What my dream living place looks like

If I made a list of what my ideal place to live would be like, my utopia, it would look like this:

1) Mountains and hiking opportunities close by. 

2) Fresh water lake or river to swim in. 

3) Not many people, which in turn translates to less pollution. 

4) Good food and it doesn’t hurt the pocket to eat at a restaurant few times a week. 

5) Friendly people. 

6) Good weather throughout the year. Preferrably not the kind where the winters are cold and sad, or the summers are too hot. Rainfall is okay, if it’s not cold when it rains. 

7) Access to music concerts \m/

Do you know any place that fulfills all of these? I know some places that fulfill some of these criteria, but none that fulfill all. 

If any of you have pointers about places that are close to this utopia, please let me know. 

The lazy town Kampot

Kampot deserves a special mention. It’s a lazy town in the south of Cambodia. I stayed 6 nights in this place and could’ve stayed more. 

There’s nothing really going on in this place. But for some reason the place has a charm of its own. 

There’s a river (half river since it’s salty) which you can swim in. 

There’s live music sometimes. 

There’s a national park which is the most horrible national park I’ve seen. Expected to drive some 10 kms but it turned out to be a 40 km drive one way, to a commercial place amongst the mountains with nothing to see at all. 

You can drive to Kep and spend a day at the national park over there or by the beach. 

So you do have some things to do, but the laziness is unreal. I spent 3 nights in Sihanoukville lazying around but wanted to leave afterwards. 

I finally moved out of Kampot to see a music festival in Phnom Penh. If there wasn’t any festival and maybe if there was a fresh water lake close by in Kampot, I could’ve easily stayed more nights. 

Cambodia motorbike diaries – Day 4 (Kampot to Phnom Penh)

Distance: 150 kms

Phoebe broke down for the first time today! 

She’s been leaking a little bit of oil or petrol from below. I wanted to have it checked but couldn’t find a mechanic in the morning. She also needs a wash pretty badly. 

I had a bad feeling today before starting. 150 kms though, so I just went through with it. 

The problem wasn’t in any of those things though. After 120 kms, she suddenly went dead. It was starting but wasn’t moving. 

Jeez, now try to find a mechanic in the middle of nowhere. 

I walked and asked around and found a mechanic after walking a kilometre. 

Apparently the rubber chain inside the gear box went kaput. He took about 30-45 mins to fix it while I waited patiently. 15$ for the fix. Can’t really bargain in the middle of nowhere. 

I went ahead, turned around to give it a test and then went back. It was running a little slower than her usual self. I pushed to it to 80 and then it happened again. Went kaput. I checked maps and I was 3 kms away. 

I walked back to the same place in the scorching heat. He fixed it again. 5$. 

Instead of testing it out, I came to Phnom Penh driving at 40-50 kmph. 

Cambodia motorbike diaries – Day 3 (Sihanoukville to Kampot)

Distance: 100 kms. 

It was an easy ride, since the distance wasn’t too much. I lost one of my glove on the way and turned around and came back 10 kms to look for it. Luckily I found it :)

Kampot seems like a nice little town. I took a dip in the river. 


Saw some live music as well. A band called Phnom Skor was playing at the hostel called Karma Traders. Good stuff!

Cambodia motorbike diaries – Day 2 (Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville)

Distance: 230 kms. 

It was a pretty boring ride mostly. One straight road with the second lane being a dusty one. No change of scenery and the sun blazing down the entire time. Took me 5-5.5 hours I think.

The picture summarises the ride. 

I’m chilling in a hammock at my hostel. It’s pretty hot here during the day. 33 degrees. 


This is a beach place and I think I’ll spend a few days here. 

Phoebe and I made it to Cambodia!!

Woohoo! 

Vietnam motorbike diaries Day 10 and Cambodia motorbike diaries Day 1!

From: Saigon

To: Phnom Penh 

Distance: 270 kms

Oh God, the border was so sketchy. 

On the Vietnamese side you come upon a big building which is NOT the border control office. I was then asked to go around to another building.

That place was full of non official people trying to scam people into getting their passports “stamped”. And trying to tell me that I can’t take my bike. 

The bike laws are sketchy at best. On a bad day you can lose your bike, since driving itself without a Vietnamese license is illegal. 

So I did what people usually say in their blogs, don’t mention the bike at all. 

The Vietnamese border control was inside a warehouse where the entry gate wasn’t even marked that it was an entry gate. 

I parked my bike outside and walked in. One guy was trying to help me with something but I ignored him and asked him to leave me alone. 

After getting an exit stamp on my passport, I got out of the warehouse, went back to my back and walked with it a few metres. Then drove some 300-400 metres to the Cambodian office. 

