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Yo_Mang

The Mang's South East Asia Blog - Thailand, Laos, Cambodia 56K GO AWAY!

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Well in late 2011 me and my Mrs went backpacking around SE Asia and I made a promise to myself to blog every day and take photos so I had something to always remember it by. Ended up keeping to my word and found time to write a blog each day (or a few days behind, but wrote about each day) of whats been going on. There was heaps of time on our transport between towns so here's what I blogged!

 

Keep in mind that these blogs were also dummed down a bit to keep the relatives and younger cousins that were following it happy. Especially parts like the whole Laos trip (which was insanely awesome, crazy place especially Vang Vieng) and Full Moon party. But if you have any questions let me know and I'll be more than happy to answer them! I had an awesome time and hope everyone gets a chance to head over there. Even if it's not to SE Asia, spending time in a different country and culture is such an awesome experience.

 

Got stacks of photos in this thread. Only had a 50mm 1.8 lens to use so shots were hard to get but a pretty good length for a compact travel lens!

 

My number 1 tip would be to travel around heaps. We covered 3 countries in 4 weeks and managed to see the best parts of each of them. The transport in SE Asia is easy as to organize, there isn't a real need to rush and book things as early as possible. Same goes for accommodation. Just have a look around the cities, so much cheaper turning up than booking online too we found. Leave yourself a bit of slack in your itinerary if you are travelling a heap because you'll most likely love a town and want to stay there another night.

 

So yeh, here's my blog posts.

 

 

 

 

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Ahh Melbourne - I've missed you!

 

Had lunch with the family today to say goodbye for the next month. It's the first time I've been overseas alone. This time it's just me and my girlfriend Alicia. It's a bit daunting to think about traveling so many countries but going to be awesome

 

After a 5 hour train ride running half an hour late, I arrived at Flinders Street Station - Melbourne. Such a good sight to see the city. Im planning to move to Melbourne once I finish Uni at the end of next year. Really love the city but didn't have time to get around.

 

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From there caught a bus and checked in at our first accommodation for the trip. Thats right - Formule 1. Living it up in style haha.

 

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I struggled to get the photo's taken of the room. Having only 1 lens that is a 50mm prime has it's downfalls - anything wide is pretty impossible! I managed to snap some by sitting on the floor pressed as hard as I could against the door into the room.

 

After spending more on one meal for dinner than a whole days worth of food in Thailand I picked Alicia up from the Airport. She had an exam still today from uni so packed up after that to come straight to Melbourne. An hour delay this time for her flight but finally we are here back in out little shoe box for the night.

 

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In other news, we have started taking Doxycycline for the past few days as anti-malaria medication and so far haven't felt crap from it like a lot of people say they do. Lets keep that up haha.

 

 

 

Room:

 

The room we are staying in is the standard Formule 1 room. No options here. Pretty basic setup with 1 room and an ensuite.

 

I haven't quite figured out how they fit the bed through the door - it's not very spacious to say the least. With one queen bed and a top bunk filling up most of the room, a small TV and sink, it's got all the essentials. It's what was pretty much expected for the price.

 

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The ensuite is smaller than the one that we had in our room when we went on our cruise. A shower that spills water onto the toilet with a lack of curtain or locking door compliment the sound of the constantly running exhaust.

 

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Price of this room was $109 AUD - not a bad price by Australian standards considering it's a few hundred meters from the airport but is definitely the place which will be the most expensive for the next month. Most of the places we will be staying in will likely be about 1/10th of the price!

 

 

 

 

So thats its for the night before our flight out. Super keen to fly out to Phuket tomorrow. This time tomorrow will hopefully drinking cheap beer in Patong Beach. Hopefully I'll get another blog up tomorrow night once we get in to Patong.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

alicia1e.jpgBiiiiggggg day of travel today.

 

 

 

 

 

We left our swagger Formule 1 motel thismorning and headed off for the airport. Good location only taking a couple of minutes to walk there. After checking in we spent the next hour waiting to get through customs and then finally into the lounge. Time to say our final goodbyes and head off.

 

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Our flight was delayed by a bit over half an hour but nothing too major. We purchased our tickets through the website "Scoopon" when a deal came up for 24 hours for $599 return flights from Melbourne to Phuket. We had talked about going to Thailand before it came up so this was perfect timing for us to go. 30kg of baggage, "free flowing" beer and wine, free meal, date changes etc etc made us set it in stone and get the tickets.

 

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The flight was with Strategic Airlines who has since changed their name to Air Australia. The 9 hour plane trip over went pretty smoothly with only little parts of turbulence. Not a great deal of leg room but the chairs were comfortable enough for the flight. In house movies had a choice of 6 or 8 different films that were all only a few months out of cinemas, some still in. The staff were friendly and everything was fine. It was a bit of a surprise when we were asked to pay for our drinks, but after sorting through their paperwork they figured it out. Ended up with free beer the whole flight so can't complain!

 

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We arrived at Phuket airport about 5 or 5:30 in the afternoon in the hot and humid weather. Waiting outside for us was "better deal" after "better deal" of thai taxi drivers wanting to take us in town. We ended up catching a mini bus into Patong beach costing us 150 baht each (around $5 AUD each). Not complaining after I paid $16in melbourne to get the bus from central to the airport. The hour long trip in the air conditioned mini van went pretty quickly and opened my eyes to how different things are here. Scooters and bikes everywhere! Most not bothering with helmets weaving in and out of traffic. Intersections go first in best dressed and the taxi driver has no problems weaving in and out of traffic to get ahead.

 

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We arrived at our accommodation, 'Loveli Boutique Guesthouse" in the taxi and couldn't see it; the store front is a travel agency / tour booking company so it's pretty disguised. We went in and met the owner Andrew who showed us to our room, gave us some advice on things to do in Phuket, had a chat and then upgraded our room for us. Score! More on the room below.

 

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After checking in we went in search of some dinner and found a food market at the end of the street. Heaps of vendors selling all types of different foods. This is when I started to realise how cheap thailand really is! We ended up getting a Pad Thai for 50 baht and 2 lots of corn crepe ball things for 40 baht. All up costing a total of $3 AUD for the both of us, which we ended up throwing some out because we were full.

 

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After tea we went to the 7/11 next door to our accommodation and stocked up with water and a Yault equivalent for the next few days. Walking through the 7/11 was what surprised me about the price of everything. 2 bottles of water, 2 Yakult equivalents, a bag of cola bottle lollies and a Chang beer came to a total of 65 baht - a little over $2 AUD. It's really taken me by surprise how cheap it actually is for everything.

 

 

Room:

 

 

Tonight we are staying at the "Loveli Boutique Guesthouse" in Patong Beach, Phuket. The room setup is very comfortable. A large double bed as well as a sofa and a coffe table make up the main room. There is also a cupboard with a PIN type lockable safe, a TV, fridge and a few tables etc. Very generous room size.

 

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Air con in the room is great - don't know what we would be doing without it. It masks the muggy humidity that Thailand has. Although it's not so hot by night time, the humidity makes the air con a necessity.

 

The bathroom is a bit on the small size but enough for the essentials. Just a basic toilet and shower. Toilet also has a bum squirter if your not a fan of toilet paper.

 

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Location, location, location. Being only a few hundred meters from Bangla Road and a few hundred meters from Patong Beach - this hotel is in a great central spot. Markets everywhere near by, huge shopping center down the road. The road is a little noisy but easily ignored.

 

Andrew, the owner / manager of the guesthouse is a really nice guy who showed us around and made sure everything was looked after. They also book tours and the like here so we will most likely book them through here. I'd definitely recommend this place if anyone is looking for a well priced, good location hotel in Patong. When we head back to Patong in December we will probably book here again!

 

We paid 900 baht for the room (450 baht each, a total of about $30 AUD or $15 AUD each per night)

 

You can check out more on the Loveli Boutique Guesthouse by clicking this link

 

 

 

As for tonight, it's about 10pm here now and both dead tired. We might go over to Bangla road, or just sleep off the time difference and flight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Epicly long day today - got so much done and seen so many things - good and bad haha.

 

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Started off the day in search of some breakfast around our accommodation. Ended up taking a walk for a while and found a place that did "Fish Foot Massage". We paid 150 Baht each ($5 AUD) for the massage. Basically put your feet in a tank of water with hundreds of little fish that bite and peck at your feet apparently eating away all your dead skin. Such a weird feeling at the start! Tickling / tingling for a while but after a few minutes pretty relaxing. Walking round after actually felt pretty good. Weird thing to do but was one of the things on the list to cross off to do in Thailand!

 

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After searching through markets of live fish, eels and crabs as well as fruit and meat, we ended up at a small cafe for breakfast. After that searching through the large supermarket nearby found some new "Genuine Ray Ban" sunnies for 200 baht ($7 or $8 AUD) so couldn't resist a set. Actually feel better than a $20 no name brand from home!

 

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With nothing planned for the day in Phuket we decided to rent a motorbike for the day for 400 baht ($13 or $14 AUD for 24 hours). I've riden a motorbike 1.5 times before so was a bit daunting but fine after a while. Such a weird experience driving in a foreign country with no road rules, about 2 sets of used traffic lights within our few hours of driving and loads of traffic but it was actually really easy to drive with. Once you get used to the way people drive over here, weaving in and out of cars, expecting people to overtake you etc etc it was all pretty easy.

 

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From Patong Beach we rode down the south coast of Phuket to Karon Beach and stopped for a swim Also grabbed lunch there too which was 400 Baht ($13 or $14 AUD) for both of us including a drink each. Can't complain! Lunch was Chicken Rice in a Half Pineapple for alicia and Sweet and Sour Chicken for me.

 

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From there we left and headed south further to Kata Beach and had another swim there. Warm, clear water on a nice, great looking beach that was alot less crowded than Parong or Karon. Pretty good to be able to just kick back, have a swim and do whatever for a change rather than Uni and 2 jobs! After that we headed on to Rawai Beach but didn't swim and instead just headed to Wat Chalong, a big temple.

 

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Wat Chalong was pretty amazing. A fairly large temple with alot of attention to detail in it. Statues all throughout the temple as well as paintings throughout the 3 levels of it and a worship part up the top with ruby's and jewels surrounding the middle.

 

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After Wat Chalong we headed back to Karon Beach where we spotted some large markets on our way past. Lucky I took a bit of money on ou trip. Could get carried away easily spending a stack of money here. Heaps of clothes, sunnies, jewelry. shoes, caps etc etc all really cheap. This is where the bartering started, although the more successful we were with bartering the more we bought. 5 shirts and another pair of Ray Bans later I was done. all up costing just under 1000 Baht (About $33 AUD). The bargains start to come out when you start to walk away from a shop. Makes buying clothes more exciting haha.

 

After finishing at the markets we headed back to Patong and returned the bike and helmet (singular not plural after Alicia managed to lose hers), got my passport back and headed back into our accommodation. Heading back out for dinner we were chased down by the bike owners asking for the second helmet. After a bit of heated discussion telling them that we left them with "both" helmets all was well and good.

 

Markets down the street again for tea and couldn't resist the lure of Pad Thai and chicken again for tea. At 50 baht a server (Under $2 AUD) it's an awesome dinner.

 

After dinner we headed down Bangla road - what a crazy place! We checked it out last night but didn't go in anywhere because we decided to go tonight. This place is like a big Disney Land for sex and alcohol! Everywhere you look walking down the road a girl is stripping in bars setup throughout the whole place. This road goes off every night with bands or music pumping from every club you pass.

 

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While we've been here theres always people bugging you for something, and one thing that I did want to get while I was away was a tailored suit. After talking to the guy on the street for a while who was nice and not pushy like the rest as well as seeing a few people trying on their suits that looked awesome I decided to go here. The place I got mine from in called New Era's Fashion on Taweewong Road, a side street off Bangla Road. After checking out all different materials, talking about prices and options I decided to option a few things up and the total came to $160 AUD for a tailor made Suit, Pants, Shirt and Tie. After losing 17kg over the last 9 or 10 weeks it's a way of congratulating myself haha. we fly out for Chiang Mai tomorrow morning early so I will wait a few weeks until we are back to pick it up. So much cheaper than Australia - Never had a suit made up to suit me before either. Tick another one off the list.

 

 

 

After being measured up and putting on a deposit we continued down Bangla. "PING PONG SHOW, AY MATE YOU WANT PING PONG SHOW?! COME COME PING PONG SHOW" was what you hear every 20 seconds or so. Another thing to do on the list too so naturally we had to go. And bonus, free entry* (on the condition you buy 1 drink). After heading inside and seeing the drink list of a Chang Beer for 800 Baht ($26 AUD compared to the $1 AUD I paid at 7/11) we started to walk out. Thats when another menu managed to come from nowhere with new prices for us. 500 Baht for a Chang ($16 AUD) which is a massive rip off but its something that IMO has to be seen if you are going to Thailand so we paid it. The "waitress" also isn't subtle about wanting a tip, to the point where she blatantly said you need to give me a tip and waited until we did...

 

Needless to say we only had 1 drink while we were there. What a weird thing to watch. I guess I can tick off "Have a balloon popped from between my legs by a dart shot from a Thai womans snatch" from my bucket list! The program consisted of many "shows" including a birthday show, dart show, razor show, ping pong show, paint show and heaps more - you can paint the rest of the picture yourselves! Needless to say it was an experience haha. Although it may be a bit much for some, I think its one of those things that you have to do if your going to Thailand!

 

On Bangla we also stopped at another bar with a Thai band just up from the suit tailor that was really good! Playing a stack of western cultured songs with a few good Aussie hits in there too. 2 for 1 cocktails, great, just don't mind the 10% "service fee" they put on top of that too! Everyone here wants more than a cut from you wherever they can!

 

 

 

Room:

 

 

Tonight we are staying again at the Loveli Boutique Guesthouse. For a review / info check out last nights blog.

 

 

 

For now it's back to the room ready to head off tomorrow for Chaing Mai. Flight at 10:30 which means an early start for the hour or so drive to the airport plus check in time so hopefully I'll have another blog up tomorrow. I haven't had time and cbf right now to upload the photos onto the computer but will put them on the computer on the plane tomorrow and upload them into this blog tomorrow night.

Edited by Yo_Mang

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Another full day for us here in Thailand. We had an early start thismorning meeting for a minibus which turned into a taxi at 6:50am thismorning to take us to the airport. Getting in from the airport took about 1 hour and 15 minutes in the mini bus on the way in and only 40 minutes to get back out there. Partly to do with the crazy weaving of the taxi driver between cars... oh and maybe the 140km/h he was driving at on the main roads had something to do with it! We left for Chiang Mai at 10:30 and got in at about 12:30.

 

 

 

For all you car / JDM fans out there, seen the first JDM styled car so far today haha. Seen an A31 Cefiro with fat Work Meisters hanging outside the guards! Aparty from that all the cars have been boring. Only modded ones are Civics or Sportivo's, except for a 370z we seen back in Phuket.

 

 

Flying was through Air Asia for this one. The plane was medium sized with 3 seats either side. Leg room on the plane was crap, especially for someone with long legs! Knee's hit the chair infront of me the whole way. No in flight entertainment either, but the flights were very cheap so can't really complain. Ended up sleeping most of the flight anyway so can't complain about it!

 

 

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Chiang Mai is alot different to what Phuket is. For starters the weather is alot nicer. It's still hot, although the muggyness of the air is gone. The city has an older feel compared to Phuket and alot more laid back.

 

After getting in at the airport we caught a taxi into the center of Chiang Mai city. Once we were here we decided to just walk around the center and find somewhere to stay the night. We ended up finding a place a hundred meters or so from where we were dropped. We checked out the room and then decided to take it. More on the room down the bottom.

 

 

 

After unloading our gear, locking our bags and then putting an extra padlock of our own on the door we set off to look around the city. We are staying right on the eastern road of the 4 roads that makes up the city square, so a couple of hundred meters saw us get to the main gate of the old city wall. The wall and moat was built around the main city to defend Chiang Mai against Burma in times of unrest. The wall has since been demolished but the main gate, corners and gates on every side still stand.

 

 

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Heading back to our room prompted lunch time and couldn't help but to get lunch at a place just up the road called "Cheers Pub". We both had Thai Green Curry for 58 baht each (just under $2 AUD). Awesome curry! Had really good food everywhere so far. Would recommend "Cheers Pub" to anyone looking for a quick, cheap, good tasting meal. Drinks were also cheap, about 80 baht (just under $3 AUD) for 2 Thai whiskey and cokes from memory.

