Day 23 – 29: Thailand and Laos

Okay, so I’ve been a bit lazy and haven’t been posting lately, but seriously, it’s because I’ve been travelling so far! Sorry for the belated post, but I’m going to sit here for a while and pound out everything I’ve done!

Day 23:

So I left by saying that we didn’t end up going to the full moon – which was really disappointing because I heard, from some people that had the balls to get one of those boats through the waters, that it was NUTS. Oh well, Jem, Manny and I met up with a few Norwegians staying at our resort (Matlang, huge recommendation!) and we decided to have a full moon party if our own in Chewang, heh. We ended up with a few drinks at some English pub – pretty cruisy night with some drinking games.

Day 24:

We woke up with the intention of chatching an overnight train to Bangkok, pssht, no chance. The train was heavily booked and we were left with only one option – the 11 hour bus ride. We had to do it, but it was an AWESOME bus and we got a great sunset (pics included, of course!) when on the boat from Na Thon (Koh Samui) to Surat Thani (mainland Thailand). This bus was pretty awesome though, “Super VIP” with a steward, meals and all that jazz included. The 3pm to 6am bus led us to day 25.

Day 25: Thailand – Bangkok

We ended up in Bangkok this morning in hope of catching a train/bus/plane to Chang Mai (north Thailand), heh fat chance. Today was the start of a long weekend and some flower festival was was – as a result, we had to deliberate on where we were going to go. We dropped our bags off at the train station and headed to Khao San Rd for some Internet, Breaky and reevaluation of where we were at on our trip.

With all options to Chang Mai out of the question, we decided on going to Lao! How else? another 10 hour bus ride!

We spent the rest of the day at the huge MBK shopping centre where we had an awesmoe lunch with some funky fruit shakes that not even cabra can compare to!

Sitting at the bus/train terminal and waiting for our way to Lao, KFC was on the cards, heh. No fast food for 3 weeks was going to be tough for the likes of manny and jem, so we had to grab a zinger burger. The bus ride started at 9 and that took us through to day 27.

Day 27: Lao – Vientiane

I GOT SLEEP!!! For the first time in 2 days I had been able to sleep for a decent amount of time. I sat next to 3 Israeli’s on the bus, which was great because they couldn’t speak English and I didn’t have to make conversation! Randomly, I bumped into Matihas, a random Swede drinking buddy I met at Aussie bar in Patong. We said hi and bye, but that’s not the end of it..

Arriving in Vientiane at 9am (after paying $US31 for a visa, yes, an extra dollar for the weekend…) I sat next to a Cambodian/Austrlaian girl (Mara) travelling with her boyfriend (Richard), we all immediately bonded and decided to travel through lao together. Along with Mara and Rich, Matihas joined us and we all looked for accomodation together – random swede strikes again! We found a place by the Mekong to have breaky after getting some accomodation and I decided to get my head shaved (number 3), HOWEVER, walking to the barber who do I run into? ADAM BONES! So random, hehe. We talked a bit, he had just came back from, Vang Vieng – which is where we were going to go tomorrow, since Vientiane was seen as a transit city with not much to do.

Mara, Rich, Jem and myself decided to take a tuk tuk to do the major sites in the city, there wasn’t much. We saw an Arc de Triomphe look alike (Lao was colonised by the French) , a golden temple (i’ll update the name) and a museum full of buddha statues (i’ll update aswell).

Laos Temple

We were pretty buggered and decided to head back for a shower and pit stop before dinner. Rich and Mara decided to sleep in from our 7 o’clock meeting time, so to remainder decided to go by the Mekong for a late nite feed. The night was pretty uneventful as we had ANOTHER bus to catch to Vang Vien at 10am.

Day 28: Vang Vieng

So the gang was set, 5 aussies and a random swede, all ready to head off and travel through Lao together. We arrived in Vang Vien (between Vientiane and Luang Prabang, on the Mekong and famous for tubing!!) at around 2pm and found a pretty nice place which had a room for 4 (with lone travellers) and a room for the couple. It was pretty cool, very dorm like – i love waking up and being able to talk to people around me!

Anyhow, we decided to walk around for a bit and we found that all the restaurants had one thing in particular, something ‘magic’, ‘special’ or ‘happy’ , and that something could be ANYTHING! Pizzas, shakes, pancakes – apparently even Pad Thai! Rich wanted to do try some so we all went and watched him and swede go to another level. Whilst I decided to get some buckets, and these were the worst buckets I had EVER had. Lao Lao, or Lao Whisky was totally WRONG. Two buckets and I was pretty off chops, thankfully responsible Jem was around! That is how we spent our first day in Vang Vien.. plastered.

Day 29: Vang Vien- Tubing!

The day started with an attempt to get some moto’s again (like Phuket) but everything was manual! arhhh, I didn’t have the confidence to ride one so we got a tuk tuk to take us to the ‘blue lagoon’. Lao is known for having some spectacular caves and this one was pretty death defying. We got a torch and the four of us climbed up 100m and plunged into into the depths of the abyss. After the treacherous
climb we got to swim in the ‘blue lagoon’, AWESOME. The water was BLUE and there were swings and diving boards. We were the only group bar two couples (who were also from australia, man Aussies are going to own the wolrd!), had a great time! We ended the day with a speed tubing session, it was NUTS. We started around 2:30pm and it was pretty late, but we had only time to make one pit stop at a bar – and it was the one with the biggest zip line! AWESOOMEEE FUN on these tubes, tubing while drinking the BEST BEER EVER (Beer Lao) is something of a must do. I’m really happy that I’ve come to this place before it becomes too commercial – which is something I think that this whole country will face in the coming years – a massive influx of tourists to this beautiful, truly AMAZING country. The night ended with lao whisky again

more to come!

