A Travellerspoint blog

I Forgot Some Stuff

DO NOT GO TO THE PERFUME PAGODA ITS A CON

sunny

the problem with this little blog of mine, is that i normally end up doing it when i am really tried and frequently when i am starving. so if i have been giving out the wrong signals about travelling i am sorry - make no mistake i am really enjoying myself and liking getting to know random cultures of the places i go and the people i meet.

some of the stuff i forgot yesterday:

hanoi is a maze of little streets with a complete random mix of shops. on an average street its normal to have a little 'normal' shop, next to a motorcycle shop, next to a steel merchants - who will be welding in the street, next to a hotel, next to a rubbish tip, next to a 'high class' bar, next to a undertaker, next to a carpenter - who again will be doing his trade in the middle of the street. its just so strange, but now a little bit appealing. when i first arrived i didnt like it but now i have grown used to it and warmed to the city. when you get on the back of a random, normally drunk, guys motorbike and speed through the streets it makes you feel like you are a local and that you belong- maybe thats why my feelings have changed. had another one last night after meeting up with a couple of people i met on halong bay / cat ba island tour. after i had argued with him about the price for 5 minutes he set off and straight away offered to sell me books, a bike, local illegal booze, drugs and a woman for the night - in that order and within a minute. i declined all ( i was knackered! )

yesterday i went to see the perfume pagoda which is a couple of hours drive west of hanoi. again it was boiling and as the traffic was its normal crazy chaotic self it actually took closer to 4 hours to get there. to all people travelling in vietnam - DO NOT GO TO THE PERFUME PAGODA ITS A CON. i have no idea why the lonely planet has it as one of the must do things in vietnam. when you arrive a little old lady rows up the river, which did have the potential to be roomantic if you were a couple in love, which i am not so it just dragged and i could feel myself burning in the morning sun. when you get there its a little village next to the river and then you wander around looking at a few caves and then walk to the top on a steep path. the hills etc were pretty amazing but just very similar to that of the entire countryside of laos. the perfume part of it is supposed to be the flowers inside the caves, the only perfume we could smell was that of urine. added to this was the fact that there were a number of americans in the group who - shockingly - wouldnt stop moaning about everything.

one of the highlights of the day was the fact that i saw some strange rice paddies. they have graves right in the middle of the fields and just work around them - they are scattered all over the place and not clustered together - i guess it is the ultimate recycling !

despite what i said at the top of this update about enjoying myself, travelling has turned into a bit of a hassle at the moment. due to lucy, as above, and the fcat that i havent had a long sleep for a week and have been up everyday early, after late nights. my plan is to get to hue and chill out for a few days before i do anymore tours. hue is a good place to do this i am told and they also have the vihn moc tunnels which are the orignal viet cong tunnels they used to spank the americans.

i am going to start to put links at the end of these updates, as i am i cant find anywhere to upload my photos. so it will give you an idea of the things i have been doing.

perfume padoga -
http://www.terragalleria.com/vietnam/vietnam.perfume-pagoda.html

Posted by budjude 17:46 Archived in Vietnam Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

Good Morning (from) Vietnam

Sorry But It Had To Be Done!!!!

sunny

its that time again folks.

i am now safely into life in Vietnam - although i dont think i will ever fully get used to it. we flew into hanoi on thursday morning after getting up at stupid o'clock to check in. the airport was tiny and would probably fit into the check in lounge of heathrow, only 6 planes leave a day. i had heard some horror stories about air laos, but i can assure you that it was a good flight and despite the cloud cover an easily landing (there have been reports that the planes couldnt land in clouding weather, as they dont use computers and if they cant see they cant land). shared a taxi with some other backpackers going in a similar direction to us and headed for the old quarter of hanoi.

