A Travellerspoint blog

Across the border we go

Making our way overland from Thailand to Cambodia

semi-overcast 33 °C

Hey everyone,

We just wanted to say a big thank you for checking out our blog and for all your comments. :-) Here is our next update….

Our intentions were to leave Chiang Mai on Saturday 16th, but all transport was fully booked due to everyone leaving after Songkran. We booked another night at MD house and went out later that night, had some Mexican food and watched City beat United in the FA cup! So, did we leave the next day I hear you ask??? Nopes, Kayleigh was very poorly sick with heat exhaustion (not nice). Eventually we left on the 19th and by then we were more than ready to go somewhere new.

After another 10 hour bus journey from Chiang Mai to Bangkok, we were lucky enough to be dropped off pretty much outside our Guest House. We checked in at 6am and slept most of the day. Ha. This was just a stop over really before leaving the following morning and making our way to Aranyaprathet to cross the Thai-Cambodian border.

We had heard about many scams involving people charging excessive amounts for visas and charging you to leave the county etc, and sure enough they were all on form! Before we even reached the official border itself we found ourselves in an office being told we needed to pay 1200 baht each before they could let us go any further. When we told them we would not be paying their fee the fake officer guy got pretty moody with us and threw a bit of a paddy saying that we were out of order for not trusting him, Lol….cheeky sods! After that it was pretty plain sailing, there were no queues for our visas that we got once in Cambodia and just an hour later we were sharing a taxi to Siem Reap (although the taxi driver over charged us we found out later, dammit).

Anyway, our Guest House was incredible; we were greeted with fresh orange juice, a cold towel and a warm welcome from the manager called Sonny. We decided to get something to eat at the little restaurant next to the Guest House, and ended up finding our new favourite (and very cheap) beer, Angkor! :-)

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The ultimate reason for visiting Siem Reap is the temples, particularly the world's largest religious building, Angkor Wat. We decided that we would wake up really early and ride our rented bicycles to the temple and watch the sunrise. Although when our alarm went off at 4:30am we decided to stay in bed – only to be woken up 15 minutes later by the way-too-efficient Sonny who had remembered our plans, HAHA! So, up we got, hopped on our bikes and raced the entire distance (about 6 miles lol) to try and reach the temple in time – we made it but unfortunately it was a little too cloudy to see the sun....typical. By then we were absolutely shattered from riding at full pace in 33 degree heat.

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The temple was well worth the trek on the bikes though, and we spent about 2 hours walking round the gardens and up the main tower to get the view. After having a bite to eat for breakfast, pancakes with lemon and sugar, we moved onto Angkor Thom, the once 'Great City' within the region.

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On the way we stopped to see some wild monkeys which were playing and jumping between trees, they had found a great spot by the road where locals were giving them fruit to eat.

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After about 5 hours of temple-spotting, we decided to call it a day and make our way back to our Guest House. The weather had improved the more the day had gone on, so we rode back in the sunshine. About 10 minutes away from our Guest House however, the heavens opened and it absolutely threw it down, so we made a quick detour and got under the nearest shelter. With rain in Cambodia though, 1 minute and your absolutely soaked! :-)

Our next move in Cambodia is to visit the beach town of Sihanoukville, about 8 hours south of Siem Reap. We intend to be beach bums for the next few days but will keep you updated as much as we can.

Speak soon,

Kayleigh & Phil

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Posted by JoyRyderRTW 23:45 Archived in Cambodia Tagged temple cambodia siem_reap angkor_wat angkor_thom joyryderrtw Comments (9)

One big adventure at Chiang Mai

Bamboo rafting, elephant trekking and a whole lot more!

sunny 31 °C

After 4 straight days of water fights in Chiang Mai, Songkran is now over. We've joined in the festivities almost every day, even on the Wednesday when it was pouring down with rain and the ice cold water was not so refreshing! All in all, an amazing few days, but now we're happy to be dry and be able to walk down the street without being literally covered from head to toe in water.

We've also enjoyed the nightlife in Chiang Mai, which has a great bar scene and a variety of restaurants mixed with tasty street food. On one particular night we headed to the Mae Ping River where we treated ourselves to a gorgeous meal at Deck 1. The food was exquisite and the view was pretty special too, with fairy lights and lanterns hanging from the trees overlooking the water. The restaurant served a feast of Thai delicioucies, Kayleigh went for Northern Thailand Spicy Sausage with Spaghetti, while Phil had Roast Duck with Signature Sauce, to finish off we shared warm chocolate cake with homemade ice cream…..mmmmmm! This was all polished off with a few beers and cocktails (being Kayleigh of course).