 

 

 

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After all that hard work for the day it was time to relax. An hour long massage might do the trick! 200 baht each (Under $7) was a great way to kick back. Opted for just a head, shoulders, back and neck massage. No doubt there will be plenty of others to come throughout the trip! Can't remember the name of the place we went but along our side of the square (eastern side) there is plenty to chose from all around 200 baht per hour.

 

 

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With a new city to explore, we decided once again that we would rent a motorbike. This time we found a place renting them for 100 baht per 24 hour ($3.30 or so). Filled up the empty tank with fuel (fuel here is $1 per litre on the dot) which was another $2.50 and set off for the afternoon. We decided we would head to the Tiger Kingdom to check that out but as we were riding it started to get a bit dark. Thinking that it would be closed by the time we got there and seeing signs for the Chiang Mai Night Safari we opted for that instead. 500 baht each to enter (about $16.50) got us in to see everything as well as a tour on the safari bus around. It's been a while since I've been to a zoo but this one has to take the cake. MASSSIVE place with heaps of animals. Plus a bonus, we ended up getting to play with tigers after all! We got to play with and get a photo with an 8 month old White Tiger which was awesome! So strong but still gentle.

 

 

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Another cheap dinner there too. 50 baht (under $2) for an indian-ish curry with rice. Good food, cheap, can't complain!

 

After that we somehow winged it and made it back home. After having no idea where we were from turning off for the safari it somehow all worked out and we got back. Stocking back up at 7/11 on water, Yakult and some snacks for Doxy and thats about it for today. Hopefully we can get some sleep over the noise of the lady-boys talking to the shop owners for the past few hours...

 

 

Room:

 

 

Tonight we are staying at "Muangthong" Chiang Mai. After walking a few hundred meters and seeing the sign we checked out the rooms and decided we would get it.

 

 

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Rooms are very basic. A hard double bed with what looks to be like clean sheets and a fan is about it for the main room. Ensuite is a bonus though for the price. Hot shower is a plus but a manual flushing toilet is not (see; bowls of water to flush down) but overall for the price it's not bad.

 

 

 

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Free WiFi is a plus, as well as cheap breakfast. Although this is a place where you should BYO padlocks. After hearing a few stories about other guesthouses in Chiang Mai having guests belongings dissapear we decided to padlock out bags as well as put our own lock on the door. Overkill - maybe, but better safe than soryry!

 

We paid 250 baht ($8.30 AUD) for both of us in a double room.

 

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Although if you only need the room for 2 hours for some reason.... they do that too for 200 baht..... Lovely....

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Well thats it for today and possibly for Thailand for the time! We will be leaving tomorrow to head towards the Laos borer. First a bus to Chiang Rai and maybe have a look around there then a bus to Chiang Khong. Depending on what time we get there, we may cross the border or may just stay on this side another night. All depends on how long we spend in Chiang Rai.

 

Agin photos will be uploaded tomorrow. I've put yesterdays up. Easier to do it on the bus to pass the time rather than try and do it now.

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So tonight we have ended up at Chiang Khong on the border of Thailand and Laos. We will be crossing the border tomorrow and heading into Laos. Sorry for the lack of photos today - just mainly point and shoots from a little digital as it was mostly just travelling.

 

We started the day later than we planned after a little sleep in. The hard bed mixed with noise of people talking downstairs and in the rooms next door made for a rough nights sleep but what can you do. We checked out of our guesthouse and had some breakfast.

 

After breakfast we took a tuk-tuk to the bus station to find out times and prices for busses to Chiang Khong. From what we had read it was cheaper and quicker to go to Chiang Rai and then get a bus to Chiang Khong. We arrived about 11:30 and ended up buying a ticket for Chiang Rai as it left at 12:15pm rather than 2:00pm for the direct Chiang Khong drive.

 

 

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The 3 hour bus trip to Chiang Rai cost us 170 baht each (almost $6 AUD) with "Green Bus". This was for one of the high calss busses with air conditioning. The seats were nice and comfortable and also reclined. More leg room than the plane plus free water, biscuits and refresher towel. Televisions in the bus also played a Thai comedy show (although it was in Thai with no subtitles). The road was nice and smooth although took a while to cover the 200 odd km because it was up and down hills the whole way.

 

 

 

 

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For the second leg of the journey we took the cheap option. Minutes after getting off the bus we had people approaching us asking if we wanted to go to Chiang Khong. We found a bus for 65 baht each (just over $2 AUD) to cover the next 2 hour trip. This trips roads were ok to start but a bit rough at the end although there weren't many hills. The bus and all it's staff didn't speak any English, just calling out "Chiang Khong" and writing "65" on their hands to show us how much. The bus had no air con, just some fans when the bus was going too slow for the open windows to not work efficiently. The day was pretty nice so having no air con on this leg didn't matter. The seats were nowhere near as comfortable and the bus was very slow whenever a hill came up but it got us to Chiang Khong in the 2 hours that they told us it would take. It was an experience to have at least!

 

 

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From where we were dropped at Chiang Khong we walked a bit in the direction of the boarder to search for tonights accommodation and came across the "Green Inn" where we are staying tonight. As always there will be a review down the bottom.

 

 

 

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Didn't have time between busses for lunch today so just had tea. Found a little home style restaurant down the road from where we are staying, not sure what it was called but it is about 700m from the Green Inn toward the border on the left hand side. We decided on Pad Thai yet again at the bargain price of 30 baht each ($1 AUD). BEST Pad Thai so far! Such a large serving, cooked in front of us and just really nice in general! Good service too. Both washed that down with a Chang Longneck for 55 baht each (just under $2 AUD) at the restaurant.

 

 

 

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Room:

 

 

 

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Tonight we are staying at the "Green Inn Resident" in Chiang Khong. This hotel has 2 options for rooms. Basic twin or double or deluxe twin or double. Deluxe is air conditioned with a bit more space and an ensuite where as basic has a communal bathroom and showers with a smaller room and just a fan. We inspected both rooms and decided to get just the basic room.

 

Room is fairly small with the double bed taking up most of the space. Room comes with a television and a fan though, as well as free wifi.

 

 

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The hotel is very well presented and everything is VERY clean (especially compared to last nights accommodation!). The showers and bathroom although communal are very clean and well presented. The whole feeling of the building is very modern. Security also is alot better feeling than other places. Would happily leave my bag in the room without worrying about it.

 

For a fan room we paid 200 baht for the night (just under $7 AUD) which is a VERY good price for the quality of accommodation. Highly recommend this place for anyone looking for a cheap nights stay that is quality. The air conditioned room is 500 baht per night, although the weather here is really nice so it's not needed. It's more a necessity in places such as Phuket where the air is muggy.

 

 

 

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And thats it for today really. Not much to see around this town, it's mainly just a border stay town. We will be crossing the border tomorrow morning hopefully early as we will have to organize Visa's etc. Then Speed Boat down to Luang Prabang! Looking forward to chilling out in Laos tomorrow night!

 

It's about 9pm now so we're going to head out for a drink. Photo's will be up either later tonight or tomorrow!

 

New city and new country today!

 

 

 

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We started off the day in search of some breakfast as normal. We've been struggling to find breakfast here as it seems to be that Thai people eat rice or noodle type meals for breakfast or savoury type foods. We ended up finding a street stall selling a few things. 2 cooked banana's for alicia and 2 cabbage / sausage / spring roll things for me and 15 baht later, thats out 50 cent breakfast sorted.

 

 

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We walked from where we were staying to the Thailand / Laos border which took about 15 minutes or so. Departing Thailand was easy - fill in the departure card from when we flew in, hand your passport and the card to the officer and a few stamps later your out of Thailand. We then jumped on a boat for the 2 minute trip to cross the river that separates the 2 countries for 40 baht ($1.30).

 

 

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Getting a Visa and immigration into Laos was pretty easy too. Getting off the boat and heading into the immigration office we filled out the forms and handed them in. Visa's were $31 US each plus 1 passport sized photo and a very easy process. Only took about 30 - 45 minutes to depart Thailand and enter Laos.

 

A tip for any Aussies travelling to Laos, exchange a fair chunk of money to USD if you can get a good exchange rate (it was about 1:1 for us). You will need it for the borders for Visa's plus a majority of places will accept USD if you don't have Kip (they also accept Baht). USD also exchanged better for Lao Kip, with 1 USD getting 8000 Kip and 1 AUD getting 7000 Kip. Have a look before you come about exchange rates. Also know that it works out better to exchange money in Thailand / Laos than in Australia. After changing money over to LAK (Lao Kip) and becoming a Laos Millionaire we headed off to find some transport

 

We had decided to go to Luang Prabang as our first destination in Laos. There is a few ways to get there. The first way is by bus; a long 1 day trip on uncomfortable roads. Second is a cruise boat, a 2 day cruise down the Meekong river in a big boat. Third is the slow boat, again a 2 day trip (both days 9 hours) in a smaller cramped boat stopping in Pakbeng. The final option is a 6 hour speed boat ride down the river.

 

Naturally, we decided on the speed boat before we had even left for the trip!

 

 

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After entering Laos we were approached by a man who organised the boat trips. We each paid $50 USD for the boat trip which we were expecting. The price is pretty high for the transport but it's the

only real quick way without paying for a flight from Chiang Mai. A quick drive to the drop off point and we were on our way.

 

 

 

 

 

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After about 15 minutes we decided to have a stop so the driver could fix the broken down engine... A few spark plugs later we were going again down the river. About half an hour later we pulled in to a little stop and changed boats. Same exact boat but with a properly working engine.

 

The boats are different to what as an Australian I class as a "speed boat". These boats are more like a motorised canoe. With a 4 cylinder engine that looks like it's straight out of an old Camry or the like drives a long rod with a small propellor on the end. They aren't exactly fast but alot better than the other options.

 

 

 

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We stopped in Pakbeng for a quick lunch. We got Laos Chicken Noodles from the small restaurant on the water of the river. Washed down with 2 longnecks of Beer Lao (everything in SE Asia comes in a Longneck!). 60,000 Kip ($7.50 AUD) later we were back on the boat for the last 3 hours of the trip.

 

 

 

 

The speed boats are made for one thing - a fast way to get people down the river. They are most definitely NOT made for comfort! Sitting with your knees bent up straight, toes poking under the wooden seat infront of you and sitting on a small uncomfortable pillow with wooden backrest, the boat isn't in one way comfortable. Then of course there is the lovely sound of the engine that has an exhaust that only consists of the extractors, so bring or buy earplugs for the trip! Also wear a jumper or pack it in your little backpack (we sat a small bag with us with our expensive belongings in it while our bags were clipped in the front of the boat). I forgot to pack a jumper and froze as the sun started to hide behind the mountains. Mix that with the occasional light spray of the water and it's not comfortable either!

 

 

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The speed boats seem to have a reputation as being very dangerous. Alot of people we have talked to on the way have said "oh no don't go on the speed boats they are so dangerous" etc etc but had never heard anything from anyone who ACTUALLY had rode in one. After completing our speed boat ride I have to say I never once felt that we were in danger or worried about crashing etc. We wore the provided helmets just incase but everything seemed to go to plan (after we got out of the crap boat at the start)

 

Once we got off the boat and regained use of our knees we caught a tuk-tuk into the center of Luang Prabang we searched around a little and found a guesthouse called "Soutikone Guest House". We inspected the room and decided to get it for 150,000 Kip ($18.75 AUD).

 

By the time we had checked in it was night time so we checked out the night markets just down the road from where we are staying. These markets are very big! With heaps of prints, jewelry, nick nacks, heaps of hand made items etc. Theres also a stack of food options to try too. Lemon and pepper beef jerky strips are a big thumbs up from me!

 

 

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It's about 9:30 now so we may head back in to town or may just have an early night. Dead tired from all the travelling in the past few days!

 

Room:

 

 

Tonight we are staying at the "Soutikone Guest House" in Luang Prabang. We found this guesthouse after looking at a few others and being approached by a boy advertising it on the street. We followed him to the guest house which is very well presented. Everything on the outside and inside is made of a lacquered wood giving an interesting feel to the place.

 

 

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The bedroom consists of a double bed as well as a single bed. The room has a television, fan and an air conditioner. The bathroom is pretty standard for what we have had recently. A normal flusing toilet and a shower with a pass through heater (we have had this type of shower for the past 2 places. The water doesn't get hot, more-so takes the chill off so you aren't having a totally cold shower.)

 

 

 

 

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A balcony up stairs to chill out on with free tea and coffe plus free Wifi for guests again.

 

Overall the room is very nice and the staff are too. Priced at 150,000 KIP per night ($18.75 AUD) it's still pretty cheap. Not the cheapest we had come across but a nice comfortable place to stay.

 

 

 

Tomorrow we may either stay here another night or head to Vang Vieng (our next stop). We will most likely see in the morning what there is to do around here and go from there. Again photo's up tomorrow!

 

We decided to stay another night in Luang Prabang as we didn't get to see much of it yesterday due to getting in at night. Again we are staying at "Soutikone Guest House" so if you are wanting to see the room check out yesterdays Blog.

 

We decided today that we would just have a bit of a relaxing day and also check out the caves here in Luang Prabang. We walked around the town for a while looking through different markets and the like and then walked along the river.

 

Along the river you have people coming up to you left right and center asking if you want to go to the caves, waterfall or sunset. The caves and sunset are both by boat and the waterfall is a tuk tuk ride. We decided to go to the caves. We talked to a guy who did the trips and told us it would be 400,000 Kip for 2 of us to go to the caves. We weren't going to pay that seeing as that was $50 for both of us. After low balling him and then bargaining him down we managed to settle on 200,000 Kip for the both of us ($25). He roped in 6 or 7 others with us who all paid more than what we did to go on the trip so pretty happy with our bargaining skills!

 

As we kept walking down to pass the time before the boat left we tried bargaining with other companies but they wouldn't go that low. Looks like we ended up getting a good price.

 

 

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The seller seemed to have forgotten to mention that it's a 2 hour trip on the slow boat to get to the caves. We actually passed the caves on the way in on the speed boat so was kind of a waste to travel the same path backwards!

 

 

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After arriving at the caves we had to pay yet another 20,000 kip ($2.50) to get in to the caves to see it. The caves are filled with thousands of statues of buddhas which have been offered as a way of prayer and offering. There are some very new looking ones as well as some very very old looking ones. It's quite a sight to see so many statues in the one place as offerings. It's a very peaceful place and it's a shame that the tourism side has kind of taken over.

 

 

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Beerlao on the way made it necessary for a toilet break at the caves which also came with a 2000 kip price (25c) to the old hag who guards them at the front.

 

On the way back from the caves we stopped by the place where they make the local Luang Prabang whiskeys and whines. There are a few different types . A normal white whisky at 50%, a dark rice wine at 15% and a light rice wine at 15%. The 2 rice wines are pretty nice, kind of sweet, a different flavour to what wine is usually like. The whisky tastes like a cheap $20 special from Woolworths Liquor! We seen them making the whisky from the rice which was also pretty awesome! 3 big jars of rice go in to make 1 jar of whisky. Snake / scorpion whisky is also a big hit here and they make it at this local spot too.

 

The long trip back also brought us in right while the sun was setting as we were in the middle of the river. Pretty neat that we didn't pay a boat to take us to see it. A very nice and peaceful sunset over the mountains around this city.

 

 

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As night came we decided we would go to a restaurant for tea as we had mainly been eating street food and the like, so why not go all out to a fancy restaurant. Forgot to bring our cameras though so no photos although it was very nice! The restaurant we went to was called "Blue Lagoon Restaurant"

 

We ended up getting 2 entre's each of Potato Cream Soup and Spring Roll's, for the main we both got Asian Chicken fried with Cashew Nut's and desert was a Caramel Fudge for me and a Banana Split for Alicia. 4 courses each as well as 2 Jack Daniels and 2 Kahlua's came to $55. Pretty happy about the price considering we were treated like royalty at the restaurant!

 

For tomorrow we have booked the VIP Bus to Luang Prabang which should take about 5 hours. We decided to leave early and are being picked up from our accommodation at 7am so we should get into Vang Vieng at lunch time.

 

Room:

 

Tonights room is again at "Soutikone Guest House". Head to yesterdays blog if you want to see the room.

 

 

Another day done. The time is passing so quickly and we have done so much already! It's just so awesome travelling around, we are having a great time! We met another young Aussie couple on the boat today who had just came from Vang Vieng and as they described it it seems like an awesome party town! Pics up tomorrow again, will do them on the bus!

