October 2: Swimming in the river via @donna__noble, Elephant Nature Park
One of the things J. Legume and I joked about while getting ready for our 6 weeks across Thailand and Cambodia, besides which one outfit we planned to wear every single day and at which point we’d start going without underwear, was how our ongoing Instagram photos should probably have a hashtag. It’s 2013, we live and breathe the internet, and while irony is often play, I can become fairly obsessed (and horrified) with the evolution of social media for the sake (excuse) of VVC, and I can seriously say that there’s a purpose here: legitimate record keeping of the photos we share as a digital travel journal, of sorts.
Tagging is the only way I’d ever find anything in my Flickr account, but that’s another story altogether. One silly conversation later about our ‘budget’ vacation and fondness of the term ‘hiatus’ when we travel, the hashtag was born. ‘Hiatus, Hiatus‘ it was, and keeping track of our own documentation was in order. Two weeks in, riding a bike I was renting for a little over $1/day on the left side of the road down side streets in Chiang Mai’s Old City, and along highways across town, I already had pangs of disbelief at what happened only half a week before in Chiang Rai; fast forward four weeks to watching the sunset over Angkor Wat less than two years after I had done the same, the entire situation remained surreal, day by day. To look back at the photographic proof I’d decided to share, made the current happenings only that much more magical; they were the reality I didn’t want to end.
Just like some wacky vegan aunt who’s gotten her hands on a projector (which my friends are supposedly making happen pretty soon, so shiitake’s getting real), I’d like to share these tagged photos from our hiatus with one common theme: anything extraordinary that sorta kinda blew my mind. Some are the scenery, some are food, some are expressions — they’re all moments in time my companion and I found worth sharing, giving a glimpse into our amazing, cultural experiences and hopefully serving as inspiration to others.
Each and every photo, merely a selection over 200 scenes we each found irresistible to capture, is already one that we wanted to share as we traveled on, from Bangkok to the northern mountains, then to Siem Reap and the south of Cambodia, off to islands, getting to know Phnom Penh, and back to Bangkok to meet up with a friend and fly back home to PDX.
So, sit back, prepare to scroll, and get ready for lots of gorgeous views, tropical islands, animals, tuk tuks and unforgettable local eats, courtesy of our requisite Instagram accounts, @donna__noble and @jdfunks. All photos include the dates posted and original captions.
Hashtagging the Hiatus: Scenes from Cambodia & Thailand
September 24: Doing it. via @jdfunks, Khaosan Road
September 25: Soi Rambuttri. via @donna__noble
Chiang Rai, Thailand
September 25: Our first stop off the plane: a fascinating Thai & Chinese vegetarian, cafeteria-style lunch. I chose steamed pumpkin & greens, stir-fried vegetables with basil, and the freshest, softest tofu of the trip yet (plus spicy soy sauce & roasted chili over brown rice). 30 baht. via @jdfunks, Oasis Vegetarian
September 26: Freaking out over here. Fresh mangosteens. Bought a bag (and finished the first this morning for breakfast) for our retreat the next few days. via @jdfunks
September 28: Bamboo Nest. via @donna__noble, Bamboo Nest
September 28: Accidental four and a half hour jungle trekking in the northern mountains…we made it back muddy, exhausted and after a nap, glorious. via @jdfunks, Bamboo Nest
Chiang Mai, Thailand
September 30: With that, dear @donna__noble is off to volunteer at the Elephant Conservation Center for the week and I’m left to explore Chiang Mai once more. via @jdfunks, Elephant Nature Park office
September 29: What dreams are made of, and *the* dish of the Chiang Mai area, Khao Soi (served at a vegetarian cafe with rice noodles subbed for the traditional egg). Bowl #1 of the week ahead. via @jdfunks, Juicy 4 U
September 30: Last night I walked to a 100 baht (just over $3), family-run, vegetarian buffet dinner where all six dishes (plus, one rice) were served in warm clay pots. There were three curries, a stir fry dish and two fascinating seitan dishes. I sat entirely by myself in such a serene, outdoor dining room above the guesthouse, for the first twenty minutes, reading, tasting new things, listening to soft jazz and watching geckos climb the walls below. via @jdfunks, Gap’s House