after bangkok i thought i was used to the chaos of a big city in asia - how long i was. it is like bangkok on speed - bikes dont stop, even if trucks are fast bearing down on them, people just walk out into the street and cause bikes to screeh to a halt and the beeping is constant, even when it appears that nothing is in the way they still beep. it didnt help that the taxi diver tried to con us and take us to his friends hotels in an attempt to drum up some extra business. in the end we all jumped out in the middle of nowhere and wandered till me and lucy found a guesthouse. lovely little thing, as it had no windows and was painted pink - also it was boiling in there and the little fan couldnt cope with it, so we stayed hot all night. by this time, after about 3 hours in hanoi we both agreed that it was best to leave as soon as possible and as the weather was hot the logical destination was halong bay and the BEACH (i have been waiting for this about 4 weeks). so we went for a wander around to find a travel agent that was cheap (ish) and booked a 3 day 2 night trip around the bay and cat ba island. sounded great, sleeping on a boat (not a sailing one, sorry dad) swimming from the side, a trek on the island etc etc.

anyway after we booked that we walked around the lake in the centre of hanoi in an attempt to avoid the sun and the millions of people. my camera was still eating batteries like tomorrow so i got some rechargeable ones and a charger - to save a few quid in the long run.

on the way back it started to rain, again like never before and we took shelter in an irish bar - which had free pool and darts and an expansive collection of music from sting to the police, which got boring very quickly. we ended up staying and drinking for about 4 hours before the rain stopped and we attempted to find the hostel, which was down so little tiny back street. due to another stupid o'clock start for the trip to the seaside we btoh went to bed early ish.

the trip to halong bay is supposed to be one of the must do things in the whole of vietnam and i can agree that this is the case.

the guy we booked with promised to pick us up from the hotel and take us to the bus, he arrived right on time on a little scooter. what followed was a brillant little adventure. as i was taking all my stuff with me i had my big backpack, funny enough on my back and the day sack on my front, on the back of a tiny scooter driven by a crazy little vietnamise man. i couldnt hold on as there was nowehere to hold to and i didnt fancy putting my arms around a man, so, as he sped through the morning traffic, stopping for nothing and peeping at everything i just hoped i would get to see the sea. looking back it was probably one of the highlights of my trip so far as it was completely out of the blue and really good fun.

so we got there and despite the cramped little bus which we had to sit on for 3 and a half hours and the hour waiting in the midday sun for the guide to book a boat, only when we had arrived the landscape and limestone formations are stunnning. the boat took 5 hours to reach cat ba island on route stopping at some caves, a floating village - it had a school, shop and pub - all floating miles away from the main land on little pontoons. when we arrived on the island it was clear that they hadnt booked a boat for us to sleep on and that what we were told wasnt going to happen. this didnt really bother me to much as i found out that we still had paid less that everybody else and that we had all the meals included, whilst they didnt. still it was annoying to know that you had been lied to. the next day we had a 4km trek up and and down a hill and it was hotter than the sun. by the time we reached the top everybody was covered head to toe in sweat and it dripped off us with an alarming rate. the walk was good, although the view wasnt, really. but it was fun and it felt like you had achieved something at the end. afterwards we were taken back to the hotel and had lunch before it was beach time. we walked the 2km or so in the sunshine and i could feel myself burning already. when we got there it was empty, so i headed straight into the merky water to cool off and relax. the cove had an island just off it and i thought it might be fun to attempt to swm to it, i started heading out to sea when this little bloke on the shore starts shouting and blowing his whistle at me with increasing distress. i returned to be told that you can only swim within certain bouys, which annoyed me somewhat. anyway my mission was over and i had managed to get into the sea at last. the sun got to hot to sit in and we headed back round the cove to the first little beach, to be greeted by close to a thousand vietnam people goign mental - it was like the costa del sol - packed. it turns out the beach is always empty till this time as they cant take the midday sun and so wait till later on before heading out to the beach.

in the evening there was a free live 'gig' in the street and we met up with some people off the original bus and had a few beers and games of pool. i thought about attempting to start a mosh pit but no one seemed interested and the idea fell on deaf ears.

