Christmas in the Barossa Valley

Mark Stewart Festivals, Travel Leave a Comment

Fourteen thousand kilometres from home, in the spectacular Barossa Valley in South Australia,we celebrate a very unique Christmas in wine country. Wine Country Fresh off the Nullarbor, we waste no time making our way into our highly anticipated next destination. The Barossa Valley is one of Australias best wine regions, home to some of the best Shiraz in the country. We fell in love with this little area immediately upon arrival. What stands out above all else, is that there …

Crossing the Nullarbor

Mark Stewart Road Trip, Travel 4 Comments

The previous evening was spent in an abandoned salmon fishing camp on the coast. Celebrating my birthday, we drank cheap beer in the car while singing along to CCR’s greatest hits. Not just out of love mind you, it was one of the only two CD’s we owned and radio reception was non-existent. Pantyhose and Eggs Stopping for petrol and supplies in Noresman the next morning, a man asks us our plans. “Heading into the Nullarbor today!”, we proudly tell …

Perth: Our Entry into Australia

Mark Stewart Cities 6 Comments

Looking at the bill, we were stunned. $25 for only a handful of groceries! While it was something we had anticipated, it still took some time to get used to. The often laughably cheap prices we’d become so used to over the past nearly half-year in Southeast Asia were no more. The time had come for our journey to continue, to the second round of this epic adventure. Flipping through yet another new currency, we laughed as Men At Work’s …

Singapore

Mark Stewart Cities Leave a Comment

Our final week on the Southeast Asian peninsula brought us full circle – sort of. The half-year adventure in one of the most beautiful regions on earth began in the ultra-modern world of Tokyo and ended in the almost as modern world of Singapore. The only real downside to our arrival in Singapore was the sudden increase in costs, as we had officially returned to the ‘West’. Staying at the Inncrowd hostel in Little India, we had very little in …

The Cameron Highlands of Malaysia

Mark Stewart Activities Leave a Comment

The majority of backpackers in Southeast Asia tend to focus on Thailand. Those with a little more freedom often venture through Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. When time is available, occasionally they’ll spend a bit of time visiting Malaysia, but typically tend to stick to either the beaches or a quick stop over in Kuala Lumpur. Unfortunately, one of the most beautiful spots in the entire country of mainland Malaysia is often overlooked: the Cameron Highlands. With a much cooler climate …

The Temples of Angkor

Mark Stewart Architecture, Ruins 4 Comments

Angkor Wat. Arguably some of the most well known ancient ruins in the world, and without question a must-visit spot for anyone travelling through Southeast Asia. While day trips or short overnight tours from Thailand are available and often used by time-limited travellers, the best option is to stay for at least a few days to allow time to take in all of the temples in the area. Following our six-hour bus ride up from Phnom Penh we check into …

Dengue Fever in Vietnam

Mark Stewart Misadventures 2 Comments

Suddenly, out of absolute nowhere, I went from excited and hungry to weak and sick within a few seconds. As if some unknown vampiric force was draining me of all energy. I hobbled to the washroom to wash my face with some cold water as I could feel my temperature rising.

Tea and Tranquility in Vang Vieng

Mark Stewart Travel Leave a Comment

After a long and bumpy ride, along steep cliffs and winding roads, we make our way from Luang Prabang to the little village of Vang Vieng. Almost immediately we discover the truth behind the rumours we’ve heard to much about: the legendary “Friends bars”. Although we’ve never figured out why, but nearly every bar and restaurant in town has repeats of Friends playing constantly – yes, the NBC show from the 90’s. Although it was quite fascinating, it was without …

The Slow Boat into Laos

Mark Stewart Activities Leave a Comment

Waking early enough for a quick breakfast before doing one final pack of our bags, we make sure everything is in order and make our way down the dusty path toward the dock. The literal border ‘crossing’ is done in a small canoe powered by an outboard motor, just strong enough to fight the currents of the Mekong River.
 
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A Jungle Trek in Thailand

Mark Stewart Activities, Travel Stories Leave a Comment

We walked to the shop just after sunrise. The guides were waiting by an old pickup truck. The two other travellers joined us soon after. One, a Thai university student living in Bangkok, the other his German classmate. They were on vacation. We climbed in the back of the truck and it drove us far outside of Pai. After some time, the truck stopped and the four of us hopped out. The two guides loaded their guns and told us …