Day 14 - Bye Bye Kanchanaburi!

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December 19th 2017
Published: March 11th 2018
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Ok so in the unlikely event that anyone was waiting with bated breath for the rest of my blog entries I do apologise. When we got to Phuket the laptop got stolen by the kids and plugged into the television so that they could watch movies in the evenings, which didn't give me any blogging time. But I did make lots of notes and I was determined to finish this thing, so although we are long since home, I am going to try and finish out our last 2 weeks and add all our photos in so that this remains a good record of our trip. I have just been reading some of the posts and I really wish I had done this while things were still fresher, but here it goes, I shall do my best with my memory and that of the boys to revisit the last bit of the trip.

So Day 14 - Our last day in Kanchanaburi. This is such a beautiful place, Todd and I are keen to come back and spend a couple of weeks here, rather than a few days. 3 nights definitely wasn't enough, and there is so much to do and see in this area.......I could spend another 2 weeks just kicking back by the riverside and enjoying the cocktails, food and views!

Anyway, we woke on the last morning in Kanchanaburi and it was COLD! Or at least a lot colder than we have experienced in some weeks. It got down to 15 degrees this morning, practically freezing in Thai terms. All the staff at the restaurant were rugged up in jumpers when we went down for breakfast and I have to admit I was a tad brrrrrrrrrr. So at breakfast I got chatting to the girl from last night who had gone to find the security footage of our little tuk tuk incident and she had the video loaded up on her phone. So we Facebook friended each other so she could share it with me and now I have a new buddy Marisa in Kanchanaburi 😊 So after breakky we went back to our rooms and packed up all our gear again. It still amazes me how much bloody mess we can make in such a short time! After we had packed up we went down and checked out and asked to leave our bags at reception while we went out for one last look at the River Kwai. This place was so beautiful and the local people so friendly! I can't wait to go back!

We wandered down the windy street, lined with little open air shops and tiny restaurants, in strange juxtaposition with large hotel complexes and resorts until we reached the base of the bridge. It was very different during the day in comparison to what we had seen the evening before. It was almost a carnival type atmosphere, with the street food stalls and little market place tents all surrounded with buskers and wandering salespeople trying to push their wares. Turns out the Bridge over River Kwai is hardly a quiet place of reflection, but it did have lots of great bargains on offer and we did our first real bit of shopping for peeps back home as we wandered around the big square.

We sat and had a beautiful lunch on the pier, was very proud that Corey was finally getting into trying some of the non-western foods by this point. He had a great stirfry chicken and rice and Kalyb had a curry that just about blew his head off, we had to order an extra rice so he could eat it but he persevered through it because it was so good. We enjoyed a beer and watched the boats float by and soaked in the last of Central Thailand.

As the afternoon moved on we headed back to the Good Times Resort to catch our ride back to Bangkok. We joked with the staff about our mishap, thanked them for their amazing hospitality and friendliness and promised to return. They all promised that they would be there when we got back and then our driver loaded us up into the minibus and we were away back to the city. The drive back to Bangkok was fun, we brought the leftover beer from our hotel fridge and the driver immediately asked us if we wanted to play music, and so we cranked good tunes had some cold beverages and soaked in the party bus atmosphere on our drive back down from the mountains. As we approached the city the famous Bangkok traffic kicked in. This was honestly the first time in our trip thus far that the traffic significantly delayed us and I was very glad that we had left with plenty of time, even though our flight wasn't until the evening. We seriously crawled through the last 20 kms and it took nearly and hour to get that far through the peak hour traffic. It was crazy!

Bangkok Airport is really cool, looks a bit like what I imagine a spaceport will be like. The corridors/rooms are cylindrical and the rounded ceilings and walls are all glass and metal framework. Really funky! It's huge too so when we got inside we had to work out which of the 200 check in counters was the right one for SilkAir heading to Phuket. We found the counter and ended up stuck behind this enormous Indian family who seriously must have never travelled on an aircraft before. There was a group of about 20 people and 4 of them were trying to check in for everyone, not understanding the fact that every person on the ticket had to be there and show ID to check in. It was an ordeal and my kids, who were feeling like totally seasoned travellers by now, were astounded and dismayed at the lack of professional travelism haha. Anyway, we finally checked in and headed through to the terminal. It was nearly dinner time by now so we found our way to the food court and took a seat. Boys were insistent on Burger King so I went and stood in the crazy line while Todd got us some drinks at the Irish place. Now I am pretty familiar with crazy airport prices, but this place was outrageous! I ordered some burgers and the guy asked me if I wanted the large or the we were hungry so I went with the large plus some nuggets for Corey. I wasn't sure whether the large burgers came with chips so I was trying to make sure the guy understood that we wanted chips too, and I thought I got my message across the language barrier, so I stood back satisfied. Well, we definitely got chips. But holy mcfuck the meal came to nearly $80 Aussie dollars! We got way more chips than we needed, but it was all in one big box, so I still wasn't sure if I had double ordered the chips or not, but that had to be the most expensive meal we had eaten thus far. $20pp for a friggen airport hamburger! Anyway we ate our crazy expensive Burger King and made our way down to our departure gate. More cool architecture within the airport and the whole place was packed. I guess we had finally encroached on the Christmas holiday makers by this time, and the airport was in full of people from all over the earth! No seats available at the departure gate so we copped a squat on the ground for the short wait until our flight.

