This blog covers our trip around the world in 2006. We will post here with news of where we are and what we've been up to. Enjoy! Ang & Jane

Friday, December 22

Location: Bangkok
Miles Travelled: 37924
Time Zone: GMT + 7

Last day in the "sunny" islands of Thailand's south-east coast, so we spent some time sitting on the beach reading before going online to try and book accommodation in Chiang Mai - typically we'd happened to pick the busiest weekend in a several-month-long flower festival there as there was also a jazz festival on! Hopped on our taxi to the ferry terminal (yes, I did mean to say "on" and not "in" - it was an open pick-up truck and we sat on the back of it!) and just about got there on time for our boat. It was a 3 hour trip to the mainland, but we passed the time by watching a very green version of "Superman Returns" on the tv in the air-conditioned lounge. In Chumpon, we had a couple of hours to pass before our VIP bus to Bangkok, so we had dinner and went for a wander around a market nearby. The bus left at 9 and we arrived in Bangkok at 4:30am - 2 hours earlier than we'd expected!! We hopped straight into a taxi and had a couple of hours of not-very-comfortable sleep on hard plastic benches in the airport, before breakfast and eventually checking in. Naturally after all our travel we were a bit tired so when we got to our guesthouse in Chiang Mai we just booked our two day trek for the following day and relaxed for the evening...

Got picked up in the morning in a covered pick-up truck, where they squeezed 11 people in the back and me, the driver and the tour guide in the front! Our group was comprised of us two Irish, 2 Aussies, 4 French and 5 Swedes. After a short stop at a local market where we were encouraged to buy some little gifts for the children who would entertain us that evening, we reached our destination - an elephant camp!! We had a lovely 45 minute ride on these beautiful creatures, then got into a cage to cross the river to our lunch spot. This was when the hike actually began - and three hours later we finally got to the top of the hill, having ascended 600 metres! The pain...
Not to worry, at the hill tribe family's home there was the option of enjoying a massage for the princely sum of 100Baht (about 2.50 euro) and Jane decided to go for it. I probably should have too!! Afterwards we had dinner and drinks on the deck of the house, the children came and sang and danced for us, then a few of us played cards before we all crashed out on the most uncomfortable sleeping space ever! (And that includes the chairs at the airport!)

Next morning we all had breakfast on the deck and then went on an hourlong downhill hike to a waterfall. The water was pretty cold, but I figured since I'd bothered to put on the swimwear, I may as well give it a go. The power of the water nearly took the skin off my back, but it was good fun. I had plenty of time to dry off, as we set off on a 2 hour hike which seemed to mainly consist of crossing the same river over and over again! Eventually we got to our lunch spot at a rafting place, and had a great time whitewater rafting down the river - us, the two Aussies Jenna and Daniel and the youngest Swede Robert (aged about 12 or so - he'd decided Daniel was the coolest and he wanted to be on the same boat as him!). Next on the agenda was actual rafting - on bamboo rafts! Daniel has a new career awaiting him as a gondolier, as he expertly steered us down the river avoiding all pitfalls... Meanwhile we all sat IN the water - the weight of 5 people on the raft was a tad too much and it didn't quite float above the water line...
Later we got a pickup back to Chiang Mai and we treated ourselves to a night at the cinema and dinner at Pizza Hut!

Next day we were so exhausted and stiff that we pretty much did nothing all day... Eventually we managed to get ourselves out of bed with enough time to go visit the Sunday market where we bought some souvenirs and gifts. We figured we'd done well... We'd set the alarm for half 8 the following morning but I was awoken by a text at about 8, which I eventually decided to read - lucky I did as it was from the airline telling us that our flight was being combined with a later flight and we could go ahead and enjoy a couple of extra hours of sleep! It was a bad day for travel though as when we did get to the airport, the flight was delayed and then on arrival in Bangkok the trip into town took an hour and a half!! That's twice what it took the first time we did the trip. The hotel had kept our room so we picked up our stored luggage and after a lovely pint of Bulmer's over dinner, we repacked for our move the following morning to another hotel.

After checking in we went looking for a tailors so we could get some suits made. Found one where we spent ages looking at styles and fabrics only to be told that the suits were about the same price we'd pay at home! So we went for a wander and found a nice place where the prices were much nearer our range. After choosing fabrics and styles all over again, and getting measured we headed off to buy some cheap dvds and some junk food to enjoy with a tv movie.
Next day we made full use of the hotel's facilities by lounging by the lovely big pool til the afternoon, then showered before heading for our first suit fitting. Met up with Eimear and Gina later for a few drinks with them and Eimear's aunt and cousin who are in Thailand for Christmas. It was great catching up again (even though it had only been a week!) and we arranged to meet up the next night too.

While I lazed in bed all the next morning as I was feeling sick, Jane wandered up to the pool for a while. Later, when I was feeling better (and no, it wasn't a hangover, I was actually sick!), we went for a bite to eat and for a browse of fabric shops. That evening we finally got around to doing something on my sister's list of sightseeing/shopping - we went to the Suan Lum Night Bazaar! It was good fun, but so big we didn't manage to get through the whole place. When we got back it was too late to meet the girls, and we had to pack and weigh our bags for today's flight so we said goodbye by phone and got to work. One thing became apparent - another box (each!) would have to be sent home... So that's what we did this morning before checking out and going for another suit fitting. Since then we've both gotten our hair done and I had a facial... A nice relaxing way to end our time in Bangkok! Hopefully our journey home will be uneventful and in no time at all we'll be meeting our families at the airport...


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