Thailand, Cambodia · 16 Days · 47 Moments · August 2018

The Wilko’s trip to Thailand and Cambodia

18 August 2018

And morning from Koh Samui airport - quite possibly the prettiest airport, if there can be such a thing!

17 August 2018

Goodnight from Koh Samui. Early flight on Saturday and then a connection via Bangkok to London. So we’ll be travelling for a large part of the day. We’ve had a fabulous time and coming back to this part of the world has reminded us how much we like it. The people are amazingly polite and kind, the food is wonderful, and the standard of hotels exceeds anywhere else we’ve visited. Thank you for following the blog and your (mostly supportive!) comments. The benefit of Journi is none of you will now have to be subjected to our holiday photos 😂 We’re looking forward to seeing everyone when we get back home. At least Jane and I have our outfits sorted for her party, nobody else will be in elephant skirts and purple trousers ...
Final poolside cocktails 🍹 Mine is the non-alcoholic green one 😂

16 August 2018

Just back from dinner ... last day tomorrow 😳
When I said earlier that today was largely uneventful, Jane suggested I should mention that I popped to the local hospital earlier on today! You know me, always keen to have more ailments than anyone else on holiday. Anyway, I caught my knee yesterday on some coral - as Monty Python would say, only a flesh wound (barely a scratch tbh). But the thing swelled up overnight so we (Jane) figured as a precaution I should get some expert advice. The expert advice was that I should have a double course of antibiotics 😱 So no Thai beer for me - good job there are only two days to go. I had a lovely Cranberry juice 🥤 this evening 😂 Incase anyone is wondering, the hospital was super modern, very efficient and everyone spoke English. The only significant side effect I’m experiencing is to my wallet, which is £125 lighter 🙄
Sun just setting on a lazy and largely uneventful day in Koh Samui 🌅

15 August 2018

More photos of speedboat 🚤 day!
The boat, photos courtesy of James ... And photographic evidence of the snorkelling!
Today was speedboat day; not part of the original holiday plan until a couple of weeks ago - apparently the best way to see the islands around Koh Samui. So we hired a boat (with driver and guide thankfully) and today they’ve taken us on a full day trip. It really was incredible, something none of us have done before and it will live long in the memory! Me, Lucy and James snorkelled, we stopped for lunch, visited an amazing park and had a sunbathe (and a beer / glass of wine) on an isolated beach) 😀

14 August 2018

Good night from Hansar in Koh Samui - off on a speed boat 🚤 tomorrow 😀
Well, it’s a jolly nice view from our bedroom 😀
We’re now in our (planned) hotel, and it’s lovely - the place last night was amazing but probably not ‘us’ for the money you pay. Too remote, too big, can’t walk anywhere - maybe that’s what it’s like being super rich! Mind you the restaurant was very nice even if a glass of wine was an eye watering £15. So back on planet earth me and Jane have just come back from the launderette - at £1 per kilo we’re hoping we get it back! And stopped in Fisherman’s Village for a coffee, the view you can see is from The Coffee Club. We think Costa in Brackley has its work cut out to match that!

13 August 2018

Just back from dinner - moving on tomorrow from our unexpected 24 hours here!
Well - we’re now here in Koh Samui albeit it’s been a relatively eventful day. We arrived at our hotel, to be told that they were overbooked by (it now transpires) 3 rooms. And whilst we could happily have our rooms (thankfully) they wondered if we’d be open to moving to somewhere different for one night to help them out. I think we must have been one of today’s first arrivals and obviously having two rooms if we said yes, would solve two thirds of their problem. Our immediate reaction was ‘no’ but they then proceeded to offer all four of us a one hour complimentary massage, dinner for all of us for one evening in the hotel restaurant, and an upgrade to the best room for our remaining 4 nights. The final part of the deal was the hotel they have put us in is the newly opened Ritz Carlton, which did swing it for us. It is quite remarkable, as you can tell from the pictures of our room - and it has so much ground they use golf buggies to ferry guests around!
Different to the usual Monday commute - Chiang Mai to Koh Samui for the last leg of the holiday ...