 

We're now in Vang Vieng, Laos. What a crazy town! So much has happened in the last day and a bit! Last night was too much of a big night for a blog so will try and catch up tomorrow with todays and yesterdays blogs. So much to do!

 

We're about to head off now to go tubing down the river here. Hopefully we can stomach it after last nights efforts! Whisky buckets for $1.25 that we're 3/4 whisky were always going to be eventful!

 

Probably won't get a chance to blog tonight either so 3 hopefully coming tomorrow!

 

Vang Vieng - wow! What a crazy place!

 

First up sorry for the lack of photo's, but not wanting to take my good camera out and losing my GoPro camera we're only left with a few photos of what I had from my good camera as well as a couple of photos from Alicias phone and digital camera as we couldn't find it for a few days.

 

 

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Heading off from Luang Prabang today headed for Vang Vieng, we decided to go by bus. After looking through the options we were deciding between mini van and VIP bus. We ended up being lured in by the "VIP Bus" and paid 150,000 Kip ($18.75 AUD) for the "5 hour trip". We were doubting it taking 5 hours as all of the other busses listed 6 hours but surely the "VIP" style would make up for it.

 

We turn up to the bus station and load our bags onto the bus that was just like a standard australian bus. Wasn't even a new looking bus, straight away we were thinking we should have caught the mini van. My bus trip started off well when my already limited legroom was squashed with the guy in front of me decided to put his chair back as far as it could go... eventually he put it back up thank god!

 

 

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Our bus came to a stop about an hour after we started making some not so great noises. The bus was broken down in the middle of nowhere. We were stopped there for about 15 minutes while they tried and tried to get it started again. Eventually it did so we loaded back on the bus and kept going.

 

 

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After this happened we were driving so slowly the whole trip. Another hour or 2 in to the trip we broke down again - this time the bus wouldnt go in to any gears. Finally again the bus got going again after waiting around for ages. We kept going so slowly while the bus was grinding and smashing in to gears. We stopped probably another 5 or 6 times along the way. No air con from here on in, half the trip the bus drove with the doors open because it was so hot inside. So much for VIP!

 

We finally arrived in Vang Vieng at 5pm, 9 hours in the bus that was supposed to take 5. By the time we went in and checked in to our accommodation "Spicylaos Vang Vieng" the sun was setting so we didn't even end up getting to go for a swim. We decided we would just go have a look around town.

 

This town is great! Everyone here is so laid back, the town is pretty small so the main streets are all walkable and there are plenty of places to go. One of the main style of restaurant / bars are TV bars that mostly play Family Guy and Friends on the TV's. The platforms have tables where you sit on lounges / cushions with a table over the top of you. Such a laid back easy place! Another theme here is buckets. Literally a sandcastle bucket filled with alcohol and soft drink. The whisky here is so cheap that they give it away at the bars. Free shots of whisky can be found at most bars and purchased in buckets for very cheap.

 

We ended up having dinner at Sout Jai after being told about it from another couple we met in Luang Prabang. After being not so impressed with our accomodation at Spicylaos we also decided to check out a room here and ended up booking at Sout Jai for our second night in Vang Vieng.

 

 

 

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After tea we headed to some bars to check out the night life. We started off a Sunset bar where we we're paying 30,000 kip - 40,000 kip ($4 - $5 AUD) per bucket. After there we headed off to one of the big places here called "Bucket Bar". At Bucket Bar we were buying buckets for 10,000 kip ($1.25 AUD). Filled half to 3/4 full of whisky it's just so cheap to drink here.

 

We met a guy here called "Johkim" who we talked to most of the night - really cool guy so got some pics with him too

 

 

 

 

 

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If that's not enough for you then check out the "happy" or "special" menu's at most bars and restaurants around town. These menu's give prices to buy weed, opium and mushrooms over the counter just like any other item on a food menu. Restaurants and Bars advertise their "Super High Happy Pizza" and the like out the front and most have their menu's at the front of the bar / resteraunt. Food menu's also have the "happy" options from pizza's to pastas, curries and shakes. Almost anything can be ordered "happy". Such a different place here to anywhere we have been before! It's just another part of every day life here for the people around here.

 

After a fair share of buckets we decided to head off. Lost my thongs or someone took them so the walk home was fun. After cramming back into our treehouse style accomodation for the night that was about it for our first day in Vang Vieng. Tonight was a very big night for Alicia who was, shall we say a bit under the weather!

 

Room:

 

 

Tonight we are staying at "Spicylao Vang Vieng". This place has treehouse style accomodation which is in a dorm type setup.

 

Sorry but I didn't get any photos!

 

The beds are single thin mattresses in a wooden made hut. There is a few of these huts around. They come with a pillow, blanket and a mosquito net. they are housed under cover but kind of outside. No fan or air con so whatever the weather is is what you get!

 

Toilets and bathrooms are communal but still pretty good. Toilets are self flushing which is nice and the showers are hot.

 

Communal area up the top with tables as well as lockers with BYO pad lock.

 

At 30000 kip per night each ($3.75 each, $7.50 all up) it's very cheap accommodation and what looked to be a fun place to stay we we're pretty disappointed. Beds were uncomfortable, it was a bit of a walk to get into town and the communal side wasn't so great as most people were travelling in groups and not really welcoming! We decided to only stay 1 night there and checked out about 9am the next day.

 

 

Tomorrow we'll be hitting the river to go floating. Will put up that blog now! Hopefully photos will be up soon, just having some camera location difficulties!

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Day 8 - Vang Vieng, Laos

 

Again today we are in Party Capital of Laos, Vang Vieng!

 

First up sorry for the lack of photo's, but not wanting to take my good camera out and losing my GoPro camera we're only left with a few photos of what I had from my good camera as well as a couple of photos from Alicias phone and digital camera as we couldn't find it for a few days.

 

 

This town varies so much - a humble little town to a big party capital. Anything and everything is possible here - theres even a dog meat restaurant for the game! We managed to snap a few photos of one of the "happy" menus

 

 

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After checking out at 9am from Spicylaos we checked in to Sout Jai at about 9:15! Along the way I had to find some thongs to replace mine. Some 20,000 Kip ($2.50 AUD) Havianas do the trick! Another little sleep before heading out to go tubing was in order after a big night last night. Alicia is definitely under the weather today! After heading to the ATM to grab some more funds we grabbed a tuk-tuk to get the tubes and head to the river.

 

 

 

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After getting money from the ATM we decided to get a tuk tuk to get the tubes then head up to the river. Vang Vieng only has 1 tubing rental place as an agreement from the town to only allow rental of tubes or floatation devices from this one company. This is right in the centre of town you can’t miss it. We hopped in a tuk-tuk and asked to take us to the tubing shop to hire a tube and then to the tubing drop point. We agreed on 30,000 kip ($3.75 AUD) and hopped in. Once he dropped us off at the tubing rental (probably 2 – 3 minutes in the tuk tuk) we hopped out and filed out the rental forms only to find out that he had driven away…. We ended up just getting another one from the rental to the drop point for 10,000 Kip each ($1.25 AUD). Also needed some more Ray Bans for the float as I had a feeling I’d lose them. $2.50 later we were set. Good thing too because I didn’t come home with them!

 

Once you get to the drop point you see how much of a crazy party town this place is! Shack type bars setup all across both sides of the river pumping music at each one with hundreds of drunk tourists partying at them. We headed to the first bar for a 30,000 kip bucket ($3.75 AUD, that’s the standard price for a whisky bucket along the river). From there we tubed over the river to the second bar. If I had my time again I wouldn’t get a tube, the bars are so close together it’s super easy to swim between them. If you plan on doing the complete float to the end then get one, otherwise it’s a waste.

 

Each of the bars have people working out the front who rope you in. They throw a coke bottle full of water attached to a long rope which you grab as they pull you in. Once you give them your tube to store you are greeted by bar staff with bottles of Tiger Whisky (Laos Whisky) and wristbands. The “entry fee” to each bar is tipping your head back and having a few mouthfuls of whisky that they all pour into your mouth. Each bar also gives you a wristband so have a nice collection now. This bar was where most people where when we were there.

 

Out the front on the river bank there is a diving platform that’s about 7m tall over the river. All day people go up and jump off, so much fun. Across the river at Viva Bar we went for the giant swing. Pretty much a huge tree swing that ends in the river but much bigger than any one I’ve seen at home! Did this one a few times, which was also awesome fun!

 

In the process of all this I managed to lose my GoPro camera somewhere in the Nam Song river – had all my photos from the day on there so I don’t really have any to put up but if you google “Vang Vieng Tubing” I’m sure that there will be stacks of photos. A few of the rope guys jumped in with goggles to help look but no such luck. Alicia’s also having trouble at the moment finding her camera so for the moment theres not really many photos from here!

 

After many buckets, bodies covered in texta and spray paint stencils from the bars, bruises and scrapes we headed off for home in a tuk-tuk (so I’m told). We got back to our accommodation at Sout Jai for the night and crashed. Woke up at about 4am to being disappointed that we didn’t make it out! It was my turn for a big night, me and Alicia are taking it in turns telling each other what happened in the last 2 nights from what we remember haha.

 

Room:

 

We checked out of last nights accommodation and checked in to tonight’s accommodation at about 9:15am. We are staying at “Sout Jai Guesthouse”.

 

This guesthouse I can’t recommend enough! It’s in a great location smack bang in the centre of town so it’s easy to get anywhere. To get to the tubing bars you need a tuk tuk, but that is the same for any place here. If you stay near the tubing bars, youll need a tuk tuk in town if you want to keep going after 6pm or so.

 

 

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Sout Jai is also a restaurant / TV bar as the shop front. The food here is good and cheap, the whole time they were playing Family Guy as their show. I’ve mentioned them before but the TV bars are awesome for a meal or just to hang out in. Very reflective of the Laos laid-back lifestyle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rooms are a decent size, although they are not huge they are comfortable. If your going to Vang Vieng then your room will probably only get limited use anyway!

 

The bed is HUGE! Massive double bed fills up most of it. This bed was actually a bit soft as-well which is the first time on our trip we have had.

 

 

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Bathroom has a self-flushing toilet and again like usual up here a shower with a heater box. This one works well though and goes hot. Bathroom is a big size too.

 

Rooms have an air conditioner and a fan, although you have to pay extra to get use of the air con. We opted for fan as that’s all you need up here. The nights are not hot enough to need air conditioning.

 

Free wifi here too, although it wasn’t working for one of the days. If you need your wifi fix anywhere in Vang Vieng most of the tv bars, café’s and the like have free wifi anyway, some ask that you just purchase 20,000 kip worth of food ($2.50)

 

 

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At 60,000 kip per night ($7.50 AUD) it’s the same price as our first nights accommodation but way better. I highly recommend this place if anyone is coming to Vang Vieng. Great central location, cheap accommodation, cheap food and a TV bar shop front.

 

 

And that’s day 2 of Vang Vieng. I’m writing this on the bus as we haven’t really had any time or been in a state to blog over the past couple of days! Hopefully if we find Alicias camera we can get some photos up from here.

 

Day 9 - Vientiane, Laos

 

 

 

Goodbye Vang Vieng – hope to see you again!

 

What a crazy town. It’s nothing like what I had in mind from the way people had explained it to me. The whole town seems very relaxed and chilled out in the day, the tubing section is a massive water party and by night the whole town is a big party. Everyone here is so friendly and enjoying it so much – theres no violence or anything just a whole heap of fun. Before we came to Thailand I’d seen the Full Moon party in the media a lot on things such as A Current Affair etc saying how crazy it was. I haven’t seen anything of the like on Vang Vieng although it ticks all the boxes. It’s a crazy party town, and we have had an amazing time, although my bruised, scratched, paint covered hungover body is thanking me for leaving! Hopefully I’ll visit again some time.

 

We woke up this morning and got ready to head off to Vientiane. It’s a bit of a struggle for me today after a big night last night but I’m soldiering on so far! We picked up the laundry today that we dropped off and it ended up being just under $6 for ¾ of mine and Alicia’s clothes. Cheap cheap! It’s a lot cheaper here than it is in Thailand and running out of clothes so had to get it done.

 

After that we had some breakfast at Sout Jai and then headed off in search for a bus or mini-van to get us to Vientiane. As with all the city’s we have been to there are plenty of travel agents and transport companies so finding a train or bus is easy stuff. We planned on getting a mini-van after our shit experience with the “VIP Bus” a few days ago but being 10am all of them had already left. The only other options were to get the 1:30pm VIP bus or hire a driver and mini van. The private mini van was 600,000 kip ($75 AUD) so we decided we would just get the VIP bus for 45,000 kip ($5.60) and hope for the best.

 

We had a few hours to kill so we went back to Sout Jai to have a drink and just chill out. Used their wifi to check out Visa info for Cambodia and Skype my parents until it cut out. Went next door to their TV bar, got a drink and used their WiFi instead. No shortage of it anywhere here! So laid back here, even one of the workers had a chat to my rents on skype haha.

 

 

 

We got to the bus station and on to the bus. This time it is actually a VIP looking bus. It’s a lot newer, leather reclinable seats, working air conditioner, flat screen TV’s and a lot more comfortable all over to ride in. 1/3 of the price of our first VIP bus and so much better. The trip to Vientiane is only 150km although the roads are very windy and in bad condition. There are pot holes everywhere as well as a lot of unsealed sections so the 150km ends up taking 4 hours.

 

 

 

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True to their word we arrived 4 hours later at the Vientiane bus terminal. From there we caught a truck type tuk-tuk which 16 of us crammed in to with the bags strapped to the top… although the bags weren’t really strapped in well seeing as Alicias decided to fall off on to the road about half way in to town! My $1.25 bottle of Tiger Whisky was in there too but luckily it didn’t smash. We got dropped off and started the search for a place to stay.

 

Vientiane is very commercial with a lot of western type places in it. It’s kind of a disappointing place really, theres a lot of temples around on the main roads but that’s about it. That’s the main thing we also heard from people we had talked to who had been to Vientiane; not much to do and a bit disappointing.

 

We had a little bit of money to spend so we decided not to stinge out on accommodation. We ended up finding a Lonely Planet hotel called “Sinnakhone Hotel”. As usual look down the bottom for a review.

 

Checked our room out, unpacked our stuff and headed for the Vientiane Night markets. These are down by the river that is the Thailand / Laos border. Fiarly large markets again selling similar stuff to what they all do – shirts, glasses, watches, lights, decorations etc etc.

 

 

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We had dinner at “Banlao Beer Garden” just down the road from where we are staying. Pizza and Beerlao for dinner came to 49,000 Kip (a little over $6 AUD). Staff were funny and friendly, a nice relaxed place with pretty cheap food too. Check it out if you want a relaxing beer garden style feed!

 

That’s about it for Vientiane. Not much to do here really and we are only staying here for the one night.

 

Room:

Our accommodation for tonight is at the Lonely Planet hotel “Sinnakhone Hotel”. It’s just around the corner from where we got dropped off at which is apparently the centre of town. Very close to the night markets as well as plenty of restaurants, bars and temples.

 

 

room1uk.jpgThe room is a 3 share room as all the double are taken. Again a huge double bed for the main bed and a single for a 3rd. Room size is fairly big with plenty of space for bags and the like. There’s a bag rack as well as coat hangers etc.

The room also has a small fridge, air conditioning, a television and a desk. Free wifi here too, although you have to go to the bottom floor to get it to work. No unprotected wifi’s around either so it’s downstairs for internet.

 

 

 

 

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Bathroom is nice and clean with a self flushing toilet, shower with heater core and normal sink etc. The whole room in general is in good condition, well presented and clean.

 

 

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Price per night is usually 220,000 kip for the 3 share although we got it for 200,000 ($25 AUD) as we are only using it for double. Although being a little on the expensive side for what we have been paying, this is hotel style accommodation compared to most of the other places being guesthouses or dorms. A good price by hotel standards and would be great for anyone wanting to go on the cheap but still want quality accommodation. If your on a budget there are plenty of other guesthouses around, we just had a bit of money to get rid of before tomorrow.

 

 

So finally after VV I’ve caught up on my blogs! Tomorrow we leave for Siem Reap, Cambodia. The plane leaves at 6:30am so we need to be there well before that as it’s an international flight. Early start tomorrow for another country! Pics up tomorrow as I'm down stairs using wifi and these people are trying to pack up and go home!

