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Bangkok

Thailand

sunny 35 °C
View Dream come true on Millypaulrtw's travel map.

So, we booked to stay in a hostel in Bangkok for three nights. This would give us enough time to see a few bits and plan our next move. Our hostel was called D Hostel and was just around the corner from Khao San Road. For those who have never heard of Khao San Road, it is famously referred to as "the centre of the backpacking universe" and consists of hostels, shops (mainly souvenir and clothes shops), bars, restaurants and travel agents. You will also find stools set up on the side of the street where food is prepared and many thai people walk up and down the street, selling anything from bracelets to scorpions to eat. Anyway, more about that later.

The hostel was the best we have stayed in yet during our trip. It was super clean, friendly staff, the bathrooms were separate for men and women, the location was walking distance to Koh San road and the Grand Palace. There where lots of good shops near by. (Loads of 7 eleven shops in thailand) the communal area was really good with free computers to use and a pool table, the beds were comfy with a curtain for privacy and a bedside light and power supply. The breakfast was even really good, with lots of variety.

We used Uber to get from the airport as its been really helpful during our trip, especially when we are arriving in a new country and dont want to get ripped off. Its just that bit of assurance which is nice. The driver took us straight to our hostel, without the usual stops made by taxi drivers at jewellery shops, suit shops, excursion shops and so on in Thailand. I remember from my previous trip to Bangkok a few years ago that we shouldn't really pay more than 500bht from suvarnabhumi airport to koh san road and its best to agree a price before getting in the taxi. Lots of taxi's will negotiate a cheaper ride if you stop at certain places on the way. We didnt want any of that. The taxi cost just shy of 400, so we were pretty pleased.

On our first day in Bangkok, we decided to visit the grand palace and see the emerald buddha. I (Melissa) have been waiting to see this for a long time as I didn't get chance last time I visited and so it was a bit of a big deal to me. We paid 500 baht each (about ยฃ10) to enter the grand palace. The queue was huge but went down pretty quickly. The weather was super hot! Especially as we were just getting used to the warm climate once again. Luckily, a near by charity was handing out free water bottles (sealed bottles of course). So that was handy ๐Ÿ˜ we walked around the grand palace. The temples were super impressive and we got a few pics. ๐Ÿ“ธ

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When it came to the emerald buddha, we weren't allowed to take photos, but I didn't mind. I just wanted to see it. Well we got inside the temple and I had a good chuckle to myself. It was tinyyyyyy. I mean tiny! Like the size of Neil. It was also really high up and had a jacket thing around it for some reason. I couldn't believe it ๐Ÿ˜‚ Paul was just like 'ah yeh ๐Ÿ˜’ that's nice'. Lol. But at least I saw it. I never would have known if I didn't.

Next we went on the Wat Pho to see the reclining buddha and surrounding temples. The cost there was only 100 baht and you got another free water bottle. Well, if I could advise anyone, skip the grand palace and go here instead. The surrounding grounds are really impressive and you get a great photo opportunity with the reclining buddha. (Even if he was having his feet worked on) I guess buddha has pedicures too.

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After that we walked around for a bit and had a look around a bunch of travel agents down Khao San Road, where we bartered with them for the best price to get an overnight bus & ferry to Koh Phangan where the famous Full Moon party was coming up. We managed to get the price down from 800 to 650 each. (About ยฃ30 all together) which was pretty good considering, we wouldn't have to pay accommodation for one night. Anybody who has ever taken this trip knows that it is not as simple as one bus and one ferry, but I'll get in to the later.

So, we decided to go for drinks that night down Khao San Road ,starting pretty early ๐Ÿ™ˆ. We sat down at a bar, pretty much half way down the road and ordered a jug of Tiger, started talking to the couple next to us, when a friend who we both have worked with for the previous year just plods over like 'Hello'! We always talk about how crazy it is to bump into to people you know on holiday, but we are usually referring to Europe. We did not expect to see somebody we knew in Thailand, expecially when it's somebody who we both more or less see 5 days a week back home. So anyway, she (Celina) joined us for a few and we caught up on what we had all been up to. It turned out that she was heading off that evening, but that she would be heading to Phi Phi island with her partner (Sam) around the same time as us, so we all planned to meet up later on in our trips. Happy days. We said our goodbyes for then and headed off to the next bar. Then the next, and the next. We indulged in our first bucket (alcoholice drink served in a bucket, guaranteed to get you messy) and both felt the need to eat scorpions, as you do. ๐Ÿค” apparently.

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Not too sure what time we got back, but I know that we had a good night. We also picked up some food on the way home. Spring rolls with a kebab type thing and then also went to 7eleven and got ham and cheese toasties where they toast them for you. Little pigs we are ๐Ÿท๐Ÿท.

The next day we decided to visit the floating markets (famous in Bangkok and very popular with locals) we booked another Uber taxi to get there as it was a bit too far for a tuk tuk to take us. The floating market was huge! They sold pretty much everything. Most of all fish obviously. We werent too hungry, so we just got a little snack. It was basically a potato on a stick, fried and then had flavour put on. Totally random, it tasted like a big crisp. (Potato chip).

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After a while, we headed back to the hostel and had a look at what to do later. We opted for a visit to Soi Cowboy (a famous red light district in Bangkok), where we could see a Ping Pong show. If you don't know what one of these is, as I told my mum when she asked, research it. I do not care to explain it. Anyway, we went, we saw things that we will never unsee and we ticked that off our list as another experience. ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿ˜‚ It was another random but funny night out.

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The next day, feeling a little worse for wear, we checked out of our hostel, did a little shop around and left our bags at the travel agent, ready for pick up later at 6pm, when we would start our travel to Koh Phangan. Luckily, I happened to remember having time to kill before when I visited Bangkok and took Paul to a hotel where we pretended to be guests, went straight to the elevators and to the top floor where there was a lovely pool and a chill out area in the shade with chilled out spa music playing. It was just what we needed. We ended up chilling other there for hours until we went to the travel agents. From there, we set off for Koh Phangan.....

Posted by Millypaulrtw 04:44 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Koh Phangan - Full Moon Party

Thailand

sunny 33 °C
View Dream come true on Millypaulrtw's travel map.

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So, to follow on from the last post (Bangkok). As I mentioned, the bus/ferry journey is never quite as explained when you purchase it in Thailand. ๐Ÿ™ˆ We met at the travel agents, where we met a guy who took us to the bus/coach. It was pretty far away and then we had to wait at the side of a road for an hour before the bus arrived. When we got on the bus, I (Milly) had chose a broken seat of coarse and the bus was full so I couldn't move. Whoops ๐Ÿ˜œ. The back of my seat would not sit up and actually lay right back, pretty much on to the guy behind me. Luckily he was lovely and understanding about it as I explained it was broken. It was just a nuisance (more so for him) considering the journey was a long 10 hours (with a stop at 2am for food). We watched a film (I boy) and had a kind of nap type thing. Lol. When we arrived in Surat Thani, we were left at another spot at the side of the road where they gave everyone coloured stickers depending on their destination. Again, we were told to wait. After a small wait, another bus arrived and called out that it was going to Koh Phangan, so we jumped on. But after about 90 minutes, we arrived at another spot where more stickers were handed out at the side of the road and waited again for a final bus to arrive and shout us over to go to Koh Phangan. Whilst we were waiting, some Thai guy was selling a taxi journey for once you got to Koh Phangan. I remembered from my previous visit there, that taxi's are paid per person and that you should never agree to pay more than 200baht from one part of the island to another. The guy quoted 200 each for us and so we booked it. The next bus dropped us at Surat Thani (Donsak) Pier and again just said to wait. We waited for about another hour and then our ferry called out. We were absolutely shattered at this point, but it was practically impossible to sleep on the hard chairs and so I decided to use it as an opportunity to sit upstairs and catch some sun (totally forgetting that I put my stickers on my chest because they wouldn't stick to my top. Very clever Milly!) ๐Ÿ˜ณ

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Well, when we arrived, we spotted a woman with the board for our taxi (by which I mean a small pick up truck). We shared the ride with about 3 other groups of people who were dropped off first. our stop was last. What she had done was take us to all the furthest spots and then back to our hostel which was closest to the pier. It turned out that our spot was about a 10 minute walk from the pier and we didn't even need to get a taxi at all, let alone to pay 400 together for one. (Lesson learnt) โ˜๐Ÿผ๏ธ

So anyway, we got to our hostel which was all good. We stayed in a 12 bed mixed dorm. It had decent air conditioning, a chill out area, was in a good location near the beach, breakfast was included, half decent wifi and a semi clean bathroom. We booked to stay here for 2 nights to chill out before we hit the other side of Koh Phangan where we were expecting a more full on party atmosphere. We were still shattered when we arrived, so pretty much went for a short walk around to investigate the area. We walked to the beach and had a good look through some shops as it was getting to a point where we are starting to need new bits, like new flip flops, sun cream, sun glasses few new bits of clothing and so on. We also both needed to get something to wear for the Full Moon Party so had a good mooch around. After that, we found a nice Thai place where we had some food which I could not name as I have no idea what it was, but it was good ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ˜€ then we hit the hay, ready for the next day.

Early the next day, we went straight to the beach and got brown ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐ŸŒž The beach (Thong Sala) was beautiful and there was pretty much nobody else there. After, we went for a shower and spoke on FaceTime with our families. It was my nieces birthday the previous day, so we spoke for ages. Well, she spoke for ages. Later that evening, Paul went to get his hair done again as it has grown so quickly with the sun.

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The sun had tired us out again, so we just had some toasties from 7eleven for dinner and had another early night, ready for the party to begin the next day. Again, the next day, we got up pretty early and got a "taxi" to Haad Rin, which is the part of the island where the Full Moon party is the most celebrated. We stayed at a hostel called OM Ganesh (Paul had picked it out). It was in a great spot, about 5-10 minute walk from the main party spot. We booked to stay here for 5 nights, so that we could make the waterfall or jungle party which happen 1 + 2 days before the Full Moon Party. Our room at the hostel was, ummmmmm. Let's say compact.

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Now, to be quite honest, I am writing this post about a week after it happened and the five days that we spent staying at OM Ganesh was not the most sober five days Either of us have had, plus, we have been pretty busy since, so I'm finding it hard to remember the exact order of things, but I will share most (๐Ÿ˜‰) of what we both remember.

We found ourselves some great (semi matching) clothes to wear for the Full Moon Party. Koh Phangan is covered in shops with fluorescent clothes, hats, headbands, paints etc. Even Neil got involved.

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The streets are hard to explain. The electric wires in Thailand are out of control and when you are walking down the street, you'll often hear them buzzing above your head.

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We took a walk around and found a bar on Haad Rin beach where we decided to have some bucket drinks. One bucket turned in to .... more than one bucket.

At some point the next day, we took a trip to a few travel agents to compare prices for a combined ticket for the taxi to the pier and ferry to Koh Phi Phi. To start with, we were quoted 850 and we managed to get the price down to 700 without even really trying. The woman misunderstood that we asked for 750 and offered us 700. So obviously we nodded politely and went on our merry way. We booked our ticket for the morning after the Full Moon Party, which was done in a kind of way to make sure that we would get out of there as soon as possible after the party and not have a day to mope around. The only problem was that it meant getting up at 6am ๐Ÿ˜ณ.

Anyway, that night we had originally planned to go to the waterfall party, but in the end chose not to bother as it didn't play the kind of music that either of us are in to and cost quite a bit, so we went out to the beach again instead and were pleased that we did as we had, probably our best night out of our trip so far. The beach was packed and we just partied. It was an amazing night. I would explain in more detail, but I wouldn't be able to explain just what it's like as it wouldn't sound half as good. With it being the night before the Full Moon, the moon was huge and bright red. But when you took a photo it looked like a dot. It's the same as trying to explain the atmosphere, you just can't. I would perhaps even say, the best night out we have ever shared since being together.

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The next day was pretty chilled out because we needed to pack things and not be hungover for the Full Moon Party. We went for a walk, spoke with family again as it was my sisters birthday and in the evening, our hostel gave everybody free Indian buffet food which was really nice!

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On the day of the Full Moon Party, the atmosphere was seriously buzzing. Nobody seemed to know when to start drinking or get changed. Some people were ready to go at about 10am. Our hostel set up was pretty good because they set tables out the front of the hostel where people would mingle. They provided free luminous paints and a free bucket of alcohol for anybody who stays with them. So things started pretty early. At about 5pm, we had to pretty much go and force ourselves to eat some rice, to make sure that we wouldn't flag later on. At about 6pm, we were all ready and sat with everybody enjoying the night. We had a really good laugh and headed to the beach at about 8pm. We danced A LOT and just had another all round good time, as some of the pictures show. Others, I have no idea what I am doing but, I know I was having a good time.

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View of Haad Rin beach on Full Moon from Mellow Mountain

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We made it back to our hostel pretty early and managed to get a little bit of sleep (even if one of the girls in our dorm was projectile vomiting for a large part of the night, on to the floor). Good times ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜’. Glad that we booked stupidly early taxi & ferry tickets, we set off to go to Koh Phi Phi ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ˜„

Posted by Millypaulrtw 18:53 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Ko Phi Phi Don & Maya Bay

Thailand

sunny 35 °C
View Dream come true on Millypaulrtw's travel map.

Our arrival to Koh Phi Phi was via ferry (which is the only way to get there really). We caught the ferry from Koh Phangan. The full trip, including a taxi from our hostel took about 8-9 hours and we arrived in Koh Phi Phi at around 3:30pm, which was a pretty good time for us to check in to our hostel and also explore. So we checked in to our hostel, which was quite out of the way (even for Phi Phi, which is a tiny island and wouldn't take long to walk anywhere). We weren't big fan's of the hostel to be honest. Other than our room, I found it to be quite dirty. There were lots of mosquitos and one morning, I (Millie) stepped out of our room to nearly stand on a frog. I have quite a fear of frogs and it gave me the heebie jeebies to say the least.

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Anyway, we cleaned ourselves up and headed out. We had been in touch with our friends (Celina & Sam) since bumping in to Celina in Bangkok and arranged to meet up with them. We met in an Irish bar and decided to all have a bucket to start with. Well, the buckets were super strong and started the night off with a bang. We headed to a place called Reggae Muay Thai Bar, where there was a wrestling ring in the middle of a bar and you could watch both professional fighters and people who volunteer out of the audience. A few of us were tempted ๐Ÿ˜Š Not me ๐Ÿ™ˆ I'd get killed. Anyway, we had a really good time and the night soon escalated to beer pong (which the girls won btw, no thanks to myself) ๐Ÿ™ˆ. It was a fun/messy night.

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The next morning was Valentine's Day. We both woke up super early, feeling a little worse for wear. We chilled outside of our hostel for a while, just chatting. We then decided to walk up to the top of the Koh Phi Phi view point. It was tough considering it only reaches 186m. Maybe the night before didn't help us, but we managed it and took some cool pics.

