MyTripJournal - Personal Travel Blogs
Our trip starts in China on the 19th October 2005 with a 3 week tour of China, followed by a 6 week tour of SE Asia. We then go to Australia and New Zealand, USA and Canada. Below are rough dates of our plans.

Oct 19, 2005 - Arrive in Beijing on the 20 October from London (depart on the 19th October)
Oct 21, 2005 - Essence of China - Southbound Tour (3 weeks)

Days 1-4 Beijing

We spend one full day at the Great Wall at Simatai (approx. 3 hrs drive from Beijing). It stretches westwards over 6000 km from the mountain ridges north of Beijing...originally constructed to protect the Chinese empires from the...  (more...)
Oct 25, 2005 - Days 5-7 Xi'an

A former Imperial capital, this is our base for a day trip to the Terracotta Warriors, (approx. 1 hour out of town). These stone warriors have been buried for over 2000 years and are all facing east in battle formation, complete with horses and chariots. Other attractions include the...  (more...)
Oct 28, 2005 - Days 8-9 Chengdu

Here, we still find legendary tea houses and some of the most interesting food in China, including the spicy Sichuan hot pot. On day 9 we visit the Giant Panda Reserve, and have free time to explore the tea houses and the streets of Chengdu, get a cheap massage and perhaps sample...  (more...)
Oct 30, 2005 - Days 10-12 Emei Shan

Travel to Leshan which is home to the world's largest outdoor seated Buddha. ""Da fo"" the Buddha is carved into a cliff face at the confluence of two rivers and is 71 metres tall. After lunch and sightseeing around the Buddha, we continue on to Baoguo (approx. 1hr) which is...  (more...)
Nov 2, 2005 - Days 13-16 Yangzi River

Take a bus to Chongqing (approx. 8 hrs), the gateway to the Yangtze River and starting point of our Three Gorges boat trip. We board our Chinese boat tonight for our journey through the mighty Yangtze River area. We spend two full days on board a basic Chinese style boat on...  (more...)
Nov 6, 2005 - Days 17-19 Guilin region

Arriving in Guilin in the morning of day 17 we transfer by public bus (approx. 1.5 hr) to the small countryside town of Yangshuo where the Li River winds its way around thousands of limestone karst mountains. Optional activities include taking a boat ride along the stunning...  (more...)
Nov 9, 2005 - Days 20-21 Hong Kong

