I think I was just departing Nepal when I last emailed. From there we flew into Bangkok, knowing that red wine is expensive in Thailand I made sure I made the most of the free wine on the plane. It was so tasty I had a whole bottle – nothing’s changed there then!
We stayed in Bangkok for nearly a week sorting out visa’s, visiting temples, going to see floating markets that were just a big tourist trap, and also paying a visit to the Bridge over River Kwai. I think we would have enjoyed the trip a lot more had we not spent most of the previous night in a bar working through the list of cocktails! Needless to say we spent most of the time asleep on the bus.
From Bangkok, we boarded the night bus to Champon and then straight onto a boat to Ko Tao which is just one of those run of the mill Thai exotic islands. We headed across the island to a very quiet secluded beach (well, obviously not quiet once we landed) and checked into a straw hut on the beach then bumped straight into Anish and Simon, a couple of fellow backpackers who we met in India and then again in Bangkok. I think they had gone there to escape us as it is not a very well known place on the island. They made up some excuse that they had just checked out of their hut and were just on their way to meet us at the harbour – the hut they checked out of was the one we were allocated! Luckily they had another one for rent in not as good a location so the boys had to settle for that!
Anyway, I’ve been doing loads of snorkelling – there’s just loads and loads of really good fishes here, it’s fantastic. I’ve been in the water so much I think I’m going to sprout fins. The bay where we were staying was really nice too, very beautiful and the only mod cons were electric from 6pm -midnight. No shops or anything -bliss!
I’m not looking very hot at the moment after deciding to sleep the last 2 nights on the beach, I now look like I have a very bad case of measles. And yes comments about being able to play dot to dot on my face have not gone unnoticed. But it has been worth it, waking up to beautiful sunrises on the bay.
We have now moved over to the busier part of the island so I can go diving tomorrow. I’m very excited and have even managed to wangle some free accommodation through the dive centre.
Next we move onto Ko Pha Ngan, the next island, just in time for the full moon party which will be more funny than anything else. Can’t see that I will be doing much moon worshiping but it will be amusing to watch others.
Diving in Koh Tao was good. I didn’t get to see sharks or turtles as requested, however, I did swim (obliviously) right into a trigger fish despite being warned by the dive master to stay clear! I luckily avoided the attack but then cut my foot open when jumping off the boat back at shore. We’ve been a right pair of invalids as Lesley managed to secure a nice dog bite the previous night and has since fallen down trekking.
From Koh Tao we took a boat to the next island, Ko Pha Ngan (known as the party island) just in time to worship the moon at the full moon party. This was all a bit disappointing as it was too cloudy to see the moon. However, this didn’t stop people partying all night til 11am the next day. I, getting on a bit, only managed to stay up until 1am and believe it or
not stayed relatively sober.
The next day we got a ferry and bus back to Bangkok and I managed to get my wallet stolen again – just after replacing my credit cards! From Bangkok we took the easy travel option and flew to Chaing Mai, North Thailand. From here we went on a 3 day trek in the wilderness staying in hill tribe villages along the way. The 2nd day was a killer, hiking up and down mountains for 7hours – this has left me aching all over and I plan on indulging in a Thai massage. The elephant ride on the trek was quite amusing as the elephant man resembled a character out of the TV show Monkey Magic and he was off his tree from all the opium he was smoking. It was quite funny to watch him attempt to stay on the elephant and had a few near misses.
On the last day of the trek we went rafting down the river on bamboo rafts which I managed to break. The rafting was not quite as exhilarating as the rivers in Nepal but I had quite a good time having water fights with my fellow rafters.
Since being back in Chaing Mai we’ve been to see some Thai boxing which isn’t really my cup of tea. I was quite shocked to find the contestants getting younger and younger until a pair of eight year olds were up on stage beating the living daylights out of each other.
Today I did my good deed for the year and rented a motorbike to go to Chaing Mai prison to visit foreigners (as in not Thai nationals). I chatted to a few prisoners. One of which has been there for 3 years now and still hasn’t been sentenced! Disgraceful. The Irish guy who is the suspect for that girl who recently got murdered in Chaing Mai that has had loads of news coverage was also there. They all really appreciated me going to see them and I was
glad to be able to take some food and toiletries in for them as they get no money whatsoever and are not allowed to work there. However, they were saying that the Thai prisoners only get 100 baht (about 1.50 pounds) for 6 months work!
Soon we will be boarded a bus for Chaing Rai, from there we may pop into Myanmar, formally known as Burma then into Laos.