Back once again in Bangkok.

Waking up in Chachoengsao I packed up the few things I had taken out of my bag and Liam, via 5 minutes of driving down the wrong side of the road got us to the station.

The ticket cost about 10 Baht to take us on the hour long journey to central Bangkok. I got some tasty coconut batter snacks for the train and we began our short journey. It was so pretty as we passed rice fields filled with storks and the scenery starting to become less country and more City.

Liam had recommended a hotel near Asok train station so we alighted there and ten minutes later we were checking in. It was a really nice hotel and I had splurged for the executive lounge so we could get breakfast, afternoon snacks, and free drinks in the evening.

After a chillout by the pool with a Pina colada we got some free lunch at the lounge and headed towards Siam Square for the magical rainbow cheese toastie. Bangkok is pretty easy to navigate with its metro and SkyTrain and along with 7/11s they make a nice reprieve from the heat.

We arrived at Siam Square and found the Hokkaido Cheese Toastie shop on the ground floor of the mall. We ordered some drinks while we waited for the rainbow toastie and then realised they were cheesy drinks! Actually they were delicious, Liam had strawberry and I went for matcha and they had a cheesecakey float on the top.

Then the rainbow toastie arrived and it was everything we were hoping for and more. So pretty but also super weird as the different colours are different fruity flavours. But cheese.

We wandered around the mall for a bit checking out the randomness of it all, then found the Hello Kitty cafe. I was super excited but it was actually a bit disappointing inside, and the menu was overpriced so we didn’t stay. Instead we walked along the skywalk, checking out Erawan shrine from above and finally jumping the SkyTrain back to Nana for a beer and to people watch.

We sat here for a while watching ominously as dark grey clouds closed in on us before the heavens opened up. It was past 6 at this point and we wanted to enjoy the free drinks and food at the hotel, and after a soggy 40 minutes of being packed into the SkyTrain and metro like sardines we made it.

The food was great and they had plenty of vegetarian options, Liam was super happy he could drink white wine too as it’s something of a luxury for him. Feeling a bit tipsy we got changed before heading to Tuba antique restaurant and bar. A cool little place off the beaten track that Liam had suggested.

We arrived via taxi and it was pretty cool, lots of random objects dotted about the place and tasty cocktails which were huge! We sat at the bar and chatted through the night till I was too tired to talk. So we walked slowly back to the hotel and I passed out almost immediately.

I woke early in the morning, and went for a refreshing swim before trying literally everything vegetarian on the breakfast buffet. I waited for Liam to wake up and we got ready to head out. We wanted to head to Chang Chui market with its cool abandoned planes but realised it’s closed on a Wednesday.

Instead we headed to Jim Thompson’s house as a last minute decision, and it turned out to be pretty cool. It wasn’t super expensive about 200 Baht, this includes a tour of the house in your language. It was cool seeing this snapshot of post WW2 life for an expat and the gardens and decor were stunning. It’s also easy to get to, just take the SkyTrain to National Stadium and it’s a 5 minute walk from there. We also checked out the canal just past the house.

e took the BTS down towards Lumphini park, this place is famous for its water monitor lizards though unfortunately Bangkok council had the majority of the big ones removed as they were becoming a nuisance in the City, including one casually walking into a Tesco.

The park itself is a nice break from the city and you can rent bikes or pedalos. We visited in 2015 and it seems like it’s in a constant state of fluctuation. We enjoyed the lizard hunt and were rewarded for our endeavours by spotting a big one eating an even bigger fish.

From here our plan was to take the BTS around to Sala Daeng and hit the unicorn cafe, but Liam dropped his phone somewhere in the park. Luckily a local found it and we managed to get it back but by this point it made more sense to walk down to the cafe.

It was about a 25 minute walk from Lumphini to Silom district where the cafe is and it was totally worth it. Bright and garish it was like a crazy acid trip, with unicorns hanging from the ceiling and the most colourful desserts menu I have ever seen.