today we had to again get up at a daft time to maek the trip by boat back to the main land and set about having a go at the tour guide about the lack of service. we moaned at him for a while and in the end we managed to get two free nights accomodation, which more than makes up for the lack of sleeping on a boat.

tomorrow i am off on another little day trip then i plan to see ho chi minhs remains and then head south out of hanoi. but i will keep you all updated, also thinking of heading into malaysia before i return

for info on halong bay -

http://www.terragalleria.com/vietnam/vietnam.halong.html

Posted by budjude 04:48 Archived in Vietnam Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

How You Doing ?

Vang Vieng - Vietiane

sunny

just thought i would update my little diary for you all to ponder back in little old england.

i am now in vietiane, the capital of laos and have actually managed to make a decision about my future plans. i am flying, with lucy, dan left this morning to return home, into hanoi on thursday morning, before i think we go are different ways. it took alot of dithering around to come to that but the bottom line is that we didnt think we could take the 24 hours on a bus and bit the bullet and paid abit extra.

Vang Vieng was a nice little place to chill out for a few days and enjoy the countryside. i went tubeing down the river. by that i mean floating on an innner tube of a bus/lorry tyre downstream. its was a laugh and pretty good fun, although it rained for most of it. along the way there are plenty of little bars and cafes which throw ropes at you so you dont float past. they all have rope swings and places to throw yourself off into the muddy water, which i did twice - the second without much grace (was going for the whole forwrd double tuck, but managed to go arse over tit and land on my back.

had a few nights out around the town and found a nightclub - strange little place but funny. much like the town itself - the best place to eat and chill out was run by a lady-boy, but people put up with him/her because the food was so good. dan was especially taken by the place and he would frequently be found relaxing in the bar. the actual town was like a little bangkok - bars played dvds all day of friends to attract westerns in, that sort of stuff.

apart from that i went to look at some caves across the river, on the only bridge left standing by all the recent rain. good view from the top but it was a bit to well done - electric lights etc. but worth a look

left there yesterday to get down to the capital of laos, on a reasonable journey of 4 hours ish.as soon as we got off the bus we dumped into one of the irish lads, its a small world. this place is strange really - not what you think of a capital of being and its got the city smells which i had forgotten about. god only knows what hanoi will be like -similar to bangkok is what i have been told. so i think i will be going straight east and heading for halong bay and the coast.

i will let you know how i am getting on in vietnam in the not to distant future and will hopefully have some "good" news about my degree (fingers crossed and all that)

other news is that my burnt legs are now peeling, i will leave you with that thought

Posted by budjude 02:39 Archived in Laos Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

The Centre Of Laos

public buses arent much fun in the sun

sunny

first things first - the irish lads turned up safe and sound - they hit a rock and had to wait to be found and brought down stream by another boat. we went out (dan, lucy and myself) with them to celebrate the night after the fact that we all made it and lucy's birthday.

i have started to do a little travelling with dan and lucy as we were basically doing the same thing in laos before everyone goes to do different things (dan is a helicopter pilot in the raf and has been based outside shrewsbury for the last year - random or what). its nice to travel with other people for a bit as it makes it alot easier - tickets etc and you dont have to do every little thing yourself.

since i last wrote i have moved south from luang prabang in two, eight hour journeys by laos public bus. the first being to phonosvan to see some 'massive jugs'. the journey was a bit of a nightmare as it was on a dangeours route through the centre of country. not sure if i was relieved or frighten by the sight of a 'guard' on the bus carrying a ak47 over his shoulder! this is due to hijack attempts and bombings by rebels in recent times, although not for a couple of years. i thought at one point that we would need it......... a load of local men got on the bus in camo gear and one sat next to me on the bus, we were pretty high up and driving through cloud so you couldnt see much, as we came round a corner there was a truck parked across the both sides of the road with men shouting and waving there arms. straight away all the men who had just got on stood up and moved towards the bus - i promptly had my heart in my mouth thinking that something bad was about to happen to us. anyway the guy had just broken down and the men standing up turned into a regular thing.