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When we finished at the view point, we headed back to our hostel to get cleaned up. We then went on a walk on the beach (Loh Dalum beach) and admired the view a little.

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After that, we went to an excursion shop to enquire about The Maya Bay Sleep Aboard experience. (Maya Bay is the island in which the majority of the film, 'The Beach' was filmed. Yep, the one with Leonardo DiCaprio). I had managed to get Paul to watch the film Earlier that week, so he could get a feel for things.

I had done the same trip last time I was in Koh Phi Phi and it was an amazing experience which I had raved about to the others. Luckily, they managed to fit the four of us in and so we booked for the next day. When we got back to the hostel, we both passed out for a couple of hours. We were exhausted. When we woke up, we both sorted ourselves out and went for a meal. I had Chicken Pad Thai and Paul had some kind of fried rice. We were due to check out the next morning and had plans to meet with Celina and Sam, so packed our things ready for the morning and got an early night.

The next day, we dropped our bags off at the excursion office and met the guys for breakfast.

Sam, Celina and Neil

Sam, Celina and Neil

We had some time to kill, so went around a few travel agent type shops, so that we could find some good prices for transport to Phuket (Patong) where we were all headed next. We managed to arrange a ferry to Phuket for 1,400baht (aboutยฃ32) for the 4 of us, which seemed to be a set price. We decided that we would just share a taxi to Patong once we arrived. We also picked up a couple of drinks for our trip.

With that done, it was soon time to go on our excursion. We climbed aboard the Maya Bay Sleep aboard boat and were given a quick briefing of what it was that we were going to be doing.

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So, we set off for Maya Bay. On the way, the four of us claimed our spot on top of the boat ๐Ÿ˜Šโ˜๐Ÿผ๏ธWe climbed up there and each kicked back with a bottle of Chang. (Strong, cheap beer in Thailand).

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On the way, we went by Viking cave, where we were told a few facts about the people who inhabited the cave and what there business was there. Nobody else is allowed access to the cave.

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We carried on towards Maya Bay. Once we arrived, we took a bunch of pictures and were told that it was okay to jump from the top of the boat, in to the water. So myself and Celina went for it ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ’ฆ๐ŸŠ๐Ÿผ it was good fun. After, the guys got involved and we did a bit of snorkelling, kayaking and filmed the hungry fish underwater, whilst a guy from the boat threw food for them.

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After that, we were all given some fruit and jumped on a smaller boat which took us on to 'The Beach'. I must admit, that on first glance, I felt a little bit disappointed. Whilst the island/beach is beautiful, it was so busy with people and tail boats. It was okay though, because, with the company that we were doing the excursion with, we were able to stay close by, when everybody else had to leave. We stayed at the beach for about an hour and got some photos before we were directed back to the boat, which took us to our bigger boat.

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Once there, we were given some lunch which consisted of rice, chicken and vegetables. It wasn't half bad ๐Ÿ›. After that, we watched the sunset and chilled out in our spot on the top deck.

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Soon after, we were called down again, to jump on the small boat, where they took us to a small part of the island with beach mats placed around two small fires in the sand. Getting from the boat, to the shore was not easy, as there was lots of coral, stopping the boat from going right up to the sand. We had flip flops on which pushed against the water as you tried to step, but you couldn't take them off as the floor was pretty sharp. Paul went over a few times and arrived at the beach with a few cuts and bruises. Once there, Everybody collected their (strong) free drinks in a bucket and gathered around. There were about 30 people on the trip, plus about 5 people who worked on the boat. We chilled out there, drinking for quite a while with some music playing. We also played a few games with the staff. Some were puzzles, which obviously, team GB did very well in. (No thanks to the boys ๐Ÿ˜‰) and we also set up our own game of 'never have I ever' which was very interesting and funny.

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After the drinking commenced, nature called. So, I asked Nom (super funny Thai woman) where the toilets were, to which she replied... 'You need pee pee?.... Go everywhere' ๐Ÿ˜Š. I asked for a torch and grabbed Celina to come with me as I didn't want to be wondering in to the forest alone. We had also seen that there were a lot of big crabs in the forest area because the staff had been making them fight earlier on, so it wasn't the easiest of trips. Once we were quite far in to the forest (trying to keep my modesty), Nom shouts over that we shouldn't be there as there are 'many snakes!!!!!' We freaked out and luckily, got out of there quickly and safely. Nom, then took us down by the sea, to go ๐Ÿ™ˆ.

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A little later, we were given some barbecued chicken drum sticks and bread (which I would usually never go near. But I did, and I wolfed them down). Soon after, the small boat came to collect us and took us back to the big boat, where they supplied us with life jackets and snorkelling gear. We jumped back in to the sea and swam amongst the glowing plankton. Me and Paul stuck together. He would look under the water as I would kick my feet like crazy (the more you disturb the plankton, the more they would glow) and vice versa. It really is a magical experience. After that, Paul hit they hay and me, Celina and Sam carried on drinking and chatting before returning to our spot on the top deck, crawling in to our sleeping bags and falling asleep below the stars. At around 5am, me and Paul both woke up and starred at the sky, hoping to spot a shooting star (Paul is yet to see one), but sadly, not this time.

At about 6am, we were called again to go on to the beach and watch the sun rise. It was much nicer in the morning, as it was nowhere near as busy as the previous day and we took some more photos, including the typical group photo (like in the film).

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When we went back to the boat, we were given breakfast (some kind of egg thing). We then made our way back to Phi Phi. Sam and Celina headed off to see the view point, as this was something that they were yet to do. Myself and Paul went to get a drink each (feeling slightly, delicate, dirty, sleepy and scary). We had quite a while to wait until our boat left for Phuket. So we decided that we would go to the beach and maybe have a snooze. Just then a massage parlour caught our attention. (The none dodgy kind) So in we went and both had an hour long massage, for a bargain price of 300baht each (about ยฃ6) It sorted us right out. I believe I had a good snooze during my massage.

After, we headed towards the beach and came across a seating area in the shade, which I think was part of a hotel. Anyway, it had toilets which were nice, clean ones where I could wash a little. I even took my shampoo in and washed my hair in the sink. Sam and Celina happened to walk by and we all chilled out for a bit. After, me and Paul grabbed a bite to eat at a quaint little restaurant and then we all collected our bags from the excursion office and walked to the pier, where we got a boat to Phuket.

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We really enjoyed Phi Phi and Maya Bay. We may even be heading back very soon as I have a friend, coming to visit us in Thailand who may fancy it. I would highly recommend the sleep aboard experience to anybody visiting Phi Phi. It is something which I have spoke of to Paul since we first met. I am so pleased that we finally experienced it together and that we had some truly fantastic company.

Posted by Millypaulrtw 01:17 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Phuket

Thailand

sunny 35 °C
View Dream come true on Millypaulrtw's travel map.

So we booked a boat across from Phi Phi Island to Phuket with Sam and Celina which cost 350baht (about ยฃ8) each. The boat trip took a little over two hours. The journey on the boat was the worst weve both experienced so far (especially Mel) The sea was very choppy and the boat offered free travel sickness tablets ๐Ÿ’Š....Well i could understand why. To begin with a cockroach fell from above onto my head which made me jump out of my skin๐Ÿ˜จ. I was shattered from the previous night and tried to get some sleep but it wasn't easy. We had slept on a boat the night before and so even on still land, all couldn't stop the feeling that we were still rocking. Then!, this is a big then, Millie went to the toilet for it to literally explode $ยฅ%# upwards all over her!! She was literally traumatised and had to use the bum gun to wash herself down.๐Ÿšฟ๐Ÿ˜‚!! ๐Ÿ’ฉ๐Ÿ’ฉ๐Ÿ’ฉ Bless her!!! The boat felt like it was at tipping point on a few occasions and even the staff looked petrified. Which did not help reassure anyone. Finally we arrived at Phuket and we were all pleased to have both feet on the ground.ย 

After receiving some "great" customer service, we all jumped into a taxi mini bus together and headed to Patong Beach. Our accommodation was just a few minutes away from Sam and Celina's which was a bonus. After a gruelling day of being rained on by cockroaches (me)...covered in all sorts (Millie) and then some, we had a shower and went straight to bed ready to put that day behind us and explore Phuket the following day โ˜บ

After a great nights sleep in our super big bed we headed for a walk towards Patong Beach which took around 5-10minutes. The sands were soft and glowing white and the sea a beautiful blue. It was defintelly the bussiest beach in which we have been to yet! It was full of tourists with the local Thai's selling umbrellas, cold drinks, ice lollys and food. You could blatantly see Phuket was a main stream tourist attraction.

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We then headed back to Same Same guest house where we were staying and on the way picked up water, bread, tuna, cheese and ham as we had a fridge to put a few bits in to make ourselves lunch each day to keep the cost down. ๐Ÿ˜Š Every Thai baht counts. โ˜๐Ÿผ๏ธ

After having a bite to eat we went for a jog just near the beach. There was a great little path just along the beach front and it was really nice. We both struggled to keep going in the heat. Afterwards, we headed back, grabbed our towels and headed back to the beach as it was such a beautiful day. We were both literally in and out the sea and could only manage two hours in the sun.

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We then relaxed back in our nice, cool room for a few hours before going for dinner with Sam and Celina as it was there final night in Phuket ๐Ÿ˜ข.
We headed over to their hotel at 7ish and each ordered a cocktail. We then went for a stroll to find a place to eat. Whilst walking around we came across a few really cool bars. One of them had a FlowRider which was just outside the bar. It was funny to see people attempting to surf in the middle of a bar ๐Ÿ˜‚.

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We then carried on in search of food and came to a street called 'Soi Bangla Road'. Well, you name it...it was going on here. It was much bigger than Khao San Road or Soi Cowboy. There were Ping pong shows, bananna shows, sex shows, lady boy shows and lots more!! ๐Ÿ˜‚ There was even a menu of what you could view at these places being handed out on flyers.

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The street was, the same as Soi Cowboy in the sense that it was littered with elderly men on their own. We have really come to realise that whilst being here, the weakest prey are men, on their own. Thai men, generally leave women alone. But the women will physically force themselves on to men. They will grab men and literally feel them up. This is how they market themselves. When I am with Mel, I get left alone, but as soon as I am without her, it can be quite violating. What's more dangerous are men that are wanting to get something from these women. That's if they are even women too. It really is near impossible to be able to tell from just looking at them. There are even signs in places, warning people to watch out for ladyboys.

Anyway, after walking down this street we found another street with a few places to eat and we ended up going into a restaurant which had a tiger theme. It also had live music which was interesting๐Ÿ˜‹ We all had a lovely meal. Me and Mel both went in to a food coma and so we said our goodbyes and headed back to the hotel.๐Ÿ˜•

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The next day we woke up first thing and both went for a jog across the beach front again. We decided to do it early before it got to hot. After our jog we went back to our room and got ready for the beach where we again sun bathed for a few hours.

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At night we went for a stroll and i decided to have a vanilla oreo ice cream made from scratch which was delicious and Melissa had a banana and nuteller pancake which i can also confirm was delicious ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿท

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The following day we pretty much booked flights and planned our trip further down the line, as we had both to much sun from the day before, with I having sun burn on my legs and Melissa having heat rash so we spent the day planning and watching Netflix inside. โ˜บ๏ธ We also added Hawaii to our trip as it actually turned out cheaper to stop off there on our way to Vancouver. Hey ho, you gotta do what you gotta do. ๐Ÿ˜…

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The next day we checked out at 12.00 and were heading for a home stay in South Phuket, which was good because we wanted to see a little bit more of the culture and a little less of tourists. We were offered free accommodation if we did 3 hours of light duties a day. The lady who was hosting was called Jess and was from Sweden, but had lived in Thailand for 10 years, or so she says. (She was a bit full of it๐Ÿ™Š)

We agreed to meet Jess at 4:30 and so we had plenty of time to kill. Luckily, we arranged to meet near a place called Big C (a small shopping centre) which was next to a place called Central Festival (a huge mall) where Mel basically window shopped and I followed. Luckily, there was a spot where we could leave our luggage at no cost and so we didn't have to walk around for hours with it on our backs.

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After being all strolled out, we walked to big C, where Jess picked us up as agreed, by the side of the highway in her pick up truck. As everywhere else in Thailand, we noticed that the messy electricity wires weren't any better here either. We headed to her house. On the way, Jess stopped at a cheap market so we could all get some food.

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Jess explained in detail what she did day to day and how she came to be in Thailand. Once we arrived at her house she gave us a folder to read through of genral house duties but then she mentioned that, two other people would be coming in 2 days time and that the list would be what they were expected to do during their stay. That was all good with us as the place was pretty remote and so it gave us something more to do and new people to meet. So, that evening, Jess asked if we had any washing to do, which was great as we were due a clothes wash. We also met her dog Suclacki and the neighbour's dog Lucy. Sucklacki translate to some kind of Swedish meat skewer, so we were told.๐Ÿค” one of the jobs which we expected would be to walk Sucklacki. Well, he was a 'street dog', which basically means that he walks himself. Lucy was also a street dog. She would follow us to the shops when we went. There was no getting rid of her. We really tried too, because we had to cross main roads but she wouldn't leave us. It seemed very strange to us, but we realised that it's the same with most dog owners in Thailand. You often see dogs wondering the streets and think that they are stray dogs but more often than not, they do have homes. It's just not the same as what we are used to. A lot of the dogs look scruffy or have rashes and bad skin. I always assume that they are sick or have rabies, when actual fact is that they just get bit by mosquitos which irritates their skin, but they are completely healthy.

Sucklacki

Sucklacki

Lucy

Lucy

We took a seat outside her house and watched as she cooked her dinner on a gas canister outside. It was all very much, back to basics. Jess also mentioned that we could not shave in to the sink or in the shower and that we must shave outside only as it clogs the drains out here. All we could think is that she must be very hairy ๐Ÿ™ˆ.

Jess sat in her room to eat her dinner. Quite a while later, we had a drink together and she asked Millie to do some admin duties for her and if I could do some gardening for her for the 3 days we were there, which was cool because this is what we all agreed in order for us to stay free of charge.

It was a bit strange because we expected to hang out with her and her boyfriend (she told us that he considered them to be a couple, but she didn't). It was his profile which we had found online and we never even met him. Jess also worked a lot of the time, so we didn't really spend very much time with her. To Jess, it was more about somebody helping her out with tasks that she had fallen behind on.

She gave us both a big list of things to get done. I certainly had my work cut out for me. The next day i woke up reasonably early so i could get started on cutting some bushes back before the temperature got to high. Whilst cutting the bushes back i came into contact with several small lizards and a small bee's nest. After completing my 3 hours i headed in doors and sat with Mel as she completed her admin duties.

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After freshening up Melissa made a lovley tuna bake with the limited resources. We then sat in the front garden and ate. After, we started to play Monopoly deal, a card game version of monopoly, which we play pretty often. It's much faster than normal Monopoly and easy to take around with us, Mel is an addict. Jess arrived home with two more guests, Tracy and Hanne.ย One was Swedish and the other was from New Zealand.

