South East Asia

Buckets of cocktails

On arrival at Buenos Aires airport we checked in, and having shown our Yellow Fever Certificates for the first time (high five!) we were extremely grateful to be given exit row seats. Not that I would have been much good in an actual emergency, as thanks to a drop of the liquid tramadol that I had been given in Colombia, I managed to sleep through take off. We left Argentina at 9.30pm on a Monday, and after a re-fuel at Rio and another routing via Dubai we landed in Bangkok at midday on Wednesday. Not sure what happened to Tuesday to be honest.

We hadn’t booked any accommodation, which demonstrated how far mentally I had come on this journey. Prior to meeting Joey and travelling, I needed to have everything planned out in advance, and a holiday would have normally involved a typed itinerary stating where I was staying, where I’d eat that night, and what activities I’d do that day.

God what a miserable existence I must have had!

Here I was not at all bothered at another 31 hours of travel time to a unknown continent and the lack of pre booked accommodation.

We hopped in a cab to the backpacker mecca of Khao San Road. Leonardo DiCaprio’s character in The Beach describes Khao San Road as the centre of the backpacking universe. This is pretty true as, love it or hate it, you will generally end up here at some point in your travels. It is a great point from which to book onward travel, meet other travellers and eat some scorpion on a stick.

Personally we love it there. The trick is to stay a few streets away so you are not kept up all night but can still reach the action easily. We traipsed around a few places and found somewhere reasonable to stay that met our requirements. We then headed off to explore and grab some lunch. I never learn from jet lag, but I am fine until I sit down and have something to eat. It’s at this point that my body gives up and I start dozing off into my food. So I headed back and caught up on some sleep, probably the worst thing I could do as it threw my body clock out for days, I was awake in the middle of the night and sleeping in the day. It’s at these times when 7/11 is your saviour. If you have never been to Thailand then you will never know the joy of going to 7/11 in the middle of the night for a toasted sandwich. Like Khao San Road these are source of much derision, but whether you are drunk, hungover or jet lagged nothing beats a 7/11 toastie.

We spent a couple of nights in Bangkok before heading to Cha-am, a quiet seaside town 3 hours south, where we were to meet up with Joey’s parents. Joey’s eldest brother lives in Chiang Mai with his wife and Joey’s only nephew and Joey’s parents go over each year to visit.

Cha-am is not a traditional backpacker destination, it is however a popular destination for retired Scandinavians to visit each winter. It is close to Hua Hin, a former destination of the Thai Royal Family. Cha-am lacks the shopping mall and cinema of Hua-Hin, but is a perfect place to relax for a few days or weeks, away from the chaos of other parts of Thailand. There is a huge night market on a Wednesday by the railway station which is worth a visit. Whilst there is not a backpacker scene as such, there is a lively street full of bars. We spent a blissful five days relaxing on the beach and catching up with the ‘rents.

Cha-am’s biggest draw for me has to be that the sun rises over the beach. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, but I love mornings and sunrises, add in a beach and I’ve found the place I want my ashes scattered.

We then headed back to Bangkok and of course, Khao San Road for a night, before catching a bus to Siem Reap in Cambodia.

Read all about our time in Cambodia here

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