 

Day 10 already - the time is flying by. Have been doing so much with so much still to come, having the best time.

 

Today we are in Siem Reap, Cambodia. After flying out of Laos from Vientiane at 6:30 thismorning we arrived in Siem Reap just before 10am today (we had a connecting flight at Pakse, Laos).

 

After catching a tuk-tuk to the Airport at 4:30am, we watched the sun rise over our small international plane at the air port. A delicious breakfast of steamed rice at the airport and we were off. Needless to say the plane trips consisted mostly of sleep. Although the plane was small (like a small Wagga - Sydney REX or QANTAS plane) the trip was fine over. This flight was $350 US for both which we booked before we came. It was the cheapest one available with the next airline costing $600 and more.

 

 

 

 

From the airport we decided to catch a taxi into town to find a place to stay and hope that we could get in to the room so early in the morning. We caught a taxi in to town for $7 USD (everywhere here charges in USD. Cambodian Reil is only used when denominations / coins are needed as they only use US notes) with our driver "Rin Ra". We got talking to him and decided to pay him as our driver for the next few days to take us around the city, to the temples and show us around the place. We agreed on $50 USD for the 2 days including picking us up at 5am tomorrow morning for sunrise. His english is really good and he's a really nice guy so we are happy to pay for it.

 

Cambodia is totally different to Thailand and Laos - the way the city looks and the people act is quite different to what we are used to. The Cambodian people so far have always been very friendly and always open doors or carry bags for you.

 

The first thing we did was went to the center of town and get Rin to take us to a guesthouse. We found one on a main road for $12 USD per night. Again a pretty basic room but we won't spend much time here - room details down the bottom.

 

We weren't really sure what to do with today as we had planned to do the Angkor temples tomorrow starting with sunrise and weren't really sure what else we could do. We talked with Rin and decided we would go check out the floating village just outside of town. About 6km away. There was of course time for a sleep before we went!

 

After turning off the main road from the airport to town, Siem Reap already started to look like a totally different place! Little villages off the dirt road that we were driving on where their Buffalows roam the fields covered this area as well as many rice fields. The houses are all hand made with wood and tin roofs like a shack. the ducks, buffalow, cows and chickens all roam around the fields and rice fields. Not really sure how they tell who's is who's!

 

 

 

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When we arrived at the end of the road and were chased by young girls trying to sell us scarfs and taking our photos. We caught a slow boat for about 30 minutes to get to the floating village. What a weird and different place. The first site as we came in was the primary school just as the words describe it - floating on the water. The kids here were playing, running between each of the rooms on planks of wood that connect them!

 

 

 

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The rest of these little floating shacks are pretty isolated with a boat attached to each of them to get around. There's not a great deal here really - each family seems to have their own nets or cages for animals that they have. One of the main places has 6 or 7 adult crocodiles as well as many babies that they brought over from Thailand and will sell once they reach full size.

 

 

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Life here is much different - it's weird to see a small community so far isolated from everyone else. It's beyond me why these people would live out here on the water so far away from everything, but everyone still cracks a smile, the children still play with each other and it seems as though everyone still does their part in the community.

 

 

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Getting back off the boat we ran into the 2 girls again who had our photos printed on tiles from what they took on our way in! We were guilt tripped into buying these tiles from the girls, were $5 each but we got them both for $5 in the end.

 

 

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After the floating village we got back to the car about 4pm. We decide that we would go up to the temples to watch the sun set. After climbing up a hill we reached the top to find a large temple. We waited in the cue while they let small groups of people up to the top.

 

 

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They were only allowing small groups at a time climb the stairs to the top as the stairs are crazily steep and shallow. We made it up to the top just as the sun was about to set and 3 minutes before they stopped letting people up the stairs. Watching the sun set from the top of an Ankor Temple overlooking the city of Siem Reap was very spectacular. Heaps of people were at the top of the temple but still managed to get some nice photographs of the sunset.

 

 

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We went back to the base to meet Rin again who told us about a restaurant for dinner that also included a show with traditional Khmer dancing. $12 each for buffet style dinner serving Khmer and Western food plus the show. Food was pretty good and the show was very interesting. The place was packed with people to see the show. We haven't been to any traditional shows or dances yet so was good to see the dancing and hear the music of traditional Cambodia.

 

 

 

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After dinner we headed back to our accommodation and then checked out the night markets down the street from us. "Tuk-tuk's", "massarrgee" and "speshal priii" were everywhere here tonight although we did end up buying a few small things.

 

 

Room:

 

 

We are staying at Ponlue Angkor Siem Reap Villa, Siem Reap tonight. Sorry, but we didn't get a chance to take photos of the room.

 

The room we are staying in is a 3 share as it's all they had. The double bed is about the size of a king single and this time is another soft bed! Majority of places we have stayed have been hard beds.

 

A small TV in the room, another bed as well as a large cupboard and a fan fill up the rest of the room. There is an air conditioner although we think it's extra as we just asked for a fan room.

 

The bathroom is again basic although the hot water comes straight out of the tap rather than having a heater core here. First time in a while we have an actual hot shower, although the weather is too hot to need one anyway.

 

The room was $12 USD per night and is very central to Siem Reap as well as the night markets, many bars and resteraunts.

 

 

 

 

We're back in our room again now and stuffed from another big day. Early start again tomorrow as we plan on seeing the sun rise over the Angkor temples tomorrow. Hopefully I'll get photos up tomorrow but I have so many from today to go through! Time for some sleep for now.

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Yet another day up before the sun today.

 

We decided to do Angkor Wat by sunrise thismorning. Rin picked us up from our accomodation at 5am thismorning to drive to the temples. It's only a short drive from where we are staying, 15 minutes or so. We arrived at Angkor Wat and walked in over the moat and to the main grounds of the temple. There were already people here but we managed to get a spot where noone was infront of us.

 

 

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We stood in our spot for the next hour or so while the sun rose from behind the temple - what an amazing sight! The colours and beauty of the sky behind the historic temples of Angkor was quite a sight. We waited until the sun fully came up and took a heap of photos. It was a really amazing sight to see. The sky changed between dark and dull colors to cool blues and an almost purple color, to finally a clear blue and orange sunrise. A few photos from the sunrise.

 

 

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As the sun was rising, kids were again running around selling things. We met "Rambo" who wanted us to eat breakfast at his shop. We ended up talking to him for a little bit and Alicia let him play some games on her phone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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We then spent the next coupld of hours making our way around Angkor Wat. This temple is HUGE with so much detail within it. So many carvings on all of the walls of different characters and events.

 

 

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There are so many hand carved statues around as well as big archways and paths throughout the whole temple. They again here have the super steep steps but have built wooden steps over them for tourists to climb.

 

 

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The main temple in the middle features again many worship spots, many statues and Buddha features too. The temple in general is very overwhelming just of the sheer size of it. So much hard manual labour for years and years on end would have gone in to building these temples.

 

 

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The main temple, Angkor Wat is surrounded by a HUGE moat aswell, which makes the temple appear as if it is floating from the air. This alone would have taken massive amounts of work.

 

 

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After doing Angkor Wat, Rin drove us to the next lot of temples called Angkor Thom. These are a group of 4 temples boxed within a square of stone walls apparently 4km long. These temples again are huge with massive carvings and statues everywhere, steep steps and corridores throughout main temples, worship points and plenty of other massive rock features.

 

 

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After spending 6 or so hours all up at the temples we decided we had had enough of them for the day and headed back to our place for another rest - all these early starts are hard work!

 

In the afternoon we walked the streets and found more markets and soon enough it was dark. The sun sets so quickly, and early too over here - about 5:30 or so. After searching the markets here and finding much the same stuff we went over to the other night markets (this city is full of markets!) A few hammocks, a watch for me and some glasses for Alicia and we were done for the night. We sat back and had a beer just up from our accomodation and thats it again for today.

 

 

Room:

 

 

Tonight again we are staying at "Ponlue Angkor Siem Reap Villa". If you want to see the review look at last nights blog.

 

 

Tomorrow we are again getting up early to leave for Phnom Penh. We have booked a mini van for the morning so I will sort through the 682 photo's I've taken in the last 2 days and get them up tomorrow - too much to do now, need some sleep before another early morning tomorrow! Really looking forward to Phnom Penh to see the Killing Fields as well as the Genocide Museum.

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Day 12 - Phnom Penh, Cambodia

 

 

 

Another bit of travelling today to the city of Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

 

 

 

We started the day with a mini van trip from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh at 7am. The road between Siem Reap and Phnom Penh was less than desirable – bumpy the whole way and a fair few times where we left our seats after hitting large bumps! We got most of the way there fine until the mini van went too fast over another large bump and came back down slamming on the ground. We pulled over while the driver checked out the van. He ended up calling someone and shortly after we were swapped into another van the same. No idea what was wrong with the van, but at least we got swapped quickly and got here in one piece!

 

On the way we stopped for a break, we got some breakfast which was Chilli Chicken and Fried rice - Best chili chicken so far! We also got a coffe each which was half spilt by the time the guy brought it to us. Mum would never give out coffe like this at her cafe!

 

 

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After reading a fair bit on Phnom Penh we decided that we wanted to stay somewhere on the Riverfront as that seems like the main part of Phnom Penh. We also seen Street 136 aka “Bar Street” listed in a lot of guides so we got dropped at the corner of Sisowath Quay (Street that runs all down the river) and 136 Street. After walking down Bar Street it seemed like a good place to stay with stacks of bars and restaurants in the street so we checked out a room at “Nordic Guesthouse” and got it for $15 USD Per night. As normal I’ll write about our room down the bottom.

 

 

 

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After unloading all of our stuff in the room we decided to go and get some lunch and then decided to go to the shooting range. After being a little sick we decided we’d just go for some café food so found a nice one just down from where we were staying.

 

 

If you want to get a tuk-tuk anywhere in Phnom Penh, or Cambodia for that matter just start walking in any street – you’ll get “Aye Sir – Tuk Tuk?” “Tuk-Tuk Miss?” “Tuk Tuk for Tomorrow”. There’s definitely no shortage of transport at all here in Cambodia. The same thing applies for sales in the street of sunglasses, books, bracelets and scarves especially from children. It’s a bit weird that children around 10 years old are coming up with books to sell you knowing how to make a sale – They will bargain with you, tell you all about it, tell you they will discount for multiple buys and more! One girl told us that we would play Scissors Paper Rock with her and if she won we had to buy something! After Alicia lost we’ve got a couple of bracelets now haha.

 

 

After lunch we found our Tuk-Tuk driver “Kar” out the front and asked how much to go shooting and come back. He told us it would be $8 return which we wee happy to pay seeing as we just paid $5 to get from the bus to where we were staying, a 5 minute one way trip.

 

 

We made our way out to the Phnom Penh Military Base which took about 20 minutes or so, were let in the gate by a soldier and went and sat down while they brought us a “Menu”. In the menu there was stacks of different guns to chose from, everything from small pistols up to Rocket Launchers! The prices to shoot aren’t cheap, but we most likely wouldn’t get the chance to shoot anything like this again – certainly not in Australia, so we weren’t complaining about the Military Base corruption to make their money.

 

 

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I ended up deciding to shoot an AK47 and an M16 with 30 bullets in the AK47 and 25 in the M16, both of which was $40 each. Would have loved to take photos of the “Menu” but the soldier sat with us and said no photos of the menu, although we could of the guns sitting on the wall and the rest. Alicia decided on the M16 to shoot aswell. I also bought 5 coconuts for $1 each to shoot from down the range.

 

 

We went in to the range and got geared up and it was time to shoot! What a rush! Shooting first at the coconuts from down the firing range I got the first 4 first shot each time which was pretty cool. After a couple more sigle shots at a target it was time to go full auto. This was awesome! These guns felt so powerful – the AK47 moreso. It didn’t have as much kick as I was expecting but it was mighty hard to hold it straight when going fully automatic. This was definitely an awesome thing t experience, especially because it’s something we would never get to do in Australia.

 

 

Alicias turn was next and decided to go prone for shooting the M16. She also did single shots and fully automatic and said she was really nervous but had fun. We got some videos of it so I’ll try and get them up soon.

 

 

We headed back to our hotel and then just decided to go out for the night. Being on bar street we thought it would be awesome to be abe to walk across the street to one of the 15 or so bars across the road. After walking outside we soon realised that they were all “hostess bars”, so if your looking for a Khmer girlfriend for the night that would be great, although not really what we were looking for haha.

 

 

We spent most of the night watching a band at the “Riverside Bistro” on the riverfront street (Sisowath Quay) where we met 2 other Aussies travelling SE Asia. We had a few drinks with them and they will be in Sihanoukville at the same time we will, so we’ll hopefully meet up with them then aswell. We also had a super cute Khmer waitress so that was a plus!

 

 

 

 

Room:

 

 

For Phnom Penh we are staying at the “Nordic Guesthouse” on Bar Street (Street 136), Phnom Penh.

 

 

We had 2 options for rooms when we were looking at the rooms, a smaller or larger room. The smaller one being $15 and the larger being $18 per night. Being tight asses we opted for the $15 per night one. The room isn’t smaller in area but it’s smaller in height. It feels like Willy Wonka when the room they walk into gets smaller, or Alice in Wonderland when she eats the cake that makes her huge. We have to duck to get into the room and I have to squat to fit in the bathroom and to shower!

 

 

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Again this room has a pretty large bed that’s softer than what we are used to so far! Not an overly huge room but still a fair bit of space. Didn’t feel cramped, only shrunk!

 

 

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Bathroom has a self-flushing toilet and a heater shower that actually works really well!

 

 

 

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The room has a TV and Air conditioning which is what we wanted as we regretted only getting a fan for Siem Reap. Again the guesthouse has free wifi and is in a really central location right near the riverfront.

 

 

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So that’s day 1 of Phnom Penh done! We have arranged for Kar to pick us up tomorrow at 12 to go to the Genocide Museum and the Killing Fields for $12 so we will get that all done tomorrow.

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Day 13 - Phnom Penh, Cambodia

 

 

 

What a full on day we’ve had today – seeing so much history of Cambodia and Phnom Penh in particular is very interesting and emotional.

 

 

First up some of these photos and descriptions are probably a bit graphic for some people. Just a warning! Also this will probably be a pretty long blog. I've decided to put the photos up of at the end of the blog rather than in it.

 

 

We had arranged from yesterday for Kar to pick us up at 12 so we met him out the front of our hotel and made our way to the Genocide Museum, aka S21 Prison.

 

 

On the way Kar took us on the scenic route through Phnom Penh which was quite fascinating. We drove past a few massive temples as well as large parks and statues. A few of the stand out icons we drove past was the MASSIVE Royal Palace and the Indipendance monument. These are all really well presented and huge! This city has some really amazing features, while a few streets away you will be driving through an extremely poor, dirty part of the town. It’s 2 extremes that are very close to each other and shows the real diversity that this town has. Anywhere you go in Cambodia though, the people are extremely friendly and always willing to help you out. We really like Cambodia in General.

 

 

Before we came to Cambodia we both read the book “First they Killed My Father”. I don’t usually read books but was recommended it to read and learn about the history of Cambodia, the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot’s communist regime. Before we had planned our trip I didn’t really know anything about what happened or any of the history so decided to learn about it. For anyone coming to Cambodia I can’t recommend enough to learn about all of this and to see both the Killing Fields and the Genocide Museum.

 

 

We arrived at S21 / Genocide museum and the reality of what this country has been through hits you. What was once a Primary and High School was turned into a makeshift torture prison for people who were deemed “Traitors” of the Khmer Rouge campaign. Often this was people who worked for political groups or the like before the takeover. What is so shocking about S21 is that it is still in its original condition.

 

 

The first building we walked through is 3 stories tall as all of them are and had the classrooms that were converted into singular torture rooms. In these rooms the beds and ankle shackles still sit in the rooms. On the walls, photographs show victims being tortured in that very room and you can see the windows, chairs and beds still in their places. Some of the rooms still have blood stained floors and roofs and some still have the matts that line the beds stained with blood. The windows are lined with glass which was to muffle the sound of people being tortured. It’s a very shocking site to see, and to thing it all only ended a little over 30 years ago is definitely scary. The top 2 floors had larger rooms where prisoners were held in large groups and packed into the rooms.

