The first part of this three blog post mini-series included my history from the childhood till the wedding bustle which you can read here. This second part will continue to go through the recent events of my life in order to continue the history part of my nomadic life.
So after our wedding parties were over, it was time to begin planning the forthcoming travel to Asia.
Let the nomadic life planning begin!
First, we decided to sell all the big furniture we had in order to ease the moving out of our current flat. Of course, it helped to get started our nomadic life as well. In addition, we got some extra travel money as well. Whatever useless stuff did not get sold, we either gave it away to a recycling center or threw it away completely. Furthermore, you have to admit that at the beginning it feels pretty difficult and awkward to get rid of something you have had a long time sitting in the corner and maybe have been used one or two times. After putting it away, not only it releases space at the apartment but also your energy gets more house room. That means you can guide your power towards new matters instead of the old ones.
Second, we determined that one month would be enough what comes to the getting all things organized. Also, that would enable us to live abroad as long as we wanted. This meant we could begin our journey in November 2015. We bought a one-way ticket to Bangkok, Thailand and didn’t plan to come back to Finland any time soon. With all our savings, wedding gifts and salaries, it was possible for us to see more expensive places during our trip in South East Asia such as Singapore. To sum up, the travel went following way:
The plan was following:
- Bangkok and Chiang Mai, Thailand
- Via Mekong River to Luang Prabang and Vientiane, Laos (our friends lived in Vientiane). New Year in Laos.
- With bus to Hanoi and Halong Bay, Vietnam
- By plane to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) Vietnam
- Flying back to Bangkok and go to Krabi, Thailand.
- Then to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and Singapore.
- After that to Siem Reap, Cambodia to meet our friends in February 2016 and with them travel to Sihanoukville and Kampot, Cambodia as well.
- After crossing the border to Vietnam together with them and seeing Can Tho and Saigon, Vietnam again, we would fly back to Bangkok and go to Phuket, Thailand.
- Finally Chiang Mai and Bangkok before flying back to Europe at the end of March 2016.
- One cold day in Vienna, Austria before getting back to even colder Helsinki, Finland.
Of course, our initial plan was only to see few certain places such as Chiang Mai and Singapore as well as to visit our friends in Laos. The rest of the plan adapts as the time goes by and you travel and talk with different people from various backgrounds. Then you make your own decisions where to go and travel after analyzing their opinions based on your own experiences and visions.
Founding a possible home for our nomadic life?
Finally, the third part of our trip planning was the idea of founding few places in South East Asia to consider of becoming the location one could call home. Whenever you are traveling around the countries and places, some of the locations just hit you – you want to stay longer there and see surrounding areas as well. And because I want to be a location independent traveler that will see and visit locations around the globe, there are and will be spots that stand up from the rest. In that case, you have to recognize the feeling whether some place would be the one to keep as a base. A base from where to make the trips from and where to come back again and again.
With these ideas and plans, we started our honeymoon backpacking journey on one chilly November 2015 day from Helsinki Airport.
The End of 2015
After getting rid of a minor jetlag in Bangkok for about 3-4 days, we decided to take a night train to Chiang Mai. Neither of us hadn’t been there before and I had read and heard only great things about this pearl in Northern Thailand. And we were not disappointed!
First of all, the price level was just as low as we had found online. You can find perfect two people room from $10-15 during the low season – still under $20 even in high season too. In addition, the food was amazing with good price. Khao soi (the specialty of Chiang Mai), Pad Thai, all curry foods, you name it. One traditional restaurant called Aroon Rai stuck in our minds. You cannot believe how tasty and delicious food they can serve under $2. Finally, there are surprisingly fast internet connections in Chiang Mai so that is one huge reason it has become one of the main spots for location independent people and digital nomads.
There does not exist many negative sides in Chiang Mai but if you have to find one it must be a lack of the sea and beaches. You can go swimming one of the countless pools and lay low on the sunbed within the town but nonetheless, there is some magic in beaches and sea you just cannot describe. With all that being said, we both still knew this is one of the places we could live in.
