An Epic Journey of a Volunteer in Laos

An Epic Journey of a Volunteer in Laos

 The kids look up to you with intrigue in their eye, sitting on the dusty concrete floor, eating their lunches slowly, curiosity floats through their mind as to what these strange foreigners are doing in their school. They have seen foreigners before, it is not new to them, but to wander in the school grounds with fellow volunteers is an experience to always saviour. They stare at you with curious eyes, some smile, some frown and some kids even run up to you as if you are a Rock star here to perform a hit concert, but we are far from Rock stars, not even close. Still you wave and smile and hand out a few high fives, then it hits you instantly at what you are doing here and you have sudden pride in the decision to Volunteer in Laos.

It is an experience like no other, travelling to an unfamiliar country, one that is underdeveloped, with little infrastructure and dodgy roads. Where the smell in the air is different to what you are used to back home and their way of living comes a little different to the standards of western civilisation. Yet, you don’t let it deter you, it is why you choose to volunteer, to help where you can and to support those who need it. Of course, you can’t change the world, but for a fleeting moment you can change the experience of someone’s life, bring joy and even a smile, then by doing so, you create a lasting memory that will last a life time.

Volunteer in Laos

A group shot with monks and volunteers in Laos.

 

What triggered the decision to Volunteer in Laos?

I have travelled to some fabulous destinations throughout Asia, stayed in some luxury resorts, drinking booze by the pool and have been on some incredible adventures through some stunning scenery. I felt the need to do something different this time, to give back to a community abroad that needed a helping hand. Therefore, I made the decision to volunteer, the only decision to make next, was which organisation to volunteer with? And which country to visit?

I searched a few organisations on the internet, studied the countries available, the prices and the programs on offer. Some organisations were quite hefty in price, so I went with the more affordable International Volunteers Headquarters (IVHQ). At the end of the day the IVHQ organisations were professional and thorough, the only thing to do was to pay the fees and choose which country to volunteer in. Amongst a number of destinations, I narrowed it down to Nepal and Laos, and for no particular reason, I chose to volunteer in Laos.

Vientiane, Laos

A view of Vientiane, Laos

 

The Green Lion Volunteer Organisations

Once your dealings with IVHQ are done, you are more or less handed over to the organisation running things in Laos, The Green Lion. Not that contact with IVHQ are ever lost. The Green Lion are run by two great guys in Laos, brothers in fact, Micky and Ticky. They pick you from the airport, help make plans for a weekend away, help with any translations that is required with the locals and of course, provide the schools or monasteries where you will teach English.

The accommodation is a little away from the Laos Capital, Vientiane. There is not a great deal to do at the placement, except to visit a few local markets and play sport with other locals and Volunteers. The rooms are dorm style, with three bunk beds and thankfully it is not fully occupied but you are still not alone in the dorms. In the placement area, there is a kitchen and dining area, a social common area with occasional WIFI and a sports field, which was made entirely of gravel.

The Green Lion

Volunteer in Laos at The Green Lion.

Volunteer in Laos

Playing sport is a popular past time during volunteering.

 

A Splash of Culture

Entering the Green Lion organisation was not just about getting into the nitty and gritty of volunteering, with the program beginning with a step through some Laos Culture. It started with making flowers for the monks and delivering it to their very own temple where they lived at the Vat Pana Khoun Temple, a little away from the Vientiane city. Not only did we offer the volunteers the flowers but we received a spiritual and deep meditation lesson from the mons themselves.

The culture continued through a day trip into the city, where we learnt about the tragic tale of the cluster bombs, that destroyed many innocent lives long after they were ejected from a U.S war plane. We wandered the streets of Vientiane, making our way into markets, shopping malls and the Patuxai War Monument. The best bit, however, was entering the Golden Palace, a stunning Buddhist temple that is decorated with proud symbolic statues found regularly throughout the South East Asian countries.

COPE museum

A display of cluster bombs at COPE museum in Vientiane, Laos.

We ventured deep into a local village, a real highlight as we walked down the dusty gravel road and witnessed how the locals lived during a normal day. Houses were made of wood, no windows, the kids smiled and played down the straight without a care in the world, and the bulls roamed free on the roads in the village.

