A Travellerspoint blog

February 2011

White men can't sunbathe - especially not in Thailand

33 °C

Price for all you can eat buffet for a woman = 295 baht
Price for all you can eat buffet for a man = 365
Price for all you can eat buffet for a ladyboy = 335

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We are nearly 3 weeks in to our adventure in Thailand and we love it. It is much easier than India and China for getting around and finding reasonable accommodation. I guess that's the compromise as it is also much more touristy and most other tourists are on package deals. The food has been amazing, the street food is great, fresh and cheap and we have had some delicious meals in cheap restaurants. Especially in Koh Tao where we could eat and drink for under a fiver while watching the sun set over the beautiful bay.

From the beginning then. Bangkok was what we expected, a bustling Asian city. Too many people, too much traffic, too hot and a bit smelly. But we loved it. India had prepared us well for this type of place and if you don't mind eating your noodles with an audience of street rats while counting the lizards on the wall, you're fine! I don't know how they prepare such tasty food from such rotten carts on the road side but they do. Officially no upset stomachs so far either! It was difficult getting used to the heat again after a chilly few weeks in China. Walk a bit, sweat a bit, drink a bit, sleep a bit seems to be my coping mechanism. A few other highlights in Bangkok; the water ferry's, much better way to get around, cheap and breezy if a bit brutal. You literally get 10 seconds to get on/off and if you don't quite make the pier, good luck getting any help (Not because the people are mean, just on a tight schedule I think). Pauline had a David Attenbrough moment in Lumbhini Park when a pigeon fell in the lake and some children tried to rescue it. The climax of the drama however occurred when a beasty monitor lizard hot-footed across the lake to gobble up the unfortunate bird! I (Richard) missed it all!

From Bangkok we caught a train North East to Chaing Mai and we had the privelage of air-con (shame it was set to -2 and I could see my breath all the way!).We went trekking in the jungle for 2 nights and 3 days.
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Great value for money we met hilltop tribes, went rafting, swam in waterfalls and walked.... a alot! Also included was an elephant trek along the rapids.
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An opportunity not to be missed we thought and since the elephants seemed well looked after and were kept together in a family I thought it would be ok. I (Pauline) kind of regretted it afterwards though and whilst it certainly was an experience I didn't really enjoy it. A funny moment was finding a big hole in the balcony of our hut due to the fire not being extinguished fully the previous night (classic mistake!).
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After Chiang Mai, we headed back south to Ayutthaya (the old capital) for some temple sight-seeing but the most interesting sight had to be a fairly big monitor lizzard crossing the road in front of us. After it waddled off Pauline scared the shizzle out of me by pretending it was back behind me after i'd turned around.

So after over a week in the Thai heat we decided we needed to get to a beach to relax. Ko Tao was a dream, small enough to be not too touristy. We got a bungalow right next to the beach and the only downside was finding a cockroach the size of Pauline's fist in it on the second night! We spent a day on a snorkelling tour which was great value and only spoiled by the realisation that we'd both got burn't (one more serious than the other!) while being on our stomach's all day.
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After two days on Ko Tao we took the ferry to Koh Samui (via Ko Phangan and hence full of full moon party go-ers) and to our dismay spent 3 hours (1 in a taxi) trying to find the beach bungalows we'd booked. We must have asked about 30 locals to no avail and when it started getting dark had to settle for checking into a different hotel. Koh Samui was a lot bigger and more touristy, so on our second day we thought we'd try to hire a scooter, which was a cheap way to get around. If only I (Richard) had ridden anything like it before and didn't ride down the street like fred flinstone, refusing to apply the brake! The lady in the hire shop decided for us it was best to take a raincheck!

We have now crossed the Thai peninsula to see the other side of the Andaman sea (from India) and are having a great time on the island of Ko Phi Phi. Tomorrow we go snorkelling again and get to see where the film 'The Beach' was set. I'll get well lubed up this time.

Finally, check out our beach artwork and leave a comment telling us which one is best. We'll try not to argue over the result!
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Picture 2
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Posted by Po Gallon 02:01 Archived in Thailand Comments (9)

Chinese Crackers

sunny 6 °C
View World Wide Wander on millfred's travel map.

No. of 7/11 convenience stores per sq km in China = 7
No. of street escalators used in Hong Kong = 25 (including the longest outdoor covered escalator system in the world)
Size of box room in Hong Kong = 1.5m x 2.5m
No. of street gyms where pauline failed to complete the monkey bars = 5
No. of dumplings consumed by Richard on Chinese NYE = 35

We are a bit late with this blog, sorry. We are now in Bangkok but realise we haven't given you a China round up yet so here it is...

Xingping, wowsa (Pauline's word) what a lovely place, found almost completely by accident. Beautiful mountains adorn each side of the equally breathtaking Li River, ( I know enough lonely planet bumff!).
Xingping - gnipgniX

Xingping - gnipgniX

This place is really special though and we were genuinly sad to leave. 'This Old Place' hostel was the best we've stayed in yet and the staff there we so welcoming we really felt like we were spending Chinese New Year with an adoptive family as we were taught to make Chinese Dumplings and drank very strong cocktails.Concentration face!

Concentration face!

The town has two main streets and at midnight on 2nd Jan, every house, shop and restaurant set off a barage of firecrackers and fireworks. The noise was incredible. A few mini heart attacks for Pauline as there was no break from the fire crackers, bu her bravery was rewarded with a turn on the kids fireworks. The local kids had no fear with their handheld fireworks. (Basically a thin loo roll tube that you light and it shoots out about 10 in a row!). Perfectly safe if you haven't been drinking any of the cocktails!

Bit of a struggle to get from Guilin to Hong Kong in the end. Won't bore you with the details (2 buses, 1 sleeper train, 2 metro's) but we managed it and it was worth it. Hong Kong was really cool. Very multicultural and provided us the chance to reignite our Indian food passion. Only 2 days there but an early start meant we had enough time to get 'The Peak Tram' and see what was on offer in this very modern city. On our first night there we stumbled upon what turned out to be the most amazing fireworks display we've ever seen. (Mam, if Lynn Duffy ever gets wind of this, tell her its a lie and their back garden displays were unbeatable!). Not sure if its on YouTube but if it is, watch it. Unbelievable, must have cost millions and Hong Kong's biggest ever. HK did however continue the Chinese pattern of being pricey so we had to limit Richard's snacking tendancies.

Not once in India were we tempted by MacDonalds', so much delicious, cheap food on offer. Three weeks in China was enough to allow our feet to wander through the dreaded golden arches. To be honest though, it was the novelty of the Prawn Burger that drew us in (pauline that is, as if Richard needed any persuading). In any case the vegetarian card was out of the window after one week in China when Pauline tucked in to a KFC.
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Only KFC prawns this time though!
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And yes, Richard really did eat TWO scorpions on the night market in Beijing.
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Posted by millfred 12:29 Archived in China Comments (1)

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