A Travellerspoint blog

Nakhon Ratchisima (Khorat)

sunny 30 °C

We went to the bus station about 5pm to get the night bus to Nakhon Ratchisima (also called Khorat) to meet Dani's dad's girlfriend (Porn-Rat) and friends (Andre & Noi). The night bus was pretty cool we got blankets and a toilet! haha we had about 12 hours till we got there.

Dani's dad had arrnged for them to meet us but it was still a bit dodgy because we didnt know if they would be there or not. We arrived and got a taxi to Thaifar City - a big electrical shop where Porn is the manager. We found it and her no problems - there was a bit of a language barrier going on as Porn dosn't speak much English! She called her friend and colleague Arh to come and translate for us haha.

We spoke to Noi on the phone and then Porn, Arh and another employee called Peter drove us to Porns house to wait for Noi & Andre. When they had gone back to work we showered and chilled out for abit then they came back to take us for lunch with about 10 other Thaifar City employees and porns eldest daughter. I dont know who was working in the shop because everyone seemed to be with us! After lunch we went back to the house and the others went back to work and we hung around until Noi and Andre arrived. Andre is French and Noi his wife speaks really good English. Everyone we had met so far in Khorat was so friendly and happy to see us it was great.

Noi & Andre took us into the city centre for a quick wander and a beer. There was a protest going on in the main square as the Thai Prime Minister has fled to Cambodia to escape prison (or something along those lines). When we got back to the house Noi & Andre left and we went for a walk around the area that Porn lives in.

Later when Porn and Arh finished work they came back to take us out to dinner - Porn gave us all matching Panasonic T-Shirts in different colours! was so sweet. Dinner was really nice in a restuarant on a massive lake with loads of fairy lights everywhere - really pretty. Again there was us and loads of Thaifar City employee's plus Porns eldest and youngest daughter. It was a really nice meal! We tried loads of stuff we havn't before because all the menu's are in Thai so Porn ordered for us. Later we wnet back and Porn did some of our washing from the jungle trek (we felt bad but she wouldnt let us do it) and we played with Omsin Porns youngest daughter. She's really cute!

We were supposed to stay in Khorat for 1 night then head back to Bangkok but we decided to stay for 2 nights as they wanted to take us out the next day!


14/11/2009

The next day Noi & Andre hired a minibus to take us around and show us some sites! All in all there were about 15 of us in the minibus! We were supposed to go to a national park but it was 50 TBHT for Thai's and 400 TBHT for Falang so we didnt go. Instead we went to Chockai Farm but we didnt go in we just went in the gift shop haha then we drove around for ages looking for lunch near the national park - everywhere was packed out for a concert so it took ages to find a restuarant. It was funny because we would stop somewhere - everyone would get off the bus then 5 minutes later everyone got back on the bus lol - we did that about 5 times! Eventually we ate at a steak house place which was good. After that it was back to the mini bus and we went to some more sights like a massive white Buddha built in the side of a mountain - you could climb the steps to raech it but it wouldv taken about an hour each way so we didnt. We also went to a flaoting Art Maret place which was pretty good. My mum wouldv liked it there I think. Not much was floating though?

After that we drove back to Porns to collect our bags and then we went to Porns villiage where she grew up for dinner. It was the years anniversary of her fathers death so all of her family and the whole villiage were together for dinner. It was really nice to be included in a personal event like that and we had food that all of the villiagers had made. After we had eaten we went to Noi & Andre's house where their villiage was having a massive party! Thai boys have to spend a certain amount of time living with the Buddhist Monks once they reach their 20's. The night before the boy goes the villiage has a party for them! It was wkd and so funny they had a massive stage in the field with ppl singing abnd doing dance routines and dancing. We found a thai version of Rob! he was showing us how to do the dance moves (they were all wasted haha) After that we went back to Noi & Andre's house to sleep. They have a huge dog called Joey who's really excitable and a Cat called Pad Thai who was making the wierdest noises i'v ever heard a cat make haha. Noi was teaching us thai words like Thank You (CubCoon Ka) and everytime we 4got to use Thai she was thrteatening to hit us with this stick that she uses on Joey haha


