Dear Family and Friends,
I’ve been promising a number of you that I would send an email update about my around the world trip for quite some time so I figured I better get around to it sooner rather than later.
The trip so far has been fantastic. I am in Singapore at the moment, I’ll be here until Wednesday when I head to India for a friend’s wedding and related travel.
This past week I passed the halfway point of my trip both time wise and distance wise. To quickly recap the trip I spent a little more than a month in Japan with Miho. The time in Japan was really great, it gave me a chance to see and do many of the things I meant to do when I lived there but didn’t get around to at the time. Miho and I took a trip to southern Japan to see Miyajima (click here for photos), Hiroshima (click here) and Nagasaki (click here). I spent the rest of my time hanging around Tokyo with Miho and visiting friends, which was a lot of fun (see here for favorite pics from Japan).
In early March I wrapped up my time in Japan and flew to Seoul, South Korea for a few days. This was my first time in Korea and it actually wasn’t originally part of the plan for my trip. It turned it was cheaper to get from Japan to China via Korea so I spent a few days exploring Seoul and seeing the DMZ. (see here, here and here). I really liked South Korea, the food was great and the culture was very interesting it was definitely a really worthwhile side trip.
After spending a few days in Korea I moved on to China where I spent a little more than three weeks exploring the country. My time in China was fantastic, I honestly wish I had a couple of months to explore China. I started my time in China in and around the Beijing area (click here), where I visited the Forbidden City (click here), hiked the Great Wall with a few guys from the hostel (click here), saw the summer palace (click here) and generally explored the city. Beijing is a very interesting and dynamic city, especially right now with the preparations for the Olympics. One not so great thing was that my time in China happened to be when the crack down in Tibet occurred. The day the Tibet protests broke out I was in Tiananmen Square and I saw Chinese police and soldiers beat an old women, it was one of the worst things I have ever seen and definitely made me a big supporter of the protestors and their cause.
From Beijing I continued on to Xi’an where the Terracota Warriors are located (click here). The warriors were amazing to see, Xi’an was definitely one of the highlights of my trip. I then took an overnight train to Shanghai (click here) where I met my Dad who joined me for a little more than a week in China and Vietnam. Dad and I took a side trip to Suzhou (click here), a very beautiful town outside of Shanghai full of world heritage listed gardens and cultural sites.
My Dad and I then flew to Hong Kong where we made a very brief stop between our flights and then continued to Vietnam. We spent most of our time in Hanoi (click here) where we toured around and I started working on a project with the NGO. My Dad and I wrapped up our time travelling together with a trip to Ha Long Bay (click here) which was amazingly beautiful and very relaxing. We also had the amazing experience of having a live aboard boat all to ourselves, there was supposed to be 8 people but we had the boat to ourselves. I spent the following week working for the NGO which sent me to Hue, Da Nang and Vientiene, Loas. I didn’t take many photos that week because I was working but a small set can be found here.
When my time in Vietnam came to an end Miho flew in from Japan and met me for a trip to Cambodia. We started in Phenom Pen (see here) where we met her friend Crystal and Sandra a friend of hers. The four of us then travelled to Siem Reap to see Angkor Wat and the surrounding temples. The Angkor area is unbelievably beautiful and amazing, it’s hard to find words to describe it, it definitely was one of the highlights of my trip (see here and here).
I’ve since travelled on to Thailand and now Singapore but I haven’t had a chance to put the photos on the web so I’ll include that in a later email. For those who’d like to see all the photo sets in one place, please click here. I also have my travel blog at www.ryansrtw.com but I am very behind on blog posts. China blocked my blog so I fell behind while I was in China and I haven’t yet had time to play catch up, sometime soon I will get the blog back up to date.
I hope all of you are doing well, drop me a line and let me know how life is treating you.