Top Facebook Posts of 2014 – An Amazing Year of Travel

It’s a beautiful frosty morning. The sun is shining, there’s not a cloud in the sky and I’m reminiscing. Another year is drawing to a close and as I think about what the new year will hold for me and Asad, I’m also thinking about what an amazing year of travel we’ve had. It’s got me thinking of how I can sum it all up in one post without boring the pants off everyone! Then I thought of Facebook.

When I look back at my travel Facebook posts, it’s a virtual timeline. A diary. A reminder of all the places we visited, the sights we saw, the people we met and how we felt. It jogs my memory of events that six months later are fading but that are never truly forgotten.  It’s written in the moment without the heavy thought process involved when writing a full post. Not all the pictures are perfect but that doesn’t matter. It’s a spontaneous insight into all the places we went to that are not yet written about on this blog. All those empty drop down menu’s that I’ve yet still to fill with inspiring posts of our adventures around South East Asia.

It’s a taste of what’s to come.

So here are just a fraction of our top Facebook posts of 2014 that highlight the best of our travels.

In the meantime…

I wish you all a happy, healthy and prosperous new year. May all your travel dreams come true!

May 25th 2013 – Poon Hill, Nepal – So after 4 days of trekking to Poon Hill, up and down 10,000ft, the best we could get of the Annapurna range was….

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View from the top of Poon Hill

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June 25th 2013 – Fun, fun, fun! Just got in from the Full moon party! Crazy fire ropes, a few fights, plenty of booze buckets, boogying and well some other dodgy stuff going on! – Koh Phangan

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June 27th, 2013 – What a lovely day! Zipped around the island discovering best beaches and hidden coves. Som Tam and watermelon for lunch followed by a mad dash through dirt track and jungle to finally see a perfect sunset — Had Salad, Koh Phangan

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Haad Salad Beach – Koh Phangan

July 1st, 2013 – Exhausted! Woke at 3.00am, took taxi at 4.00, a ferry at 5.00, hopped in a transit van at 8.00, bundled into a bus at 9.00, train at 10.30, 9 hrs later we took another train to finally reach our hotel!! The saga will start again tomorrow at 4.30am when a flight to Blighty is on the cards!! I need sleep and some more mossie spray!! – Bangkok.

October 24th, 2013
So, back at Heathrow airport again! We started our travels in May but had to take a slight detour back to Blighty in July to help the folks at home. 4 months later, a little older, a little wiser, we are back on track! Here’s to an amazing journey and adventure!!! Ready for take off! First stop Bangkok! Woo hoo!
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November 3rd, 2013 – Great to see how Diwali is celebrated around the world! Today Kathmandu is alive with people getting ready for tonight’s celebrations. Happy Diwali to all our friends, may you always be blessed with health and happiness!

Mandalas and candles decorate the streets during Deepawali
Mandalas and candles decorate the streets during Deepawali

November 21st, 2013 – Wow! We completed the Annapurna Circuit, culminating in a very quirky and death-defying last-minute ascent on a mountain pony (Asad got altitude sickness) to the highest point Thorong La pass. At an altitude of 18,000 feet this was a real achievement for us lazy city folk! So proud of ourselves! A massive thanks to Amrit our very creative and entertaining guide and our very strong, singing porter Rajendra. Without your humour and faith we couldn’t have endured the acclimatisation exercises up hundreds of meters a day, the freezing cold temperatures, the endless dal bhat, freezing cold showers (or no shower) and the squat toilets! But it was all worth it to see the jaw dropping scenery of the Himalayas!

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Humde airport in the distance
Humde airport in the distance
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On the way to Muktinath

December 3rd, 2013 – My favourite pic on our travels so far ! – Chitwan, Nepal

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Goofing around on the bus – Chitwan to Kathmandu
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Chitwan National Park
A glimpse of the Annapurna as seen from Lake Phewa
A glimpse of the Annapurna Range as seen from Lake Phewa – Pokhara

December 25th 2013 – Wow! What a journey on the Yangon to Mandalay Express! Ironic it’s called the express, it took 15 hours!! Anyway, it was shall I say, a memorable experience. Why? Because the train thundered through some of the most beautiful rural scenery we’ve seen. It was so bumpy we were often catapulted off our seats, even airborne for a second! The train rolled from side to side, creaked and swayed and groaned all the way! Let’s see what Mandalay has to offer. Today’s travel tip? Maintain sense of humour whilst travelling!

This is fun!
This is fun!

December 27th, 2013 – What a fun day! After yesterday’s escapade trying to get back to the hotel, we bravely decided to rent a motorbike and explore Mandalay the easy way. Well not that easy! We had no mirrors, no clutch, helmets that didn’t fit and the bike kept on stalling much to the amusement of everyone around us! On the agenda was the heavily guarded Mandalay Palace and U Bein Bridge – the longest and oldest bridge in the world. Somehow we got back alive after dicing with death a few times, weaving in and out of crazy traffic and nearly coming off! A totally hair-raising experience! Today’s travel tip: When in Myanmar DONT get a bike!!

U Bein bridge - sublime at sunset
U Bein bridge – sublime at sunset

December 30th, 2013 – Today we experienced the sun rising over the Bagan temples! Walking up the steep steps of the Shwe San Daw Pagoda barefoot at 5.00am, we were excited and full of anticipation! When dawn broke revealing hundreds of mist covered temples we were tickled. When the sun came up in all it’s glory we were wowed by the beauty and tranquility of it all. Finally, when the hot air balloons went up one by one and covered the sky, it was the icing on an already delicious cake!

On the flip side, we spent 9 hrs zipping from one pagoda to another, when suddenly the bike finally gave up and came to a grinding halt. Asad decided to try some chivalry out and pushed me on the bike back to the hotel. (I opted to walk of course) but he wasn’t having any of it)! Guess what? Yes, the locals once again found it hilarious! Mmm I think there seems be a recurring theme here!!

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Bagan

February 3rd, 2014 – Well it’s goodbye Thailand! We’ve had an awesome time. Bangkok was exciting with its bustling streets, great food and fabulous shopping. Chiang Mai was a perfect meeting point for friends we’d picked up along way with the odd ladyboy thrown in for a bit of fun. From cookery classes to Ethical Elephant tours and a bit of Muay Thai and markets galore – Chiang Mai was to our relief cheap and definitely cheerful. Fast forward and we hit the very touristy beaches of Ao Nang only to shout oh no!! So we ran away and found our little piece of heaven in Klong Muang. Here we met some great people and had an amazing time! So Selamat Datang Langkawi! Malaysia here we come!!!

