Page 2 of DougRattray Travel Blog Posts

Asia » Thailand » South-West Thailand » Krabi January 27th 2009

Due to the tour I booked down to Singapore being cancelled, I booked another one with Intrepid that was very similar although it did mean that I would go Back to Kao Sok National Park for a couple of nights (see previous blog). So my last tour started with another overnight train down to Surat Thani then a minibus over to the park. Since I had so much fun last time, I convinced everyone we should go tubing down the river again. Didn't see many snakes this time but we did stop off at the monkey temple again. We found a little cool bar that was ran by English guy selling large 750ml beers for 50 baht (£1) so spent the evening there getting a little tipsy with the Irish couple Steve & Maria. I decided ... read more
Alex and her Friend

Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand » Bangkok January 16th 2009

We arrived back in Bangkok bus station without any real plans on what we were going to do for the last few nights before Pam flew back. We decided on the Patpong area because someone had recommended it and it was close to the skytrain route. Patpong is quite a touristy area famous for it's night market, pole dancing bars and ping pong shows. Since we only had a couple of days before Pam flew home we opted for a more upmarket hotel (one with hot water, AC and a slightly smaller mosquito count), which compared to the accommodation we'd had during our previous few weeks was real luxury. Pam was quite keen on seeing more tigers so we booked a one day tour up to Kanchanaburi; home to famous bridge on the River Kwai and ... read more
Terrible models in the war museum
Mural showing the bombing of the Bride on the River Kwai
Bridge on the River Kwai

Asia » Thailand » Southern Thailand January 12th 2009

We arrived on a very wet Koh Samui around lunchtime on New Year's Eve and as we looked out the windows of the bus we could see rivers of rain pouring down the road. The prospect of spending New Years Eve on a wet beach wasn't really getting us in the spirit. Our rooms on Koh Samui where basically a terraced version of the bungalows we had in the jungle although the mosquito count was a lot higher, we had (some) hot water and the walls were paper thin (more on that in a bit). The weather managed to settle down a bit that evening and because it was New Year all the hotels force you to go to their overpriced dinner and party. The food wasn't too bad, but once we had our fill we ... read more
NYE Drinking on Koh Samui
Flying Lanturn
Note on the Lanturn

Asia » Thailand » South-West Thailand » Khao Sok NP January 12th 2009

After our Chang Mai trekking experience we headed back to Bangkok before we stated the second part of the tour to Southern Thailand. We had the majority of 2 days free so first off we went for a well deserved massage then a spot of lunch before we said goodbye to Clare and Taryn who were heading down to Phuket for a few days of sun. That evening we met up with the new group and guide who from the start seemed a little incompetent. He started the meeting before everyone was there, he forgot to introduce himself or any of the group to each other or organise a meal which resulted in only a few of us going out for dinner that night. The following day Pam, myself and the Finish couple Katja and Jukka ... read more
Abord the Longtail Boat
Houses on stilts
Local transport

Asia » Thailand » North-West Thailand » Chiang Mai January 1st 2009

After a somewhat difficult night’s sleep aboard the overnight train to Chang Mai we arrived at the hotel around 7:30am. We had decided to do a Thai cookery class which involved a trip to the local market to buy all the ingredients then to the cookery school and we were shown how to cook phad thai, green curry, tam yum soup and sesame prawn toast. The class was a lot more fun than I was expecting, I might even give a few of the recipies a try when we get back home. That evening we visited the Chang Mai Night Bizarre which is a 1km square market which sells everything imaginable although it is mostly to tourists, I didn’t see too many local Thai’s around the market stalls. I ended up getting a new pair of ... read more
Head Chef

Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand » Bangkok December 28th 2008

Sorry it’s been a while since my last blog, it’s all been a bit hectic since Pam arrived and we started the Thailand Unplugged tour. Like I said in my last post, I had a week to fill before Pam arrived so I headed down to Ko Sumui for a little bit time on the beach. Ko Phangan is an amazing almost Paradise like island that is host to the infamous full moon party, because of this 5 days either side of the party all the prices double of everything. It’s understandable up to a point as I was there on the 5th day after full moon and was the only person in the entire hotel. I just felt I was being ripped off a lot, especially during the times I was by myself and had ... read more
What was that you where making Maddy?
Bucket stalls on the full moon beach

Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand » Bangkok December 16th 2008

It took most of the day to get from Battambang to Bangkok via a fairly painless border crossing , I’d heard it could take a couple of hours go get across, but we seemed to get through in around half an hour. We dumped our bags in the hotel and headed down to the infamous Ko San road for our last night together as a group. The Ko San road is exactly what I expected it to be, hawkers selling everything from Suits to fake ID’s along with food stalls with slightly questionable hygiene standards. There was also a guy selling deep fried insects, I thought it was mostly a tourist thing now and was quite surprised to see a few Thai people buying bags of silk worms. I bought a bag and a cricket for ... read more

Asia » Cambodia » North » Battambang December 13th 2008

After talking to a few people I was a little worried about Battambang, one guy called it the whore house of Cambodia and judging by the initial drive through the city and the hotel we stayed in it looked like they might have been right. Turns out they were wrong, we had another moped tour organised similar to the one we had done in Hue. The tour visited small out of town family run operations that make rice paper, grind rice, catch and cook water snake (we all tried a bit, tastes like fishy chicken) and a fish market. It was a really nice getting out of the city and seeing some real Cambodian life and I loved all the kids who jumped up and down waving and shouting “hello”. Finally we visited a temple that ... read more
Snake, yum yum yum
Snake, yum yum yum
Snake, yum yum yum

Asia » Cambodia » North » Siem Reap December 13th 2008

Not long after arriving in Siem Reap we were loaded on the bust and taken to our first temple to watch the sunset. After a 20 minute walk to the top of a hill it became apparent that sunsets are a popular pastime in Siem Reap. There was easily 1000 people standing on anything they could to get a better view of what admittedly was an amazing sunset. I wish I could say the same about the sunrise over the main Angkor Wat temple which we had to be up at 4am to watch along with a hell of a lot more tourists. The whole temple complex (of which there are over 100) feels a little like a theme park although I guess if you go to some of the smaller less popular temples you’d have ... read more
People at the temple at sunset
Sunset Temple
Cindy at sunset

Asia » Cambodia » South » Phnom Penh December 9th 2008

To be honest, my first impressions of Cambodia weren’t that great. We caught a public bus from Saigon n to Phnom Penh , during which the driver made friends with a six year old Dutch kid and thought he’d like to play with the PA system. One hour of Dutch nursery rhymes later I was ready to wrap the chord round his neck. We stepped off the bus into a throng of tuck-tuck drivers each trying to carry your bags and get you into their tuck-tuck. There was even a guy with a bamboo stick to try and control them. Cambodia is a lot poorer that Vietnam and it’s really apparent buy the amount of rubbish on the streets. Because of the genocide that took place during the Pol Pot regime in the late 70’s (more ... read more
The Golden Palace
Afternoon Exercise

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