the route itself was very slow due to a unreasonable road surface and the fact that we were going into the mountains. the previous nights activities with the irish lads ( came back to are hostel and had a little party in a spare room ) came back to us all and made us feel ropey. by the time we got there it was again raining and pretty miserable and we went to the first hostel that offered us a room. it was pretty good and i had a bungalow to myself, very nice with a huge and i mean huge double bed in it. we arranged a trip the next day to see the attractions and they put a video on about the secret war in laos, to give us a little history. i didnt realise that the trail from the vietnam war came so far inside laos and the fact that the usa dropped more bombs on laos than they did in the first and second world wars combined, crazy. the problem being that millions of tonnes of bombs that didnt go off are in the fields and surrounding countryside - killing thousands of locals a year. although the locals use the disarmed bombs for all sorts of things - signposts, fencing, ash trays and hanging baskets to name a few.

the trip was good. we went to visit a field of bomb craters, a russian made vietcong tank and then the plain of jars. this is three different sites of massive stone jars, which no one knows how they got there or what they are for. it was pretty impressive and the largest one was 600 tonnes. went out for an indian meal before an early night as they was a curfew in place on the town at 10.00 crazy or what. started to pack my bag singing along to the ipod when the lad who lived in the hostel came in and offered me a beer free of charge, in return for me teaching him some english words. so i sat there for an hour or so getting drunk and teaching a kid english while he teached me laos.

this morning had to be up and at the bus station for 6.45 to catch the bus to vang vieng, i wasnt feeling to great after the nights antics. the bus was a bit better than the first although we had live animals in crates with us this time and a pyscho bus driver who loved to play his local music loud over the speaker system. all the locals were being sick out of the window and i thought when in rome...... so i did, twice and felt a whole let better for it. arrived at around 2ish and got a pretty good hostel at a bargain price of about 1 pound 50. this place is nice and chilled out and there seems plenty to do - mainly caving, tubing and hire motor bikes. all of which i reckon i will do in the next couple of days. unsure of my plans for the future - want to see southern laos but it will involve four 13 hour bus trips and i would only have 2 days there. so i might attempt to bring forward my vietnam visa a week and head across to hanoi and then visit southern laos when i am in cambodia in a couple of months.

hope everyone is fine and dandy wherever you may be

rob

Posted by budjude 04:15 Archived in Laos Tagged transportation Comments (0)

sabquai - dji laos

thats hello from laos my friends !

sunny

hello all, thought i better write up the last few days and update you on some crazy happenings.

10th june - i went to visit a snake farm and then a monkey show in chaing mai. the snake farm was mental- three guys in a ring just messing about with deadly snakes and annoying them in order for them to react and so try to bite them. the guy got biten by a deadly snake on the arm but it just got his t-shirt and then his crotch aswell. there were also letting them wander into the stands where people were sitting it wasnt good but everyone made it out in one piece. the monkey show was less dangerous and just didnt feel right to me - although seeing a monkey riding a bike round a pool was funny but just wrong somehow.

11th june - i had a trip to visit longneck - those of you that have been reading this alot will know that this was cancelled the first time! it was a long day and on route we visited an orchid farm, butterfly farm and the chaing dau caves. the caves were really impressive and there were various routes yo could do. due to being stuck with a wingeing pair of massively overweight korean ladies and a pair of sick germans we had to stick to the shortest possible route which had electric overhead. i wanted to do the mile route by touch light but they werent having any of it. after this we stopped for lunch and then i thought i was back home in wonderful wales or that penley car sales had gone global as the bloody mini van broke down - in the middle of nowhere. we were stuck for about 3 hours before a replacement truck showed up. we got to the village and had a wander round and up into the hills to see the women. its a con though as there necks arent any bigger than normal people - its a traditional thing to protect the neck from getting bitten by a tiger. the only reason it looks longer is cause it goes down further on the chest. anyway got back really late and just went to bed - via an aussie pub for tea. at one point we were so far up north that you could see china!

if anyone is in chaing mai visit - richly guest house, heaven beach bar, the wall and the kafe.