Early arrival in Shenzen, cross the border and catch the metro in to the heart of Hong Kong. We can explore Stanley Market, shop, eat, go up Victoria Peak or take a harbour cruise.
Nov 14, 2005 - Fly to Hanoi, Vietnam from Hong Kong
Nov 19, 2005 - Hanoi to Singapore tour starts...Day 1, Arrive Hanoi.
Nov 20, 2005 - Day 2, HANOI A free day in this elegant city. You can visit the fascinating Ho Chi Minh Museum, amble through the winding streets of the Old Quarter, or relax in a cafe by Hoam Kien Lake. (B)
Nov 21, 2005 - Day 3, HILLTRIBE TREK Travel west to Hoa Binh province. We visit the White Thai village of Sa Linh and then make a 3 hour trek to the village of Hang Kia. Our hosts for the evening are the H'mong minority people. Their hospitality allows us to find out a little more of their lives and culture - and...  (more...)
Nov 22, 2005 - Day 4, HILLTRIBE TREK Following breakfast we set off on foot for Van Village inhabited by White Thai people (7 hrs walking). Our hosts this evening will treat us to a fine meal and stories of life in Van. Watch out for their home brewed rice wine! (BLD)
Nov 23, 2005 - Day 5, HILLTRIBE TREK A trek this morning to Khoe Village from where we drive back to Hanoi (3 hrs walking). (B)
Nov 24, 2005 - Day 6, HALONG BAY KAYAKING SAFARI In Halong City we board a private boat to cruise through Halong Bay to the isolated Ho Ba Ham Island. Lunch will be served on board as we cruise. At Ho Ba Ham Island we set up camp then have the rest of the day to explore the area by kayak or on foot. (BLD)
Nov 25, 2005 - Day 7, HALONG BAY KAYAKING SAFARI More kayaking this morning as we head towards Cat Ba Island. We continue to Hai Phong by local ferry then return to Hanoi. (BL)
Nov 26, 2005 - Day 8, HANOI Free time today until we board the Reunification Express train to Hue. (B)
Nov 27, 2005 - Days 9-10, HUE We spend a day and a half in Hue, famous for its stunning imperial architecture and the Perfume River. Day 10 - (B)
Nov 29, 2005 - Day 11, HOI AN Travel to Hoi An via Ocean Cloud Pass, Danang and China Beach. (B)
Nov 30, 2005 - Day 12, HOI AN Free day in Hoi An. Travellers love Hoi An's laid back atmosphere. (B)
Dec 1, 2005 - Day 13, HOI AN - NHA TRANG Early start back to Danang where we catch the Reunification Express to Nha Trang. We arrive early evening and transfer to our hotel. (B)
Dec 2, 2005 - Day 14 - 15, WHALE ISLAND Transfer by road and boat to secluded Whale Island. Two days to swim, laze on pristine beaches or go snorkelling amid lovely coral gardens. (BLD)
Dec 4, 2005 - Day 16, WHALE ISLAND - NHA TRANG Transfer to Nha Trang where there's time to check out the town before we board the overnight train to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City). (B)
Dec 5, 2005 - Day 17, SAIGON (HO CHI MINH CITY) Arrive in Saigon and transfer to the hotel. Free day.
Dec 6, 2005 - Day 18, MEKONG DELTA HOMESTAY A day exploring the area by boat and on foot is a great opportunity to learn about life in the Delta. Tonight we are guests of a local family. (BLD)
Dec 7, 2005 - Day 19, MEKONG DELTA - SAIGON This morning we visit an authentic floating market before returning to Saigon. (B)
Dec 8, 2005 - Day 20, KRABI Transfer to Krabi Province, famous for its magnificent limestone karst scenery. We spend our time in an area named Ao Nang. From this lively resort you can travel daily by boat to unspoilt beaches.
Dec 9, 2005 - Day 21, PHNOM PENH Early start as we depart by public bus from Saigon. We arrive in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh in the late afternoon. (B)
Dec 10, 2005 - Day 22, PHNOM PENH Fully guided tour to visit Royal Palace, National Museum. We will also take time to uncover the history of Cambodia's recent tragic past with an optional visit to Tuoel Sleng - the former Khmer Rouge torture centre. The visit will also include the Killing Fields at Choeung Ek. (B)
Dec 11, 2005 - Day 23, PHNOM PENH - SIEM REAP This morning we have an early start and catch a local ferry to Siem Reap, our gateway to a long awaited visit to the incredible Angkor Wat. Afternoon free. (B)
Dec 12, 2005 - Day 24, ANGKOR WAT A spectacular day of exploration. We rise early for sunrise over Angkor Wat then enjoy a guided tour of the main complex. In the afternoon we visit Angkor Thom, Bayon, Ta Phrom, South gate and the Terrace of the Leper King. (B)
