A Travellerspoint blog

Logistics of Life on the Road

Well our epic journey across the entire country of Thailand (north to south) began on the 19th. Our 2.5 day journey was horrible!! First, hopped another local bus from Pai to Chiang Mai. The bus was completely empty and tell me why I had some village lady ask to sit right next to me. Really?! I felt like I was on Canal Street of NYC because her and her friend, who was sitting adjacent to us, were doing dirty deals with purses and other merch that they were planning to sell in the city I guess. I got zero sleep on that ride because my seat partner had no concept of personal space and also was spitting out the door every 5 mins, I had to keep my eye on her! Next was a night train from Chiang Mai to Bangkok which wasn't much better. The accomodation was nice however we got zero sleep just because the tracks were really bumpy. 5:30 in the morning on the 20th we arrived in smelly dirty Bangkok. Unamused by our travels and the taxi and tuk tuk touts, we hopped on the tube and went straight to Lumphini Park. We were definitely backpackers now because we grabbed onto our rucksacks and took about a 3 hour nap in the park. Right up until a HUGE monitor lizard crawled out of the pond right next to us. Def scared the shit out of us! Revamped we set off to catch the train to Chumpon, three and a half hours later we were still sitting on the tracks in Bangkoks Huampolong Station because there were some sort of delays unbeknownst to us. The plan was to be in Chumpon with enough time to catch the night ferry to the Island of Koh Tao. That didn't happen!! Although I'm not too sad about it because a couple of travellers on the train warned us about the cockaroaches they encountered on their night ferry adventure. No thanks, I'll pass!

So like I said 2.5 days later I found myself on the beaches of just one of the many paradises I plan to encounter here. Absolutely gorgeous. Warm waters/palm tree lined/white sand/postcard perfect beaches. So the hype about Koh Tao is the SCUBA diving. It is the leading diving certification center in the world, with supposedly some of the best places to dive. Where do I sign up please?!?! Without wasting anytime at all I was in the class room learning all about the gear and diving techniques and equipment. Our first day we spent about 4 hours in the pool practicing some skills that we would later need in our open water dives. My very first dive all I remember thinking was, "Oh shit what did I get myself into?!" I had no time to actually look at the coral or fish because I was too concerned on trying to stay nuetrally bouyant so I wouldn't land on the coral. With each dive I got better and better, to the point that I'm hooked now! Love every bit of it. Christmas Eve came around and I officially became a certified open water diver to 18 meters (60 feet). While I do some island hopping, I plan to do my advanced certification as well so I can go down to 30 meters. Thats where all the cool stuff is supposedly.

Well I'm off to do some snorkeling. Its so hot out here that you want to spend your time in the water rather than on land.

Cheers everyone,
b
xx

Posted by BeccaB 21:06 Comments (3)

Pictures

DSCN0521.jpg

ok so just a few photos of some of bangkok and some of koh tao. the uploader is being tempermental so more to come later. Look for my next blog post coming soon.

b
xx

Posted by BeccaB 02:10 Comments (1)

Pai

Pronounced like "Bye"

Well with no time at all and a proper Chang headache (chang is the beer of choice out here, brewed in no other than Thailand) Angelo and I were off to the bus station to catch a Local Bus to Pai. It's about 4 hours north of Chiang Mai. We could have chartered a mini bus but decided to save some Baht and take the bus the locals do. Now I'm not sure this bus would meet regulations set by the DMV...pretty sure it was falling apart. This bus was packed to the brim because the locals must of thought they were taking a cargo container to Pai instead of a bus. Then just when we thought we couldn't get anymore cramped, we realized that they bus makes stops on the side of the road and picks up more people. It was nuts!! haha people sitting on bags in the middle of the aisles, other people standing, and if you were lucky and got a seat, good luck trying to sit in it because unless you were a small Thai person your legs were def not fitting.

Upon arrival to Pai, we immediately fell in love. If someone took all the good San Francisco/granola/hippie vibes and transplanted them to Thailand, they would be in Pai. The bungalow we are staying in is just outside of town very accesible by motor bike. We rented motorbikes for the past 3 or 4 days and have been scootin around town and up into the mountains. The scenery is gorgeous and very tranquil up here. This morning I just got done with a 2 hour yoga and meditation sesh. It was Ah-mazing! We were up in this tree house hut with a great instructor. I def centered my chi ;) haha. So good in fact, that we're going back for seconds tomorrow morning.

On the 19th we're saying goodbye to Pai and headed to the southern Thai Islands. Absolute paradise I hear, but I'll be the judge of that. Once I get my camera fixed in a couple of days (I dropped and broke it) I'll get some pics posted.

Not missing my cubicle,
b
xx

Posted by BeccaB 21:50 Comments (4)

Lions

Sex is to Chiang Mai as Kok is to Bangkok

So I think Angelo and I quite literally got pushed out of Bangkok. Seems as though we out stayed our welcome haha. Here's the thing, we got tired of having to pay triple or sometimes quadruple the price just because we're farang (foreigners). We started to show our distaste to the touts and kept low balling their price, which would actually be a fair price, well they didn't like that very much. Had a few people walk away from us mumbling obscenities under their breath haha.

