Europe, Asia · 124 Days · 30 Moments · November 2017

Alex & Tim back in Thailand

20 March 2018

We woke early this morning for another session of Muay Thai and today was probably the hardest and best session to date for fitness and instruction. Tomorrow we head on to a little island which doesn’t see a lot of tourism and hangs on to It’s Muslim values and that is Koh Jum. It’s supposed to be spectacular. Tonight’s sunset is brought to courtesy of gin and tonic!

19 March 2018

This afternoon we are on the beach planning a diversion through Malaysia. Today we took an organised snorkelling trip to 4 different islands and it was brilliant! Crystal clear waters, large colourful fish and a dead GoPro that failed to capture any of it 😡 hey-ho, there will be more snorkelling trips to video.

12 March 2018

Today we hired mountain bikes. I should have suspected something when we could only find one shop that rented them and he only had four. Mine was particularly uncomfortable with the seat bent back to a position where I thought I was sat on the rear tyre at one point. But onwards and upwards. And feck me was it upwards!!! 🚴‍♂️⬆️⬆️↗️⬆️⬆️⛰⛰ We were eventually rewarded with a gorgeous beach. And I’m still here. Drinking beer, listening to music and watching the sea. Soon I’m going to have to get back on the bike and attempt the hills again but for now 🍻 cheers! And yes, that’s our sports kit and Tim’s undercrackers drying on the bikes!

10 March 2018

We travelled all day to get from Cambodia to Koh Chang in Thailand which means “elephant island”. The first night we were too tired to do anything other than go out for foraging for food and then return to our room. Yesterday we hit the beach which is beautiful. The room we found was a little jungle place by the sea which is called The Blue Lagoon village and it’s wonderful. We have a large spacious room with a balcony with this amazing wooden hammock. After the beach we returned to the balcony with a beer and we have both got through so many books in the last few days! We have already asked to extend our stay here by another couple of days because it is so beautiful.

8 March 2018

Last day in Cambodia and what a great time we have had in this Country. Definitely our favourite so far. Yesterday I did nothing but sit on the beach, sip beer and read a whole book. Today was much of the same but with a massage on the beach thrown in (my treat from Tim as it’s International Women’s day, bless him).

6 March 2018

Packed tight into the VIP minibus (my arse...) to finally make it to the beach at Otres, Cambodia. It is sooooo hot. We slept for the afternoon and then headed to the beach for a swim at sunset and it was just like a hot bath but it was wonderful! I’m now sitting on the balcony of our garden bungalow as it’s mildly cooler outside than in. But it’s beautiful.

5 March 2018

We took a two hour riverboat cruise from Kampot to see the fireflies at sunset. En route we stopped and only Tim, me and an old French chap took the chance to cool off with a swim in the river. The views were amazing as we swam around the boat.

7 February 2018

First night in Hanoi and after a brief recce on foot we needed food. We had read in all our travellers books that you can eat like a prince and pay like a pauper in this great city. Well Tim and I had clearly taken a wrong turn somewhere because after walking what felt like miles we came across a restaurant called The Steamhouse. They didn’t speak English, my Vietnamese is rusty so after pointing at the menu with not a clue of what was happening we found a new style of dining. Everything is steamed in front of you. Very healthy but massively expensive! As we were not appropriately dressed and with Tim doing his best fish impression from the menu we were asked if we would like to sit upstairs and away from the other classy diners and their large shop windows!
We flew from Laos into Vietnam and were able to get on the local shuttle bus from the airport into the city centre with minimum fuss thanks to the really helpful staff. We had decided to spend the next three nights in a hostel. Those who spoke to me whilst we were planning this trip will have heard me say “I’m too old to stay in hostels, I’m not having people nicking my towel or coming in at 0300 and waking me up....” etc etc.... I loved the Asia backpackers hostel! Comfy bed, thick curtain, reading light, mini fan, hot shower.... However, I did only get three hours sleep due to people coming in drunk and thinking they were quiet at 0200 (where had they been?! There’s a street curfew here!!), the incessant sniffing, coughing up of phlegm and then swallowing it back down (friends will know that this is a particular pet hate of mine and is likely to give me a stroke at some point) and just the general brightness of the dorm. However perseverance is key. And earplugs.
Apologies for the delay in posting anything recently but I’ve been struck down with food poisoning for a second time but I’m feeling much skinnier so silver linings and all that....! We are at the airport about to leave Laos for Vietnam. As I’ve been feeling really rough I didn’t get to see a lot of the capital of Laos and I don’t think you will find pictures of the bathroom floor from our room interesting. So here’s what I was up to before that.

4 February 2018

Having travelled to Vang Vieng we hired bikes to get out and see the countryside. We travelled to a lagoon (I wasn’t brave enough to get in.... it was cold!!), preyed on puppies in the local village and got completely lost on the way home, too busy taking selfies to notice that we were well off track!

