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Thailand Story

I visited Thailand twice on my trip - Once in December 2005 as a stop-over for my trip, and once in April 2006 on my way back to UK.

Flying in to Bangkok on both occasions.

 

 

    Since writing this page I have been back to

Thailand yet again (OCT - DEC 2006)  

 

Click HERE for Thailand Story Part 3

 

Thailand, or at least Bangkok, was much as I remembered it except for the pollution.  The Thai's really are getting to grips with it.  Bangkok now has LPG buses and an overhead electric train system (The SkyTrain) that is extremely efficient and cheap.

 

 

There are many ads and programs on Thai TV that explain how to save energy, hence money, and reduce pollution.

The Thai's are taking the advice to heart.

Even the tuk-tuks are playing a part...

 

 

I didn't see one blue smoke choker, (it costs money to produce blue smoke from an engine). And the drivers turn off their engines when stuck in traffic.

In many ways they make the UK look like a third-world polluter.

 

 

 

On my first visit to Thailand I met up with some friends from Kent (Neil, Penny and daughter Daisy) who were on a round the world trip.  I was also due to meet them about a month later when our paths crossed again in New Zealand (see NZ pages).

 

Daisy, Penny and me at the SkyTrain station at Nana.

 

 

Daisy was quick to make friends in Bangkok and many people in the street near our hotel would wave and say "Hi" as we walked around the shops and bars.  One of Daisy's special friends was a little poodle called "Yong Yong".

 

Here's Daisy in the chemist shop where Yong Yong lives.

 

 

Penny also liked to play with Yong Yong and she didn't seem too worried about sitting on the floor of a busy chemist shop.

 

The shop owners also had a small puppy.  Here's Penny and puppy.

 

... and here's me with the puppy.  Neil thought this would be a good picture to send to our friends in Kent. 

These pictures (and many more of NPD's trip) can be found on Daisy's web-site...

www.daisys-dragons.com

 

 

It was great spending time with NPD in Bangkok.  We all stayed at the Dynasty Hotel in Nana.  If you are planning a trip to Bangkok you could do much worse than The Dynasty - A nice clean double en-suite with cable TV in a lovely hotel, with a bar and good restaurant for a mere 1200 baht per room per night (about 18 quid).

Dynasty Inn Website

 

My favourite pastime was sitting on the hotel veranda with a cold beer and watching the bustling street life - wonderful.

 

 

And there's no shortage of good bars and restaurants within a few minutes walk of the Dynasty.

 

After a couple of days in Bangkok Neil, Penny and Daisy continued on their round the world trip and headed off for Bali.

I headed off for the beach at Pattaya for some Sun, sand and cold beer.

 

 

 

Pattaya

 

 

Pattaya is awash with bars, restaurants, nightclubs and shows.

This is "Walking Street".

 

 

There are all manner of things in Pattaya that attract many people to go and spend time there.

 

 

Some of the shows are of an adult nature...

 

 

 ...and some of these are rather extreme...

 

 

 

 

...while others are just plain good fun.

This woman wasn't a bad singer and she really enjoyed getting the audience involved in a bit of harmless fun.

And she's not a woman!

 

 

The Thai's are very much into playing pool and snooker.  Perhaps because of James Watana's involvment in world snooker.  Some bars have many pool tables, each one with it's own "referee" who will set up the table for you after each game.  The "refs" are always women (at least I never saw a male one) and they will give you a game if you have no one to play against.

Don't make the mistake (as I did) of thinking that it will be easy to beat a Thai woman at pool - it cost me several drinks for that mistake.  Although I must say that I was often distracted.

 

At one of the pool halls I played a lovely woman called Meena, and although she was good I managed to beat her.

"It is no problem" she said, and insisted we play more to even the score; I agreed - and we did!

Meena and I had our picture taken by one of the many street vendors.

 

We played pool and chatted for most of the evening.

I did not go to Pattaya to find a woman, although it is very easy to pay for one.  I went for Sun, sand and cold beer, nothing else. But Meena was a lovely down-to-earth woman with a wicked sense of humour and a smile from "The land of smiles"...

 

...so I took her out out for dinner.