12th june - left chaing mai but the first bus was full so had to wait untill midday. ended up watchin the tyson fight in a random little bar and then got on another mini bus for another 6 hours to reach the border. the bus was full of english and we all ended up staying at the same guest house - overlooking the river and laos on the otherside of the water. one of the lads lived on brudenell mount at the same time as me in leeds, small world. needless to say drink followed and a movie or 2 - sin city is so strange.

the next day i was told that i had to leave at 7 so got up again at stupid o'clock but didnt leave till 9. went through passport control and then got on a dodgy ferry to cross into laos. then met a british couple of travellers who were catching the same boat as me. ended up waiting around for somemore people to arrive and we didnt get onto the 'boat' till around 12ish. i say 'boat' - think tea tray with a 16v engine strapped to the back and 7-8 backpackers wearing the worst lifejackets and riot gear head wear and packed in with are feet around are ears. the noise was crazy and you got wet and it just hammered along for 6 hours at 45 mph. with the guy dodging rubbish, rocks and tree litter along the way. it was fun but dangerous. the worst thing being the wake of other boats. it was the kinda ride you would pay to do for 15 minutes on a purpose built course then get out and think shit that was stupid. on a two occasions we came close, very close to turning it over and we all thought that we were going swimming! as a result this morning my back is black and blue from the bumping around and my arms and legs are sunburnt, badly.

we were relieved to arrive - thats for sure and it felt like we had achieved something special! the problem is that two boats set off form the border and only one made it to luang prabang last night. basically there is a boat of 6 irish lads missing on route and we dnt know if they broke down or if they crashed.

i quote the lonely planet ' a ride in these boats is a major thrill. for others its like riding on a giant runaway chainsaw and a nightmare that cant end soon enough. speedboats as well as being deafingly loud, kill and injure several people every year, as they frequency tend to flip and disintegrate on contact with any solid floating debris, which is plentiful'

nice!

a few general things about thailand that i have gathered so far - if you have a whistle you are held in high esteem, bikes and volvos are everywhere (penley car sales southeast asia expansion i can see it now) people pack cars and vans so that they are mini-mobile skyscrappers and thai lasses have no concept of love - if you can support them financially they were stay with you!

not sure what my plans are from this point - my visa doesnt start for vietnam till the first of july so i have got just over 2 weeks here and there seems alot of things to do and see so i will let you know a route at some point.

take it easy and if in laos take the slow boat !

Posted by budjude 20:21 Archived in Laos Comments (0)

Fun, Sun And Lots Of Water In The Jungle

Bangkok - Chaing Mai - Jungle Trek - Bed (Hopefully)

all seasons in one day

Greetings from up north!

i headed out of bangkok on the overnight train to chaing mai and straight away i felt a million times happier (this isnt just me, everyone up here hated bangkok and the backpackers escape up here). although the actual journey wasnt the most fun i have ever had. you get given a seat, which faces another seat on the train. these two seats fold out and down and around to form two bunk beds, one on top of the other. great you think for a 13 (although it turned out to be nearer 15) hour overnight ride. however the problem is that these are built for thai folks - rightly as its there country - and so dont allow big and tall british types to lie down and sleep. this meant that we ( i was within a group of lads from the uk) had to sit around drinking and generally being loud. the thai folk who were also within the same car as us didnt take to kindly to this and so called the railway police and mayhem followed. which was fair enough but it was about 10.30 and we didnt realise that we were causing a problem. all were threatened with being thrown off the train - which abruptly meant that all fun and games ceased.

