The Gap Year post - backpacking in South East Asia

Friday, 9 May 2014
From the 10th of February to the 28th of April, I was travelling South East Asia having the sickest adventure ever. For the past week in England I have been more or less bumming around wishing I was back in the incredible places I visited. I wish I was a thousand times more eloquent or could adequately do the trip justice in this post.. every time I read my travel diary I literally crack up so much at all the little things that make up the trip and couldn't of asked for better company too on my travels with one of my best friends, Vicky (hola, i know you're probably the first to read this!). Before I left, I was half inclined to do a sort of 'travel blog' but that was soon out of the window when I realised I barely keep up with this one when I'm in the country. So, here is a sum up, whirlwind sort of post outlining my time across the world.

The first month

Places visited: Bangkok - Thailand, Siem Reap - Cambodia, Phnom Penh - Cambodia, Sihanoukville - Cambodia, Ho Chi Minh City - Vietnam, Nha Trang - Vietnam, Hue - Vietnam, Ha Long Bay - Vietnam, Hanoi - Vietnam
Some highlights: visiting a school in Siem Reap, Angkor Wat, hilarious quad biking, Killing Fields, generally cracking up at our tour leader and watching him do laughing gas in Sihanoukville, homestay in the middle of nowhere with an open roof, cycling tour of Hoi an, riding a water buffalo (literally so random), eating pineapple all the time, fortune telling, kayaking through Ha Long Bay, Gecko, seeing all the gorgeous greenery of Vietnam on the long bus journeys, all the lols of the tour group

Lowlights: this one noodle chicken soup which was absolutely disgusting, said noodle soup making me ill and having gastro-enteritis on a sleeper train, bloody long walk home in the pouring rain after an illegal rave by a rice paddy to an equally as damp room, breaking two pairs of shoes 
The second month
Places visited: Vientiane - Laos, Vang Vieng - Laos, Luang Prabang - Laos, Chiang Mai - Thailand, Bangkok - Thailand, Koh Samui - Thailand, Koh Phangan - Thailand, Koh Tao - Thailand, Koh Phi Phi - Thailand, Phuket - Thailand
Some highlights: learning about the bombing in Laos, leaping off trees in the Blue Lagoon, amazing day tubing and chilling in the riverside bars, awesome market in Luang Prabang, Lydias stand up comedy one night out, Kuang Sii waterfalls, elephant riding/feeding/washing, two day boat trip down the Mekong river, home stay in tiny village with loads of animals (the CUTEST baby pigs were running around) and the lols of having 0 power and sleeping on the floor, Laos in general being a massive highlight, playing with baby tigers, ladyboy show, dance/fashion show on the sleeper train with the train assistant, full moon party, Thailands gorgeous beaches, jokes snorkelling boat trip with eddie 'murphy', Maya beach where The Beach was filmed, irish bar in Koh Phi Phi, holding a baby lemur
Lowlights: lizard attack, bear feet in jars at a roadside ditch, sleeping on a pile of lifejackets at 5am on a freezing boat, pingpong show (vom), psycho taxi driver chasing us underground, saying goodbye to Thailand

The third month



Places visited: Jakarta - Indonesia, Bali - Indonesia, Gili Trawangan - Indonesia, Lombok - Indonesia, Singapore, Cebu - Philippines, Boracay- Philippines, Manila - Philippines, Puerto Galera - Philippines, Kuala Lumpur - Malaysia
Some highlights: hilarious immigration and taxi experience in Jakarta, watching all the surfers in Bali  and the weirdest night out ever (shoutout to Nigel), literally amazing food on Gili T, cycling around the tiny island stopping only to swim in the bluest sea ever, my birthday, the stars at night in Gili T were the most intense I've ever seen in my life it looked like it was photoshopped, snorkelling with turtles, Indonesia's amazingly friendly people, the sickest ride EVER (transformers one) at Universal Studios Singapore, gorgeous beach in Boracay, parasailing and zip lining, jet skiing and beach lols at White Beach, just the whole of the Philippines really LOVE THAT PLACE, funny taxi rides all the time

Lowlights: vickys iPhone breaking, bizarre gross indian food in jungle themed restaurant, allergic reaction/illness in manila but vicky getting us dominos (yay), watching Divergent in KL but all the good parts were cut out, last trip to 7/11, GOING HOME


Its difficult to adequately sum up my trip in one post especially because I don't want to get too personal or anything- if you are planning a gap year (DO) or taking a trip in some of these places and want more info or advice or anything feel free to email me at emmalouisecoull@gmail.com. I literally had the most wonderful, fun and cool three months and I cannot wait to get back to certain places already. I've never felt more myself or happy while travelling and know that now I'll be saving up again for another backpacking adventure as soon as possible!

7 comments

  1. I wish I'd have done a gap year before uni! But thinking of travelling around Thailand and SE Asia at the end of the year, so incredibly jealous of all your photos!

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  2. Looks like you had an amazing time! I spent my entire gap year working, which meant I could fund myself for my first year of uni but kinda wish I'd travelled after reading this post! xx

    ☾ www.liquoricepearls.com ☾

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  3. you visited some absolutly gorgeous places, i want to do this around canada and us. ive been on a gap year and couldnt afford to even go to town, how did you afford all this? x

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    1. worked full time for 2 + 1/2 months then used some of my savings x

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  4. Ahhhh it looks so so amazing! I'm going around Europe for a month later this year before I go to uni but I've definitely got my eyes set on going around SE Asia before I finish uni or at the end of it. Glad you had a good time xx

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  5. What amazing photos! Looks like you had a great time, lovely xx

    ellenunderwater.blogspot.co.uk

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  6. It looks so amazing Emma, some beautiful places, I'm going to uni in September but I wish I chose to take a year out for some travelling it seems like such a great idea! x

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