Sunday, January 4, 2009

Two Days of Travelling to Um Pang

After Kanchanaburi we needed to get to Um Pang. The most inaccessible place in Thailand. Normally, if you want to go anywhere here, it's a matter of getting on a bus and simple getting of at your chosen destination. Um Pang is different.

The first day we spent travelling to Tat, the closest major town, it took one normal bus and one air con bus to get us there. Today however was going to be harder!
We woke up at 7AM to catch the 8AM bus. It was a mini-van to Sok Met, the closest village to Um Pang. After that we caught a Samglew, two bench transportation bus, to Um Pang. The Samglew took 5hrs and was great fun. Um Pang is in the middle of nowhere and is on the border to Burma. Meaning a high number of police and border control.
Normally a Samglew seats 8 people. We got 20 on ours! My sister, two Thai's and myself were located on the roof, three Thai's standing on the back and the rest were seated. Also on top of that we had two motorbikes on board!
It was great fun however and the scenery here is gorgeous, exceptional and unlike anywhere else in Thailand. Hills as far as the eye can see, all covered with trees. It was a trip you never forget.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Kanchanaburi Sightseeing

After an early wake up this morning we went to find us a scooter. We planned to go to the Tiger Temple, Bridge Over the River Kwai and a temple South of Kanchanaburi, so a scooter was very much needed. After bartering, we managed to get one for 150Bh (three pounds).

We started of by going to the Dragon's Temple (Wat in Thai) it was impressive, the views outstanding. Although we were conned at first, by being forced to watch a lady float in water for 5 minutes, it was an amazing sight. There was a large set of stairs leading to a cave in which there were Budda's praying.

After the Temple we proceeded to the Bridge Over the River Kwai, a famous attraction, due to it's terrible/upsetting history. The bridge was nice. It is what it is. It's the history that draws you there though. Thousands of Thai's died creating it, under Japanese rule, then a few years later it was blown up by the British. Originally though it was built to transfer goods and weapons to Thailand to be taken for the expansion to India.

Now having been fed history, and cultured up, we did the tourist thing. In Thailand there is two main Tiger Temples, one in Chang Mai and one in Kanchanaburi. When we arrived we spent two hours in the blistering sun watching Tigers and having photo's taking with them. You felt bad in one sense because the Tigers weren't in their natural surroundings, but on the other hand it was great to pat and touch a Tiger. An experience I'll probably never have again, in my life.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Travelling Once Again

Bangkok is a nice place, multi-cultural and popular. That last point is the problem with it. As a result after last night, and with little time left in the country, I awoke early this morning and headed of for Kanchaburi to the North East. It's a small town where you'll find the River Kwai and the famous 'Bridge Over the River Kwai'. After checking in to my new hotel, on the river, I had a drink and prepared for a 7AM wake up call the following morning.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Welcome to 2009

So it's officially arrived! The New Year. After picking Beck, my sister, up from the airport at 3pm today I took her to our digs/guesthouse, it was Orchard Guesthouse on Koh Sam and was close to all the action for a great night out.

After checking in we had a quick drink, some food from a vendor and then caught a taxi for another meal at Youval's and Sing's house where I had been staying for the last couple days. It was a gorgeous meal and spirits were high. Once 22:00 came we ventured back into the heart of Bangkok for a night we wouldn't remember. It was fantastic and a great atmosphere everywhere.

After several buckets and a relaxing conversation with are Canadian friends, who had also been staying at Overstay (Sing's and Youval's), we returned back to our guesthouse for some much deserved sleep.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


No entry for today. I've been walking around 'the other side of Bangkok' and just been taking in the atmosphere and preparing myself for a New Years Party of my lifetime.
I've noticed people commenting on the blog and sending me emails about it and my travells and I'd like to say thankyou to you all. It is nice to know such a wide variant of people from all over the world are reading it and encouraging me to keep it going.

Thankyou, hope you had a nice Christmas and am looking forward to the New Year and 2009!

My Couch Surfing Experience/ Staying at Overstay

On the Internet their is a website called Couch Surfing. The idea is simple, sign up and then travel going to fellow couch surfers houses and stay in one of their spare rooms or sleep on the couch. What a great idea.
This is where I met Sing (Taiwanese) and Yuval (Israeli), they have a bar on the out skirts of Bangkok. It's called Overstay and it has a relaxed, social downstairs area and then 5 floors above it. It used to be a 'freelancer house' (brothel). What happened was, they brought the lease and are converting it into a arts centre with Music Studio, Cinema, Club, Bar, Restaurant e.t.c e.t.c It's a lovely building with an extraordinary amount of space and potential.
I arrived at Overstay at around 3pm and introduced myself to them, they're lovely people and most accommodating. They had just brought a pool table and were anxiously watching it get set up and put together whilst talking/teaching me about the area. It's across the main river of Bangkok, which in my mind separates the tourists from locals. Khao Sam, Siam Square, hotels and all the tourists are one side and the other is the working mans/Thai Peoples area.

Personal Plug in: I don't know why, because I can't even draw, but though out Thailand my artwork is cropping up and being displayed. If you ever go to Overstay in Juran, across the bridge, you'll see a canvas drawing of mine to your right as you enter the door. As for what it is..... well because I''m not any good, it'll always be a poisonous mushroom and the sky. This one for some reason has monkeys on it as well as people dancing on top! I should stick to my day job.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

On The Road to Bangkok

Enough of Pattaya, time for me to hit the road. So at 10:00, I checked out, walked to the Bus Station and started my trip to Bangkok. Arriving at 14:30.
On my previous visits I've stayed in Siam Square in Bangkok. Straight in the centre. That however is not the backpackers area though, so this time, I thought I'd change my mindset. I ended up in Khao Sam a popular stop of point for people coming in and out of the country. It's cheap and has backpacker wrote all over it.
I was exhausted from travelling, it wasn't far I'll admint, but the heat had taken it out of me. So after checking into my new guesthouse I had a lie down reading my book. Awaiting an evening of site seeing and socialising.
Once I'd gone downstairs and out on the street a new world had developed. Vendors had flooded in, people were on the streets and music was heard all around. I met a traveller from Nottingham, UK, and we started talking. He had been travelling for 9 months and was on his way to Australia but had spent a significant amount of time in Khao Sam to 'get in with the locals'. So the hospitality started, Leo after Chang we spoke as a group 4 Thai's, the Brit and myself.
Deciding I best move on and see some more I bumped into a Welsh couple, also on their way to Australia. They befriended me and took me out with them allowing me to beat them at most bar sports (pool e.t.c).