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After Tracy and Hanne had dropped there bags inside they came outside and we all discussed our travels so far and pretty much told of our experiences so far. We were pleased that the girls also stayed because it gave us something more to do.

In the morning, I had cut away a large section of the garden which was growing over on to the roof as Jess had requested. It was a pretty big job and I had to use ladders to do it also. She hadn't really mentioned where to put the cuttings and when she got home, Mel pointed out what I had done. Her response was 'oh yeah, you swept the floor' She then asked for me to take everything out of the bin and put it in front of her house because the bin was not the correct place. How was I to know? And a thanks would have been nice. I also mopped the floor and she was later heard complaining about the job I had done. She did say that the house smelt fresh (which took me about 10 minutes of cleaning). She also didn't say much to Mel, just complained that Mel had done some washing and put Jess's clean clothes in her room when Jess had asked nobody to go in there. It was either there or the sofa which was covered in dog hairs.

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Anyway, The next day i was once again up at the crack of dawn and outside cutting down over grown plants to allow Jess's cactus to be seen! Before entering the over grown area i got a stick and rattled the bushes in case of sleeping snakes. Luckily just a few frogs and lizards came out! Mel only freaked out A LOT! I also found a birds nest with an egg in it. I left it where it was, but it had now lost shelter ๐Ÿ™

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After both of us completing our work duties we both showered and relaxed. Tracy and Hanne invited us to join them for food, a few drinks and a few games of pool in the evening so we did and we had a great evening.

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The following morning we were up at 06.00 as Jess offered to drop us off as close to the Krabi bus station as possible so we could get the coach to Krabi.ย 

She dropped us both at the side of a main road where we had to do a little hitch hiking in order to get to the station as it was still a little way away and certainly not walking distance.

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We flagged down a taxi in the end and made our way to the coach station. All was good and we caught the coach to Krabi for our next little adventure.

Staying in Patong was nice. There was lots to do, not that we did much, we are however going to be back for a for a few days in about a month. Staying in South Phuket with Jess, wasn't as we expected, but we are pleased that we did it. It was lovely meeting the girls and they explained to us that not all home stay volunteering was like at Jess's. They were mainly doing this kind of thing during their trip and told us to give it another go at some other place, as most people will hope to meet new people and spend time with you etc. They ended up leaving Jess's early as it was not what they expected either. We do feel like we got a bit more of an insight in to Thai culture but would like to see more. I think that we will definitely try out volunteer work again whilst we are in Thailand, until then, we have a nice hotel room waiting for us in Krabi. Bye for now ๐Ÿ™‹๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘ฆ๐Ÿฝ

Posted by Millypaulrtw 20:54 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Krabi

Thailand

sunny 32 °C
View Dream come true on Millypaulrtw's travel map.

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Okay, so we decided to visit Krabi for a few days on our way from Phuket to Bangkok. Krabi is not far from Phuket, but we had spent a week in Phuket and decided that we didn't want to spend another whole week in Bangkok, so why not add another place to the list of places we visit in Thailand. We got the bus from Phuket which took 4 hours and arrived in Krabi at around 11:30am. We bartered a cheap taxi ride (I'm getting good at that) and headed for Krabi city where we would be staying. We were so pleased when we arrived at our hotel. It (Green House hotel) was nice, cheap and included breakfast, which always saves the pennies. On checkin, we were told that our room was upgraded to a family room which was a bonus. (We also had a bath which is very rare around here) it was like luxury to us. Even Neil got his own room ๐Ÿ˜‚

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After settling in, we decided to go for a walk around Krabi town to explore the area and see what was around.

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We spotted a few nice restaurants, convenience stores (7 elevens and family mart) and a night market. I had seen mention of the market on a few online forums for things to do in Krabi and so we decided to go back later when things were in full swing. In the meantime, we picked up something to eat and headed back to the hotel. I ordered noodles and Paul ordered Duck. We were given loads of bags with our food. We didn't even know what went with what.

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We decided to look at something to do whilst we were in Krabi as there didn't seem to be much going on in terms of excursions around Krabi town.

Looking on trip advisor, I came across Hollow Mountain extreme adventure park. (Right up my street). Known as Asia's most extreme adventure park, the reviews were amazing. Literally, 160 people had not rated any lower than excellent. There was not a bad thing written, so it made it much easier to convince Paul. I sent an email forward to the owner and he got back to me straight away. I booked it for the day after what was tomorrow.

It was very busy later on when we left the hotel to go to the market. We were both a bit peckish and decided that we would try 3 different things which we had never had before, at the market. There was so much on offer and although, the market was pretty small, we took about 2 hours walking around. Paul says that I find the silliest things to be very interesting. I think it must be a girl thing ๐Ÿ™ˆ. (reformed shopaholic)

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The next day, I wasn't feeling very well and so there isn't much to report. I was pleased that I felt so ill in a nice hotel room and not a grubby hostel though. Paul played a few videos on YouTube of Hollow Mountain and scared us both a bit. The word extreme was very suitable. The day consisted of a strenuous trek up Hollow Mountain, followed by a zip line (named the decapitation zip line because it is the only one on the planet where you ride just underneath a rock roof). It's an intimidating experience, especially as the zip line is located 220 meters above a rock pillar. There is also a huge rope swing at the end. Known as the 'emperor swing' it is 120 meters long and starts with free falling straight down for 30 meters. It was similar to a bungee jump, which is something which we both wanted to do later on in the trip (in New Zealand), but this one didn't bounce back up. After free falling, you then swung out between an opening in the mountain. To me, it would have about the same fear factor. As long as you step off the ledge, you've done it I suppose. Luckily, we hadn't planned the excursion for that day as it would have been cancelled with how I was feeling and when I woke up the next morning, I felt only excitement and nerves.

We were picked up from the hotel at 11am and sat in the back of a pick up truck which went pretty fast. It was super windy ๐Ÿ˜‚ and we said, that was pretty crazy in itself. I had a funky afro when we arrived. We pulled up to a small shelter in a forest, where we met three other people who were doing the excursion in our group. Backpacks were handed out and we carried food up the mountain for the previous group who went up. They had carried the equipment for us.

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Before setting off, we were briefed about what we would be doing. The mention of snakes was also thrown in to the briefing. ๐Ÿ we were told to stay very close to our guide (Ramond) in case of snakes. At least 80% of snakes in this area were highly poisonous. Near the beginning, I also spotted THE BIGGEST spiders web I've ever seen. In the middle was, THE BIGGEST spider I have ever seen. It's body was like a brick! I couldn't even speak. Suddenly, the rock climbing, zip line and jump didn't concern me at all. ๐Ÿ˜•

Anyway, so the trek. Now, I am not super fit or anything, neither am I highly unfit, but it was tough! The guide was great and although he didn't seem bothered at all, made regular stops for people to get their breath back. Everybody was drenched in sweat and we laughed how we never realised that your forearms and knees physically sweat ๐Ÿ˜… the amazing views helped with the mission though.

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After a while, we arrived inside Hollow Mountain where we took a break and had some lunch. From here, we watched as the group before us each jumped off the platform and swung through the space in the opening of the mountain. I found it really exciting to watch. Paul didn't look too comfortable though and I started to question if he was going to do it or not. The group who went before us were a bunch of men who were there as part of a stag do. We got speaking to them quite a bit. The groom lived in Bangkok and was marrying a Thai lady and so his friends and family had all made a good effort to come all the way out for him. The groom and his wife to be, had done a similar trip to me and Paul and were planning to visit some further places, so we exchanged some details and would keep in touch in case our paths cross again. We were actually invited to the wedding, but would be in Laos by then ๐Ÿ˜ž. Missed out there. Anyway, the stags were a really nice bunch of guys. The father of the groom was also there. FairPlay, at the age of 62, he got on to the platform and threw himself off ๐Ÿ™ˆ no pressure๐Ÿ˜ฎ.

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Soon enough, it was our turn to make our way to the top. It wasn't a simple stroll up. We did have to rock climb. Something Paul had'nt done before. I let him go first obviously. Even this bit wasn't easy. Whilst it was very safe, it was scary at certain points. Personally, the parts I found the toughest were metal steps that had been put in to the rocks, which you would also grab on to with your hands to climb up. At a couple of points, the wall would begin to go back on you, so you would be leaning backwards and holding on to the wall. For somebody with no upper body strength, this was seriously hard work.

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Eventually, we reached the zip line. Each of us breezed through it really. I think that after watching the emperor swing, this seemed like a piece of cake. At the other end, we were briefed again on what we needed to do and told to choose an order of when we would each jump.

Out of five, I asked to go second because I wanted to see somebody do it safely before me but didn't want enough time to allow myself to get too worked up about it. Plus, Paul had mentioned that if I went before him, he would feel more obliged to also jump. He chose to jump fourth because somebody jumped in after me and he didn't want to jump last. He though it best for somebody to be up there with him to help coax him in to it.

The guide explained to us that there are 3 types of people.

Type 1 - they will not wait around. They will jump straight away without giving themselves time to doubt it. (Me)

Type 2 - they will stand on the platform and will take their time deciding if they can jump or not. They may do it, but may not. (Paul)

Type 3 - they will know pretty much as soon as they reach the platform that it's a no.

We both knew straight away, what type of people we were. When the time came, I made my way over to the steps as quickly as possible. I was equally excited and nervous, but the steps proved pretty tough. They were really far apart and you had to make your way backwards down them. Being a shorty didn't help ๐Ÿ™ˆ. If you take a good look at the pictures, you will see what looks like a rock with a hole in. Look closer and you will see us both making our way down the steps.

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Once I got to the platform, I was told to sit down whilst the equipment was all sorted. I told the guy up there that I felt like my harness had become pretty loose and he had a look. He exclaimed 'ooh yes, that's really gone slack hasn't it' this also happened just before the zip line and my harness was adjusted. So naturally its in my head that my harness is buggered ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿ˜ซ. I'm told to stand up and it feels too tight, so I ask him to loosen it a bit, all the while thinking, I hope that's not a bad idea. He asks how I want to jump. Some people do flips or go backwards or just step off. I decided that I liked the idea of going 'Jesus style'. Basically, stand at the edge, arms out and let yourself lean in to it. It means that you end up going head first, but I figured that I should make the most of it if I'm going to do it. It wasn't until the very moment That I was on the edge of the platform that I decided. It was either Jesus or just step off. So, he tells me exactly what to do for each of them and tells me, it's time and I'm good to go. I quickly confirm that he definitely said 'good to go'! then, I gave myself no time to doubt it, I look forward, step to the edge, stick my arms out and just went for it. It was seriously amazing and I was high for the rest of the day! I was told after that this is the toughest jump in terms of fear.

The emperor swing 'jesus dive'

The emperor swing 'jesus dive'

Reaching the bottom, I get the camera ready to catch Paul, but he didn't seem too good, last I saw him. He didn't like watching me do it and now I was watching him and much more scared for him. He slowly made his way down the steps and sat down on the platform. The equipment seemed to take forever to prepare. So I'm ready with the camera and he just keeps looking down, giving me a nervous wave. He stands up, walks straight to the edge and looks right down (the worst thing he could do). I can see that he is being told to look forward, but he looks forward and then down again each time. I try shouting some kind of support but he is so far away, I don't think he can hear me. He is being given lots of pep talk by the guide as he is clearly s}#%ing himself at this point. He later told me that his palms were sweating so much that they were dripping on to the platform, he was that nervous. After a little while, he decides that I am a mental case and that he doesn't want to follow. He chose to abseil down instead (which in my opinion is probably worse as he was lowered down slowly). The jump was over in seconds.

So Paul reaches the bottom and has no regrets. He is just pleased to be on solid ground. It was an amazing experience and really pushed you to your limits. I feel more confident about getting my bungee jump done and I know I'll have a good camera man in Paul ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ“ธ lol.

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The next morning, we checked out of our hotel and got a night bus, which took us to Bangkok. It took about 14 hours. From there we would be catching a flight to take us to Laos.

We really enjoyed our short time in Krabi, although there didn't seem like much to do around Krabi Town, where we stayed. We will most likely need to cross through again and so may chose to stay in Ao Nang (Krabi) where it seems to have much more going on. Should you ever go to Krabi, I could not recommend Hollow Mountain extreme adventure park enough. A once in a lifetime experience!

Until next time, Signing off ๐Ÿ™‹๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘ฆ๐Ÿฝ xx

Posted by Millypaulrtw 18:15 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Vientiane

Laos

sunny 36 °C
View Dream come true on Millypaulrtw's travel map.

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The flight from Bangkok to Vientiane (capital city of Laos) was a little over 1 hour 30 minutes. Flights this short are crazy. By the time you have taken off fully, your being prepared for landing. Neil enjoyed the flight, as much as any fake sloth would ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Once we had landed we completed our visa forms which were 35USD (about ยฃ28) each and very simple to do. We were both proud of our visa being entered into our passport as it was another passport page filled up. Traveller goals ๐Ÿ˜‚

Once we came out of the airport we withdrew a cool 1 Million LAK which made us feel super rich, however, it was equivalent to ยฃ100. ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ™ˆ

We then got into a taxi which drove us to our hostel (Avolon Bed & Breakfast). After checking in, we quickly looked around the hostel and were happy with what we saw, so we hit the streets of Vientiane to explore a little. We noticed many Buddhist Monks walking the streets. We then came across a huge temple which was intriguing (Wat Ong Teu).

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After that, we carried on exploring and decided to stop and try the local beer out, creatively named, 'beer Lao'. It was very refreshing and we had 3 in total and decided to head back to the hostel and relax.ย 

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So the following day we got up and went for our first breakfast at the hostel which was eggs on toast with fruit. It was decent and did the job.ย 

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We then went for a walk around to see if there were any tours which we would be interested in. We went into a few places but the tours were not what we expected so we carried on walking. We took a walk next to the Mekong river (runs through Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam) but from where we were, we didn't really get a good view of it to be honest as there was lots of farmland between us and the river. We didn't dare go across, in case we were just being stupid tourists trampling over farmland. We decided to carry on walking some more and saw some of the weird and wonderful sights which Laos had to offer.

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It was around lunch time and we came across a place where we had a few local dishes and some amazingly refreshing ice soda's. We were very impressed.

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ย 
During the evening we decided to try out a Laos dish from one of the street market stalls. Well the food was to die for and was extremley tasty, not to mention, super cheap. ๐Ÿ‘

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Afterwards, we took a walk to see the Vientiane night market. It is aimed at tourists with clean, orderly stalls, and all manner of merchandise that make great souvenirs or mementos. It was just a shame that we couldn't buy much. Not for budget reasons. The prices were insanely cheap, but we have no space left in our cases. Mel bought a new dress on the understanding that when we buy one piece of new clothing, one needs to go. ๐Ÿ˜’ travelling life means no hoarding.

