Part 13 ( 3 November - 19 December ) South east asia Part 1



After saying goodbye to our China Group at the border we rushed through Laos to meet with Nicolette`s English family Bob and Ana Maria Gomez. Coincidentally, they just happened to be in Vientiane (the capital of Laos) for 1 day, as part of their Indochina trip. This meant driving 650km from North to South Laos in 3 days. The Chinese have 'financed' new roads from the Chinese border all the way to Vientiane, so 2 days later we arrived with a day to spare to freshen up.




We met the next evening at their posh hotel and were invited to join their tour group for dinner and a show. We were happy that we took the time to freshen up and change clothes, looking like somewhat normal people again! We had a great evening, it was lovely to see them. Meeting their tour group gave us an insight in their trip which was the complete opposite (very fast and organized) from the way we are travelling (very slow and in seemingly random directions)!



After driving through Laos we caught a glimpse of the beauty of the country, but we were so tired after our crazy China crossing, that the only thing we could think about were Thai Beaches and Pineapple Shakes. So we decided to go straight to Southern Thailand for some much needed R and R.



Getting into Thailand turned out to be a challenge. The Thai Department of Land Transportation decided in all their wisdom to ban foreign motor homes, trucks and van-like cars from the country. This meant that from our China group, 4 out of 6 cars were not allowed to enter Thailand! Fortunately our Land Cruiser is  a ‘normal car’ so we managed to get a permit to enter Thailand by car for 30 days with the help of Thai travel agent Thipp.



There were some things we really wanted to arrange in Thailand, so first stop: Bangkok! Our to-do list consisted of: 6 new tires for the car (in case you’re wondering, we carry 2 spares), Japanese Encephalitis vaccinations at the Bangkok hospital, Christmas gifts for our family and friends, a total car cleaning, and the very necessary night out to the cinema  which we had missed so much over the past months J.  Within 2 days we arranged everything and were ready to crash at a Thai beach. 

Our China Crossing friend Mathias who was able to cross the Thai border with us had send us the coordinates of a great camp spot at the beach of the island Koh Chang, which Jeroen had visited 16 years ago and was eager to see again. As the Thai beaches are known to be very touristic and overcrowded we gladly followed his advice and took the Koh Chang ferry.


Debbie, the lady who rents Nicolettes house in Zandvoort coincidentally happened to be at Koh Chang following a yoga/massage course. She described the island as still being a paradise and suggested we should come and visit. Her resort turned out to be 200 meters from the coordinates send to us by Mathias! We definitely had to check it out.

And paradise it was! The camp spot was located in between two resorts, at the most beautiful palm-tree-lined-white-sand-beach we could imagine. We met with Debbie who was really surprised we actually came and spend 3 lovely days together. She introduced us to a Dutch guy called Tommy who had sold his business in Holland, packed up his things and moved to Koh Chang. There he had a wooden house build, from which he started a SUP business (Stand Up Paddling). He had two of his Dutch friends come over to visit him and together with them we had a great time eating, drinking, SUPping, snorkelling, swimming. Thai beaches are hard work J

This was truly the first time during our whole 10 month trip that we felt like we were on holiday, contrary to hard core travelling. Every morning Nicolette started with a morning swim in the clear blue ocean, Jeroen was able to snorkel around and went fishing to provide us with a Barracuda dinner for 6! We finally had the time to catch up with our blogs and videos for our website and we met some wonderful people like Astrid, a dentist from Estonia, who also became a real friend in the short time we spend together!



When Astrid came to say goodbye, we were visited by a pack of monkeys. They looked cute at first, but when they jumped on our table and grabbed our box with tea bags and started tearing open every bag in the box we decided to chase them away. The monkeys were not impressed and responded with an aggressive charge, baring their teeth and screaming at us! A local jewellery sales man had handled them before so he took a 3m long tree branch and smashed the monkeys away from us.  They took off and headed towards the resort next door, where they raided the kitchen and came out with all the food they could get their hands on... We now understood the signs at the road: don’t feed the monkeys!

Visit our friends


Harm is an old friend and ex-colleague of Jeroen from the time he worked at the hardware store in Heemstede. Harm met a beautiful Thai girl in a Thai restaurant in Haarlem and decided to marry her and move to Thailand. We waved them off 3 years ago and hadn’t seen them since so it was great to see them again! We were really impressed by their beautiful house, huge garden and the apartments they rent out, all guarded by their crazy dogs Bonkers and Zwaffel (yes those really are their names J). They offered us the use of one of their apartments and Jeroen could work together with Harm in his man-cave to do some much needed upgrades to the car. When finished, the car had gotten a lot more comfortable! 




After 4 wonderful days together we said goodbye and moved on to Khao Yai National park.


On our way we made a quick stop at an open air metal mania museum where they make freaky statues out of scrap metal. Check out the photos!

