Follow Me East

Follow Me East gives us Nick and Elle's first hand, in-depth accounts of their travels through the Far East and beyond, from Thailand to New Zealand. The couple are occasional Lonely Planet contributors and are self confessed full-time caffeine consumers. Brilliant writing takes you right into the action - essential reading for all adventure seekers!

Follow Me East

Blog posts

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21st August 2015 by Follow Me East

I HEART Hanoi

A cluster of little streets, a hodge-podge of quaint architectural styles and a micro-sized coffee shop every few steps. You could easily come to Hanoi and do nothing but wander the streets of the old town, drink coffee and eat pho from the abundant street stalls. This more or less what we did.Early morning in HanoiI first visited Vietnam 10 years ago and this time around I was delighted to see that the city has kept the exact same level of dilapidation. It is neither better maintained nor more...

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21st July 2015 by Follow Me East

About Auckland...

There are few scenarios whereby you are asked to leave a country for five days, but this was one of them. Australian immigration didn't care where I went, I just couldn't be in Australia while they finalised my visa. This presented a rare opportunity for me to punch some dates into Skyscanner and pick a destination at random so, 11 days later, I found myself in Auckland. You can't throw a stick in the air here without it landing on a volcano, the tiny lanes hide micro-treasures and the city...

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27th May 2015 by Follow Me East

Halong Baitulong Bay - pirating optional

This place is a pirate's dream. 1,600 islands of craggy limestone cast wistfully across an area that's name translates as "descending dragons bay". Liberally sprinkled with caves and jungles, whatever isn't ocean is clearly intended for hiding treasure. UNESCO listed? You better believe it. But then again pirates wouldn't care about that, so let's get to swashbuckling. Where's the rum?Our preparation for pirate-like behaviour was thorough, as we got into character a little early by pulling up a...

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12th May 2015 by Follow Me East

Two days in Phnom Penh

Depending which forums you read, Phnom Penh is either the new 'it' city of Asia or a dusty little town only good for a transit point. We spent two days in Cambodia's capital and concluded that it deserves neither such praise nor such censure. Cambodia's recent history is devastating, but modern Phnom Penh is a city on the go making up for lost time. Here are some ideas for two days in Phnom Penh.Like the English colonialists left railroads, the French left good food. Phnom Penh is no...

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30th April 2015 by Follow Me East

72 hours around Angkor archaeological park

I've never seen a tree pull apart a building before, holding the components in separate parts by its root system. The ruins here appear to have grown from the ground and, from where I'm standing, it looks like nature wants them back. There's a fantastical, mystical look about this place, as if it should only be possible in fiction but it's very real and on a vast scale, rousing your inner child who may as well have strolled into novels of J.R.R. Tolkien or C.S. Lewis.The size of Angkor...

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15th February 2015 by Follow Me East

Seven days in Tibet

Tibet is one of those mythical places that stirs the imagination and fuels the travel bug. Nicknamed 'the Land of the Snows', winter might not seem like the best time to go, however when we found ourselves in Nepal in December we were too close not to drop in on her mysterious Northern neighbour. Braving the elements, the snowed-in passes and the burden of Chinese bureaucracy, Follow Me East spent seven days in Tibet. On the road trip of a lifetime we discovered a landscape that left us...

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31st January 2015 by Follow Me East

Vietnam's Central Highlands by motorbike

Technically, you're not supposed to ride motorbikes in Vietnam without a local license, but getting one involves a written and practical test. Fortunately, licenses are of little concern to the rental operators who shrug off such details with comments like "Just stick to the speed limits and the police won't stop you". I pointed out that the speedometer, amongst other things, did not work and he quickly moved on to show me how the headlights function. Having ridden for about a decade now,...

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19th January 2015 by Follow Me East

Self-guiding treks in Nepal

Following the avalanches in October 2014 that claimed over 40 lives, self-guided treks in the Himalayas have been a touchy subject, with many locals attributing the high death toll to budget tourists cutting corners. The truth of this is debatable as many of the people who sadly died had guides with them. In addition, some trails are well-trodden, basic and far from avalanche risks areas, so Follow Me East self-guided a six-day hike around the Annapurna range in Nepal to see how accessible it...

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2nd November 2014 by Follow Me East

It's a tuk tuk kind of thing

If pugs are nature's punch line, then tuk tuks are the vehicular equivalent with one key difference...they are surprisingly useful. Created in South East Asia they get their name from the sound the engines make. They are also a beloved and logical transport method for many parts of the world, which is why we're delving into the weird and wonderful existence of the tuk tuk.In any city situation, these courageous little chariots tear through the streets with a nonchalant disregard for signage,...

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24th October 2014 by Follow Me East

I spent two weeks in Sr Lanka, now I think I am an expert

Obviously (I hope obviously) I am not quite so arrogant as to think I've got Sri Lanka sussed. I do, however, have some general impressions ranging from the weather to the economy.Sri Lanka immediately appears like a country going somewhere. There is a lot of building going on, roads are in good condition (except where they are barely roads, but then there is often evidence of development taking place). There are Early Childhood Learning centers everywhere, the streets are relatively litter...

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17th October 2014 by Follow Me East

The cultural triangle by bus

In the centre of Sri Lanka are a collection of UNESCO listed sites, known as the Cultural Triangle. Scattered through the hot and dusty plains are the archeological remnants of Sri Lanka's ancient kingdoms dating back over 2000 years. I'm a sucker for a good ruin, so there was no way we were going to miss seeing this. Apparently there are seven listed sites in the boundary of the 'triangle', we narrowed our adventure to fourĀ­ Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya and Dambulla. We did the whole...

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13th October 2014 by Follow Me East

Sri Lanka for the uninitiated

Off the bat, I was pitifully prepared for Sri Lanka. As one of 10 countries we're visiting over the coming months, I'd oddly concentrated more on places like Nepal and Thailand. Luckily Elle, who doesn't follow my chaotic format of just rocking up in a town to see what happens, had me covered. However, learning everything on the hop has been an eye-opener and, with that in mind, here are a few headliners for the uninitiated to Sri Lanka.Pre-bulk tourismWe've found that some areas are still in...