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where our hearts lie...

sunny 32 °C
View RTW - Part 1 (Russia, Mongloia, China, S/E Asia) on RosiePony's travel map.

Bangkok. The City that never sleeps, where you hear the cry of 'Thaiiii masssaaaaagggggeeeee' (think high pitched whine) on ever street corner and you hear the croak of those annoying wooden frogs the old 'ladies' (loosley used in this instance) insist on trying to sell you as they follow in your footsteps down the street! Would i have it any other way?! Not at all...here again after 1.5 yrs and its great!
We bit the bullet and stayed on Kho San road (the famous Backpackers street) which was alot busier than i expected given all the political unrest the country has seen recently. We were travelling with two of the girls (Ash and Ags) from our original meeting in Vietnam, whilst the rest of the bunch had headed into Laos. 4 nights in BKK exploring the markets, China Town and other seedier parts of the city (gulp!), all the while comparing it to our last visit, as you do...
It is no less tiresome travelling through bangkok, trying to say 'no' to Tuk Tuk drivers, although they have got much better at being honest about how many 'stop offs' they want you to have in order of reducing your Tuk Tuk bill (usually at tailors or gem shops - or both - where you spend 15 mins or so being talked to by a shop assistant who is trying to convince you the clothes you had made in vietnam were really not as good quality as the ones he can make for you - at a much cheaper price!). After all the pretence of feigning interest at said gems and cloth, onward to our final destination!
As the girls were leaving to catch the others up in Laos, we stumbled across a dive/travel shop the owner of which got us interested in a few trips, one of which was a PADI scuba diving course down south on one of 'the Islands'. Well since we were heading there soon anyway we thought we'd get a great deal in Bangkok beforehand...
Which was exactly what we got :) We arrived via a bus-ferry-taxi ride from BKK to Ban Ko Tao (Turtle Island) spending the first day relaxing in our Bay (Chalok Baan Kao Bay) on the beach. This was followed with 4 days of learning to scuba dive and taking 4 open water dives - including a 'James Bond' somersault into the sea

...as well as under water dancing and other tasks, plus an exam...Phew, we passed with flying colours and the next step was to decide what 'fun dives' we wanted to do...whilst contemplating getting a Thai massage (or two).
Then of course, because nothing had gone wrong for a while, I got a cut in my ear (whilst trying to equalise underwater for diving) so had to go on anti-biotics for 5 days. 5 days out of the water killed! In this time we took the opportunity to do a 2 day Visa Run to Burma (Mayanmar) which was....nice. So whilst we sunbathed on the beach and read, it was so hard not diving! We obviously knew we had 'the bug' so arranged to start our Advanced Open Water course as soon as my ear healed. This was a 2 day course, which we had 5 dives in; day 1 was our deep dive (down to 30m), then our Peak Performance Bouyancy dive, followed by a night dive (gulp!). Day 2 was our navigation dive as well as an underwater photography dive for me and a Fish ID dive for Jon. We thouroughly enjoyed the experience and cannot wait to go diving again!


After our time on Ban Ko Tao, we headed back the way we came to Bangkok, where through the same agent we booked on a 2 day 'Gibbon Experience' near Pattaya. We were picked up ina lush van that had full reclining seat so we could sleep - cushions supplied - and since there was only Jon and I being picked up, we did just that! We arrived at the Camp in the Jungle (actually it's a zoo with accommodation to one side - but a BIG zoo) and were immediatley signed in etc, and taken to the 'Flight of the Gibbon', a 3 hour zip line trail through the jungle with two guides. There were 8 of us in total, the other people were Russian (although they kept themselves to themselves and didn't seem impressed we had visited their country when they found out during lunch!). Now I confess, I am scared of falling off tall things. Its not so much the tallness or the view, more of the falling/jumping unsecure-ness feeling. So this was going to be a real challenge for me!
In actual fact it wasn't. You are attatched to a safety line at all times, so even if you fall you cannot actually fall. the Guides hook you on and off the zip lines, all very professional and safe. and it was so much FUN! I highly reccommend it! once that was over, we had lunch then just Jon and I were taken to the zoo where we were given a golf cart to drive around in (that is how big the zoo was!). Guess who got to drive?! Yep, me! And i loved every minute of it - even the bit where we got chased by a monkey because he spotted us snacking on some crisps - they can run fast but golf cars dont go THAT fast!!!
after the zoo we went to our accommodation - a tent. But not just an ordinary tent. Oh no! It was an air-conditioned tent, with fridge etc - best nights sleep Jon and I had in all our travelling! It was a 4/5 star resort and Jon and I were the only people staying there!! Brill! after freshening up, we went on our night safari, which was took 3 ppl to complete - one to drive, one to sit ontop of the (opem sided) bus in the rain and shine the spot light and one to be our guide. we were even lucky enough to play with a 3 month old bear-cat that just wanted to sit on our shoulders and climb about us whilst sniffing us - very cute (and free)!
The next day we started with 'The Jungle Gym' - a fun obstacle course made of zip lines, ropes, rope swings etc ... we loved it so much we completed it twice! After that we had lunch then we were off back to BKK for a chance meet up with the boys who had come back from Laos (the girls were back in the UK by now). Then we caught our flight and flew home to the UK...

Posted by RosiePony 13:33 Archived in Thailand Tagged backpacking

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