 

 

In my opinion, Thai food is amongst the best on the planet.  Meena and I had a wonderful seafood dinner in picturesque surroundings that would have cost an arm and a leg in the UK. 

We got on really well and found we had a lot in common, including a love of good food.

 

 

Meena was able to take time out for the few days I had left in Thailand and she became my tour guide and my friend.

 

I left Thailand on the 12th December 2005.

 

.......... ..........

 

 

I arrived back in Thailand in April 2006.

 

During the 3 months I was travelling around Hong Kong, New Zealand and Australia, Meena and I had kept in touch.  I wanted to spend more time in Thailand so I cancelled my trip to India.  Meena then arranged to take a few weeks off so that we could travel around Thailand together and visit her family in the North (Udon Thani).

 

 

Having a local to guide you round the sights is always a good thing, and my guide happened to be a beautiful woman.

 

 

I wanted some relaxation after my hectic time in New Zealand (see NZ page), so we went to Pattaya and stayed at the Dynasty Resort - same chain as the Bangkok hotel, same excellent value, but this hotel had a swimming pool.

 

 

 

Meena just loves swimming pools, and although I can take them or leave them it was handy having one nearby because the temperature was up in the high nineties (or 30's depending on your preferred standard).  It was tough though because I could only handle one or two sips of cold beer before I had to get back in the pool.

 

 

 

The Tour

Meena knew all of the best tourist attractions, and how to get there without feeling like you have just handed over a month's salary to the taxi driver.

 

 

 

Shopping

I think it's safe to say that most women like shopping and Meena was no different.  So shopping was on the tour itinerary, and if you want to know how to barter, just watch a Thai woman doing it.

 

For me shopping is a necessary evil, but some of the Thai shops were certainly imaginative when it came to their "decor".  Yes that's a real DC-3.

 

 

Temples

Meena is a Buddhist.  And what better person to show you round a Buddhist temple.

While at this temple Meena guided me through a Buddhist prayer ritual that ended with me being blessed by a Buddhist monk.

I'm not a religious person, but I did feel somehow touched.

 

 

 

Elephants

I wasn't sure what to expect here.  Thailand does not have the best reputation for animal care.  But the elephants in this open air circus were either extremely good actors or they really were enjoying themselves.

Basketball...

Riding a trike...

Painting a picture...

Scaring people...

Being fed bananas...

And being sat on.

 

 

 

Lots of Fishes!

Big fish...

Small fish...

Scary fish...

Moray scary fish...

And spot the seahorse.

 

 

 

Grub

Thai's take the word "grub" quite literally...

Here's a fine selection of grub (and various other insects).

 

Locusts are a local delicacy.  I was persuaded to try various offerings and I found the locusts to be crunchy and quite tastless - they needed a bit of vinegar.

 

 

The grubs on the other hand were very tasty -  If you let yourself forget what you are eating.  The ones I tried (the black ones) were like OXO flavoured prawns.

( Thanks to Daisys-Dragons.com for the lovely food pics above )

 

If you have been to hot countries before you will probably have come across cockroaches in your room or seen them scurrying around near kitchens.  You will be lucky to see a live cockroach in Thailand because they are all deep fried and on sale in the food markets.

** Apparently, they are not cockroaches, but you sure could have fooled me.

 

If you like a bit of variation in your diet you can get a mixed bag of mixed bugs. 

 

Aside from bugs though, the Thai people eat a great variety of foods, such as noodles.

 

 

Part of my tour with Meena clearly involved another one of her favourite pastimes - eating.  And while she was partial to the odd bug now and then, fortunately she also liked the less unusual Thai and Western food...

 ..And drink

 

A last word on Thai food...

While travelling around with Meena I ate many different Thai meals at places ranging from roadside stalls to top notch restaurants.  I ate bugs and burgers, cockroaches and curry, locusts and lobsters, and not once did I get an upset stomach; not once did I have to run to the toilet.

 

 

Bad News

 

My time in Thailand was cut short because I received some very bad news from home.  Sadly I left Meena and Thailand on the 14th April (3 weeks ahead of schedule) and I didn't get to the North as I had hoped.

 

 

But...        " I'll be back! "

 

 

    Since writing this page I have been back to

Thailand yet again (OCT - DEC 2006)  

 

Click HERE for Thailand Story Part 3