We ordered some iced drinks and one of the rainbow waffles, the drinks were so sugary and sweet we had to wait for the ice to dilute them a little but the waffles were incredible.

Buzzing from the sugar rush we wandered up towards the main street in Silom near the BTS and grabbed a couple of beers. We were going to head to some of the gay bars but they didn’t open till 6pm and like needed to get back to Chachoengsao.

It turned out we probably could’ve gone there as the BTS was full of commuters so we decided to risk the Bangkok traffic and take a taxi for 100 Baht. Google maps said it would take 45 minutes but almost 2 hours of bumper to bumper cars we finally arrived at the Avani.

Liam quickly sorted out a taxi back home and I prepared for my morning departure to Myanmar, the first official leg of my tour.

Returning to South East Asia.

After 6 months of travelling to a new European destination every month I decided I needed to do something bigger, for longer, and so after checking flights via Skyscanner app I was booked on a flight heading to Bangkok and returning 2 months later.

I was super excited and immediately started planning my trip, adding Myanmar, Hong Kong and the Philippines to the top of the list of must see countries.

Another 8 months flew by and before I knew it I was on the plane from Manchester to Bangkok via Dubai. The highlight of my flight was watching the sunrise over Iraq, it was absolutely beautiful.

My plan was to meet up with my friend from Wales, Liam who had been living in Chachoengsao town for the past few years. Located just 45 minutes from Bangkok airport, I landed and once through immigration was soon on my way via taxi. This cost around £20 and took approx 50 minutes.

I arrived at Chachoengsao train station and 30 seconds later Liam turned up On his moped and I got my first glimpse of the town. It wasn’t much different to places like Nong Khai and Kanchanaburi that I had visited previously.

Stopping off at a 7/11 I grabbed some fun sounding snacks and a cheese toastie, the ultimate Thai snack for foreigners. We made it back to Liam’s cute Thai house and after a quick tour we sat on his little patio drinking Leo beer and catching up.

I was pretty tired after only managing a couple of hours sleep on both planes and after a few hours I needed my bed. I was up late in the morning the next day and Liam had a plan for the day. So off we went on his moped, I didn’t like driving one when I was last in Thailand but I quite enjoyed being chauffered around on the back of his.

Liam took me around the town and showed me some of his fave spots, by early afternoon it was getting super hot so we went to one of his favourite bars, an amazing little place on the river with views of a gorgeous temple called Wat Sathon.

We sat here watching the boats go past drinking some beers with ice to keep them cool. After a couple of hours we decided to leave, though our way back was blocked a bit by a market that had somehow popped up while we were drinking.

As Liam navigated his bike back up through the crowds I walked up, marveling at all the goods on show. Once we were free I got a couple of nice pictures of the temple and we headed back to his place to cool down and get ready for dinner.

Unfortunately about 30 minutes after getting back to Liam’s the sky opened up and rain started pouring down. I knew this would happen as I’m visiting at the back end of rainy season. What we weren’t banking on was the power to go out!

Sat in darkness with just the occasional lightning flashes and car headlights giving us a glimpse of the outside world we patiently waited for it to calm down before we could set off to the restaurant. As I sat there something landed on my leg, and being the epitome of calm I jumped up shouting before realising it was just a frog. (Liam had told me he’d found a snake in his living room not long ago so that was definitely in my mind)

The rain eased off a little and we were too hungry to not risk going out, praying the power would be on in the town centre. Luckily for us it was and we were soon sat on the river once again in an amazing wooden Thai house.

This was the first test of my vegetarianism, and it wasn’t great. The only dishes on the menu I could eat were fries, an egg salad and some vegetable side dishes and rice.

Luckily for me the egg salad and fried morning glory were super tasty and the rice helped me fill up, my whole meal cost about £7 including 2 beers, I knew that Thailand would be one of the more expensive countries I would be visiting too.

Heading back we were hopeful of the power being back on but as we turned down the road the street lamps were off and the 7/11 closed. Getting back to Liam’s we know we were up early the next day to catch a train to Bangkok so abandoned the evening and went to bed.

