Page 8 of Rat on the Road Travel Blog Posts

Europe » United Kingdom » England January 5th 2008

Bangkok to Manchester (via Abu Dabi) and a case of runny bum... So on the 6th of December we flew home to lil ole England. It took longer than expected as our planned brief plane change in Abu Dabi was delayed and we had to spend 7 hours sitting around the airport. So that was 6 hour to Abu Dabi, plus 7 hours hanging out in the weird circular Abu Dabi airport, then 8 hours to Manchester. It became quite a mammoth trip and made us appreciate how far apart Thailand and England are. To add to the discomfort I (it's Kris by the way) seemed to have picked up my 1st dose of food poisoning since arriving in SE Asia. What are the chances of that???? Of all the dodgy food I've eaten for 13 ... read more
Yum yum yum
Christmas in Peterlee

Asia » Thailand December 6th 2007

Our last 2 nights in Thailand and we headed to our friends at the elephant camp in Pattaya. We didn't actually do much! We just hung out with them and tried to make the most of the warm sun before the cold of England in December! Happy Birthday To The King! Our last day in Thailand was extra special as it was the king's 80th birthday! Everyone was celebrating. We celebrated by goig to Tesco and buying our friends at the camp a Christmas tree and decorations and erecting it in the hallway. Arnon seemed pleased with it! We bought Mrs Noi a special present - a can of Olde English cider from the international supermarket - imported all the way from Somerset! May sound odd - but her daughter is married o an English bloke ... read more
Pattaya night market
Pattaya Walking Street
Singing for the King

Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand » Bangkok December 4th 2007

The joy of motorbike taxis After leaving Sukothai we had a bref stop off in Ayutthaya to visit our friends from the TEFL who teach there - Kristen and Jordan. We had planned on seeing some of the sights that we missed th previous year...but instead we did nowt but laze around and then met our mates in the evening for drinks. They're staying on to teach so it could be a while till we see them again. The most notable thing about our trip to Ayutthaya was the motorbike taxi trip.... When we got on the luxury bus in Sukothai (incidentally, luxury means the air con's on full so you're freezing and they hand out plastic glasses of toxic-looking green pop) the woman handing over the tickets told us "bus stops on highway for Ayutthaya". ... read more
Ayutthya taxis
The streets of Bangkok
King shirts go pink

Asia » Thailand » North-West Thailand » Sukhothai November 28th 2007

After a brief stop pff in Chiang Mai after Pai we were back on the road bound for Sukothai - the ancient capital of Thailand. Sukothai is set in the central plains of the country and is home to a huge, ancient temple complex - a bit like Angkor in Cambodia. Buy a ticket and you can wander for hours through amazing gardens surrounding gigantic stone Buddha statues and beautiful towering temples. We did just that! Sukothai is also the place to be for the annual Loi Krathong festival (that we spent in Pai - see last blog) - but we arrived just after it had finished. Consequently we were amazed at how relaxed and peaceful it was. Several times we found ourselves to be the only visible people (other than Buddha, obviously) - which made ... read more
Buddha locked up
Temples galore
Another Buddha...

Asia » Thailand » North-West Thailand » Pai November 25th 2007

Kris So we finally arrived back in Pai - the little town in the north that we went to last year from Chiang Mai. Infact, we were there exactly one year before - I just checked our blog from then ("Easy as Pai" - a Rat on the Road classic..). We were pleased to find that it hadn't changed much. Still the sleepy little hippy town in the hills where life moves slowly and pressure-free. Thankfully still no new sky-rise hotels and no giant Tesco supermarkets. Just cool bars, restaurants and shops nestled by the river. With the odd late night party, obviously. We set off walking from the bus station to our previous accommodation - a small complex of bamboo huts in the middle of a farm field on the far side of the river ... read more
Chilling in our little house
Kris and Tee
Making curry

