A Travellerspoint blog

4 nights in Bangkok

Really loving this place

sunny 32 °C

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We arrived in Bangkok on sunday around lunchtime and cruised easily into the city (about 30mins) from the airport - not by tuk tuk in the picture but by taxi. So far so good. checked into our hotel - only 800 baht ($40) and even has a rooftop swimming pool! (Thanks Melissa!!!) Decent room with whats most important to chris - air con.

We are staying on soi Rambuuttri which is just around the road from the main backpackers hub - Khao San Rd. Went out for a wander and while Chris went back after half an hour or so I stayed and went shopping. I went back a couple of times but only for more money! the shopping is great! I bought 3 dresses for around $8 each!!! Heaps of clothes, massages, manicre/pedicure shops, food stalls etc.

Went for a late afternoon swim and sunbath before heading out to one of the many mnay places selling cheap and delicious thai food. Much much cheaper here. People are also friendlier and not so quick to rip you off.

Next day we met up with a tour guide I had booked through trip adviser. She would be taking us around the sites to let us know what we were looking at so it all had some significance. It was probably one of the best pre-planning decisions I could have made because she was fantastic!!

We went to the grand palace where the 6th and 7th Kings previously lived (they currently are ruled under the 9th King). amazing place, huge and everything is very detailed and all hand painted. Even the wallpaper! We will visit Thailands two ancient capitals in the next couple of weeks - Ayutthaya and Sukhothai.

Ayutthaya is a mass of ruins as a result of war against the Burmese. Apparently during war precious buddha statues and treasures were covered with plaster to conceal their value. We saw two of these - one being the Emerald buddha held at Wat Phra Kaeo and the other the Golden Buddha which is 5.5 tonnes solid gold!

Jan told us a lot of Buddhism and the different Buddhas. There is one for each day of the week differentiated by positions.

The reclining Buddha is the Tuesday Buddha.
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This position symbolises entering nirvana (the afterworld).

We also crossed the river Chao Phraya to get to Thomburi. There we saw Wat Arum - which is the temple of the dawn. It was the point of the river that indicated to people that they had reached old siam.

After saying goodbye to the lovely Jan we went for our late afternoon swim and decided it was high time to try out a traditional thai massage. They pulled, paked, prodded, twisted with all parts of their bodies (elbows, feet etc) for an hour. My back and neck clicked around 6 times! It took me around 20 mins to get used to it but after that really enjoyed it. Chris was a bit dazed after - he had a strong guy who didn't hold back. Much cheaper than a chiropractor at $7 an hour!!

Today we wnt to a mansion that King Rama 5th lived in for a few years! Showed us his treasures including too muck ivory for my liking and even hollowed out elephant legs used for who knows what?!?! Then we cruised to a mega shopping centre and bought a cell phone. figured we would need one to find jobs sooner or later even though I would like to pretend we are on holiday for a year!

Spending one more day in Bangkok then off to Kanchanaburi for a couple of nights!

Posted by nzwendy 03:46 Archived in Thailand Comments (3)

We made it to Thailand...just

Ko samui Island

sunny 32 °C

We made it to thailand after a few hiccups and I have left the blogging till now as I needed a couple of days to cool off. As Chris said to me - he had expected all of this to happen the minute we arrived in Asia so we should be happy we have had 2 weeks of easy travelling in Malaysia where the people and country are beautiful, friendly and welcoming.

The first hiccup was going throught the thai border where I had expected some trouble due to the fact that we didn't have any proof of onward travel of which is required. The scary guy at customs was more concerned about the fact that they hadn't actually stamped my passport at the Malaysian borer and we were told to run back - past all the guards and officers with guns and around the soldiers who were out for their morning run. And the border wasn't just a few metres away either - we were running a few k's in the 30 degree plus heat praying that our bus wasn't going to leave without us and with our bags! Anywho it was all sweet and the malay guys were amused by the whole charade and even the scary thai officer at the border let me push in once we got back.

After 10 hours of travelling (by now we should have been at koh samui - the island) we fianlly made it to surat thani where we were to get a ferry to samui. Anyway to cut a long story short after paying more money and then more money again (even though the whole trip to samui was pre-paid) and another 5 hours later we finally made it. exhausted and with little faith in these new people and this new country.

a few hiccups happened the next day but then we decided to learn from our mistakes and get on with it so since then its been great!