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Siam Rice Cookery School – Chiang Mai
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Elephant Nature Park – Chiang Mai
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Catching up with friends at a Muay Thai Boxing Match
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Klong Muang Beach -Krabi
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Koh Pha Nang

March 4th, 2014 – Kota Kinabalu

So it’s almost the end of our time in Malaysia! It’s been real fusion of culture, people and food. Langkawi was a beautiful island, very laid back. Kuala Lumpur was fantastic – uber modern. The Cameron Highlands were a nostalgic throw back to British colonial times where walking amongst tea plantations and lychen forests lifted our spirits. We then moved on to Borneo; From Kuching – Kota Kinabulu – Sandakan, we travelled. Jungles, Orangutans, floating down the Kinabatangan river, watching Probiscus monkeys, flying bats, snake birds and the beautiful Kingfisher – all in their natural environment. Amazing! Tomorrow we fly to Singapore!

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Kuala Lumpur at Night
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Jalan Alor – Food Street, Kuala Lumpur
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Checking out the tea – Cameron Highlands
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LaZat Cookery School – KL

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Langkawi Sunset

March 6th, 2014 – Just a fleeting visit to Singapore!

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Singapore Skyline

March 19th 2014 – So it’s that’s time again, we are leaving Sydney. Tomorrow we go to New Zealand for a 3 week fly drive tour of the beautiful South Islands. Australia was unfortunately just a pit stop and not really in our plans to visit. But a stupidly cheap flight from KL came up and we thought let’s go!!  We had visions of travelling around but the cost has been enormous and hey we still have other countries to budget for! Shame, we would have loved to have experienced the outback, aboriginal culture and of course Ayers Rock! Alas it was not meant to be this time. So apart from seeing the usual sites of Sydney and a trip to the fabulous Blue Mountains, we have to say that the highlights were meeting our friends. Firstly, staying with Craig and Lorena in Canberra, then meeting Matt who used to work with us in London and Samma and co who we met in Nepal and who treated us to some home-made Momos! Thanks guys, you made Sydney memorable!

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At Craig and Lorena’s House – Canberra
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Bondi Beach – Australia
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Matt and Asad during a night out in Sydney
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We meet again – Friends from Nepal
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The Blue Mountains

March 22nd 2014 – So today we started our 3 week drive around the south islands. Checked out of our prison lodging – no seriously it was a converted prison, very novel! (Bit concerned at the picture of Asad as he took to being an inmate too easily)!

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Well it’s time to say goodbye to New Zealand! In 3 weeks we’ve had a taste of what makes this country awesome – it’s landscape! We’ve travelled over 3300 km from Christchurch to Kaikoura and experienced so much in between. We’ve been so spoilt – stared at the Milky Way on most nights, seen whales, seals, penguins and some amazing bird life! Every corner you turn, you simply can’t believe how stunningly beautiful this land is especially at this time of year. So tomorrow we head off to Bali to relax for a while before we explore Indonesia. Farewell New Zealand it’s been a blast!

A day’s hike in the Hooker Valley is a perfect way to appreciate the beauty of Mount Cook
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Beautiful Sunrise, Mount Cook
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Mount Cook
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Asad Sky Diving – Queens town
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Meeting Tim and Jenny, friends from London

April 17th 2014 – Great night catching up with Federica and Sal again! – Ubud, Bali

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April 22nd 2014 – Third day of funeral ceremony and we well and truly got what we expected! A mass slaughter of 8 buffalo! It was terrifying, shocking and insane! The will to live pervades through everything that lives and breathes and to see such a large beast still trying to get up after an almost decapitation is beyond words!! Still – we managed to get through it surprisingly well! It was still worth going and a privilege to be part of a tribal tradition that spans hundreds of years. Tomorrow the family of the deceased will bury the person in a cave high in the hills with an effigy that bears a resemblance. We’ve learned so much about these mysterious people – it’s an anthropologists dream! Plan for tomorrow? No more funerals – just mountain hikes and serene village walks here we come! – Tana Toraja, South Sulawesi.

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Cliff Burials, Tana Toraja
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Enrekang, South Sulawesi

May 13th 2014 – What a hectic day! Last day in lovely Ubud which called for some last-minute sightseeing and a bike ride to see Mount Batur. Got fleeced on the way up by the local police who fined us IDR 250,000 for not having an international driving licence! We’ve driven everywhere in South East Asia and get fleeced here! Left Ubud, drove an hour and now in Seminyak. Asad had another craving for something bland – aka BURGER so ended up in Wacko Burger. Nice! Ended up having a drink in some random place called Frankensteins. Random photo included!

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Thriller Night at Frankensteins Bar!
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Rice Terraces – Ubud, Bali
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Ornate doorways to Temples in Ubud

May 18th 2014 – 12 years ago was the last time we saw Ranjan in the UK. Now he’s living in Hong Kong with his lovely wife and family. Had a great evening catching up! – Discovery Bay, Lantau Island, Hong Kong

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May 26th 2014 – Tomorrow we start another adventure – we are off to China! We’re excited and slightly apprehensive as we have the challenges of language, culture and of course politics to contend with. But it will be totally worth it as we have an awesome bucket list!

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May 31st, 2014 – Supposed to leave the delightful Hutongs of Lijiang and saw-toothed mountains of Tiger Leaping Gorge a few hours ago to discover Beijing. But what do you know – the flight’s delayed! After zero communication from anyone we have found ourselves still here 3.5 hours later! I wouldn’t mind but the info board still says boarding! Anyway, they gave noodles away! Here’s some pictures of what we left behind!

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Tiger Leaping Gorge – Yunnan

June 2nd 2014 – We had a great day today visiting the lovely Forbidden Palace and the Soviet inspired, centre of Communist China – Tiananmen Square. Asad seems to have turned out to be a bit of celebrity. Wherever we go the Chinese want their picture taken with him! No luck for me I’m afraid Don’t you just love the outfits!