So, anyway, the market all begins around sunset, when a small army of sellers begin setting up their red-roofed stalls directly on the riverside promenade. It's one not to be missed. The whole riverside area is alive at this time with tourists and locals alike. The atmosphere is amazing. We also came across a fitness class being held against the backdrop of the sun lazily sinking in to the Mekong river. The music was super load and added to the whole experience.

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The next morning we planned to take the local bus to Buddha Park, located just off the Mekong River opposite Thailand. The park was designed in 1958 and had over 200 Hindu and Buddhist statues. On entering the park you first see the 'Pumpkin' which is a huge structure which is meant to depict Hell, Earth and Heaven. The front of the Pumpkin has a demons face where you can walk into the mouth to enter hell. Its quite an eerie experience. The stairs are concrete and very steep and once you get to the top of the Pumpkin, you climb through a tiny hole to stand on top of the pumpkin. There is a large tree like sculpture on top. From the top, you can see an overview of the full park.

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There was also a 40 metre long reclining Buddha, which was pretty awsome too. Obviously Neil had his picture taken with it. Here are some more pictures of some of the strange statues within the park.

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So in the afternoon we decided to head out to enjoy a few drinks, however, we were both disgusted and sick to our stomachs with a conversation we over heard between a group of peodophile's, discussing a 9 year old from the night before who would not let the old guy film her. It was that intense we had to leave our seats and move elsewhere. ๐Ÿ˜ค๐Ÿ˜ฃ Unfortunately in this part of the world this seems to be normal behavouir and a hub for peodophiles, preying on poor asian familys who end up sending out there children to help with income. If these familys do not speak out it can be hard to combat within this society and I suppose the main reason the parents do not speak out is that they see this as there main money income, so they see nothing wrong with it. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

This wasn't the only thing that we found uncomfortable. It was made quite clear to us that, travellers need to be very careful around Vientiane as there is a high level of crime. Some things which we witnessed on the streets were very disturbing. It makes you wish that there was something you could do, but the truth is that many of the authorities are more than aware of what goes on and more often then not, involved.

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The following day we went to the 'COPE' museum which made us aware of the 'Secret War' which went on between Laos and the USA during the height of the Vietnam war, the USA conducted this war in private, on Vietnam's western border, in attempt to destroy communist supply lines. More bombs were dropped in Laos than Germany and Japan in WW2 combined. From 1964 to 1973, Laos was one of the most heavily bombed countries per capita in history. However, 30% of bombs dropped did not explode, and to this day, armed and active devices littler the country. Since the bombs stopped, tens of thousands of Lao people have been killed or maimed by the unexploded ordnance, and 40% of victims are children. This was a war which neither of us had even heard of and the facts are horrifying. So COPE stands for Cooperative Orthotic and Rehabilitation Enterprise. They are the main rehabilitation centre in Vientiane offering free support to anybody affected from the secret war. Either affected during or in the aftermath. They provide many different sources of support, from counselling to prosthetic limbs being fitted. It was a very interesting place to visit and really took us by surprise.

Our walk back from the museum was certainly not the same and we treaded very carefully after the facts we had learnt. ๐Ÿ˜จ

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In the afternoon we decided to sunbathe at the local outdoor swimming pool which was brought to our attention by a fellow backpacker 'Rob' from Zinbabwe. It was super nice just to kick back and relax by the pool side with the sun beating down on us. The pool setting did bring back childhood memories for us both.ย 

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After that, we decided to go for a drink. Well a drink, lead to many drinks. We basically went on our own little pub crawl. By the time the afternoon came around, we carried ourselves to a popular restaurant (all around Asia) called The Pizza Company. Well we feasted and it was gooooood! A bit of naughty western food every now and again, goes down nicely ๐Ÿ˜Š.

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The next morning, we decided to visit another reclining Buddha statue. We took a nice, long walk to Sisaket temple which is the oldest temple still standing in Vientiane. We had a little walk around and took some snaps with ourselves and Neil of coarse. It was a very nice and relaxed morning.

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Later on, when we got back to the hostel, Melissa had a strange little episode. One moment, she was fine and chatting away. The next, she was leaning across a table and saying that she was going to faint. I asked if she wanted to get a shower but she mumbled back to me that she couldn't move. She then decided to throw up A LOT, just right outside the hostel. Once she was done, we decided that it may be best to take it easy for the rest of the day.ย ย For the next few days in fact, we didn't really get out much, as Mel hadn't really recovered fully from the previous day. We believe it to have been heat exhaustion as she had just said that it was so hot, she could not stop sweating. We think that our Malaria tablets (Malarone) had a pretty strong effects on us, as we both felt lousy and just very lethargic. So we just relaxed at the hostel and booked further flights for our trip. Sadly, we still had a whole other week after leaving Laos to stay on the tablets.

We both really enjoyed Vientiane and learnt A LOT from our visit, but perhaps feel like a week was enough time for us. We wouldn't opt to go back to Vientiane as we feel that we made the most of the time we had, but maybe another part of Laos, some day ๐Ÿ˜Š. Back to Thailand we go. Yippee! Exploring is what we love!

Posted by Millypaulrtw 21:23 Archived in Laos Comments (1)

When Becky Joined the gang

Bangkok, Koh Tao, Koh Samui, Phi Phi Island & back to Bangkok


View Dream come true on Millypaulrtw's travel map.

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From Laos, we flew back to Don Mueang International Airport as it was cheaper for us to fly there, as apposed to Bangkok's other airport (Suvarnabhumi). Plus, the distance to our hostel was the same from both airports so that didn't matter. My friend (Becky) was also due to meet us there, as she was joining us for 2 weeks.

Becky had arrived the day before us and wasn't a very confident solo traveller. Luckily, a friend of hers (Tom), who had been doing some travelling around Thailand offered to meet up with her, so that she wasn't alone for her first night in Bangkok. He was leaving on the night that we arrived.

Our flight in to Bangkok was slightly delayed and we still had to go through immigration yet. So, we approached a queue of hundreds of people. It didn't seem to be moving at all and so I decided to take a quick toilet break. Just then, I spotted a counter with a queue of two people. It was the disabled queue, which also had a sign for elderly and pregnant. 'Lightbulb!'. I went back to Paul and told him that I thought we should go to that queue instead and that I would just say I was pregnant if I was asked. His response was 'if you really want to?' ๐Ÿ™ˆ well I'm not a patient person. We do a lot of waiting around whilst travelling and I will do my best to avoid it. So, Paul grabs all the bags (I can't carry them if I'm fake pregnant now can I). We approach the counter and another lady points us over to the line of hundreds. I simply reply that I am pregnant. '' how rude '' lol. She apologised and it was as simple as that. It took about one minute to get through immigration and add to our ever filling passport pages. We probably saved about 2 hours. I was so pleased with myself ๐Ÿ˜….

Becky & Tom were in arrivals, waiting. They had stayed in a hotel connected to the airport, so we went to collect their bags and decided to get a taxi to Khao San Road, as it was near our hostel and we needed tickets from one of the travel agents there, to get to Koh Tao the next day. We did just that and then walked to our hostel to checkin and freshen up. We chose to stay at D Hostel again because we knew we liked it there and that it was in a great location. We had nothing bad to say about this place. It's been like our home whilst in Thailand and no doubt, we will be back again as its a perfect spot in Bangkok and we will be passing through again.

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After we freshened up, we walked back to Khao San Road, where we started necking back the Chang's and just caught up on stuff. As I mentioned before, this place is crazy. This time, we spotted a stall which sold all different bugs to eat, including tarantulas. We did hope to get Becky to eat something gross, later in the night.

Before we knew it, it was time for Tom to leave. He really didn't want to go! We felt so bad for him, but he had already stayed over his visa and was due a charge. It was also his Nanna's 97th birthday and he wanted to get back to surprise her. I think without that though, he definitely would have stayed.

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Once Tom left, we drank more and more and ended up in a club, imaginatively named 'The Club'. We met some random people throughout the night and just generally had a really good laugh.

The next morning, we woke up pretty early and had breakfast at the hostel. We then checked out and decided to go for a massage as a treat. I had a facial and pedicure, Paul had a full body massage and pedicure and Becky had eyelash extensions, and a pedicure. It was great. We all felt like we had recovered from the previous nights antics and decided to go to the pool to chill out, until we were due to meet at the office to catch our bus at 17:30. As we were collecting our bags, one of the women who worked at the office approached us to say that there had been some confusion and that our booking was actually at 20:00. Feeling hungover and impatient, I told her no, it was definitely at 18:00 as we agreed the day before. She said she would sort it. Moments later, we were walked to a random spot at the side of the road and told to wait which isn't that strange. About 90 minutes later at around 19:00, other people had joined us to all wait for a bus. Then, only we were told to get in a taxi which was odd. It took us to the government bus station, where the taxi driver paid for 3 tickets and told us to wait until 20:20 to get on the bus which would take us towards Koh Tao. Clearly, the agent had messed up and rather than say, you'll have to wait, they sent us to the government bus, which would have cost them more. We would have rather waited, especially because of what happened next. We got on the bus and were pleased to be on our way, after waiting for a fair while.

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So, because we were on a government bus, the bus only had Thai people on board (no travellers), this meant that, nobody would tell us which stop we were at and so each time, I had to ask if it was the stop for Koh Tao, which I knew was called Chumpon. At around the point which I had figured, would be the correct stop, I clearly asked this idiot...

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If this was the stop for Koh Tao?! To which he replied NO, and told me to sit back down. I told Paul straight away that I was sure that something wasn't right. I went on to google maps on my phone (offline maps, is a life saver by the way. Anybody travelling anywhere should definitely download offline maps. If you have your location settings turned on, even if your 3G/4G is off, as long as you have connected to wifi whilst in the place you are visiting, your phone will detect where you are and you can guide yourself on the map) and noticed that we were currently in Chumpon, heading away from the centre. I quickly got up and went to the idiot to say that we needed to go to Chumpon for Koh Tao. He just kept saying yes, but every 5 minutes, we were getting further away. I was getting more and more frustrated with him, as we had a ferry to catch. Eventually, about 20 minutes later, he finally realised what I was telling him and put his hands to his head. Then, he told us to sit down, not to worry, he would turn around. So I sat down, still thinking, he's going the wrong way! I could see many places for the driver to turn around and he just wasn't. At this point, me, Becky and Paul were so tired and getting really wound up. TWO FRIGGIN HOURS LATER, we arrive in Ranong! (A long way from Chumpon), where we are told to wait for 3 hours for a bus to take us back to Chumpon. We couldn't believe it! It was one of those times that you could cry, but it comes out as a laugh ๐Ÿ™ƒ. At this point, we were pretty aware that we would have missed our ferry and could do nothing but wait. So, after the wait, we got on the coach to take us to Chumpon, but of coarse, when we arrived, we had no transfer to the pier. We contacted the agency who we booked with. They bluntly told us to spend a night in Chumpon and that we could get their ferry the next day. Mum, NO! I refused. That would mean wasting our accommodation in Koh Tao and also missing out on extra time in Koh Tao as well as forking out for a night in Chumpon. We had already added 12 hours on to a trip which was 12 hours long in the first place, so we decided to book with another company to get a ferry to Koh Tao that evening and paid for a taxi to the pier. Luckily a really helpful random man approached us who spoke English and Thai. He explained everything at the office. We decided that this was the best option and that when we go back to Bangkok in two weeks, we would go in to the office where we had originally booked and unleash a furious Becky on them ๐Ÿ™Š, in hope for a full refund!

Enough of that, we were off to Koh Tao now and life was good again ๐Ÿ˜„!

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Once we arrived in Koh Tao, we walked from the pier, to our hostel. It was boiling and was pretty far from the pier. We each did the last bit of complaining that we had left in us. We had booked to stay in a 16 bed dorm room at Indie hostel because it was quite central to the nightlife in Koh Tao, opposite the famous Choppers Bar, where the pub crawl was held. We had planned to partake the next night as we were shattered and wanted to make the most of it. So, we freshened up and decided to go for a chilled evening. We went to a bar opposite the hostel where we met 'Thai Paul'.

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After ordering some buckets, 'English Paul' was scrolling through Facebook and spotted that John, the guy who we met in Kuala Lumpur and spent NYE with and then seen again at our hostel in Singapore had committed suicide. We were both gutted to hear it and it set a bit of a downer for us. ๐Ÿ˜ช We have met many people whilst travelling and never expected to hear this kind of news. It took us by surprise. The night was cut pretty short. We were tired anyway and had plans for the next day.

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Early the next morning, Paul and I decided to take some clothes to get cleaned and then decided that we would all go to Tonote Bay (a beach on the other side of Koh Tao) to spend the day there. Becky had been saying tat she wanted to see a beautiful beach and I thought that she may like this one :) At Tonote Bay, there is a large rock in the sea which you can swim to, climb up and jump off. I had done the jump last time I visited Koh Tao, 4 years ago (after about an hour of crying and really having to work myself up to do it) and really wanted to get the others to have a go. The taxi ride there is an adventure in itself, driving around extremely steep, thin cliff edges in some pickup truck. Once we arrived, me and Becky said that we would do it and Paul kindly offered to swim out and take some pictures. From afar, it looked pretty simple. So after 10 minutes of standing at the bottom of the rock, we decided that it was not happening! It looked a lot different close up. The climb was not simple and certainly not safe, one slip and you could end up dead. (Not even exaggerating) As I had done it before, I decided that It really wasn't worth getting so worked up a second time, for something so dangerous!

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It really is taller than it looks in those pictures!

Instead, we swam around for a little amongst loads and loads of really colourful fish. Paul got some great photos on the go pro, which I can't upload yet, but will do so once I have access to an actual computer which isn't a phone, a tablet or a stupid MAC. Anyway, next we decided to head back to chill out on the beach some more. We stayed there for quite a while and caught some colour. Some brown, some red ;).

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Later, we collected our lovely clean laundry and decided to get ready for the ever famous Koh Tao Pub Crawl. Again, I had done this last time and couldn't wait to share the experience with the others, but when we arrived at Choppers Bar, they told us that it was cancelled and that it wasn't on again until after we left. Gutted, we decided to play out our own little pub crawl. We went to several bars and ordered some buckets. We went to the beach and watched some fire shows, played some pool and finished the night by watching a ladyboy cabaret show. It was good fun and a lot creepy!

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The next morning, Paul woke up super early and went to get the tickets for the ferry/bus journey to Koh Samui the next day. When we all woke up, we went for a good old English style breakfast and a cuppa tea in the cafe below our hostel, which was beautiful!

After that, we decided to explore Koh Tao a little better and went on a mission of a walk. We got some cool photo's and as always, Neil photo bombed us ๐Ÿ˜œ.

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We ended up at a Rasta Bar which was super random. It was made from wood and was basically a bunch of tree houses joined together. After that, we took another long walk to a nice restaurant, where we all stuffed our faces with some more British stodge! We then decided to play a few games of pool and had a couple of Chang beers. Paul was the undefeated champion.