The last day, 6 weeks gone far too quickly.

Today was the last day, travelling for six weeks has been amazing, we’ve seen and done some incredible things and are so blessed to be able to do it. Working hard for almost a year to save and all the planning has absolutely been worth it. I could definitely keep going, flights to Malaysia/Singapore/Honk Kong/Burma are all £60-90. I’ll save that for another trip though.

We got up late after the revels of the night before, and headed to the Sunday market on sky train for some extra shopping before we leave. It was an okay place, some good clothes and not so good ones, but we found a few things for people back at home. As amazing as the markets in Asia can be, they can also be a load of tat just like at home. You’ll also realise that it’s the same tat in Thailand as it is in Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia.
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Once done with shopping we went for some lunch and to cool down.
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Our flight was at 6am the following day so we booked a hotel 5 minutes away from the airport to ensure we got there okay, it was £7 each and had a pool! So we thought we would head over there at 4 to enjoy it, the hotel we were at I’m Bangkok hailed us a cab and said it should be around 200baht. How wrong they were, it was 220baht, plus 85baht to get on two different toll roads.
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Arriving at a street that didn’t look quite right, the taxi driver insisted it was so we got out and walked down to a dead end. I checked on my map and realised we were about 6 miles away! We couldn’t believe it, so we started the long trek to the hotel. 2 hours later and a lot of avoiding stray dogs we made it. A good last work out before we go home.

By the time we got there it was almost 7pm and we were disgusting, sweaty and dirty. So we showered and went back out to find food and a well earned beer. We found a small area filled with food carts and what better way to finish off in Asia than with pad thai sat on a plastic chair.

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We went to a nearby bar and had a could of beers whilst watching some football and a cockroach running around the place. Went back to the hotel and I watched the Arsenal game on my phone and Leia watched some crazy U.S. version of the cube.

We slowly fell asleep ready to face 18 hours of traveling the following day.

Returning to Bangkok for the weekend.

Today we had a relaxing time in the morning, Leia had a lie in and I booked us a minivan back to Bangkok, 100 baht cheaper than the one there! We left at 11:30 and the van was so much nicer than the last two we had been on. Cool and comfortable, the rest stop reminded me how much I will miss the prices! A big bag of fresh pineapple, can of ice coffee and a coconut ice cream cost £1.

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We were dropped off at khao san road and did some last minute shopping. Getting some new tops ready for a night out later. Once we were sufficiently sweaty and hot we jumped a tuk tuk to a nearby sky train and headed over to Sala Daeng station. We planned to watch Bangkok Utd at their stadium which started at six, but the skytrain was delayed, we had to check in to our hotel and then get to the stadium! In the end we took a taxi which cost £4 for a half hour journey and made it to the Thai-Japanese stadium up by the victory monument and were only ten minutes late. It cost 150baht or £3 for a ticket, the stadium was pretty small but it was fun! Bangkok Utd were already 1-0 up and had some vociferous fans opposite us waving huge flags and banging big drums.

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Bangkok were by far the better team and were 5-0 up before the opposition scored a great free kick just before half time. We got 25p slushies and sausages on a stick for half time snacks and were ready for the second half. The quality of football was pretty poor but better than I was expecting, the crowd still cheered them on but the game had become stale and didn’t improve. 90 minutes came and we left for silom area in a taxi. Going past Centro world which was all lit up for Christmas.

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The night markets at Silom were really good, I wish we could have got some stuff there but we stopped off in the Irish bar from the beginning of our trip and paid for overpriced beer.

After 6 weeks of £2 or less beer we found £3 a little excessive, God knows what we’ll do when we go out at home!

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We ended up round the corner at Silom Soi 4, the gay street, it was a small street lined with chairs full of people watching as we walked down between the bars. We grabbed a table and had a beer before going to see what else was going on.

As we were walking I saw someone I knew, Chinmay and his boyfriend Jack! I was aware he was in Bangkok but hadn’t planned on meeting, it was so random but good to chat and talk holidays, they were just at the beginning of theirs while we are at the end of ours.

