Gemma Daniel, originally from Wales in the UK, quit her job to travel for a year and a half. She spent 4 months travelling around Asia on a Stray Tour and even celebrated her 26th birthday on the Stray bus in Bai Xep! She’s planning to keep travelling around the world but we managed to interview her before she jets off again to get the low down on her Asian adventure!
What was the craziest thing you witnessed in Asia?
The road systems. Its like an organised mess – It took me a while to get used to crossing the roads. The fact that there are no road rules, a billion bikes and no accidents!! It’s madness!
What is the most bizarre thing that happened to you while travelling through Asia?
The most bizarre thing I took part in was the ‘Duck Stop’ in Phong Nha. It was the most random but funny experience. The farm owners were really nice and a good laugh! If you don’t mind making a bit of a tit out of yourself I would recommend going. You get to ride a Buffalo and the ducks massage your feet, then you get to chill out and stuff your face with some spring rolls and the most delicious peanut sauce you’ll ever have!!
What’s the best word/phrase you learnt to say in Thai/Khmer/any Asian language?
The only ones I can remember were ‘Sabaidi‘ which is ‘Hello’ in Laos and ‘Khob Chai Li Li‘ which means ‘Thank You’ in Laos. I also learnt ‘Mot Hai Ba Vo’ which means ‘Cheers’ in Vietnamese – this was used a lot on Beer Street in Hanoi!! Especially as I was there for Tet (Chinese New Year).
What is the most interesting thing you learnt or did while on tour?
The most interesting thing I did was definitely the homestays. It was such a unique experience to see how other people live so differently and the basic things we take for granted. In the Laos homestay, we had a welcome ceremony where we drank 60-80% rice wine and had the village sing to us and tie loads of strings on our wrists. We had to keep these on for 3 days so that we would have good luck and safe travels. It was such a cool experience – I loved it!
What will you miss the most when you return home?
I will miss the beautiful sunsets and scenery. The landscapes and nature were so beautiful! I did a lot of hiking up to viewpoints and a hot air balloon ride in Vang Vieng to get the best views. Breathtaking!
What were the top 5 highlights of your trip?
- Cuddling Elephants at the Sanctuary in Chang Mai
- Spending New years on the beautiful Koh Rong
- Stopping to feed the wild monkeys in Xe Champhone
- Going to a huge rave in Nha Trang
- Kayaking in Halong Bay
If you want to see more awesome photographs of Gemma’s travels then you can check out her Instagram account: @gemma_daniels