A hike through some wonderful Laos bushlands in humid conditions capped off culture week, finishing on top of a rock with a great view of the country side in Laos, it was the perfect spot for a picnic lunch with the fellow volunteers, although there was no respite from the heat.

 

Laos Village

Hard work in Laos Village.

Lying Buddha at Golden Palace, Laos

Lying Buddha at the Golden Palace.

 

 

Teaching English to the Monks

From an outside perspective, I have always viewed the monks as very special people and they are exactly that. To approach one, to communicate or to even shake one’s hand from my own perspective always seemed to be a tad on the forbidden side. Not that I had a great deal to with monks beforehand, I had to volunteer in Laos to change that perspective. And how wrong I had been.

It was a privilege to be in the presence of the monks, to talk with them, to teach them and to even laugh with these great men. In life no matter the person or their position in the world, everyone is a human being first. It is no exception with a monk, they have a great sense of humour, they full of wit, character and at times a little cheeky. If that is not enough, the monks in Laos even do Facebook and if you befriend a couple, you will see they are quite active on the social media platform.

Besides their great character, sense of humour and their obsession with Facebook, the monk’s willingness to learn English was astounding and they were a pleasure to teach. Communicating and understanding at times was quite difficult, but they never shied away from the challenge of learning and their development over time gradually improved.

Volunteer in Laos

Teaching Monks, a great way to Volunteer in Laos.

Teaching English to the monks

Teaching English to the monks.

 

The challenge of Teaching English to the kids

I always knew this journey would be a challenge, I mean not one of the volunteers are teachers by profession, we just know how to speak English. So, the challenge of keeping the kids occupied for a couple of hours each day was indeed a mental battle. As I said at the beginning of the piece, the kids idolised the volunteers from the moment we walked into the school grounds, but to maintain the focus of a child as young as seven, who couldn’t speak our language, was another story completely.

They had the basic fundamentals of English, in terms of counting, shapes and the alphabet, but to go further than the basics was when the road blocks began. All over again I had to learn kid songs and basic kid games, any way to the best or ability to entertain the kids when boredom started to sink in. It was these kinds of challenges that made me sign up for the program in the first place. then came the unbridled joy when everything clicked in the classrooms and students would burst out in full voice and laughter, it was indeed hard work but high reward.

teaching English

School kids look on in the classroom.

teaching English

Teaching the primary kids is a lot of fun.

 

 

Getting along with fellow volunteers

An unknown when volunteering is who will be joining you on this adventure, or who you will be joining up with. Upon entering the program, you anticipate a lot of things, you expect volunteers to be of different nationalities and of different age groups. So, you can imagine my surprise when I rocked up at the Green Lion, and a majority of the volunteers were university students, and at the tender age of 35, I was the oldest at the program by some considerable margin.

During my time at the placement, there were seven French people, two Danish girls, two Malaysian women, a Dutch woman, an Englishmen and a Canadian. I was the lone Aussie. All the volunteers were of a youthful age, at least to me, but they were all great young people, with good intentions and we were all there for a common cause, to volunteer and to lend a helping hand anyway we could. It was a pleasure to meet such fine people and forever there will be great memories of time spent together, especially during those tense volleyball matches against the French.

Settling into Volunteering

Settling into Volunteering/

 

The experience that I will never forget

To volunteer in Laos, an experience that I’ll never forget and a journey I am glad I participated in. Memories were created, friendships were made and I can only hope that I reached out to people who needed a lending hand. It is an incredible adventure and there are challenges when venturing into an underdeveloped country, but if ever given a chance and the finances permit, take the journey into volunteering because it is a rewarding experience that you will never forget.

Mediatation time

Meditation time.

Vang Vieng, Laos

Volunteer in Laos

Laos Diaries: Days 15-17 – Goodbye Laos

Laos Diaries: Days 15-17 – Goodbye Laos

 It is time to say, “Goodbye Laos”. Sad to leave, but happy I came and took the opportunity to see this fascinating country. But before I do jet off and head back home to Australia, I had the chance to have one more decent look at the country’s capital, Vientiane. A city like no other but one worth exploring and getting to know. Here is my last entry into Laos Diaries

Ho Phra Keo Temple

The Ho Phra Keo Temple in Vientiane.