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While on this night we treated ourselves, we’ve spent most time eating food on the Sunday Walking Street, where the whole main road is filled with stalls selling everything from bags to jewellery to food. We’ve tried lots of different things (some pretty good and some pretty bad) including pad thai, various noodle soups, roast duck, home made crisps and even chicken kebabs. One of the things we could get used to would be the Thai massages, last night we both had a 30 minute foot massage which was at times painful but overall very relaxing!

Yesterday was a bit of an adventure. We woke up early, had some breakfast and were picked up to be taken south of the city. After driving through rice paddies, lush farmland and plantation fields we reached our destination at a remote hill tribe village. First to kick start the day was Bamboo Rafting, where 4 of us to a raft, we headed down the river through the jungle. For the most part the water was fairly calm, however when it did pick up it became more of a challenge and at one point our raft got stuck between 2 rocks which meant we all had to dismount and pull the raft free. So much for staying dry! By the time we had reached our destination the locals were out by the river enjoying Songkran, so with us floating past they took their chance to give us a good soaking.

Once back on dry land, we got the chance to ride elephants, something we had wanted to do before coming to Thailand. We chose this particular location as it’s well known for raising and looking after elephants in good conditions. Our elephant was Hung Wan, and for an hour she took us through the forestry accompanied by her baby Hung Chuk (or Mr Chuk). It was great to see the elephants up close and a real treat to ride them, a definite highlight of our trip so far!

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Later in the day we had lunch, then headed to a Karen village further into the jungle where we got to see exactly how a hill tribe community goes about daily life. All the houses were on stilts with roofs made from leaves, with the local women making dresses by hand for the rest of the tribe. Single girls and women wore white dresses to symbolise being available to males, something which we’re sure would come in handy on a night out for guys back home! In truth, it was a real eye opener to see how happy the people were as outsiders looking in, considering they had no western luxuries we take for granted every day but very close families and traditions.

Last stop, a 20 minute trek through the jungle to a gorgeous waterfall with clear, crisp water where were able to shower off and cool down after a long day. It was a stunning sight and completely refreshing, a great way to cap off our day.

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Our stay in Chiang Mai is almost at an end, so we’ll keep you updated when we can.

Speak soon,

Phil and Kayleigh

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Posted by JoyRyderRTW 02:08 Archived in Thailand Tagged elephant thailand chiang_mai karen songkran bamboo_rafting joyryderrtw Comments (0)

Bangkok to Chiang Mai

The end of Bangkok and the start of Songkran.

sunny -30 °C

On our last day in Bangkok we decided to make our way to the MBK shopping centre after hearing it was actually pretty spectacular. We took the Chao Praya Express boat to the end of the river and then the Sky Train into the centre of Bangkok, the shopping centre did not disappoint. It was MASSIVE and put the likes of the Trafford Centre to shame (it was six floors and like a maze).

After a bit of a mooch round and grabbing some lunch at their food court we headed outside where there was a concert featuring a number of Thai boy bands competing for the affections of screaming girls. Phil at this point couldn't help but get involved, forget Where's Wally...Find Phil!!!! Haha!

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Can't find him...............how about now??

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LOL!

Also at the front of MBK was a number of teenagers dressed up for cosplay, there's no real reason for this, teens just seem to like to dress up in Korean themed dress! See pic below....not sure how this would go down in Warrington on a Saturday afternoon??

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Back on Khao San we found a lil Indian restaurant and enjoyed a lovely curry and polished off some tiger beers, while eating there was a thunderstorm...never seen the locals move so quick. Luckily we were tucked away inside and got to watch it unfold.

The next day we checked out of our hostel and made our way to the bus station heading straight for Chiang Mai. After 9 hours we arrived at MD house at 6am and checked in. When we woke we thought we would head out to see the famous temples, unfortunately this did not happen. Phil was a lil bit silly and decided to eat some ice (we think it was the ice anyways) and spent the rest of the day being sick. DOH!