It was my birthday today and we hired a scooter and hooned round the island to find secluded paradise beaches. After finding none we settled on the second main beach - Lamai - where we swam and had some well deserved beers. As drinking is heaps cheaper here compared to Malaysia (Malaysia being mostly Muslim) we decided to scoot back to our beach (chaweng) and have a beach bar crawl in honour of my bday. Had some delicious cocktails and enjoyed singha (thai brand) beer at various places. Very touristy here - some fancy as places with cushions and candles on the beach.

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Chris and I have a new game that we will continue playing until we leave here. Its called - spot the old whitey with the rent- a -bride. At the moment its 8 - 5 to Chris. but I still have 3 days to beat him.

Another cool thing that happened was that I was given a random scratchy card and won a week in a resort in Phuket! And on my birthday and all! Yes things are definitely looking up!

After our dinner and drinks this evening we walked back along the beach and watched a lightning storm - there have been a few, being monsoon season, but so far the rain has only come at night.

In the next few days we plan to: Go kayaking, jet skiing, get a massgae on the beach and a thai lady today told chris he needs a pedicure so we'll try to fit that in too! Then we are flying to Bangkok. Ten times more expensive but a hundred times less hassel than catching ferry then overnight train we figure!

Thanks for the birthday wishes!

Posted by nzwendy 06:49 Archived in Thailand Comments (2)

The Cameron Highlands

A few days of relief

all seasons in one day 20 °C

its even not to hot for me to actually write something...

Have spent four nights in the highlands where it is cold; we are actually at about 1500m above sea level. lots of tea plantations. We kicked off with a bit of a trip around the area where we went to the highest peak (about 2k) - drove up there of course. Next went on a wander through a 'mossy forrest' where there was a lot of moss. The guide was great and showed us what all the stuff we eat actually looks like in the wild. Saw cinamon and deep heat and i cant remember the rest. We also watched the people picking tea and then went to the tea factory and had a nice cuppa.

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Chris picking tea at BOH tea plantation. Didn't get paid for it though :)

Did a bush walk the next day which was all downhill - which meant we had to go back uphill at the end so we got a taxi home instead.

Today we played golf and that was nice. There are malaysian ball hobits hiding in the bushes though, and if you hit your ball in there they take it - and then try to sell it back to you. Just as well I had six golf balls - played the last 5 holes on one i found once the others were 'lost'

Tomorrow we bus back into the warmth for a few days on the island of penang before heading north into thailand. We have booked a 3 day stay learning to become elephant handlers later in june so that should be good

Posted by nzchris 03:33 Archived in Malaysia Comments (5)

Taman Negara National park

90% humidity!

sunny 32 °C

On Saturday we left for a visit to the Taman Negara national park (not knowing it would be packed to the brim because of a national holiday on Monday). To get there we took a bus to the town of Jerentut (3HRS) where we had lunch and waited for an hour for our longboat to depart. The boat trip took around 2 Hours and was fantastic. There was a nice cool breeze, lots of native bush and wildlife. The only people aloud to live off the land are the tribal people - the Orang Asli. We were out at the first stop - the Peronus Resort - which sounds lovely but is actually in the village about a 5 minute drive from the other accommodations close to the centre. We were luck to get in at all and got the last room (an 8 bed dorm with fan). We then had one of the many many showers were would have at Taman Negara.

We had an organised tour for that evening (a night jungle walk) and for the following day with a group of about 10. 3 Italians, 1 German, 1 French guy, us and the rest Malaysians and even they thought it was too hot!
We met our guide, Mr Herman, who led us on the walk through the jungle. We saw wild elephants and tigers... Not even close. We saw stick insects, spiders, ants and a bat! Funny - Malaysians are so friendly and enthusiastic they were oohing and aahing over everything! Back home for another shower and a hot and itchy nights sleep. Lots of bugs which is to be expected. Chris had NO sleep but I was fine. Luckily there was coffee for breakfast.

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Our second day was full of activities. First we went on the Longest canopy walkway in the world at 450M long! Not as high as the one Em and I went on in ghana but definitely longer (well it would have been if half of it wasn't blocked off for repairs!) Whew, didn't worry me! Next we went on the bukit teresek track which is a 700m uphill track. Chris and I were surprisingly fit though - must have been all those Positano steps!

