I had travelled before but always with a tour group (Free the Children provided me with the most amazing opportunity when I was younger, if you are a teenager looking to explore and make a difference, please check them out!!); this was my first trip where not every detail was planned. We had two weeks to explore on our own before we met Shawn and a few other Canadian friends in Vietnam, so we headed to Nap Park Hostel. I cannot recommend this hostel enough, it is located just two streets off of the Backpacker hub of Khao San Rd. And for us, it was a very nice hostel (with lots of wonderful air conditioning!!) that allowed the transition to a new country much easier. Plus we made a few great friends here that we ended up traveling with for the next two weeks! We spent about 3 days in Bangkok where we explored many cultural attractions as well as AMAZING shopping!


Our first tuk-tuk ride through the streets of Bangkok, those Thai drivers are crazy on the road!


Sue lounging at the smoothie bar outside of Nap Park Hostel – Seriously the best hostel!


Our first Changs! I think we purchased these at 7-11.. Fun fact, Chang beer is unregulated so although it says 7%, it actually may be like 4 or 11%, depending on the bottle. Also, they result in a ‘Chang-over’ – The worst type of hangover!



Our first indulgence into street meat! So delicious!




That giant reclining buddha that is almost impossible to photograph well lol

From here we traveled to Chiang Mai. Our night bus arrived very early in the morning so we wanted to make sure we found a place to stay ASAP to take a much needed nap. We quickly found Mojito Garden and set up camp. Everyone staying there (there was only about 10 of us) became so close! We were a family. A family that was together for all of about 5 days, but when you’re traveling you become close fast, because everyone’s looking for a friend. We made great friends with the staff that worked there and they took us around to different places in the city including fight nights and a well known nearby area (I’m trying my best to remember what it was called!!) lined with bucket bars and tons of locals and backpackers a like. From Chiang Mai we went on many day trips including a waterfall (that really wasn’t much at this time of year; we all laughed about how wrong our expectations were), a zoo, a cooking class, an elephant excursion and a tiger sanctuary. If I could do it again, the only thing I wished is that we had gone to this elephant park. Many elephants are abused in the tourism industry in Thailand, so this one is unique in that it’s a recovery and rehab park for mistreated elephants.


Lol this was the great waterfall we took a tuk-tuk to. Needless to say, very lackluster? IMG_0017

We still managed to stay and enjoy it though!


Our tuk-tuk ride to and from the great waterfall was a blast though!


Fleur, Sue and I got to splash around with this lovely girl, her name is Aaliyah and I loveee her!


More Chang.. so dangerous lol


This was taken at Chiang Mai’s Tiger Kingdom. The tigers were so nice but at one point we all had to get out of the cage cause some of the older tigers on the other side of the fence were agitating these younger ones.


This was so silly fun! Zorbing I think it was called?


So much more difficult than you would think! Also, it actually was a real work out to stand up!


This was our first Thai fight night! I apologize right now for my green bandeau! We would often spend the day at the pool or lake or somewhere and then just head out immediately so bikinis were constantly worn all day! Also, I swear that shirt was not nearly so sheer in real life! That’s my story and I’m sticking to it lol


Fleur with our favourite fighter!


This was from the Chiang Mai bucket bar place that was near our hostel. It was so fun! Just a bunch of different little bars all nestled together!


Our cooking class! Unfortunately I was very hungover so I will not show you any photos of me lol. But this girl was so nice! Her and I made curry paste together. It was the most lovely curry!


Chiang Mai has the most magnificent night markets! And this was our first coconut… not as tasty to drink as you would think..


Loved this sign at Mojito Garden! Vancouver is even included in it!

From here, we traveled to Pai where we stayed at Spicy Pai for two nights. This hostel had amazing reviews and we were so excited to stay in their funky bungalows. Unfortunately, Sue and I just couldn’t rough it out there. The frogs burps and chicken coos in the morning were too much for us. Not to mention the fist-sized bugs we had hanging out outside of our insect nets surrounding our beds. I like to think of myself as a pretty tough cookie, but these bugs were ridiculous!! We ended up renting an adorable little private room inside the town and couldn’t be happier. We spent the early evening running around the town handing out fliers for a small bar in exchange for free drinks. This happens a lot in Thailand, just ask around and you can find some awesome opportunities. Our family that we made in Chiang Mai had made their own way to Pai and we spent our last night there dancing and drinking the night away with them! The next morning we left to return to Bangkok to catch our flight headed for Hanoi, Vietnam. This was such a bittersweet departure because we had made such wonderful friends but at the same time I was beyond excited to see Shawn and get to explore some new countries with him!


Sue and I rented scooters for our first time in Pai and decided to scooter around the town before heading out on a longer journey with the other girls that included a zip on the high way. Sue unfortunately fell over on hers, luckily not going too fast, but scraped up her knees a bit. It occurred just outside of what turned out to be the fire department! They were oh so helpful!


We all took our scooters up to this view point in Pai. Probably not one of the best view points on our SEA trip but it was pretty none-the-less.


The last night we were all together! It’s crazy how close we all were after the short while we were together! Such a good group of people.


Loved this view of the Rice Fields at Spicy Pai

Have you been to Northern Thailand? If not, where has been your favourite place to travel?? Let me know in the comments!

xoxo Alice Rose