It was brilliant to be back in Bangkok and back on Khao San Road. We planned to stay a couple of nights before catching an overnight train to Chiang Mai to see Joey’s brother and nephew. The first night we indulged in the Khao San Road tradition and got very drunk on cheap buckets. The next day was recovery day and wandering around. We popped back to our guesthouse and walked up the stairs. I managed to get all the way to the top two or three steps and then tripped up (not unusual for me) only this time I landed very awkwardly, straining my wrist and shoulder. Luckily we had packed a first aid kit so we bandaged and strapped me up and prepared for a night on the overnight train. I wasn’t too happy about this though. Poor Joey had to carry both of our rucksacks as well.
The train ride to Chiang Mai was very comfortable and smooth and I actually slept for most of it. We arrived at our guesthouse and set off to explore the town. We’d arranged to meet Joey’s brother the next day, this would be my first time meeting him and I had my arm in a sling! I was in a lot of pain but put on a brave face before heading to a pharmacy the next day to get my arm properly bandaged.
We met up with Joey’s brother again the next day and headed to the hills for a lovely lunch.
We had a week booked in Chiang Mai and it was a great time to chill, explore the night markets and develop a love of Sizzlers, the Thai equivalent of a Harvester, only with unlimited desserts too! We tended to walk most places but after our trip to Sizzlers we resembled the penguins of Patagonia and hopped in a Songthaew back to our place. We took a trip to a temple in the hills during which we had to shelter from a large thunderstorm. I’d obviously run out of clean clothes at this point as the photos show me wearing Joey’s socks!
Soon it was time to get on our last night bus and head to the coast and back to Cha-am for our last month. This bus was probably my favourite of all of the night buses we had experienced as the seats featured heated massagers and we stopped at 1am for a meal that was included in the price of the ticket! A very odd experience to be eating in the middle of the night, but when in Thailand…
We soon settled into the room we’d booked for a month and spent the last month relaxing on the beach, topping up our tans and applying for jobs for when we came back to the UK.
Whilst we were in Cha-am it was the Thai new year celebration of Songkran, this is one of the most important festivals of the Thai year and comprises of offerings and prayers at temples, parades, but most famous of all, water fights! The throwing of water symbolises cleansing of the past year and is thought to bring good luck and prosperity for the year ahead. You may also get white powder applied to your face which is also a sign of protection and to ward off bad luck. Cha-am was an extremely good natured place to witness this and to get involved in the activities with the locals.
All too soon it was time to head back to Bangkok for our final two days. Back to Khao San Road of course, only this time we spent one day exploring the Grand Palace and Wat Pho, the home of the reclining Buddha.
It’s hard to comprehend just how much we had seen over eight months, we totalled up some stats and worked out that we had achieved the following:
Visited 11 countries
Stayed in over 50 towns and cities
Spent over 277 hours on buses (that’s 11 and a half days straight)
Flew for 81 hours
Passed 51 hours on trains
There were times when it was tough, moments where you questioned what you were doing. Most of these moments were experienced when I was ill and the loo didn’t have a seat, but would I do it again? Absolutely! And that is exactly what we are doing in a few weeks.
India we’re ready for you!