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The Forbidden Palace – Beijing

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June 6th 2014 – Been in Datong two days now! A coal mining town with a socialist feel that has had the history kicked out of it and rebuilt again. Why do the Chinese do that?! No English spoken here and the menus are well dodgy! (Erm can’t even read them)! Pictures of Bullfrog, lamb spine, brain and here’s a new one – Donkey! Our dietary restrictions of no pork and no beef are stopping us eating well and I think it’s beginning to show. We’re existing on one meal a day now! Anyway took a couple of buses to the Yungang caves today – Buddhist statues dating back 1500 years. Laughed with the locals, had a few more pictures taken of us and went back to the hotel for our one meal of the day. Yeah you guessed it – noodles! – At Datong County, Shanxi

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Yungang Caves

June 12th 2014 – Had a fabulous time in Pingyao walking through the historical streets of the old town. Met Sebastion, a fellow traveller who entertained us with his adventures through Mongolia and China. Arrived in Xian after a very long train journey of 10 hrs and what do you know we met up with another friend from London! Had a fabulous two days catching up with him and his friends over drinks and seeing the amazing Terracotta Army!

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Terracotta Museum
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Random meeting with our friend Toni from London!

June 15th 2014 – Wonderful day at the rainbow mountains! The next three weeks are going to be tough but awesome. Bring on Tibet! A dream about to become reality!

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Danxia Landform Geological Park, Zhangye

June 17th 2014 – Finally arrived after an epic 38 hour journey on board the Qinghai to Tibet Railway in a non-smoking pressurised train with everyone smoking!

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Making friends on the Qinghai – Tibet Train
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The Tibetan Plateau – View from the Qinghai to Tibet Train

June 24th 2014 – Back where we started our journey, after an epic trek across Tibet via Everest! Off to Pokhara and Kathmandu for a few days to meet up with friends.

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Mount Everest – Tibet

July 1st 2014 – So the day has come when we have to post our final travel Facebook status. We are going home tomorrow. We’ve travelled across 10 countries by foot, plane, train, taxi, songthaew, rickshaw and boat. From the majestic Himalayas in Nepal to the mysterious death practices of Sulawesi. From the awesome landscapes of China to the Tibetan plateau and finally Everest Base camp! We’ve lived, breathed it all. It’s been an amazing experience. We’d like to thank you all for your support and for taking the time to read our posts – it means a lot to us. To the new and old friends we met along the way especially Federica and Sal, Ariela, Pemba, Amrit, Rajendra, Tim and Jenny, Toni and friends, Alan, Ranjan, Craig, Matt, Samma, Shally and Musi. We will never forget you. You will all remain in our hearts forever for the laughter and experiences we all shared! For those of you who wish to travel the world – do it! Do it as soon as you can. Don’t wait for the promise of tomorrow – it may never come. It will give you a sense of freedom never experienced before – that of your heart and your mind!

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The Famous Hong Kong Skyline
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The Great Wall Of China – Mutianyu
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Chinese Tourists love taking photo’s with foreigners!
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Potala Palace – Lhasa
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Grabbing a sneaky photo with a Buddhist Monk
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Travelling across Tibet, in a bus, taking silly photo’s!
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Mount Everest

So there you have it. Tell us about your travel highlights of 2014…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Klong Muang Beach, Thailand – Escaping the Crowds of Ao Nang

Looking back at our time in Thailand, Klong Muang in Krabi has to be one of the most memorable. Blissfully tranquil and refreshingly unhurried,  Klong Muang is the picture perfect, laid-back alternative to the tourist trap of Ao Nang. Little did we know that the crowds of Ao Nang would have us running right into the arms of this hidden gem.

In fact, arriving in Ao Nang was a shock! We’d expected a cool, chilled out and authentic vibe,  but instead Ao Nang was extremely over-developed. Chain restaurants served bland food, hotel resorts concealed traces of a once understated charm and western watering holes blared cheesy live music. Great if you’re looking for that type of thing. But we were looking for something less obvious. Something with a local feel. We made the best of what we had, choosing to relax by the pool instead of the overcrowded beach, eating at the few local restaurants we could find and soaking up the glorious sunsets in the evening before exploring the town. We lasted three days then escaped to Klong Muang, recommended by a random conversation with a local. We couldn’t get away quick enough! In our haste to leave, we missed out on visiting the famous Railay beach!

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Klong Muang

Nestled in-between Ao Siew beach and the upmarket Tubkaek beach, Klong Muang was reminiscent of a sleepy fishing village. It had a simplicity to it. A certain charm. There was only a handful of restaurants and the beach was almost deserted. Just what we were looking for. Just what we needed.

Luckily we’d managed to find a room at one of the few locally owned budget guesthouses in the area. It was the perfect hideaway. The beach was ten seconds away, the bar was ten seconds away and the massage beds were ten seconds away! Utter bliss!

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Perfect Sunsets

We were only meant to be in Klong Muang for a few days – a week at the most. But something special happened. We met a great bunch of people right on our doorstep. Some of them stayed at our guesthouse, some of them were random strangers. But we all connected and for about ten days we called this beach our home.

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Great evenings on the beach
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Somedays it felt like we had the beach to ourselves!

Night after night we all got together to exchange travel stories and watch spectacular sunsets until the very last glimpse of  amber light disappeared over the horizon. By day we’d soak up the sun on pristine, white sandy beaches overlooking views of the outrageously blue Andaman. Sometimes we’d zip around on scooters exploring Krabi town or just taking in the views. Close to the Koh Hong islands, we hired long tail boats and spent time island hopping and fishing.

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Catching Nemo!
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The Stunning Beauty of Koh Hong
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Watching sunsets!

Our living room was the beach, where we spent lazy days and balmy nights at the Little Jamaican Bar. This bar bought us altogether. Whoever passed by couldn’t resist the charm of this place, often leaving their 5* star resorts to join us. Honeymooners, pilots, cabin crew, travellers – you name it. They all descended on this quirky little bar. Made entirely out of reclaimed wood and defying gravity, Sharkey the owner, literally lived and breathed this place. He’d organise beach BBQ’s and whilst we sat under the stars by the glow of a beach fire listening to the sounds of Bob Marley, he’d make some mean cocktails!

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The Little Jamaica Bar – The most chilled out place in Thailand!
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Happy Days!
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Out come the bongos!

Time inevitably crept up on all of us. The group got smaller and smaller as people went home or continued their travels. Day after day we’d bid farewell to someone, until only Asad and I were left. Our last memory was standing by the road side at 5.00am waiting for our taxi to the airport. It was time to go. Time for a new adventure –  in Malaysia!

For us, Klong Muang was special. Not just because it had idyllic beaches, amazing sunsets and a peaceful seclusion, but because we met some great people. It played a huge part in the whole experience. We were inspired by these people, definitely entertained and in awe of the travel stories they shared with us. Most of all, we’ll always remember it’s the simple things in life that make us happy – a beach, friends, a few beers and Bob Marley!

