Day 15 & 16: Patong (Phuket), Thailand

Had a massive night last night and we met a few more Aussies – FROM SEFTON! Crazily small world, Danny and Tom live really close to me and we all had a massive night at ‘Aussie Bar”. I didn’t get home till about 4am. The following day I we all decided to meet up again and we went to a really nice beach called Lam Sing – the water was better (ie clearer) than Patong and it was less crowded. I got some mild sunburn, which is fine and hasn’t hurt me, and we bummed on the sun beds till about 5:30. The night saw us head out bar hopping, another night of drunkeness, playing new drinking games (”I have never”, “Shithead” and JENGA! – that’s right! Jenga is massive here!) where the tequila are HEAPS bigger than the 33ml shots you get back home. Another massive night and we got onto the subject of bungy jumping…. so after a lot of drinking and convincing from fellow sydney-siders, I decided to check it out with them the following day – today!

It was very spur of the moment stuff, and the jump was 60m – for $AU50 – yes mum, I can hear you saying something already. But I did it! After that we went back to Patong beach and chilled out on the sun beds again. Rob’s coming tomorrow so we shall see how the week unfolds! I’m hoping to hire some mopeds and riding down the Phuket coast for some great views and beaches!

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Day 14: Bangkok (Lazing poolside), Thailand

Nursing a monster hangover I found myself waking up at 12 and sitting poolside, met some more aussies whom were on ‘schoolies’ (in Thailand, WTF!) it was a group of 9 girls from Byron, that’s NUTS, my parents would have never let me do that!

I was trying to even out my tan lines, to no avail!

Then i flew to Phuket where i met two english girls and we’re just chilling now!

Day 13: Bangkok (Chatachuk* Markets), Thailand

25/11/2006

WOW, today was a hectic, hectic day! I went to the Chatachuk markets, home of the biggest markets i’ve seen in my life (and one of the biggest in the world according to lonely planet). There were 15,000 stalls and I had made the journey with Jo, Ella and Yvette (aussies whom I met the night before) – it was crazzzzy!!!

I wans’t in the mood to shop much, a bit claustraphobic and it was stinking hot. But when I bought my first item (a lamp), it was ALL ON!!! Then I made my way to a silk tie section, picked up 3 ties for $AU10, then found a leather bag for work, which was $AU7. I kept moving, I was a man on a mission with a 2 hour deadline! Too much stuff in too little time! I also got a watch and I was looking for cufflinks but there wasn’t enough time =(.

After the markets I ended up having dinner at some Mediteranian place, followed by a MASSIVE night of drinking. 5 buckets and a beer tower later with the Aussies and some Swedes, I was pretty sweet and made my way back home to bed.

Day 12: Bangkok, Thailand

24/12/2006

Yesterday was a pretty cool day in Bangkok. I met up with Zvir again and we decided to go to the Grand Palace and Wat Pho (home of the reclining Buddha) together. We caught a boat down the river and ended up at the Kings Palace, which was pretty phenomenal! We walked around for a bit looking at the gold sculptures, temples within the grounds and a huge arms collection. I had to borrow some clothes because I wasn’t allowed in with a singlet and shorts.

Wat Pho was next, home of the worlds biggest (?) reclining buddha. It is gold and asolutely massive, I had to do a panorama shot. We then went back to the guesthouse area (Soi Rumbuttri) and got a traditional thai massage, it was EXCELLENT. I got every bone in my back cracked.

We met up with some scandanavians we met the night before and decided to make our way across to the muay thai and lumpinee stadium. It was pretty steep at 1000THB a ticket (for the cheapest economy tickets) but it was great fun! We sat with the locals (rather than ringside like the other farang-foreigners) and the atmosphere was electric. People were screaming and shouting trying to get their bets in with makeshift bookies that had 20 mobile phones attached to their hips. A local started making bets with us, which was pretty funny, we hadn’t had the faintest idea and we chose the red or blue corner, we won everytime! The combination of lone travellers was interesting, you could start a joke with the line ‘An aussie, israeli, german and norwegian walked into a bar…’ heh

We then went to Gulliver’s Travellers Tavern and had a few drinks, which was great for my sore throat, the tequila/lemon combo made me heaps better!

Day 8 – 11: Bangkok, Thailand

Okay, so I’ve been pretty lazy in my posting of late, but I think I think I can be excused, as the tummy bug had hit me HARD! I arrived on Tuesday (21/11) from Phnom Penh and saw Jem off to India. I waited at the taxi terminal for a bit and bumped into a random English couple who had just arrived, we started speaking and I asked if we could cab share to Khao San Rd (backpacker haven), and they loved the idea! I didn’t have any accomodation so I walked around for a bit and couldn’t find anything I liked – until I stepped into a really nice, clean and Lonely Planet recommended hostel called Rumbutri Village Inn (and yes, the cleaners were cleaning the grout in the bathroom with a toothbrush as I inspected my room!)

I put my stuff down and went outside of a bit of a wonder and lunch, I had half of my tom yum soup with rice when I felt sick in my stomache. I went back to my room (air-con, hot water equipped for $AU15 a night) and had the worst case of food poisoning, not as bad as I got it in Sydney though! So I decided to relax and sit back in my room till the next day. I learnt a lot in this time, I felt quite isolated, alone and homesick, BUT I guess Jeremy put it best as describing it as, CHARACTER BUILDING.

I felt a bit better the next day (day 9 – 22/11) so I decided to go to MBK (as recommended by Shaun and Yin), and as they described it was MASSIVE. It was 7 floors of heaps of shopping, a floor for each type of section, for example, there was one for technology, homewares, mens clothes etc etc. I picked up a second hand Nokia and a sim card for 1800 bhat ($AU60) and I’ve been calling home for 7 Bhat (25 cents) a minute. I did some more wondering and wasn’t quite up for anything, well, I didn’t feel the best so I called Lucy at 3 and we decided to meet up for dinner at 6.