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After chatting away they went off as they were flying early to Phuket and we had a couple more beers as it quieted down. A quick stop off at 7/11 (Gutted that KFC had just closed) to get burgers and water we went back to the hotel.

Waterfalls, death railways, and the bridge over the river kwai.

Up and ready with our 7/11 toastie breakfast we were tired after the last couple of days activities. It was a minibus today with a lovely guide who was very prompt with her timings. Erawan waterfalls are an hours drive from Kanchanaburi so I used the time to update the blog but we were soon there. I find journeys like this go a lot faster than back at home, maybe because we know what a 12 hour journey looks like now.

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We arrived and were taken through lovely forest to the first pool, full of huge fish and clear as can be. We detached from the group and headed upwards and onwards to the next couple of pools, finding one with rocks to slide down into the pool. It took a lot of courage for us to dip into the water with loads of fish awaiting our arrival. Once in the smaller ones nibbled at you the whole time unless you frantically thrashed about. It was just like the fish foot spas and although now and again it would feel like a really big one was after you it wasn’t so bad.

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It was loads of fun sliding down the rocks and plunging into the cool waters. Once our feet had been well and truly nibbled we left to carry on the hike up through an amazing forest filled with all kinds of trees, bridges and rocks to clamber over.

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Each pool and waterfall was lovely and so clear, it was fun seeing how people coped with the fish too.

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There were 7 levels and we reached just below level 7, some 1500 metres of journeying up into the forest. Although it was hard work at times it was really good and I loved the adventure, we had to be back by 11:50 for lunch and the tour guide had been very adamant about this. So we turned back after I had seen level 7’s waterfalls were all dried up. Lunch was pad thai noodles and really good, with fresh fruit for dessert.

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Once everyone had finished we were on our way to hellfire pass and the death museum.

We entered the museum first and learnt more about the Thai-Burmese railway that the Japanese built, using POWs and labour from their newly conquered Asian countries. The conditions were appalling and many died out of the 260,000 workers that were forced to construct the railway. My own brief history is due to the film ‘The bridge over the river kwai’ and it was sad to read about how poorly they were treated in the reality of it all.

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Once we had our fill of history we headed down steps through a bamboo forest and out onto the railway. It’s amazing how they built something like this on a cliff face and cutting through the hellfire pass.

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It had an eerie feeling to it as you pass tributes and memorials to the deceased. There’s a single tree that has grown up and out of the pass in the 60-70 years or so the rail line has been out of commision for.

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I wouldn’t say it’s a must see but it’s free and interesting, so if it’s part of a tour it’s a good inclusion.

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Next stop was a cave the Japanese used as an air raid shelter and a train journey along some dodgy looking tracks built up and around a cliff.

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We saw some tourists going rafting, where you are dragged behind a boat on rafts then left to swim back down the river kwai with lifejackets so you float. Like a different take on tubing!

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The views were great and it was fun walking along the train tracks. The train arrived and we had left the tracks and made it to the platform.

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It’s just a normal passenger train but interesting and a little scary going over the tracks we had just been on! The views were lovely and it was a leisurely 25 minutes or so before we disembarked.

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We waved goodbye to the driver and it was time for the last stop on our tour, the bridge over the river kwai. Due to the film I think popularity of the place has been consistently high and it was good waking across it. It’s free and not much to do apart from enjoy the scenery and imagine what it was like to have to build it!

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There was a great statue at the end next to a temple, but it was the end of the line for us so we walked back over and were taken to our hotel where the tour finished.

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After a long day with lots of hiking around we were ready to relax, we went out for food and I had my first thai green curry. Leia wanted comfort band had french fries with a ham and cheese toastie. We played some more pool, this time it was more respectable but I still lost 11-6!! Definitely need to brush up on my skills. It’s nice to have something to do in the evenings though.

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It was soon time for bed so we went back to the hotel to the sound of frogs and cicadas. Avoiding the cockroaches on the street crawling out of drain holes. Ew!