1 February 2018

On the last night in LP we tried the local BBQ/hot pot dish. There is a hole in the middle of your table which staff will fill with a bucket full of charcoal. From there what looks like a large tinfoil colander is placed upside down over the coals and once some fat has been melted you are ready to cook your meat. The juices run off to a little moat where you add water and veggies to cook. It was delicious!!
Last day in Luang Prabang and we hired some mountain bikes to get out and see some waterfalls and caves without having to go on a bus with everyone else and spend unnecessary cash. We were 13 miles out into the countryside when Tim got a huge puncture. Unable to fix it we had to walk the last 5 miles pushing the bikes. The waterfall was spectacular but to get to it you had to walk through the bear sanctuary. We saw moon bears that had been captured from poachers and those that wanted to extract their bile, and whilst they are still in captivity, they looked like they were having a very relaxed time! Whilst walking to a cave (which we couldn’t find) I stopped for cuddles with Daisy.

30 January 2018

Exploring in Luang Prabang. My favourite place in Laos.
We decided to have an extended stay in Luang Prabang to have a bit more of a relaxing pace and just as well we did as we had our first hospital experience! Tim had undertaken a couple of MuayThai lessons in Thailand, kick went wrong and had then limped for a week on a possible broken foot. When the pain got too much we decided a visit to see the local doctor was in order. The care he received was really good... in and out within the hour with an X-ray, loads of meds, humiliation of all the locals coming in to laugh and point at him and all for 20 quid!

28 January 2018

We boarded the two day slow boat to Laos which is a long wooden vessel with loads of passengers crammed into seats in rows. You are either lucky and have the comfortable wooden church pew type seats or the “cut from an abandoned 1960s bus” seats which are glued to the floor. We were lucky in a weird way that on the first day there were no spaces left so we were given two plastic chairs in the boat owners cramped little living space at the rear. It made for spectacular scenery and watching life on the river.

27 January 2018

On the day we left Pai to head to Chiang Rai we spent all day on the minibus. And they really like to cram you in there... every seat is taken, including the jump seat in the front and all the bags and rucksacks are flung on top of the van and then covered with a large tarpaulin. How anyone or anything gets around in one piece is a mystery but doped up on the local travel sickness tablets we seem to have managed each trip. The halfway stop on this journey was a very modern temple with loads of skulls everywhere, begging hands and bowls as you entered and imagery such as deadpool etc hanging from the trees!

25 January 2018

The following photos show the two day trek we did into the jungle near Pai. We trekked for about seven miles the first day, most of it upwards! It was hard going but really enjoyable and we were with a Danish couple and our guide John who could only really say or needed to say “more up up now”. That night we slept in one of the traditional local huts on stilts but Tim was really poorly and had to make his way home the next morning by public transport whilst I continued the trek. We had a few more people join us for the second day as they were driven into the village at dawn. After a full days walking and scrambling I got to finish off with a cooling swim under this waterfall.
Hand feeding the local gibbons

23 January 2018

We arrived in Pai yesterday and it’s full of Western travellers “finding themselves”. After a walk about last night we did some proper exploring today with the aid of two old mountain bikes that we hired for minimal pennies. And we managed well on the hills, I couldn’t wait to get to the waterfall which was the highest point on our journey. It was soooo nice to dip my little trotters in the pools when we got there! Not content, we then cycled back to Pai and to the other side of town where there is this massive white Buddha in the hillside. Once we had climbed the many steps to reach Buddha it was nice to sit in his shadow and have a breather.

21 January 2018

Our last night in Chiang Mai and this is the massive Sunday night market where you can pick up everything from tourist tat to undercrackers to crickets. Tim said they were delicious but his face said otherwise! 🤮🦗🐜 Tomorrow we head to Pai.

20 January 2018

The excitement of visiting a hedgehog and guinea pig cafe!!

17 January 2018

Picked somewhere quiet to read my book whilst Tim went off to explore another Wat
Travelling today from Kanchanaburi to Chiang Mai. This has involved so far one bus, a minibus, 3 tuktuks with an overnight train this evening for the last part. I’ll be honest.... I’m knackered!!

16 January 2018

Yesterday we visited Hell Fire Pass to see where thousands of British and Australian POWs suffered and died building the Thai-Burma Death Railway. The museum and railway itself are beautifully presented in a respectful and thoughtful manner. We even sought out an O’Mahoney in the war cemetery and went and paid our respects.

15 January 2018

14 January 2018

Lunch today at this small but wonderful floating market where the fish was cooked in little boats alongside the small pier

13 January 2018

This beautiful hotel is our home for next two nights. Looking to explore the delights of Chinatown this evening. I have already had some rather questionable fish today....

10 January 2018

So this is it! The moment is finally here. A couple of glasses of prosecco should help me sleep after tossing and turning all night with excitement. First stop Doha en route to Bangkok.

17 November 2017