 

The highlights of days 15-17

Leaving Volunteering

Quite simply, volunteering and teaching English was one of the greatest experiences in my life. Meeting the smiling school kids, the monks with a crazy sense of humour and the fellow volunteers who I had built a great friendship with during my stay at the Green Lion volunteer house. It was a special two weeks that will always be remembered as one of my favourite travel memories and it was sad to leave the house.

Settling into Volunteering

Great memories with other volunteers.

 

Intercity Hotel

From the volunteer house, I still had two nights left in Vientiane, before a final Goodbye Laos. I stayed at the Intercity Hotel, located right near the Mekong River, with Thailand in full sight. It was quite pretty picture.

The hotel looked crap on the outside but surprisingly the interior inside was quite decorated and of quality. The rooms were spacious, with A/C, large bed, good shower, television and a balcony in some rooms, with the Mekong and power lines in full view. As far as $50 a night rooms ago, the Intercity Hotel was certainly top value for the dollar.

 

Intercity Hotel

Intercity Hotel, Vientiane, Laos.

 

Bor Pen Yang Rooftop Bar

One of the best bars in Laos which I stumbled into by chance. Stylish, laidback, good music, cheap food and beer on the tap. It has everything you need of a bar with good views around you and the bubbly night markets below. The atmosphere never gets too wild and there is no heavy music where conversation is impossible.

The Bor Pen Yang bar was so good that I went back twice. Of course, I could have explored Vientiane for another great diking hole, but then again it is hard to find a bar with a relaxing atmosphere. Check it out when in Vientiane, you will find it close to the Mekong River and at the doorstep to the Night Markets. In fact, just look for the large Carlsberg advertisement. 

Bor Pen Yang Bar

Mingling at the roof top bar.

Bor Pen Yang Bar

At the top is the Bor Pen Yang Bar.

 

Strolling Vientiane Again

The first time in Vientiane was short lived, this time it was good to be able to spend a good amount of time, by foot, exploring the capital city a little more thoroughly. It is an interesting city, if it can be called that, there are no high-rises, although China is making their way into the city with a few modern features built and on its way.

Let’s recap a few places of interest, I visited in Vientiane, Laos on this occasion.

          Ho Phra Keo Museum: A stunning temple design with a lovely garden display on the outside. Wandering the boutique but very beautiful temple grounds, will leave you refreshed and mesmerised being in a temple that was built in 1565 for the Emerald Buddha.

Ho Phra Keo Museum

Ho Phra Keo Museum.

 

          Sisaket Museum: Only across the road from the Ho Phra Keo, Sisaket is another proud temple that was built in 1818. Sisaket comes with an amazing architecture design, that is unique from other temples in Vientiane. The main temple, stands tall amongst the surrounding terraces and any lover of temples will be delighted to get their camera out for a photo or two. Both temples have an entrance fee of about a dollar.

Sisaket Museum

Sisaket Museum

 

          Vientiane Centre: Built by the Chinese, The Vientiane Centre is a modern shopping centre, with great shops, café’s, food court and a major cinema complex. Great to escape the Laos heat for a few hours.

Vientiane Centre.

Vientiane Centre, Laos.

 

          King Anouvong Statue: Situated at the Chao Anouvong Park by the Mekong, this statue represents the king who led the rebellion as the last Monarch of the Kingdom of Lao. Good to see for a photo opportunity.

King Anouvong statue

King Anouvong statue, Vientiane.

          Night Markets: Also situated at the Chao Anouvong Park, the night markets are full of life, and comes with a lot of decent affordable merchandise. It is great stroll through the outdoor night markets, with the luxury of not being hounded by the stall owners to buy stuff. A rare luxury in Southeast Asia.

Night Markets

Night Markets from above on a wet Laos Day.

 Goodbye Laos

Always sad to say goodbye to a country, especially one you grow very fond of. As much as I loved my stay in Laos, I missed my family back home very much and it is great to be getting back to them. Laos is a very different country to what I have visited in Southeast Asia and I do recommend if given the chance to visit, to take that chance. I will be back to Laos someday and I am sure it will change a heck of a lot in the years to come as it develops and modernises. But for now, it is goodbye Laos.

Check out Laos Diaries: Days 10-14 – Teaching English

Heading to Vientiane, Laos? Check out TripAdvisor for hotels.

Laos Diaries: Days 10-14 – Teaching English

Laos Diaries: Days 10-14 – Teaching English

 Getting back from a couple of nights in vang Vieng, it was time to get into the nitty and gritty of what I was doing in Laos. Teaching English. To be honest I expected to get into the Volunteering a lot earlier than expected, not to say that culture week in week one was not an educating and an enjoyable experience, it was.  I just expected to be teaching English to the locals a tad earlier into the program.

The days from Monday through to Friday, were pretty much similar, the old Groundhog Day you could say. Wake up, have breakfast, teach the monks for a couple of hours, a three-hour lunch, teaching kids in the afternoon, followed by a little volleyball, dinner and downtime in the evening.

Not that the days were not rewarding, it was and much more. The whole program was an experience that I will never forget and forever cherish. It was the life of a Green Lion volunteer and teaching English was the sole reason I came to visit Laos, so let’s get into it.

teaching English

Volunteering the primary kids.

 

 The Monks by the morning

In the morning, we taught the Monks. We would visit the Vat Pana Khoun temple, where the monks from as young as fourteen to an elderly age, meditate, eat, sleep and live. The exact same place where we do our best to teach them English. I say do our best because teaching anyone who barely understands the English alphabet was a challenge. A rewarding challenge I must admit.

The monks desire to learn is strong, even if it is a struggle for both student and teacher. We are helped through our classes with a translator, but still it doesn’t always help erase the confused looks on the students faces. But the monks have a great sense of humour, they are witty and beyond their deep beliefs, they show how human they really are.

The monks made my week, and no disrespect the kids I taught in the afternoon, they were my favourite part of the volunteering experience. To be in their presence was an honour and it was a privilege to teach. And now I have about twenty more Facebook friends. Yes, the monks have Facebook and use it a lot.

Teaching English to the monks

Teaching English to the monks.

Vat Pana Khoun Temple

Monks and teachers at the Vat Pana Khoun Temple.

 

 

The kids in the afternoon

Walking into the primary school in the afternoons makes us feel like rock stars. The kids run up to you, smile at you, wave to you, or in other instances looking at you with odd “you are strange to me” look. Naturally, they are looking upto you, we are about 3-feet taller, but in this case, you are almost idolised.

Each day we are sent to a different class, which makes it hard to fully teach the students or get any proper rhythm going. But the school’s principals are doing their best to share the volunteers around while they have us and of course we understand that, because volunteers are not always available.

Teaching English to the kids is a little bit more challenging. It is hard to keep their attention, they lose focus as any kids do while in school and time in class is spent teaching, singing songs that I have long forgotten and playing games to the best of our ability, where student and teacher try their best to understand each other.

teaching English

kids look on in the classroom.

Laos kids

Teaching the Laos kids a few games

 

Chilling and downtime

The Green Lion household in Laos, is quite far away from anything really, so getting out and about is quite difficult. Around the facilities, there are a few restaurants, markets and shops but besides that any entertainment value is difficult to find.

Most afternoons are made up with a few of the volunteers grabbing a chocolate shake from the market, playing cards, talking about random stuff and a real intense game of volleyball, which is usually against the French volunteers. Besides that, downtime is a given in the house and boredom can sink in.

Nonetheless, the experience was worthwhile and one that will never be forgotten. While it was the hardest thing to be without my family for two weeks, I am glad I came to Laos for what truly was a worthwhile cause. I can only recommend to anyone that is interested in volunteering, whether it is construction, animal care or teaching English, to do it. Memories are made and so are friendships.

Laos Sunset

Beautiful sunset near the Green Lion Volunteer centre.

 

other volunteers

Last night volunteering with a bit of karaoke.

Heading to Vientiane? Check out TripAdvisor for hotels.

Take a look at Laos Diaries – Days 7-9 Vang Vieng.

Laos Diaries: Days 7-9 – Vang Vieng

Laos Diaries: Days 7-9 – Vang Vieng

 

Weekends in the Green Lion volunteer house meant getting away for a couple of nights. Therefore, with a bunch of people from the volunteer organisation, we ventured to the party town of Vang Vieng, Laos for a bit of fun, sightseeing and incredible adventure that will not be forgotten.

