A Travellerspoint blog

Kanchanaburi (River Kwai)

sunny 31 °C
View Asia Adventure 09 on Brett-Asia's travel map.

Yes, i know i'm not very good at this but lets have a big catch up....

Thursday 15th January
Ok, up and out early to grab a taxi and then the bus to Kanchanaburi.
Bus station was impressive with 200 platforms but thankfully ours was at gate 13. Jumped on, settled in and 5 minutes later we were off...2.5 hrs later we are free from the Bangkok madness but just enter a smaller version of it!
PICT0296.jpg
check out the back window...

80b taxi ride and we arrived at our 2nd bed of the trip at Sams House. Sam was a nice smiley man who was expecting us and gave us the best room in the resort, mmm, ok, thanks Sam!
Was a cool layout with walkways going out over the water and leading up to each of the cool "beach style" huts, ours had aircon and a "warm" shower but was good for a few days.

Grabbed some lunch and had a stroll to the Railway centre to find out a bit more information about the famous railway and the people who suffered building it.
PICT0334.jpg
Was bizzare to read and watch the info and then walk across the street and enter the Cemetery where so many of the victims were buried, sort of made it very real.
Took a photo of one soldiers grave who died 46 yrs ago on the day I stood there. This town is very different now to how it once was!
PICT0311.jpg

Thought i would continue my food adventure and tried the Green Curry. OMG, how many pieces of lime can you put in a curry? Enough to make 3 good Mojitos i tell you!
Slept like a log till about 3am when the sound of my teeth chattering even drowned out my snoring. Long pants, fleece and sleeping liner on under my blanket at it was back to the land of nod.
Something is not quite right with that last sentence, am i really in South East Asia or a tent in Europe!!!

Friday 16th January
Did a great trip today to http://www.tigertemple.org and had some quality time with some tigers, you know, as you do!
Was incredible to be around 20 of these beautiful creatures and to get up close was special. Well, see for yourself...

n1498004901_213783_21.jpg7n149800490..81_9489.jpgn149800490..77_8385.jpg

Decided to head to the night market so grabbed a tuk-tuk near the train station and told hm where we wanted to go. He drove 5o meters up the road, did a u-turn and stopped on the other side of the dual carriageway from where we got on, d'oh!
Apparently it has moved from the 30b ride to the bus station to the 3 minute walk over the road. Tuk-tuk driver left us there with a silly grin on his face which said "i love these tourists i do."

Good market, experimented with balls on sticks and sweet potato in chilli sauce, all very good!

Saturday 17th January
Woke up slow, read in the sun, went on internet for 5hrs, had an indian meal which blew 5 days food budget and bed again.

Sunday 18th January
Big tour day today and we hit the following spots...

Sai Yok Noi waterfall...would be impressive with some water on it! This was also the place where the Death Railway ends. An old steam engine has been left there for people to climb on and get pics.
CIMG3010.jpg
CIMG3015.jpg

Hellfire Pass and Memorial Museum...another really interesting place to get a feel for what so many of the soldiers went through to get that railway complete.

Elephant Trek...30 mins on the back of Yonti, some good pics and another box ticked. Great beasts with big stiff hairs that stick in your butt when riding on his neck. Payback for riding him in the first place i reckon!

Rafting...dragged upstream for 10 mins and then left to float back for 20. Nice and relaxing.
CIMG3069.jpg

Took a journey along the actual Death Railway. Some lovely scenery but still could shake the feeling of how many died to create such a thing.

Ended the day at the Bridge over the River Kwai itself. Done!

Grabbed a shower and decided to pay an old lady to stretch me in 27 different directions, stick her knees and elbows in all my painful bits and then smile at the end of the hr whilst crawling off the mat. Oh yeah, its called a Thai Massage!

7kg of laundry done for 100b, beer and an english breakfast, pack and bed.
Another early day 2mora. Off to see a Buddha head in a tree trunk.

Posted by Brett-Asia 02:13 Archived in Thailand Comments (2)

Bangkok

Manchester - Bangkok

semi-overcast 26 °C
View Asia Adventure 09 on Brett-Asia's travel map.

Ok, ok, ok, here we go folks......

Saturday 10th January
After a very nervous sleep and bacon butty from our lovely hosts, Debbie and Lee, we set off back to Liverpool to drop off our hire car and then return to Manchester for our flight. Pretty uneventful apart from forgetting to fill up with petrol until the airport carpark, which prompted a swift handbrake turn and a sprint to get juice!