when we arrived in chaing mai, late, the backpacker hostels were waiting with land rovers and general 4x4 vehicles to whisk us away to the various places. i found mine and met a couple of lads from england (mike and ben) and a couple of lads from canada (scott and john) - who were all doing the same trek as me. got to the hostel and chilled out and showered etc then i went for a little wander to visit some nearby temples before the rain put pay to that little idea. my god it can rain plenty up here.

on the way back to the hostel met mike and ben and we decided to head towards the night market to see what designer knock offs we could acquire. it turned out that the only thing we all brought was a lovely orangemack for the trek.

on route back to the hostel we stopped for a cheeky drink or two at a couple of bars and then found an absolute quality bar. its called 'heaven beach' and its near an irish pub on the less touristy side of town. the bar had a live band playing a host of classical rock n roll and indie tunes, with cheap drinks thrown into the mix. we stayed and drank random thai beer and cocktails till 3.30 the next day. it was pretty good although the next day i was to pay for it.

i was supposed to be going on a day trip to chaing rai. leaving at 7.00 in the morning - admit it you know whats coming! i didnt go, but i did manage to stumble down to say so and they have rearranged it for this saturday. so that day was pretty much a write off as i stayed in bed till roughly lunchtime and felt pretty ill all day. but is was worth it i can assure you.

the next day we set off on are trek into the jungle 2 hours west of chaing mai, after meeting the other two members of the group - an aussie (fiona) and a brit (dan). first we were taken to an elephant 'village' and had a ride on one. sounds great yes - picture in your head lovely hot day, great for pictures. nope - thunder and lightening and rain like only thailand seems to be able to rain - so no pictures. still it was a unigue experiance and alot of fun despite the weather. after that we were driven to a restaurant at the side of the road to have lunch and then onto the drop off point.

we walked, carrying all food and clothing, for about 3 hours and we arrived at two bamboo huts on the hill side by a river. it was awesome to just dive straight in fully clothed to wash away all the sweat and dirt from the walk. the huts, were built by the travel company and are only used by them, have a camp fire and table inbetween. the fire was used to cook and then we sat around it as Lar and Uootai, the guides, told us stories about there culture and the various things that happen in the jungle including the region of jungle spirit. we all went to bed pretty early and attempted to sleep. no one slept much due to the intense sound of the insects and wildlife which was just the otherside of the bamboo.

we woke to a traditional thai breakfast and glorious weather and set off to climb the highest mountain in the region at 1700 metres. the weather didnt last though and soon all were soaked to the sink with a mixture of sweat from underneath the macks and the rain which came down like someone had a hose pipe on above your head. the hut at the top of the mountain was a brillant site and we ate the packlunch of thai noodles (which were wrapped in leaves picked the previous day) with chop sticks which Lar had craved on route. and then the rain eased and stopped and we looking out across the jungle beneath us - a breathtaking view. after the brief stop we headed towards the village which was to be the base for the night. it took another 3 hours of hard walking to reach it through some thick vegetation and by this time the rain was back. when we arrived all bar dan had at least one leach attached to them, myself i had one on each leg, combined with blisters and bites.

the village was isolated from the outside world, and without any power. we were welcomed into the village in a tradition way and ate with the villagers, as the rain continued to batter down. the weather forced them to cancel the show which they do and we were given a talk instead. no one spoke english or even thai as they have there own language - karen, so the guides translated it all. after the talk we headed but to are bamboo hut and showered in the worlds smallest and coldest shower. we were then invited to drink rice whiskey with the elders of the group in a cooking hut. jesus that stuff is strong and it was only afterwards they told us that its strength was close to 55% and the locals drank it as if it was water. we also had a few chang beers and then headed to the sleeping room. Lar followed with a guitar and the children of the village came in and sang songs for us. we, slightly encouraged by the effects of the local brew, returned the gesture with - old macdonald had a farm, wonderwall by oasis and then the show stopper of - youve lost that loving feeling, re top gun. although they couldnt understand what we were saying i think they got the picture!