 

 

The second building was similar, although this time had makeshift cells made with poorly put together brick dividers. These would be lucky to be 1m wide and probably 2m or so long. Again these have shackles still sitting in the cells. The classroom walls have the middle of them beat out to act as a door between them all. Looking through room to room filled with these makeshift cells is again very daunting and its hard to look at these kinds of places. One of the rooms here was not used and is still full of chairs, desks and a blackboard at the front. Hard to think that this place was once a high school where children learnt and played, converted into this torture chamber.

 

 

The third building is still lined with barbed wire and makeshift doors on all of the balconies. This was to stop prisoners from escaping or committing suicide by jumping from the top floor. This barbed wire once lined all of the 4 buildings but is now only left on 1. This building again has makeshift cells but these made of wood. Again the middle of the rooms is smashed out looking from room to room.

 

 

The 2nd and 3rd buildings are also filled with pictures and information. The Khmer Rouge were very strict on their documentation of everything they did so today records are plentiful. Every prisoner was photographed when they came into the prison, some before and after they had been tortured. To see thousands of photographs is again very emotional. Looking at photos of men and women you can see the sadness in their eyes that they know what is going to happen. There is also board after board of photographs of children that were taken through the prison. These photographs are hard to look at as they seem to not understand what is happening. Amongst this is photos of babies, or mothers holding babies. “To get rid of a tree, you must remove even the roots” was the message that they lived by.

 

 

The final building has memorials, as well as skulls and bones of people who fell victim to S21. Paintings of torture methods done by prisoners are also on display, which are placed next to the very devices that were used by the Khmer Rouge. Of the 20,000 people who were processed through this prison, only 7 survived. The only reason 21 people were left on the last day and kept alive was because of their skills used by the Khmer Rouge for painting, photographing and documenting the events that went on. On the last day before S21 was abandoned, 14 of the remaining 21 prisoners were killed. Their bodies are buried in the central courtyard of the S21 prison.

 

 

After finishing the 4th building we walked back and passed one of the surviving 7 victims of the S21 prison and bought his book. It’s crazy to see someone being at the very place where so much pain and suffering was had. I don’t think if I was in that position I could go back to where it all happened. We had a photo with him too which was really nice.

 

 

Looking around again at how original everything is its again shocking. To see the buildings broken down and still as they were when it happened is very confronting. It’s a very emotional and confronting place and I’m really glad we went.

 

 

After finishing up there we went on to the Killing Fields. This is only 1 of about 180 killing fields throughout Cambodia although this is the biggest. All in all about 2,000,000 Cambodians were killed through Pol Pot’s regime. This is one of the places people were taken to be killed and dumped in one of many mass graves.

 

 

Although this was a place of extreme violence and mass murder, this site is very peaceful. The grass everywhere is green with many flowers growing everywhere. Another weird thing is the hundreds of butterfly’s that live here. Weird to see as I haven’t seen this anywhere else in Cambodia.

 

 

None of the huts and buildings still stand within here as they were quickly demolished by locals when it was all over. Signs just stand here now explaining what used to stand and what it was used for. Places such as the offices and holding cells are all knocked down.

 

 

We then walked over to the start of the killing fields. The main pits are covered by wooden shelters to protect them from the rain etc. These pits are where hundreds of bodies were found. In these pits you can still see clothes, bone and teeth coming to the surface. As the rain comes and washes away the dirt, more small pieces are brought to the surface.

 

 

In the middle of the fields are massive pits where body after body were dumped. Hard to picture now as it is all so green and peaceful, though these pits once had a very dark past.

 

 

One of the larger pits has a tree next to it called “The Killing Tree”. This is where babies where swung and heads smashed on the trees to kill them. This cruel torture sits next to a pit where mothers and babies were buried naked in a mass grave.

 

 

Walking back to the front, a massive monument has been made as a remembrance statue for the killing fields. This is 17 levels inside containing the skulls and bones found within these pits. They are ordered into categories on how they fitted into age, sex and race.

 

 

Nearly very single one of these sculls is cracked or has a hole in it. Bullets were expensive for the Khmer Rouge and so people were killed by kneeling infront of the pits and being smashed on the back of the head with a hammer or the like. A lot of the time people did not die from this so chemicals were poured on the mass bodies to finish the job.

 

 

To see these skulls is very confronting but they are respected and placed in this large memorial that is very peaceful. We bought some flowers and incense to put in the memorial.

 

 

We headed back to our room after an intense day of sights and emotions, grabbed some asian dinner from down the road then headed down to the Riverside Bistro again to watch the band again. Turns out tonight was open mic night and somehow we both managed to get up on stage for a song each – the videos of that won’t be making it up! Haha

 

 

That’s it for tonight. Big, full on day today and I’m so glad we did it all. If anyone gets the chance I strongly recommend it. Im not a fan of history but an event like this got me so interested in the terrible past of Cambodia. The country, and Phnom Penh in particular has been through so much and only 30 or so years ago. Again if you get the chance, come and see this!

 

 

 

 

Room:

 

Tonight again we are at the “Nordic Guesthouse”. For a review look at yesterdays blog.

 

 

 

Photo's:

 

 

 

 

Again, these photos may be a bit shocking and there is a fair few of them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

S21 / GENOCIDE MUSEUM

 

 

 

 

 

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KILLING FIELDS

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tomorrow we are heading off on a $5 bus to Sihanoukville. Will be a nice chance to kick back and relax after the last jam packed week or so!

 

Day 14 - Sihanoukville, Cambodia

 

 

 

After seeing so much of Cambodia’s history over the past few days, it’s about time we go and see the relaxing side! Sorry about the lack of photos, but we have been just kicking back and relaxing really!

 

We headed off thismorning from Phnom Penh on our $5 bus headed for Sihanoukville. We were told it was a 4 hour trip so expected it to take 5 or 6 hours. It probably would have been a 4 hour trip if it didn’t take us 1 and a half to get out of Phnom Penh picking up all the locals along the way!

 

 

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The bus ride all in all was pretty comfortable, although I still don’t fully understand the asian Karaoke thing. Searching through TV chanels you always find a Karaoke chanel, as well as in bars and they played a few DVD’s along the way on the bus too, although noone sings along… weird…. Also watched a Khmer dubbed version of “Piranha 3D”, although it was in 2D of course. The dubbing actors sounded terrible, and the video was downloaded off the internet and had to swap DVD half way through. Good old Cambodia!

 

We finally got in to Sihanoukville at the bus station and as usual got hounded by tuk-tuk / taxi / moto drivers trying to get their fare. We ended up getting a tuk-tuk into town for $6 USD which is what we had read that we should expect to pay. We decided to go in town and look at the backpackers “Monkey Republic”. The Aussie girls that we had met in Phnom Penh were staying here and said they had heard it was very good. The tuk-tuk driver also said he knew places we could stay if they were full but we weren’t too keen on going there just so he could get his commission for taking us there.

 

Monkey Republic turned out to be full so we decided we would walk down to the beach and find a place from there. We had decided before arriving that we would stay at Ocheteal Beach aka Serendipity Beach as it is the main beach in Sihanoukville. We kept walking down the street and checked a few places along the way but all were full or only had fan rooms. All the while the tuk-tuk driver was following us. We ended up walking past a place that he must get a cut from as he was yelling out being really pushy for us to go in and have a look. We wanted to keep going anyway so we didn’t go in – yeh, he ended up following us the whole way down the road yelling out where to go to and was pretty rude about it. Not sure why we’d help you out if you want to be an asshole about it mate!

 

We decided to walk to the beach and then find the closest affordable place to stay. We found the closest place which was actually on the beach and had a look at the rooms. The place is called “Meng Leng Beach Bungalows” and at $20 a night and literally on the beach we decied to get it. Nice rooms, review at the bottom! A few pics from our door and then just at the beach out the front.

 

 

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After unloading our gear and te tuk-tuk driver finally leaving us alone we decided to step outside and go to the beach. Hot day here in Sihanoukville so the beach is a definite yes. Straight away we were attacked by locals wanting to buy things off them. The beach is littered with kids and adults alike selling bracelets, sunglasses, fruit, manicures and everything else. Alicia ended up having her legs threaded just to get one lady to go away as they are really pushy. Once they were done and we were pounced on by kid after kid selling bracelet we went for a swim.

 

This beach is awesome for relaxing. The water is so warm and still so it’s a good beach for a relaxing swim. The beach is lined with shack type bars which all have chairs and umbrellas set up out the front. Drinks and food here are cheap and no shortage of it!

 

After going back in we went back and had a shower then headed back to the beach for dinner. As the sun goes down the shack owners trade the long sunbathing chairs in for circular couch type chairs on the beach with tables in front of them for a nice beach side alfresco dining! We found one place and sat down and had dinner.

 

What we thought would be a nice relaxing dinner on the beach didn’t come without its annoyances. The beach is a lovely place but the people don’t know when to leave you alone. The whole night while we were eating out meals kids would come up trying to sell bracelets or fireworks to set off on the beach (of course we had to buy fireworks though!), amputees (plural) drag themselves up to each table and ask for money, kids come up and ask for money or food and as do other adults, a young girl leads her “blind” father around while he sings asking for money. If it was only a small amount of it surely we would tolerate it, but it wears a little thin when you are trying to have a nice dinner and have to be confronted every few minutes by someone wanting something. We ended up giving some kids some food but no money, which is what we would prefer to do anyway.

 

We had a couple of drinks but headed back to our room soon after because Alicia wasn’t feeling well. She ended up throwing up all night from something she ate (we are guessing from dinner as I haven’t thrown up and we didn’t eat the same thing). So we ended up having an early night, although waking up every hour or so with Alicia sick in the toilet!

 

Room:

 

Tonight we are staying at “Meng Leng Beach Bungalows”.

 

The rooms here are small but the location makes up for it. We had the option to go for a 3 share room for the same price although we wanted the double room as it’s on the beach.

 

The rooms have air conditioning and a fan as well as TV and WiFi although the Wifi didn’t really work and the morning we checked out we didn’t have any power.

 

Bathroom is a flushing toilet and a heater shower although this shower works pretty well.

 

A very well presented room overall and very clean (although we filled the room with sand after 2 days there!) The location can’t be beaten for Serendipity Beach! It’s literally on the beach and the only thing closer seems like the bars! It gets a little noisy at night but we expected it being so close. Again the receptionist warned us about that and said the 3 share was quieter because it was tucked away a bit but we just put up with it.

 

Sorry but no photos, we were rushed away when we had to leave so didnt have time.

 

 

 

Tomorrow we’ve got a full day again here in Sihanoukville – not complaining about sitting by the beach all day

 

Another day on the beach here in Sihanoukville!

 

Theres not a whole heap to really write about from today - just another relaxing day spent by the beach. The water here is so good, nice and warm and clean - really relaxing!

 

In the morning we caught a Tuk-Tuk to the local market to have a look around. These markets are pretty big although we didn't stay long as there wasnt too much different from each other which seems to be a pretty common theme around these grounds!

 

After heading back to the beach we went for another swim then headed back in, got changed and came out for dinner just as the sun was setting.

 

 

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I ended up opting for the $3 BBQ that nearly every shack sets up out the front. Every one seems to have the same deal - $3 BBQ and 50c beers until happy hour, and although happy hour ends at 9pm they are happy to keep them flowing at 50c if you stay there for a few!

 

The BBQ's are setup out the front of the shacks where everything that is on offer is shown in a glass cabinet. Next to the cabinet they have some coals in a drum / makeshift BBQ and cook up what you want Cambodian style! After walking up the beach and sussing all of them out we found the cabinet that had the most ice in it keeping the meat cold (there was a few with no ice at all on any of the seafood, beef or chicken!). Alicia played it safe with rice after last nights sickness. She's still not feeling 100% but a bit better than last night. No vomiting today so thats all good.

 

We met a few other Aussies at dinner too and talked to them for a while. As with last night the whole time we had people coming up to us selling things and begging the whole time. It's such a damper on what would be a really nice, relaxing beach town. The beach is great, the foor / drink shacks are cool, the water is warm but it's ruined by constant interruption during meals or just walking down the beach! All in all it was a good place to stay, just watch out for the beggers and the like!

 

 

 

Room:

 

Tonight again we are at "Meng Leng Beach Bungalows". Review on yesterdays blog.

 

 

 

We've bought our ticket for tomorrow for a bus to Koh Kong ($7) which is the costal border for Thailand and Cambodia and from there we will go to Bangkok the following day

 

Day 16 - Koh Kong, Cambodia

 

 

 

For tonight we are in Koh Kong, on the Cambodian side of the Cambodia / Thailand border.

 

We had a little bit of time to kill thismorning but didn’t really do anything. Our bus was leaving Sihanoukville at 12:30 and we were being picked up at 11:45 from our hotel. We decided just to have a sleep in and then head to the beach for some brunch.

 

After we found a place on the beach for breakfast (and of course being asked by every second person if we wanted sunglasses, manicures and the like) we sat down and started to eat. The lady from the place we were staying at turned up to where we are having and told us we needed to go now (this was at 11:15). Alicia went to suss it out and came back and kept eating our breakfast because we thought she had something wrong. 15 minutes later she came back again so we decided we would just go then and found the bus was up the top of our street early. Should have probably gone the first time haha.

 

We hurrily grabbed our bags and headed off for the bus. We started the bus trip and about an hour or so later we got kicked off and changed bus (most of the bus was going to Phnom Penh, so the bus keeps going and we get on the Phnom Penh to Koh Kong bus as they pass. After spending the next 15 minutes on the new bus driving back down the road we were just on we were off to Koh Kong.

 

Again the roads were pretty crap, although our bus wasn’t too bad and the trip went by pretty fast. On the bus we checked out our books for accommodation advice and decided we would stay somewhere a bit nicer. Hopping off the bus we were greeted by tuk tuk drivers surrounding the door. We grabbed a tuk-tuk to the place we found in the book for $2 (and of course he said he knew a good place if there was no room!)

 

We checked out one hotel, but the price tag was a bit too heavy for our wallets so we headed next door to ______________. We checked out a room and decided to get it for $20 for the night. Room review is at the bottom.

 

There’s not a great deal to do in Koh Kong so we thought we would treat ourselves to a nice dinner at Café Laurent which was only a little down the road. After having the awesome BBQ at Sihanoukville I was in the mood for some fresh seafood again. I decided on Asian Sweet and Sour fish which was awesome! And as for fresh, we watched as they pulled the fish out of the tank ready to cook. Alicia got a Thai Spicy Chicken which was mostly bone and cartilage so she wasn’t too happy about that and just got some rice. $30 for dinner and a few drinks so pretty cheap by Australian standards and a nice place on the river with good fresh food so would recommend it if your after some nice seafood!

 

It was getting a little late so we decided to juts head back to our room. Bangkok tomorrow so we will drink the night away tomorrow!

 

 

 

Room:

 

We stayed at the “____________”, Koh Kong for tonight.

 

The room is really big which is something we aren’t really used to! There’s even room for a couch in front of the television! Air conditioning, a normal sized double bed and a nice view of the river and the bridge fill up the rest of the room.

 

The bathroom is also very large, modern western looking and very clean. Most of the rooms here have a funny shower setup where you will soak everything and mostly the toilet in water. There’s never a divider or curtain for the shower. This shower is placed well in a long bathroom so nothing gets wet when you have a shower. Genuis!

 

The hotel overall is modern and western looking. They also have a restaurant with tanks where you can pick your dinner, although the prices are a bit rich. The seating is out on the river as a few places are up this end. We are thinking this end is a bit more high class than in town.

 

We paid $20 USD for the one night here which is pretty cheap considering. We weren’t too fussed on going super budget here as we will once we are back in Thailand. If your ever in Koh Kong, this is a nice place to stay if you’ve got $20 to spare for the night!

 

 

 

For tomorrow our plans are pretty much just get to Bangkok and head out on Koah San Road!

 

Day 17 - Bangkok, Thailand

 

 

 

From the calm relaxation of Sihanoukville, we’re up in the hussle and bussle of Bangkok city.

 

Thismorning we decided to get a tuk-tuk to the border and arrange a bus to Bangkok from there. As we were having breakfast our tuk-tuk driver from yesterday turned up and started telling us to go with him to the border while we were half way through breakfast. He wanted 300 baht so we said no as we had heard that you can get there for 100 baht if you pay the bridge toll for the driver (It’s 4900 reil, 40 baht or about $1.25)

 

We found a group of drivers out the front so went to see if they would. The lowest they would do was 200 baht including toll but one driver said “OK 100 baht”. We confirmed with him that it was 100 baht to the border and we would pay the toll which he said yes to. After driving past the bridge to cross the river we started wondering what was going on. We turn up at some random small local transport company where the driver yelled out to his friends. We told him it’s not where we wanted and we weren’t paying to get here his 10 or so mates were around us. One of his friends then said that it would be 250 baht to the border. Alicia ended up getting the shits and yelled at them that we agreed on 100 baht to the border and we weren’t paying anything to get there. After that the tuk-tuk driver pulled the “no English” card and after a few of what I assume were Thai curses and laughs from then we just grabbed our bags and walked away.

