Chiang Mai, Round 2

Once the Songkran festivities had died down enough for us to stay relatively dry throughout the day, Larisse and I set out to explore the city.

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We took a trip south west of the centre of city where we got ourselves a creepy massage, explored a tech mall and ventured around the 3D Art museum. That evening we headed to a ladyboy cabaret which was the most sparkly outgoing show I have ever seen.

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The next day we decided we wanted to try our hand at some Mai Thai Boxing. It was the hardest workout I have ever done. To start with Larisse and I got lathered in a tiger balm oil by the lovely man pictured below, (Larisse definitely got a special whole body creepy treatment, I however just had my legs done). We then spent the whole afternoon doing some pretty intense training, by the end of it we were so tired and dehydrated it knocked us out for the evening!

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Songkran 2015 – Chiang Mai, Thailand

If you’ve kept up to date with my comings and goings in Vietnam you’ll know that I impulsively decided to go back to Thailand to celebrate their new year.

Songkran festival is more commonly know amongst tourists as an annual Thai water fight. From the 13th – 15th April people take to the streets and throw water at each other to wash away any sins and bad luck. Many people also carry chalk to mark and bless those who walk past them.

I didn’t really put much thought into my plans but after a day’s travels and a wrong flight I eventually made it from Hanoi to Chiang Mai where I met up with a few friends. 

Larisse and Duncan had been here a few more days than I had, they already looked a bit fed up after the pre-festival water fights and well… I didn’t blame them! All you had to do was take one step outside the hotel and before you knew it you had a bucket of water over your head! 

  
Out guest house invited us on the back of their pick up truck so that we could be driven around the city wide water fight. We all thought this sounded great! We could do water fighting drive bys…. It wasn’t like that at all… We were slow moving targets for buckets of ice cold water, if we were lucky someone would through the lukewarm dirty river water at us. The novelty soon wore off very very quickly!

When we were on foot we did have quite a bit fun, Air Asia had a street water fight rave, we met so many locals and lots of western boys trying to prove their manlyness through their water fighting abilities!

At the end of each day when we’d had enough of the water fights, Larisse and I were so cold we would come home and share our only warm shower between us!

  

Muay Thai Boxing – Chiang Mai

I really enjoyed myself at the Muay Thai boxing. I got to see 7 matches, some male some female, each 5 rounds, with only the last 2 rounds of each match scored. There was also a show match with swords and a comedy match. The bets were double or nothing and I won on the few bets I did make. I just really wish I’d seen the boxing sooner as I would have loved to have spent a day doing some Muay Thai training.

Bangkok Round 2

So I only spent the 1 night in Bangkok after my night train and in the general craziness of Bangkok I got whisked away in a strange tuk tuk that went all round the houses to take us to a PingPong show…. It is one experience I will not be putting into words…

Getting the Train from Malaysia to Thailand

I bought my ticket back when I was in Bangkok, so when I turned up at Butterworth station I found myself 2hours early as my ticket had been printed in Thai time and not in the Malyasian time it actually left! So I spent 2h sat next to a plug charging up my devices while waiting for the (now delayed) train to arrive.

The train was tiny, only 2 second class AC carriages, 2 beds heigh on each side. At 2.45pm I found my seat (with a misty window) chained my bag under the seat and settled in for the 20h+ journey.

At about 4pm a man walks round with a menu for that nights dinner. You could pay in either Ringet or Baht, I ordered a chicken cashue nut and rice set and was told it would be ready at 6. At about 4.45 he came back and set up my dinner table for me. 

5pm we were all thrown off the train for border control. I left Malaysia, and made my way over to the Thai counter only to be thrown back into Malaysia. Great! Lesson learnt, never leave a country without your exit stamp. I found myself sitting in an office waiting for a man to unlock his stamp set whilst being told about his son who study’s in Manchester. (All the police here seem to have relatives studying in Manchester). Then the inevitable question about which football team I support comes…. He quickly realised I have no interest in football and let’s me go back to the Thai border with my passport now all in order.

I’m then told the train doesn’t leave until 6.30pm so I sit in the sun on the platform listening to a man tell me about why he retired from the US to Malaysia. I jump back on the train at 6, just in time for dinner, which is actually quite nice.

8pm they come round with another menu, as this time our carrages have joined a bigger train with a dinner cart. I turn the food down and wait for the man to turn up and make my bed. 

I had a surprisingly good sleep and at 9am asked the man to turn my bed back into a seat. I turn down breakfast (I brought my own) and wait for the train to arrive in Bangkok at about 12.30, (22h 45mins total journey). 

Koh Phanagan

We stayed in Shiralea Backpackers Resort in the quieter North Side of the island near Haadyao, (the full moon party is on sunrise beach in the south).

The resort was lovely, beds were comfy with full backpack size lockers. It had a great bar with ‘shot bell’ rules, pool table, amazing food, 24h swimming pool, tv area, massage hut and plenty of evening activities like BBQ’s and bar party’s to keep us going.

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We didn’t really need to leave but there were plenty of things close by like total wipeout, and a beach 2min walk away. There was a couple nice bars and places to eat along the beach too.

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This was also the last stop of my Ultimate Thailand group tour. We had an amazing time together, laughing, drinking, singing. I have no doubt that we formed some lasting friendships and I can’t wait to bump into them all again some time in the near future.

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Koh Phi Phi & Maya Bay

I wasn’t a big fan of Koh Phi Phi. It was just a bit too touristy, though the nights were pretty good. I went on a sweaty walk with the others up to the view point one evening to see amazing views of the island at sunset.

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While we were there we took a boat out to Maya Bay where the film ‘The Beach’ was set. We had to swim from our boat to the rope ladder that welcomed us to shore. We took our token picture before we messed around in the water and made human towers on the beach. Unfortunately the swim back to the boat was so choppy it made us work off all the previous days calories! It also meant we weren’t able to cliff dive or snorkel, but seeing Maya Bay was worth it!
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Krabi

After one very early ferry and a 4hour bus I finally arrived back on the west coast of Thailand in Krabi. Only supposed to be an overnight stop before my flight, but I found plenty to do in my short stay.

I stayed in an amazing hostel called ‘Pak-Up’ and stumbled upon, ‘Krabi Culture Walk’, a road of music, dance, art and numerous amounts of street food. I was lucky enough to see it as it’s only held on Thursday evenings!

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