this morning we woke at 6.30 with heavy heads from the local brew and i for one was sad to leave. we hiked for a further 3 hours to a waterfall - in for once complete sunshine (promplty buring the crap out of my neck and arms). again all jumped straight in fully clothed to wash the sweat off. after that a further 1 1/2 hour walk to the pick up spot, which was only interupted by the site of 4 poisonous snakes and 3 large frogs.

we were picked up and taken back to the same place as we had lunch on the first day. this was followed by bamboo rafting ! sounds strange and it was. basically 4 large pieces of bamboo placed sideby side and fastened in the tradtional way with a bloke at the front with another piece of bamboo for steering. we sat, partly in the river, along the 25 foot raft and promptly went down stream over grade 2 rapids. it was mental and people were falling out all over the shop -funny but looking back now it was quiet risky but alot of fun.

got back to the hostel at around 4.30 had a shower and got dry for pretty much the first time in 3 days. sorted my gear out and handed in some washing - bargain price of about a pound to do everything - and there was alot of dirty stuff.

my trainers have pretty much had it now so i was going to go and see if my luck had changed at the market. but its throwing it down again and i am starving so i might leave it till tomorrow.

on sunday i am venturing north and east and leaving thailand to have a gander at Laos for three weeks. have been told its breathtaking but due to its undeveloped nature i am not entirely sure of internet access so it might be a while before i write again.

take it easy folks

Posted by budjude 04:22 Archived in Thailand Tagged ecotourism Comments (0)

Up Up And Away

Bangkok - Chiang Mai

sunny

About time i updated things before i leave bangkok and i have a few hours to kill before i check out and head to the train station.

Since i last wrote things have been eventful in bangkok. i finshed the tourist hot spots by going to the grand palace and the vimanek mansion - the worlds largest all teak building and the old home of all the previous kings / rulers of the country. it was pretty impressive considering that there isnt a single screw in the whole place. there was also a thai dance display which was ok but lasted 40 minutes or so and the time dragged towards the end.

after the mansion i wandered round to the zoo, which was not far away. it was clear that the zoo is lacking resources in every department and the animals, which they were sadly lacking, didnt look to healthy and very bored. i suppose this has got to be expected when you consider the conditions which some of the people live in on the streets and alleyways.

for me the city is one of extreme contrasts - next to tourist spots and even the royal residence there are shacks were people live, backing onto old, drity still water which smells like and probably is a toilet. it is a bit of a culture shock and makes you feel how lucky you are to live where you live back home - where ever that may be.

was going to attend a tradition thai boxing night but i meant two scottish lads and ended up having a 'few' drinks on khao san road - which ended in what some would say was dancing and others would say was stumbling about in the rain and mayhem in the wee small hours with a group of dutch travellers. i guess the thai boxing will have to wait till i come back to bangkok if i cant find it anywhere else in the meantime.

i have been hearing great things about the south and the islands so i cant wait to get going and get down there in a couple of months, also i have been told of the islands on halong bay, vietnam which sound very tempting to me - in the meantime i am going north to chaing mai. i have got to catch the overnight, 12 hour, train up there tonight. i have already booked on a mountain trek that includes rafting, elephant treking and staying in tradtion, village accomodation for 3 nights. also the same travel company arranged a trip to see the longneck women (where the strech the womends necks with steel rings so they are oversized - not sure of teh cultural meanings of this yet-but will let you know) my 30 day visa for laos and the 2 day 1 night boat ride actually into the country.

i am really looking forward to leaving bangkok as for me that is not what travelling is all about - sure i am glad that i came but i prefer the smaller out of the way places that isnt wall to wall backpackers and everything on a plate for you. hanoi is supposed to be less like this although southern thailand is - but least there is the sea! i think my body needs the sea - it seems unnatural to be constantly this hot and not be able to go for a swim to cool down. but i guess that will have to wait another 3-4 weeks before i get to the islands on halong bay for that.

tips on dealing with the tuk tuk drivers - just say that you have already been to the shops and get a price for the trip without any shop stops - otherwise you will find yourself in numerous tailors wandering around so the driver can get a free petrol token, although the trip will cost you less but take longer - catch 22 i suppose.