Asia » Thailand » Northern Thailand November 19th 2007

Kate Why I won't miss motorbike taxis From Mae Hong Son we took another local bus through more mountains and sunflower surrounded roads to the small town of Soppong. Confusingly, while the guidebook and info we had called the town Soppong, all the signs advertised Pang Manpha, which apparently is the area, but also used as an alternative name for the town. Because traveling in a country where you can't read most of the the signs isn't confusing enough!. From Soppong we found two motorbike taxis to take us and our luggage to Cave Lodge, about 9km into the forest. Now you may be aware that I don't like motorbike taxis at all. I find them very scary. Im sure if I had more an adventurous "now I want to bungy jump and then throw myself ... read more
Our bamboo hut at the Cave Lodge
Bamboo raft entering Tham Lot cave
Baby stalagmites

Asia » Thailand » North-West Thailand » Mae Hong Son November 17th 2007

Kate On the long and winding road..... to Mae Sariang The road out of Chiang Mai twists and turns up and down the mountains on the way out to Mae Hong Son, a town in the very north of Thailand near the Burmese border. The road was narrow and on either side the hedges were full of yellow sunflowers. We were on our way around the Mae Hong Son Loop, a road through the mountains of North Thailand that loops to Mae Hong Son and the back to Chiang Mai. We visited Pai, a hippy town on the loop last year from Chiang Mai. We loved the place and the scenery was beautiful so we wanted to explore more of the area. It's an 8 hour bus journey from Chiang Mai to Mae Hong Son, and ... read more
River views in Mae Sariang
Welcome to Mae Sariang
The lake and temples in Mae Hong Son

Asia » Thailand » North-West Thailand » Chiang Mai November 14th 2007

Kris After our stay in Pattaya we wanted to revisit the north - as it's about a year since we were there. There were places we wanted to see that we missed last time and places we wanted to revisit before we leave the country. So hopped on an overnight train and headed for Chiang Mai. As I'm generally rubbish at sleeping on sleeper trains and as Kate can generally sleep anywhere, we decided on getting standard seating for the night. That way I could read if I wanted and Kate could snore and drool with her face pressed against the train window. Plus, from previous experience we know that if you get a seating carriage and not a sleeper you get free food and drink! It's very much like being on an aeroplane. Anyway, there ... read more
Thai dancers at the night bazaar
Thai dancer at the night bazaar
Kris beating Kate at Jenga

Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand » Pattaya November 12th 2007

I Heart Elephants Kate When we were in Pattaya before our flight to Vietnam, they mentioned that the beginning of November was going to be very busy in the land of the elephant mahout project. They had 8 volunteers arriving in the same week, and Arnon had someone visiting the dusky langur project so he needed to be there. That only left Ao and Sam to take care of them at the camp, with Mrs Noi looking after them at the hotel. Being the lovely people we are, and never ones to pass up a week hanging with the ellies, our mates in Pattaya and meeting elephant mahout volunteers, we agreed to go and help them. We flew from Hanoi to Bangkok in the company of Naomi, who we had to say goodbye to at Bangkok ... read more
Kris auditioning for a role in the next Harry Potter film
View from one of the bedrooms in the new volunteer house
Sam Rui's morning face

Asia » Vietnam » Northwest » Lao Cai » Sapa November 1st 2007

Sapa is a mountain town in the north of Vietnam and a popular tourist spot due to the beautiful scenery and local hilltribe population - much like you find in north Thailand. From Hanoi we decided to book an overnight sleeper train for the 10 hour journey... Hard or Soft Sleeping..? There were several options when choosing your sleeper carriage though the two main comfort levels were described as "hard" and "soft". We asked if this had anything to do with the comfort of the berth, but our friendly agent assured us no - it was just that in a soft sleeper the carriage only has 4 berths but in the hard sleeper there are 6. Being skinflints and always willing to sacrifice a little comfort to save beer money we opted for the hard sleeper. ... read more
Hmong hilltribes women
Sapa street
Walking down to Cat Cat village

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