Elephants everywhere and losing at pool, badly.

We woke up with plenty of time, the bus was picking us up at nine. We nipped over to 7/11 and got breakfast and some bananas for the elephants. We were picked up promptly in a pickup truck converted into a big tuk tuk and off we went to elephant world. We chose this place because it had great reviews and was voted as one of the most ethical elephant sanctuaries in Thailand.

http://www.elephantsworld.org/

Their slogan upon arrival was ‘We work for the elephants, they don’t work for us” it is staffed by several volunteers who spend around a month working with the elephants, they pay for the privilege I think they said it’s around $500.

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We were given water bottle holders, safety instructions and a locker to keep our stuff. Then it was getting stuck in from the off, we queued up and were given huge baskets full of fruit. They each had individual names and we headed for the correct elephant, with the mahouts (elephant trainers) helping us in the right direction. It was then that we met our elephants for the day, Leia and Nemochi and I had her grandmother To Me. They had been reunited after working in logging and trekking camps.

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They loved the pumpkins, bananas and watermelon we fed them, it was so amazing and weird as they grasped the fruit from our hands with their big trunks and crunched into the fruit. They feel so rough and hard, but are very clever animals. After breakfast we walked down with the elephants to watch them play in the water, walking alongside them was amazing and they were just so big. At the water we met two baby elephants, a girl and a boy who were rescued from street performing in Bangkok where it’s illegal. It’s so sad again to see how money overtakes all forms of compassion and care for wildlife.

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They were super adorable and loved the water, it was great to watch and Nemochi has taken them under her wing as a surrogate mother! They all stayed together with To Me and another elephant. Once they had finished in the river we went to make sticky rice balls for the elephants with no teeth.

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We were told at around age 60 elephants lose their teeth and slowly starve to death in the wild, living till about 65. It’s a ageing population control that sounds very harsh but allows the younger generations to have more food.

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It was sad but good to learn and we then sliced pumpkin with machetes as rude boiled in a nearby cauldron. Adding the pumpkin to the boiling rice we had to use huge paddles to stir and ensure it didn’t burn. Once it was sticky enough we took of off the heat and continued to fold and stir in order to cool it down ready for the afternoon.

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Next up, lunch time, we got an amazing buffet of rice, sticky chicken and cashew, chicken wings, fried fish in sticky mango and loads of veg. All of it tasted delicious and I went up for seconds.

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We finished lunch and watched a short 5 minute video on elephants and how intelligent they are, they can recognise themselves in a mirror and understand it’s a reflection along with other higher brain functions. You can see just how clever they are, we watched them play in the mudhole to cool off in the afternoon sun and saw one using a stick to scratch herself! They also used big palm leaves to wave flies off and cool down.

It was so good just to watch them especially knowing they were all rescued from a horrible past life of being worked to the bone, one had a dodgy leg where a car hit it when she was performing in the streets of Bangkok. They started spraying mud all over themselves (and us!), so we took a step back.

We learnt a bit about what they eat and uses for their poo, then we went off in a truck to chop wild grass and collect it up for the elephants. I forgot to mention that they eat or forage for 16-18 hours a day and consume between 100-200kg in food depending on their size. Cutting the grass was fun but feeding them with the grass was even better. Nemochi’s boyfriend Johnny got all my bananas!

Once we had fed them grass and had some pictures we finished off the sticky rice balls by mashing the rice with vitamin pellets, rolling them into balls then rolling them in another fine feed. It was very messy but we were rewarded by feeding the balls to an older elephant with no teeth. It was so nice and she opened up her mouth loads so you could get your hand right up in there. Leia and I both had elephant saliva on our hands by the end.

We washed up and went back to the river where we got in with the elephants, cooled them down with buckets of water and washed them. It was awe inspiring and a bit scary as they could be a little unpredictable and rise up out of the water or start moving towards you at any moment. They loved being in the water though and we got sprayed by them, it was really fun.

With that it was ice tea and biscuit time while we dried off, then we had another go at feeding them fruit, this time feeling more confident with them now we’d got to know more about each one.