15/11/2009

The next morning we had toast and coffee and then went to get ready. Halfway through we could hear loads of ppl outside and Noi made us quickly go out - the whole villiage was there in a procession - they were taking the boy to the monks! They made us go at the front and lead the procession down the street! it was hilarious everyone dancing and getting pissed at like 9am on a Sunday morning! we danced all the way down the street to the Monks place and then we had to dance around the temple 3 times then we watched the boy go inside with his family. It was wkd I couldnt stop laughing such a random thing to be doing on a Sunday morning lol.

After all that excitment we finished getting ready and went back to see Porn and her family again in their villiage. Then they took us for lunch (they fed us constantly the entire time we were there!) and then they took us to the bus station to get our bus to Rayong (we decided aginst going back to Bangkok straight away)

We said our goodbyes and our thankyou's - it was a great few days and totally unexpected! Everyone was amazing and really good to us and we had a great time!

Posted by Chloe.G 19:08 Archived in Thailand Comments (1)

Chiang Mai

sunny 31 °C

The next morning we packed our stuff to leave The hostel and decided to make our own way North to Chiang Mai instead of getting a travel agent to help us because it would have meant going back to Khao San Road on the roach infested bus. There was a really wierd bloke in our dorm room trying to teach us Thai words when we were all trying to get ready. He would say "who wants to know the Thai word for Toilet??" No-one would answer then 10 minutes later he'd be like "Okay! You say it like this..." haha we were'nt trying to be rude but getting all your stuff together and getting ready in a boiling hot dorm room is enough without learning Thai at the same time!

Anyways we got the Sky Train then a Taxi to the Northern Bus station, got our tickets for the night bus (8 pound for a 12 hour journey!) then we had a whole day to kill so we checked our bags in and went to the park. It started raining so we went back to the bus station.. after about an hour it started torrential raining! It was still so hot though was good to watch from the bus station.

Got on our no air-con, no-toilet bus and tried to settle in for the night. Was okay but the couple sitting next to me (we had the back row) had a White Rabbit in a really small holdall which I thought was really wierd... 12 hours is a long time to have a Rabbit in a bag? Luckily the driver made lots of toilet stops through the night but one place that we stopped was so bad I'v never seen anything like it. The toilets were covered in bugs and insects it was like a horror film...scarred me for life I think!

We arrived in Chiang Mai at about 6am - and got a tuk tuk to our hostel - The Green Tulip - This hostel is amazing it cost us about 2 pound per night to stay in dorms and it was soo clean and bright with a massive roof terrace with deck chairs and you could watch the sunset over the mountains from the actual roof. Really really nice place.

The owner was really nice and showed us all the options for trekking and we chose the 2 days, 1 night Jungle trek for the next day.

The rest of the day we spent at a hotel pool down the road and watched the Sunset from the roof - very cool. Then we went out for dinner and bumped into Anna & Paul from the tour! Had dinner in a cafe and a chat then went back to the hostel - we had to get up early for the Jungle trek!

10/11/2009

The next morning we were picked up by Sumit our tour guide and went round to pick up the rest of our group - 4 French girls and a couple from North London. We drove in the Tuk-Tuk Taxi type thing to a market to get supplies for the trip then we set off for the elephant camp which took about an hour.

Once we got to the elephant camp we had lunch then met our elephants! they are huge and beautiful and I was really looking forwardto riding one one once we on I just wanted to get off! Me and Dani sat in the chair on its back and Chi sat on its neck! I felt really sorry for it ahving to parade around with us fatties on it. Also they walked it up this really steep hill with no path and I honestly thought we were going to die! I was glad to get off about 45 minutes later ha! I think from now on I'll just stick to looking at animals instead of sitting on them!

