Day 4

Untersmatt to Mummelsee


Day 3

Forbach to Untersmatt

Day 2

Dobel to Forbach

Day 1

Pforzheim to Dobel, 24 km

A bumpy start

Even before the trip, I had to prevent the first minor catastrophy. Apparently I had checked the dates for my accomodation a hundred times but still managed to book the train ticket for the wrong day. Luckily I could cancel and re-book (3 hours before I wanted to leave). But it left me a little shaken and checking my other bookings again.

The trip to Pforzheim was without incident. Except for an obnoxious fellow traveller (man) who used up half of my seat by sitting very wide-legged. I followed his example and he didn’t like that at all and in the end, he sat more normally and kept to his own place.

A little adventure

I am trying something new: long-distance hiking. Since I am new to this, I am starting with a trial. Three days on the Westweg through the Black Forrest. I am really excited.

My bag is packed and not too heavy either. Hotels are booked, train tickets have been bought, cats are in good hands.

I am ready to go.

Und zu guter letzt …

Phewa Lake with mountain viewBasic Facts

Duration: 206 Tage

Countries visited (for more than five days): 7 (Russia, Mongolia, Nepal, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, New Zealand)

Countries we stayed for less than five days: 5 (Denmark, China, India, Malaysia, Great Britain)

Longest stay in any one country: New Zealand (55 days)


Money (2 travelers)

Visa total: 505 Euro

Daily average (food + accommodation): 25 Euro

Lowest daily average: Nepal (18 Euro)

Highest daily average: New Zealand (38 Euro, excl. rate for camper van but incl. camp ground fees)

Biggest rip-off: trip to Konglor Cave with Tourist Office, Thakhek

Most beautiful money: New Zealand Dollar

Most difficult exchange rate (for transferring on the go): New Zealand


Transport – Flights

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGermany – Denmark – Russia (2416 km)

Mongolia – China – Nepal (4546 km)

India – Thailand – Laos (3528 km)

Thailand – New Zealand (9701 km)

New Zealand – Malaysia – England (19293 km)

England – Germany (638 km)

No. of Airlines: 7 (SAS, Air China, Air India, Thai Airways, Qantas, Air Malaysia, Lufthansa)

Highest no. of changing planes: 3x Mongolia – Nepal (Peking, Chengdu, Lhasa)

Most beautiful airport: Beijing

Smallest airport: Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Highest security: Mumbai, India (tickets); Lhasa, Tibet und London, England (security)

Smallest aircraft: SAS Frankfurt a.M. – Kopenhagen (<140 Sitze)

Biggest aircraft: Air Malaysia Auckland – Kuala Lumpur, Kuala Lumpur – London

Fully functional on board entertainment: Air India (Mumbai – Bangkok), Air Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur – London)

Faulty on-board entertainment: Qantas (Bangkok – Sydney), Air Malaysia (Auckland – Kuala Lumpur)

Aircraft with least amount of passengers: China Air Beijing – Chengdu


Transport – Bus rides (ab 2h)

No.: 26 (Irkutsk – Listwjanka; Listwjanka – Irkutsk; Kathmandu – Pokhara; Pokhara – Kathmandu; Kathmandu – Lumbini; Sunauli – Gorakphur; Vientiane – Vang Vieng; Vang Vieng – Luang Prabang; Luang Prabang – Phonsavan; Phonsavan – Vientiane; Vientiane – Thakhek; Thakhek – Savannakhet; Savannakhet – Pakse; Pakse – Siphadon/Don Det; Siphadon/Don Det – Siam Reap; Siam Reap – Battambang; Battambang – Phnom Penh; Phnom Penh – Kampot; Kampot – Sihanoukville; Sihanoukville – Koh Kong; Koh Kong – Trat; Koh Chang – Bangkok; Wellington – Whanganui; Whanganui – National Park; National Park – Hamilton; Hamilton – Auckland)

Longest bus ride: 15 hours Siphadon/Don Det – Siam Reap

No. of bus breakdowns: 0 (this is a miracle!)

Most horrible bus ride: Sunauli – Gorakphur, India


Transport – Train rides

No.: 5 (Moskau – Irkutsk (80 h); Irkutsk – Ulaanbaatar (32 h); Gorakphur – Mumbai (37 h); Christchurch – Picton (5 h); Frankfurt a.M. – Baden-Baden)

Longest train ride: Moskau – Irkutsk (80 h)

Most beautiful train ride: Christchurch – Picton (nature, comfort, information)

Most expensive train ride: New Zealand

Cheapest train ride: India



Nights on an airplane: 4

Nights on the train: 7

Nights on a bus: 1 ½ (½ night = arrival in Siam Reap at 1 am)

Nights being invited: 1

Nights sleeping in the camper van: 34

Best hotel: Sita Norasingh Inn, Luang Prabang, Laos; Asmitas B&B, Kathmandu, Nepal

Worst hotel: Elbrus Home, Kathmandu; Thakhek Mai Guest House, Thakhek, Laos

Bed bugs: 0

Nights in a dorm bed: 33

Most interesting accommodation: Retiring Room, train station, Gorakphur, India



Sick days: 5 (Helen, Nepal), 2 (Kira, Russia), 4 (Kira, Nepal)

