By jackallison1, 04-May-2013 19:21:00
So after a 7 week hiatus back in England I am back on the road again. I have decided to go to France to work as a holiday rep for Eurocamp for the next 5 months.
I have enjoyed the last few weeks being at home and catching up with friends and family especially my niece Ellie who is 4 now, she is growing up fast.
I am flying to Biarritz on Monday and should be based near there. If any of you want to come and visit please do – it’s a bit closer to home than Australia!
I will be updating the blog during the summer.
That’s all for now
By jackallison1, 21-Mar-2013 16:29:00
So I arrived at Hua Lamphong train station in Bangkok at 7am on Tuesday 26th February not having any plans or where I wanted to go. I decided to get a taxi to Don Mueang airport which serves as a hub for Air Asia and other low cost airlines. I didn’t have a flight booked anywhere, so I decided to ask Air Asia and the other low cost airlines for their cheapest flights to all locations. I knew a couple of people in Phuket so I decided to fly there with Nok Air.
Whilst I was in Chiang Mai I actually booked my flight back to the UK, so as this was the last part of my trip I thought it would be good to spend some time on the beach.
I arrived in Phuket and headed to Patong and got myself a room in a hotel just off Bangla road. Patong is famous for it’s nightlife. In all fairness it’s fairly trashy. I spent a few days in Patong, bought a few souvenirs and spent a bit of time on the beach before heading to Rawai in southern Phuket.
Rawai is a small village located in southern Phuket. I got myself a little bungalow for 600baht (£12) a night, which is a lot more expensive than northern Thailand. Rawai is very small so I hired myself a scooter for 200baht (£4) a day to get around.
I spent my last few days in and around Rawai. Tasting food at all the local fish markets, sitting on the golden sandy beaches (as you can see from above), swimming in the sea and eating fabulous Thai food, a lovely way to end my 15 month trip.
I had to fly down to Singapore before making the long journey home to collect my bag that I had left at Kirsten’s house. I flew to Singapore on Thursday 7th March and I spent the day in Singapore. I saw Kirsten in the evening and made my way to the airport.
My flight was at 6.45 in the morning, so I checked my bags in at 3.45 and spent a few hours at the airport. I flew to Kuala Lumpar and had 3 hours to wait there before flying to London Heathrow at 10.45. I flew on an Airbus A380 with Malaysian Airlines and had a seat on the upper deck which was a lot nicer than all of the budget airlines I had been using on my trip.
I took off in the 30C heat and blue skies of Asia and landed in grey, cold, rainy England at 17,00 on Friday 8th March, exactly 15 months away from home.
I spent the night at a Heathrow airport hotel as I hadn’t slept for 40 hours before heading back to Essex to surprise everyone, they were all shocked.
I’m now back in Tiptree at home and it’s cold, oh so very cold…
I’m not too sure where the journey takes me next, but I will sure to keep you all posted.
Thanks for reading
By jackallison1, 20-Mar-2013 12:29:00
On Thursday 21st February I took the 3 hour mini bus journey from Pai to Chiang Mai. The journey is only 192 km (119 Miles) but has 746 turns, not great for the nervy traveller, luckily I’m not one of those.
I arrived in Chiang Mai and headed to North Star Guesthouse and met Sarie and Marloes my Dutch friends from Pai. I got myself my own room for the night , which was 250 Baht (£5) and went to explore the city.
Chiang Mai is located in Northern Thailand and is very different from the hustle and bustle of Bangkok. It’s also quite a bit cooler, so it attracts a lot of tourists from southern Thailand. I met my mate Scott from Bangkok and he quite often heads up to Chiang Mai for a few days, we went for lunch and he told me a few places to go to.
In the evening Marloes, Sarie and I went to the night market. You can literally buy anything you can think of there, it’s brilliant. Unfortunately we encountered a large storm so decided to call it a night and make our way back to the guesthouse and plan the next few days.
On the Friday we wanted to head to Huay Tung Tao lake, however our taxi driver ended dropping us up at the Chiang Mai Football Stadium. We decided to have a look inside, it was very modern. Even more randomly Marloes had a football with her, so we decided to have a kick around on the pitch, none of the staff seemed to mind.