After that, we actually went back to the Rasta Bar for a little bit and got some drinks. We didn't stay long and decided to get a taxi back, as none of us could be bothered with the mission. Later, we went to watch another fire show and got some cool video's, but headed back to the hostel pretty early as we had to pack and be up super early for our journey the next morning.

In the morning, we were all really tired and ended up sleeping for the majority of a very rocky boat ride. We were all pleased though as we were heading to a resort in Koh Samui which was super relaxed, with a nice pool. Arriving in Koh Samui a while later, we caught a taxi. We checked in, freshened up and went out for lunch. We found a decent restaurant which served a mix of Thai and western food, as Becky didn't really take to Thai grub, so it was perfect.

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When we got back, I wasn't feeling too good and so I had a little power nap, whilst Paul and Becky went to chill by the pool. We later brought a couple of drinks and hung around the hostel, speaking to random people. Me and Becky pestered some Americans in the pool, and Paul got deep in to conversation with some Portuguese guy.

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The next day we went to the same restaurant for breakfast (creatures of habit) and Paul's new friend joined us. It was a bit awkward really. He sat down and barely spoke, but that suited us because we were hungover and not very sociable either. After that, we decided that the 3 of us would go for a traditional Thai massage. It was one of the funniest moments. I've had the massages quite a few times before and knew that you are put in to all kinds of positions to manipulate your muscles, but this time, the three of us could see each other. I was in the middle and one minute I would look at Paul who had some little Thai lady walking up and down his back, then I would look around at Becky and she was lying on her front with a Thai lady sitting on her legs, pulling her arms to stretch her back out, but becky's face was one I could not forget ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ I literally had to bury my head in to my pillow to mask my hysterics!

That night we decided not to go out as we had plans to go out the next night when we would be located closer to Chaweng Beach, where all the action is. We played some cards and took it easy.

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Paul and Becky were both slightly sun burnt too, so it made them sleepy. I'm always sleepy and was still taking the Malarone tablets to prevent Malaria from our trip to Laos, which had horrible effects and made me feel super lazy/sickly. I couldn't wait to come off them.

The next day, we left pretty early to checkin to our next hostel. We flagged a taxi down and got a nice price. It dropped us a little mission from where we had asked and so we did some more walking with our backpacks to search for our hostel. Becky HATED carrying her backpack and realised near the end of the trip that it wasn't set up right in the store where she bought it, which meant that it was insanely uncomfortable!. We eventually got to our hostel, but then had to wait a few hours to check in, so decided to have some breakfast. Then, we left our bags at the hostel and went for a walk along the beach. Becky had a go on a jet ski and loved it!

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After, we went back to the hostel, where we all planned to have a power nap before the nights antics (which never happened). It was also St. Patrick's day, so we were expecting quite a busy night. We checked in, freshened up, bought tickets for our transfer to Koh Phi Phi the next morning. We were only able to book early tickets, which put us less in the mood for a really late one, but we still went out. We found an Irish bar which seemed to be the busiest and each ordered some drinks. We enjoyed some of the live music which they had playing and I got my face painted, as it was free. I'm pretty sure that the girl who painted my face was super drunk and the results say the same....

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After there, we took a wonder to Soi Green Mango, where I remember the atmosphere being great, last time I had visited. I don't know if it was just too early, but it was dead! We each had one drink. I wanted to head towards Ark Bar next but, probably for the best, was out voted by the others. We headed back to the hostel and hit the hay.

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In the morning, we got picked up and taken to a random stop, where we waited for about 30 minutes. Then, we got a tuktuk/bus to the pier where we had to wait a little while to catch the ferry to surat Thani. From there, we got another long bus to Krabi and finally a boat to Phi Phi island after waiting some more. The long transfers in Thailand can be a big pain, especially if you are sleep deprived, it's like torture. The buses and ferries aren't gentle either. I fill up on the travel sickness tablets each time. Even Paul who doesn't usually suffer from motion sickness gets sick if he doesn't take them. He also stocked up on sleeping tablets as he really struggled to fall asleep whilst being shook around.

In Phi Phi, we had booked Ibiza pool hostel. As you can probably tell from the name, it is a party hostel! We booked a sea view room, which was pretty cool.

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The biggest party hostel in Phi Phi. From the pier, we walked to the hostel and quickly checked in. We stayed in an 8 bed mixed dorm. As we were getting ready to head out, two Irish girls came in who had been on the booze cruise all day. They were sooooo drunk and could barely walk or talk! They introduced themselves and told us how we needed to go on the booze cruise and that it didn't cost much. Then they gave some crazy expensive price (which I can't remember) and told us that they were planning to travel for a few months, but so far had been away for two weeks and had been drunk like they were now, every single night and sleeping all day. Something suggested that they wouldn't last long especially as we saw them later, getting tattoo's and leaving their bags, money and phones lying around the street. I am all up for partying, but really don't see the point in doing it like they were. They weren't with it and forgot even meeting us the next day! They didn't even recognise us when we were sat opposite them about an hour after meeting them. What is the point?!

Anyway, so our night consisted of grabbing a bite to eat, Becky went to a cash point to withdraw some money and forgot to get her card out the machine. She noticed a little later and we went to see if her card was there, but we couldn't find it, so she contacted her dad and cancelled the card. About half an hour later, we walked by the machine, where Paul spotted her card, along with three others in the shop window, next to the cash point. ๐Ÿ˜ซ luckily, we were able to just transfer funds between accounts and withdraw that way until Becky got home.

Next, we went to the tattoo parlour, where Becky had a bamboo tattoo on her wrist touched up. The detail was really good.

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The tattoo took a while to do and so me and Paul went for a wonder to the Muay Thai boxing bar to watch some fights between anybody who volunteered to get in the ring. We later collected Becky and went back to the bar. We ordered some buckets and enjoyed the night. We also had some random guy join us from Essex. He just came and say with us, told us his life story and then we left, as you do.

We left the bar pretty early to head back to the hostel and got back around 1am. Being so close to the party, our room was shaking with the bass from the music. We all sat awake, dancing in our beds and at 2am, the music is switched off. Literally, mid song, as the law on Phi Phi states, it's just turned off. We then had a sound nights sleep, apart from when the Irish girls came back and threw up on the floor for a bit that is. We woke up feeling decent the next morning.

After breakfast, we decided to take a walk up to the Phi Phi view point. My fourth time there, the view never fails to impress!

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Once we reached the bottom, we went back to the hostel, got our swimwear on and headed to join the pool party. We had a fantastic evening! The atmosphere was great and the buckets we're going down nicely. We each enjoyed the pool, drinks, beach and some beer pong. It was a really fun night and because we started so early, were in bed by 11pm! Part timers! Unbelievably, we all passed out with the music still playing! ๐Ÿ™‰

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The next day, we were due to checkout and head towards Bangkok, where we would finish our trip, but the ferry was later in the day and we had some time to kill. So what do you do in Thailand when you have time to kill? Yup, more massages. Becky also had a manicure and so me and Paul went for a yummy lunch.

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once Becky was done, she got a bite to eat and we headed to the pier to catch the boat to Krabi.

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From Krabi we would get the overnight bus to Bangkok. We all tried our best to sleep during the trip but, by the time we arrived at Khao San Road, we we're all tired and groggy. We used google maps to direct ourselves to our hostel. We arrived too early and so couldn't checkin yet. But that didn't mean that we couldn't catch up on sleep ey guys?

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Later, after checking in, we decided that we were going to the cinema, as me and Becky really wanted to see Beauty and the Beast. (Paul sort of agreed) ๐Ÿ˜œ. After freshening up and straightening my hair, which I hadn't done for 3 months (big deal), we ordered an UBER to take us to the IMAX Paragon in Bangkok. It cost only 120 baht. (about 2.50GBP) but when we got to the IMAX, we were told that it was closed. Not ready to give up, we went in search for another cinema showing the film in English. A random guy helped direct us to MBK centre, which was great because I had wanted to visit this place for a long time. Also known as Manboonkrong, it is a large shopping mall in Bangkok with eight stories, it has over 2000 shops.

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We quickly found the cinema and we were in luck, they had the film showing in English in just over an hours time! I was stupidly excited. We bought our tickets, (which cost less than ยฃ1.50 each) and decided to grab a bite to eat. We took a very short walk, spotted a Pizza Hut and our arms were twisted.

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The film was fantastic. We ALL really enjoyed it. After, we got a tuk tuk back to the hostel. It was a really good evening.

The next day, I had arranged for us to go to Bangkok shooting range, as this was another activity on my bucket list and the prices in Bangkok are really good, compared to other places around the world. We got a taxi there and were driven through an army base, which was really cool to see.

Shooting different guns was so exciting and really got our adrenaline going. It was so loud! Me and Paul also had a go of a shot gun, which was super strong and nearly swept me off my feet.

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After the shooting range, we got a taxi back to Khao San Road and went for some food. I had a dish called morning glory, which I had tried in Langkawi first. It is basically the morning glory plant, stir fried and tastes delicious!

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After that, we took a walk to tho office on Khao San road, where we had bought the tickets for the ferry/bus journey which went all wrong. Becky was armed with her posters from the shooting range which were rolled up ๐Ÿ˜‚. We went in there, all guns blazing and were told that the manager would be back at 5, so we said we would go back then. True to our word, we were back there at 5 and ready to unleash Becky. The manager spoke to us politely and gave us a full refund. All that for a quick, easy refund. She was really ready to take him on as well and I was super ready to watch her.

That night, we took it easy, knowing that the next night would be becky's last one of her holiday. ๐Ÿ˜•

The next day, after a loooooong lie in, take a guess, yep. More massages :) I discovered the foot massage, which I've always avoided because of my ticklish feet, but it was epic! I plan to have many more in the not too distant future โ˜๐Ÿผ๏ธ. Afterwards, Becky had her nails done again and me and Paul went over to a bar opposite where we ordered some Chang's. Becky soon joined us. We took a walk back to the hostel to freshen up and then headed back to Khao San road to continue the fun times.

We went to a cheap bar where we had some buckets and got speaking to some people. It was actually rather tame, until some scouse idiot sat with us and started to randomly insult everybody, including his mate, who was blatantly embarrassed by him. Being mature adults that we are, we left the bar and decided that we would rather a cheeky McDonald's and head back to our hostel. It wasn't the scorpion which I had planned to get Becky to chomp down, but I think that would have taken a lot more alcohol. I am sure I can find another time to get her drunk and persuade her to eat a bug :s No, never, only on Khao San Road.

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We actually got a tuk tuk back, just because we could. Paul headed to bed and me and Becky annoyed some people staying at our hostel. Becky had a quick, (bad) game of pool, but not long after, we also went to bed (considerably early), which was good really as Becky had to be up quite early to get her taxi to the airport. We said our good byes ๐Ÿ™‹๐Ÿผ:( and then me and Paul packed and checked out shortly after. We went for a last little cheeky massage before we also left Bangkok to head to Chiang Mai.

Until next time folks. xxxx

Posted by Millypaulrtw 02:21 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Chiang Mai and a little bit of Bangkok

Bye bye Thailand ๐Ÿ™

all seasons in one day
View Dream come true on Millypaulrtw's travel map.

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So, we arrived in Chiang Mai at around 5:30am on 25th of March. The coach to get there took just over 10 hours and It isn't the smoothest journey, which means barely any sleep, if any. The coach stopped at some random petrol station, but luckily, from there, a tuk tuk/taxi driver offered to take us to where we were staying for the next week. It was only cheap too (100 baht - about ยฃ2) which was good because we kind of had no choice and would of pretty much agreed either way. From the moment we arrived in Chiang Mai, we noticed the unbelievably loud noise. The amount of birds and other creatures, means that there is a constant buzz. It's not annoying though. After about 10 minutes, it becomes white noise. It's just crazy.

So anyway, after dropping everybody else to there hostels, we were taken to our accommodation which was a little out of the way. We planned this because it was a nice place and we wanted a chilled out week, after a mad few weeks previously. So when we got there at 6:30am we were super happy that we were able to check straight in and ended up going back to bed for a little bit as we were seriously shattered.

Once we woke up, we decided to go to the pool and check out the area. We were so pleased. It was really lovely.

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I won't go in to detail of what we did every second of every day, as many of them were the same as others. For about 4 out of the 7 days we were either, at the pool, sleeping, eating (we found a great place called Silver Spoon, which we went to a few times) drinking (Chang's, vodka or cocktails) watching tv (my sisters keeper, hotel Transylvania and a few episodes of Black Mirror) going for long walks and so on. It was all such hard work ๐Ÿ˜….

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On one of the days (Mother's Day) we decided to visit the Chiang Mai Old Town, which is basically the city centre. We used UBER to get there. It only cost 50 baht (about ยฃ1.50) although, the taxi driver told us that UBER was actually illegal in Chiang Mai, so I would advise others to be super cautious. We had planned to visit a couple of temples and call the mums later on, as we were 7 hours ahead. We enjoyed a few drinks, found a travel agents and booked the night bus back to Bangkok for the last few days before we leave Thailand. We then played LOTS of games of pool. It got quite competitive and by the time we were finished, we realised that the temples would be closed, so never actually made our way to them. We did speak with the mum's though โ˜๐Ÿผ๏ธ

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Another day in Chiang Mai, we spent hours looking at different options for our trip, such as where we were going, when and what we would do in each place. We booked flights around the USA and booked a visit to Alcatraz prison which is very exciting for us and means a quick trip to San Francisco which is another new addition to the trip.

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Our favourite day in Chiang Mai, was the day which we visited Patara Elephant Farm! We looked through so many different places to make sure that we chose a place which treated the elephants right. After researching for a very long time, we chose to visit Patara. The prices were a bit more expensive, but we would be able to ride on the elephants here (Not on a wooden seat which is cruel). I was still a bit worried that I may see some goings on there which I wouldn't find comfortable, but the reviews on multiple web sites from people who had visited the park, put me at ease a little.

We were picked up at midday in a taxi and taken to Patara. As soon as we arrived, we were introduced to a mummy and baby elephant. The baby was only 2 weeks old, but so big. Obviously, she was still tiny compared to her mum. She was so playful and kept getting really excited and running around. If you sat down, she would sit on your lap. She wrapped her trunk around my leg, which was soooo cute! I wanted to keep her! Whilst giving the baby elephant some love, the mother swung her tail and hit me in my face. It really hurt and looking at her, I became much more cautious. The baby weighed A LOT when she sat on us. The mother could crush us! Thank god, I just got hit by her tail and not sat on!

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After a while, we were sat down, put in to groups and briefed on how to act around the elephants. At Patara, they didn't use force to speak with the elephants. They simply spoke to them (no hitting involved) which was pleasing to hear. We learnt some Thai words which would help us when we met our elephants. That's right, I said our elephants. Each person was paired with a specific elephant which suited them best. Mine was a naughty teenager called Beemy and Paul's was also a teenager called PahToo. His was much bigger than mine though and much better behaved. Sounds about right ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿ˜‰.

