Saturday, May 14, 2011


Walkabout returns! I have just left Thailand for Cambodia and had a pretty awesome time although I have barely scratched the surface of this beautiful country. I landed in Bangkok after a thoroughly exhausting series of flights and bus rides, first the road trip from Capetown to Jo'burg via Durban followed by a flight to Mumbai and then another to BKK, Thailand.
Having done no research on Thailand and leaving my guidebook back in Gib I was pleasantly surprised to see that I arrived on the second day of Songkran, the traditional Thai new year festival. This is the setting for some absolute madness all over Thailand as one of the main rituals on these three days is effectively a country-wide waterfight! Not a bad thing as this is one of the hottest months here and a regular drenching is often a relief although all electronic gear needs to be kept well wrapped in plastic as even the word soaked feels like an understatement compared to what happens here. As well as walking around the streets armed with all manner of water pistols (or ice cold buckets of water) there are plenty of pickup trucks roaming the city making sure no person can miss out and stay dry. I met some lovely people in my first days in Bangkok and we spent a few days checking out the drinking in various parts of the city.

During my first week I also spent some time mooching around the ridiculously huge shopping malls - they are like nothing I have ever seen before, seven or more floors of shopping madness where you can find almost anything you could want (real or fake).
I used my time in Bangkok as a long rest after all the moving around I have had to do recently so I am sad to say I avoided seeing most of the sights that I feel I should have gone to. Rather I spent much of my time hanging around the Backpacker bar and having some very late nights out at Bangkok's night clubs some of which are very impressive. Two of note were Spicy and Insomnia both of which close around six in the morning leaving some very tired and inebriated people to find their way home in the heat of the morning sun.
One of my greatest joys was discovering that the Thais are also football obsessed and combining that with bars that are open 24 hours around Khao San resulted in some great nights watching the recent Liverpool resurgence under Kenny Daglish (19th to 5th place and suddenly we even have a chance of European football again!). Liverpool also seem to be the most supported team in Thailand for reasons I cannot really fathom - apart of course from the obvious fact they are awesome.

On one of my nights out I met an Israeli girl called Shia who has a lot of contacts in Pattaya and suggested that if I headed down there she would be able to get me a discount on the diving course I want to do. So there it was, after two weeks of doing not much at all it was time to move to Pattaya - possibly the maddest place I have ever been to in my life. Up until 1961 this was a small peaceful fishing village, however that year a group of about 100 American GI's went there for some R&R during the Vietnam war. This trend continued for some time resulting in a den of iniquity that now attracts some four million visitors a year. There are many retired Europeans living here and it seems the Russians have moved in big time with every second sign in Russian.

The night life is absolutely insane with many gogo bars and nightclubs and it is hard to find anywhere to have a quiet pint! I would have left after a couple of days I think except for one thing, while wandering around the first night I popped in to a bar with a pool table and challenged a very cute girl who was playing there to a game. We started talking and it turns out she is a manager of one of the places there. After a fun evening we agreed to meet up the next evening and then the one after and. . . Anyway there went my touring of Thailand! Before I knew it my first month in Thailand was up and it was time to head out so I can fly back in at the end of May to get another month visa. I picked Cambodia as my next destination and by the 12th was in a shared van on my way to Aranya Prathet on the Thai-Cambodia border. I will have to make up for my laziness with some serious travelling when I get back next month!

1 comment:

  1. welcome back! Good to hear you are still on the go and enjoying what you are doing! Who would'nt!