There were 2-3 spots in a row and it was hard to figure out where to leave the bike. I left it before a barrier, next to the visa counter. 

I had gotten an E-visa so I went inside the office. I had to fill a form, go to an immigration officer and then exit. The exit gate would leave me some 50 metres away from the bike, towards Cambodia. It wasn’t very clear whether you could go back towards the entry gate after getting your passport stamped. 

So there was this risk of losing the bike and losing my backpack that was on the bike. I didn’t want to remove my backpack so that I could rush out quick after the stamping. I imagined scenarios where I would plead for the backpack. 

I walked back to the bike casually as if this is something I did every month. I got on the bike but then someone suggested I should walk with it. After a couple of seconds an officer stopped me. I thought this is the part where I shell out that 20$ bribe.

Fortunately he just saw my passport and let me through! I drove out of there right away and got out. Only when I was a kilometre away, did I stop to adjust my stuff. 

Crazy experience!

Vietnam motorbike diaries – Day 9 (Da Lat to Saigon)

We made it!!

From: Da Lat

To: Saigon 

Distance: 335 kms!

Jeez, today was a tough one. I drove 335 kms on my scooter and it took me 8 hours. I don’t think I would do anything more than 250 again. Just that time is kinda running out. 

This also means that Phoebe and I have made our North-South entirely! Okay, we cheated a little for about 500 kms between Nha Trang and Hoi An, but still. 

It’s been 2500 kms roughly over 17 days. 

I plan on seeing Mekong Delta before my visa runs out on the 17th. It’s Cambodia after this and hopefully my scooter can make it’s way in. 

These are some pics from today. Not a lot to see and a lot of highway. The ride was tiring and the sun was blazing hot. I took a small detour to see Pongour waterfalls. There was a sea of motorbikes by the time I finished seeing the falls. So glad I went there early!

Vietnam motorbike diaries – Day 8 (Nha Trang to Da Lat)

I was in Hoi An and took a sleeper bus with my bike on the bus, till Nha Trang. That’s about 500 kms and saves about 3 days of riding on the bike. There’s nothing much to see in between so the 45$ ride seemed worth it. 


After reaching Nha Trang in the morning at 5, I rode straight to Dalat which is 140kms away. The ride was excellent and again had a lot of scenic views. I didn’t know about this. 


Riding with the sunrise felt great! And the pic where you see clouds on the ground seemed pretty mystical. 

In other shitty news, after reaching my hostel (Nice Bee), I realized that I dropped my iPod in the bus. Oh the horror of it. Frankly, I didn’t use it much and it was a gift but it was still handy. 

Later in the evening after having lunch and deciding to head out to view a few spots, I found out that I lost my hat as well. It most likely tore off the backpack, where I hang it. I fricking loved my hat! It was from decathlon and I loved the shade that it gave to my face. There isn’t even a decathlon in Vietnam and Cambodia so I can’t even rebuy one. I was quite pissed with this and slept through the afternoon to mourn the loss. 

Anywho, what’s done is done. I’m here 3 nights and there’s a bunch of stuff to see. I already bought a cheap 2$ Vietnamese replacement for my hat. Life is good again. Probably.  

Vietnam motorbike diaries – Day 7 (Danang to Hai Van to Hoi An)

Da Nang – Son Tra mountains – Hai Van – Hoi An

Distance: 200 kms

It was fantastic weather today!! And the view of the city was amazing from spots on top. I just stayed one night in Da Nang but the city was amazing. 


Since the weather was sweet, I decided to go back through Hai Van pass to enjoy the views. It was rewarding to drive the extra 60-70 kms. 


I then drove to Hoi An after eating at that cool vegetarian restaurant again. These are the views from my hostel/Homestay: 


And there’s the light festival going on in Hoi An. Interesting and quite busy. 

Vietnam motorbike diaries – Day 6 (Hue to Danang)

From: Hue

To: Da Nang

Distance: 100 kms

I was again riding in the rain yesterday for the first part of the trip. Gladly the cities are not too far apart. 

This route passes the famous Hai Van pass. The view is amazing but I could see it only partially for the first part, due to the fog. Still here you go:


Da Nang city is also quite nice. It appears to be safe. Some views from a place called Marble mountains, with an image of Buddha rocking it out:


There was also a neat little show at a bridge called Dragon bridge where the dragon spits out fire and water. 

Felt like a kid jumping into the shower!

I found a vegetarian restaurant that has great food at really cheap prices. Ate twice of what I have normally been eating here. The restaurant is called Ngoc Chi.  These pics are from 2 meals: