Bangkok and Pattaya

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January 5th 2018
Published: January 16th 2018
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We have been in Thailand for awhile now and while I don't usually do blogs in Thailand as I'm here all the time visiting family. But for the purposes of this big trip I will do a Thailand blog. My mum was already in Thailand visiting her family while we were travelling. After 12 and a half hours of driving and border crossings, the Intrepid crew were finally in Bangkok! Our mini van got there first and while we checked in my mum found us in the lobby! It was great seeing her again. So, after a quick refresh we were all off to the final Intrepid farewell dinner. So as it turns out our German ‘friends' Franca and Fabiana didn't want to join us for dinner. Which wasn't surprising considering they never really joined us on other dinners or activities, but it was a bit disappointing too. Anyway my mum came too, and Celine and Pear disappeared for awhile. Apparently she said to buy a bra. Anyway we has lots of fun reminiscing about the trip and all. Then…..lights off and Happy Birthday! Pear surprised me with a cake for my birthday! My birthday was the next day, the 3rd and it was really really lovely. I did have my suspicions lol about her ‘shopping for a bra'! I've been on a lot of Intrepid trips with a lot of birthdays (including Bill 's) now its my turn haha. It was fantastic. After dinner, we said our goodbyes – its hard after spending 3 weeks with people to say bye bye! They really were a great group – the Germans well never got to know them well enough! Me and Bill did stay up to play a couple of rounds of monopoly cards with Tina and Celine.

The next day – my birthday in Bangkok! Andrea and Louise had an extra day in Bangkok so we spent the day sightseeing. We started with visiting 2 temples – Wat Arun and Wat Pho and we got there by speedboat along the river (with a real cranky driver too). Many of Bangkok's big attractions and generally all throughout Thailand, foreigners have to pay while Thai's don't. Sometimes my mum just sneaks me in as a Thai, but considering I'm half westerner and can't speak Thai well enough I don't think that's going to work at big attractions! So Wat Arun or the Temple of the Dawn is often said its name comes from the morning sun reflecting off the temple. However, it was originally named after the Hindu god Aruna. The temple has existed since the 17th century, but the many distinctive spires have only existed since the 19th century during the reign of King Rama II. We spent some time and took photos, as well as finding the temple hall tucked away down the back where I got a blessing from a monk. Afterward we caught the ferry across to Wat Pho, the temple of the reclining Buddha. Wat Pho is one of the oldest Temples in Bangkok and was built during the reign of King Rama I. There is also a school of Thai massage situated in the temple complex. Walking along the giant gold reclining Buddha statues, you can toss coins in little pots for good luck . After our temple tours, we caught the speedboat back and I took Louise and Andrea for a sky train ride to my favourite shopping centre MBK!! We had a great lunch at the food court and I took them for a fleeting tour of the many markets of clothes shopping in MBK. It was great. Then back to the hotel to get ready for birthday drinks!

The high market hotel the Lebua was nearby and we went to the 64th floor to the Dome Sky bar @ Sirocco restaurant for cocktails. This is where the Hangover II was filmed and the Netflix documentary series ‘travels with my father' was also filmed. The views were breathtaking – we got there as soon as the sun started to set. The cocktail prices were eye watering!!! You are definitely paying for the view. There were lots and lots of people there too so getting a photo of the skyline was a challenge. I asked 2 of my cousins to meet us there but they were turned away by the strict dress code! So we saw my cousin Nick downstairs – he is half Thai half Aussie like me and he lives and works in Thailand. We went back to the hotel and saw Pear walking with her new group! We had seen her at breakfast too. They are doing the same Cambodia trip but in reverse. At the hotel we saw my cousin Phong and his wife Aon, and my cousin Baow. Phong and Aon took me, Bill, my dad, Nick, Louise and Andrea to the flower markets then drinks and dinner along the river. It was great we saw heaps of showboat cruises going along the river. We then tuk-tuk'd home and the girls thought it was crazy fun – much faster than the ones in Phnom Penh! A great birthday!!

Then next morning I took Andrea on the sky train to Phaya Thai station to connect to the airport train (Louise left at 3am!). It was the end of a really great trip, and Andrea was so fun to travel with. This is only her second trip overseas but she really embraced it. We catch up often when we are in Brisbane, so we will definitely see her soon. We got to the station and bought her ticket and then she was off to her new adventure the Philippines! I went back to the hotel and got ready – Leung our driver and my cousin's husband, picked us (me, my parents and Bill) to take us to the nearby seaside town of Pattaya. Pattaya always had a seedy reputation – old men seeking young Thai girls but after going back after 15 odd years and as an adult......holy cow the place exists for dirty old men seeking sex. If it weren't for the world renowned Tiffany ladyboy show I would have said lets go after one night! Anyway we found a brew pub there and had some wheat beers. Later that night me and Bill found the big shopping centre and then walked around some of the party streets. Dingy bars with old men and hookers.....most if them were empty! I think there is too many bars so many just lay empty. The next day Leung took us to the Buddha on the mountain – Khao Cheejan, a 130m high Buddha image that was laser- carved on the rock. It was a particularly hot day so we didn’t stay for long. Afterward we went to the kitschy ‘floating market' which was just a replica of different parts of Thailand. Expensive for foreigners, we didn’t go. Back in Pattaya, me, Bill and my dad went for drinks at the brew pub again and later all four of us caught a Sorgtaew – local transportation which is basically a ute with two rows of seats in the back – to the Tiffany show!

The Tiffany show was fantastic. Thai lady boys are on point – you can't tell they used to be men (some still technically are). The make up, the petite frames everything you see is woman. The show was fantastic and we were up front. It was cabaret show with lip synching, lots of dancing, Tina Turner impersonator, a Bollywood sequence, Chinese songs for the tourists, and sparkly set changes and costumes. Afterward, we could take photos with the dancers for a handsome tip! We then took a Sorgtaew to Walking street, which us a whole strip of bars which was opening up for the evening. Ping pong shows everywhere – it just looked sad. Old men looking for company, young Thai girls looking for money. So a quick walk through, me and Bill then went for a quick walk to Action street to find a bar I’ve been reading about. I watched a tv show with a English man who fell in love with a Thai ladyboy that opened a bar here – its not seedy and I wanted to go but we couldn't find it so we went back to the hotel. Oh Pattaya you're not for us the only thing you've got going for you is the Tiffany show! So we most likely won't be back.

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