Blue lagoon, Vang Vieng

Enjoy the breathtaking Blue Lagoon in Vang Vieng.

 

The talking points of Vang Vieng

Where I stayed

For about $25 a night, I stayed in a neat boutique hotel, the Laos Haven Hotel & Spa. For the price, you simply can’t complain about having an air-conditioned room with television, warm shower and a swimming pool to chill from the insane heat and humidity that comes with Vang Vieng.

Check out Laos Haven Hotel on TripAdvisor

Laos haven Hotel and Spa

Laos Haven hotel and Spa.

Laos haven Hotel

The swimming pool of Laos Haven.

 

Hitting the streets of Vang Vieng

There is a different atmosphere in the air upon hitting town, especially if coming from the capital Vientiane. Instantly you are hit with many tourists who have made their way to the popular town to participate in the many activities on offer and to have a little bit of a party, especially at the popular Sakura Bar, if that is your kind of social scene.

The Vang Vieng streets have many Bars, restaurants, cafes, massage parlours and travel agencies to book a day tour that are on offer in the area. So, soak in the moment when in town and don’t rush to purchase your tours. Get the best price possible.

cafe in Vang Vieng

Enjoy a fine cappuccino form a café in Vang Vieng.

Vang Vieng

Enter the streets

 

Eating with Epic Views

Along the Nam Xong River there were many restaurants that I had the privilege to dine at, not only because the food was at a crazy low price but the vantage point from the dining table was simply epic, with large hills soaring high in the background and the river in full view nearby, it made eating good food even more tasteful.

I had the pleasure at eating at a couple of the restaurants on the strip by the river, such as the Riverhill and Banana Restaurant. Both served similar foods of local and international cuisine and both restaurants came with stunning views.

dinner at Vang vieng

Great views from dinner.

 

A day trip of thrill and Adventure

For about $30, I had about ten hours of outdoor adventure around the scenic and beautiful Vang Vieng area. The fulfilled adventure was not always tame but the entertainment throughout the day did not relinquish and how could it with a hectic schedule of activities such as the following:

          Kayaking – The Nam Song River was quite the challenge, with the shallow waters and rapids making kayaking a challenge. For 6km we paddled through scenic landscapes, where at times the river was not always tame.

          The Zipline – It is more than 2km of rush when Ziplining amongst the hills of Vang Vieng with the river below. There is no time to fear the heights as you are taken around the obstacles in around 45-minutes and waiting time for each zipline is quite short.

          Water Cave adventures – Quite a tame adventure in the dark caves but certainly not for those who may suffer from claustrophobia. Throughout the hour-long adventure, you are taken through wet, muddy and slippery dark caves with a headlight as your friend through the obstacle.

          Blue Lagoon – At the end of the day it is time to chill and relax in the stunning Blue Lagoon as the adventures come to an end and you take a dip in the cold waters of the Lagoon. The only downfall is the area is quite small and crowded.

Nam Song River

Kayaking the Nam Song River, Vang Vieng.

Blue Lagoon

Blue Lagoon.

 

The time in Vang Vieng, was short, too short. But not a moment was wasted, as the time was spent making the most of the activities that were on offer and getting to as many as I could in the short period of time, but still there was plenty I did miss out on and if you are looking at heading to Vang Vieng, I would save about 5 days in your schedule. Happy travels.

 

Vang Vieng

Have an adventure in the caves.

Take a look at Laos Diaries – Days 1-6 Settling into Volunteering.

Take a look at Laos Diaries – Days 10-14 Teaching English.

Laos Diaries: Days 1-6 – Settling into Volunteering

Laos Diaries: Days 1-6 – Settling into Volunteering

New Horizons, new adventures and a new country. It’s all new experiences, settling into volunteering.

Arriving in Vientiane, Laos was a real eye opener, mainly due to Laos not being your typical South east Asian Country. The traffic is minimal, taxis are a rare and everyone seems to be laidback. Real laidback.

That is my first impression of a country I have never been to and while impressions can change and probably will (I have only been here a real short time), I get the feeling I am going to like this change of pace that Laos seems to offer but time will tell.