12 August 2018

Last night in Chiang Mai - visited the walking market, a Sunday tradition apparently. Huge, goes on for what seems like miles. Then it started to rain, which we weren’t prepared for, so had to purchase emergency ponchos. This is rapidly becoming the holiday of emergency clothing (made worse because we had rain coats and umbrellas at the hotel - not much use there!) 🌂💧
This morning Jane and I took a trip to Doi Sethup, one of the most important temples in the region. It’s very high, about 15km from the hotel and you climb constantly for 11 of them. I investigated hiring a bike and cycling it - so I could have a Sunday morning cycle, but I was a bit late, needed my own shoes really, and it is really very warm. Anyway, after travelling by car to the top I was even more convinced I’d done the right thing. It’s actually only slightly shorter than Mt Ventoux and only a slightly lower gradient! As you can see, very impressive views from the top 😀

11 August 2018

Never too far from the Premier League - with James at the rather random (but good) Winstons in Chiang Mai Ate at the hotel this evening, and resumed my holiday obsession with tiramisu 😁
This is Jane and Lucy with (apparently) Tom Oliver who plays Lou Carpenter in Neighbours. Sadly, as they are both big Neighbours fans, both Lucy and Jane were very excited, hence the photo. Although this may seem a bizarre coincidence, he is actually a patron of the elephant park we went to and just happened to be there. Strange world isn’t it, a bit like the Baggies winning 3-4 this evening 😱
We had an awesome day today at the Elephant Nature Park, more than 80 elephants and all rescued - a day to remember ☺️
More of the elephants 🐘😀

10 August 2018

Birthday cocktails 🍹 in Chiang Mai 😀
They don’t really do taxis in Changi Mai, so apart from a tuktuk the other option is the ‘red bus’ - which is red but isn’t a bus. Interesting experience. You hail one like a cab but share it with other folks like a bus. It’s cheap, but unlike a cab you have to go via where other passengers who are already in, are going! Still it’s another mode of transport for me. Other photos are of us at ‘Dash’ marking Jane’s birthday - with (another) very memorable covers band - Led Zepplin, ABBA, Rita Ora - diverse to say the least 😀
This swimming pool is going to provide hours of entertainment for me and James 😂
Happy 50th birthday Jane 🎈🎂🍾 - currently relaxing by the pool 🏊‍♂️

9 August 2018

Can you believe it - you come all the way to Thailand and the ice cream parlour serves apple crumble - (aka ‘apple crumbly Jackie’ to the Friday Night Dinner fans). Needless to say Jane couldn’t resist. Hotel has a very nice roof top bar and pool, which obviously is even better now it’s stopped raining ☔️ 😀
Intriguing - comes with the bed turn-down service. Personally I find a double Baileys has a similar effect ...
We’re here safely in Chiang Mai after two flights, via Bangkok. Cambodia was amazing, we absolutely loved the friendly and generous people, and great food. Thailand has welcomed us back with UK like weather - well normal UK weather, ie: wet (but very warm) albeit the pattern at this time of year does seem to be late afternoon showers / downpours. As we all know it’s Jane’s birthday and the hotel did a jolly good job of decorating our room to mark the occasion 😬 Just off to find somewhere to eat ...
There is no escaping Costa, even in Cambodia. At Siem Reap waiting for the plane 😁
Cheerio from our last evening in Siem Reap, and a much more stable photo from James of L&J in the tuktuk - restaurant was only 1 min away but at $1 and with pouring rain ☔️ seemed the sensible option! Just eating breakfast before our trip to the airport, and then two flights to get us to Chiang Mai 😀

8 August 2018

The wonders of modern technology - you can listen to Popmaster (at 4.30pm) from the side of the pool 😀 Shame it’s flipping Trevor Nelson though 😱
Lunchtime milk shakes in Siem Reap - having a chilled out day 😀

7 August 2018

The local food is lovely, but you have to do Hard Rock Cafe once a holiday - and this must be one of the most unusual locations! And it’s inside and dry - currently a downpour here like my garden really needs ... Plus a rather shaky tuktuk photo. The Cambodian covers band are currently playing Oasis 😂. They’ve also rather ambitiously covered ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and ‘Stairway to Heaven’!
Boring post - but the definition of relief is when you’re travelling and staying in hotels - and find a laundry that apparently does it ‘just like home’! We decided that at $16 for 7 kg it was a bit of a bargain 😁
Next stop Angkor Thom, and then lots of other temples including the ‘Tomb Raider’ temple, where apparently the first Lara Croft was filmed (its the one with the photos of the massive tree roots). We finished early afternoon, pretty hot and tired but amazed by what we had seen. The final stop was at a site of one of the Killing Fields, very sad and sobering (no photos obviously) which I think made us remember how fortunate we are and what a terrible time Cambodia has been through in the recent past. On a lighter note there was no need to break out the emergency trousers and Jane and Lucy adopted the $5 skirt and trainer look, although we’re not entirely sure it’ll catch on ...
Today was the big day and the one we’ve all been looking forward to for so long. There are lots and lots of photo opportunities but I’ll limit this to two posts (20 photos). We set the alarms for 4am, to be picked up by our guide at 4.45am and after collecting our passes we entered Angkor Wat just before 5.30am. It’s really spectacular and we watched the light change as the sun came up (although it’s the rainy season here so the sun itself is less visible). Hotel packed us breakfast as we were clearly too early to eat there. Unbelievably hot, over 90% humidity, I couldn’t imagine doing it in the hot season. Our guide and his driver had an air conditioned minibus to shuttle us around - the area is populated with dozens of temples similar to Angkor Wat that we also visited - which was extremely welcome ... Next set of photos are of the other temples.

