Some clowns at Songkran?!?!
Seems everyone wanted to paste us!
Sunday the 13th we were up about 10 or 11 and headed across town to Megan's Hotel. Songkran festival was still going at full strength, and despite being unarmed we got soaked. We picked up Megan and tried to sneak to the internet cafe without getting more wet - no chance! On the way a group of American girls saw us and shouted 'They're Dry!', and soaked us. After using the internet it was time for Megan to catch her bus with her group out of Bangkok, we walked her back and said goodbye. We will be meeting her in a months time in Sydney for 2 months travelling up Austrailia's east coast. We walked from Megans hotel to McDonalds, this was slightly out of the main Khao San Road Songkran action, but the streets here were full of locals, and they jumped on us westerners and we got our faces covered in 'paste' - we still aren't quite sure what this stuff is, but its a bit like clay! We ate some good food and our paste dried up and flaked off. We got more of the same on our walk back and stopped at Boots to buy some bite
cream, the mosquitos in the national park had got us good! The streets started to get really packed by now and it seemed a bit dangerous, but no one seemed to be bothered by that and continued spraying water and putting paste on faces. Water gun refils have hit new lows at 2 baht per gun, yesterday 3 for 10 baht was top price! We got back to our hotel and tried to dry off and clean off the paste, the best way seems to be just to take a shower with your clothes fully on! We then caught up on blog writing as we seemed to have fallen a bit behind.We then got a text from Malin and Emma from Sweden, they had arrived in Bangkok, we planned to meet for dinner at 8pm. We uploaded the blog in the internet cafe and when leaving waited at the windowed door for a safe time to get out, trouble was 3 local girls with water guns saw us doing this and waited right outside the door laughing at us! We opened the door and took the soaking well. We got a tuk tuk to Siam across town and met the
Paste on faces
This is applied to each other as part of Songkran tradition
swedish girls. We found a nice little restaurant and caught up on what we had all done since we last saw each other in Vietnam. We then headed to Starbucks for coffee but it was shut. They said one in Silom (near red light area!) was open till 1am, we haggled a tuk tuk from 200 to 60 baht! Even at 11pm people were still squirting guns and we practically got chased into Starbucks. We stayed here and had hot chocs/coffee until late then all went back to our hotels.
We had a lay in today until midday and got food at our favourite bangkok restaurant, Fourson's. The Fourson's burger is highly recommended, or any of the thai food! We then got soaked walking 2 minutes to the shop (inconvienient this festival at times, but you can't help but laugh). We went to a shop that would put songs on our ipods for 50 baht an album but it was shut until the 16th due to Songkran. Songkran runs over 3/4 days and we weren't so sure if today would continue to be as crazy, so we got the waterguns and headed to find out. Our walk around Khao
Tuk Tuk Driver
Protecting himself with his gun!
San Road and back took over 2 hours, it was packed with crowds, nearly all of them local people and you could only spot the westerners because they were being picked on with water guns! The cheeky local girls seemed to all want to put paste on our faces, the music was loud, people were dancing in the streets and girls dancing on tables were advertising cheap beer in thier bars, it was a crazy place. People in passing cars wound down thier windows just enough to fire water out of before closing them again. People on local buses fired out and got shot back at, and every single taxi/tuk tuk driver seemed to be a target. People were catching people out shooting from hotel balconies, with cold buckets too! Everyone was saying 'Happy Songkran' and the occasional 'Happy New Year' all day long to every passing person. Its hard to believe this will keep up for 4 days. We got back to our hotel at 5pm and the reception staff laughed at the mess we were in, and a trumatized room cleaner hid behind her trolly when we walked past her on the way to our room. We put
Some good deals on that board! Check out the locals firing from inside!
on some dry clothes and arranged to meet Malin and Emma. We managed to get into a tuk tuk dry, over the next 100 meters of road i think maybe 10 people attacted out tuk tuk with buckets and then someone soaked us with a big hose, everytime the we turned up for dinner we came with tales of how bad it was, but the Swedish girls hadn't seen it for them selves. We got the tuk tuk for cheap by agreeing to stop in a clothes shop for 5 mins so he could get a petrol voucher from the owners, we didn't really get presured into buying and it was easy. We went for an Indian meal and the food was really really good, better than what we ate in India! We went to Starbucks for coffee and met another swede called Emmy who the girls had met in Malaysia, she was heading home the same day as them (tomorrow). We got a tuk tuk back to all 3 hotels with ours being last as we were miles away. We watched some national geographic and discovery channel before falling asleep.