Ater the elephant rides we started the 3 hour trek to the villiage! Trekking through the jungle was amazing and such hard work - it was boiling hot and mostly uphill - some parts were really steep and a bit sketchy! everybody kept stopping for breaks but we got really into it (hardcore) and wanted to just keep going - we made it in about 2 hours instead of 3! There was group of really annoying blokes who kept shouting and saying stupid things so we were walking faster to get away from them! Sumit got toi the villiage about 15 mins after us and we asked him where the French girls were he said he didnt know he'd lost them ha! good guide he just left them in the jungle! They got there about 30 mins later.

The villiage was a bit strange - noone seemed happy to see us there (they must get sick of tourists traipsing through everyday) and there were animals EVERYWHERE! A chicken got its head stuck in some wire fence and was being attcked by another chicken - Dani freed it and it ran off all happy then another chicken attacked it straight away lol - must have really annoyed those chickens! I think they murdered it! Gangland Chickens!

Sumit took us to where we were staying -its a hut specially made for the tourists with mattresses on the floor and a toilet/shower hut haha very authentic! We all had a shower and then ate dinner which was made for us by the villiagers! it was really nice I ate loads! After that it was dark so we all sat outside with a few beers and candles (no electricity). There were so many stars it was really pretty and there was a party going on further up the mountain as the Monks had recieved funding to build a new school! They were setting off fireworks and fire lanterns into the sky! Sumit played us a few songs on the guitar and then 2 of his friends turned up with their guitars - they made up the words to most of the songs as they went along lol - one of them kept shouting "oh my Buddha!" lol.

We were out there for ages playing cards, singing and stargazing - sooo cheesy but really fun!

11/11/2009

The next morning I woke up earlier than the others and watched the sunrise. It was beautiful and really peaceful except for the crazy chickens, dogs and pigs making loads of noise. Once everyone was up we had breakfast (scarmbled eggs, toast, jam and watermelon!), got our stuff together and started the trek to the waterfall.

Before we left Sumit showed us the old villiage school which was good to see! It was tiny - just one room!

Going down a mountain is much much harder than going up! Parts of the trail were like slides and my heart was constantly hammering from nearly falling over - v. funny. Sumit told us a story about a man who was using a bamboo stick for balance on the way down and he fell and ripped off a ball! noone wanted to risk using a stick after that! After about an hour we reached the waterfall which was nice but not as scenic as the waterfall in Laos it was also packed out with ppl. Was nice to have a break and a swim!

After another hours walk we stopped for a Pad Thai lunch (yum) and then put on our life jackets and helmets (which smelt really badly) for white water rafting! We started getting nervous when the guide was doing a demonstartion in the raft - we didnt realise you have to paddle and follow commands ha I thought you just sat in it!

Our guide was a nut nut - at one point he tipped us all out of the raft! Everyone got back in after messing about in the river for a bit but i was further away and couldnt walk back against the current! It took him about half an hour to come and rescue me! I was trying so hard not to panic lol. White water rafting is wkd definately something I want to do again - New Zealand maybe? I want to try some proper rapids because we just had a beginners intro.

After awhile we got out of that raft and onto the bamboo raft which was wierd. Its basically loads of bamboo tied together to make a long platform and when your on it its submerged so your half in the water and half out. By this point our guide was getting on our nerves he had been splashing us and trying to tip us over for about an hour and a half! haha luckily we were only on the bamboo for about 15 minutes - we'd had enough river water for 1 day lol.

We met Sumit and dried off abit before getting a tuk tuk back to town. It was an amazing 2 days I tried so much stuff that havn't done before it was soo good (some bits not so good), Sumit was a really great guide (even if he kept leaving us on the trek)! everyone was great in our group, the food was wkd, the weather was wkd - amazing.