October 1: Trunked! via @donna__noble, Elephant Nature Park
October 2: Dental tourism, check-mark. Aka where I spent my evening, saving hundreds of dollars on the crown to complete my pre-trip emergency root canal. via @jdfunks, Dental 4 U
October 2: And later on, a sweet, dreamy red curry with soft tofu, pineapple, bok choi, fresh kaffir lime leaves (💞), carrots and basil at the former Chiang Mai May Kaidee’s location. via @jdfunks, Morning Glory
October 3: 309 steps to the historic mountain top temple. Legend (er, wikitravel) has it, a rare white elephant choose the location. I arrived via songthaew and then took those grand stairs up and down. The fee was 30 baht for foreigners and goes to temple reconstruction. via @jdfunks, Wat Phra That Doi Suthep
October 4: Hydration in Chinatown. No vegetarian stalls (yet). via @jdfunks, Warorot Market
October 5: Another of yesterday’s highlights: stumbling upon a vegetarian steamed bun shoppe with yellow & red fest signage with dozens and dozens of 100% varieties! I ordered BBQ wheat gluten and young coconut cream-filled buns for lunch. They were steamed on the spot and unbelievably soft….they put any I’ve had before to shame. via @jdfunks, Thai Vegetarian Festival
October 6: Baby Mango in @jdfunks arms. I can’t remember her ever paying attention to a dog before. via @donna__noble, Juicy 4 U
October 8: Moving up the mountain into a quiet bamboo hut for the next few days….via motorbike! via @jdfunks, Pai Chao Kha
October 8: Bamboo bridge. via @donna__noble
October 9: Savoury rice porridge (with mushrooms, fresh herbs & dried chili), coffee, crispy dough puffs & such a view…. via @jdfunks, Pai Chao Kha
October 9: We are pretty damn tan. via @donna__noble
October 10: Little hunter. via @donna__noble
October 11: Red & Young Coconut curries (favorite !), our farewell lunch in Pai. 762 speedy curves and three hours down the mountains later, we’re back in Chiang Mai. via @jdfunks, Curry Shack
Chiang Mai, Thailand
October 12: Happy. via @jdfunks, Sunday Walking Street
Siem Reap, Cambodia
October 15: This city makes me smile. via @jdfunks
October 15: Khmer Amok with fried tofu & green bell pepper, brown rice, Green Papaya salad, Spring Rolls with dipping sauce and fresh mango. Truly sensational. via @jdfunks, Peace Cafe
Angkor Archaeological Park, Cambodia
October 16: Angkor Wat’s water reflection. via @donna__noble, Angkor Wat
Koh Rong Samloem, Cambodia
October 22: Met this cat and his twin brother on Koh Rong Samloem. via @donna__noble, Robinson Bungalows
October 22: Our idyllic home this past week, two and a half hours off the coast of Sihanoukville. Quiet bungalows, no internet whatsoever & electricity from sunset to 10pm. Every day we read, swam, lazed in hammocks, played with the jungle kittens and read and swam some more… via @jdfunks, Robinson Bungalows
Koh Rong, Cambodia
October 24: Beach fowl. via @donna__noble
October 28: Three days earlier. via @jdfunks, taken from the Kong Rong Ferry Dock
October 27: Morning fruit plate before we bid Sihanoukville farewell… via @jdfunks, Monkey Republic
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
October 29: Hi fairly large rat! via @donna__noble
November 1: My badass girlfriend just got her hair shaved & cut on the street. via @jdfunks
November 4: One more round of noodles. via @jdfunks, Mi Chay
November 4: Looking down on Sothearos from our apartment’s balcony. via @jdfunks, Sothearos Boulevard
November 6: WE FOUND MR. YIM’S ! Sharing a plate of Spicy Curry Tofu with @donna__noble & @chelshoshi (40 baht). via @jdfunks, Soi Rambuttri
November 6/7: Just excited to see my cats again. Sad about the end of our hiatus. via @donna__noble, Narita International Airport
In case you’re curious, let me add that my dental work was totally legit and eating vegan is quite easy in both countries, particularly if like this vegan couple, you’re purposely seeking it out. Culinary tourism!
And just like someone who’s rather obsessed with their travels, there’s much more to come from the digital camera archives: the markets, travel tips, cuisines, cocktails, and everything else documented while the Iphone was out of sight.
Somehow, I resisted sharing this in slide show format. You’re welcome. Thanks for reading.