Days with diarrhoe: nearly all the time in Nepal, all the time in India

Meds not needed: Malarone, Antibiotics

Meds needed but not to be gotten anywhere (except New Zealand): expectorant



Vol. backpack: 50+5l (Helen), 55+5l (Kira)

Weight at start of journey: 12 kg (Helen), 11 kg (Kira)

Weight at end of journey: 13 kg (Helen), 9 kg (Kira)

Things missing: nail clippers

Things lost/stolen: travel towel, sun screen

Lost in the wash: cloth tissue, socks

Lost + forgotten: if yes we have forgotten


Countries in general

Countries we would visit again: Mongolia, Laos, New Zealand

Most chaotic border: Sunauli (Nepal – India)

Longest time spent waiting at a border: Russia – Mongolia

Toughest border control: New Zealand

Nicest people: Laos, New Zealand

Countries with people shorter than us or about our height: 3 (Laos, Cambodia, Thailand)

Countries without a McDonalds or Burger King: 4 (Mongolia, Nepal, Laos, Cambodia)



The whole town is a UNESCO World Heritage site.Temples visited: uncountable

Churches visited: 2 (Savannakhet, Auckland)

Cooking classes: 3 (1x Laos, 2x Cambodia)

Best cooking class: Tamnak Lao, Luang Prabang, Laos

Other classes: Natural Dyes and Weaving, Ock Pok Tok, Luang Prabang, Laos

Organised trips: 10 days Mongolia, 5x ½ – 1 day Laos, 1x 3 days + 2x 1 day Cambodia, 2 days New Zealand

Most awesome places: Angkor, Cambodia; Plane of Jars, Laos

Best food (national): food during our tour in Savannakhet, Laos; fresh “exotic” fruit in their respective countries of origin

Best food (international):Tokyo Ikazaya“, Kathmandu


Sunset on lonely beach.Nature

Best view: World Peace Pagoda, Pokhara, Nepal (Helen); Uran Uul (extinct volcano 60 km west of Bulgan), Mongolia (Kira)

Best hike: Kepler Trek

Longest hike: Tongariro Alpine Crossing, New Zealand

Most challenging hike: World Peace Pagoda, Pokhara (starving leeches); up the waterfall, Phonsavan (leeches and wetness)

Best place: Milford Sound, New Zealand at sunrise (Helen), sunset at Lake Khuvsgul, Mongolia (Kira)

Best place to relax: Don Det (southern part of the island), Laos

Most beautiful park: Queen’s Park, Invercargill

Highest point: 3,490 meters (Lhasa)

Strongest downpour: Siam Reap

Longest period of rain: 5 days, West coast, New Zealand



Biggest city: Bangkok

Most beautiful city: Luang Prabang (Kira), Savannakhet (Helen)

Greenest city: Vientiane

Calmest city: Vientiane

Dirtiest city: Kathmandu, Nepal; Phnom Penh, Kampot and others in Cambodia

City with most amount of smog: Chengdu

Most chaotic city: Kathmandu

Most understandable public transport system: Sky train, Bangkok; Underground, London

Worst public transport system: city busses in New Zealand (no announcement or map of stops on the bus whatsoever)

Nicest bus drivers: city busses New Zealand

City we felt most secure in: Vientiane + Luang Prabang, Laos

City we felt the least secure in: Kathmandu, Nepal + Gorakphur, India



Popcorn anyone?Most stressful moment: check-out and check-in with baggage pick-up at Beijing airport without a visa and only two hours time

Biggest challenge: buying a train ticket in Gorakphur, India

Best moment: camping in Mongolia (Helen); looking down Mount Phousie, Luang Prabang at sunset (Kira)

No. of photos taken: 6’800

Country with most pictures taken: New Zealand

Country with lowest no. of pictures taken: Thailand

Pictures of us taken by strangers: >6x (Chinese, Japanese, Korean)

Articles written for blog: 165

Slowest internet: New Zealand

Most expensive internet: New Zealand

Without internet or mobile connection: several places on the West Coast, especially in the south, South Island, New Zealand

Postcards sent: at least 28

Postcards received: ?? (but so far no one got any the postcards from Cambodia)

Parcels sent: 2

Parcels received: 2

Books read: 34 (Helen), 40 (Kira)

The first thing I missed being away from Germany: seat belts (Helen); being able to understand and being understood in Russia (Kira)

Things I missed the most at the end of the journey: chocolate, bread, apples (Kira)


Next destinations: North Sea, Baltic Sea, United Kingdom, Slovenia, Northern Europe (to see the Northern Lights)

Homeward Bound

7 month, 7 countries (not counting those we spend less than a week in) and about 36 GB worth of pictures. It will take some time to process all this.

Deutsche Bahn.


London – Fighting jet lag and the cold

The plane journey from New Zealand to England was long and tiresome. And somehow when the pilot announced the temperature in London to be 5°C I did not really anticipate how very, very cold that is. Lies den Rest dieses Beitrags

Auckland – Hello again, Sky City

On the way from National Park to Auckland we stopped for one night in Hamilton (after South East Asia my thirst for bus rides for more than 3 hours has been reduced to nearly non-existent). Lies den Rest dieses Beitrags