Posted by budjude 21:17 Archived in Thailand Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Finally

Bangkok, Khao San Road

storm

Well greetings from khao san road, bangkok. I arrived yesterday lunch time - after a 4 hour delay in bahrain so your quite lucky that i am writing this already. The main reason I write this is that it is raining and i mean 'proper' raining outside and although its nice to get wet and cool down the novelty soon wore off. so i sit here beer in hand looking out onto khao san road.

it took me ages to find the hotel, i took the lonely planets advice and saved meself a few quid by getting a cheap taxi from outside the airport and not inside. dispite this the guy didnt know where it was and just dropped me off on the main strip of khao san - figuring that i looked like a 'newie' and he could get away with it. i wander around for a bit before i saw the sign, which led me down a small alley into another world completly. all the little alleys branch off into numerous side streets and markets, which have less hussle and bussle then the main strip. the main strip is best described as crazy - every turn people attempt to sell you things from trainers and hats to massages and women. none of which i have taken up (yet)

the hotel itself the sawasdee bangulumpu inn is what i pretty much what i expected - no windows but thankfully a fan, small box like room but it is pretty quite compared to the main strip, apart from the fact that the love the boy band blue and constantly seem to play them over the tannoy.

after i got in and attempted to make myself feel human again by showering and shaving i had an intended 'little' kip to get over the travelling - reckon i had roughly 4 hours sleep within a 45 hour period. needless to say i woke about 5 hours later, not feeling any more awake. but the explorer in me thought i better make tracks and a little look round. i went for a wander along the main backpacker street and tried to get myself used to life on the road again.

after that i went back to the hotel and promptly fell alseep straight away, waking at roughly 3 o'clock this afternoon feeling normal again.

havent done much this afternoon but was wandering round the stalls looking for the things i forgot - a watch, a pen and paper and an adaptor - when the storm hit and the lightening started so i ducked in here to update you all.

over the next few days i am planning on exploring the places of interest in and around bangkok, whilst attempting to sort out which route to take north and where to enter laos. think i will stay in bangkok till the weekend and make tracks to the less touristy areas further north.

i will attempt to keep this as upto date as possible.

Posted by budjude 04:59 Archived in Thailand Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Hello & Goodbye

I Cana Wait Folks

overcast

Thought I better set out and start my travel blog actually before I start my travels to Asia. So I sit here writing this surrounded by clothes, malaria tablets, shower gel, inspect rebellent and flip flops, whilst dreaming of foreign, sandy shores and listening to my travelling tunes and drinking a nice cold beer or two.

People who know me will know that I am generally a pretty laid back person and that it takes alot for me to be properly excited about forthcoming events. I can confirm that I am now 100% BUZZING about my forthcoming 5 month (ish), solo adventure, which begins in alittle over 50 hours.

My bag has been pretty muched packed and repacked for this last week and I am definatley going for the less is more approach to backpacking this time around. All visas and injections have been paid for and every imaginable item of travel apparell has been researched and acquired where necessary.

I 'promise' to 'frequently' update this as and when I am able, to inform anybody who cares about my travels and allow you to experience things that I have done and seen.

I hope this can be of use to fellow travellers, before and during there travels and I will be completly honest in all my accounts and reviews of things I have done in each country.

Take it easy and next time I write I imagine I will be in Bangkok.

Posted by budjude 12:46 Archived in Wales Tagged packing Comments (0)

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