That night was our final night in Chiang Mai and we ended up in a sort of courtyard with a boxing ring in the middle and bars all around the outside. We sat down to watch a few Muay Thai boxing fights. I hate normal boxing and this is much worse! they kick as well as punch! it was good to see but horrible at the same time - Chi was happy tho! After each fight the boxers would walk around to colect donations (it was free to watch) - you cant say no to a Muay Thai boxer with blood dripping down his face lol

Before each fight loads of Lady Boys from the bar apposite would do a synchronised dance/parade! after a few drinks we went over to see what was going on they are so fun! Chi wasn't happy at 1st but they even got him dancing on chairs and joining in with their dances lol they were wkd!

On the way home some bloke asked if we wanted to go for a swim in his hotel pool so we went for a night swim - it was a bit random and we had to walk home soaking wet.

12/11/2009


The next morning (slightly hanging) we packed up and checked out then went for a huge breakfast. After that we spent the day doing internet stuff - uploading pictures ect killing time before we went to get our night bus to Nakhon Ratchisima (Khorat).

We loved Chiang Mai, its a really happy sunny place and so beautiful! Definately a highlight of the trip so far.

Posted by Chloe.G 10:29 Archived in Thailand Comments (1)

Dowtown Bangkok!

Ping Pong Shows and Best Boys

sunny 27 °C

The next morning we woke up late - nooo we had missed the free buffet breakfast by 45 minutes! gutted! We went downstairs to see if any of the others could smuggle us some food out but they had already taken it all away....

Went and sunbathed for a bit then went and got our bags sorted to leave. We were now officially on our own...no more Nicole to do everything for us! Exciting!!!

We had a hostel booked to we got a bus to downtown Bangkok. We had really wrong directions to get there so a French bloke had to help us. The bus was boiling and there were cockroaches arghh! Its really rude in Thailand to put your feet up on stuff as the feet are the lowest part of the body so I had to leave them on the floor for the roaches to run all over me...rank!

After 30 minutes of melting and bugs we got off - found out we got off too early so we got the Sky Train - its a tube but in the overground. Pretty nifty. Got off found our hostel, bit dark and hot but okay - we went from a plush hotel with a swimming pool to a hot, sweaty dorm room in one day!

Didnt have time to hang around we were off to the airport to meet Chi!! To get to the airport we had to get a Sky train then a bus to the airport then a shuttle bus...Missions!

Met Chi at the arrivals hall was quite funny waiting for him coz we didnt know if we were in the right place.. He came through and we had to do the same mission with the busses to get back to the hostel.

Chi dropped his bag off and we went to find some food and have a wander around downtown Bangkok, we found a nice cafe and had some nice food then the fun started haha every single street and alley we walked down was aimed at sex tourists! There were ppl offering us ping pong shows left right and centre, prostitutes lined up outside all the clubs and we found one street which looked really pretty with loads of fairy lights and found out it was the gay street with loads of boys in tiny pants standing around everywhere! haha it was too much we wanted to get out so we left to find the night market. Walked around a massive park for about an hour getting all aggy with eachother because we couldnt find the market and it was hot and humid and dark... then we found it back where we started - always the way!

It was worth the walk though because it was the biggest market i'v ever seen with a concert tent! we walked around for a while then got a beer Chang (Thai beer) and went and sat in the concert tent to watch Thai boys/girls murder George Michael songs. After that it was back to the hostel (great! lol)

Posted by Chloe.G 08:24 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Vientienne - Bangkok

sunny 30 °C

The next morning we woke up late to get our bus! We had to chuck everything in the backpacks and run! Its the 1st time we'v been late which is an achievement since we dont have an alarm clock!

Got on the bus for our last stop in Laos - The Capital Vientienne!

We arrived, checked in and went for a walk around the Capital of Laos which is about the size of the Polygon in Southampton ha its tiny! Me, Dani & Lechae decided to hunt down the public swimming pool and get some tanning done. It was quite a nice pool! There were these 2 kids there a boy and girl running around terrorizing ha they painted mine and Dani's nails for us and were taking random pictures of each other and us with my camera. Reminded me of Ja-Ja ha. It was nice just to be chilling out by a pool after being constantly on the move for 3 weeks.

