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Krystal & Rhys Go to Thailand!

THAILAND | Thursday, 30 August 2012 | Views [391]

Waiting at Sydney Airport, July 11, 2012, with far too much time on our hands, I start to panic that this trip should have been booked by a travel agent who knew what to do. My second trip internationally, first to a country with a first language I don’t speak, and I thought “No worries, why pay commission when I can book it all myself?” Once we had shared a beer (no way was I paying that price for 2) and had a feed, the nerves began to subside.

After a 50 minute delay, we were onboard and I could not settle long enough to drift off, mind you, Rhys was already snoring away next to me. Could not fault Emirates food and services though!

A tickle in my throat was growing and by the time we got out of customs (3:30am), after a 10hr flight and a 2hr shuffle in line at customs, we finally were on our way to sprawling out on the over biggest, softest most comfortable bed I have ever seen at the Novotel Suvarnabhumi Airport Hotel.

After a short rest and refresh we made our way to The Grand Sukhumvit Hotel (Accorr). Organised some tours to fill the next few days and checked out the hotel. The staff were so friendly and helpful. Rhys made the mistake of saluting to one of the security guards who gave him a wary stare.

Our first real experience of Bangkok was walking the dangerous looking back streets to the Nana Station and exploring the area around. It was a real culture shock, not one bit of space wasted, no real apparent road rules, every car scratched and dented, tuk tuks and motorbikes (with a family of 4 on the one bike) whizzing past, not to mention the buzzing street powerlines hanging at ear level, it was clear to us we were in another world. Crossing the street was the hardest and scariest challenge. Where there were crossings, people did not slow, but seemed to speed up.

While my head cold worsened, Rhys feed me water and pain killers to ensure I made it through the city temple tour in the 30 something degree heat, wearing jeans and a black top wasn’t the smartest decision I’ve ever made. Despite slight disorientation, I was in awe of the amount of dedication that the budhist Thai community put into their temples that were all covered in hand painted murals or mosaic tiles or housed statues made of sacred stone or precious metals (5.5 tonne solid gold budha!).

That evening I wasn’t up for much and sent Rhys off into Bangkok alone for food while I slept. I watched from our window as he disappeared into Bangkok and thought to myself “Bangkok has him now”. To my surprise, he returned with McDonalds in hand (which he says is the best he’s ever had and he should know as he would live of it if he could). A little sad he had his first Tuk Tuk experience without me. In my absence he also managed to have an older lady offer him favours for 60 Baht ($2 AUD).

The following day, feeling a little better, we went on the Floating markets, River Kwai and Tiger Temple tour. The ride into the floating markets on long tail boat was much more interesting than the markets themselves. I had my first bartering experience and found the women in this market place far too aggressive. To my relief, I later learnt that kind of behaviour was limited to Bangkok.

The River Kwai museum wasn’t too organised or well maintained, however, there was a lady outside from the safari park around the corner trying to raise funds for their leopard program and for a small donation you could have a hold of a real life baby leopard. I had heard many a story of people who kept wild animals caged and charged people for photos but this little guy was healthy and really playful on a long loose leash so I couldn’t resist the chance to have a cuddle. Later that afternoon we went to Tiger temple and I was saddened to see these majestic animals being dragged up onto people laps without stirring at all.

At some point during our stay in Bangkok Rhys ate fried crickets and felt he had achieved something, I felt he had to brush his teeth.

Our last day in Bangkok was spent in MBK shopping centre which was a 7 storey market stall version of Westfield which was great for souvenirs and Christmas presents.

The most amazing part of Bangkok for me was walking along the streets and eating the food from the carts whether it be eating pad Thai for 80 Baht on Khoa San Road whilst watching the street dancers or simply grabbing some delicious foreign fruit and a coconut to wash it down whilst walking round the streets.

After a very quick flight we were in Krabi, a whole world away from Bangkok it seemed. With lush forest, sandstone cliffs, and much quieter roads we agreed that the anxiety of Bangkok had long been forgotten, it was time to relax.

And relax we did spending the first afternoon in the Thai Village Resort’s pool sitting at the swim up bar and sipping on cocktails.

The following day we went to the Phi Phi Islands on a speedboat tour and snorkelled with some colourful fish. Our guide was hilarious.

We spent our evenings wandering the main street eating at a different make shift restaurant each night and each time we left full and satisfied.

Shopping on the main street along the beach was a challenge for Rhys as every third shop was a tailor with a pushy salesman in his face until they reached the territory of the next pushy salesman.

On the third day we met a lovely Belgium couple and went on a kayaking adventure through the mangroves, paddled through some river caves and saw some cave paintings. Ending the day with a dip in a natural pool of cool turquoise water that came from up in the mountain.

The last day we lounged by the pool drinking cocktails and enjoying the sun.

We hired a driver to take us to Khoa Lak and from the moment we arrived at The Sarojin we felt like royalty.

Our room was amazing with 2 showers (one standard and one waterfall style) and indoor garden around the bath which was an eggshell bath more than big enough for 2 people and to top it off we had our own private plunge pool.

We also went kayaking whilst in Khao Lak, however, this time we were paddled with beer and wine in hand. All the staff knew our name and what our activities were and all seemed genuinely interested in us. We then went on a elephant ride through the forest and ate a 2 course meal next to a river in Koh Sok national park.

The only downfall to our stay in Khao lak was that it was the wrong season for snorkelling as the marine life are given 6 months of the year to repopulate.

I cannot speak highly enough of the service we received while staying at The Sarojin and would recommend it to everyone!

We were constantly told how lucky we were that it was raining during the night only, allowing us to enjoy the sun all day long which is unusual for July. Our holiday was amazing, we never went without, came back with so many goodies, great memories and money in our pocket to boot!

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