We woke up this morning and Phil was feeling much better. WHOOP!! After breakfast we went straight out, our first point of call - water guns to join in the celebrations for Thai New Year, or Songkran to the locals. This is quite literally the biggest water fight in the world with the whole main road through Chiang Mai filled with people soaking each other. If you're in a tuk tuk you get soaked, if your car window is open you get soaked, there is no escape. :-)

We got right into it and spent around four hours having a brilliant time with locals and travellers alike, our best day so far. Check out the video of Kayleigh getting drenched while Phil has an evil laugh!

To be honest this was only an hour in, fast forward a few hours and the entire street was filled with people with water pistols, jeeps with children throwing buckets of ice cold water and music blaring. Incredible. We wanted to take more photos but it was probably for the best that we kept the camera away.

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Tonight we are going to visit a restaurant that we saw earlier today and check out the night life. We've got loads planned for the next few days so will update you all again soon.

Love Kayleigh and Phil

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Posted by JoyRyderRTW 03:23 Archived in Thailand Tagged thailand bangkok chiang_mai songkran joyryderrtw Comments (7)

We've arrived in Bangkok!

Ok, so it's hot Hot HOT!

sunny 32 °C

First impressions of Bangkok, it's hectic, humid and down right crazy, but we're loving it! So far the people have been great, really welcoming and genuine, once we'd figured out how to deal with the (constant) touts that is......we pretend to not speak English, which is working in our favour as one of us keeps getting mistaken as Irish and the other as German, 10 points for guessing who's who?! The heat has been the hardest thing to adjust to, we're not sure what we'd have done without air-con in our room lol! We keep getting assured we'll get used to it over the next few days.

After jetting off from Manchester with a quick stop in Dubai, we arrived at Bangkok Airport on Wednesday night without a hitch. Managed to get the bus to Khao San Road with no trouble, but finding our Hostel on the wildly busy stretch of 200m was far more challenging than we anticipated! Especially with us carrying our rucksacks on our back and backpacks on our front, standing out like sore thumbs!

After half an hour later we found our Hostel, checked in, threw our bags down and all was good, heading straight out the door for an ice cold Singha beer each (large ones btw) and some Pad Thai. Kayleigh was a fan, however being a complete tourist at this point Phil opted for a Burger King, doh!

Our first full day here we jumped into a Tuk-Tuk to get our bearings, and the driver, Sum-Chi, was a great guide but a crazy driver indeed! He took us to see the "big Buddha" and a whole host of other touristy spots. At the end of the day we found our favourite bar, Molly Bar, great music, cheap drinks and a nice relaxing vibe.

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Today, we were a bit braver and headed for the express boats on the River (Chao Praya) which took us to Wat Po, one of the 3 main temples in Bangkok which was really impressive. While having a break we got talking to a Canadian couple called Andrew and Emilie, who've invited us to Vancouver in October, which we may just take them up on!

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We had lunch by the river, some lovely Chicken Noodle Soup and the wacky lady force fed us chicken balls and felt up Phil's boob hehe!

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We're now off out to get some further beers down us, as we think it'll be the best way of getting over the heat. Keep an eye on Facebook as we'll be uploading more photos over the next few days.

Speak soon,

Kayleigh & Phil

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Posted by JoyRyderRTW 09:11 Archived in Thailand Tagged thailand bangkok joyryderrtw Comments (2)

T-Minus 6 Days and Counting...

Only 6 days to go until we head off on the journey of a lifetime!

After months of planning and even longer spent saving as much money as possible, we're now down to the final 6 day count down before we leave Warrington for Thailand! Wow!

We've bought everything that we think we need, had all of our injections and are now slowly starting to say our goodbyes. With that being said, we still have a good few days of heavy drinking to fit in before our farewells on Tuesday 5th. :-)

We don't want to bore you on our first entry but here is just a quick rundown of our plans:

1st leg; Thailand-Cambodia-Vietnam-Laos-Malaysia-Singapore (3 months)
2nd leg; Australia-New Zealand-Fiji (3.5 months)
3rd leg; North America-Home (2 months)

We'll try to keep the Blog as up to date as possible, and cram in as many pics as we can too! Keep checking back for updates.

See you all soon,

Kayleigh & Phil

xxxxxx

Posted by JoyRyderRTW 14:52 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged home Comments (1)

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