Anyways, onwards and forwards with the first edition of Laos Diaries, as I get into the highlights of day 1- 6, settling into Volunteering, Laos Style.

Overview of Vientiane

Overview of Vientiane, Laos from Patuxai Monument.

 

The best bits

Flying Thai Airways

The trip starts with a flight as usual and this time it was away from the typical budget flights I am accustomed too. Travelling from Perth, Australia, I flew straight to Bangkok using Thai Airways, a few hours stop in Bangkok and straight onwards to Vientiane.

Flying Thai Airways was a fresh change, from the usual budget carriers, complimentary alcohol or soft drink, decent meal, free entertainment and plenty of leg space, the comforts were no doubt refreshing. Maybe I should fork out the extra bucks more often.

The Green Lion

The Green Lion is the reason I am in Laos. An organisation that gives you the chance to volunteer in a range of disciplines, such as teaching English, childcare or construction. The costs is lower than the other volunteering out there and therefore I figured I would give it a go, in the meantime choosing a destination where I had never been before.

I am here to teach English to kids and while my program runs for two weeks, I only do the teaching part in the second week. The week is taken up with culture week, as we roam the area discovering great spots in Vientiane, Laos. More on that soon.

The Green Lion

Cosy sleeping arrangement at The Green Lion.

 

Highlights of Culture week during week 1.

–          Vat Pana Khoun Temple. A home for the monks in that area Vientiane, Laos. The temples are beautiful as they are anywhere throughout Southeast Asia. It was a real highlight to go through a few meditations and relaxations with the monks of Vat Pana Khoun. You get a whole new vibe towards the Buddhist monks.

–          Exploring a local Village. Every local village comes with a temple and while the name of the village misplaces me, it was a real highlight to walk up the street of the village. The houses are made of wood or bamboo with no windows, dusty old gravel roads and walking through the village, with cows and bulls loose and free on the road, is quite a sight. To see the locals gaze at you as you walk past or the kids run to the edge of the road is a real treat and it is a pure delight to be in their presence and perhaps, brighten up their day.

–          Hike through the hills. Not a huge hike but it was pleasant to walk through the scrubs, past an old broken-down village with a temple (still exist) and through a few laid out statues of Buddha’s, hidden throughout the bush, where the locals come and pray. At the end of the hike is a beautiful picnic spot, on top of a large rock that oversees a great view of Laos. Quite a beautiful reward after a hard slog in the heat.

Laos Cooking class

Settling into Volunteering with a Lao cooking class.

Laos village

The old man and his bull in a Laos Village.

 

Walking Vientiane

On a couple of occasions during the week I had the chance to walk the unique town of Vientiane. I say unique because it is certainly unlike any capital city I have ever seen. Small, not too much traffic for a Southeast Asian country and a great laid-back nature where walking the markets doesn’t mean you are hounded with storeowners begging you to buy stuff. Complete opposite in fact.

A few early notables of what I did in Vientiane Laos, during my short time in the capital city so far. I will get more into Vientiane in a future blog post.

  • Patuxai Monument – They say you haven’t visited Laos, if you haven’t seen Patuxai Monument. The climb to the top gives you an epic view of the city.
  • Golden Palace – A major palace in Vientiane where the Monks come to pray. Popular for tourist with its beautiful buildings.
  • Night Markets – Situated right on the Mekong River, therefore a stone throw from Thailand, the Night Markets is a must visit from 4.30pm every day of the week.
  • Morning Markets – Another bustling market place in a popular part of the Vientiane city.
Victory Monument

The Patuxai Monument, Vientiane, Laos

 

Golden Palace

The Lying Budda at Golden palace.

 

The Laos Taxi

The Laos taxi is in fact a tuc tuc, you know when you get on the back of the tray squeezed against many locals, while perspiring with the heat. The experience is worthwhile and don’t be afraid. The only trouble may be getting to your destinations as English speaking is not too common in Vientiane.

Laos Taxi

The Tuc tuc (Laos taxi)

 

Eating Lao Food

Eating Lao food is more or less the same as eating Thai food. Rice, noodles, Pad Thai, Papaya Salad, all at a very reasonable price and the options of cheap beer. Can’t complain really, because it Laos is an  adventure and it is all about settling into volunteering and it is all a new experiences to me. Enjoy.