We eventually made it to the lake early afternoon and it was very picturesque. It wasn’t too busy and the only other people there were Thai’s which was nice. Late afternoon we headed to Tiger Kingdom. As you can see from the above picture it was an amazing experience. We got to see and have our pictures take with small two month old Tigers and the larger 2 and a half year olds. A lot of people may think that the Tigers are drugged, but I can assure you they are not. I have some videos of the larger ones play fighting, they were having a great time.
The next day was very relaxing. We went to the night market, had some street food and then went for a massage. We ended up in a bar after that, because I wanted to watch the Rugby and Football. The girls headed home and I stayed in the bar. The bar was owned by Chris an Expat from the UK . I spent the rest of the night in the bar.
On Sunday I headed over to the train station to try and book a train to Bangkok. I managed to get myself on a night train on Monday night and a bottom bunk, result! You can’t actually buy train tickets in Thailand over the internet, you used to be able to, but not anymore, that’s Thailand for you. After buying the ticket I headed for the Sunday market, which was similar to the night market in the fact you could buy anything you want. I bought a couple of bits and headed back to the guesthouse to say goodbye to the girls as they were getting the night bus to Bangkok. I spent the evening at Chris’ bar.
Monday morning I headed into the City for breakfast and went back to the guesthouse to pack up my stuff - which takes longer every time as I end up buying stuff everywhere I go. I got on the train to Bangkok at 4pm and arrived at 7am, just the 17 hours on the train.
To be continued….
By jackallison1, 20-Feb-2013 13:51:00
Thomas and I arrived in Pai last Wednesday and found a twin room for 7 pounds a night, it’s about an average price for a decent place.
Pai is small town in Northern Thailand and very popular amongst the travelling community, particularly the hippie type. In the evening lots of local arts and crafts can be purchased from the various stalls in town. It’s very laid back, which suits me just fine.
Thomas and I had been recommended a trekking company http://www.trekpai.com/ from Scott in Bangkok and signed up the day after we arrived for a trek leaving on Friday morning.
The trek was described as ‘like no other trek in Thailand’ but seeing as I hadn’t done any other treks I didn’t really know what to expect.
We met the owner and lead guide Mr Chart when we signed up and he explained what we should and shouldn’t bring with us.
The next morning we arrived at his office at 8am and met up with the rest of the trekking party; Emma & Kate (UK) Amelia & Jess (Aus) Sarah & Marloes (Holland) and Peter (Germany) We got a truck to the start point and all took or shoes off for the start of the trek to cross a river. Why we bothered I don’t know as it was the first of about 30 river crossings that morning!
The morning trek was relatively east following the river up through the hills criss crossing the river at various points. We stopped for lunch just after 13.00 and Mr Chart cooked up some Mango Sticky rice in Bamboo Pots and made bamboo bowls and spoons for us to use. We had another guide with us (We named him Old Mate) who was on his first day with the company. I had to carry his machete and half way through the afternoon trek I had to carry all of the food, cheers for that Old Mate!
The afternoon was fairly easy, trekking slightly up hill to our camp for the evening in the middle of the jungle. We were assigned different jobs when we got to camp. Sarah, Marloes and I went with Old Mate to cut down and collect Banana leaves for the roof of our tent, whilst the rest of the group went to collect firewood. We helped the guides erect two bamboo bivvys.
Mr Chart got some fires going and gave us a bottle of local whisky to get on with (the stuff was vile) whilst he prepared dinner. In the meantime we had a storm, so we all sheltered under the Bivvy, trying not to get us and our belongings wet. The rain stopped, we had dinner and polished off another bottle of whisky much to Mr Charts disapproval as that one was meant to be for day 2.
During the night it rained again, so both Mr Chart and Old Mate were excellent looking after the Bivvy’s making sure we stayed dry, whilst keeping the fire roaring, im not sure if either of them got any sleep!
We set off at 10am after day two after a substantial breakfast of rice and chicken. The morning hike was very tough, mostly uphill towards a waterfall. Luckily being in the jungle we were able to drink the river water which was fantastic. We arrived at the waterfall at 13.30 and it was beautiful. Mr Chart takes his groups to places where other companies don’t go, so I doubt many people have had the chance to see the waterfall. We swam in the water, had lunch and refreshed ourselves for the afternoons trek.
