10.06.2016 36 °C
03/03/2016 - Our flight back to Bangkok from Krabi was nice and uneventful. We arrived at the smaller of Bangkok's airports and got a taxi to our new hotel. We got stuck in Bangkok rush hour traffic and all had a little nap in the taxi. The hotel was a bit swisher than the hostels we had become accostomed to and as we were on the 18th floor it had pretty impressive views of the city. After we had checked in and got freshened up we decided to look for somewhere for lunch. However that proved to be more difficult than we had anticipated. After looking around for a while we ended up in a cafe across the road for a late lunch. It was surprisingly good food despite us just happening upon it. After our late lunch/ early dinner we all went back, had a chance to relax and then to got ready for some cocktails. This was the first time in a few months that Fleur and I had got dressed up. We wore some make up, did our hair and even managed to wear a vaguely non backpaker esque outfit. Once ready we headed to the Banyan Tree hotel to visit their sky bar which had been recommended to us by a few friends back home and it did not disappoint! The nighttime views across the city were amazing and although their cocktails weren't backpacker friendly priced they were really good. We stayed for a few hours, possibly taking too many pictures of the view but it was stunning. Just outside the hotel we picked up some mango sticky rice to share, the addiction was in full flow at this point. We had our post drinks dessert and then headed to bed.
04/03/2016 - Fleur, Mum and I left the hotel at 9am for a little day trip, it was an hour later than we'd planned but we were up way past midnight the day before!? Hannah spent the day relaxing in the hotel. As we were eager to get a move on we picked up some breakfast bits to share from Starbucks which was just below our hotel. We then tried to get a taxi to the bus station. It was a bit of a struggle but we eventually found a taxi driver willing to take us on the meter. Most wanted to charge us at least four times what we ended up paying. We then took the two and a half hour bus ride to Kanchanaburi. Whilst Fleur and I tried to nap a little, Mum impressively stayed awake for the whole journey and knitted. Once we arrived in Kanchanaburi we took a taxi to bridge over the River Kwai, which was made famous in the film from the 1950s of the same name, starring Sir Alec Guinness. It was a really hot and muggy day. We walked the length of the bridge to a Chinese temple at the other end. We also saw a train pass over the bridge. We stopped for a quick lunch and a chance to get out of the sun before heading to the Thai Burma Railway Museum. We spent a couple of hours in the museum learning about the atrocious conditions in which Allied Prisoners of War (PoW) and Asian labourers were forced to build the ill fated railway. Many thousands died in the construction, mainly due to the conditions they were subjected to. The Japanese kept good records of the PoW and therefore their death toll was relatively accurate. However of the Asian labourers, many of whom were forced or tricked into working on the railway there were no such records and estimates of the death toll are much higher than of the PoW. After the intersting but harrowing visit to the museum we went across the road to the Allied War Cemetery. It was a surreal experience seeing the rows and rows of plaques. Each with the name, age and battalion of the soldier killed. Some had messages from their families engraved on them too. The youngest soldier's plaque was that of a 20 year old, the same age as Amar which really hit me. Atfer our emotional day we took the long journey back to Bangkok. We ended up getting back just after 9 and went straight to dinner in the restaurant below our hotel. Dinner was followed by a mango sticky rice of course. Mum ended her day with a late night foot massage...only in Bangkok!
04/03/2016 - We checked out of the hotel early in the morning, leaving our bags there to collect later on. We then went to the Grand Palace, a complex of buildings that are the official residence of the King. On the way we were almost scammed by the most unassuming old man who tried to convince us that the Grand Palace was closed and that we should get in the taxi he had just flagged and go to the floating markets instead. Luckily we weren't convinced and decided to check ourselvelves and of course the Grand Palace was open. Despite our attempts to beat the crowds it was really busy and hot as well. The Grand Palace and it's grounds were beautiful to see but with the crowds and the heat it was a little bit of a struggle at times. Halfway through we had to stop for ice cream and a coconut...we hadn't eaten breakfast, foolishly thinking we would afterwards and were feeling a little faint by this point. Once we had finished going around the Grand Palace we headed to Wat Pho, a nearby temple complex to see the reclining Buddha. The complex was much bigger than I had expected and very impressive. Wat Pho contained some stunningly beautiful buildings. However with the heat and lack of substantial food we were all starting to really struggle by this point so we got a taxi to a cafe that Hannah had found for lunch. We all managed a main and shared two desserts between us. Slightly revived after lunch we went to pick up our bags and got a taxi to the new hotel, walking through a market and picking up a couple of bargains on the way.
We got stuck in traffic again on the way to the new hotel. We quickly checked in and then headed straight back out to the night market. Mum was after a couple of last minute souvenirs. After having scoured the market we went to a South Indian restaurant for dinner and had dosas. Once we were back in the hotel Mum freshened up and got ready to leave. Fleur and I went with her to the airport. We had an emotional goodbye and then she left for England.
05/03/2016 - We woke up early and went to Chatuchak weekend market, the largest market in Thailand with over 8000 stalls. We picked up some fresh spring rolls and mango for breakfast and then tried to systematically tackle it. We walked around most of the market, which considering it's size and the stifling Bangkok heat was a pretty big achievement. We did well with our shopping and managed to get some lovely unique pieces of jewellery at good prices. Hannah did well with some cute pieces of clothing too. Sadly we had a disappointing lunch but we did get coconut water and smoothies later in the afternoon which made up for it a bit. The heat in the afternoon got quite intense and by the time we left at 4 we were well and truly exhausted.
Later that evening we had a bit of a night out. We had cocktails and food in a fabulously camp gay bar before doing a small bar crawl in the go go bar area. We ended our night back in the first bar watching some amazing Thai singers impress with their karaoke skills.
06/03/2016 - The next morning we had a bit of a slow start. We had breakfast in the restaurant in the hotel before going over to Lumphini Park, stopping off at some market stalls on route. The park was lovely and relatively calm in amongst the craziness of Bangkok. We walked around the large pond and spotted a giant lizard, which kept up entertained for far too long. It actually took until it was out of the water for us to figure out what it was. We carried on strolling through the park until we found a spot to sit in the shade and watch the world world go by. We saw lots of runners and joggers by whom we were all impressed as the day was still so hot and humid. We also saw a load of ridiculously cute Thai babies out with their families. There was also some young guys practising their acrobatic/gymnastic skills by flipping themselves off large rocks and a beautiful sounding choir singing by the bandstand.
After the park, we went to a small shopping centre and Hannah picked up some bits to take home. We then tried to find a pizza truck (for our traditional last night in a country pizza), that was meant to do really good pizza, for dinner but when we did eventually find it it was closed. We walked back through the market and picked up some starters and then picked up dessert from 711. For dinner we ordered pizza from a local restaurant and ate it while we packed and watched Crazy Stupid Love.
07/03/2016 - We had a 4.15 wake up, which was a bit of a struggle. We got ready, finished packing our last few bits and said goodbye to a sleepy Hannah before making our way to the airport for what was to be the longest journey of our trip so far. We started off with a relatively short trip to Hong Kong, followed by a 14 hour journey from Hong Kong to Dallas, Texas. We both struggled to sleep on the flight...I made it through four films, a personal record for me. Our last flight from Dallas to Mexico City despite being an other short one saw us both drift off. When we finally made it to Mexico we were greeted by the longest queue for immigration we had ever been stuck in. Male, Fleurs friend from France had kindly sent her husband and her brother to pick us up from the airport. On the drive to her house I fell asleep in the back of the car not surprising as by the time we arrived we had been travelling for 30 hours.