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 headed back to the hotel planning on going for a disco nap before heading out but, when we reached our room, we discovered a colony of ants had decided to make themselves at home on our bed. The door had barely closed when we hot footed down to reception where, thankfully, the owner was around and it was quickly rectified however we couldn't shake that itchy feeling enough to head for a nap!
After chilling out for a little while, we got ourselves ready and headed to Kudo Beach Club for their New Years Eve party. We were seated, amazingly, at the best seat in the house (on the edge of the beach patio just beside the beach and not too far away from the bar) and quickly opened our bottle of wine. Dinner was served buffet style with incredible steaks, oysters, breads, meats and cheeses. All delicious!
We spent the night enjoying the entertainment put on by the beach club, which included fire dancers and hoop acrobatics. Before we knew it we were nearing the countdown to midnight and beautiful, flickering Thai lanterns were ascending into the night sky (we really struggled with knowing how dreadful these are for the environment and the almost enchanting effect they create) and people all over the beach were letting off fireworks.
At about 23:45, we got our drinks orders in, a glass of fizz for Katy and a Glenmorangie for Craig, to ring in the bells however the bar had no single malts left in stock so Craig had to make do with a Jack Daniels instead (a small strop was thrown!). Before we knew it the countdown started and at midnight the most incredible fireworks show started! Sadly there was no Auld Lang Syne played so we had to make do with our own rendition - safe to say we won't be getting a record deal any time soon! We stayed for another couple of drinks and then made our way back to our hotel to crash out!
The next morning we woke feeling a little tender so enjoyed a slow start to the day before grabbing some much needed coffee. The rest of the day was spent doing a little more organising for the coming months, including applying for all the Visas we require. We had a really quiet day doing not very much in our now, thankfully, ant free room!
For dinner we headed to Ken Restaurant for some food (although sadly not the usual Ne'erday steak pie) which was delicious nonetheless and a nice way to spend our final night in the South of Thailand. That is, right up until the owner chased us down the street accusing us of not paying - we had! After dinner it was back to the hotel for an early night ahead of our very early start the next morning.
4am alarm and we were up and at 'em, ready to jump in a taxi to the bus station. Sadly our 2nd of January was not destined to be a nice lazy day as it normally is at home, oh no, today we were setting off on a 12 hour bus journey to Bangkok. Why would you do that to yourselves we hear you say? Well you see, with it being the New Year period the flight prices were insane, so much so we really could not justify the cost so instead opted for the much, much cheaper bus.
We were ticketed for the two seats in the front row, got ourselves as comfortable as possible and settled in for the journey. For the most part the journey was uneventful, we both managed to get some sleep and we enjoyed seeing the scenery (although pointer for any animal lovers thinking of travelling on the roads in Thailand, the road kill here sadly consists mostly of stray dogs - Katy could have cried multiple times!). We stopped after 8 hours to stretch our legs and use the restrooms which was a very welcome break (and we avoided the rank bus toilets). However on the final leg of the journey a car pulled out in front of the moving bus and stopped in panic. Despite our driver swerving as best he could the woman's car was left with a hefty dent, a flat tyre and her wing mirror was left in the middle of the road. This meant we were left waiting at the side of the road for quite some time as we waited for the police to turn up (who rocked up on his motorbike in his running gear) and the insurance chap.
The accident ended up adding quite some time to our journey and after 14.5 hours we finally arrived into Bangkok Bus Station where we jumped in a taxi and headed to our hotel for the night, Amari at Don Muang Airport. We were both thrilled to see a lovely room and a nice comfy bed as we were absolutely knackered. After enjoying some room service (as we hadn't eaten anything but a handful of Oreos all day) we promptly crashed out.
Next stop Chiang Mai to see the elephants!