 

Bullshit – we were in who knows where, walking down some random road in the rain. I can’t really put up here how we were feeling at this time.

 

We flagged down another tuk-tuk who wanted 200 baht to the border and he pays the toll. After the last episode with the tuk tuk’s we just wanted to get there so payed the 200 baht for the trip. 10 or so minutes later we were at the border. We got our departure cards filled out for us, although the guy kind of insisted rather than asked to do it for us. After doing all that, of course he asked for a tip. After all, we were still in Cambodia. We didn’t really want to seeing as it was kind of rude to spring it on us so we gave him the rest of our remaining Cambodian Reil – all 1200 of it or 30 cents! He wasn’t really happy but we weren’t really fussed, he seemed to be doing alright for himself anyway!

 

Once we were departed from Cambodia we walked the 20 or so meters of no mans land to the Thai border at Had Lek. Again we filled out a couple of forms and a few stamps later we were back in Thailand. We went to the first transport company we seen and priced up a bus to Bangkok. He wanted $175 AUD for the 2 of us so we said no way and kept walking. Everyone in SE Asia is full of lies to make a buck off you. He tried to convince us that he was the only company in Had Lek. We walked 20 or 30 meters up the road to find another travel agent who wanted 600 baht or $20 to get to Bangkok. Price was a bit expensive but not too bad so we decided to get it. The people didn’t really speak English so I spoke to someone she had on the phone to tell me the details. About 10 minutes later we followed a pointing man from the travel agents to the back of a ute. We loaded in our bags and sat in the back on the seats going assumably to the bus station. As we were driving we started seeing the road signs back to Had Lek. 10km…. 20km…. 30km…. by 40km we were starting to think that we were going the whole way to Bangkok in the back of this ute! We kept driving and the signs kept coming. About 10 or 15 minutes after the sign for Had Lek said 87km we arrived at the Trat bus station. If we had of researched the route better we would have got a mini van to Trat for a couple of dollars and then a bus to Bangkok, although we didn’t really have much of an idea. I think it’s a bit cheaper of you do it that way.

 

We left on our bus headed for Bangkok at 1pm. Alicia and I got seats that were in front of the rear door so noone was beind us. Super reclined chairs made the trip alot easier!

 

We finally arrived at a bus station in Bangkok so hopped out. We grabbed some food then tried to grab a taxi to head to Koah San Road. Taxi’s usually jump at the chance to drive you but after asking a few and getting told no we started to think we were still out of the way of the city! We found a taxi driver back at the bus station who took us to Koah San Road for 350 baht ($11 or $12 AUD). A bit pricey but we couldn’t really find another way there.

 

What an interesting taxi ride! The driver hardly spoke English and had a thick accent, which made it even harder to understand him. Stopping at traffic lights and dancing, talking to people on the phone and making questionable noises. Don’t worry though, we only had to put up with this for the next 50 minutes…

 

We finally got to Koah San Road and searched for some accommodation. After again reading our book we decided to cheack out “Koah San Palace”. With a rooftop swimming pool and being on Koah San road we thought it would be a good place to stay. The room was $25, when in Rome! Room review at the bottom as normal!

 

After unpacking our gear we headed out for the nightlife of Koah San Road! It’s a lot different to what I was expecting. After being to Phuket and seeing Bangla Road it’s a bit of a disappointment but it’s still a pretty wild party street! Markets and food stalls fill the streets as well as people trying to sell you things. Instead of ping pong shows every 10 meters you get pulled in by a suit salesman every 10 meters in Bangkok!

 

We decided to go and start drinking. Here on Koah San Road the places don’t advertise cheap drinks as they are all around the same (200 baht for a Samsong / Thai Whisky bucket or 300 baht for the other ones) but instead advertise with billboards and the like saying “f**king STRONG” “STRONG STRONG STRONG” “WE DO NOT CHECK PROOF OF AGE” and so on. Not really sure why they advertise the last one as there are no security guards at any bar here checking ID. Sometimes you get a pat down as you enter but never get ID checked.

 

After some shots, buckets and cocktails we moved on from the first place and headed down the street. Along the street theres a lot of places offering Henna tattoos. Alicia has wanted this done for a while so she decided to get it done. Henna is like a powder dye mixed with water and made into a small piping bag and hand draw onto your skin. The dye lasts 2 – 3 weeks. Alicia deided on a floral kind of pattern on her left hand, which she loved. Only cost $5 too so a bit of a bargain!

 

 

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We went on to the next pub for a drink and then heard a band playing a little down the street. We decided to go up there to the 3rd floor where a packed bar was watching the band. They were really good with just a guitarist, singer and box hitter / percussionist. A bit different from the rest of Koah San Road.

 

We finished up the night a little after 2am and headed back to our place. In the room you can kind of hear the street although it’s pretty deadened so falling asleep is no drama!

 

Room

 

Tonight we are staying at the “Koah San Palace”, Bangkok.

 

This “Palace” is very modern and western styled with nice clean rooms and a modern looking reception.

The room is pretty small although the location kind of makes up for it. The bed isn’t soft but not too bad. We are pretty used to the beds now anyway. TV in the room as well as air conditioning and a lovely view of the roof next door.

 

Bathroom is again very western with a normal toilet and a hot shower.

 

No free wifi, although the café downstairs does so grab a cheap coffe or croissant and enjoy free wifi!

 

Theres also a rooftop swimming pool with apparently great views although we never made it up there.

 

The room was 750 baht so about $25 which was a basic double room. The prices go up from there. The rooms are usually 1000 baht but have a promotion apparently from December to March. Pretty good price for a new, clean place in the heart of Bangkok’s Koah San Road. There are other accommodation options and probably some cheaper ones but we were happy to pay for this.

 

 

After a jam packed day that’s all for now. Tomorrow we are spending majority of the day in Bangkok then will book an overnight train down to Surat Thani

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Day 18 - Bangkok, Thailand

 

 

 

Bangkok for another day today. Sorry for the lack of photos but we haven’t really had time or been anywhere super photogenic! I've got heaps but might only put a few up and upload the rest of them when I'm back in Australia. Don't really have the time to upload them all plus blog

 

We woke up thismorning and headed downstairs for some breakfast at the café down stairs. Food is going down well after a bit of a big night last night although I’m feeling a bit sick (not alcohol sick though). Cheap café here with good food plus got us free wifi too for some skype and the like. After brekfast we had a bit of a look through the market side of Koah San Road and then tried to grab a tuk tuk to MBK – the massive shopping mall in Bangkok.

 

Tuk-tuk drivers in Bangkok are known for being sneaky and charging a small fare for you and then stopping at places along the way to look inside. These places are usually jewlers or suit tailors. The tuk-tuk drivers get either a commission from these places for products you buy or a ticket / voucher for free fuel for their tuk-tuk. It was funny trying to get one and bargaining. They want their cut or fuel vouchers so some went as low as 5 baht with “just one stop no buy just looking looking”. We didn’t want any stops at all so kept looking. Transport people will also just lie to you to get some cash too so take what they say with a grain of salt. Later tonight we tried to get a taxi to where the bus left from. One driver sai 800 baht and would take 2 hours because its so busy. We ended up paying 86 baht in a metered taxi and took 20 minutes. Another tip is if you can, take a metered taxi and make sure you tell them to turn the meter on (sometimes they “forget”). All the drivers wanted 200 and up to get to MBK. We got a metered taxi on the way back for 85 baht, plus air con in them and usually leather insides!

 

We ended up finding a guy who would take us there for 100 baht (a little over $3 AUD) if we went to his travel agent. We thought if someone was going to get a cut we might aswell buy something we need.

 

Our tuk tuk driver was a big thai guy and a massive hoon! He’d definitely be on ACA if they do a Thai hoon story! He would never let the tuk tuk idle without giving it a big rev, stretching out every gear, letting the clutch slip and taking corners super fast. It was an experience to say the least! Annoying thing with Tuk-Tuks is that they are so loud though so gets annoying after a while.

 

We first went to the travel agent thinking we would buy an overnight train ticket, The train schedule wasn’t so great and although it was kind of cheap compared to the bus, it also tookabout twice as long. 14+ hours on the train or 7 or 8 on the bus was an easy choice. We ended up booking a VIP Sleeping Bus plus transfers from Surat Thani to the ferry dock and the Ferry ticket to Koh Phangan for 1100 Baht each (a bit over $35). It’s a nights accommodation plus then everything is just booked and done and although it’s a bit expensive, it’s convenient for us and everything’s organised so we just booked it.

 

After the travel agent we went to MBK. This shopping mall is HUGE! It’s 7 or 8 stories high and super long aswell. Each floor has a kind of theme to it. There is an electrical / phone floor where they sell stacks and stacks of phones, ipods, dvd’s, software etc etc. Another floor full of home furnishing, a floor of market type things, a floor of jewelry and watches etc. Theres just so much here! The very top floor is a cinema which looked really good. They had a VIP room there which looked better than any Gold Class or the like I’d seen in Australia. For a big sofa in the theatre it was about $10. When $17 is the going rate for an adult ticket at my work, $10 for a super VIP cinema is very attracting! If we had more time we would have probably gone to one if the shows were in English.

 

Heading out of the mall we decided to grab a metered taxi as we had heard they were pretty cheap. Only cost us 86 baht to get back to Koah San Road, although the driver had to call people twice to get directions…

 

We walked around a bit having a bit of time to kill and I decided to get a Henna tattoo aswell. We went to a different place than where Alicia went. I had looked at koi tattoos before so checked out what he had. In his book he had photos of work he had done and had some koi ones which looked really good. At first I doubted that it was his work but after getting mine done I believe them!

 

 

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He told me it would be 400 baht but because I was the first customer for the night he would do it for 300 ($10). He started off and pencilled in an outline then started with the ink. After about 20 minutes or half an hour he was done. It turned out awesome! I’m stoked with how well it came out. I didn’t think tat with Henna that you could do shading but it turns out you can. It has heaps of detail in it and I’m just happy in general with how it turned out! Really goof effort for freehand too, I originally thought Henna was a stencil and spray type job.

 

 

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After finishing up there we grabbed our bags from the hotel and headed for the travel agent. We hipped in a metered taxi with directions that we had from the travel agents business card. After a few phonecalls he said he knew where to go. After seeing some not so familiar streets and running out of time we were a bit worried we weren’t going to make it in time for our departure at 7:00. We ended up making it with a couple of minutes to spare but of course the bus was late anyway so it didn’t really matter!

 

The bus is pretty comfortable with chairs that recline far back and extra legroom to make up for that. The air con blasts the whole way and we didn’t think to pack jumpers although everyone gets a blanket so that’s ok. I’m writing this on the bus and so far we’ve watched “The Town” and “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” – 2 good movies actually! Although I’d already seen them both. Might call it quits now and head off to sleep. Apparently theres only one stop. We’ve been going for about 3 hours now and hopefully the stop is soon because we forgot that whole dinner thing…. Woops!

 

All in all we didn’t spend much time in Bangkok because we went to Sihanoukville instead. I’m glad that we didn’t spend much time here though as it wasn’t as great as I was expecting. It’s still a nice place but we prefer Phuket much more!

 

 

Room:

 

Tonight we are on a “VIP Sleeper Bus”. There aren’t really beds but the seats fold back fairly far and you get extra leg room so it’s not too bad.

 

2 TV’s and air con too although no free wifi :P Theres a roilet on the bus that isn’t ideal so if possibly avoid it and hold on until the stops!

 

Pack a jumper as the air con pumps all night, but everyone gets a blanket so if you forget you should be ok.

 

Price is hard to say as some people said it was 900 baht to Surat Thani but we paid 1100 to Surat Thani but includes transfers to Koh Phangan. It’s a good way to not waste the day travelling though and not too bad for comfort.

 

 

Tomorrow night is going to be a messy one for Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan! Hopefully we’ll get some updates up soon with how it was!

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A huge amount of travel to swap for a huge amount of partying! We've made the trek from Bangkok to Koh Phangan for the Full Moon Party!

 

Again sorry for the lack of photos. There wasn't much in the afternoon to take of, I didn't want to take my camera and Alicia didn't want to take her phone so we just took her camera. She got 1 blurry photo at full moon party and then her camera died - wish we could have got more but unfortunately not.

 

 

Our travels to Koh Phangan started at 7pm last night where we got a bus from Bangkok. This bus was a VIP Sleeper Bus and probably the best way to get from Bangkok to Surat Thani where the transfer is to get to the island. We had originally planned to catch the overnight train, but after hearing from a few people plus the travel agent that the trip on the train was very long (12 - 16 hours) plus then bus and ferry transfers we decided to get the bus instead.

 

The bus was pretty comfortable. The seats recline further back than normal with a footrest so you are almost laying down and also have a little more leg room. The bus also has a toilet but it's less than optimal. The air conditioning ran all night but everyone gets a blanket so it wasn't actually too bad. They played 2 movies on the way too and then turned off all the lights. Only thing that would have made it a bit easier would have been a volume knob for the people sitting behind us, but I guess we were thinking that would probably happen anyway.

 

The bus had only one stop at Chumpthon in the middle of the night and then it was straight through all night to Surat Thani. The bus ended up getting in to Surat Thani at about 6 or 7am where we were dropped at a little bus stop. We waited there for a little over an hour until another bus came. This bus took us the last hour or so out to the pier where we would catch the ferry over to Koh Phangan. We caught the ferry at 10am for an hour and a half to get to Koh Samui where we dropped some people off, then another 45 minutes to get to Koh Phangan.

 

About 12:30pm we arrived in Koh phangan - 17 and a half hours after we had left the previous day we had finally made it!

 

We had already booked accommodation for Full Moon Party, but after looking at our forms we realised that it was 1500 baht ($50 AUD). We thought we would look at it anyway, checked out a room and it was bad - poor presentation from the outside and inside, very basic room that wasn't very clean so we told them we would cancel our booking and keep looking.

 

We looked at a air few places on our walk, some full, some crap, some with minimum stays, some with signs saying they had rooms but then in reception were full. We finally found a cheap room in a bungalow that had everything we needed on the beach so we decided to get it. This was at White West Beach Resort and only 300 baht ($10 AUD) per night so we got that. Review at the bottom.

 

For the afternoon we didn't have much to do so decided we would hire a motorbike again. We hired it between 2pm and 6pm for 150 baht ($5) and went for a drive around the island. We just drove for a while, stopped at a beach and watched where some people were learning to kite surf, stopped for some dinner on the way back, grabbed some drinks for pre drinks and then headed back to our resort.

 

The place we are staying doesn't really have great places to stay, it's very basic, but it has nice character and the people who run it are very nice. Plus they sell alcohol there, the rooms are cheap and on the beach so it's pretty good!

 

When we got back there were some people drinking on the beach at our place so we decided to go out and join them. There was a few aussies in the bunch, mostly sweedish people and an english guy too. All of them were really nice so we had a few drinks with them and then decided to head off to full moon party at about 9pm.

 

The taxi ride there was funny enough! There was 12 of us from the resort packed in to the back of the ute type taxi's here. The hammock that was in the taxi ended up coming down and people were in it, all of us singing drunken songs to the locals as we passed by and the like. Even the taxi ride was such a good time! We paid 80 baht each to get the 20 minutes down to Haad Rin where the full moon party is.

 

Coming in to the entrance you have to pay 100 baht ($3.30) to get in. As soon as we got past there we got to a street that was off the beach. Even on this street there was setup stalls for buckets already. I didn't realise they were like this! In the buckets on display sit what goes in - a 300ml bottle of spirits, 1 can of soft drink and red bull for most of them. I didn't realise they actually put a whole small bottle in! We worked it out a few days later to equal 10 standard drinks in each bucket. The buckets were pretty much the same price - 200 (just under $7) baht for thai whisky or rum and 300 ($10) baht for others like Vodka etc. Some are more and most Jack Daniels seemed to be 500 - 600 baht which made me go first for the Thai whisky one.