Where to stay

Most of the accommodation in Klong Muang is composed of 4* and 5* hotels with a few 3* dotted around. We stayed at the budget friendly Vacation House which in February cost £8 a night for a double room and huge breakfast thrown in. Bargain! This is a lovely family owned guesthouse with a simple but delicious lunch menu. Ask for Laila who will organise scooters, transfers and tours for you. We loved it here!

Koh Kwang Resort which was literally across the road from Vacation House, was another budget – friendly option. We stayed here a couple of nights. Accommodation ranges from rooms with fans or A/C to garden bungalows. They can also organise tours and have a restaurant.

Little Jamaica Bar

Cheap Beer!
Cheap Beer!

One of the few beach bars on Klong Muang, this is a great place to watch the sunset. It’s got a couple of tables, a hammock, a tree swing and chill out area. With live music most nights, it’s just the perfect place to hangout!

Getting to Klong Muang

Escaping from Ao Nang to Klong Muang!
Escaping from Ao Nang to Klong Muang!

Krabi town is about 30 minutes from Klong Muang. You can take a songthaew, taxi or tuk-tuk to Klong Muang. Ao Nang is a mere 20 minutes away, perfect for when you fancy a night out or a bit of shopping.

The Beach

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Klong Muang beach is better than the beach in Ao Nang. Not that I’m a beach snob – after all a beach is a beach! But it’s far less crowded and the sand is softer. As Ao Nang is the main hub for trips to Railey and other islands, the beaches have many boats waiting to pick up tourists. You won’t see this at Klong Muang. Instead it’s just local fishermen with long-tailed boats for hire.

The Nightlife

There is no nightlife! However this is gradually changing and as I’m writing this I’m sure a new restaurant or bar has popped up! Apart from a couple of beach bars and Paddy’s Pub on the main road, there is nothing to do here in the evenings unless you’re staying in a resort where the entertainment and dining is of course, all in-house. There are a handful of locally owned restaurants and the atmosphere is decidedly relaxed.

Lastly…

If you want to experience the tranquility and peaceful surroundings of Klong Muang, I would go now.   Capture that faint whisper of local charm before the silence is discovered by the Ao Nang crowd!

We’d love to know what your favourite beach experience was. Why not share your comments with us!

The White Temple of Chiang Rai – An Unconventional Ode to Divinity

Since the highly respected but controversial visual artist Chalermchai Kositpipat began building Wat Rong Khun in 1997, the White Temple of Chiang Rai has evoked much debate over the years. Placing traditional Buddhist imagery alongside modern pop culture continues to spark criticism amongst traditionalists. However, step into the quirky world of Wat Rong Khun and you can’t help but admire its celestial beauty.

The first sight of Wat Rong Khun will take your breath away. An ethereal architectural wonder that radiates a frosty, luminescence against the canvas of a deep blue sky. Landscaped gardens with sweeping lines frame its exquisite facades while the surrounding lake reflects a perfect mirror image of the purity of Buddha.

Heavily steeped in symbolism, a walk through the grounds of this temple reveals a surreal and non-conformist journey into the evils of desire and the trappings of a modern world. Demonic faces and a sea of twisted hands rise up from the grounds. Mystical creatures frolic in the gardens whilst characters from movies adorn walls normally reserved for the divine. Strangely sculptured heads hang from trees and demons wielding swords point accusingly. Chalermchai Kositpipat cleverly combines the weird and bizarre with Buddhist teachings chiselled into every detail of this exquisite structure. It blows away any expectation of a typically Thai temple experience. Provocative and controversial it may be, but one thing for sure is that it absolutely succeeds in its message of delivering a Buddhist architectural nirvana.

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Hundreds of sculptured hands depicting suffering and trappings of desire and passion
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Demonic Faces
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Bizarre!
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A demonic guardian at the start of the bridge
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Crossing the bridge – symbolic of leaving behind desires and entering into the higher realm of the Buddha
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The Ubusot or Abode of Buddha at the top of the bridge
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Mythical Creatures
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Strange Sculptures hang from trees
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Prayer Ornaments
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Intricate detailing of mirrored glass make the White Temple shimmer
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Reminiscent of a Winter Wonderland!
Coi Carp Swim in the Lake
Coi Carp Swim in the Lake
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The Worlds Most Elaborate Toilet

Getting to Wat Rong Khun

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By Motorbike

We hired a motorbike in Chiang Mai and took Highway 118 all the way to Chiang Rai. It was a great ride – all 185km of it! Once you escape the traffic of Chiang Mai, you’ll ride through winding roads with great views of rolling hilltops. There are many cafes in scenic spots to stop off for breaks, some with quirky giant rubber ducks floating in a lake and outdoor seating straight out of a children’s book!

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Songthaew or Bus

Songthaews or covered pick-up trucks are easily available near the bus station in the centre of town.  In Chiang Rai the Songthaews are blue. As a rule, the more people in a Songthaew, the cheaper the fare but the cost is still reasonable if there are only a few of you.

Alternatively head to the old bus station and take the bus to Wat Rong Khun.

Wat Rong Khun is open from 6.30am to 6.00pm.

Entrance is free.

Location: 13km outside Chiang Rai city, Highway 1

Things to do in Chiang Rai

We only spent two nights in Chiang Rai, with most of day one riding there. To be honest we didn’t find Chiang Rai that interesting. I can understand now why it’s considered as living in the shadow of Chiang Mai. You just can’t compare the two! For me it lacked personality. Still, we managed to visit Chiang Rai Night Bazaar where we browsed the small market stalls and had some amazing food at the food court.

After that we walked to the Golden Clock Tower built to honour the King of Thailand by none other than Chalermchai Kositpipat. Every evening at 19.00, 20.00 and 21.00 the clock tower comes to life in a light and sound display. Frankly it was a little bit bonkers but hey this is Thailand! I actually filmed the event which only lasted a few minutes and it still makes me laugh to this day! I wouldn’t go out of your way to see the Clock Tower, but if you’re passing, it’s worth watching this strangely amusing phenomenon!

Location of Clock Tower: At the junction of Phaholyothin, Jet Yod and Banpaprakan Roads

Chiang Rai Night Bazaar: Located between the bus station and Phaholyothin Rd in the centre of town.

Top 5 Things to do in Chiang Mai

A former capital of the Kingdom of Lanna, Chiang Mai now plays host to an international hub of  creativity, laid-back charm and cultural coolness. With a picturesque back drop of mountains, its location in the foothills of Northern Thailand offers a welcome respite from the chaos and oppressive heat that its sister city Bangkok suffers.