After a few hours tanning we went back to the guest house to get ready for dinner with the group. It was the funniest meal i'v ever had. It was in a really nice restuarant we sat oustide with pretty lights everywhere. Nicole told us that they give the local teenagers jobs there to train them up in the hospitality business. ha it took about 2 hours for all our food/drinks to come out and our waiter was a really gay man just running about giggling the whole time he was the worst waiter ever but no-one really minded because he was so funny and smiley.

The next day we got up and got our stuff ready to leave in the afternoon. We went back to the pool to waste some hours till our bus arrived at 3.30pm. We felt abit bad just spending all our time at the pool but there didnt seem to be much to see in Vientienne. After sun tanning for awhile we went to a Scandinavian bakery for a sandwich and we brought some snacks for our journey to Thailand.

At 3.30pm we got the bus to the Laos border and signed out of Laos (sniff) We loved it there its such a beautiful, fun, smiley country! we then got back on the bus and crossed the border into Thailand. No hassles except our bus driver got out and left the bus running with the doors and windows open and all ourt bags on it! we were all a bit worried but it was fine.

Driving into Thailnd was great we crossed the friendship bridge which was built by the Thai's to show good relations with Laos.

We were supposed to be going to the train station which was round the corner from the border crossing but our bus driver didnt have a clue and drove us really far away and refused to stop. Nicole got really stressed out - he was taling to her in Thai so she was talking to him in Chinese! Eventually he stopped and turned round and drove us all the way back.

Got on our final sleeper train to Bangkok - pretty uneventful until the morning when a crazy Thai man started pulling open the cuirtains at 5.30am making us wake up and shouting! then another guy selling coffe started shouting..arghhh ...we didnt even get there for another hour! Thai wake up calls at 5.30am are not great lol.

We got to Bangkok and got a taxi to the hotel. Bangkok taxis are wkd they have hot pink, green, yellow, blue, purple..really pretty. We arrived at our final hotel - The Royal Hotel- Bangkok (with a pool!) and our rooms weren't ready so we went for breakfast.

Everyone was exhausted but had a full day ahead so no time to sleep. We checked in and I went to check the pool out - had to make the most of it lol. Later Nicole took me and a few others to get our Vietnam visa's and then we went on a Khlong tour (canals). It was really good on this little long boat going round the canals. Ppl actually live right in the canals with their houses on stilts. They get around by boat it was cool. At one part outside a temple in the canal they gave us loaves of bread to feed the hundreds of Cat fish there. It was funny until they started going mental - they were massive and it felt like they were going to capsize the boat! We had a really good guide lady telling us how to say Thai words and Count in Thai. I felt bad because we were all so tired no-one was really up for the games she was trying to make us play! Also we were melting from the heat! At one point we had to wait for this gate to open for 15 minutes - Me & Dani went to sleep!

After the Khlong tour we went to see Wat Pho which is a famous temple housing the reclining Buddha. Its amazing its huge and really pretty. On its feet it had hundreds of tiles showing different images. Afterwards our guide showed us ariound the rest of the temple - she talked to us about meditation and said that you showuld start by breathing in and out for as long as you can - only concentrating on your breathing and nothing else. If any other thoughts come into your head you have to start again!

By this time every1 was starting to droop abit after the early start and the heat so we got our 1st Thai Tuk Tuk back to the hotel. No time to sleep as we had our final tour dinner so me and Dani went and got Pedicures- they are really cheap and our feet definately needed it but we couldnt find the right place and Khao San Road was startying to get mental and we were running out of time so we went in this dodgy one with loads of blokes getting redy for their nights out. It was a bit rank and not that good but at least our feet looked slightly better lol.

Later that night we all got dressed up for our final dinner. We went to a really posh (read: expensive!) restuarant for a nice meal I had a Masaman curry which was amazing! It wasnt as fun as it could have been as everyone was so tired! Also they messed up our bills but I felt sorry for them cuz they had 14 seperate bills to deal with! Some ppl refused to pay the service - I tyhink everyone was a bit ratty and tired.