Laos Food

Settling into Volunteering with Laos food.

 

Coming to Vientiane? Checkout TripAdvisor for Accommodation.

Check out Laos Diaries – Days 7-9 in Vang Vieng

Perth Diaries – An Easter Weekend Getaway

Perth Diaries – An Easter Weekend Getaway

Camping is not foreign to us and this Easter weekend of 2017 we changed our tune a little bit, while still doing much the same. On this occasion, we decided to pitch our tent in the Swan Valley region in the city of Perth, Western Australia. It was a weekend getaway that the family and I will never forget.

It was fun, entertaining and a perfect way to spend an Eater break, even if we weren’t quite escaping the hustle and bustle of the big city. We didn’t camp by a flowing river or on the sands of the beach as usual, but it didn’t spoil the moment one bit because instead we camped on the edge of a famous wine region with vineyards as our neighbours and tall city skyscrapers only minutes away.

Perth

City of the Perth at a short distance.

 

Where we stayed

We camped at the Big 4 Discovery Park in Caversham, Perth. Not much of a place as it is mainly a residential area with a few campsites. Although we were situated right next to the vineyards of the Swan Valley Region and it was pure gorgeous. Every morning we could watch the sun rise over the lush green fields and large commercial airplanes descent over the campsite to the nearby airport.

The Holiday Park, while less than fancy, still had its Villas, caravans, bathroom amenities, camp kitchen and a swimming pool, so you could keep a little luxury, while roughing it in some sorts. The stay was still to our liking and it fitted into our plans perfectly, which was for a budget stay by the city.

Easter getaway

Easter at Caversham Discovery Park.

Swan Valley

The Swan Valley, in Perth Western Australia.

 

The Best Bit

–          Whiteman Park – Whiteman Park is where we spent most our Easter Sunday and it was a perfect location for the family. It had been over ten years since my last visit to the Park and while it changed a little, the basics remained.

Only a 15-minute drive from the city, Whiteman Park is beautifully located in the Western Australian bushland. The Park, which is free to enter, comes with a boutique wildlife park, a little on the expensive side, but it is a great way to see and get up close to the famous Australian wildlife.

Whiteman Park also has an Open Park area, which is perfect for a picnic or to play a little football. You can take a tram around the large spacious parklands, explore the Antique Car and tractor Museum, stroll the village that comes with a range of Souvenirs stores and hike the many trails that are located in the bushlands of the park.

Easter Getaway

The Kangaroos of Caversham Wildlife Park in Whiteman Park.

Whiteman Park

The open areas of Whiteman Park.

tram

The tram

Highlights of the trip

–          Discovering Elizabeth Quay and the Perth CBD –

I have seen the Perth CBD many times and each time it seems to get bigger and better. The New Elizabeth Quay, which is a stone throw from the city and on the banks of the picturesque Swan River is a must. Stroll the stunning quay, enjoy coffee and lunch at the nearby restaurants, take gorgeous photos of the city and a hot day the kids can run amuck in the water park.

Once you’re done at the Quay, take the two-minute walk in the city, check out little London, which is a fantastic little alley way with antique shops and a café, before entering the busy walking streets of Perth City.

Once you are in the retail area of the CBD you can shop till you drop, enjoy street entertainment and have an affordable feed at several different budgeted locations. It is not quite Sydney or Melbourne but it’s still a great little city that offers plenty for every kind of traveller.

Elizabeth Quay

View of Perth from Elizabeth Quay.

Little london

Little London in the CBD is always popular for tourist.

CBD Perth

Take the bus around the CBD.

 

–          Watching Soccer at NIB Stadium –

Living a couple of hours from the city, we can’t always watch our local A- League team live in person. On this occasion, myself and the boys made our way to NIB stadium to watch our Perth Glory take on Melbourne City. A great night out and even better with 5-4 score line and a win for the good guys.

Josh Risdon

Perth Glory champ Josh Risdon is always good with the fans.

 

 

Follow Fair Dinkum Traveller On Social Media

<?php echo do_shortcode(