Khao Yai national park


Khao Yai national park has good asphalted roads going through dense jungle. Every couple of meters we had to brake for rogue monkeys crossing the road which really felt like the national park experience we were looking for. Khao Yai still has some elephants roaming around but the chances to spot them are slim, unfortunately we only saw their tracks and piles of dung in the roads. But we were treated to a lot of other animal-encounters, like Toucans, Sambar deer, large Monitor Lizards and many monkeys crawling around our car.

It felt like camping in a zoo without the fences, not very natural but a cool experience.




This national park also has many waterfalls, one of which was used in the movie ‘The Beach’ starring Leonardo di Caprio. Because we visited it early in the morning we were the only ones there, just the way we like it!




As Thailand limited our stay to a maximum of 30 days, we crossed the Cambodian border with the intention to leave our car in the capital Phnom Penh. We were heading home for Christmas to see our family again and arrange stuff we couldn`t do from a remote location. But before leaving we had one week to visit Siem Reap in the north of Cambodia where the ancient city of Angkor  is located!  

We read that the tourist police in Siem Reap doesn’t want people to bush camp, so they accommodate over land travelers to camp on their grounds and offer the use of the shower and toilet for free! For us this was a win-win situation. They would not have to chase us out of the park and we had a free and safe place to stay in a country yet unknown to us. The officers were very friendly and spoke so proudly of Cambodia. No wonder as the country finally seems to be on the right track after decades of war. When tourists in trouble came by the police office they immediately asked us “what we did”. They were amazed to hear we were just camping there and told us their story. Apparently buying pot from an undercover cop is not the smartest thing to do in Cambodia... 

The police office was located next to the entrance of the magnificent Angkor temple complex and if we had to name a final goal of our great overland adventure, this is it. To drive from Holland to the ancient city of Angkor.

We bought a 3 day access pass and rented 2 bicycles, as we were told we were not allowed to enter the Angkor area with our car. It felt great to cycle around in this awesome place surrounded by the ancient buildings (and about a million other tourists). Fortunately the place is huge and only at 2 of the sites it felt a bit crowded. The main temple is called Angkor Wat, but there are many more temples and sights in this area, the most beautiful being Bayon with its carved-out stone faces. After seeing it, we wished we could have our car right in front of it and take a photo! 


So we decided to give it a try on the 3rd day of our ticket, to our surprise we were allowed to take our car in! At risk of being kicked out any moment we drove straight to the best spot in front of the Bayon temple and took these photos. Whatever happened next, we had the photo we wanted!


We used the fact we had our car with us to visit the far away temples of the Angkor site and to visit a landmine museum where we learned more about the horrors of the Cambodian history.

Around 6 million mines and UXO`s (unexploded bombs) remain scattered around the Cambodian countryside. 


This statement showed us the reality of this war:

‘Two kinds of landmines were used: 'people targeted' and 'all destructive' landmines. The 'people targeted' landmine was used most often because this was aimed at wounding, instead of killing people. A wounded person would occupy a non wounded person to take care of him, so this mine was double as effective as the 'all destructive' kind was.’  


Cambodia has the highest amputee rating in the world, with an estimated 40.000 people living out their lives missing 1 or more limbs. Many of them are children... 

Phnom Penh


Fellow Overlanders provided us with an address of a garage in Phnom Pehn for long-term parking our precious car during our visit to the Netherlands. It was owned by a Norwegian businessman who also produced body armor for the protection of people removing landmines. He likes to help out Overlanders by storing their car for a daily parking fee.

We went to check the place out and found our German friends Wanja and Julia there! They were not allowed into Thailand so they were preparing their car for shipment to Dubai and drive the car home. We had a great dinner together and exchanged stories on the last month we spend apart (after all, we traveled 3 months together!). It was really great to see them again.


The next morning we headed to the airport to fly home and finish Part 1 of our adventure, exited and ready to make plans for Part 2!  

Reactie schrijven

Commentaren: 4
  • #1

    Lea (vrijdag, 03 februari 2017 14:11)

    Hi Jeroen en Nicolette,

    Wat een verhaal weer, jullie beleven deze landen weer heel anders dan dat wij hebben gedaan! Leuk om zo jullie verhalen te lezen. Waar zijn jullie nu?


  • #2

    Rutger (woensdag, 15 februari 2017 14:50)

    Klinkt echt heel super wat jullie daar allemaal meemaken.
    Prachtige locaties, klinkt verleidelijk om vaker te gaan reizen.
    Ik blijf jullie blog in de gaten houden :)

  • #3

    Marc (maandag, 20 februari 2017 19:30)

    Jaloers :)

  • #4

    Rui Cardoso (donderdag, 02 maart 2017 14:08)

    Hi! It´s really amazing to follow your life trip after we have met in Sihanoukville beaches!! Regards from Portugal! Hope to see you one day here!! :)



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