As the largest city in Thailand, Chiang Mai offers a diverse and eclectic dimension to the usual city experience. The crowd is down-to-earth with a slightly bohemian edge. Travellers, students, NGO-workers and cultural enthusiasts ensure an interesting mix with the Thai trilogy of temples, well priced markets and street food stalls ensuring there’s plenty to see and do.  It’s the goto place for trekkers who want to explore the surrounding landscapes and hill-tribes and those interested in massage and cookery.

1. Grab a Ring-Side Seat at a Muay Thai Boxing Match

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Great to meet up again with Federica and Sal in Chiang Mai.

You can’t visit Thailand without seeing a Muay Thai boxing match. Chiang Mai has a few venues varying in cost and authenticity. You get what you pay for so choose wisely.

For us, Chiang Mai was particularly memorable. We had several reunions with friends we had made during our travels. We were lucky enough to meet Alan, an ex-work colleague who now lives in Chiang Mai,  Ariela whom we first met in Chitwan, Nepal and Federica and Sal who we met whilst trekking the Annapurna Circuit. It was so great to meet up with all of them!

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Tai giving us the thumbs up!

Alan kindly arranged some well-priced ring-side seats for us at the Loi Kroh complex and introduced us to Tai – a tiny Muay Thai boxer who looked like he could pack a good punch or two!

Muay Thai Boxers
Muay Thai Boxers

The evening was pure comedy with the usual faux – charm of ladyboy waitresses behind neon – lit bars, overpriced alcohol and an unexpected flash of a ladyboy’s chest, which surprised all of us – or did it! The night ended with a round of blindfolded Muay Thai. Hilarious!

2. Show off your Culinary Skills in a Cookery Class

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The right ingredients for a good Thai Curry!

If you’ve ever wanted to discover the secret to cooking good Thai food – Chiang Mai is a great place to start. There are many cooking schools that offer full, half day or evening options that  you can easily fit into your travel plans.

We booked a full day course with Siam Rice Thai Cookery School. We got to choose one dish from seven categories; soup, noodles, appetizer, stir-fried vegetables, make a curry paste, cook a curry from the paste, finishing off with a Thai dessert.

The day started with a visit to the market and an amusing lesson in Thai ingredients. The things I learned about coconut milk! Later, you’re taken to the school to start cooking all your dishes.

Our group at the Siam Rice Cookery School
Our group at the Siam Rice Cookery School

We had a great time at Siam Rice Thai Cookery School. Not only did we finally learn the secrets behind why Thai food tastes so good, it was a fun way of meeting new people. We had a great bunch of people in the group!

Useful Information

* Whatever you do, don’t eat before the cookery class! There was so much food to eat, we barely made it to main course! You can however takeaway the rest of the food if you really can’t eat anymore!

Don’t worry about taking notes – you get a recipe book

* It may sound obvious but If you want to take pictures or video, make sure your batteries are charged! I thought my camera was fully charged until it died on me during the main course – I was so disappointed!

* As with many tours in Thailand, you will be picked up and dropped off at your accommodation.

3. Spend a day at an Elephant Sanctuary

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There are so many activities involving elephants in Chiang Mai. From elephant trekking through surrounding forests to training to be a mahout. Which ever you choose, research the company thoroughly as their ethics may not be so ethical! Avoid elephant camps that offer shows as the training for this is cruel and abusive. Also avoid riding elephants as this is done under coercion. We visited the Elephant Nature Park, a sanctuary for elephants rescued from exploitation and abuse. Read about our amazing experience with these wonderful animals.

4. Temple – Hop around Chiang Mai

Founded in 1296, Chiang Mai is overflowing with hundreds of temples that adorn this city. A legacy of the many Kings who built these treasures, a visit to a few temples can be a great opportunity to get a glimpse of Buddhist life and take in the rich history of these monuments.

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is a good place to start. Perched high on a mountain overlooking Chiang Mai, visiting Wat Suthep is a charming way to spend an afternoon admiring  golden Buddhas, historical murals and gleaming pagodas. Established in 1383, Wat Suthep is considered one of the most sacred temples, as it houses  what is believed to be one half of Buddhas shoulder bone. The other half is contained within a chedi in Wat Suan Dok temple.

Visit the International Buddhism Centre and enjoy the various programs that run daily for visitors. Why not take part in a monk chat – a great way of interacting with monks through an informal discussion where you get to ask questions and they get to practice their English! Monk chats run daily from 1-3pm. From meditation demonstrations to participating in chanting, it’s a great way to experience Buddhist life.

For those who want to fully immerse themselves in the experience, the centre runs various courses in meditation ranging from four days to three weeks. Be prepared for 5.00am wake up calls, a diet of only two meals a day and long periods of meditation and chanting!

5. Chiang Mai Markets

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If you’re looking for a bargain, there’s a market for every day of the week in Chiang Mai. They all offer different shopping experiences from the usual fake goods to the more authentic crafts.

Head towards the old walled city area and visit the huge Sunday Night Market or Walking Street as it’s called.  Extending from Tha Phae Gate to Ratchadamnoen Road, you’ll find stall after stall of souvenirs, clothes, handicrafts, jewellery and food.  Grab a bite to eat from the road side vendors in between browsing the thousands of goods on offer. We found prices of some goods compared favourably to Bangkok, but remember to bargain your way through the market and check your purchases before you buy.

Open every Sunday from 4.00pm to midnight.

Alternatively check out Chiang Mai Saturday Market or Wui Lai Market. Along with the usual fare, you’ll find silversmiths, wood carvings and various crafts with street entertainers and musicians thrown in to add to the lively atmosphere.  Like the Sunday market, the roads are closed to traffic making it easier to navigate your way round the market.

Open every Saturday from 4.00pm to midnight.

Warorot Market is open everyday and alive with locals who come here to do their shopping. You’ll find everything from fresh and dried food, electronics, flowers to ceramics, beauty supplies and condiments. The market is a combination of bustling indoor and outdoor stalls and around the side streets you’ll find unique textiles from the hill – tribe regions of Northern Thailand.

We loved Chiang Mai! It was a great place to recharge our batteries, plan the next few months of our travels, catch up with friends, eat lots of food, play with lots of elephants and see some amazing temples.

Have you been to Chiang Mai? Tell us about your top 5 things to do!

