Without new experiences, something inside of us sleeps. The sleeper must awaken.
– Frank Herbert
I figure that I should probably update you all on the last couple of weeks of our travels!
The last part of our trip was in Thailand. Now if you have been to Thailand: you know. Thailand is a country to spend a lifetime. It has so much diversity, and so much soul; it takes you in and your heart never leaves.
So, the end of our travels: Siem Reap, Bangkok, Pattaya, Koh Phangan, Bankok, Home (Boo).
Known not for its self, but for Angkor. This place deserves pictures, and full details, so I won’t be writing about here until I can get my photos sorted (but alas, time is against me). So we jump ahead to Bangkok.
We have been to Bangkok before, and personally, this has never been a place that has had a pull. But the rest of the country does. Bangkok does have its treasures, but we will get to them later, as this part of the trip was a flying visit – a stop en-route. A place to sleep.
This is, well, Pattaya. It’s main industry is that of sex. We’re talking go-go bars, brothels, ping pong shows, street walkers, massage parlours, and probably a lot more that I am not even aware of…. But honestly, if you can ignore a lot of this, it is clearly a place to take your family. There were a surprising amount of families in this town. And a lot of drunk gap year students. I guess if Pattaya was in Europe, it would be the stag weekend capital of the universe.
As towns go, it is generally based upon 3 roads. Walking Street is your ‘main’ bar/club street. Lots of neon in the night. Lots of people falling over in the early hours of the morning. Then there are two restaurant/hotel/market/massage (some legit, some not so much) streets. They form a loop. It is much of a muchness. It reminds me a lot of those 18 year olds holiday club zone in Zante/Aiya Napa/Malia/Magaluf/etc. I guess there will be a ‘Sun, Sex and Suspicious Parents’ over there soon….
So lasting impressions of Pattaya: Good place for a party, stag weekend, bit of ‘fun’. Not so much for me. I don’t think I would be heading back, but that’s just my opinion!
This would be from where my last travel post was sent. Koh Pangan is my favourite escape. I guess most people would know of it from the Full Moon Parties – one thing that Sam and I are yet to experience. Our time in Thailand has never coincided with a full moon. But the island, oh how I love that island. Koh Phangan is situated to the East of Thailand, closest port being Chumporn or Surat Thani.
There are three ‘major’ islands: Koh Saumi, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao. And then a marine park. Koh Samui is more built up, lots of resorts, looks pretty, but we have never actually been. Koh Tao is known to divers – least built up of the three and again, we have never been!
But Koh Pangan: beautiful, built up yet still some jungle. Once you get into the main port (you can only get to the island by boat) the main action is on Haad Rin (or Had or Hadd or Hat or Hatt depending on who wrote the sign). This is your Full moon party beach and the mainstay for backpackers. If you are planning on being in the area for a FMP then you need to check out the booking policy for wherever you stay. Most places state you must stay for 5 nights minimum around a FM, and they book out early.
There are three beaches around this small town – Haad Rin Nok, Haad Rin Nai and Haad Leela. The third being my favourite. It is more secluded than the others, nicer sand, beautiful sunsets; but this does come with a more expensive price tag. Sarikantang is on this beech, and is worth checking out if you want to splash out. It is stunning, and is basically a little piece of heaven.
We stayed at Sarikantang for three days before moving to the other side of the Island to a beach called Haad Salad. This is, in my opinion, the nicest beach on Koh Pangan. We stayed at ‘The High Life’ – this is where we stayed before, but honestly, anywhere along here is worth checking in to. The whole area has a very chilled out vibe – High Life is a cliff top bungalow resort run by a group of Rastafarian Thai’s. I’m pretty certain high is used many different meanings here, but that is not my personal scene.
To get to the main beach from High Life, you need to walk down the cliff steps and cross a section of sand that a low tide is clear. At high tide, it’s chest height. I guess most of our time in Thailand has been spent on this one little beach, so this is my biggest recommendation to you. Hit Haad Rin for a FMP if you want (be careful about your alcohol intake, and the quality of your alcohol) but please don’t miss Haad Salad. None of the other beaches compare.
From here: One truck, one ferry, one bus, one plane and one taxi later, we made it back to Bangkok.
Back to Bangkok
A city whose reputation precedes it. A city of juxtaposition and surprises. For the first time, Sam and I actually walked around the city and saw some of the sights! Throughout our travels, we have stopped in Bangkok on six (possibly 7) occasions. And have yet to really make it to the city. We have seen Lumphini park, and Lumphini stadium (the home of Muay-Thai) but all the ‘big’ tourist attractions we have not seen. We hadn’t been to the Grand Palace or Wat Pho, we hadn’t been to Wat Phra Kaew or the floating markets. So we did. Well, except for the floating markets as we got lost.
The major attractions – the old city – are all close together. Wat Pho is most famous for the giant Reclining Buddha. And you can understand why. It is 15m high, and 43m long and covered in gold leaf. It’s feet are inlaid with mother of pearl, and it is just a sight to see. It is enormous, I really can’t explain how big. Just remember that it is a working temple and you need to be covered – if not, you get a lime green lycra dressing gown to wear. And that does ruin your photos somewhat.
The other two: Wat Phra Kaew and the Grand Palace are right on top of one another. Or one is inside the other (I think I’m right with my geography…. maybe I should go fact checking at some point rather than trying to remember my steps from nearly 4 months ago….) They are beautiful and intricate: as is with all Thai temples and ancient palaces. Lots of gold, lots of jewels, very unique. The famous Emerald buddha statue is found here – smaller than I expected, but still a sight to behold.
I guess that catches you up in the main part. Maybe I’ll write up a photo essay one day in the future (or is that being too optimistic?)
If you want too see more of my travel photography, check out my instagram @iambutwandering