That was that and we were soon back in the hotel after an amazing 6 hours with the elephants. It’s clever getting people to pay to then spend a day working and preparing food for the animals, and as ethical as it is they’re still forcing the elephants into a daily routine of parading around in front of tourists. They seemed pretty well treated though and they had a lot of freedom, if they wandered off their mahout would try to bring them back once but if they weren’t interested they’d let them go.

I would definitely recommend it, it’s expensive at £46 a day but everyone in the truck back felt like it was worth while to do. I think if I had the time the months volunteering would be an incredible experience.

After resting up after a hard day looking after the elephants we watched the sun set and noticed two adorable kittens in the hotel. They were so cute we want to being them back with us, once we had dragged ourselves away from them we went to a nearby bar to play pool, which I lost, badly. I think the final score was 12-1 to Leia, it was pretty shaming but she was on fire, one game I think I had two shots and she cleaned up big style!

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We knew that we wanted to do a tour the next day, preferably to Erawan waterfall which is supposed to be very pretty, we finally found a tour operator and booked to see the waterfalls, and also to go to hellfire pass, the death railway and the bridge over the river kwai! Just like the film.

Once we had booked we realised we had another early get up, ready for 8am so we got some food, pad thai and thai red curry and hit the hay.

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A journey of two halves and a lot of lanterns.

Wednesday came and our boat wasn’t till 9 so we leisurely got our stuff together, dropped the key off and went down to the pier. Liam had decided to stay on at the island and meet us in Bangkok later in the week.

We picked up our new favourite breakfast, toasties from 7/11 Leia with ham and cheese, me with egg, hotdog, and cheese. Got on our boat across, another small junk but without masses of stuff this time.

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Enjoying the views from the ferry we soon arrived at Ban Phe pier, the bus was just around the corner. It was not going to be a good journey, the bus was cramped full of people and luggage with just enough room for the two of us with our bags stuffed in front of me and on Leia’s knees. It was warn and stuffy and the relief when we stopped for a break was palpable. Everyone got off and I got an iced coffee and some macarons! They were just what I needed, we got back on,managing to rearrange our bags so they weren’t so constrictive and the rest of the journey wasn’t so bad.

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We reached Bangkok in 2 hours or so, figured out where we were (Victory Monument) and asked the best way to Khao San Rd where we could get another bus out to our destination. A £1.50 taxi journey and 200baht bus ticket later we had an hour to kill on khao san before our bus so obviously we got pad thai from a steet vendor and tucked in. Wandering up and down the street it was suddenly 3pm and we got on our minibus, only to drive for less than ten minutes and get told to get off. We were sent over to another bus which waited for 10 minutes or so hefute embarking on it’s journey. This bus was much better, more room and cooler we listened to music and I read while the driver picked up and dropped off various locals all the way. This is the norm for SE Asia and it doesn’t bother me, it’s funny to see all the different people jumping on and off.

Three hours later and the minibus man dropped us right outside our hotel for the next 3 nights, Sam’s House. We got our own little hut with a bed, tv and bathroom, everything we need. It was very cheap and seems lovely so far.

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We headed out to a nearby bridge as we had heard the lantern festival was on properly tonight, walking down a dark road there were some kids letting off a paper lantern and not much else on the river so we walked down and got some food. We asked where the festivities were happening and once finished, were in a tuk tuk speeding down towards a lot of lights and music.

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It was huge, a hundred times bigger than Koh Samet’s version. There were people everywhere selling flower arrangements with incense and a candle which you light and send down the river. We bought one each and a few cans of chang strolling past various food, drink and dessert carts. I wish we hadn’t eaten as there was so much that looked good, and there were chinese lanterns lighting up the sky like hundreds of fireflies.

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It was so much fun as we walked down to the river to make our offerings and pray. The downside to the festival was a lot of fish and tiny turtles being kept in small buckets or bags for people to buy and then release them into the river. They just looked a bit sad as they were prodded and poked. We avoided these and went down steps to give our offerings. We prayed and the gifts were launched, a few baht in there for extra luck.