Chiang Mai – Take a Walk on the Wild Side at the Elephant Nature Park

Many years ago, I attended an extravagant wedding in India. The procession was lead by two enormous elephants embellished in vibrant colours, ornate headdresses and complete with mahouts on top. I remember walking in front of them, conscious of their huge presence behind me.

Each step the elephants took sent a vibration through the ground and through me. When one got spooked and trumpeted unexpectedly, several of us ran as fast as we could in a random direction – my heels and sari nearly sending me arse over elbow!  This amused the mahout and I think the elephant, because it reached out as I stepped gingerly back in line and gently held its trunk near my face. The magnificence of them was something to behold. To acknowledge. To respect.

Since that day I’ve always had a healthy respect and love for elephants. There’s just something about these animals that is just so awe-inspiring. They can be terrifying yet gentle, beautiful and bizarre all at once. They’re capable of complex emotions and behaviours just like us and of course they have the most adorable babies!

So when Asad and I had a chance to spend the day at the Elephant Nature Park we were so excited! This was going to be our chance to get up-close with these gentle giants.

Elephant Nature Park

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Situated in the Mae Taeng Valley, some 60km from Chiang Mai City, Elephant Nature Park was founded by Lek Chailert in the 1990’s. Lek has dedicated her life to the rescue and rehabilitation of  mistreated elephants used in the tourism and logging industries.

The project focuses on rescue, conservation and sustainability. Disabled, blind and orphaned elephants of all ages are cared for and left to roam in the forested surroundings of the park that spans about 250 acres. Free from the chains and shackles of abuse.

The Sad Story Behind Tourism and the Treatment of Elephants

Over the centuries across Asia, the elephant has been revered, worshipped and respected as a symbol of royal power and religious devotion. So why do you see so many elephants abused and exploited? It’s a contradiction that has plagued the fate of the elephants not only in Thailand but also in other countries such as Myanmar, where elephants are used for logging. The global demand for teak wood means illegal logging is rife, particularly in Northern Myanmar.  This has resulted in the gradual deforestation of one of the worlds most biologically diverse forests, not to mention the exploitation of these animals. Elephants used for logging are only protected for as long as this practice continues. Ban the logging and the future of hundreds of elephants is unknown. It’s an ironic cycle of exploitation.

In Thailand, the ban on logging in 1989 resulted in many elephants being abandoned or worse still killed. Many domesticated elephants ended up on the streets of Thailand, trained by keepers to beg for money or used in camps offering tourists a ride.  Although wild elephants are protected by Thai law, domesticated elephants are not and therefore vulnerable to the whims of their owners and subjected to horrendous abuse.

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Phajaan – Crushing the spirit

Thousands of tourists come to Thailand with the hope of seeing and interacting with elephants. Many dream of riding an elephant, unaware of the suffering these animals endure in order to be tamed and finally succumb to the fickle demands of its owner.

The saying that “an elephant never forgets” is the very reason why these animals suffer – through the barbaric ritual of Phajaan known as “the crush”, practiced all over Asia.

This involves elephant calves being forcibly taken from their mothers and restrained in a confined space for days on end. Here they are beaten with sticks, their skin pierced and hacked with bull-hooks. In a wretched condition they are starved and deprived of sleep until they lose the will to live. Until their spirit is crushed.

They live in constant fear of the memory of being stabbed, maimed and abused resulting in total submission.

I’ll be honest. I’ve ridden an elephant – in Chitwan, Nepal. A lot of people have. You don’t think it harms them as they are such huge animals, but it actually damages their spines. After learning so much at the Elephant Nature Park, I’ll never do it again. Looking back It wasn’t the experience I thought it was going to be. In fact, I felt guilty afterwards. I wasn’t aware of the practice of Phajaan, but now I know, I would never ride an elephant again. In fact I would consciously choose not to take part in any activity that perpetuates the exploitation of elephants.  I guess it’s easy for me to say this from the comfort of my western viewpoint as this issue is not as black and white as it seems. Not paying to ride elephants would result in the owners losing their source of income and being unable to look after themselves or the elephants.  Consequently the elephants may be abandoned or worse. Again, it’s a vicious cycle of exploitation.

Here is an interesting video that highlights the suffering of the elephants

A Magical Day with the Elephants

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Elephant Nature Park offers so many opportunities to spend time with elephants. From day visits to volunteer programs. It was easy to arrange the visit directly with them and they will collect you from your accommodation in Chiang Mai.

We kicked off our day by feeding the elephants from the viewing platform. It was great to see so many elephants come over to us and gently pick the fruit from our hands.

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We were taken to the food storage facilities where local workers and Burmese migrants worked to  prepare and chop the fruit to distribute to the elephants everyday.

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This was followed by a walk with the elephants to a platform by the river. Here we listened to the guide tell us personal stories of the elephants and how they were rescued from abuse and exploitation. Illegal capturing, brutal methods of taming elephants and exploitation in tourism were just a few of the many issues that we learned of.

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We spent a lot of time observing the elephants and it was great to see how they interacted socially with one another. These two were inseparable. If one of them left the other even for a few minutes, you knew about it! Did they trumpet loudly? Yes. did I run? Oh yeah! (Well they were running in my direction)! Mmm, there seems to be recurring theme here!

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After a buffet lunch, Asad and I got a chance to give the elephants a bath in the river.

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I remember the story about this poor old girl. Her hip broken by a male elephant who forcibly tried to mate with her.  She was then brought to the nature park for treatment but now apparently suffers with arthritis.

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The park is also a sanctuary for dogs, cats and buffalo!

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Feeding time again! In the afternoon, we watched the elephants feed then had a lesson on elephant anatomy and the diseases that affect them.

Our time at the Elephant Nature Park was so much fun. It gave us a chance to get close to these wonderful animals who after being treated so horrendously by humans still allowed us near them. It was great to learn so much about the plight of the Asian elephant and about the wonderful work carried out by staff and volunteers at the park.

For more information on how to visit or volunteer, visit the Elephant Nature Park website.

Chatuchak Weekend Market Survival Guide

Chatuchak Market is every shoppers dream. Imagine losing yourself in over 15,000 stalls spread over 35 acres, where thousands of shoppers flock to get their hands on anything from collectibles, clothes and fluffy dogs to furniture, handicrafts and silk. It’s all here, ready for the taking. All you need is a bit of patience and bargaining power.

So to get you started, here is a survival guide on how to make sure your dream trip to Chatuchak Market doesn’t turn into a nightmare!