The afternoon was equally hard, mostly uphill but along tracks which was slightly easier. We come across an army truck and a couple of the girls asked for a lift, cheeky! We arrived at a tiny village around 18.00 and all got changed out of our sweaty clothing whilst Mr Chart got to work with dinner.
He cooked some amazing food that evening. Spicy Papaya, Smoked Fish, Cured Pork and that was just the starters. Main course was a pork curry washed down with Whisky (which I declined) and Tea. Everyone called it a night early after the hard day in preparation for the final day.
We left a t 11.00 on day 3 after a mamouth breakfast of rice, eggs and various other meat from the previous evening. Day 3 was tough for me personally as it was mostly downhill. I actually find it easier going uphill even though it’s harder on the heart, it hurts the knees more going downhill. We made fairly good progress and stopped at another river at 14.30 for lunch before finished our trek for the last 90 minutes along the river back to where we started. When we finished Mr Chart’s wife met us with Pepsi, Water, Watermelon and yes you guessed it, whisky!
The group all met for dinner back in Pai that evening and reflected on a brilliant three days trekking in the Jungle. If anyone has the opportunity to come to Pai, you must do a trek with Mr Chart!
The last couple of days have been fairly relaxing, getting over the aches and pains from the trek by having massages and rehydrating fully.
Today Emma, Kate, Marie (their friend) and Marloes went Elephant Riding with http://www.thomelephant.com/ It was amazing, what a fantastic experience. We trekked for an hour in the mountains before descending to the river, where the elephants sprayed us with water before throwing us in the river. This happened a fair few times before we headed back to camp. The elephants are very well looked after and I would thoroughly recommend a trip with Thom’s.
Pai is so much fun that I don’t really want to leave. However, I am heading to Chiang Mai tomorrow and after that who knows…
Thanks for reading
By jackallison1, 20-Feb-2013 12:51:00
I arrived in Bangkok on Thursday 7th February after a 4 hour flight from Bali. I had pre booked my accommodation (something I don’t usually do in Asia) to stay at Tailek’s House. Tailek’s http://www.tailek.com/ was recommended to me by Scott Bkk – one of the other competitors in the Bajai Rally. Tailek’s is located in Huai Khwang which is North East of downtown Bangkok and in non touristy area which was really nice.
I was excited to be back in Thailand and Bangkok was just as I remember from 2009. I love street food and Bangkok has some of the best in the world – that I have experienced. On the Friday I went on a food crawl – which was basically eating as much street food as possible – with Thomas, a Danish lad I met in the guesthouse. We tried a variety of random street food including fried fish, coconut icecream, pork crisps & Thai spicy sausage. After the food crawl I suggested we take a trip to Khao San Road – backpacker central in Bangkok – for a few beers. After one or two Chang Beers and Thomas buying as much tat as possible from the street sellers we headed back to Tailek’s on a tuk tuk, before returning to Khao San for a night out.
On Saturday nights at Tailek’s House they always have a dinner party organized by the owner – Bee. Bee’s son is called Tailek – hence the name of the guesthouse. Thomas and Bee went to the market to collect all of the food for the evening and when they returned we all started preparing dinner. One of the dishes Bee created was chicken cooked in 4 litres of coco cola, very interesting. This all cost us a whopping 150 Baht (3 pounds) and we had so much food, we had enough for Sunday too.
Sunday was the first day of the Chinese new year. Bangkok has a large Chinese population and a huge Chinatown in central Bangkok. Thomas and I headed in to Chinatown to celebrate and 95% of people were wearing red and everyone was out on the streets celebrating, the atmosphere was fantastic. As you can imagine every 3 metres was a different stall selling one type of food or another. I had some squid, calves liver and a yogurt with raw egg in it… interesting.
The next couple of days I spent relaxing in Bangkok before leaving on Tuesday night to get the night train to Chiang Mai. The train journey was fine as I had a bunk bed over night, so managed to get some sleep. Next time I will have to get a bottom bunk as there is more room. 16 hours later I was in Chiang Mai where I caught up with Thomas – who had arrived a day earlier – and we decided to take a 3 hour mini bus straight to Pai.
To be continued…
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