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As we leisurely paced along the river we noticed some kids in the water, ripping up the offerings and taking the money that was held inside! Luckily ours got away but it’s a shame to see that even in Thailand you have people who try to ruin it, although no one seemed that bothered so maybe it’s normal! We watched hundreds of these lights float down stream and carried on wandering around taking everything in. I bought some weird marshmallow cream and shredded sweet potato taco type things that were amazing and we bought green popcorn for snacking on tomorrow.

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Once we had seen everything a lovely lady tuk tuk driver took us back and we found a bar with connect 4 where it was a bit more even, but I still one. Little did I know Leia would have her revenge tomorrow night. After being talked at by a very dunk swiss expat who thought I was Turkish we decided to head home. Tomorrow we’re up early for elephants! Very excited.

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Our time on Koh Samet

The last few days have been pretty much the same, Saturday we had a really chilled out day getting takeaway pad thai and lemon slushys in the morning. Wandering around the town in the afternoon and then going for food at a place recommended by a few people.

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Sadly it wasn’t as good as our little ladies further down the road. After that it was football time, we had scouted out a couple of places earlier and settled on funky monkey. The less Saud about the football the better for me, but Everton did well so it wasn’t all bad. We ended back up in friendly bar and I made up for the arsenal loss by beating Leia several times at connect 4. I had a midnight swim to cool off and we walked back up to the house.

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Sunday came and we had our takeaway noodles again and chilled in the house, at around 1pm we went to the beach, just staying at the closest one. It was nice going in the afternoon and it soon cooled down so we could play frisbee, our arms are starting to ache from it! We swam and relaxed, had ice creams and then enjoyed a beautiful sunset across the beach.

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We had food at our little place again and made a decision, we would check out a day early and head to Kanchanaburi. It’s nice being able to relax but I think 10 days is too long when there aren’t many things to do on the island, maybe if we had headed south to the bigger islands there would have been more to do.

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I also think we’ve spent the last 5 weeks adventuring around SE Asia and have gotten used to seeing new things every day. We also found the best chicken wings ever, coated in batter, deep fried and covered in sesame seeds. So good!

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Monday we tried a new beach where we could lounge more and did the usual stuff, frisbee, bat and ball and swimming. We went for tea at the little place again and saw that the lantern festival was starting, we wandered round but it wasn’t too busy in the evening, and it was just the start.

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The next day we went back to our favourite beach and enjoyed the last day of sunshine and nothing to do. That night we treated ourselves to pizza and then went back to the festival where more was happening.

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We played some carnival games and Leia won a bean bag character in a shooting game and I was one balloon sway from winning a big iron man teddy in darts. The less said about the ball and tin cans the better.

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We booked our 250 baht minibus to Bangkok and got an early night all packed up ready for the next adventure.

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A full day at Ao Thub Thim.

Today was another early rise, Leia and I took our bikes back and Liam decided to have it for another day.
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So we parted ways and headed down to the beach, walking along the surf in the morning sunshine we decided to go back to the beach we had enjoyed the most so far, Ao Thub Thim. We got there and there must have been only a few other people there with us. As we sat down on some deck chairs to consolidate our base for the day a small dog came over and settled between us, digging into the warm sand to uncover the cooler sand underneath.

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We got ourselves a frisbee and brought our snorkelling gear so we set off round the bay looking for our fishy friends, unfortunately the storm from the night before seemed to have stirred the waters and it wasn’t crystal clear like the last time we were there. However we still saw lots and got some good underwater pics with my camera.

We had a game of frisbee and sat enjoying the sun when we noticed people looking up at something in a nearby tree. We went over to see what the fuss was and there was a tiny little snake up on a branch! It was bright green and very pretty, not scary at all.

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After this we were hungry so got chicken with garlic, pork with basil and chilli and rice. It was lush again, washed down with a chang of course. Lunch finished we relaxed for a while in the shade of our umbrella and enjoyed the view in front of us.