The last day in Bangkok was quite nice actually. We took a trip to the Grand Palace which would be the equivalent of England's Buckingham Palace. It was gorgeous to say the least. The architecture was amazing. It seems as though the Thai's take influence from everyone else's architecture then adapt it however they see fit. They have influence from China, Japan, Cambodia, etc. After the Palace we took a water taxi to Bangkok's Chinatown. It was impressive! I felt transplanted into China. In Chinatown we got to sample the infamous Durian fruit. For those of you unfamiliar with it, it is this large prickly looking fruit that is so smelly and supposedly disgusting in taste, that hotels, and trains, and other establishments do not allow it inside. It's an aquired taste that you have to grow up eating in order to like. Some describe the smell as pungant dirty/sour gym socks, I guess I can agree with that. However, I don't think its disgusting tasting like most do. Angelo spit it out immediately, even Andrew Zimmerman who makes his living off of trying bizarre foods can't stomach it, but I went back for seconds. It wasn't the best tasting thing I've ever had but it wasn't bad either.

Stories from Chiang Mai...

One 15 hour train ride and 2 hour bus ride later, we found ourselves on the streets of Chiang Mai. The city agreed with us from the start...200Baht private room with shower in suite which is the rough equivalent to 6-8 US dollars. After a nice meal we decided to wander around for the night, and found ourselves in what we thought to be the vibrant bar scene. We started to notice a lot of older caucasion gents walking about and from then on decided to affectionately refer to them as "Lions" the male equivalent to a Cougar. We also started to notice quite a few young Thai women in these bars we were at and when I say young, I'm talking 15-20 years old. Thats right, we landed ourselve smack dab in the middle of Chiang Mai's red light district. For 900Bhat you can take these girls home for a good time and thats exactly what these Lions were doing.

Chiang Mai seems to be a stopover city for us, because as I write this we are waiting to catch a local bus to Pai. Pai is further north and hopefully some good trekking and rural cultural vibes.

Cheers
b
xx

Posted by BeccaB 18:53 Comments (5)

One Night in Bangkok

;) ;)

Well not really much to report about Bangkok, just another city really...SIKE!!

If I had to sum up my impression of BK in one word i'd use SEEDY! Its smelly, in a good way and a bad. You'll be smelling deliscious street cart food one second then the next a swift kick in the nose from the sewer. Its dirty and grimy and hot as hell. Also if your a westerner hold onto your wallet because everyone is trying to get your dollar! Ran into a couple of scams already mostly from the tuk tuk drivers and taxis. One popular scam is to give you a free ride or a very cheap 10Baht ride to all your desired destinations then all of a sudden when your ready to go home they start taking you to these tailor shops and jewelery shops hoping to get you to buy over priced goods. I obliged once since that man got a free petrol card out of it, then when he tried to take me to more I refused to get out of the tuk tuk until he took me home. No real harm done though, one of the more minor scams you see out here.

Anyway, my second night here I ran into this Brit named Angelo; really cool chap ;) He calls me Fran because he was amazed that I lived close to San Francisco, and I call him Mank since he's from Manchester. We got to talking, he's out here on his own as well and seeing how it was my second night and his first night I was showing him the ropes (aka the one street I knew). We were less than impressed with the famous Khao San Rd to say the least. Khao San is basically the backpacker ghetto of BK. All the budget travellers, including me, head here for cheap accomodations but it is probably the least Thai place in the whole city. Similar to the Wharf I'd say. After one look, we decided to ditch KS and we ventured off. We stumbled upon some pretty dirty back streets with locals congregating under these little pop up tents. It seemed like they were local dive bars or just hangouts (can't really call it a bar if there's no building can you?). So we stopped in this one where they were singing kareoke songs in Thai. After the initial shock of our skin color, everyone welcomed us with open arms. After a few songs, a few rounds, and one trip to the disgusting thing they call a toilet (I have video that I will post later that might curl some of your toes), we were off and sure not to overstay our welcome.

Yesterday we went to the weekend market. Wow!! Sure put anything we have to shame. Just to give you a little background on how big this thing is, they have entire guide books on how to navigate this beast. Everything from squirrels and owls down to the kitchen sink are sold here! Yes thats right, I saw legit owls and squirrels in cages being sold. After a good look around we started to get the feeling that you've seen it once you've seen it all.

Today I'm going to venture into Chinatown, see if it rivals the one in SF. Then tonight Angelo and I will catch the night train to Chang Mai, Northern Thailand. A 15 hr train ride in a second class sleeper. I'm deviating from the route that I posted on my first blog, its nice to have that sort of freedom. So Chang Mai and surrounding areas are more like the hill and mountain regions of Thailand. We're planning on going trekking and rafting in hopes to encounter some local hill tribe villages. Bangkok hasn't given us the culture we're looking for; however, Chang Mai sounds more promising.

Bangkok is def a crazy city, you can find just about anything here, from live shows in their red light district (they call it "ping-pong show") to high end shopping in their massive shopping malls. I think the trick to BK is to go into it with no expectations, and you won't be taken aback by what it throws at you.

Look for pictures and video on subsequent posts.

Cheers
b
xx

PS. Please overlook the errors in my posts, with internet running 10Baht/10 mins I'm trying to be quick about it.

Posted by BeccaB 16:43 Archived in Thailand Tagged bangkok Comments (1)

(Entries 6 - 10 of 11) « Page 1 [2] 3 »