Saturday, 12 December 2009

Patong

Ohhhh god. Back in Patong again.

I didn't like it last time, I don't like is this time.

Basically thanks to Tom at Panda travel messing around with our flights (read about that here) and having to get the later flight we missed the last boat to Krabi and therefore HAD to spend a night in Patong Beach.

The one good thing about being back here was I was at a beach and I experienced a small amount of nostalgia as it brought some memories from my last stay here but even that wasn't that amazing.

That night we went to an Irish pub for some food and I had a absolutely dreadful Lasagna and then we went back to the room and watched a dreadful Wesley Snipes film about Skydiving on Thai television and another about an Island inhabited by angry dogs.

Hopefully this was the last time I will ever have to come to Patong, but that's what I thought last time.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Bangkok Pt.7

Only 2 days in Bangkok this time and this time at the request of Tom and Chris who wanted to spend a couple more days here as this would be there last chance to spend some proper time in the city before they flew to Australia. This was fine by me as I'll take any old excuse to spend some time in Bangkok.

They wanted to buy a few bits and bobs before heading to the south as well as having one last big night out in the city. However this plan failed miserably firstly because Tom threw up for about 11 hours straight on the night train from Chaing Mai and I took a turn for the worst and developed my second horrendous sore throat since I left Australia, as well as a bit of a cold. So Tom spent the majority of day 1 in bed trying not to be sick and I just felt a little sorry for myself so took it easy. Chris and I had a little stroll around some of the shopping malls as he was looking for a new camera and I wanted some board shirts which I have been meaning to buy for ages. That night we stayed in for the first time since getting to Thailand and watched "The Hangover". I gave it 3 popcorns out of a possible 5.

The next day was more constructive as Tom had stopped throwing his guts up and I felt a fair bit better so we headed out to the shopping malls again and did a bit of shopping. I brought some strepsels and board shorts, Tom got some Raybans and Chris still had his eye on a camera. We also all went for a group hair cut, my second that week as the last guy refused to do what I wanted.The man who cut my hair spoke little English so handed me a bunch of photos of hair cuts. The majority of the photos were of Thai guys however there were a few of westerners. It pains me to say it but the picutre I ended up choosing was of Will Young, so I am currently sporting a Will Young, bad times.

That night went to Lumphrini park where there was a huge Bangkok street performers festival on. We walked round the park for an hour or so and saw jugglers, bubble blowers, dancers and for some unexplanined reason a load of Thai guys dressed as Elvis singing Jason Mraz songs.

After the park we had a half hearted attempt at a night out. Had a few beers in some of the bars around Bangkok including a terrible rock bar, played a couple of games of pool, walked aimlessly down Khoasan road then went to bed.

All in all (as usual) a good couple of days in the capital. Slightly dampened by the fact we were feeling a bit under the weather but nevermind now off to the south to spend some time on the Andaman coast. Bonza!!

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Pai

One word awesome! Pai is chilled out and the weather was lot cooler than the rest of Thailand so was a nice break from the sweaty mess that was Bangkok.

Pai is about 3 hours and 730 odd hair pin bends west of Chiang Mai. I think its only about 150km from Chiang Mai but as there are so many twists and turns in the road as you go up the mountain its takes nearly 3 and a half hours. The views as you make your way to Pai are awesome and got me very excited about what it was going to be like once I arrived there.

When we got there the place was as I imagined. It was kind of like a slightly more peaceful Koh Phangan/Had rin beach area with cool little bars and bamboo bungalows and tiny little guesthouses just without all the full moon shiz and hungover westerners. There were a huge amount of Thai people there so much so that it was almost a rarity to see another white person. This was firstly due to the fact Thais' love Pai and often go holidays up here. Also to make everything about 1000 times busier it was the King's birthday and therefore a long weekend so Thais from all over Thailand had descended upon Pai to celebrate the birthday of their King.

We had not booked anywhere before we got there which was an absolute error. Pai is busy enough at the best of times but when its the Kings birthday the place was fully booked and all that was left was the bungalows for 60 quid a night each, which not happening! I had a feeling we were in for some bother as when we stepped out of the bus firstly no one tired to flog us their accommodation and secondly there were loads of Thais pitching tents on any piece of available land they could find. ER OHH!

We traipsed around for nearly 2 hours looking for somewhere to stay and no one had space. I guess this is what Mary and Joseph felt like all those years ago, although none of us were experiencing labour pains. At one point I even thought we may have to get the bus back to Chaing Mai, which I was not happy about as this place looked awesome. We found this one place which as I expect was full but did have a tent pitched up in the hotel foyer which we could rent for 500 baht a night and if we stayed in the tent tonight there would be space the next day in one of his bungalows, the 3 of us would have to share a double bed but that didn't matter I just wanted somewhere to stay and sleep in Pai. So after a lot of walking around, disappointment and hassle we eventually moved into our tiny little tent in the hotel foyer in Pai, lovely.

