Published: September 3rd 2009September 3rd 2009
Sorry it's taken me so long for this next update. I've been trying to get my photos uploaded and it's taking a lot longer than I expected! But if you want to see any, I've uploaded them onto Flickr and you can have a look here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sarahm-g/collections/ I'm doing Thailand now, so hopefully they'll be up there soon too!
Thailand has been fantastic! I was a bit scared at first, landing in Bangkok on my own, so I spent my first day in one of the big shopping centres and I soon felt at home! Bangkok I did quite like though - the Grand Palace was fantastic, as was the view from Wat Arun. The market on Khao San Road was good fun too and I managed to haggle for a few things! It was also in Bangkok that I got addicted to coconut milkshakes!
After a few days in Bangkok I got up really early for the train to Kanchanburi. It was only 100baht (about 2 pounds) and my taxi to the station cost more than that! The train journey was really nice, I got to see a lot of the countryside! I arrived and paid a man on a cycle rickshaw 40baht to take me to a couple of guest houses until I found one I liked. The one I settled on I loved - it was a floating rafthouse on the River Kwai with my own hammock on the balcony! Only problem was the cockroaches at night :( but Chris's mosquito net meant they couldn't get on me! I loved Kanchanaburi - the little town itself was really nice and very cheap! I went on a day tour to Erewan Waterfalls, which were amazing! I went up to the 7th tier and had a swim in the pool beneath - there were lots of fish that would nip your skin, but the scenery was absolutely beautiful! I also walked on and got the train over the Bridge on the River Kwai and along the Death Railway and then visited Hellfire Pass, which was very sobering, but good to see. As was the cemetry in Kanchanaburi for all the Prisoners of War killed building the Death Railway and the museum next door. I was sad to leave Kanchanaburi, I really enjoyed it - I'd recommend it to anyone coming to Thailand!
From there, I got a bus back to Bangkok, where I'd booked a flight to Krabi in the south of Thailand. I timed it so that I was in the airport at the same time as my sister, Becky and her boyfriend Shane, who had a stop over there on their way to Australia! What I didn't realise was that they kept domestic and international passengers seperate! We found each other in the end, but could only talk through the glass, which didn't work very well, so we had to write what we were saying on our phones! It was very funny and really good to see them!
In Krabi I stayed overnight at Ao Nang Beach, then got an early morning longtail boat to Railay - a headland that's not accessible by road. Railay was lovely, but more expensive than Bankok and Kanchanburi, so the only place I could afford wasn't very nice, but I didn't spend too much time in there anyway, so it didn't matter too much. I spent a couple of days on the beaches there, which were incredible - lovely white sand, warm water, monkeys in the trees and gorgeous karst scenery! I also did 2 day trips, one to James Bond Island which was Scaramangas hideaway in The Man with the Golden Gun, where I also did some sea kayaking and visited Monkey Temple, where I got to feed bananas to monkeys! The other trip was by speedboad to Koh Phi Phi, where I did some snorkelling and saw coral reefs and lots of fish, including tiny clown fish, and we visited Bambo Island and the beach where they filmed 'The Beach'. It was really nice and relaxing and such a beautiful area. It did rain a bit, but it is the rainy season, so I kind of expected that! Overall, it was lovely though.
From Krabi I got an overnight bus back to Bangkok, which was ok, but I didn't get that much sleep! After a day of a bit more sightseeing in Bangkok (more temples and a 32m high stanging Buddha, the biggest in the world, apparently!), I got the overnight train to Chiang Mai. This was a lot more enjoyable than the bus, although at times the train did seem to tilt unnaturally far and I thought we might come off the tracks! I had a lower berth and woke up to a lovely view out of the window and breakfast delivered to me! Chiang Mai is quite nice too. Cheaper than Bangkok and a lot less hectic! I also met 2 girls who are travelling in the same direction as me! They are off to Laos tomorrow, but we may meet again along the way! I've booked myself on a hill tribe trek tomorrow too! I stay overnight with the Lahu tribe and have an elephant ride, go white water rafting and bamboo rafting! I'm quite excited! After that it's onto Laos!
I'll update you on that in my next post....whenever that may be!