 

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Once we hit the beach there was stacks of people there already. Bars line the beach all up with music and lights pumping at each one. Fire twirlers are going out the front of a few of the bars who were awesome! As the night went on the beach got packed with people. From the bars to the ocean was funn with people everywhere. The drinks kept coming and ended up finding a guy who sold me JD buckets for 300 baht! Ended up going to him 3 times and having a chat to him, each time the girl would ask for 550 baht and he would tell her I got them for 300 haha. Much better than thai whisky!

 

 

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Before going to a full moon party I knew we were going to have a good time, but of course we had seen how it was shown in the media. It's always displayed as a crazy dangerous place where alot of people get hurt, or things get stolen, drinks spiked etc. I'm sure these things still happen, but you've got to put yourself in that situation for it to happen. It was nowhere near as bad as what it is made out to be in the media. We had a great time and ended up finishing up about 2:30am or 3am. I wish we had of travelled a day earlier so we werent so wrecked after 17.5 hours of travelling and could have stayed longer but we still had an awesome time.

 

 

 

Got back to the bungalow and crashed. Glad we didn't spend much money on our accomodation because we hardly used it! We pretty much stored our bags in it and crashed there after we had been at the full moon party! And that about wraps up Koh Phangan - writing this a few days after because we weren't really in a state to blog after the party!

 

 

Room:

 

 

Tonight we are staying at White West Beach Resort.

 

 

This resort has a nice character to it. There are 2 types of rooms, basic small fan bungalows or larger air conditioned bungalows. The basice fan ones are 300 baht and the air conditioned 800 baht (although he said they are usually 1000 baht but had no hot water because it was broken so 800). We opted for just a basic fan room as the weather was good and we wouldn't use the room much. The resort is right on the beach so it's a nice place to go for a swim, it attracts aot of young people being cheap and on the beach so it's also a pretty good place to socialise with people.

 

 

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The bungalow if very basic and pretty small. The main room just has a bed and a fan that sits on a table. He put on fresh sheets before we came in too. Not really a great deal of room.

 

 

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The bathroom was a little dirty and the shower was only cold water (but thats all we needed for the time). The toilet flushes itself though which is a good thing!

 

 

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A little balcony out the front, a short stroll to communal areas and the beach too! There is wifi at the resort that listed prices, although when we went he just told us the password and off we went. So semi-free wifi? The resort also rents motorbikes if your wanting to ride around, although they were all out by the time we went to rent one. It takes about 5 minutes to walk to the Walking Street where they have markets and the like abd about 10 minutes to walk to 7/11

 

 

Overall, for 300 baht ($10) the bungalow had everything we needed but obviously wasn't going to be the best place every. The rooms are pretty small and old looking, but it is cheap and a place to put your head after full moon party! If we had of got nice accommodation it would have probably been wasted!

 

 

 

Tomorrow we've booked the ferry to Koh Samui, it's time for a bit of a relax as we're heading into the last week or so of our trip.

 

Ahhhh - time to relax! And in style too! We're off to Koh Samui today to kick back and take it easy.

 

 

We struggled to get up and out of bed today after having full moon party last night - too be honest I was still drunk thismorning! Those buckets get dangerous! Alicia will back me up on that too haha.

 

 

We packed our stuff, checked out and walked down to the main section of the town. We just headed to a cafe for breakfast to get some food down before our ferry trip. Our ferry left Koh Phangan at 12:30 although it didn't leave until a bit after 1 so we piled in to the ferry which was obviously packed. Majority of people seemed like they hadn't made it to the shower yet - ourselves included! Plenty of fluro shirts, body paint and seedy faces getting around. The sea was rough today though which made for an interesting trip. It took about an hour this time to get to Samui because they had to go a bit slower. The crazy sea made for an interesting trip. I don't usually get sea sick but those JD buckets sloshing around my stomach got me close! Some weren't as lucky to hold it down though, glad we aren't going the hour and a half extra back to mainland today!

 

Once we got off the ferry the taxi drivers were waiting of course to take people. Before we got on the ferry a guy told us to look out for his company there who would take us to Chaweng Beach (the main beach) for 150 baht ($5) each. We had already booked accommodation for Koh Samui but didn't realise it wasn't on the main beach and on the other side of the island. My cousin Anthony and his girlfriend Bron were also in Koh Samui at the same time and staying on Chaweng Beach so we decided to head up there.

 

On the pier as we walked down the taxi drivers had their signs up. The first one said 1200 baht ($40) to Chaweng! As we walked further down the pier the signs got lower and lower, lowest we found was 200 baht but we talked him down to 150 baht each and went to Chaweng. We decided to check out the place that Anthony and Bron were staying at, we knew it was expensive but thought maybe we could splurge and get a room here if it was reasonably priced. The place is called "Samui Resotel and Spa".

 

We walked in after a few funny looks from still being in our full moon gear and checked out the room rates. We decided to just look at the normal room here which was 4400 baht (about $146) but then they discounted to 3700 baht (about $123). We walked through the resort to get to the room. Everything here is beautiful! Styled really well, massive pool with a swim up bar, private part of the beach, gym, everything styled ultra modern and all well presented and maintained. We already loved the place!

 

We headed up stairs and checked out the room - I'll write about it in the review. Everything here is awesome! Big bed, big room, big bathroom with a good shower, spa bath and a little balcony. The lady said as we were looking at the room that if we booked she would upgrade us to a Deluxe Pool Access room for the same price. We decide we'd take it seeing as it's ridiculously cheap by australian standards and we most likely won't be able to afford it again in Australia. Again I'll write more in my blog. We had to wait an hour while the room was getting cleaned so we went for a walk then headed back.

 

After getting in to the room we settled in and then got on the internet to let Anthony know where we were. An hour or so later him and Bron came around to our room so we could catch up. We went and had dinner wand a fe jugs of beer with them down the road at a restaurant and then headed off. We keps walking down the road for a while and then cut down to the beach to walk along there. We ended up at "Ark Bar" to have a few more drinks. A thing you see alot of over here is beer towers so of course we had to get one! 3L of beer thats stays cold and a tap on it. We couldn't resist! After we finished up there we headed back and walked along the beach.

 

As was in Sihanoukville, people walk along and sell fireworks along the beach. We decided to split some fireworks and ended up spending too much - 1000 baht between us ($33) but couldn't resist buying the huge ones! We also bought some lucky lanterns and let them off too. This was on alicias list of things to do while we are in Thailand so had to buy one when we seen them. We let them float away then moved on to the fireworks. We lit our massive one off first which was pretty cool then went to go for the next one but turned out to have no wick so we couldn't light it. The guy who sold it to us didn't want to give us some money back so we tried to get more fireworkd off him. He only wanted to give us 2 but we wanted 3! After a bit of talking we ended up getting 3 off him and we were on our way. He wasn't too happy about us getting all of them but as Anthony said - it may be the first time that a tourist has ripped off a Thai and not the other way around! Haha

 

On our way back we just grabbed some drinks at 7/11 (Supermarket alcohol is super convenient!) and just headed back to their room. We ended up just drinking and catching up with them, soon enough it was 2:30 so we headed off. It was really good to catch up with them! They had been travelling around SE Asia like us, but with Vietnam instead of Laos so was good to catch up and see how they had been enjoying everything and what they had been up to. Thats the end of today for our first day of Koh Samui! This place we are staying at is so nice and I wish we could afford it every night!

 

 

Room:

 

 

 

 

Tonight we are staying at "Samui Resotel and Spa", Koh Samui.

 

 

This resort is amazing! Everything within the resort is verrryyy nice, ultra modern styled and clean. The whole grounds are very cleaned and well maintained and the staff are very nice here.

 

 

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Our room is a Deluxe Pool Access room. The room itself is quite large and everything in it is really nice. A large, soft, comfortable bed is so good after spending the past 3 weeks on hard guesthouse beds! A flat screen TV that sits in the wall and a long bench sit infront of the bed. There is also a fridge that is half filled with mini bar items. Eveyrthing in the room is just very new, clean and well styled so it's very nice.

 

 

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The bathroom is also very nice. It has a shower as well as a large spa bath. The shower has hot water out of the tap and a handle head or a super large shower head. Again everything is well styled, very modern and very clean.

 

 

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Outside is a bit of a balcony with a lounge chair on it. Off the balcony is a private section of a long pool. This pool runs infront of this type room and is sectioned off for each of the Deluxe Pool Access Rooms. A private pool? Fancy!

 

 

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The rest of the hotel is also just very nice and modern! A large pool with a swim up bar, a library, gym, section of the beach, computers for internet, resteraunt etc etc. It's just a very nice resort.

 

One bad thing that seems ridiculous is that you have to pay for wifi, and at a pretty expensive rate. It seems pretty ridiculous that you have to pay for wifi when you pay thousands of baht, but get it free in a 250 baht guesthouse.

 

 

We loved our stay here and it's actually very affordable and competitive to other resorts along Chaweng Beach here in Koh Samui. We paid 3700 baht (about $123 AUD) for a Deluxe Pool Access Room which is usually 4900 baht ($163). We got a walk-in discount for a basic room and then a free upgrade so 1200 baht of free upgrade is fine with us! I really recommend this place if anyone is coming here to relax. The price is very good especially compared to other resorts along Chaweng Beach. Considering that it was $109 for our shoebox Formule 1 hotel in Australia before we came over, this is definitely a great value place by Aussie standards!

 

 

So thats how our first relaxing day of Koh Samui has been. Tomorrow we are going to check out some more hotels that are a bit cheaper as we can't afford to stay here. We will still be in Chaweng beach, Koh Samui though

 

Another relaxing day here at Koh Samui today. Going at a slow pace now which is a nice change!

 

 

We started today at free breakfast at the resort and catching up with Anthony and Bron again before they headed up for their next stop. After breakfast we decided to get some internet and look up some things to do around the island.

 

We packed our bags and said goodbye to our luxurious palace, but not before a swim in our private pool! It was almsot cold thismorning so it wasn't the greatest time for swimming but we couldn't just leave the pool there. We ended up looking at "Samui Lagoon Bay" a few doors down that advertised rooms for 980 baht. When we went in the lady gave us walk in rate for 900 baht for the rooms or 1000 (instead of 1200) for a bungalow. We checked out a bungalow which was pretty nice and so we booked that for the night and unloaded our stuff.

 

We first decided that we wanted to go go karting as online the prices were cheap. We called a few taxi's and found out how much. They all wanted 400 baht, and we could only talk them down to 300 baht to get there. It's 8 - 10km from where we are and 400 baht is ridiculous. Most of the taxi's say "Taxi Meter" on the top of them, but none will put it on. We even hopped in one after talking to him for a bit telling him we want the meter and for him to put it on. He said he would, we hopped in and pressed him to turn it on, he then said he wouldnt but would take us for 400, so we hopped out and kept walking.

 

We ended up walking past a travel agent who hired out jeeps. To hire a jeep was 600 baht ($20) for 24 hours including insurance so we decided to do that. Beats paying taxi's all day! We got it and drove to go karting and turns out the prices were much higher than the website. These were all starting about 700 baht each per 10 minutes so we decided not to go.

 

 

After heading off from there we drove to the "Big Buddha". As you can probably imagine, this is a big buddha! Around is is heaps of temples, monks al over the place here too. After hiking up all the steps to the buddha we grabbed some of the sticks and rang the bells all around the buddha. We also managed to play the intro to MJ's "Beat It" on the bells :P

 

 

We headed off from there and then headed back to our room to get my camera I left behind and headed the other way to see the "Hin Ta and Hin Yai" rocks, aka Grandfather and Grandmother rocks. Basically a rock penis and vagina. Interesting hike to get to the rocks, we checked them out which was a perfect photo op. Sure enough, the rocks live up to their reputation! Needless to say many a joke were made.

 

 

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Along the way we seen signs for the aquarium and tiger zoo, but by the time we got there it was closed. The price list was still up which was 700 - 900 baht, way too much for what we wanted to pay! Everything here on Koh Samui is a fair bit more expensive than what it is in Australia so watch out for that if you ever come over here! While we were there along the way we seen signs for a monkey show which was also closed but we will go tomorrow.

 

Along the way to the aquarium we seen a fireworks shop so we had to stop on the way. We ended up spending less than what we spent on the beach and got more, go figure... Thats enough fireworks for us now, spending too much money on them!

 

 

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We headed back and then walked to get some dinner. We headed to an Aussie place called "Bondi Bar" after being told we had to go there and check it out. Amazing fall off the bone ribs for me and a piri-piri chicken burger was a nice home touch after eating a heap of thai food on our trip. The food was amazing, and one of the table sauces was a piri piri sauce that seemed home made. It was amazing! I asked if I could buy some but the guy checked and said they made it and they couldn't sell it. Would have loved some, such a good sauce! But anyway haha.

 

After tea and a few beers we headed back to our room, grabbed some fireworks and headed for the beach to let them off! Good fun as always, went and grabbed some more drinks and thats the end of the night! Another nice and relaxing day here.

 

 

Room:

 

 

Tonight we are staying at "Samui Lagoon Bay", Koh Samui.

 

Our room is a "Garden View Bungalow" that we paid 1000 baht for ($33).

 

The main room is quite large with a large double bed in the middle. The room also has a safe box, table and chairs, phone, tv and air conditioning. The room is very nice and clean. Everything is very simple and placed in the room simply.

 

The bathroom is quite large with a heater box shower, flushing toilet and sink. Again no divider for the shower though! Shower pressure is really low though which I hate.

 

Free wifi, a pool and steps down to the beach. The resort is very nice nad a kind of jungle or I guess "lagoon" style with bungalows in between trees. After walking to a fair few other resorts along the beach it was easily the cheapest, and some that were more didnt have a pool so we were happy to get this one. Good value for money.

 

 

Not much planned for tomorrow really again, just checking out a few more things around the island and taking it easy... ahhh its a hard life!

 

While we still had the Jeep thismorning, we decided to head down the island and go check out the monkey show! We got there and paid our 100 baht each for the show. We watched as the monkeys climbed up the trees and spun the coconuts our of the tree to drop them down! We then got a photo with a monkey on our arms. We were told we couldn't smile with our teeth because the monkeys might see it as anger. Alicia just heard "Don't smile" so she's got a serious sam photo for hers! Haha. I just have my dirty "Travelers Beard" in my photo haha.

 

 

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After that the man told us to go over to the coconut part to see that - that was all for the monkey show... I was looking forward to seeing them play guitars and the like! Although I did feel bad for them being tied up and always having a lead on them.

 

After that we got a coconut to drink, which wasn't as nice as I thought it was going to be! But we also got free coconut out of it, then shredded when they did it and watched them make coconut milk. Coconuts done, we headed off.

 

 

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We decided to head up and check out the other resorts along the beach to try and find somewhere else about 1000 baht per night. All the places we looked at started around 6000 baht and the cheapest about 3500 or 4000 which was too much for us. After searching for a while we decided to stay at the same place as we did last night. We got the jeep back and took our stuff back to the Samui Lagoon Bay.

 

We decided to go for a swim in our pool seeing as we hadn't had a proper swim in a few days which was good. After getting back in and having a shower we headed back for tea.

 

Alot of the places along here have a BBQ type setup with all the food at the front so we opted for one of those. After dinner we grabbed a few more drinks again, then headed to the beach to let off the rest of the fireworks we bought the other night - all gone now! Thats enough money spent on them now for us haha.

 

 

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And thats got me up to here now - easy simple day today and I've caught up on my blogs tonight. Will hopefully edit some photos and put them up tomorrow or the next day ad i'll try and keep up with my blogs too!

 

 

Room:

 

 

Again tonight we are at "Samui Lagoon Bay". Review in yesterdays blog.

 

 

 

Tomorrow we haven't got anything planned, but we have booked in again at Samui Resotel and Spa - we thought we might as well indulge while we are over here and stay at a really nice place again! Can't wait!

 

Day 23 – Koh SamuiIt’s our final day here in Koh Samui today, so we’re living it up again. We’re heading back to the resort we stayed at for the first night – why not! Haha

 

 

After checking out of Lagoon Bay at about 12:00 we dropped off our laundry to be done across the road. After that just walked to Samui Resotel, about 6 or 7 places down the street from where we were already. Being so early before checking in we were hoping to at least drop our bags at the resort. Turns out that our room was ready to check in so we went straight there. Soooo good to be living in luxury once again!