Oh, and then the Terravision bus that we really needed at 10.30 was cancelled, NO!
Got a normal bus outside with 30 seconds to spare and settled down with a bunch of Dutchies for the trip to Piccadilly.

Arrived a little later than expected which then prompted a jog to the platform, a big smile to the guard that we were late and a free ticket later we were on the train. I thought we were cutting it fine until 4 Irish girls jumped on as the doors were closing and one got stuck! A quick debate on how funny it would be to see her running alongside the train and i helped open the doors, good deed done for the day!

At the airport...
Check-in, cool.
Boarded and take-off, cool.
Food, cool.
Movies, cool.
Doha International airport, 00.15 with a 7hr wait, mmm, not so cool!

Sunday 11th January
We survived the wait in the airport "quiet room" on a chill out chair. Was fairly quiet apart from lots of Arab coughing, snoring and farting.
After a restless night we boarded the plane and i think the only thing that could of annoyed me at that point would be to sit behind 2 Germans who had no idea at all of personal space. Job done!
After i got a tv screen in the nose and Suus's knees got crushed during breakfast we lost the plot and spent the rest of the flight poking their chairs whilst they slept and getting the stewardess to ask if they could sit up whilst we ate, mean i know but hey, 7 hrs is a long time to entertain yourself!

So, arrival in Bangkok was a lot easier than i was worried about, went through customs and got a visa (would love to see everyone's visa picture that is taken after 20hrs travelling!) and out into the craziest city ever.

A 45 min bus trip later and a short walk and we were into out hostel for the next 4 days.
My relief at that point was immense, we had arrived safe and sound!!!!

After a quick wash, food was calling and we ended up sitting on plastic chairs in the middle of the pavement whilst some crazy looking ladies prepared our chicken dishes. It took a slightly inebriated one of them a good 30 seconds to do the 4 steps to our table with my meal and i thought it would end up in my lap!

Monday 12th January
I have no idea how, but, managed to sleep for 16 hrs on a 1" mattress.
Woke up at 4pm, aching and instantly knowing that this was the wrong thing to do to battle jetlag.
Eventually crawled out of bed and spent and hr or so planning the next few days, went for food and came home again.
It was time for the body to sleep again, mmmm, good luck with that!!!

Tuesday 13th January
After staring at the ceiling for 6 hrs i nodded off at 6am and the alarm went off 4 hrs later. i was in a great mood!

So, we staggered from our beds, showered and headed off in automatic zombie mode to see the Golden Buddha, it was closed for repair.
Luckily, we then met a lovely old man who was a English teacher in the local school, he told us all about the city, informed us that the boats that we wanted don't run in the daytime but there was plenty of shops open and would be happy to explain to the taxi were we wanted to go, how kind!
Another old man appeared from nowhere with his car and for 30b would take us to the malls, how kind!
After 10 mins in the car our driver went past the mall saying he could only stop in certain places and carried on until he found a spot, just outside a Govt. run store.
He then explained that we could buy all sorts of jewellery and gems for giveaway prices............bugger!
Been travelling for 15 yrs and get conned on day 1, bugger again!

So, our carefully planned day was ruined in the first 20 minutes and we ended up on the opposite side of town than we planned.
I wanted to go have a chat with the lovely old man and ask why he was not teaching today and why the driver looked very similar to him, almost brothers in fact??? Bugger, bugger, bugger!

Anyway, Suus was happy, she got her nails done and we went shopping instead!
s522604458..4_2395.jpeg

Wednesday 14th January
After a mix of sleep and ceiling staring we headed out a bit fresher and a bit weary about trusting people. I never thought i would feel like not believing a word anyone said in Thailand but i did, and only hoped it was just the people of Bangkok?

We grabbed the metro and then the skytrain to the central pier and grabbed a ferry, on which the monks had their own space to gather, cool.
(Note : the machines at the stations don't try and scam you!!)
s522604458..8_3355.jpeg

Had a look in the National Gallery and then walked around the corner to the most famous backpacker strip in the world, Khao San Road. It was a pretty chilled out area with lots of people in traveller gear and dreadlocks, Bob Marley playing in the cafes and the feeling that not one person was in a hurry to do anything.
s522604458..5_5166.jpeg

Grabbed a bit of lunch, cheese and ham toasty which was ok and a watermelon shake which was fantastic!

s522604458..3_4644.jpeg
Had a look at a very tall Buddha that even Dutchies have to bend the head to look up at and decided to grab a tuk-tuk for the first time to take us the 800m to the Grand Palace.
After bartering down to 20b (40p) we set off with other drivers telling us that the palace was shut, yeah, yeah, yeah!
100m around the corner and our driver pulled over and got a Thai tourist official to ask us where we wanted to go! The driver never spoke a word of English and had no idea where we wanted to go! OMG!

