Our sailing adventures over for 2017, we embarked on some land travel in November, leaving Bali Hai on the hard standing in Rebak Marina, Langkawi, in Malaysia.
Bali Hai goes on “her holidays”
First stop was a flying medical visit to the island of Penang where we also met up with yachtie friends from Charon and Shakti. Thanks to a recommendation by the Charons we stayed at the he excellent boutique hotel Le Dream and enjoyed a great Chinese meal together at the wonderful Tai Tong restaurant in Georgetown.
Dinner with the Charons and the Shaktis
Leaving for Vientiane in Laos in early November we travelled from Langkawi to Kuala Lumpur then from KL to Bangkok- a convoluted route but it was a lot cheaper than any of the other options.
The colourful streets of Vientiane
Poor Laos – the country was bombed to hell even though it was never at war.
Tragically many innocent people continue to lose their limbs from ordnance in their agricultural land and near their homes
Monks in Vientiane busy repainting their temple
Keeping fit on the banks of the Mekong River
We spent a few days exploring Vientiane before taking a mini bus to beautiful Vang Vieng where we stayed right on the river at the Elephant Crossing Hotel which had spectacular views over the mountains.
The glorious view from the Elephant Crossing Hotel in Vang Vieng
These mountains are riddled with caves
Many of the caves have an mage of Buddha near the entrance
This one was called the elephant cave for obvious reasons
After an adventurous few days caving, tubing and hiking we climbed on a minibus again to drive to Luang Prabang.
A group about to go tubing in a cave at Vang Vieng. Such fun and being in a group of two our guide took us deeper into the bowels of the mountain.
A short but pleasant hike after exploring a number of caves
No one could have prepared us for the breathtaking views that we experienced as we crossed the mountain ridges. The journey would have to rate as one of the most fabulous I have ever experienced. Thanks to the Yantaras for recommending the ride without talking it up. It totally exceeded expectations.
Looking back at the hair pin bend we had just traversed – hair raising!
Such a glorious view!
Luang Prabang is a gorgeous town situated where the Mekong and Nam Khan Rivers meet. The French colonists left a legacy of gracious architecture and fine dining and this mixed with the natural beauty of the town, the many outstanding Buddhist temples and the lively markets makes it a bucket list destination.
The view from our hotel in Luang Prabang
Left behind when the French left Luang Prabang
A typical alleyway in Luang Prabang
There are many French villas in Luang Prabang
Busy streets but just a stone’s throw away…….
……a serene and quiet stretch of river
Coincidently the Shakti crew arrived in Luang Prabang the day we did and we enjoyed some great meals together and shared a wonderful day at an elephant camp.
Many beautiful temples and lots of traditional Laotian architecture to enjoy
The bamboo bridge close to where we stayed
We also spent a delightful day at the Kiang Si water falls. Although pretty crowded, the falls were spectacular and definitely a must-see destination.
The Kiang Si water falls were spectacular
We loved visiting these majestic creatures
From Laos we flew to Vietnam stopping overnight in Hanoi and leaving our heavy suitcases at our Air B n B before heading for the royal city of Hue.
It rained cats and dogs in Hue
The Citadel was flooded
Sadly we had constant rain the whole time we were in Hue so we’re unable to do much sight seeing although we did spend a day exploring the royal citadel which was very enjoyable except for the thorough drenching we received.
A sodden royal citadel
…but beautiful inside
Water water everywhere!
Back in Hanoi it was family time – many of our wider family gathered there to attend the wedding of one of our nephews. We had a wonderful time celebrating twice over – first at a Western style wedding and then a traditional Vietnamese style wedding day.
All too soon it was time to move on again – this time to Brisbane where we stayed with our son and partner. Over the Christmas period we were joined by sailing friends Jan and Jack from Anthem who had flown in from Darwin for the occasion. While they were with us, we met up with Cindy and James from You You who were also home for Christmas.
Yachties coffee date
After a busy month in Brisbane catching up with family and friends it was time to be reunited once again with Bali Hai.
We arrived back at Rebak Marina on 10 January to Bali Hai looking the bees knees with her hull polished, her bottom anti fouled and with a very smart brand new propeller. Ready and waiting for the Thailand Rally starting on 15 January 2018.
Always so good to catch up with our sailing buddies