We watched the city lights of Bangkok disappear beneath us as we travelled south towards Phuket. Silkair is a subsidiary of Singapore Airlines and was pleasant, it's only a 90 minute flight and we had a nice snack and a refreshing hot towel offered to us. Nice. Turns out the Indian family that we got stuck behind at the check in counter was on our flight........with reinforcements......and the whole group of merrymakers took up the back end of the plane. They were quite a noisy and fun sounding group actually, having a great old time back there. Todd went back to use the loo at one point and was 'recognised' by one of the women who was coming out of the toilet as he was going in. We are still not exactly sure why this happened next, but as Todd was walking back towards our seats he was surrounded by this group of people who all wanted selfies with him and so he posed for pics with the family and chatted with them. A little odd, perhaps he looks like someone famous?? Who knows! He thinks his magnificent height impressed them.

It was slightly surreal (I seemed to feel this a lot in Asia) during the landing when all of a sudden Christmas carols started playing in the cabin at full volume. Not saying we were the only people on the flight with a Christian background but we were certainly the only white people that I could see in our immediate surroundings........and listening to God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen as we watched the city lights of Phuket rush towards us was just a touch weird and unexpected! I actually was continually surprised at how widely Christmas seemed to be acknowledged, don't know if it was just for the tourists or what, but there were Christmas trees and carols all over the place. 90% of the Thai people are Buddhists, and they are all a bit cool and groovy and accepting of other people's religions, but I am pretty sure the trees aren't for them! There must have been something else exciting going on in Phuket on this evening too, because there was a massive firework show going on as we landed, which was really cool to see from above. Never seen fireworks from above them before!

So once we landed we were lucky enough to have our bags come pretty much first off the plane so we headed out towards the street to find a cab. They say first impressions matter, so I guess our first impression of Phuket left a bit of a sour taste. I knew that we were landing in Phuket late after a long day of travel, so I had booked a hotel close to the airport for 1 night so we didn't have to travel another 90 minutes to the beach that late. There is a bit of a taxi mafia in Phuket, particularly at the airport and as we came through the arrivals hall we were ushered towards a counter to a guy that had a map and a list of prices. At this point we were tired so we made the mistake of jumping in the car with these people. It no shit cost us like $30 to get about 500m up the road. It was only going to cost $40 or so to get us all the way to Patong tomorrow so I was cranky, but not so much that I could be bothered arguing with this guy. He tried to get us to book the journey for the next day with him but I said hell no. I knew a little about the taxi scams here on the island but this was a bit crazy! Anyway, we got to our hotel, which admittedly wasn't a flash one, just somewhere to hang for the evening before we headed further south the next day, but I was a bit surprised at how remote it seemed in comparison to all the places we had just been in Central Bangkok. There was bugger all around, and the few places that were nearby were closed or closing at 10:30pm. We were a bit peckish again and we asked the guy at the counter if there was anything open nearby and he was a bit disinterested and unhelpful (one of the few exceptions to the friendly Thai smile that we encountered!) but I had my trusty google map and knew that there was a 7-11 nearby. He was said "oh, its long walk', but we went off anyway, leaving the kids in the room. Well, it wasn't a long walk but he was certainly right in his discouragement of us walking there! We were on a main highway, and as is usual Thai custom, there were no footpaths. At all. The cars were zooming past right up to the edge of the grass, mud, puddles, piles of building debris that littered the side of the road. This was a little scary. There were also big buses parked on the side of the road so when we came to these the options were to walk on the actual highway, or walk around the back of the buses in the unknown dark mucky mud and crap. I regretted the walk as soon as we set out on it, but we managed to make it to the shop and back unscathed, poor Todd had to deal with my very vocal stress all the way through though. He had offered to go on his own, he probably wished that I had let him!

Anyway when we got back to the room Todd decided that he wanted to go for a swim, the nice infinity pool was about the only redeeming feature of this place, and so I let him go chill out on his own for a bit before bed. Uninterrupted family time has its drawbacks 😊

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