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Hello Bangkok (and South East Asia)!

sunny 30 °C

Happy New Years! First off, apologies for the length of this entry, it was hard to get it any shorter and there is so much more that I didn't even cover! I'll try to be more concise in future updates but can't promise anything.

After a three week break back home in Ireland for Christmas, it was time to hit the road for part two of my travels. I really enjoyed my time in Dublin - it was great seeing everyone and spending Christmas day with the family. I definitely made the right choice. It was weird being back at first but after a week it had felt like I had never left. All my Australian experiences from 2010 seemed like a distant memory and certainly a lot shorter than 12 weeks in retrospect.

This week was very strange - it didn't hit me until Tuesday that I was actually going again. With two days to go I had nothing organised. But by Thursday everything got sorted and I was on my way. I wasn't as sad leaving this time - it's not as scary travelling for the second time, especially when I've now got a travelling buddy to go with for the Asian part. I mentioned this last year but I met my travel buddy Carly through a friend of a friend in Sydney very much by chance in Wagamamas Japanese restaurant. We clicked instantly and the rest is history. We have a similar sense of humour and want to do exactly the same things so it has worked out perfectly. Here's a brief update on the itinary for part two before I get started:

  • 8 Weeks in South East Asia (Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and possibly Hong Kong/Maccau)
  • 1 Week in Sydney
  • 3 Weeks in New Zealand
  • 2 Weeks in Fiji
  • 1 Week in LA/San Diego

Thursday was a very long day - I left for the airport at 3pm, flew out at 6.30pm (after an hour delay), landed in London and then flew to Bangkok at 9.30pm. The flights were grand. Mr. Sleeping Tablets came in handy yet again and knocked me out for 6 of the 11 hour flight. I arrived into Bangkok finally at 3.30pm the following day local time i.e. 8.30am Irish time. Thrilled to be there, my good form was soon lost as I discovered my baggage had been left behind in London. The annoyance! I haven't had this in years and it really is a pain in the arse. After doing the whole baggage reporting routine, I got myself a cab and headed for the hotel.

I forgot how bad the traffic was in this city (I had been to Thailand in 2009 for 2 weeks). It takes literally ages to get anywhere by car. A word of advice for anyone - get the MRT underground or Sky Train as much as you can! However I also forgot how cheap it actually was - an hour long journey cost just ten Euro. Love it! A trip to 7 Eleven shortly after cost me just 2.70 Euro (roughly) for 2 large bottles of water, a toasted ham and cheese sandwich, a yoghurt, tube of toothpaste and a toothbrush. You can't go wrong... The hotels we're staying in are all going to be pretty much 3 star. At 14 Euro per night why not? However judging by the first one, I think it's more 2 star in terms of Western standards. I would call it pleasent plus - room are grand and clean with aircon. TV was dodgy, safe and room key weren't working initially and the pool is broken for the next month. Oh well, it beats a hostel anyday.

Carly arrived a couple hours after me looking like death warmed up - she decided to save a few quid (literally) and took the option of 3 seperate stops from Sydney. What should have been a straightforward 9 hours ended up being 24. Live and learn Carly! That evening we settled in and went for dinner down the road catching up on the past 3 weeks. An early night was in order. Saturday morning and we both woke up in great form. First day of the holiday - thrilled! A quick breakfast and off to sightsee. Only it turned out it was student day (i.e. all general attractions were free for them). Rather than facing thousands of Thai students and Qs we headed to the local shopping mall. I got myself kitted out with a new t-shirt and shorts (essential in this weather) and treated ourselves to a fish spa - very tickly, we were both laughing uncontrollably at the start with a lot of people staring at us like freaks. Oh well. The feet felt great after. We then got some lunch and randomly, went bowling where we both were completely awful - I'm blaming the jet lag. Apparently it's what you do in Asia on your first day!


Getting back to the hotel my luggage had still not arrived - not happy! I was starting to get a bit worried but there was nothing I could do that evening as the airport helpline had shut and I had already spoken to them that day. Like me, Carly loves a good powernap before a night out so that evening after a two hours sleep we were ready to hit the nightlife. We met up with Dan one of my mates who was on the last night of his holiday along with his brother which resulted in a very long night of drinking and karaoke. I only signed myself up for two songs but the Thai people don't mind sharing one of their two microphones (I think) so I barely stopped. 2.30am and it was time for a drunken McDonalds and good oul Tuk Tuk home to bed.



Sunday was quite productive all things considered - we took in an Asian Modern Art Gallery...






...walked around Chinatown and went to visit one of the Temples. I'll probably be sick to death of them by week 8 but for now I can't get enough. It's very surreal walking around the markets and taking it all in, I just love the whole Asian-ness of it (is it PC to say that?). My luggage finally arrived that night and all was where it was meant to be thank god. I felt like I hadn't seen my bag in over a week and I was so fed up of only having two things to wear and no toiletries. We had planned to go to Cambodia the following morning but were knackered so decided to extend our stay in Bangkok by a day. The joys of having a flexible travelling plan - it's the first time ever I've ever had the luxury of this.







Today we're having a relatively lazy day as tomorrow we head to Cambodia - the first of four border crossings over the next two months. I've read many horror stories so it'll be interesting to see how exagerated or bad it is! Next blog update at the end of the week.

Some Observations (Look away now if you're the sensitive type)

Asians as we know will eat most things. From chicken's feet to pigs faces, it's all readily available.


Tuk Tuks are great fun - but if they offer a great price don't get on. You'll be taken to 50 jewellery and diamond stores en route. Not loving it!

The local beggers love milking any misfortune they have - one old man missing a leg was only too happy to roll around on a skateboard highlighting his condition. I really should have gotten a picture...

Dirty old Western men are EVERYWHERE. Especially in our hotel. Last night we were woken up at 4am by some Thai prostitute screaming at an old man who just kept apologising. Maybe he couldn't perform??? Anyway, RUDE.

On a final note, a lot of English signs are getting 'lost in translation'. Here's just one example:


Posted by mattld 21:56 Archived in Thailand

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Haha yeah you do love the microphone. Had a fab night, hope you and Carly have a great trip! x

by Dan

I do :P Likewise - cheers :)

by mattld

Sounds like ye are having fun so far! Love the blog!

by Liz

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