We were up at 9am and had made
Malin and Emma at Songkran
Well time shot and photo from Adam!
plans to spend the day with Malin and Emma before they went home, they wanted to see Songkran in khao San Road and we wanted to visit some shops near their area. We met them at Pantip Plaza at 10am, this place is a hugh shopping complex that only sells computer and electrical products, and lots of illegal dvd's/music/mp3. We brought Juno and The Beach on dvd each for about £1.50. We had to wait 20 minutes while they went somewhere secret to make them, and then give them a receipt to get the discs. Nick brought a phone to replace his broken one, it cost about £20. We also got a blank CD disk and memory stick to help transfering blogs from laptop to internet cafes. The girls hadn't slept well (probably excited about home!) so we went for yet more coffees! We then hopped in a taxi back to our hotel and took them to Fourson's to eat. It didn't seem so crazy out today, but as we ate people slowly started to come out and it started to get wet. We got them some water guns and headed out to do the same route we did yesterday,
Malin, Emma, Adam and Nick
Photo taken by the guy that filled up our guns for 10 baht!
and it was just as crazy! Lots of locals around and even more paste everywhere, this was going to take some cleaning up after the festival! At first we doubted the craziness would continue over the 4 days, now its seems odd that apparently its all going to suddenly stop tomorrow - we shall see. We got some good photos when out and about, and it seemed a good fun last day for the girls, we then headed back for clothed showers to get off paste again. We got Malin and Emma a taxi and said our last goodbye to them, they were going back to sweden after 2 months travlling. We had travelled through Cambodia and Vietnam with them and then met again in Bangkok - we couldn't have met 2 nicer people to travel with. Adam's Swedish was getting quite good! We then chilled in the room and watched the film The Beach that Nick hadn't seen - we have been to 2 places in the film so far! We then went out for food and beers for most of the night. We popped into the internet cafe on the way home - apologies for any drunken emails
Khao San Road the day after Songkran
Where did everyone go? They left the road clean though!
that make no sense with bad spelling! Both crashed out asleep around midnight.
We got up at 10am on our last day in Bangkok, we checked out the New Siam hotel and put our bags in storage there for the day. Outside it seemed the craziness had all stopped, shops were opening up as normal and the streets sellers that had been gone for a few days were all back out in force. We headed to Boots for some suncream - something we will need on our trip south to the islands (hopefully). We walked down Khao San Road in search of somewhere to put mp3's on our ipods but had no luck. We headed to McDonalds for lunch and saw big teams of people cleaning up everywhere from the festival - using big water canons to clean the streets. we then got a tuk tuk back to Pantip Plaza, we brought 2 CD's full of music and a case for the laptop (we have been using a blanket from our very first BA flight from london!). We then got a tuk tuk back to khao San and booked our 4 day PADI diving course for when we plan
Pretty colours! No idea if it indicates anything!
to be in Ko Tao. We booked it with Ban's, the main company out there, and paid £140 including the whole course, food on the boats, and accomodation on Ko Tao for 4 days. After this the ipod loading place was open so we picked 5 albums each and arranged to pick up the ipods from her in an hour. We got some food, collected our ipods, then got our bags back from our hotel and waited on the lobby for our bus/boat combo to Ko Samui to arrive. A lady arrived for us and put some coloured stickers on us (seems to be how all these bus journeys work), we then walked along picking up a few more people, then arrived at the bus station. we got on a bus bound for Surat Thani and it left at 8pm. Around 9pm the bus was waved in by Highway Police to the hard shoulder, this had happened before adn they search the bus before sending us on - but not this time! Before we knew what was happening they were arresting one of the bus staff downstairs, and then another one. A policeman came on the bus with some money
Hugh electrical shopping center!
they presumed to be stolen. It was English Pounds and Hong Kong money (not worth stealing dollars these days obviously). It belonged to the 2 English girls sat next to us. Everyone then had to get off and check all our bags didn't have anything missing. The police were really on the ball and we have no idea how they caught this. The only problem was the police wanted the girls to stay and give statements but they had to meet a friend and couldn't - meaning the thiefs would not be charged. We then headed off again around 10pm a few staff lighter, seemed everyone was awake now and going to struggle to sleep. One of the girls seemed ok about it but the other was crying to her parents on the phone. Everyone eventually fell asleep on the bus and we made a stop around 130am for half an hour break, but not many people got off, we slept through it.