That night was the night of the King's birthday so we were expecting a big one. We got a bottle of whiskey between us and had a few cheeky drinks in our room (tent) before heading out to see what was going on. We headed to the center of town and could not believe how busy it was, you could hardly move. The streets were full of little stalls and food vendors selling all sorts of crazy stuff. We didn't really know what was going on so just walked aimlessly around trying to get involved. After I while we realised we couldn't really work out what was going on and couldn't seem to find a decent bar or club anywhere to continue the rest of the night with. This was well frustrating and we reluctantly called an end to the night. But not before we all purchased matching lime green turtle neck fleece's and had a fruit smoothly before we returned to our room (tent).

The next day was an absolute right off thanks to once again or lack of forward planning and the King's birthday. Our plan was to explore Pai by motorbike, as firstly surprisingly the roads weren't very busy, Lonely Planet told us it was a good idea and we hadn't done it yet so fancied our own mini adventure. However all the bikes in all the bike rental shops were all booked out sooooo disappointed once again we headed for a fruit smoothly while we worked out what we were going to do.

We decided to make the most of the spare time we now had and plan the rest of our time in Thailand and how we were going to get from here to the south and then where we were going to go once we hit the south so we could arrive nicely in time for the Full Moon party on Christmas day. This was something I did not want to ruin with out lack of prior organisation. We got this sorted quickly with a few quick notes a skim read of Lonely Planet's islands and beaches guide and then a few quick trips to a travel agent to book our complex mix of buses, trains and places so we could get to the south in one none exhausted piece. (This however did not go anywhere near as smoothly as I hoped read HERE for the full story of "Tom and his Cowboy travel agency operation").

That night annoyingly we stumbled across about 20 awesome places we could have quite easily have gone to the night before and continued our lime green fleece based antics and partied on down with Thai's to celebrate the King's birthday. We had a few drinks and sat in front of a fire at a place called Ting Tongs with possible the worst group of humans I had ever met. One even said "Fuck the King" to this Thai guy that didn't have any drugs to sell him. What an absolute moron! definitely the worst half hour in Pai! Complete set of English idiots!

Our initial plan was only really 2 days in Pai but after the day before being a complete waste of time and the fact we would now being flying to the south meant we could afford an extra day enjoying what Pai had to offer. We had also learnt from yesterdays mistake and prebooked our motorbikes for our day of adventure the day before so rocked up to the rental office very smug as strolled straight in and grabbed out bikes for the day in front of the que of waiting people.

Our last day in Pai was described by Chris as the "Best Day Ever" haha. It was just fun hossing around on motorbikes exploring a bit of Pai for ourselves. First stop was Pai Canyon and then went off in search of hot springs and waterfalls. We drove around for hours covering a huge amount of ground and selfishly contributing to climate change guzzlingly through a lot of petrol. We tried tackling some of the 700 odd bends as we biked half way to Chiang Mai and then back to Pai and then stumbled across a lot of Elephants in fields and a nice little waterfall which we had all to ourselves.

All in all Pai was ace. Could definitely have spent more time here chilling out and sampling a lot more of the cool little bars the place had. Had some great food while we were there as well and just generally enjoyed being in a place quite a bit different from the rest of Thailand I had seen so far. Just had a totally different vibe about the place. However time is against us so we had to leave and start our epic journey down to the south to become beach bum backpackers once again. I Can not wait!















Friday, 4 December 2009

Chaing Mai Pt.2

I wanted to do a video blog for Chiang Mai with Chris and Tom, however I didn't get round to it while they were still with me. So I am going to leave Chiang Mai for now and whack the video up when I see them again in January.

So watch this space!

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Night Train to Chiang Mai

I really hate getting night buses so whenever there is a chance to not get a bus I will almost always choose that option. One great way from getting to Chiang Mai from Bangkok is the night train. I love it as you sit down get a 3 course meal for £2 then a bit later a man who is seriously good at making beds comes round and assembles a bed for you out of your seat in around 30 seconds. Then you get in it and 8 or so hours you wake up feeling awesome, open your curtain and outside is Chiang Mai, perfect!

This was the second time I had got the train to Chiang Mai but last time didn't put any photos up so thought this time I would do a little post and whack a few snaps of Tom, Chris and I traveling in style. Last time I got it I slept like a log, this time round I must have only got about 2 hours sleep. No idea why I think I just got to excited thinking about the full moon party and couldn't switch off. However I still felt a thousands times better than I would had I have got a night bus. So I wasn't too bothered.



