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June 19th 2012
Published: July 9th 2012
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So it begins... Holiday 2012... Only waited 6 months for it to arrive and now its here! Yey!

Long, long journey to get there...Train to London...apartment in London for the night... 9 hour flight to Mumbai... 2 hour wait... 4 hour flight to Bangkok... HERE!!! 😊

Had an amazing few days in Bangkok. We arrived at the airport and got the Sky Train to the centre of the city. It was a great way to get our first glimpse of the capital. Hundreds of skyscrapers lined the horizon with rice fields and small shacks scattered in between. It was a dull, cloudy hot day, and a shock to the system due to us being so used to 12 degrees back in the UK.

A taxi then took us to our hostel - NapPark Hostel, just around the corner from Koh San Road. Check in wasnt till 2pm so we dumped our bags and headed out to explore. The streets were lined with small market stalls, selling goods and cooking food - chicken, fruit, unrecognisable things. We wandered down a side street and stopped for lunch - our first Thai meal - It was delicious!

We decided to take a Tuk-Tuk tour around the city, visiting some of the many temples. We went to The Golden Mount, climbing the stairs up to the top of the temple, ringing bells along the way. Great views of the city from the top. ALso went to see the Big Buddha, standing high above the buildings. A lady had a stall and was selling birds in cages for 90 baht. The idea was you bought them and released them once in the temple grounds. On from there we went to a small temple with monks walkign around in their orange robes.

We got back to the Tuk Tuk and explained we needed to be back at the hostel to check in. The drivers insisted they took us to one more place - a tailors where they made suits. The drivers explained that if they took us there, they got discount for petrol for promoting their business. We agreed and went to see the shop. As soon as we entered, we got cornered by men in suits, handing us books with the suit and dress designs, offering us deals. We all declined but were polite and sat looking for a few minutes.

Booked into the hostel at 2pm and had a quick nap before heading out in the evening. Using our oh so reliable Lonely Planet Guide, we founda small traditional place not so far from our hostel called Thip Samai and had the traditional Pat Tai meal consisting off egg, shrimp, noodles, veg etc. Ventured onto Koh San Road after food for some Chang beer and a good night of Sheesha and banter. Had an earlyish night due to being up early in the morning for our exciting tour to the FLoating Market and Tiger Temple.

Got up at 6am, picked up at 7am and headed straight to the Floating Market, a good hour drive out of Bangkok centre. We arrived at a harbour next to the river and got on a short boat journey down the smelly, dirty river, to the floating market. The boat itself was powered by a car engine so it wasnt the most peaceful ride but certainly interesing. The market was chaotic, boats fighting through, stalls tied up along the river bank, them pulling your boat over with a long stick with a hook on the end, to let you see their goods better. The only thing I bought was a bunch of bananas as we hadn't had time to get breakfast that morning. We finished the boat trip and were told that if we would like, we had the opportunity to ride elephants for 600 baht if we wished. My eyes lit up and myself and the lads decided we'd do it, knowing we could always do it again later in the holiday if we wanted to.

We drove to the Elephant Temple, payed our money and climbed up a tall tower to wait for an elephant to come by. Me and Andy got on the first one, Richard and Baggers waiting for the next. We had a lovely elephant called Pelon. We slowly plodded around the jungle path, taking photos, stroking the elephants back. It was amazing...till the rider whacked the elephant with a stick over his forehead for pausing to nibble some of the leaves. I was furious. Hated seeing that. Further around the track the rider turned to us and asked if we'd like to sit on his head... the elephants head I mean. We jumped at the chance. The rider jumped down from the elephant, we un tied our 'seatbelt' (a strap of material across our laps), and slid down onto the back of the elephants head, our legs slotted in behind its warm ears. It was amazing! Dream come true. Such gorgeous animals. We continued on, through abit of water, very smelly water, up the other side. It was fantastic. I didn't want to get off!

We were picked up by the mini bus and continued on our tour, heading North towards Tiger Temple. We stopped for lunch and went to a museum about a railway bridge destroyed in WW2. Walked around the corner, towards the town after going in the museum, and saw a cheetah chained to a table. Andy paid to sit with the cheetah and feed it.

Back in the mini bus, we had a long drive up to the Tiger Temple. I had a nap and chilled. It was so odd thinking I had just riden an elephant and was about to stroke a tiger. Who in their right mind chooses to stroke a tiger?!

Got to the Tiger Temple, signed a form to say that if the things ate us its not the emples fault, and headed up a sandy path to the tigers. The scenery was like something from Star Wars. A cave like area, crouded with people in orange t-shirts and the odd monk.

We decided to pay and have a group picture as well as individual ones. I had said I'd be the one to have the tigers head on my knee, the others sitting beside me stroking it. I underestimated how petrified I'd be once there. I sat down, the orange t shirted staff telling me how to sit, plonking this tigers head on my lap, placing my hands around his neck. I swear I was touching one of his teeth at one point! I was literally shaking! Freakiest thing ever! We had a few group photos then had individual ones also with a few different tigers. Huge, fully grown dudes and some smaller baby cubs. Got some cracking pictures!

A 2 and a half hour journey back to Bangkok, had a nap then once back at the hostel we got freashened up and headed out on to Koh San Road for tea. Had a gorgeous Italian. Had muscles and pizza and was stuffed afterwards. After grub we went for our first Thai Massage where we pretty much just got attacked for half an hour. She had me getting in all these odd positions I didnt know my body could get into, stretching me out, cracking places. Felt great after, but bruised at the same time!

Headed over to Sky Bar, a 63 storey building with a restaurant/bar at the top. Amazing views, pricey menu. Its one of the top 35 restaurants in the world and features on Hangover 2. Enjoyed a lovely (pricey) cocktail and had some pictures taken.

Headed onto Koh San Road for a great night out- consuming way too many buckets and Chang Towers, making frieds with some Americans after one threw up on Andys leg, smoking sheesha and generally having a great time till we pretty much passed out!

The next day, with hangover, we ventured over to The Golden Temple and had a wander around there. Had to be back at the hostel for 5pm as we were getting picked up by coach to head down to Phuket...

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