I left the hostel around 5 and bummed around for an hour when I bumped into Laura and Eliza (who I met from Cambodia), TOTALLY RANDOM! They were all valium’ed out so we grabbed a fruit juice, exchanged stories until I had to leave to see Lucy. Lucy and I went looking for an ellusive Japanese restaurant which no one knew about, hehe. We asked locals, school kids, restaurant owners and EVERYONE, until some kind juicing lady pointed us into the right direction. We had dinner for around hours and just chatted about Lucy’s work in setting up AISEC in Thailand. I went back to the hostel, bought some ear plugs and hit the hay.

Day 10 (22/11/2006)

Today was totally bizarre, it’s funny how things turn out. I got out of bed at 11am in hope of finding a pub that showed the Ashes. Unfortunately, no one, including all the indian tailors around the area had the faintest idea what cricket was, let alone The Ashes! I didn’t end up finding it, so I plonked myself at a swanky western cafe outside of my hotel. I had some $2 pad thai and some fresh juice and got into my ‘Stupid White Men’ book, when a random sat down next to me and we started talking. His name was Zdvir and he had arrived from Israel just yesteday, we bummed around for a bit and I got to see the city more (more than what I got from my hostel room). We were walking down one street and the military was out in force, we were wondering what the **** was going on, we started getting worried. Then we saw the ‘discrete’ Thai Secret Service, who were wearing suits that had ‘Thai Secret Service’ embroided onto their uniforms, and the King was arriving!! heh we stood around for a bit and watched as the king arrived, we were quite far away and didn’t get a real glimpse.

And that’s all that’s been happening. I may head down to Phuket on Saturday if Shab doesn’t show up. What I’ve noticed is that the backpacker community in Bangkok is pretty non-existent. There are heaps of backpackers, don’t get me wrong, but everyone sticks to themselves. I heard this would be the case, and that Phuket and down south would be heaps better.

Day 7: Siem Reap (Angkor Wat II)

All templed out, as Jem’s dad put it, temple-itis. we visited about 15 temples all up, four of which we covered today. The first 3 looked exactly the friggen same, literally! We saved the best till last though, Angkor Wat was AWESOME – definately in my top 3! It is no wonder this place is a wonder of the world. We decided (stupidly) to visit Angkor Wat between 12-2, stupid decision, the sun was blazing on to us and I’ve got tan lines worse than the ones I got at Pacific Palms. But the weather couldnt dampen the beauty of this place. After visiting all the temples, my top 3 were:

* Angkor Wat – self explanatory
* Ta Prohm – Tomb Raider was shot here, it’s in the middle of a jungle and the tree root systems go through the ruins
* Bayon – temples with millions of heads carved into the stone heads

These were truly magical temples.

After being templed out, we got back to the guesthouse and freshened up with a shower and some lunch. We met up with the aussies we had met the day before (Pete, Becky, Eliza and Laura) and we decided to go to a traditional Khmer Shadow Puppet show, apparently we were supposed to pay but we ended up getting some spring roles to make it as if we were eating at the restaurant this show was being played at. The puppet show was run by kids and it was really good!

We ended the night at World Bar and had some $1.50 cocktails (Mojito’s for me) before we headed off home for another early morning

Day 6: Siem Reap (Angkor Wat I)

Today was my first day exploring the world heritage listed, wonder of the world, Angkor Wat. We began the day waking up at 4:30am in an attempt to catch the early morning sunrise (as per the advice from Rob), it was ammmaaazing! But! The biggest gripe I had about this place was the friggen tourists, Japanese and Korean in particular. Sure enough I am a tourist, but the bus loads of people couldnt shut the fuck up. Sitting there I was trying to catch a few snaps and absorb the experience, yet I was interupted by the banter of no less than 600 Japanese/Korean tourists. I did get a few nice pics but I’m still fiddling around with my camera (Ixus 65) and working out how to get the best configuration for different types of images.

We moved on to Bayon, one of my favourite temples which has the faces of either the king or a buddha of some sort – one of my fave temples. We spent around 2 hours in that temple alone, got some great pics there. Then, we made our way into Angkor Thom, the biggest temple in angkor wat. The climbs to the top were very steep, making the trip down even worse. We got some spectaclar views and some cool breezes to freshen up the 35+ degree temps here.

We moved on to Ta Prohm, the jungle temple, which had scenes from tomb raider in the movie. This was really specatuclar. There were trees that had root systems in and around the temple walls and grounds. We did heaps of temples that day and I dont think i cbf going through all of them. Some interesting things things to note though.
* There are a shitload of beggers in the temple, the temple costs $US20 p/day to get into, and there are around 3000 visitors a day – you’d think that they could help these people.
* I told some Japanese tourists to fuck off and wait in line, man they’re so inconsiderate to everyone. One jap guy dropped something, I was telling him and calling out to him heaps of times, and he ignored me, I knew he could hear me. Then he kissed my ass when I handed it to him.
* Met some backpackers on the top of some random temple, we were just chilling and they were telling us about how vulgar aussies are, apparently one of them got attacked by a cub bear in laos, suck shit.
* Got to know some aussies in our guesthouse bar, we headed off to Cambodian Bbq together (yes, like Korean bbq, its all you can eat for $US3), they told us a few tips and tricks! If you go to a third world country and dont want to get hassled by kids, bring those soapy bubble things, you can bring their innocence back when theyre hassling you by blowing bubbles in the air!!
* One horror travel story, one of the Aussies was sleeping-gasssed in thailand on a bus and got robbed, they were nice enough to just take cash though – considerate thieves with morals, who would of thought!