Bangkok Pt.6

Well upon arrival in Bangkok for my 4th proper visit (a couple of times where just stop overs) I remembered why Bangkok is currently my favourite city in the world by an absolute mile! The minute I arrived it was chaos, the noise, the smells both good and bad, the traffic, the dirt and the just pure sensory overload that is Bangkok just blew my mind once again and I was so pleased to be back. It's just a city that never really sleeps, with constantly something going on, I really don't think it would be possible to ever be bored in Bangkok.

My trip this time was split in two as the first few days I spent with Aun and her friends getting acquainted with Bangkok life and then the last 3 days were spent with my friends from home Tom and Chris as I showed them around and saw a bit more of the city I was still yet to see.

Aun was supposed to meet me at the airport when I got in however there was a bit of confusions with AM and PMs (haha) so unfortunately I had to make my own way to hers. I was still pretty exhausted from my adventures in Hong Kong so the first night we just rented a load of films and I chilled round hers.

The next day Aun had to go to work so I was left to my own devices. My first full day back in Bangkok basically consisted of me sleeping a lot of it, updating this place and then going on a mini-adventure to try and find some food. That night Aun and I took on some of her friends at Badminton. I love Badminton but hadn't played in ages so was a little concerned as to my playing abilities but managed to pull through without looking like a total mess. Was great fun and had a real good time getting to know her friends and work colleges. After the Badminton they all took me out for what they called "The Best Pad Thai" in Bangkok. I was pretty intrigued as to a Thai persons opinion of Pad Thai so was more than happy to go along. The Pad Thai was a lot different to some of the other Pad Thai's I had had, mainly as it arrived in an omelet rather than the egg all mixed up within it but it was awesome.

After that her and a load of her friends were off to some rock night just off Khoasan so went along to see what it was all about. Had a few beers and was loving not having to pay Ozzy prices for drink, got a round of 3 beers for 4 quid!

The next day was Saturday so I wasn't left home alone again. However the Badminton had taken it's toll on me and I was knackered. We took a stroll to one of the main Wats near Aun's place and did some praying. I wasn't really sure what I was doing but tried to pay my respects the best I could. After that we headed over to the Bangkok Art and Culture Center to see “Twist and Shout” a exhibition of Japanese contemporary art and as I presumed it was off its tits. The strangest thing I saw was 2 men dressed up as the KFC Colonel and Ronald McDonald feeding each other. But the screen it was on could only be viewed through binoculars. Madness. I really enjoyed it though as a whole and it was free, absolute bonus. In the evening just popped over to China town took a few photos then crashed out I now felt proper ill.

The next day was the long anticipated arrival of Tom and Chris. I had been looking forward to hitting Bangkok with then ever since I found out they were going to be traveling. However the first day was very much the calm before the storm which worked out very well for me as I was still struggling from Hong Kong and Friday nights Badminton. As I thought they were both extremely jet lagged so I showed them round the city for a bit taking them to Central World Plaza and a few of the other more built up areas and as I thought absolutely screwed with their tiny little jet lagged minds how busy it was. That night we just watched Arsenal get hammered by Chelsea 3-0 and I got to enjoy watching Chris get extremely angry. After that we just went to bed.

Next day was a bit more eventful as we set out to see some more of the city by day. I had been in Bangkok altogether over a month and still had not been to the Royal Palace, so this was my chance. First thing we did was jump in a taxi and head to the Palace. However I had forgotten everything I had learned last time I was in Asia and tried rocking up to the Palace in shorts and Chris a vest. This is a big no no so we all had to hire suitable clothing. This however made us all look like janitors especially Chris who had to hire the whole get up. Had a wonder around the palace, looked at the King's guns and also had a bit of a ganders around the Palace of the Emerald Buddha. It was all very spectacular and I could tell why everyone always asked if I had been there yet as it was definitely something special.

That night we hit Bangkok as a team for the first time. Hit Soi cowboy which once again blew Chris and Tom's minds then headed to Khoasan road to see it by night. Met up with Aun and we just chilled with a bucket while Chris tried to woo some Swedish girl. It wasn't as eventful as I had hoped but was a good introduction as what was to come.

However the next day for some reason was an absolute wash out as we were all suffering incredible hangovers. To cut a not very long story even shorter we slept most of the day and then some how managed to go on another night out and didn't get back till 6am. I feel there is so much more I could probably write about but I wont I am being lazy so just read Chris's blog if you want to know some more haha

http://chrishislop.blogspot.com/

To round things off though I had a wicked time once again in my favourite city on earth, after Norwich of cause. Was great to see Aun again and great to be with 2 friends I hadn't seen for so many months with. However one final note is that I think if it wasn't for me Chris and Tom would definitely be penniless and naked in a ditch somewhere in Bangkok. The amount of scams I had to pull them away from was funny as. Peace and enjoy the pictures.




02/12/09