After lunch - all of our meals are at a floating restaurant, literally floating on the river - went home had shower number two and a rest. Later in the day we went back to meet our group, hop back in the longboat and 'shoot the rapids'. This involves getting saturated which was fantastic. Loved it! Dripping wet we went ashore to visit one of the tribes - this particular one called batik (pronounced differently than the batik cloth). they are a nomadic tribe so the travel agency has to find out where they are month to month. They leave their village when food runs scarce or if there has been a death in the tribe. The demonstrated fire starting and how to make the poisonous darts they use for hunting. I even had a go at using it. Basically you hold, aim and blow and the dart shoots out. I didn't quite get the target though (which wasn't chris - a little toy hanging on a board). I will post a photo later.

Went home for shower number 3 before dinner. The same as the last 3 meals - rice, fish, chicken and vegetables. Would love a sammy but better get used to this! Spent our last night in Taman Negara - pretty tired. Leaving at 8am tomorrow for the Cameron Highlands. looking forward to some cooler weather!

Posted by nzwendy 02:12 Archived in Malaysia Comments (2)

Selamat from Malaysia

Mysterious Melaka...

sunny 30 °C

Why is Melaka mysterious? Because besides shopping for a ring (which took about an hour if that) and a wee wander around we did nothing else except sleep. As much as we wanted to explore jet lag took over and so we slept. We flew from Rome to Singaport (12.5 HRS) With no or little sleep, waited 2 HRS for a bus once in Singapore (at 6am) and then endured a 4.5 HR bus ride to Melaka. But we were staying at a fantastic hostel called Kancil guesthouse and if we hadn't already have booked accommodation in KL we would have stayed longer.

Next day we caught another bus for KL. We were still pretty tired and dazed and I was wondering why they were refusing to sell me a 11.30am ticket and going on something about 12.30 bla bla bla. Five mins before our bus was due to leave I realised. It was not 11.30 like I thought but 12.30 when I bought the tickets.
They must have thought I was raving mad trying to buy a 11.20 ticket at 12.20pm. We didn't have time to finish our maccas but had to chuck it out and haul ass to the bus. (I also blame the jet lag on buying maccas).

Made it to our very cool hostel (Red palm guesthouse). Very helpful staff and a room with aircon and very good value too. There is a common room with about 50 or so DVD's to choose from and plenty of SE Asia guidebooks and a book swapping system which is great because I've already finished two and need a new one. They have three computers with internet too and breakfast is included plus they keep fruit in the fridge for us. Couldn't ask for better really.

Spent day one having a look around the area and shopping. Was looking forward to getting back into bargaining and re-using all those skills I learned from our time in Ghana and Egypt!

Chinatown night market had much the same as in Italy (handbags, purses, watches and glasses) except much cheaper here. The people are all super friendly (except one man who called me an idiot - he was indian) But it was very hot and crowded and although chris did very well (sungalsses and hat) I bought nothing. Ah well I still have a few months to get back into the swing of bargaining and crowded markets etc.

Food is all very good and tasty. We are not too worried about being careful with what we ate and so far so good. The secret is to eat where the locals are eating (for cheap food) and where it is busy (for fresh and clean food).

Today was our second day in KL and we had an early start (our very first one so far - our average morning start has been about half ten!) and headed to the petronas towers - the highest twin towers in the world. Apparently 263 times my height I learned later. They give out a certain amount of tickets (free) per visit so we booked ours in for 2pm and then caught the hop on hop off bus for a tour of the city. Stopped off at a craft village where you can watch painters, carvers and people making batik out of wax and dye.

The trip up the petronus towers was to the sky bridge which joins the towers. Great views from the top and an interesting 3D presentation about how they were made in just 2 and a half years.

Later we went shopping again and I bought a watch for 12 Ringgit (around $3.50) and a top for 15 Ringgit. Loving the bargains - unfortunately there's only so much we can fit in our bags so we will eventually have to stop! We also bought a tiny harddrive to keep our hpotos on instead of carting arounds CDs or DVDs. (Chris is sorting the photos right now).

Tonight we decided to go th the imax cinema which was the size of the netire front of the cinema (maybe twice the size if cimena one at readings?) pretty big anyway. Watched iron man. Good choice for an imax cinema!

Tomorrow we plan on getting some fresh air at the lake park and gardens and Chris wants to visit the bird park. then we will climb the KL tower in the evening for some night views over the city.

Posted by nzwendy 09:00 Archived in Malaysia Comments (2)

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