After a quick Lonely Planet moment and a chat with the official it turned out the Temple shuts at 3pm and we were 30 minutes late. they were telling the truth after all, bugger!
We told the guy we were paying 20b and he went nuts at the driver and told him he must take us to 3 other temples, over to the tourist information office and back to Khao San and we were to pay 20b only.

Almost scammed again! I know its only a pound here and there that we are talking about but its the principle that annoys me and over 90 days they all add up!

So 2hrs later and very worn out with the stop-start traffic and pollution he dropped us back at Khao San, was paid 20b and we grabbed a beer and a burger on the strip.
s522604458..7_5672.jpeg
The beer hit the spot and so we did some shopping, got some vests and some Fisherman pants and then taxi home to bed, knackered but a bit more streetwise, i hope!

Packed our bags and tried to sleep, we were heading for WWII country tomorrow and could do with some energy!

Posted by Brett-Asia 01:14 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

7 days and counting...

overcast -4 °C

Well my friends the time is almost upon us...7 days from now we will be sat in our "little" Qatar airways plane, checking out the movies, seeing what's for lunch and secretly wondering how much stuff we can really get for free onboard!
----------------------------------

"The hardest thing about going somewhere, is that you have to leave somewhere else behind."

And for me this trip will be one of the hardest. I have only been in Holland with Susie for 6 weeks but in that time i have worked in the family business, borrowed a car for 3 weeks, been to the Theatre 4 times, seen a red carpet movie premiere, visited Belgium and celebrated Xmas and New Year with a very special family who have made me feel so welcome in their home! (except when i made corned beef hash, thought my time was up then!)
I feel so lucky to be starting the New Year with someone i love very much and to have experienced and feel part of her life, so thank you to Familie Koele.

-----------------------------------

So, to bring you up to date, the route is almost done, just Vietnam to sort out. We interviewed for our summer job in Italy last Monday and should find out where we are going on Tues 6th, San Vito again hopefully but anywhere in Italy is beautiful so...will let you know.

Thursday evening we fly to Liverpool, then we have last minute shopping to do in Birkenhead when i visit my brother Wayne on Friday, but thats after i get all my jabs at the doctors in the morning, oh can't wait for that!

Then Saturday we drop off the hire car and check-in for the first leg of our flight which takes us to Doha in Qatar.

-------------------------------------

"What am i looking forward to doing", i hear you ask??????
Ok then, i'll tell you....

  • Warm weather!
  • Ride an elephant through the jungle
  • See the River Kwai bridge (just watched the movie)
  • Thai massage and cookery course in Chang Mai
  • Boat trip from border and tubing in Laos
  • Dolphin swimming
  • Angkor Wat and all the fantastic temples
  • An overnight stay and meditation course in a Buddhist monastary
  • Taking time to contemplate places like the Killing Fields, VC tunnels, DMZ, war museums
  • Finally, spending 3 weeks exploring the islands and beaches of Thailand

Well, thats to begin with, i'm sure many other opportunities will come up once we hit the road, wonder if every new tourist has to drink snake blood like Leo in the Beach??

Anyway, the next few days will be a bit hectic but hope to check back in before leaving NL.
Thanks for reading and i will try and make this as interesting as possible over the next 13 weeks.

Brett and Suus xx

Posted by Brett-Asia 02:35 Archived in Netherlands Comments (3)

Route Map

this is the plan, for now, anyway!

sunny 1 °C

Any comments welcome if you think we should be missing anywhere out or adding any new places.

Posted by Brett-Asia 16:37 Archived in Netherlands Comments (0)

Countdown to off....

Hoogeveen

overcast -2 °C

Well peeps....

Blog is created, route is 1/2 planned and we have 14 days, 12hrs, and 10 mins to go!

Susie has been reading other peoples blogs and wants to move to Chang Mai already to have a pet tiger cub, ride to work on an elephant and have 2hr massages every day! We shall see hey ! :)

Posted by Brett-Asia 01:00 Archived in Netherlands Comments (3)

(Entries 1 - 5 of 5) Page [1]