A few months ago we decided to do something exciting, something crazy, something that was a dream of mine for a long long time. We decided to embark on a journey of discovery and self-discovery that would take us far from home, 9475 kilometers far to be precise. And, oh boy, what a journey it was!

We were away from home for 102 days and during this time we have visited 7 countries from the Middle East to Southeast Asia. We’ve flown 12 times covering 25100 kilometers in airplanes, that is almost two-thirds of the world’s circumference. We have visited 4 capitals and have laid our head to rest in 14 hotels or homestays. 

We rode the longest driverless metro line in the world in Dubai and we sat in the longest non-stop single-track cable car in the world in Da Nang, Vietnam. And if we are still at world records, we also went to the top of the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. We’ve looked through the worlds largest frame in Dubai. Saw the world’s tallest indoor waterfall in Singapore (since then it was dethroned by another indoor waterfall also in Singapore) and we walked through the largest religious monument in the world in Angkor, Cambodia.

We took a boat a couple of times, from Bali to Nusa Penida in Indonesia, from Krabi to Phuket and a ferry ride from Surat Thani to Koh Samui in Thailand. Also got a few rides in traditional Thai long-tailed boats: by these we have visited an amazing fishing village near Krabi town, and also some amazing beaches on Railay (Rai Leh) peninsula which are not accessible by car. We’ve spent a night on a Junk (yes, that’s a type of boat) cruising in Ha Long Bay, Vietnam. 

Crossed half of Vietnam by train, leaving the busy streets of Hanoi behind for the coastal town of Da Nang, which has one of the most beautiful white sanded beaches stretching over more than 30 kilometers long. This train ride took us 15 hours and we enjoyed every second of it.

We crossed half of Cambodia and Thailand by bus, going from Siem Reap (the home of the famous Angkor Wat) all the way to Surat Thani. This journey took us more than a day. 

If that’s not enough forms of transportation, we went on day trips by car all around Bali, we sat in a Tuk Tuk, going through the streets of Bangkok. We rode once a scooter taxi and we also kayaked at Railay beach.

During this time we celebrated two new years. The first one in Bali (Nyepi), when people build large monsters and parade them all over the town, singing and making loud noises to scare the bad spirits away, followed by a full day of silence and self-contemplation.

The other one was in Thailand, also called Songkran. At this time of the year Thai people, young and old, spray and throw buckets of water on each other to get clean of all the sins of the last year. This celebration soon enough turns into the largest water fight what you can imagine.

It was amazing that we could experience these traditions. Surprisingly, both are somewhat similar to Farsang (Hungarian carnival) and to Hungarian Easter traditions. 

All these traditions, the Hindu morning offerings, the penjors all over the streets of Bali, the buddhist temples were mesmerizing. Seeing how the buddhist monks live their life in secluded areas and watching the locals being all involved day by day in their culture and traditions made our travel a truly unique experience. Suddenly we’ve found ourselves visiting completely different places from what we’ve seen until then, full of exciting things to discover. 

The Chinese temples with firecrackers and fireplaces where they burn the Joss paper, the mosques and the Christian temples make the place more colourful and more multicultural than you could imagine.

The most memorable moments of our trip was climbing the Mount Batur, an active volcano in Bali, during the night and seeing the sunrise from the top. I also surfed for the first time in Bali. We have stayed in a secluded area with the locals in a small village in the jungle in Nusa Penida, where boys cooked banana and women brew arak. I was also lucky enough to swim there with majestic Manta Rays. 

We stayed in a luxurious apartment in Kuala Lumpur with an infinity pool on the 57th floor for less than 30 USD a night. The view of the city was stunning, the pictures speak for themselves.

We’ve spent half a day at an elephant sanctuary in Krabi, Thailand, feeding and washing those magnificent animals. Visiting the famous island of Phi Phi, jumping from a boat to snorkel and to find a bunch of clownfishes (yes, that’s Nemo) hidden between the corals was also an amazing experience. 

We were shocked by the nightlife of Patong beach’s famous Bangla street in Thailand, we ate scorpions, spiders and crocodile meat on Khao San Road, at the centre of the backpackers universe in Bangkok. We even witnessed the coronation of the Thai king when we were in Bangkok.

Also counted amongst the memorable moments is our discovery of how different Vietnam is compared to how we imagined it to be. We were pleasantly surprised (not counting that they eat dogs, that is just awful) and we would have definitely liked to stay longer. The cruise in Ha Long Bay and the view from the Golden Bridge on Ba Na Hill was something definitely out of this world.

The light show in Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay felt like being in a fairytale. The two-days stop in Siem Reap to visit the breathtaking Angkor Wat and to see the sunrise standing at the gates of the temple was also an experience we will never forget.

We made friends along the way, met nice people, with whom we shared homes and explored these amazing places. We also met hardworking people who showed us their life and their country. And we found out that the world is a lot smaller than we thought.

We both celebrated our birthdays during this period and we passed 5 years since we are together as a couple. It was a trip that put to the test both our individual strength and our relationship, but we finished the trip stronger, braver, more colourful (literally) with a lot more knowledge and our eyes wide open. 

We would like to thank our families for supporting us and to apologize for the extra worrying we caused. Thanks for our friends for being our friends while we were on the road and also remaining our friends when we returned back home. Thanks for our coworkers and our bosses for helping us make this dream come true. 

We would have not been able to do this without you guys! Thank you! 

Words and pictures by Loránd
Redacted by Ágota

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