1. Go with someone who loves shopping!

Now we’re all too aware of the pitfalls of tagging along a partner or friend who hates shopping! It usually results in either you going off on your own (slightly miffed) or you both end up going home empty-handed! (Even more miffed).  Chatuchak Market is likely to bring even the most dedicated shopper to their knees, so if you’re placed in this tricky position when your friend or partner wants to bail – take a break and hit one of the many bars for a well-earned Singha!  Or…just go with someone as crazy about shopping as you.

2. Get a map

Pick up a map from the market and discover there is a method to the madness of this place. One main walkway surrounds the entire market, branching off into a series of numbered alleyways called Soi 1, Soi 2 and so on. A lot of the alleyways look the same so its easy to get lost or forget where you saw something you liked. These alleyways are grouped into 27 sections. You’ll find a lot of stalls that sell the same type of stuff across many of these sections so it can get totally confusing as it all looks the same! The map is not great for detail, but gives you a rough idea of where everything is and comes in useful if you get lost.

3. Go early

Go early and avoid the afternoon crowds and heat. Bangkok is hot and humid at the best of times – a combination sure to sap your energy – so try to get there around 10.00. This way you’ve had a chance to look around before the hunger and heat get to you.

4. Take your time

There are so many stalls, you’ll be spoiled for choice. Take your time and if you have the stamina split your shopping over the two days. This way you can get a good idea of what’s on offer on day one, perhaps picking up a few must – haves, then return the next day for more. Browse through the mind-boggling array of stuff on offer. There’s some real collectables and unique pieces. Vintage clothes, Buddhist amulets, embroidered handicrafts and more.

Don’t get caught up in the excitement of it all and run around buying everything you see when you’ve only been there 20 minutes! Remember, the stuff you see, you’ll see elsewhere in the market as there’s a lot of overlap. If you really like what you see, bargain and buy it and don’t forget to check it over to make sure it’s in good condition.

5. Bargain

Do a few practice runs and get an idea of the best price that’s thrown around, then bargain from there. We usually offered 50% of the first offer, then negotiated again after that.  Don’t get frustrated if you don’t get the price you want. Remember it will still be cheaper than Europe.  If all else fails, do what everyone does  – walk away! This usually works and you’ll be offered a lower or more favourable price. Keep in mind the maximum you want to pay and stay cool.  Above all, enjoy the experience and do it with a sense of humour and a smile.

6. Use cash

What can i say, you’ll always get a better deal with cash. Have you ever bargained for ages for something and then pulled out your card? The look on the face of the seller is normally a sign that pulling out your card was not the best move on the chess board!

7. Enjoy the food and stay hydrated

Chatuchak Weekend Market by Deror Avi via Wikimedia Commons
Chatuchak Weekend Market by Deror Avi via Wikimedia Commons

There are so many places to eat and drink.  So after hours of trawling through the stalls, take a break, have a drink and graze your way through the day. You can have your fill of various soups, noodles or stir-fries along with a whole host of creatively made sweet and savoury snacks.

8. Leave those heels at home

There’s nothing worse than having sore feet to contend with when you’re on a mission to bring home the goods. Trust me, I’ve seen those pained expressions on the face of women who chose fashion over common sense! Wear comfortable shoes and you can walk for miles without those pesky blisters cramping your style.

9. Bring a backpack

It’ll be a lot easier to carry your stuff in a backpack than to lug lots of shopping bags around. Plus, in all the excitement, there’s more chance you’ll lose a bag along the way and only realise once you’ve left.  Yes, we’ve all had that sinking feeling! Carry the backpack on your front and you won’t have to worry about anyone sneakily reaching into a half-open bag to take that lovely bracelet you’ve just bought.

10. Be careful of pickpockets

It happens the world over and not just in Bangkok. Split your cash and carry it in your front pockets or backpack carried on your front. A good piece of advice we picked up on our travels was to get a tailor to sew a secret pocket inside your trousers, large enough to fit a passport or credit cards. This is great for long-term travel and means you don’t have to wear a money belt or carry a handbag.

Opening Hours

The weekend market is open on Saturdays and Sundays 09.00 – 18.00

Getting there

Take the SkyTrain (BTS) to Mo Chit or the Metro (MRT) to Suan Chatuchak station

27 sections of temptation!

Section 1  – Amulets, books, collectibles, food shops, café
Section 2 to 4 – Collectibles, home decor, paintings, terra-cotta
Section 5 to 6 – Clothes, adornments, miscellaneous products
Section 7 to 9 – Antiques, furniture, ceramics, handicrafts
Section 10 to 24 – Clothes, consumer products, adornments, household appliances, pets
Section 17 to 19 – Ceramics, fresh and dry food
Section 22 to 26 – Antiques, furniture, handicrafts
Section 27 – Books, food and dessert shops, collectibles

Useful websites

http://www.chatuchak.org

http://www.sawadee.com

Enjoy and happy shopping!

Top 10 things to do in Bangkok

Bangkok – a swirling metropolis with a futuristic edge. It’s as close as you can get to “Gotham City”. A sophisticated urban sprawl where huge shiny mega malls sit alongside street food stalls and sky trains thunder overhead on elevated rail tracks.

This international hub has a positively playful energy with its vibrant street life, flair for fashion and well-known cultural landmarks. As with most other asian cities, its hot, steaming streets are full of people, bustling markets, traffic and chaos. But scratch the surface of this place, wander through hidden lanes and you’ll discover this place is home to thousands of expats who work, live and play in this colourful city. Expect to have a pint down the pub in Sukhumvit or Sathorn, watch a game of football and enjoy a plate of fish ‘n’ chips.

As night falls, Bangkok takes on a new personality. This is play-time! Street food stalls come alive, steam billowing, enticing, fragrant. Night markets bustle with shoppers. Swanky hotels lure the in-crowd into their dimly lit minimalism and impressive rooftop bars – their revolving doors revealing 360 degree glimpses of well-dressed women holding stem glasses. Meanwhile, dangerously young girls lure the grey nomads into the neon-lit bars around Soi Cowboy. Blatant flirtation, cheeky one liners, petite toned bodies – a sexy Thai smile.  Look closely – she was a man! Food stalls by day, pop-up mini-bars by night.

Welcome to Bangkok!

1. The Grand Palace

 

No visit to Bangkok is complete without a trip to see The Grand Palace. The epitome of Thai architecture, the palace dazzles and glitters in all its ethereal splendour drawing crowds of tourists aswell as  devout Buddhists from all over the world.

