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Thailand

THAILAND | Saturday, 10 March 2007 | Views [448]

The modernity of Bangkok smacked us in the face when we arrived, like my little sister Rachel smacks me for being an idiot.  It was hugely different from anything we’d seen in India.  The facilities in and around the city centre were excellent, with well-maintained footpaths, nice gardens and people employed to pick up rubbish.  Obviously it’s not like that in the slums, but at least the government is making an effort to make it a pleasant place for visitors.  It seems to have improved a lot since we were there in 2002.   There’s an excellent monorail, which makes travelling around parts of the centre very easy.  Bangkok has masses of temples and some useful ferries on the river, which are attractions some other large Asian cities (Jakarta for example) don’t have.
We went to islands on the east coast in 2002, so thought we’d see the west this time round.  We got an overnight bus to Phuket, staying there for 5 nights.  Spending 5 days in a row on the beach could be horrendously boring, so we hired a bike and hooned around on that for a few days.  We felt like odd ones out, as Wenny’s Asian but not Thai, while I’m western but not Swedish.  A lot of people seem to go there for a week a year to get their skin cancer fix.  It is actually very nice round there, especially away from the developed areas.  Lots of people seem to go there instead of Bali these days.
From Phuket we didn’t feel like going too far, so went to a couple of beaches near Krabi.  After spending a couple of nights at the main beach (Ao Nang), which was a bit too built-up for our liking, we went by longtail boat to Railay, which was much more attractive.  The area was packed with beautiful limestone cliffs, but not as many Swedes.  It looked pretty similar to the area in The Beach, starring teen actor Leonardo Decaprio. 
We stayed in hotels and bungalows, and found that we never really met anyone except when we were on buses.  I wished at times that we were staying at backpackers like I always used to.  When a solo traveller I would slum it to save money (even sleeping outdoors on a beach and on concrete by a highway in Holland), but met a lot more people.  Anyway, from Thailand we got a bus down to Malaysia.

Tags: Beaches & sunshine

 

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