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So the first thing we did was feed our elephants. We were each handed a basket and directed over to our elephants. Each person also got their own guide, to help with anything. Mine was a bit moody, but helpfulish. ๐Ÿ™Š We were taught to tell the elephants that we wanted to feed them and then after they had eaten, how to say good boy/girl. Most people were told to feed the elephants directly in to their mouths. Beemy was very eager and would grab it using his trunk before I could reach his mouth ๐Ÿ™‹๐Ÿผ. They were very loving. They were all free to roam where they wanted and seemed very happy. Patara had more than 80 elephants in total. They were very focused on mother and baby. You could see that mother and baby were always kept together. Even in cases where a person was paired with an elephant, the baby's were always by their side.

After feeding the elephants, we were given a bunch of leaves to pat the elephants down (clean the mud off their backs). The elephants seemed to really enjoy this. They lay down themselves and sprawled out whilst you patted them down. After, they chilled out for a bit, whilst we had some lunch. Neil had a quick go at riding a baby elephant. He loved it ๐Ÿ‘.

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Beemy decided that he was thirsty, so I fed him water using a hose pipe. It was strange, pouring it in to their trunks. It seemed very odd.

After that, we headed down to a river, where we each cleaned our elephants. Most people sat on their elephants to clean their heads. Beemy just wanted to lie down though, so I didn't really spend much time on him. I just kind of scrubbed him from the side. Afterwards, we were all told to stand for a picture with the elephants. That is when they decided to drench us all by squirting water on to us using their trunks. It was such good fun.

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After that, we were each told how to get on to our elephants. It wasn't easy is all I'll say and mine was smaller than most.

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From there, we walked to another part of the Elephant farm. It was quite scary being on top of the elephant. We were told to sit far forward on the elephants because, sitting on the backs can be harmful to them. I felt like I was going to fall forward over Beemy's head at times. Neil joined me up there and we got a few pictures. Pauls elephant decided it was still hungry on the walk and literally stole some bamboo from a truck. At the end, we got a few more pictures with the elephants, me, Paul and Neil. That concluded our trip and we we're taken back to our hotel. We were also given a code and a website to visit later that night, where we were given access to all of the pictures taken throughout the day at no extra cost, which was a nice touch. We seriously loved our day with the elephants. Another one from that bucket list ticked off ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ˜Š. We would both highly recommend Patara elephant farm to other people!

The night before we were due to leave Chiang Mai, we had a few drinks and decided to visit the large shopping mall, not too far away (Central Festival). We got a taxi there and decided to visit the KFC, forgetting for a moment that we were in Thailand, we couldn't eat it at all. A few bites and our mouths were burning. After 2 months in Thailand and a month in Malaysia, you would think that we could handle it, but no!

On our way back, we couldn't get internet to order an UBER taxi and were quoted more than double what we had paid on the way there by the local taxi's. So on a random one, I saw some people with a pick up truck (a local couple and two girls who were travelling with them), pulled over near the taxi's and asked if they were going in our direction. It turned out that they were and very kindly dropped us very near by where we were staying for nothing. I was really pleased at the little money saver and more so, pleased that people were kind enough to agree to it.

The last day, we were due to be collected from Calla Lily Boutique around 5pm, so requested a late checkout and chilled out for the day. This wasn't offered and we didn't have to pay anything extra, which was really sweet of the staff at our accommodation. As mentioned before, we loved this place and would definitely recommend it for couples, single travellers or even groups. The location is the only downfall, but it's cheap to get anywhere! We packed our bags once again and when 5pm came around, off we went in a "taxi" to the coach and then off to Bangkok. We arrived pretty early in Bangkok and once again, booked D Hostel, as it is like our little home which we returned to in Thailand. We know that it is a great hostel and it made sense to stay there for our final 3 days in Thailand. As we arrived super early (about 5am) and weren't due to check in until 2pm, we went to a lovely air conditioned chill out room in the hostel, made up little beds and snoozed for a couple of hours. When we woke up, we watched Hotel Transylvania 2, as the TV had lots of films to watch.

The last few days were pretty tame to be fair. We decided to visit Lumpini park which is a big park, right in the centre of Bangkok and is full of crazy wildlife, mainly monitor lizards. ๐Ÿ˜‘

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We got a taxi there and walked around for a couple of hours. It was a really nice, hot day. After that, we started to walk towards MBK because we decided that we were going to go to the cinema. It turned out that google maps was sending us on a wild goose chase and so we flagged down a tuk tuk and negotiated a good price. He asked for us to make one stop on the way there. (This is pretty common with taxi's in Thailand. They make commission by taking you to friends shops to have a look around and hopefully purchase something) we agreed to make one stop as we weren't in any kind of rush and it was a good price. We were taken to a suit shop. We had a look around (with no intention to buy a thing) and then left.

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When we arrived a MBK, The times for the films weren't great for us, so we decided to walk to the IMAX cinema not too far away. On the way, we got a cheeky subway ๐Ÿค—๐Ÿ˜œ. At the IMAX, we watched 'The Boss Baby'. It was decent to be fair.๐Ÿ™Š

The next day, we spent on Khao San Road. It was where we started our 2 month journey around Thailand and seemed appropriate that we end our time there! We picked up a few bottles of Chang and went for massages. We both had pedicures, both had a hair cut and had full body massages and foot massages. After that, we had some more drinks and met a nice couple from England who we spent some time with. They were travelling for about the same time as us, so it was nice to compare notes. On our way home, we drunkenly picked up some junk food and munched it back at the hostel before we went to our dorms and ended our time in Bangkok.

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Our flight the next morning was pretty early and so we checked out, ordered an Uber taxi and off we went.

Suvarnabhumi airport

Suvarnabhumi airport

We were so sad to be leaving Thailand. After two months travelling around, we both felt quite institutionalised. From the moment we arrived in Thailand to now, we felt so much more at home. However, we were super excited to get to our next destination (Bali) and so, managed to drag ourselves away. It's not likely that we would go back to Thailand which made it really hard for me to say goodbye. If things were different, I would go back a million times over. I would also recommend to everybody, that they must experience the different world that is Thailand! But for us, it looks like we are pretty busy for a while. Also, after a few more years, we would hope to have little feet joining us. I really would never choose to visit Thailand with children. It's hectic enough, watching your own back.

Whilst there are many things that we loved about Thailand, we were quite uncomfortable with many different things, such as the illegal sex trade which is quite "in your face", the toilet situation, homeless people, drugs, relentless mosquitos and so on. That being said, our eyes have been opened up to what's really going on and we have learnt a lot about this crazy place in the world. It is both beautiful and ugly. Words can not describe it. So that brings me to an end. Just go there!

Posted by Millypaulrtw 18:59 Archived in Thailand Comments (1)

Bali

Kuta, Nusa Dua, Gobleg, Pemuteran, Ubud, Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno & Canggu.

sunny 35 °C
View Dream come true on Millypaulrtw's travel map.

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So, we arrived in Bali on 6th April at around 6am. The airport was small but swarming with taxi men pestering the arrivals hall. We had been told about this by another traveller and how they will massively rip people off, so not being familiar with the currency and cost, we quickly pushed past them and ordered ourselves an UBER instead, which we later came to learn, is illegal in Bali. ๐Ÿ˜ณ Oops.

Anyway, we were taken to our first stop in Bali which was a guesthouse called Red Doorz in Kuta. The place was okay"ish". I wouldn't opt to stay there again, but it was cheap and you get what you pay for. We took a walk over the road to a big shopping mall, where we withdrew some money and felt super rich once again, due to the fact that we were withdrawing millions. The shopping mall seemed really good, with lots of different types of shops including a superstore and cinema. We picked up a few bits and headed back to our guesthouse to pay for our stay.

From a long transfer, we were pretty shattered and ended up going back to bed for a bit. Later, we took a walk in to the centre to check it out. The streets seemed quite busy with lots of different shops and restaurants. There was a big variation of different food but mainly focused on western food. We briefly checked out the beach. It wasn't great to be honest. It was very busy, especially considering it was pretty late. There was also a lot of dirt but the sea itself looked really nice. Also, there were a few surfers in the sea, but pretty far away so we didn't stay for long, just enough for a small walk along the shore. A random guy actually attempted to sell us a bow and arrow. God knows how he thinks he will ever sell them to holiday makers who have no chance of ever catching a flight with it in their luggage. Crazy really. We looked forward to see the other crazy things that Bali had to offer.

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After that, we went to get a bite to eat at a nice cafe called Kopi Kua. They served amazing coffee and the food was also great. We ended up walking around for quite a while, until it was late and had a chilled out night.

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The next day, we were up early to get breakfast. It wasn't served at our guesthouse, so we went to the supermarket in the shopping mall opposite and just picked up a fruit salad. After that, we were going to explore some more. We had just started walking down the road and were approached by a man who handed us a scratch card each. Mel scratched hers to reveal one of four prizes, all of which seemed decent. He basically told us that to collect the prize, we would need to visit a certain resort and spend some time there (1 hour minimum). Mel knew what it was all about and quickly briefed me on what timeshare was. The thing was that I had also won some t-shirts which would make for decent nightwear for Mel for a little while (nothing like a freebie) ๐Ÿ™ˆ The guy also would pay for the taxi there and back which was pretty far (Nusa Dua) which meant that we got to see some more of the island, a free lunch was included at the resort and Mel still got whichever prize afterwards. With only time to kill, we agreed to go along and get our freebies. Also, the guy made commission on getting us to go, so it was kind of a good deed really. ๐Ÿ˜

We actually spent a while there (about 3 hours). Just as Mel had thought, it was all about timeshare. It was pretty interesting to be fair and would be something that we would maybe consider down the road when we actually have jobs to pay for it. ๐Ÿ˜œ Anyway, we got our free lunch which was really good, free drinks, a little tour, free t-shirts and Mel's prize was a book of vouchers, so we were pretty pleased that we went along.

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After we got back, we decided to go to the cinema as it was now late and we watched a film called 'Get Out'. It was a really good low budget film and I would recommend watching it!

That evening, we went for a nice long walk and stopped off for some taco's. Kuta was a nice place to visit. It was very busy, but we were after more of a secluded spot to spend a few days, so we only spent a couple of days there. The next day, we had booked an UBER taxi to take us up to Gobleg (more central to Bali and much more secluded). This small village is located on high ground. From the village you can see beautiful paddy fields (rice fields). It is far cooler than other places in Bali as it is situated amongst mountains.

We had lots of trouble getting a taxi to take us that far, as three different people arrived and then refused to take us because of the distance. It was a 3 hour drive to be fair. I quickly got online to check out our options and saw that the most well know taxi company in Kuta was one named 'Blue Bird'. Many different posts online suggested this company for trips around Bali due to the certified meter meaning that customers pay a fair price.

So, we walked down the road a little and quickly spotted the Blue Bird beacon on top of a taxi. We flagged it down and negotiated a good price with the driver.

On the way, Mel slept the majority of the trip whilst I took in some of the amazing views of Bali.

Getting closer to Gobleg, we quickly passed the Twin Lakes which looked very impressive, so we planned to go back that way at some point to experience the amazing view.

We arrived after miles of winding roads. The driver was obviously quite familiar with the roads because he didn't find the need to slow down around thin roads going around cliff edges.

Finally, we arrived at our hostel. The view was so special!

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We had booked to stay here for 2 days. The checkin was simple and the staff seemed very nice. We decided to take a trek through and around the paddy fields to reach Munduk waterfall the next day. At night, we sat outside our room and stared out in to the pitch black view, hoping to catch a shooting star as I have never seen one. There were parts of the sky covered in stars, whilst others were cloudy. After a while, we gave up, mainly due to the fact that the mosquitos had come out for their dinner.

So the next day, we got up early, got breakfast and set off with a hand drawn map from the guy who ran the guesthouse. He told us that the full trek should take around 5 hours, something we were dubious of. Pretty much straight away, we noticed that the trek was not going to be like your normal trek through the Derbyshire Dales back in England.

For a start, the decline was crazy! We quickly got lost and found ourselves sliding down steep, slippery paths near the mountain on our backsides. Okay, maybe Mel managed to do it on foot but when she saw me sliding past her 10 times faster, on my Aโ‚ฌ$ยฅ, her face was a picture!

We saw so many interesting things, the paddy fields, men climbing trees barefoot, small waterfalls and some interesting wildlife.

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At one point, we spotted somebody and noticed that they had a small stand with some drinks on. We asked if we could get some drinks from them and sat down. Their whole family came out and sat with us. They gave us about 3 hands of bananas, for no reason but to be kind apparently. We didn't stay for long. Whilst there, they were so kind and really showed a lot of interest. They had never been anywhere other than their own tiny village.

Some parts of the trek were really tricky and generally very dangerous. Something we didn't realise until we were there really. Eventually we got to the waterfall. It was amazing. Mel had never seen a waterfall before and said later that she was close to tears. The pictures don't do it much justice.

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After that, we decided to walk back to our guesthouse via the main road, not the path set out on the map we had. 1. Because it was to dangerous and 2. the main reason, we just couldn't be bothered. By the time we got back to the hostel, we had been out for just over 4 hours anyway.

We grabbed some food at the guesthouse. There wasn't much of another option as the village was so secluded, which was actually a nice touch and gave the location a bit more of a special feel to it. When we went to pay, we realised that we were in need of some extra cash, so the guy at our guesthouse told me to jump on his scooter and off we went to the next village about 15 minute drive away to use the cash point. There I was, on the back of a random persons bike, driving around streets I didn't know, around cliff edges with no helmet. It was great. Some things, I hope I really don't forget, hence this blog.

The next day we got a ride (from a friend of the guesthouse owner) to Pemuteran. A small laid back village located Northwest of Bali on the shoreline. This is where I chose to book a place for Mel's birthday. We booked a place in the same area for two days before we were booked to stay in the resort I chose. The drive took about 2 hours and once again, Mel fell asleep for most of it. I really don't know how she does it. She really doesn't know how I stay awake.

We arrived at our next guesthouse (Bagus home stay) at around 2pm. The room was great as we were given an upgrade for nothing because it was available, however, the pool was empty and still being filled up.

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So, after settling in, we went for a walk to explore the area. We found ourselves at the beach. Once there, we saw a nice resort and decided to relax there for a little while. After that, we went back to guesthouse and Mel went to sleep again as she said that she wasn't feeling very well. When she woke up, I was sat outside, by the pool. She said how she had woke up to find a baby cow standing outside of our room, but that it had now wondered off ๐Ÿ˜‚. Sure love, you saw a cow๐Ÿค”๐Ÿ˜.