We were woken ont he bus at 630am and had arrived in Surat Thani. We all got off here and had new stickers put on us. We waited for another bus that would be taking us
The Police Stop
Everybody checking their bags after the arrest of the bus worker thief!
to the boat ticket office and port. It soon turned up and at the boat ticket place we got our final sticker (with colour indicating what island you are going to). We then had a 30 minute wait before getting back on the bus to go to the boat pier. The boat left about 9am and was headed to all 3 main islands: Ko Tao, Ko Phan Nagn and Ko Tao - our stop was first. Most people seemed to be headed to Phan Nagn for the famous full moon party that was happening in a few days, we plan to get a boat there and back for the party - staying in the much safer Ko Samui. The boat trip was 2 hours and everyone got straight on the beers at 9am (including us). At Ko Samui we got a local Songathew (kind of a converterd truck/taxi) and it was so full we both ended up standing on the back holding on - the breeze was nice though and it looked like we got more room than those inside! We also seemed to get the job of taking peoples bags off at each stop along the way - due
Nick 'on' the bus
Nick hanging on the back heading for Chaweng with his boat sticker still on!
to them being too heavy for our female driver. We arrived at the main beach (Chaweng) at midday, 18 hours after leaving Bangkok. We checked a few places to stay and didn't have too much luck, but eventually found a bungalow double room within our budget and settled there. Its actually quite nice but doesn't seem so secure, and we have heard a few stories of these kind of accomodations beig robbed. We found the beach and did a bit of a walk on it before going to eat at 'The wave'. This place seemed really nice and also had a guest house/hostel (run by some English guys), so we planned to try and move into here tomorrow morning after a night in the bungalow. We met a nice guy in here from Switzerland, he was middleaged and was at the last few days of his month long trip. He had ditched his friend after 1 week as he was not enjoying it, we had a good chat and thanked ourselves lucky we had not fallen out yet on our trip! We then brought Nick some sandles (old ones went mouldy!), we got these down from 800 to 300 baht
Chaweng Beach in Ko Samui
Beautiful sand and clear warm water!
and then brought 2 beach towels down to 500 from 1000 - its hard work shopping here! We then headed down to enjoy the beach for the afternoon, it is 6km long, fine white sand and the water is really warm. It was really nice and the only problem was the sun was starting to dissapear. We stayed in the sun for aslong as possible before walking along the beach to see what it had to offer. We then went to the room to chill out after a long few days of travelling. After this we headed out for some food at a nice seafood restaurant, most places are expensive around here due to all the posh resorts, but if we eat local thai food its not so bad prices. After this we had a few drinks and headed back to the room, Chealsea vs Everton was on, but not until 2am, so we headed back out again at 11pm. We went to the Rugby Bar (which shows mostly football!) and had some beers, here we had some good chats with the staff and met a Burmese guy and a thai girl who worked there. The Thai girl was called
We played pool in here somewhere!
Rung and wanted to watch the football like us, but there wasn't enough customers for them to stay open. She had a bet on it (illegal in Thailand!) and said if we left her boss would shut the place and she could take us elsewhere to watch the football, we agreed with caution and went back to put valubles in the room. We met Rung back at the bar and she gave us a lift on moped to her house so she could change out of her uniform (south africa rugby shirts!). We then went to a bar/club called GreenMango (we think), this place was hugh with all sorts of music going off everywhere. It was full of all sorts of people, lots of westerners (with thai girls) and lots of thai people too (yes including dodgy looking ladyboys). We paid 100 baht to have a pool table for 30 mins and it was actually level for the first time on our trip. Adam won a few games and Nick got beaten by Rung (she clearly played a lot). We were still a bit confused about what was going on but she seemed nice enough - although the amount of thai women going off with men was worrying! After pool we headed to a club called Solo, we found seats in a quiet area to watch the football and also used the free pool table. There was some odd ladyboys in here with some british guys, and we met a crazy irish guy who had lost his passport and been here for 6 months! Chelsea scored which ment Rung's bet was coming in, and we were all tired so we left about 10 minutes before the end (about 3.30am!). Rung gave us a lift home on her moped and gave us her number, we said we'd probably pop into her bar over the next few days to say hello. Seemed that she was just a nice girl that wanted to hang out and watch the football with us, we had a good night and it was nice to hang out with local people rather than the same old travellers, but the whole time we were slightly on edge about where it was going, which seems silly now!
We have 2 more full days in Ko Samui, we plan to enjoy the beach and work on our tans, plus check out more of the nightlife that we got a glimpse of last night. After this we are heading to Ko Phan Ngan for the famous Full Moon Party on the 20th, we won't be staying on this island, just getting a boat there and back with no valubles! When we return we head off to Ko Tao for our 4 day PADI open water diving course.
All in all the last week or so has been crazy and some of the highlights of our trip so far. We haven't had a day you could even consider 'normal' for about a week!
Hope you are all well at home! Maybe we will see you all at Songkran next year!?!?
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Adam Gibson and Nick Burke
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