Leaving Green Oasis
After spending three beautiful, nomadic life weeks in Chiang Mai, it was time to move on. We had booked a ferry journey to Luang Prabang via Mekong river before leaving Finland. The reason was that you must have some kind of proof to show the airline that you are going to leave Thailand before 30 days have passed (we didn’t have visas). They don’t always ask it but hey, better safe than sorry.
We took a minivan towards the border of Laos and during our ride, the driver stopped at White Temple in Chiang Rai for about an hour. That was one of the most thrilling hour ever! The White Temple was just pure art and makes you speechless with all the little details. Just unbelievable!
Before getting to Laos, we spend one night in the border town, Chiang Khong. After the reasonable quick border crossing formalities were done, we were on our way along the Mekong with hopefully pinhole free trawler.
Boat Trip via the Mekong
The boat trip along the Mekong was done in two days. We slept the night in a small village called Pak Beng and continued the journey early in the following morning. There were plenty of travelers doing the cruise so we had to change the trawler during the next morning which, luckily for us, wasn’t bad thing at all. After approximately 8 hours of riding, we finally reached our destination, Luang Prabang.
Luang Prabang is very laid back and easy-going small town in the middle of Laos. Originally, we thought that maybe one week would be enough what comes to the staying there and seeing all the necessary attractions but little did we knew. We loved the atmosphere so much that we spend three weeks altogether working with our laptops in the nice, cozy cafes and eating dinners during the evenings in the secret, little restaurants.
We have to mention one place particularly which was more than tough to find but where we finally manage to get ourselves in – Secret Pizza. It was open only on Tuesdays and Fridays from 5pm to 9pm and the location was just terrible, far from everything. But when we had a chance to taste their mind-blowing stone-oven baked pizzas made by charming Italian host and lovely Laotian hostess, we were just stunned. After eating few times there, we also find out that the Secret Pizza was also open on Saturdays but the owners wanted to keep a low profile. The reason for that was there were usually more than enough people lining up to their restaurant. It’s good to mention that they live next to the restaurant as well.
Happy Holidays and Halong Bay
After Christmas, we took a bus from Luang Prabang to the capital of Laos, Vientiane. It was time to celebrate the New Year in our friend’s luxurious apartment house in the downtown Vientiane. It is a bit boring town (sorry friends!) so it was time to head to the next capital, Hanoi, Vietnam. The plan was to see one of the seven wonders of the world, Halong Bay. Our nomadic life keeps getting better and better.
When reaching Hanoi after 30 hours of bumpy bus journey (which should have been taken 22 hours), we were pretty much exhausted. Our bus managed to get through the journey with only one mechanical failure which was a miracle itself. Luckily there was a nice Brit and one local Vietnamese boy traveling with us amongst many others so it made the journey a little less painful. This charming Vietnamese even paid the taxi from Hanoi bus station to our hotel. My fiancee had woken him up during the border crossing procedures and he felt very much obliged to us.
We had only three full days in Hanoi and wanted to spend one of those in Halong Bay. It was a little bit cold in Northern Vietnam in the early January, like 20 degrees during the day and below 15 on the nights so the boat journey around the Halong Bay was quite a chilly. Nevertheless, the viewings were amazing and mind-blowing making you forget the cool and windy weather. We can definitely recommend the experience to anyone hanging around South East Asia.
Saigon and Story Still Continues
After seeing Hanoi and Halong Bay we flew to Saigon, South Vietnam. We wanted to spend some time with the friend of my bride. I had visited Saigon a few times back in 2013 so it wasn’t completely unknown to me. Anyway, the city itself is more western than the capital Hanoi in North. Obviously, it is because of the events in history back in the 60s and 70s. But now it was time to go back to Thailand to see the stunning Krabi. That was the first stop in our nomadic life way to the wealthy Singapore.
You can continue reading the rest of the Quick Look of My Nomadic History from the Part Three clicking here.