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Tales from the Scrapbook! This journal is mainly to post some photos of my travels.

Bangkok

UNITED KINGDOM | Thursday, 26 March 2009 | Views [338]

I'd returned to Australia in mid December 2008 and stayed for three months. It had been fantastic to catch up with family and friends over xmas and new years and then to have the opportunity to work in the media room at the Australian Open in January will be something that i'll look back on as a great experience. Attending a couple of weddings and also a trek on the Overland Track were the other highlights (along with missing the winter in Europe!)

I ended up booking a frequent flyer round the world ticket for my long-haul travel for the year (thanks for the points top-up Mum!). It meant that I could have a stop over in Asia on my way back to Europe and then enable me to return to Australia via South America. 

I flew out of Sydney on BA bound for Bangkok (evidently my flight from Melbourne to Sydney carried one of the bikies who ended up being killed at the airport). The flight was chockers - so much so that I ended up with a middle seat despite checking in three hours early!

The flight was about 8 hours and the time passed reasonably quickly - i had a couple of newspapers with me and watched a movie or two. Because it was a day-time flight the need to sleep wasn't really an issue. Touched down in Bangkok around 10:30pm and got a pretty quick run through customs and picking up my luggage. After getting hold of some Thai Baht at the ATM I then hopped on an airport bus bound for Sukhumvit Road and my accommodation at the Nana Hotel. The traffic was reasonably free flowing which was one bonus of arriving in the late evening.

Sukhumvit Road was pretty busy and I was scanning the sois pretty thoroughly to work out when to get off. The driver was shouting out random spots which didn't make much sense so I took a punt when I thought I should alight and wasn't too far off the mark which is good. I was soon walking down Soi 5, which it turned out, was in a somewhat seedy location, as there were plenty of elderly European blokes being escorted around by Thai girls who would've been about a third of their age! I was staying at the Ibis Nana Hotel which I soon found out was not the Nana Hotel (after trying to check-in there). Thankfully the neon lights of the Ibis sign appeared soon after and I was relieved to enter the air-conditioning again! The hotel had just been renovated and was excellent in all respects.

After breakfast in the hotel the next morning I explored some of the city on foot. It was pretty hot and the shopping centres were great for recharging the batteries. I also booked a tour for the following daywhich will take in the floating markets and the tiger temple. Hopped on the Skytrain too which was fantastic (it's really cheap and efficient) and there was a stop near my hotel which was good. I then met up with one of my mates from the ABS, Sebba, whose girlfriend is over here working for the UN. We took in a quiz night at an Irish pub which was a bit random but was a good catch up anyway. We then had a late dinner at this famous restaurant which was managed by the Population & Community Development Association of Thailand. The food was pretty decent actually.

The following morning I was up and about early for the 6.30 tour pick-up. I was kept waiting a while which made me think I might've been ripped off but eventually the bus came. The saga continued when we seemed to spend an eternity lurking around the sois trying to pick some other punters up before eventually giving up on them. We headed up to Katchanburi via the floating markets which was extremely touristy. The heat was really intense by this stage and I was pumping the water into me. It was then on to the Jeath War Cemetery and the Bridge on the River Kwai which I'd seen previously, and it hadn't really changed that much in ten years.

The highlight of the tour was definitely the visit to the Tiger Temple which was really interesting - these monks have trained these tigers to be non-agressive and you get to walk around with the tigers and have your pic taken sitting right next to them which is a bit confronting!

As we were leaving the temple a massive storm was brewing and the trip back to Bangkok involved pelting rain and uprooted trees everywhere as a result of the huge wind gusts. Thankfully we made it back in one piece and by the time we arrived back in Bangkok things had fined up. The traffic was really thick back in Bangkok and I was one of the last people to be dropped off which was a bit annoying. That night I headed to the night markets and cut some good deals.

I cruised around Bangkok with Sebba on my final day which was great as he was able to show me a few neighbourhoods around the city which I otherwise wouldn't have got to see and I got to try some local foods which were pretty good. There was quite a big protest in Bangkok to do with the ongoing political tensions but thankfully they were peaceful and didn't really disrupt us. We hopped on a couple of long-tail boats and cruised around which was good fun and also purchased a couple more items at Pratunam markets.

Before long it was time to head to the airport (it took a while to get hold of a cab actually). The road on the trip out to the airport was not overly congested and I was able to check in to my Finnair flight as soon as check-in opened. From here I was able to get in to the Qantas Club which made the last couple of hours in Bangkok a little more enjoyable!

Whilst it had been a pretty busy three days it was great to break up the flight and soak in the final bit of warmth before hitting London!

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