The next day, we were woken up to the sound of none other than moooooo! ๐Ÿ‚ Not the usual rooster morning call ๐Ÿฆƒ which we have kind of got used to from various places around Asia. We quickly noticed that the hose being used to fill the pool had been switched off and that the pool wouldn't be in use today, so we went for breakfast and then decided to head back to the nice resort where we had been the night before. We asked if we could use their pool, hired some towels for all of ยฃ1.50 each and had an amazing day spent doing nothing at the poolside.

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We also decided to stay at that resort for lunch and Face time our families to brag and show them how beautiful the place was. We both caught the sun quite a bit whilst we were there. Later that evening, we went to a "restaurant" aka, somebody's house with a table outside. We ordered a meal each. Mel had spaghetti bolognaise and it consisted of pieces of beef steak, cut in to small pieces with some cherry tomatoes and spaghetti. Not quite what I think she had in mind.

The next day, after breakfast at our guesthouse we went to the pool again and drank loads of cocktails! Mel used her upcoming birthday as an excuse to get more cocktails. We stayed there all day and when we got back to our guesthouse, the pool was finally full and so I went for a bit more of a swim ๐Ÿ˜„

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At night, we realised that we needed some cash and so we went for a long walk to find an ATM. We found a nice restaurant and stayed for some BBQ food. Mel felt unwell again whilst we were there and so we ended up going back to the guesthouse. That night, Mel woke up in. The middle of the night and noticed a random, big lump on her neck, near her ear which we figured was an ear infection, so she took some amoxicillin for the next week and was taking them for her birthday. Luckily we had decided to drink that day instead of her birthday because she didn't want to be hungover the day after her birthday, so it meant that she didn't miss out on enjoying some cocktails.

The next day, we walked to Kinaara resort which was the place which I had booked for Melissa's birthday as a surprise. It was only a 15 minute walk from the last place and so it was a nice walk, even though Mel didn't feel well and the heat made it tough, we were both too excited to get to the resort.

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When we got there, we received a great welcome, even though our room wasn't ready yet, we were given flower necklaces, shown around the beautiful resort and taken to the bar in the middle of the pool (which had water from hot springs in it). At the bar, we were given a free welcome drink. We decided to get some lunch and soon after, our room was ready.

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It was fair that the room wasn't ready, because I had requested for something special for Melissa. They had decorated the bed in our room with towel swans and written 'I love you Milly' using flower petals. They did a fantastic job and she was seriously impressed. I was very pleased.

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The room was also fantastic and was in the best spot of the resort, central to everything. We noticed that the room was actually the one which they used in the brochures. We could tell from the view from the door of our room. The place was heaven. They had beautiful grounds and a spa. In traditional Bali style, our room was in a lumbung hut and had a shower outside. Even better, the shower let out fresh water from hot springs, rather than the usual sewage water which we have been attempting to wash in for the last 4 months.

I booked to stay at Kinaara Resort for three days. We also had breakfast and our evening meals included which was a nice touch. The food was perfect. We ate so much of it ๐Ÿ˜Š we barely left the resort. We both loved it there. The days were spent by the pool and at night time, we would go for a meal and then sit outside, watching the sky. The area we were in was quite remote which resulted in an amazing sky in the evening. The bed was also very comfortable which meant, we had amazing sleeps! ๐Ÿ˜„

For Melissa's birthday, we had a very chilled out day. It basically went breakfast, sunbathe, spa, dinner. Chilling out by the pool was the majority of the day. The water was so nice and fresh that you would often see swift birds swooping down around you to have a sip. We also randomly watched the film IT (Stephen King) as I had never seen it and Mel demanded that I had to.

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The staff at the resort learnt our names and were ridiculously polite. We opted for two hours worth of massages at the spa. That part wasn't quite as we expected. They were very rough and we left feeling a little bit like we had both been beaten up. The best part of our stay though, was Melissa's birthday dinner. Again, I had arranged for a special surprise. It was a candle lit dinner.

When we went to the restaurant that evening, they told Melissa that she had a special dinner this evening. They then walked us to a secluded part of the resort in the gardens. They had set up a candle lit table in a private garden with an archway especially covered in flowers as the entrance. The whole area was decorated with lanterns and flower petals everywhere. They spelt out 'welcome' at the entrance, 'I love you' beside our table and they also had made a heart shape with flower petals around our table. The meal itself was also amazing. We both opted for steak and I ordered some Cinderella mock-tails for her, to show that she is my princess. ๐Ÿง€

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The next day, it was time for us to leave Pemuteran and head to Ubud. The drive would take about 2 hours and so we decided that it made sense to book a taxi for the day to take us to some special places around Bali and finish off in Ubud where we had booked to stay for a week. Our taxi driver was called Ketut. He was really nice and explained to us how babies names were chose in Bali. Basically Balinese people name their children depending on the order they are born. 1st is Wayan, Putu or Gede. 2nd is Made or Kadek. 3rd is Nyoman or Komang. 4th is Ketut. After the fourth child, they repeat the process. Me and Mel find this crazy. They also give people a new name after they die. It's crazy! Google it.

Anyway, our first stop was at a viewpoint overlooking the Twin Lakes (Lake Buyan and Tamblingan, separated by a rainforest-covered hill making for a natural, beautiful view) which we had spotted on our way up to the North of the Island.

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After that, we went to Ulun Danu Temple (a big deal to the Balinese folk, it is a water temple located on the shores of Lake Bratan in the mountains. It is also pictured on their 50,000 rupiah notes).

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We also went to a coffee plantation where we tried many different types of coffee and tea which were grown at that particular plantation. We were also walked around the plantation and saw some of the different plants, as well as the Asian palm civet (like a wild cat) which are part of the process for making the famous Kopi Luwak. (The worlds most expensive coffee) Basically, the civet's eat something known as coffee cherries, they then poop them out and the part digested cherries are then used to make Kopi Luwak. Weird I know. ๐Ÿค”

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Once we arrived in Ubud, we received a warm welcome at our next guesthouse (Sahad We booked this place for a week. But Mel was still feeling quite unwell and we had booked a fan room which wasn't ideal. We were also kind of far from the centre and the weather was boiling, so she found it pretty tough to deal with.

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We actually ended up spending a few days in the hot room and only really got about three days out of our visit to spend doing things. One day we went for a walk around Ubud centre. To be quite honest, it wasn't as nice as we had expected from what people had told us. Sure there were nice shops and restaurants, but it was dirty and the paths were a mess. The traffic was also super busy.

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Mel withdrew some money from a cash point and we visited Ubud Monkey forest. The monkeys there were the Balinese long-tailed macaque. They weren't what we were used to from were we lived near Gibraltar (Barbary macaques). These monkeys were much bigger and much more vicious. We were very cautious when we were there, as there were lots of warnings about how to act around the monkeys. They would scream at each other, fight and were known to bite people, so we just "admired" them at a distance. The park itself was really good. It was really big and we spent quite a while walking around. Well worth the visit.

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After the monkey forest, we found a nice place to go for lunch. Bali really had a great selection of food! They had a lot of different things to choose from. When I was paying, I noticed that Melissa's bank card wasn't where it usually was. I asked her if she had it, but she couldn't find it, so we went to the cash point where she had earlier withdrawn some money. There was a note to 'Melanie' (Mel's bank card doesn't say her name is Melissa. It says Mel, and so we thought that this person who found the card had assumed that Melanie was her name). The letter was stating that somebody had her bank card and the hostel where this person was staying. We walked to the hostel which took quite a while, something that Mel could have done without given how she was feeling. Once we arrived at the hostel, the receptionist contacted the girl to come meet us. Well, it turns out that the card wasn't Mel's. Some how, some other woman who happened to be called Melanie had left her card in the machine. What are the chances?! So, we left and Mel cancelled her card. Luckily we have alternatives for this kind of situation because we are super prepared ;)

The next day, Mel was feeling really bad and so she told me to go out and do some exploring so that my day wasn't wasted. I went in to Ubud centre and found myself at a bar called Habitat where I met a Swiss guy who I hung out with for a short time. On my way back, I spotted a friendly face. A guy from Sweden who we had stayed with two months ago in a hostel in Koh Phangan where we celebrated the full moon party.

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Whilst walking down the street, we both just looked at each other and pointed and in unison both exclaimed 'Koh Phangan!' We decided to go to Buddha bar to catch up and have a few drinks. It was another one of those crazy moments where you feel like the world is small for a moment. I ended up staying out a little longer than initially planned. Mel was pleased because she had been so unwell and I would have been very bored in our room whilst she admittedly would have just complained to me. Although, by the look of things, she got pretty bored too....

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The next day, Mel was still feeling unwell. We tried to venture out to do a small clothes shop because Mel had some birthday money given to her to spend; and the clothes that we had were at a point when they were a little worse for wear. The shop didn't really go to plan. I found a few bits, like T-shirts And shorts etc. But Mel didn't have much luck, or energy to bother. So we pretty much did nothing more.

The next day, Mel said that she felt a little bit better, so we booked to climb Mt. Batur for the next morning. Mount Batur is an active volcano located at the centre of two concentric calderas. We chilled out in the day time and got an early night because we had to be ready to leave our guesthouse at 2am.

We were collected from the guesthouse and taken to a small restaurant for about 2:30am where they gave us coffee and a biscuit. Pretty random really. It took us about 2 hours in total to arrive at the bottom of Mt. Batur. Once we were there, we noticed the sky! It was like nothing either of us had ever seen. Obviously a few factors such as the time and location contributed to a sky full of stars which appeared to be so close to us. It looked like it wasn't real to be honest.

We were each given a torch and set off on our way. It was pitch black and we started by walking through a forest. After about an hour, we were struggling. We had to reach the summit at 6am to catch the sunrise and the whole trip took about two hours, so when we wanted to stop for 5 minutes, it really wasn't an option. Well we did manage it just in time. Literally as we sat to get our breath back, we watched the sun come up over Danau Batur Lake. It was an amazing view!

PICS OF MOUNT BATUR

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After our "lunch" which consisted of two pieces of dry bread and one boiled egg, we walked over to the centre of the volcano to check out the lava and smoke. In all honesty, we weren't overly impressed. We saw a tiny bit of smoke and somebody lit a cigarette off a boiling rock. I don't know if life is just too interesting for us and so we aren't so impressed by amazing things anymore, or if it was just not that amazing. By the time we got back to our guesthouse, it was about 10am and we were exhausted. Their is not much to report back. Once again, we didn't do a fat lot.

Early the next morning, we were due to travel to Gili Trawangan (aka Gili T). Our bus took a while to come and so we decided to have a beer each. Well one led to four and by the time our bus arrived, we were a little bit merry to say the least. On the way to Padangbai, where we would get a boat to Gili T, the driver was crazy. We both were desperate for the toilet and the crazy driving (maybe four beers also) made it unbearable. We had to ask for the driver to pull over at a petrol station where we ran off like little children to go. Everybody on the bus clearly didn't appreciate that we did that. ๐Ÿ˜ whoops.

Once we got to the pier, we had to wait a little while amongst other travellers who were also waiting to visit the Gili Islands or Lombok. Locals would go around trying to sell you different things (food and drinks). They were also collecting any bottles for recycling and got quite competitive with each other.

The boat journey was about 2 hours long. It was very squashed, they really squeeze on as many people as possible. The seats are also leather and so, in hot weather, it isn't the most comfortable journey. Anywho, when we arrived, we were pretty early for the check in time at our guesthouse and we also needed to use google maps to help us walk to where we were staying, so we decided to sit down first and get something to eat. On our way to find somewhere to eat, we noticed quite quickly that the main mode of transport on Gili T is horse and carriage. Mel didn't think this was very nice. The horses looked underweight and exhausted. The island itself was tiny and you could walk around it easily. It didn't make sense for people to use the horses to get from one place to another, just sheer laziness. The horses were also used to carry heavy items around the island, which did make more sense because it couldn't be carried by hand, but a moped or small vehicle of some kind could have done the job. Or maybe even if the owners fed and cared for the horses better, it wouldn't have seemed so unkind. Just our opinion of it though.

We found a place to eat called Manta. It was also a resort and Scuba school and was located in a busy spot, right near the pier on the sea front. Mel found that they did Jacket potatoes which really excited her and I ordered a burger. We connected to the wifi and looked at some things to do for all of the day that we were spending here. After a while, we checked in to our guesthouse (Akalanka) The air conditioning at out place was amazing. We were so pleased because our last place only had a fan and we had really struggled. Mel was feeling a lot better than she had done on previous day, but wasn't quite 100% at this point. By this point, it was pretty late and we decided to have a quick power nap before heading out for the night. About 2 hours later, we woke up and it was pouring down with rain! The roads in Gili Trawangan were basically dirt tracks and so we decided against the night out which we had planned. We both got cleaned up and decided to venture out to the shop to pick up some toiletries which we needed. We got soaked and almost slipped over a few times. We also got bit by mosquitos quite a bit and so decided that staying in was the best idea.

The next day, Mel had found a view point which she wanted to visit. She said that it overlooked the entire island. Well, after walking for a while, it came to our attention that there was no viewpoint. Mel had obviously been reading something else about some other place. Anyway, we decided to visit the 'four swings' instead. The four swings, quite obviously are four different swings ๐Ÿ˜ต (located in the sea). We went pretty off road to get there. It was boiling and it felt like we walked for ages, but was nice too.

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Finally, we arrived at the four swings where we decided to take some pictures.the swings look pretty shallow, but they weren't. You had to go out pretty far to get to them. It was also not very easy getting on to the swings. It made for a nice picture though. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜

After that, we went for drinks and decided to visit the turtle sanctuary. On the Gili Islands, turtles are very common. They lay their eggs on the sea shore which leaves the eggs in danger, so the people take the eggs and care for them until the turtles are big enough to go back in to the water and defend themselves against any predators.

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That evening, we went for a meal at a steak restaurant. The food wasn't great. We both had a steak baguette and didn't really rate it. That night, the weather was terrible again, so we stayed in again. The next morning was our day to leave Gili T. We hadn't actually originally planned on going to Gili T because it was the party island and we were more after a relaxed, romantic island, however it turns out that you can't go straight from Bali to Gili Meno and that you must get to Gili T and then get another boat to Gili Meno, so why not book a couple of nights in Gili T. Anyway, we packed our things and headed towards the pier quite early to find our cheapest option to get over to Gili Meno. It turned out that the best option was a public boat which you would book an hour before departure. The boat was never full because the islands were so small that it meant that there were never that many people travelling. We had missed the early boat and so decided to find somewhere to chill out because we had our big backpacks and it was a hot day, so we didn't really fancy walking around for hours. We decided to go back to Manta, as we knew we liked it and the location was good for a bit of people watching. As we say down, Mel noticed some people that we had met whilst staying on Koh Phi Phi Island in Thailand. It was two young girls (we mentioned them earlier on in the blog) who had been sharing a dorm room with us. We could not believe that they had made their way this far, or that they were still together. They were having some trouble with their banks and had lost bank cards, which was no surprise, but other than that, they were doing okay. It just shocked us, considering how crazy they had been when we had seen them last. Anyway, we sat with them for a while and caught up on things that we had all been up to since we had last seen them about two months ago. We ended up drinking a fair bit and by the time our boat arrived, we were feeling pretty merry. On the boat, we sat on the top deck and enjoyed the view.