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We swam out to the platform far out, by the time we got there we were cream crackered so lay out in the sun and baked, watching little fish rush about beneath us.

We did some diving off the platform, streamlining into the sea, going so saw down I could see the bottom, then Leia had a go and slipped at the crucial moment, unceremoniously flopping into the water. After that it was time to swim back, avoiding the imaginary sharks in my head as we made it back.

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More sunbathing and frisbeeing and it was time to go before the sun set completely, so we clambered over the rocks and back down the beaches to the house. We basked in the cool air con and got ready, deciding to go to the same little place we had crab a couple of days before.

It was immense, we got lemon slushys for 40baht and ordered shrimp tempura, pork fried rice and mussel pancakes. It’s the best food we’ve had for ages, and it all cost less than £6 for the two of us!

It was so good we forgot to take pictures, and the two ladies, one making the drinks, the other cooking the food were so lovely and happy to see us.

Koh Samet and scootering around.

Today was the day, Leia and Liam have been talking about motorbikes for the last four weeks and this day had been designated. We went down to the shop and got bikes and full tank for a fiver each.

I’ve never been on a bike before, not even on the back of one. They’ve always been a slightly scary proposition knowing the dangers of them, even more so watching the SE Asian driving skills. However I’m here to try new things and push myself so we set off and I nearly crashed into Leia as I got to grips with the handle being the accelerator! It was a lot more sensitive than I expected, but I made it back to the house in one piece, and had a practice on the quiet front of the complex.

I was doing well until I forgot the brakes and went into the curb, only suffering a slight cut. Leia and Liam returned and we went off to explore the island Liam crashing into a bike within a minute, maybe the cigarette whilst driving a scooter for the first time wasn’t the best idea. Leia led the way and drove slow and carefully so I could follow her lead, we stopped at the reservoir and then got to a huge slope on the road and were told to turn back or park up. So we turned around, Liam nearly accelerating off the side of the road down a steep slope.

We found a little place called sunset viewpoint, so we parked up and enjoyed the stunning views out over the bay. In less than ten minutes of driving we had gone from the east coast to the west.

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We decided to go south, I say decided, it’s the only other way to go. The way had lots of turns, and steep slopes up and down. There are speed bumps everywhere to prevent speeding around which was good for me, it meant we went at a leisurely pace. Even so it only took 15 minutes or so to reach the southern tip. We went to the eastern viewpoint first, which was spoiled a bit by lots of rubbish that was funneled in.

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At the top there was a swing made from a branch and some rope so we had a go on that and while walking over to the western side we saw a lizard with bright orange spots along it’s belly.

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The western side was filled with little towers made from stacking rocks similar to the ones on the beach. The views were great and you could see over to another tiny island.

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With that we had seen the whole island, we drove back to the house and plotted our next course of action while Leia and li had brunch. We decided on a secluded beach called Ao Wai, we passed several signs for various beaches down tracks and finally found the one! Parking up we walked down to find mangrove trees filling the beach and a short stretch of white sand, the water wasn’t as clear as Ao Thub Thim, but we had fun playing bat and ball, and swimming/floating around.

It was great lying in the shade of a huge tree cooling off from the heat, we stayed till the sun had disappeared behind the trees and set off, hoping to see the sun set at one of many viewpoints. The sky looked clear but when we got to a scenic spot the horizon was covered in cloud. We sped on and got back to the house, we were there for a while before setting off for tea.

We went to a place called Chilli as it was cheap and looked good. I had pork with basil and chilli and Leia had American rice with hotdogs and chicken. Liam went for fried vegetables and rice. After food we went down to the beach, but Liam decided he was going to drive the bike around the island more.

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Leia and I went and sat at friendly bar, ordered some beers and spent the evening chatting away, watching lightning brighten the sky in the distance. The bar was good, it was nice and chilled out and had lots of nice lights and candles.

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The stars were so bright and it seemed like there were twice as many. It really is a beautiful place, especially at night when there are less people around.

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We walked back to the house and watched some tv before drifting off.