Day 21& 22: Koh Samui, Thailand

Day 20:

So I left Patong (FINALLY) and caught a long 4 hour bus ride to Surat Thani (where the wharf is to take yout to most of the popular east coast islands) and then a 1.5 hour boat ride to Koh Samui. I met a group of Irish on their way to Australia, which was great because they made the bus ride so much faster. What astounds me is how the Irish all do this 1 year travel thing,where they drop everything and travel the world for a year! I love how the bus companies exaggerate these “VIP” buses that look like coaches on the posters but only end up being mini buses! Anyhow, as I jumped onto the boat and met Matt (a kiwi) who was en-route to Koh Pangan (full moon party) and we ended up sharing a room in a bungalow just off Chewang beach, saved a fortune by splitting the accomodation! He left and I just got a cheap single bed bungalow. I got to Chewang late, but still got to walk around and.. GET PIZZA HUT! It was crap, and it’s almost the same price as pizza in Australia – that was a disappointment.

Day 21:

Today was a day of nothingness, i sat beach side and read Michael Moore’s Stupid White Men (thanks Rob!) and watched as teh waves crashed onto the beach. I met some Aussie retirees who are settling down in Koh Samui, after living in the Gold Coast – thei nicknames are mum and dad, because they seem to talk to everyone as if they’re parents!! Anyhow, I sat around a bit more and met Mish and Mick, hehe both from Sydney and moving to Perth. We just started talking about random stuff and we decided to grab dinner and head into Chaweng town. I’ve realised that the best nights out are those that are not expected to be big! We ended up at a place called the Green Mango playing pool and drinking buckets – it ended up being a massive night of chiling with drinks next to some lady boys – YUCK. Got home at 5am and crashed

Day 22:

I woke up around 2pm, had originally planned a day trip but wasn’t feel too well. Again, sat beachside this time with some new buddies – Mish and Mick. We had a really really slow day and sat around doing NOTHING, all were hung over and was going to have a quiet one pre full moon.

Day 23:

Woke up to the chatter of Jeremy Higgs and Manny at my door! hehe So random, they arrived in the morning just in time for the full moon party, HOWEVER, typhoon Durian decided to smash the Koh Samui shores and the downpour was torrential. Again, we were trying to wait it out and see if the rain would subside, and after last years tragic trip across to Koh Pangan, no one wanted to take any risks.

to be contined… no moolah

oh yeah! Dino, Michael and John from big brother were staying at my resort heh

Day 18, 19 & 20: Phuket, Thailand

Okay, so I’ve been pretty lazy in updating my blog, but I’ve just had Rob come up from Singapore on day 18! I moved into this really cool guesthouse called PU (name of the first owner) J-Lo (Pu thinks she looks like J-Lo) 401 (the room where she met her husband… yes, very shonky). It’s a really cheap place with a great Aussie owner, he’s been letting me check email for free here! I highly recommend this place to any budget traveller (its 600THB a night).

30/11/2006 – Day 18:

The night before I had a pretty big night with Tom at the Aussie Bar (.. again) just had some drinks, played pool and celebrated the last time we’d be hanging ou. I woke up to the ring of my phone as Rob called me from the airport telling me he’d had arrived – boy did he get the culture shock. He got in, checked into the room next door to mine and we made our way to Patong Beach for a day of relaxation and tanning (for Rob, blackening for me). We did a bit of walking around the Patong area, picked up a few DVD’s and just made our way back to the guesthouse. Had dinner at the renowned “Sweet Resturant” and went exploring in the shops. When I say IN the shops, I mean INSIDE some secret backroom which every shop has, it’s where they keep their really good knock-offs, but the stuff ain’t that cheap! ($70AU for a knock of watch). Anyhow, we decided to have an early night as we knew we’d be having a big day the next.

1/12/2006 – Day 19:

Today was an AWESOME day. We hired step through motorbikes for 200THB ($8AU) and decided to ride around the south of the Phuket island, the views were stunning! I got off to a shaky start having gone straight through an intersection and hitting another bike (slowly of course) on the tire. A grazed toe and skinned knee later I got back on the horse and decided to soldier on. I mastered the art of riding these bikes in an hour! We went up and down mountains, winding roads that overlooked beaches and cliff faces – It was phenomenal!

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One of the highlights of the day trip was going to an elephant rehabilitation centre where we went for a 20 minute elephant ride. It was an experience that I would recommend to anyone coming to Phuket Island!

Elephant riding with rob

We finished the ride and got back to the guesthouse around 5:30pm (before sunset, riding at night is suicide, apparently). I introduced Rob to Aussie Bar that night, and it was a HUGE night, Rob ended up having a yak before he went to bed, hehe.

2/12/2006 – Day 20:

Today was totally bizarre! I woke up and got downstairs when Ian (the guesthouse owner) told me that a girl and guy had come in looking for me – it was Jo from Bangkok! She booked herself in with the Swede boys (Love, yes that’s his name.. and Tibias) we had met and her friend Marcel. Rob and I decided to ride up the north this time, and we got stuck in some country villages full of locals, Rob got pretty scared – being white and all, apparently I just look like one of the locals, until they see my moe and hairy legs, heh. We got back and decided to grab dinner with the whole crew, at Sweet Restaurant! Like many farang (foreigners) we over-ordered, and it had only cost us $8AU! The night ended up at Aussie Bar again when I had a pretty bad night, worried about SOMEONE!

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1 hour of sleep last night, Rob left early this morning and I’m on my way to Koh Samui! Will update shortyly!

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!

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!