Built in 1782 on the order of King Buddha Lodfa Chulaloke (Rama I), the palace was the official residence of the monarchy until 1925. Today it is used for royal ceremonies and state functions. You need time to visit this temple. Explore the many courts and pavilions, leisurely stroll through the beautifully landscaped gardens and if the heat doesn’t get to you  – be inspired by the murals of the ancient story of the Ramayana that span a whopping kilometre through the arcades.

Situated within the walls of the palace is the much revered Wat Phra Kaew or Temple of the Emerald Buddha – a gilded chapel that houses an image of a jade Buddha, 66cm tall. Sitting on top of a high golden alter, the Buddha is ceremoniously draped in robes three times a year. Only the King is allowed to perform this sacred duty.

2. Wat Pho – Home To The Reclining Buddha

Home to the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, the largest Buddha in Bangkok, Wat Pho is not only one of the oldest temples in Thailand but also the birthplace of traditional Thai massage. Considered the first public university of Thailand, Wat Pho was established by King Rama III as the centre for education, teaching students in the fields of science, religion and literature. Today it stands as an established school of massage where anyone can go to learn this well-respected and renowned aspect of Thai wisdom. Treat yourself to a massage or learn the art yourself!

Measuring in at 46m long and 15m high, the gold-plated image of Buddha dominates the length of the hall it lies in. Illustrating the passing of Buddha into Nirvana, the Buddha serenely reclines, his feet adorned with mother of pearl displaying 108 symbolic characteristics of Buddha.

Visit www.watpomassage.com for more information on massage courses and prices.

3. Wat Arun – Temple of Dawn

Sitting on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, the Khmer style tower of Wat Arun has every tourist frantically reaching for their camera as they speed past on the many cross – river ferries that herd them to this beautiful site.

Named after the Indian God of Dawn  – Aruna, Wat Arun was built during the first half of the 19th century by Rama II and completed by Rama III. Decorated with intricate floral mosaics made of Chinese porcelain, Wat Arun is a colourful salute to the diversity of Thai architecture.

Pay a visit in the afternoon when you can enjoy the architecture by day and wait for a glorious sunset that really shows off this national treasure.

4. Chatuchak Weekend Market

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View of the outside of Chatuchak Market

This is one of the biggest markets in the world and should be at top of every serious shoppers list. Even if you don’t buy anything from here, which is a virtual impossibility, you just have to experience the sheer size of this place and the amazing diversity of goods on offer.

It’s certainly one of the most impressive I’ve ever seen and as it’s a weekend market it gives you plenty of opportunity to split your days and take it easy instead of running around like crazy.

With over 15,000 stalls you can buy anything from antiques and handicrafts, fashion and food to homeware, pets and plants. This market will have you begging for more! Read our survival guide on how to get through a whole weekend of shopping and beat the heat which can if you’re not careful, cut short every shoppers dream date with this iconic market!

5. Floating Markets

Get away from the urban sprawl and get an alternative shopping fix by visiting one of the many floating markets that Bangkok has to offer.

Damneon Saduak Floating Market in Ratchaburi is one of the most famous – and you can tell. Expect crowds, as this place is one of the most photographed markets around. You’ll see it on almost every postcard!  It’s colourfully chaotic and if you arrive super early to avoid the package tourists spilling out of long-tailed boats, you’ll discover this market reveals a nostalgic taste of traditional Thai culture in days gone by.

Vendors paddle up and down narrow canals with boats laden with anything from fruit and  vegetables to flowers, handbags and tasty snacks. Lining the waterways are endless rows of shops where you can get hold of handicrafts and souvenirs.  Just make sure you bargain hard for that Buddha you’ve always wanted!

6. Khao San Road

Love it or hate, this hippie hang out is a 1km strip of backpacking budget heaven.  Full of cheap guesthouses and hotels, restaurants, bars, massage parlours, market stalls and more, Khao San Road does little to apologise for its stereotypical image of truth – seeking inhabitants. But I guess, why should it?  Enjoy the chilled out, carefree bohemian vibe. Hang out, or if you’ve drunk too much – just hang! Get a foot massage, buy cheap clothes, eat cheaper than cheap Pad Thai and lose in yourself in a book about self discovery. Why not?

7. Chinatown

This 1km strip of restaurants, market stalls and gold shops continues to pull in the tourists. At night the neon signs light up the colourful Chinese characters as the crowds come to dine and take in the energy of this very vibrant community. Come here during Chinese New year and see it at its best when the street comes alive with dragon dancers, exploding firecrackers and families enjoying decadent Chinese banquets.

8. Go Shopping

Bangkok is famous for it’s multi-storeyed, ultra modern and sleek shopping malls that offer a much-needed air-conditioned alternative to the street-side market stalls.

Here you can find fashion stores, global brands, accessory outlets, bookshops, high tech gadgets and luxury designer lifestyle goods.

One of our favourites was Terminal 21 on Sukhumvit Road – a relatively recent addition to the already impressive list of megamalls. With over 600 shops, Terminal 21 brings global fashion together under one roof. Stroll down London’s Carnaby St and by some edgy t-shirts, browse through Istanbul’s souk or walk through Tokyo and bag yourself some quirky dresses.

Terminal 21 is also great for food. Thai, Japanese, Chinese, Malaysian, Korean – the list is endless and there’s something to suit all tastes and pockets with the food court a good option if you’re really on a travellers budget. After you’ve indulged in some tasty treats, check out the latest film release at the cinema situated here.

9. Eat your way through Bangkok

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Think of Bangkok, think of food heaven! Think of the streets and restaurants as a journey into all things delicious! There is so much choice here, I guarantee deciding what to eat will become a confusing challenge.  Thai street food or dim sum? Malaysian Laksa or Japanese Curry?  Add to that options for deciding where to eat are limitless; budget friendly food courts, riverside eateries, food markets, dinner cruises, teak houses – its mind-boggling. But whatever you decide, you can be sure that the journey will be both inspiring and utterly blissful!

10. Take a hike!

That’s right – you heard! Take a hike! Walk, stroll, saunter, meander – however you like to travel on foot, there’s nothing like discovering a city more intimately then walking through it.

Turn down an unfamiliar lane, stumble upon a hidden alleyway or take the wrong turn and experience new sights and sound. New neighbourhoods. Linger, slow down, look around you, let your senses heighten – there’s an excitement to everyday life!

The street is the heart of any city and it deserves to be experienced on foot. There’s no justice to it if you commute across and by-pass all the life taking place there. You’re missing out on so much.  Be part of the action, part of the crowd that makes up the vibrant, multi-ethnic city of Bangkok.

 What’s your favourite place in Bangkok?