Waking up a little hungry, having not really managed to eat an awful lot of the dinner the night before, we were grateful for our final free breakfast from our lovely hostel. We then got ourselves checked out and sat in the common area for an hour until it was time to hop in a taxi to the bus station to go to Chiang Rai. We arrived at the bus station an hour early, as stated on our ticket, to discover everything was a bit of a shambles. When we eventually found the counter for the company we had booked with we were told to hang around stand numbers 20 and 21 and our bus would pull into one of them at some point. So off we went to find a seat and wait it out, unsure why on earth we had been requested to be there so early. Our bus finally arrived 15 minutes before we were due to leave and by that time we were particularly delighted to get into the air conditioning and get comfortable for the next 3 hours.
The journey was rather uneventful and we were delighted to discover, when we pulled into Chiang Rai, our accommodation was a mere 3 minutes walk away. So bags strapped on, we ducked and dived our way through the men offering us a tuk tuk and arrived at Bike&Bed Poshtel. Now after checking in we discovered that "poshtel" might be a bit of a stretch. Our 4 bed dorm had no windows, was painted a dark grey and had very little space to move around in, but nonetheless we got ourselves as unpacked and settled in as we could. Both feeling a bit peckish, having missed lunch, we headed out for a wander down the lantern lined main street and stopped for an early dinner in Chef Sasa.
Man, that bed in Bangkok was comfortable! No sooner had we fallen asleep and we were back up again, on the hunt for caffeine. With neither of us fancying the buffet breakfast offered by the hotel (late night dining!), we found (found is the right word as it was past reception, past the conference room, past loads of meeting rooms and then, past laundry) the cafe and performed a magic trick on the black nectar. After checking out and getting our 1,000 Baht deposit back (in 10x100 Baht notes) we walked over to the airport and checked in. The flight to Chiang Mai took a mere 50 minutes and if anyone ever, ever asks, fly straight to Chiang Mai from Phuket! We took the cheapest taxi of the trip so far from the airport to our hostel for the next 5 nights, About a Bed, and checked into our 6 bed dorm. The receptionist was lovely and we liked her even more when we got the best bunk beds in the room, furthest from the door and closest to the A/C!
The afternoon was spent relaxing before heading out for dinner. Our original plan had been to go to a local restaurant but we stumbled upon a night market that only had food vendors. We both had the duck with rice and it was absolutely amazing and, with a price tag of £1.25 each, it might be the best value meal of the trip!
After a near death journey in a taxi over to Patong Beach (we really weren't sure if we were going to be sick or be in some form of accident first!), we arrived, in one piece and thankfully with breakfast still in our stomachs! Our hotel for the next 2 nights was the Baan Thai Beach Side Residence. We quickly realised however, we had made a bit of a mistake as we thought we had booked somewhere fairly nice with a pool to enjoy a bit of relaxing over New Year. We were quite wrong and the hotel was, in fact, at the back of a restaurant but the staff were friendly and the room seemed clean so we went with it and figured it'd be fine for a couple of nights.
After dumping our bags and having a brief lie down to allow the churning in our stomachs to subside we headed off to the Jungceylon mall in hope of finding a top for Craig to wear on NYE and some new shorts for Katy. We managed to procure a top for Craig however the shops were getting busier and we were getting more peckish so we bailed out of finding shorts for Katy and headed to the Hard Rock Cafe to grab another pin for Katy and have lunch.
We pick up the travels again on the 27th of December. After a fairly lousy Christmas in Krabi, and both still feeling a touch under the weather the minivan to take us to Phuket, arrived 1 hour early. Luckily, we were ultra prepared (as always, thanks Katy!) and managed to get from the room to the van in 15 minutes, including check out! The journey was uneventful as we crossed onto Phuket Island where we were dropped off at our hotel in Phuket old town for the next 4 nights, In Phuket House Hotel. The owner very kindly gave us a map of the local area with some of her written recommendations on it for food, drinks and sights. We took her up on the first and went to One Chun Cafe around the corner. The food was delicious! However, the smell of fish may have started to churn, the still poorly, Katy's stomach but after some food and water the feeling passed. With all that sitting around, we walked along Thalang Street admiring the beautiful Sino-Portugese shophouse architecture, a by-product of the melting point of cultures brought together by the tin mines in the region. The colours were wonderful in the afternoon sun and the wares on sale were mostly clothes or bolts of every material with samples laid out at the entrances.
Season's greetings! We hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and Santa was good to everyone! The Wild Salisburys spent Christmas 2019 in Krabi, at the Ava Sea Resort, in southern Thailand but we were both unwell over the period so here is a slideshow of some of the photo's we managed to take and the beautiful Christmas dinner we had at Jenna's Bistro.
Friday morning started with a lovely 6am alarm, a quick cup of coffee for breakfast before strapping our bags onto our backs (and fronts) and walking half an hour to the bus station for our bus to Kanchanaburi. Looking on Google maps we had decided to walk instead of bothering with a taxi at rush hour. Big mistake. HUGE! The majority of the roads had no pavements so we traipsed up the side of the roads with cars, motorcycles and tuk-tuks whizzing past. When we finally got away from the roads we were traversing the side of a canal on a rather ramshackle walkway. Anyway, 30 extremely sweaty minutes later we arrived looking awfully dishevelled and ready to get into the nice air conditioned bus.
It took us just about 3 hours to get to Kanchanaburi, arriving just before midday. Our hostel was just over half an hour walk away, so I hear you all say “they surely learned their lesson after the mornings antics, surely they got a taxi”. Well no, you’re wrong. Gluttons for punishment some would say. So bags strapped back on, off we traipsed down the side of the roads, this time in a balmy 35 degrees. We arrived at the Wee Hostel hoping we would be able to check in early and be able to grab a shower and change before continuing with our day however, carrying on the theme of the trip, this was not to be. The lovely young Thai girl at reception had very limited English so between hand gestures and a bit of help from google translate we were able to establish that she would look after our luggage until check in and an English speaking receptionist would be in in an hour or so.
After a deep, if somewhat short, sleep we woke with the alarm at 4am, got ready, travelled down the 2 escalators to the airport (that was convenient!) and checked into our Scoot flight to Bangkok. To say space was at a premium on our flight may have been an understatement, as Craig's knees left an indentation in the seat when we disembarked. Like the true locals we clearly aren't, we took the skytrain into the city and then switched lines to get to our hotel, Citichic. Walking along the street was like stepping onto a different planet. Taxi's, mopeds, motorbikes and Tuk-Tuk's weaved and hurried their way up and down the roads as we dodged people on the narrow pavements. The smell was an assault on the senses, a mix of spices, petrol and an odd sulphur smell that just seemed to take you unawares every so often. The most remarkable sight were the vast quantity of overhead wires that seemed to weave together and create a maze at the boxes, a sight that would give the fear to any electrician!