After dinner we went for a whiskey bucket on the Khao San Road its mental and really fun to ppl watch there. We were playing spot the lady boys! Its so hectic on that road theres food, outside bars, markets, shops and ppl everywhere! Really fun atmosphere. We were also watching out for the tourist police from Big Trouble in Thailand but we didnt spot any!

We got back and crashed dreaming about the free hotel buffest breakfast in the morning.

Posted by Chloe.G 00:15 Archived in Laos Comments (0)

Tubing in Vang Vieng!

overcast

The next day we had a 9 hour bus journey to Vang Vieng - by this point we are used to travelling by bus and the views are still amazing - The Laos countryside is beautiful!

We arrived and headed to the guest house which was the BEST guesthouse we have stayed in by far. It was located on the river front and we had little cabins with Gecko's running around! We were shocked as we defiantely were not expecting anything this nice! We also found the BIGGEST spider I have ever seen in a web the size of a hammock outside someones cabin. It was the meanest looking spider I'v ever seen we were all outside taking pictures of it (pics to follow). I'f that was hanging outside my door i woulkd have demanded a room change haha.

Vang Vieng is wierd because the main street (its tiny) is full of bars and cafes all showing various episodes of Friends and Family Guy. Really bizarre that they only show those 2 programmes haha. Rob would'v been alright with the Family Guy episodes =D

They have loads of traveller type shops and me & Dani both got Havana Flip Flops for really cheap!

That night we went for a meal with our tour group then a few of us went over to the Irish Bar. We were talking to the bloke behind the bar who went to Vang Vieng for a few days and ended up staying!! Live the Dream! haha

03/11/2009

The next day we got up to go TUBING!!! yeah!!! We were so excited. Tubing is not condoned by our Tour so we had to sign ourselves out of the tour for the day! Those of us who were going got all our stuff ready and went off to the Tubing rental place. We paid our deposit and fee and got on a Tuk Tuk to the Tubing starting point on the river.

Tubing is mental. They give you a big rubber ring and send you off down the river haha along the way there are bar shacks with cheap drinks. We started off with a Beer Lao and contemplated getting starting... Luckily we met a bloke called Trent who has been tubing for 315 days! He got Vang Vieng and was supposed to stay for a week but ended up staying for a year and has been tubing everyday! (Live the tubing dream!) Anyways he showed us the ropes.

That 1st bar had a massive zip wire swing but I was too scared & decided to wait till the next bar. After our beers we got in and floated down to the next one! One this one they had a smaller zip wire so we all got a whiskey bucket and had a go! It was amazing and really fun - except standing at the top of the tower waiting to swing with ppl jumping off the top!

That bar filled up pretty quickly and everyone had pens and was writing all over everyone (oh dear...whiskey buckets lol).

We went on a few more zip wires then floated to the next bar...to get from the river to the bars they throw a rope with cups stuck to it and you have to hold on to get pulled in - dodgy! lol

Eventually we made it to the last bar before we could make a choice...carry on down the river back to town which can take 2 hours or get out and get a tuk tuk home...we chose number 2 coz it was getting dark but I nearly got sucked down the river had to cling on to a bridge and drag myself to the edge...scary haha

We had to get the rings home by 6pm or we lost some of our deposit and we lost 1 of our tour group so we got home late and they charged us! In the tuk tuk home we were all shouting at the driver "go tuk tuk go! go faster tuk tuk go!" haha was very funny at the time...

Got back safe and sound - met our tour group for dinner then went to Q Bar for more Whiskey buckets still covered in pen from the tubing - it was a good night. later on we had to break in to someones room as they got locked out - was pretty funny.

Vang Vieng is a strange place ppl sit around constantly watching friends! Tubing was amazing and we had a wkd time

Posted by Chloe.G 09:22 Archived in Laos Comments (2)

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