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We arrived in Gili Meno and it was crazy. Once again, we used google offline maps to help us find our way to our accommodation. We booked to stay in a lumbung hut which were on the opposite side of the island to the pier. The island did not have any roads, just sand. After a little bit of a mission, we found where we were supposed to be.

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Later in the evening, we decided to go for some food. We didn't consider the fact that the island didn't have lighting at night time and so, endured an interesting walk through the middle of the island. Luckily, Mel had her phone so that we could use the torch, otherwise I have no idea how we would have got back. That night at about 4am, we both woke up and were seriously not well ๐Ÿ˜ท๐Ÿ’ฉ. At first, we thought it was the fact that we had both drank quite a bit the day before, but we soon came to realise that it must have been food poisoning. The next day was pouring with rain, which I guess wasn't too bad because we were both out of action for the entire day. It was pretty hard being so poorly in Gili Meno because there was nothing to take our mind off of things. We didn't have any wifi, so we couldn't even kill time by scrolling through rubbish on our phones, there was not a TV in the room and neither of us even had a book to read. At one point, Mel was that bad that she thought she needed some kind of medical help. Well there was no hope in Gili Meno of that. I felt really bad for her. For about two weeks, she hadn't been well, with one thing or another.

The next day, doing our best to make the most out of Gili Meno, we walked to the North of the Island and hired out some snorkelling gear. We swam out to the Meno Wall. This is a wall, under the water obviously which goes down for 22 meters with a sandy bottom. It is home to a plethora of crustaceans and a great spot for diving with plenty of reef fish to spot. We didn't get to see any turtles but we saw masses of huge and colourful fish. It was an amazing thing to see. After a while, we headed back to chill out, before going out again. Mel said that she still wasn't feeling 100%, so I ended up going back out alone and went for a bit more of a walk to explore the island. I got a few pictures too ๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ๐Ÿ“ธ.

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That night, we decided to find somewhere to have some food, which would hopefully perk us up a bit. We found a spot near by to our Accommodation where they were doing a BBQ and it had seats in small huts which looked out at the sun set. It was really nice. We had some fish (which was beautiful) and watched as the stars lit up the sky. It was a pretty cool moment.

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The next day at 5am we got a boat back to Gili T. Finally, after what seemed like forever for both of us, Mel was feeling happy and healthy. Once we arrived in Gili T, we decided to head back to Manta, one final time to wait for our next boat to take us back to Bali. We both ordered a big breakfast baguette whilst we waited and then boarded our boat to Padangbai. On the boat, Mel overheard somebody mention that they were going to Canggu, which is where we were also headed, so she asked of their plans and if they wanted to share a taxi to lower the cost for the trip. The guy agreed and he also had two friends who came along, so the 90 minute taxi ride actually only ended up costing us (Me and Mel) about ยฃ10. We were so happy because we had decided to pay a little more for a nice hotel (Koa D surfer hotel). The hotel was great. It was in a good location near numerous beaches, it had its own pool and pool bar on the rooftop. The room was great, with lots of little extra thrills which we were ecstatic about. The hotel also included a really great breakfast which was another nice little touch.

I won't go in to what we did each minute of each day, but I will run over a few of the things we did over the next couple of days. We really explored Canggu a lot on foot. We walked around a lot. We spent quite a bit of the time on the roof of our hotel, enjoying some drinks, the sun and the pool. We also had a great view of the sky at nighttime.

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I got my hair cut at one of the many barbers that they have. It was a really good cut for a bargain price. It was quite strange actually, he literally shaved my entire ears ๐Ÿ™‰ I don't know what that was about. ๐Ÿ˜‚ one of the days, we visited the famous Echo beach to watch some of the surfers. The weather wasn't great that day and so we didn't end up staying around for long. We also visited a few, near by restaurants. One was the Shady Shack. It was a nice place which served healthy food and was super focused on presentation. It was totally full and we had to stand to eat. When we had finished our food and drinks, we left and completely forgot to pay ๐Ÿค”. Whoops. We didn't realise until a little while down the road, at which point, we may have slightly picked up the pace ๐Ÿ˜ณ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿฝ.

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Canggu was our last stop in Bali. We spent an entire month travelling around and found such a different variation of places. Our favourite spot was Gobleg. It was a tiny village in the middle of the island, between mountains and was ridiculously picturesque. Not many travellers stay here, perhaps because it is far out from the busy places and not very advertised in books or online. The fact that you only really see local people really adds to the beauty of the place. They are also, so kind and so interested to see people from anywhere other Bali.

Generally, Balinese people were very kind to us. They are always happy to help out and not just for something in return. The island is a very religious place and it is rare that you will stay somewhere that you won't hear a mosque at some point during the day. The food in Bali was very varied. Traditionally, the Balinese people eat all local produce, but in general, Bali has lots of different dishes to choose from. We certainly made the most of that.

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In our opinion, one month was a really good amount of time to spend in Bali. We feel like we got to see enough in that time to say that we have experienced Bali's best bits. We would definitely recommend it to anyone & everyone. That being said, (in no way ungrateful for our experience) at this point in our trip, we can not wait to get ourselves out of Asia! We need some proper clothes and to be able to wash in water that actually cleans you.

Just a 4 hour flight, then a 9 hour layover and an 8 hour flight and our wishes will be granted. ๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿ˜œ Bye Bye Bali! You were magical!

Posted by Millypaulrtw 01:39 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

Sydney

Back to the western world

semi-overcast 16 °C

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So, we arrived in Sydney in the evening at around 8:30pm. Getting there took a while. We had a four hour flight from Bali to Kuala Lumpur where we had a layover for 9 hours and then a flight to Sydney which took about 8 hours. The flight was with Jetstar, who we would not recommend to fly with. A few reasons: No TV on the plane, no meal included on an 8 hour flight, no drinks included (even water came at a cost). You couldn't take your own food on board which means that if you haven't eaten before, you have to either go hungry or pay for the food on board. The plane was absolutely freezing and so I asked for a blanket. Guess what, that costs money too. Not really great service either. We ordered a few bits and three of the things which we attempted to order, weren't "in stock". So yeah, just note that down, Jetstar - okay short haul, otherwise don't bother.

So anyway, my friend who I had travelled some of Thailand with a few years back (Shannon) & her boyfriend (Paulo) had 'super sweetly' offered us to stay with them in their new pad, even though they had only moved in the day before we arrived. ๐Ÿ˜ They were at the airport to collect us when we got there.

I'm not going to lie, I was gutted that our passports weren't stamped when we got there, :( the security wasn't super strict either, which is what I always expected from watching one too many airport control programs in my previous (less exciting) life before travelling.

So, we went back to Shannon & Paulo's place. On the way there, we caught up a little and spoke about how happy we were to be in Australia, where things are much more "westernised". Once we got there, Shannon showed us to our room (which had a ridiculously comfortable bed) and the bathroom which had fresh water which you could drink if you wanted! I know that doesn't sound very exciting, but after washing in what is practically sewage for four months, we couldn't have been happier. Only then, I heard three words which every girl loves to hear.... Want some pyjamas? They were brand new actual pyjamas! The ones you wear in cold weather! I can't express how content I was. Shannon seemed to totally understand everything I had needed after our time in Asia. She had done a similar trip and just understood us both. That evening we just chilled out and caught up as we hadn't really spoke for 4 years. It was really nice. Me and Shannon stayed up a little after the men had gone to bed and I didn't actually realise that my clock on my phone was 2 hours behind, which meant that we had a pretty late one. Ah well, no alarm to wake up to tomorrow. ๐Ÿ˜„

The next morning, I was in major need of some new clothes. I had thrown the majority of what I originally packed for our round the world trip, at our last hotel. I asked Shannon to take me to Sydney's version of Primark (super cheap but semi stylish clothes shop in Europe) so that I could buy an entire wardrobe for a nice price. I also needed to change to more of a winter wardrobe. She could not have taken me to a more spot on place. I ended up getting loads. I even picked up some pyjamas with some sloths on. (A huge deal to somebody obsessed with sloths)๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿ™ˆ

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After shopping, we went to a pub opposite the beach for a quick one where we met Shannon's friend (Sam). She seemed really nice. We planned some of our evening and then headed back to Shannon's to get ready. On the way, we also picked up some food bits to make whilst we were staying. One of those things being another 'thing that I've deeply missed during our time away' BAKED BEANS! ๐Ÿ˜„

As we were getting ready, back at Shannon's, another friend of hers arrived (Michael). He was a proper red neck Ozzy, 'from the bush' and was super load and funny. We had a few drinks and then headed out to go see a comedian. We saw Larry Dean, a young Scottish comedian and he was really good. I would totally recommend seeing him if the opportunity comes around.

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After, we went to an old English type pub, called the Old Vic with a bunch of Shannon's pals. It was a bit grungy, with a real British feel to it. We felt pretty much like we were back in England. So we had a few drinks there and after, Paul, Paulo, Michael, Shannon and I headed back to Shannon and Paulo's place, where we had a couple more ๐Ÿ˜….

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The next day, we all woke up considerably early and Michael had got everybody some coffee! What a legend! The hangovers weren't near as brutal as we had expected, but we had a pretty chilled out day. We went for a little walk to some shops, to get some bits for Shan n Paulo, then walked back via a park near their place. We also stopped of at Coles (supermarket chain in Oz) and got all the bits for a shepherds pie, which Paulo cooked for dinner ๐Ÿ˜ We decided that we weren't going out that evening to a Drum & Bass night which we had planned to go to, and just chill out instead. We had a couple of drinks, watched TV and taught Shannon and Paulo how to play Monopoly Deal. It was a really chilled out, funny night.

The next day, we woke up early again and Paulo and Shannon took us to the Australia Reptile Park (about an hours drive North of Sydney). We saw all sorts of different varieties of reptiles, including snakes, lizards and crocodiles, as well as other Australian animals, such as koalas, wombats, wallabies, dingos, kangaroos, cassowaries and Tasmanian devils, to name just a few. The park itself was really good and allowed visitors to really interact with the animals. We got some food to feed the animals and took a while walking around. Paul got nibbled by an emu too :'D

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After that, they took us to Somersby waterfalls, which were lovely. We had a good little wonder around and got a few pics too :)

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After that, we drove back to Sydney and over the Sydney Harbour bridge (just for the experience). Me and Paul were pretty excited because we had made plans to later climb the bridge. After that, we popped to Coles again, where I bought some bits to make dinner. I cooked everybody a pasta bake and it went down a treat :).

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That night we watched a film and had an early night. Shannon and Paulo had work the next day and me and Paul decided to take it easy because we had plans to do quite a bit the next day.

The next morning, we ended up having a bit of a late start, just because, well we can do that. Shannon and Paulo had got up early and gone to work. When we did get up, we decided to walk in to the town center, about 45 minutes away. It was a nice little walk in to town though. We really enjoyed looking at how the streets looked so similar to back home. We both agreed that Sydney houses and side streets reminded us of old time England. It has a very British feel to it.

Once we arrived in the center, at Sydney Harbour (known as The Rocks) we were in awe. Looking at the Sydney Opera house on one side of us and the Harbour Bridge the other, which we were soon to walk up, we both felt pretty overwhelmed. We sat down for a while and got some lunch and just enjoyed the view.

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As we walked so slowly in to town, it wasn't long to wait to walk up the bridge, so we headed to the office and got ourselves all checked in. Walking up the bridge was an amazing experiance. I was really pleased because we decided to book the night climb, but booked early on, so we got to see the views in the day and night lights. First, we were given a safety breifing which was super detailed. We had to take a breath test to make sure we werent drunk. Then we got our jump suits on and head sets ect.

The walk itself wasnt tough at all. It was pretty paced out and our guide was telling us about some of Sydney's history, as well as the history of the bridge, so with that and the view, we werent focused on the walk. There were a few bits which felt quite high up because you could see through the steps below you, but they were only small bits and then you would be on solid steps again. We stopped often for photos and our guide would just check if we had any questions. It was a great experiance and we were so pleased that we did it. I have always wanted to and felt really proud that we had accomplished it. ๐Ÿ˜Š It was one of those moments during our trip, which reminded us both of the amazing thing we are doing, taking this trip and we both felt really grateful that we can.

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After the climb was done, we got our pictures and ordered an UBER taxi, to take us back to Shannon and Paulo's. We didnt fancy doing anymore walking, lol.

The next day, we walked back in to town again and walked around, exploring. We chilled out in a park for a while and just generally did some people watching.

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We headed back pretty early because Shannon had booked an escape room experiance which we were all really excited about. If you havent heard of one of these before, its basically a room which you are locked in for an hour or so and you have to solve riddles and different kinds of puzzles to make your way out. Me and Paul have done a couple before and always managed to escape in time. Shannon and Paulo hadnt done one before, which made it a little better. The room was based on a haunted vampire castle and actually consisted of a few rooms. I cant give too much away about the puzzles in the room and what we had to do, but I will say that it was really good, a good laugh. I got really bossy in there because I really wanted to get out. lol. Shannon and Paulo were super chilled and looked at me like a mad women. I was a bit. lol. Anyway, we did manage to escape in time! Yay!

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On the way back, we decided to brach out and get ourselves some Pizza. Being greedy, we all ordered a pizza each from Pizza Hut and it was goooood!

The next day, it was time for us to leave Sydney :( We had a bit of a lie in and then went to a shop near shannons to checkin and print our boarding passes. We got some breakfast and then Shannon took us to the airport. It was really sad to say goodbye.

At the airport, we were flying with Jetstar again, who only allow 7KG's hand luggage, so we decided to basically wear most of what was in our bags. We got dressed in the airport toilets, to then be told to go straight through to security, without our bags even being weighed. lol, we were boiling and looking slightly obese as well.

Any way, we both had such an amazing time in Sydney, for a million different reasons. Mainly, thanks to Shannon and Paulo. They made us feel so at home and comfortable. We had a sense of being safe again, which was hard to find around Asia, mainly because Sydney felt very much like home (the UK). Also because we were told how low the crime rate was in Sydney. People barely locked their cars or even doors to their houses. Not to mention, how clean Sydney is. The streets are well kept and it is generally a lovely place to walk around. One big thing for me was being able to drink tap water and clean myself with water that I felt actually was clean. People who we met were all lovely and everything that we did went smoothly. We can definitely understand why so many people choose to live in Sydney. It is very similar to the UK in my opinion, but with quite a few more perks. Honestly, I would move there if it wasnt the other side of the world from my family.

We love Sydney. If you get chance, go there! We will most definitely be returning for a visit some day :)

Shall the journey continue?..... Next, New Zealand here we come!

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Posted by Millypaulrtw 20:03 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

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