Dec 13, 2005 - Day 25, SIEM REAP A whole free day to explore Angkor Wat or other surrounding sights such as Lake Tonle Sap or the Old Market. (B)
Dec 14, 2005 - Day 26, SIEM REAP - BANGKOK Board the local bus from Siem Reap to Bangkok.
Dec 15, 2005 - Day 27, BANGKOK A free day to check out all that Bangkok has to offer.
Dec 16, 2005 - Day 28, BANGKOK - RIVER KWAI Early departure from Bangkok. We drive to Kanchanaburi and visit the Bridge over the River Kwai, JEATH Museum and War Cemetery. In the afternoon we continue to Nakhon Pathom for the overnight train journey to Surat Thani.
Dec 17, 2005 - Day 29, KOH PHA NGAN Travel to Koh Pha Ngan by ferry and continue by jungle pick-up truck to Thongnaipan Beach, one of Thailand's most beautiful beaches. Overnight in beach bungalows.
Dec 18, 2005 - Day 30-32, KRABI PROVINCE Three full days to take advantage of all Krabi has to offer.
Dec 21, 2005 - Day 33, PENANG Drive to the famous island of Penang via Butterworth where we board a ferry to the island or drive across one of South East Asia's longest bridges. Georgetown, the capital has great colonial British buildings and the best Chinatown, outdoing Singapore or Hong Kong.
Dec 22, 2005 - Day 34, PENANG A free day to explore the markets, beaches and interesting buildings of Penang.
Dec 23, 2005 - Day 35, CAMERON HIGHLANDS We head back to the mainland and head south to the spectacular hill country of the Cameron Highlands.
Dec 24, 2005 - Day 36, CAMERON HIGHLANDS A full day to take jungle walks, visit tea plantations and spice gardens even pick your own strawberries!
Dec 25, 2005 - Day 37, KUALA LUMPUR Travel on to Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia with its interesting mix of cultures and colonial influences. At night you can visit the famous KL night market.
Dec 26, 2005 - Day 38, KUALA LUMPUR A free day to further explore the city or further field. You can take an optional trip through the surrounding countryside and the Batu Caves.
Dec 27, 2005 - Day 39, MELAKA Travel to Melaka, the capital of the Melaka Sultanate. This beautiful town reflects Chinese, Portugese, Dutch and British influences. The rest of the day is free just to wander around.
Dec 28, 2005 - Day 40, MELAKA A free day to explore this fantastic amazing mix of cultures and their architecture.
Dec 29, 2005 - Day 41, SINGAPORE Today we drive to the vibrant city/island state of Singapore and transfer to our hotel. Why not enjoy a drink at the famous Raffles Hotel?
Dec 30, 2005 - Day 42, SINGAPORE A free day to explore Singapore, its colonial past and its mixed culture. Tonight we have the opportunity to eat together and reflect upon our amazing journey from Bangkok to Singapore.
Dec 31, 2005 - Day 43, SINGAPORE Tour ends. - Happy New Year everybody!!!
Jan 1, 2006 - Fly to Bangkok for 2 weeks holiday :-)
Jan 12, 2006 - Fly to Perth, Australia; departing from Bangkok on the 12th Jan arriving on the 13th Jan.
Jan 18, 2006 - Jan 18 - 22: 5 day tour of SW Australia
During this tour, we travel to Esperance, Alabany, Pemberton and back to Perth visiting Wave Rock, Frenchmans peak, Hellfire Beach, Castlerock, the tree top walk, bi-centennial tree, a winery, chocolate factory and dog cemetery along the way!
Jan 30, 2006 - Fly from Perth - Alice Springs (3 day camping tour of Ayr's Rock/Uluru)
Feb 3, 2006 - Fly from Alice Springs - Cairns
(travel by bus/train across the coast to Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide. Hope to contact and stay with trainees and friends along the way.)
Apr 1, 2006 - Fly from Adelaide - Sydney and onward flight from Sydney to Christchurch, NZ
May 30, 2006 - Fly from Auckland - LA
Jun 2, 2006 - Fly from LA - San Francisco
Jun 5, 2006 - Fly from San Fran - LA and take a connecting flight from LA to Las Vegas (hope to see the Grande Canyon there, and make a few millions ;-)
Jun 12, 2006 - Fly from Las Vegas - Miami
Jun 19, 2006 - Fly from Miami - Boston (after a few days, travel by bus/train to NY)
Jun 28, 2006 - Fly from NY - Halifax. Meet with sister Dee and Csaba to travel through the maritimes (Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick)
Jul 9, 2006 - Continue travelling through New Brunswick, on to Quebec and Ontario.
Aug 14, 2006 - Fly from Toronto to Edmonton, Alberta. Stay with sister Shari and Brad & family. Travel down to the farm to help out with harvest.
Oct 18, 2006 - Fly from Vancouver back to Northern Ireland via London.