6 August 2018

Just back from dinner - we ate at the restaurant that belongs to the hotel, about 300m down the street. Anyway, the hotel owns the only vintage Rolls Royce Silver Shadow in Cambodia, which picked us up and delivered us to the restaurant. Quite surreal, amongst the motorbikes and tuktuks ... We were a bit unsure about our first taste of Cambodian food, but we needn’t have worried, it was lovely and the desserts were very good too - lemon tarte, chocolate fondant. There is a heavy French influence over here. And the local beer comes in very big bottles. Thanks to everyone for their supportive comments on my purple trousers. So far Colin is the only one interested in taking them off my hands (legs). Tomorrow at Angkor Wat is the moment of truth, will I get away with my 3/4 trousers ...
We’re here safely in Cambodia - seems slightly surreal even saying it. I remember it as a 1970’s war ravaged Blue Peter appeal country, and now we are visiting on holiday. Anyway, left Bangkok v early, the airport as you can see from the statues is amazing and equal to anywhere we have been to. The plane was a first for us as a family, about 72 seats and a couple of propellers. Apart from a bit of turbulence it was fine and Siem Reap airport is surprisingly super modern. Got to the hotel very early and so had a wander into town for a coffee while we waited for our rooms. As you can see Lucy and James over ordered on the breakfast basket!

5 August 2018

Last night in Bangkok - up and out early tomorrow to fly to Cambodia 🇰🇭 Incredible city, we could probably spend longer here as there is so much to see and do (and eat and drink) ... Mind you we’re back to the airport twice during the holiday!
Last stop of the day was a trip to the river (Choaphrya) which helpfully is named after a very nice Thai restaurant in Birmingham 😂 We’ve discovered a very nice coffee shop for the end of the sightseeing day as James’s milk shake shows. Don’t let the clouds give the impression it is anything other than the sort of weather where you need a shower about half an hour after leaving the hotel!
Nothing sums up modern day Bangkok like today. This morning the world’s largest (and presumably hottest) weekend market. Everything you could ever wish to buy, including literally kitchen sinks. And fridge magnets, and football shirts 😉 This afternoon huge shopping malls with every brand imaginable, including Rolls Royce and a Harley Davidson shop for Becky and Michael. Even better, the journey included underground and skytrain, which unlike its inappropriately namesake in Vancouver (as Paul and Claire will testify) is actually in the sky ...
The hotel very kindly surprised us with these at breakfast this morning. I’m suspecting, given the length of names in Thailand, that they’d been waiting years to practice their coffee caligraphy skills on a family of 4 with no more than 5 characters in each of their forenames 😂 I’m fully expecting the next time I go to a Greggs in Daventry that they’ll surprise me with two flat whites with ‘David’ and ‘Graham’ on top ...

4 August 2018

Saturday evening in Bangkok, and as unlikely as it seems, we ate in a very nice German restaurant (see photo of my huge schnitzel). James continued his quest for a different beer each evening (I stuck with Chang) and then had a little drink in the funky hotel bar before heading to bed. Sunday we’re off to the markets and some more wandering around ...
Part two of Saturday in Bangkok, a trip to the Royal Palace and then Wat Pho. Remarkable architecture, quite breathtaking. Equally remarkable was the fact I completely cocked up the dress code. We knew at places of religious significance in Thailand you must keep certain parts of your body covered and the advice was trousers below the knee. So I purchased a pair of appropriate trousers, took them with me and they weren’t long enough (before anyone thinks it, I know, a first for me). So I had to buy a pair of emergency trousers from the emergency trousers shop, hence the photo in the very unflattering purple trousers 😳!
First day in Bangkok, very hot and extremely humid but fascinating. Visited the Golden Mount which gave lovely views of the city and took our first trip in a TukTuk (albeit not a first for James who has experienced them in India).

3 August 2018

We are now safe and sound in Bangkok. Flight was good, although getting through passport control and to the hotel in the unbelievable Bangkok traffic took a lot longer than we thought. It is hot, busy, and there are some incredible sights here (more of that later). Hotel is lovely and we’ve got fab views from the 19th floor, ate at a nice local restaurant tonight and sampled the home beer!
We’re now at Heathrow for the start of our trip to Thailand and Cambodia. Fingers crossed we’ll be taking off around 21h35 UK time ... More updates to come!