 

 

Started off the day with a swim in our private sectioned pool. Our room is different this time and is in front of the resorts pool too. To get to the resort pool we just slipped over the edge of ours to where the seats are and jumped in. Good spot! The afternoon we pretty much spent swimming. The weather is better today – so far it’s been overcast and windy so we haven’t been able to swim at the beach, the flags are up not to swim. Seems pretty choppy and the resort pool is warm anyway, plus swim up bar so we’ll just wait for the beaches when we head back to Phuket.

 

 

Theres not much else from today really. We went and had a look in a few shops / markets and bought some more clothes and the like. A few drinks tonight and that’s about it for today. Another relaxing day for our last day in Koh Samui.

 

 

Room:

 

Tonight we are staying again at “Samui Resotel and Spa”. For a review of the room, look at Day 20. I snapped some more photos from around the Resort though:

 

 

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Tomorrow we have organised our joint ticket to get back to Phuket – our last stop for our SE Asia trip before we fly out of there on the 18th of December.

 

Our last day of travel today to get back to the place where we started our whole trip from. Our trip is coming to a close which sucks, although my wallet wants to go home!

 

 

We purchased our joint ticket yesterday to avoid having to organise too many modes of transport ourselves. The dock we leave from to get off the island is on the other side of Koh Samui, then we would have to get the ferry, then find a way to the bus station etc etc. We got picked up from our hotel in a mini van at 12pm and arrived to pick up our tickets at about 1pm. From there we got on a bus which took us to the ferry that didn’t leave until 2pm.

 

 

The ferry we got this time was really large. It also transports cars, trucks and busses on the base floor and passengers on the top floor. If you are doing the trip from the island try to book one of these ferries if you can. They are much more comfortable than the smaller boat type ones that are common. Because they are so large they are so much smoother on the water, they leave on time, the seats are a lot more comfortable and there are heaps of lounge type chairs if you get in first. It took 1 ½ hours to do the trip, so same amount of time as the smaller one but again it was much better

 

 

.After getting off the ferry we hopped on the same bus that we were on at Koh Samui and headed from where the ferry was at Donsak Pier to Surat Thani (about 45 minutes or 1 hour). We stopped at a little bus station there and had a little bit of a wait so ordered some food. After that we hopped in some guys ute who worked with one of the companies to the other bus. The other bus was only 10 or so minutes away and it left at 5:30. After another 4 or so hours on this bus we were finally back in Phuket. From the bus station of course though we had to get a taxi to Patong Beach. So glad that we got a joint ticket. 7 changes of transport and we were back at our place in Patong Beach. We had booked back in to Loveli Guesthouse as it was in a great spot, the room was good and Neil and Andrew were very helpful with everything we wanted to do in Phuket.

 

 

We unpacked our stuff, got settled in and decided to head down to Bangla Road to pick up my suit that I was measured up for last time we were in Phuket. We had to leave early the next day when I got measured up so I told them I’d put a deposit on it and pick it up in 3 or so weeks. They can usually make them up overnight but didn’t have time for mine with a few hours to spare. We got to the tailor at 11:05 and found they were closed, apparently only by 5 minutes! So we’ll just head back tomorrow to grab it.

 

 

We’re running pretty low on money so didn’t stay out for too long. We spent most our time tonight at an Aussie bar along Bangla Road and then headed back to our place. Good to have a nice clean bed and room after what we have had in some places over here!

 

 

 

Room:

 

 

Tonight we are staying again at Loveli Guesthouse in Patong Beach, Phuket. For its review, head to Day 1

 

 

 

Tomorrow we haven’t made any plans so we will most likely just get around and check out the city again, pick up my suit and chill out!

 

Another day here at the end of our run in Sunny Phuket – or not…

 

 

We were thinking today would be a good day again to rent a bike and head down the coast to the beaches, check out elephant treks and ride around the city. Turns out the weather didn’t really want us to do that. Most of today has rained so it’s ruined that plan!

 

 

We had a bit of a sleep in today and then headed to the shopping centre down the street from us. We ended up getting another “Fish Foot Massage” at the shopping center. Looked around a bit and then headed to the Tailor again.

 

 

Got to the tailor and tried on my suit. Was really happy with the quality of it and how it looks! Love it all! The pants fit really well, the shirt and jacket needed to be taken in a bit on the sides. I would have been happy with how it was but he insisted he would get it pulled in more to fit even better. After pinning it up again we headed off and will pick it up tomorrow hopefully ready to go this time!

 

 

We couldn’t resist the urge to buy DVD’s seeing as they are everywhere here and having a rainy day today. We ended up finding a guy who had a small setup on the street who then took us to his store. When we followed him he took us in to a tailor… thought that we was going to try to make me buy another suit! At the back he had a little door which lead to a room filled wall to wall with DVD’s – pretty funny. It’s like the little secret rooms you see in the movies! After searching around for a while we grabbed 10 or so DVD’s and headed off.

 

 

We got back to the room and Alicia decided to get a massage from next door to our place so I ended up just watching a DVD while she had that done. The weather is too bad today to do much. Hopefully it’s better tomorrow!

 

 

 

Room:

 

 

Again tonight we are at Loveli Guesthouse in Patong Beach, Phuket. For a review of this head to Day 1.

 

 

For tomorrows plans we have booked a day tour to Phi Phi and Bamboo Islands which we had planned to do while we were here. Andrew booked the tour for us so looking forward to a day of swimming and snorkelling. Hopefully the weather clears up though.

 

What a full on day today was for our last full day here in Phuket, and our last day before we fly home. Such a great day today, had an awesome time!

 

 

We started with an early rise to be ready for our pickup at 7:50 outside our guesthouse. Yeh I know that 7:50 doesn’t really count for an early rise, but it’s holidays. Who wants to get up before then!?

 

 

We arrived at the dock and had a briefing about the day from our tour guide who’s name was “Coco Chanel”. He was a bit of a character, a “fabulous” guy if you get my drift! We headed off to our boat and left just after 9pm. Our boat was a pretty decent size, nice and new with plenty of room. It was pretty comfortable too as there was probably only 15 – 20 of us in this tour group which was great. The weather in Phuket was nice and sunny as we left the marina, although as we were heading to Bamboo Island it got more overcast and looked like it was raining on the islands.

 

 

We got to Bamboo Island after about an hour and a half. Luckily it was just a bit overcast and wasn’t raining. We had 45 or 50 minutes here, so we grabbed our gear and headed for the beach. We got kitted up on the beach in our snorkelling gear and headed out. Rookie mistake. Water was way too shallow to snorkel and there was only a few fish to see. After that we realised we were just about the only ones to try and snorkel on the beach – oh well! We ended up just having a bit of a swim there and then layed on the beach for the rest of our time. We headed back to the boat and then were off to our next stop.

 

 

Our next stop was Phi Phi Island for lunch. Included with our tour was a buffet lunch so we grabbed some and then just sat by the beach for a little bit because we didn’t really have time for a swim.

 

 

About 10 minutes from where we stopped for lunch, we stopped at “Camel Rock” for a snorkel. Our guide said they usually go for the snorkel at “Mosquito Island” but the tide was too low to get in anywhere so we changed it to Camel Rock. We anchored in this bay and then jumped in from the boat. The snorkelling he was really good. So many fish! Heaps of medium sized fish, really bright and colourful and a fair few big fish too! Occasionally you would come across a large group of small fish too travelling in a large school. The fish weren’t scared at all and you were never far away from them. Holding pieces of bread in our hands underwater we got to feed the fish that all attacked the bread at once! A pretty cool sight to see so many bright coloured fish at one time all around you! I wish I had my gopro to video it but it’s somewhere in the Nam Song river. If anyone finds it when in Laos let me know ;)

 

 

After about 45 minutes here we headed off to “Monkey Island” where there is a stack of wild monkeys to feed. The monkeys are pretty tame here, although apparently sometimes bite. Funny being able to hand feed them and watching them eat things. Watching a monkey drink Coke out of a can definitely got a laugh! Alicia managed to get a snap of it too so I’ll get that up soon! We only spend about 10 minutes here with the monkeys then headed off.

 

 

Our next stop about 10 minutes away we just stayed on the boat for. A cave called “Viking Cave” where they collect the nests of birds. These nests sell for a heap of money so there are bamboo structures everywhere to get the nests. It’s called Viking Cave as on the wall are old carvings and paintings of Viking ships. We only got to see photos of these though as we couldn’t go into the cave.

 

 

About 5 minutes from the Viking Cave we stopped at “Blue Lagoon” for a swim. This is a little bay covered by limestone rock so the water is a really rich blue-green colour. We all jumped in off the front of the boat after anchoring in the bay and went for a swim for 20 minutes or so. Really relaxing in here. The water is really still, nice and warm and being in such a rich colour water is pretty cool. It gets pretty deep pretty quick too. After a nice swim there we headed back to the boat to head off to our last stop.

 

 

Our last stop was “Maya Bay” and again only 10 or so minutes from the Blue Lagoon. This is where the moving “The Beach” was filmed, although I can’t say I’ve ever seen the movie. This is only a small beach so it was pretty crowded as there was a fair few tour groups here at the same time. Another 45 minutes or so for a swim here then we headed off. It started to rain a little as we were swimming but not too bad. Pretty happy the rain held off all day though! After finishing up at Maya Bay we headed back to the marina which took a bit over an hour. It was pretty rough on the way home so a bit of a bumpy road but “Captain Jack Sparrow” got us and “Coco” back to the Marina pretty quickly. We got back about 4:30 so had most of the day out on the islands. All in all it was a really great tour. It’s a bit more expensive than some of the other Phi Phi tours at around 1800 Baht (about $60) but it stops at a lot of places but doesn’t feel rushed, is very well organised, includes snorkelling gear and lunch plus the group size is only small so it was well worth the price.

 

 

When we got back we decided we would see if Andrew could organise an elephant trek for us for tomorrow. It’s one of the things Alicia really wanted to do while we were over here and we seen a few when we hired a scooter last time. The cheapest one we found last time for 45 minutes was 700 baht each so we had a base to go off. Andrew ended up booking us a 45 minute elephant trek for 500 baht each including transfers to and from the trekking so we were happy to book that! If you ever need any tours booked come and see Andrew or Niel at Phuket Travel Company on Nanai Road. Loveli Guesthouse is above it which they run so it was very convenient for us, but their prices in general are very good and easy to deal with so highly recommend them!

 

 

Headed down once again to the tailor to pick up my suit and this time it fit perfectly! So happy with the quality and the fit of it. It’s a really nice suit, high quality and retty cheap at $160 US after upping some options. The shop was called “New Era’s Fahion” just off Bangla Road so go and see them if you’re going to get a suit made up!

 

 

We got back and realised we were pretty damn sunburnt! Only one way to solve that – alcohol! 7/11 being next door to us, and the fact that 7/11 is the cheapest place to buy alcohol is very convenient! Haha. A bottle of beer is under $1 AUD, a longneck is about $1.50 or so, cruisers / smirnoffs including double blacks are $1.60 etc etc. It’s definitely worthwile having pre drinks from 7/11 if your heading out as it’s usually at least double these prices when your out.

 

 

We headed out again to Bangla Road and went to a few pubs. How could we not visit one of the many, many bars that have women dancing on the poles! It’s a great place to play spot the lady boy, sometimes it’s easy, sometimes it’s not! Pretty funny seeing from the street, old guys watching girls dancing. Girls with broad shoulders and Adam’s apples that is! It’s our last night here in SE Asia so we had to have a big night!

 

 

On the stumble home we managed to find a tuk-tuk (well one of the Dihatsu Van type Tuk-Tuk’s) with R33 Skyline tail lights! When I was looking at it he came and asked if we needed a ride, said no but talked about his tail light guessing that he wouldn’t know what a Skyline was (haven’t seen any here) but he actually did and then went on to say that his Tuk Tuk wasn’t as fast as one though haha. It’s funny what they do to their cars here in Thailand. The little Van / Truks are usually painted in a bright color and then in the back section where you sit have big custom audio and light installs! Heaps of speakers and custom sub enclosures with LED’s and neon’s everywhere in them! Pretty funny to see. Heaps of random cars have funny mods too, a lot are low and have a canon on them, everything from vans to utes to motrbikes have canons! There are also a fair few with big brake upgrades and slotted or cross drilled rotors! Some also have “Brembo Brakes”, the clip on variety from eBay!

 

 

Anyway, we headed home after a pretty big night and crashed after having a jam packed day. Such a good day today, the islands were great to go to and really nice swimming and snorkelling. A nice way to come down on our last full day of our trip.

 

 

 

Room:

 

 

Tonight we are again at Loveli Guesthouse, Patong Beach Phuket. For a review head to Day 1.

 

 

Tomorrow we’ve booked our elephant trek and then our transfers to the airport to fly out. Not really ready to go home yet but running low on cash so I guess it’s about time to head back to the working world!

 

Well, the day we fly out has come. Our trip has gone so fast and we have done so much! We’ve been to 3 different countries, covered 4400km of travel within Asia, stayed in luxurious resorts to stingy guesthouses and “treehouse accommodation”, had broken down busses to tuk-tuk intimidation – it’s been so much fun!

 

 

We started our day after our alarm had been going off for about an hour… woops. We quickly went over the road for some quick cheap breakfast and headed back to our room to pack. We had to check out by 12 and our transfer for our elephant trek arrived at 12 so we had to be ready by then. We hurriedly packed our bags for the last time and said goodbye to our room. We made it down stairs right on 12, left our bags down there and headed off to the elephant trek.

 

 

Took about 45 minutes to get there which was just down from places that we had looked at 4 weeks ago to go for a trek. We waited a little bit while the people in from of us go on and then it was our turn.

 

 

We hopped in to the seat strapped on to “Chumba”, the 45 year old female elephant and headed off. The guide usually sits on top of the elephants head, although ours didn’t and we got to go the whole trek with just us on the elephant which was pretty cool! About 10 minutes in he told me to sit on the elephants head where the guides usually sit which was awesome! We travelled through a track that went up a nearby hill. Cumba was a great elephnant, seemed like a few of the other ones we seen along the way wanted to do their own thing. Chumba made sure we had plenty of stops on the way though so she could eat the bushes and plants along the way.

 

 

After we got back we fed her some pineapple and bought the photo that they took at the start of us on the elephant. We then headed back to near where we were staying and went to the markets around there in search of a bag. We’ve bought too much stuff along the way so need one for on board luggage so our bags aren’t over weight!

 

 

After finding a bag and grabbing some lunch we headed back to Loveli and waited for our transfer to arrive for the airport. The mini van came at 4 so we grabbed our stuff, said goodbye and thankyou to Niel and Andrew and headed off to the airport. We got there just after 5pm, got all checked in, stamped out of the country, did a bit of duty free shopping and then waited until 7pm when we boarded our plane. Pretty sad that our trip is over seeing as we have had such an awesome time.

 

 

We boarded our plane which is a mix between Strategic Airlines, Air Australia and AtlasJet from Turkey who’s airplane and crew Air Australia are apparently borrowing for a few months? Oh well, as long as it gets us back to Melbourne in one piece. Was looking forward to watching a few movies on the way home but the in flight entertainment is all in Turkish so they aren’t turning it on. So far I’ve just been writing these last blogs to catch them all up and might head off to sleep now. We are probably about half way through our flight now, time zone change this way is going to be a bit of a pain but not much we can do.

 

 

So that’s it for our South East Asia trip! It’s been so much fun and a great experience for what has been pretty much both of our first big trips alone (inside Australia doesn’t count!). I definitely plan on coming back to SE Asia some time in the future. It’s a really nice place with so much to do, so much to see and very cheap to do it all. The people are very nice, the culture is very peaceful, the food is awesome, and have I said it’s cheap? Hopefully these blogs might help some people who plan on travelling to SE Asia.

 

 

No more blogs every day! Woohoo!

 

 

 

Room:

 

 

Tonight we are sleeping in row 34 H & K of AtlasJets A330-200.

 

Air conditioning, the toilets are small, the living space isn’t very large and the beds aren’t too comfortable. No free wifi either! But there is free meals, free alcohol, oh and it covers a few thousand kilometres overnight so that’s a plus!

 

 

 

Daily blogs are finally done haha. From now on I’ll most likely blog about car updates, events, or general happenings once in a while. Or if I feel like dumping some photos I’ll probably put them up on here. Check back if you want to see whats going on!

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Good read Blake,

 

Did pretty much what i did 3 years ago, how awesome is it, going back to thailand later this year..cant friggen wait!

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Awesome blog it's so detailed

Ill have to spend more time reading it when I get home most of the pics arnt loading on my phone :(

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