We got to our AirBnB and waiting for us were Jessica and Joe! The Pudneys were now matched in numbers with the Qerimis – success! We were back up to six people, so could claim the prestigious title of Blazin’ Squad once more. There was much hugging and happiness.
For Jessica and Joe’s first morning in Bangkok, we went to a floating market. It was a pretty local affair, hardly touched by tourists, which was nice. Joe and Jessica wanted some fruit and they accidentally bought Durian, which meant they had to try it. Tia (no surprise) liked it, while everyone else was normal and didn’t. Jessica kind of contorted her face into a weird don’tlikeitlikeit face, so was on the fence. We checked out the Museum of Siam which was great to look at, but the message was quite confusing. It was letting us know that Myanmar was very confused until Thailand turned up to save the day. The museum went on to say, ‘Hey, Myanmar has doctors, lecturers, thinkers. It’s not just a bunch of Neanderthals in caves, you silly billys.’ It was weirdly saying they’re not prejudice against Myanmar, and attempting to big them up, but at the same time being massively discriminatory. It seemed that Thailand felt as though they were Myanmar’s older brother who put a shoulder around them and said, ‘you’re alright, kid.’ That night I ate a frog.
The next morning, my sadness grew so much greater as we had to say goodbye to Tia. Through my crusty, half open, morning eyes we bid farewell, and as I cried into my pillow, I realised this was the last day I would have with Nico too. It was all becoming too sickening to take. We were down to The Black Eyed Peas.
The Myanmar/Thailand ‘we’re all brothers and sisters’ exhibition.
The floating market.
Stage one of Durian tasting. Tia asked 1000 questions in relation to it.
Nico not a fan.
Joe, meanwhile, was quietly dying in the corner from devil’s fruit.
It was down to Ednora, Jessica, Joe, and yours truly. We hired a car in Chiang Mai and headed to Pai. Joe was crying with utter pleasure as he tackled each bend, begging for the long and winding roads to never cease. We stopped off at lots of different temples, one of them being 200 steps up into a cave, which was great. The next spot was one of the best waterfalls I’ve ever seen. It was one where you could climb up through lots of different avenues as it flowed onto you; it was loads of fun but tricky, although the local kids made it look like an evening stroll. It was like when you go skiing and you’re snow ploughing all the way down, terrified, and then a group of five year olds shoot past you as though they’re qualifying for the Winter Olympics – that’s what it felt like. We had lunch at a local market along the road and saw some honey for sale, along with fried cockroaches and other assorted bugs. We confirmed that it was honey after the ladies selling it all made bee sounds. I made the standard buzzing of a bee confirm it was, in fact, honey. Perhaps bees in Thailand sound different to what we know, but these women were making some bizarre noises, trying to be bees. The sounds were more like sirens from emergency service vehicles, or the three minute warning.
We stopped off at a quaint little coffee spot and, on the theme of bees, there was a bee hive inside the side of her house. She extracted the honey and sold it, which we thought was a pretty cool thing to have in your walls.
On the prowl for some waterfalls.
Cool stuff in Pai.
A dry waterfall.
The cool coffee place.
Where the bees live in the side of the lady’s house.
We were up early to head to Lod cave, which we had to enter on a narrow raft. There were thousands of bats above us, and hundreds of big catfish in the lake we floated along, and also a rather large spider on my bag, which our glorious leader (the guide) helped us remove. After exiting the cave, covered in bat shit, we spent the rest of the day exploring. We came across a few more caves, a nice trek, and a strawberry field, where they sold strawberry wine. We also visited a land split where, in 2008, there was a big earthquake which split the land, and is still there today.
The next day we headed back to Chiang Mai to catch a flight to Krabi. We stopped off at the Pai Grand Canyon but Joe called it out, ‘hang on a minute, this is no canyon, this is a ridge!’ He was furious, the deceit of it had hurt him. We visited King Rama Park which was eerily desolate, but round the back of this was the Tribal Museum:
The North Thai tribes are many: Yeo, Hmong, Akha, Lisu, Lahu, Lua, Mlabei and Karen tribes.
The Hmong are the largest tribal minority in South East Asia, who grow opium as a source of income.
In the Yao tribe, you can marry your cousin.
The Akha tribe have a gate at every village and when you walk through, you leave the evil spirits behind.
The Lisu tribe have no actual leader, just a collection of families all working collaboratively.
On the way out of the Tribal Museum we took a rather narrow route. We weighed up the situation as the road appeared to get smaller and smaller. However, our fearless leader, Ednora, made the call, ‘Let’s risk it for a chocolate biscuit!’ Twelve seconds later we had scraped the side of the car. Fear not though, reader, we returned the vehicle and got away with it upon inspection. We had survived paying for a new paint job.
It looks like a booby, tehehe.
Look at us, larking about outside the cave. We’re so much fun, larking.
We headed for a second cave, but couldn’t find an entrance. The scenery was stunning though.
A self-service petrol station which looks like a vending machine.
This was the bit where we realised it had swallowed our money and we weren’t getting it back.
Krabi & Koh Phi Phi
We flew to Krabi and spent only one night there. The hostel we were staying at put on a Twister competition, you know, one of those games where you have to be flexible. Naturally, Joe and I were out pretty quick, but Jessica and Ednora won it!! As a reward, they got a bucket of booze and two free t-shirts. Legends.
The best thing about Koh Phi Phi was that it had no cars, which meant there were no cab drivers to annoy us! We made our way over to Long beach which had a tiny island, called Shark Island, just off the coast, and you know what we saw when snorkelling there…that’s right, sharks! There were loads of Black Tip Sharks and it was an incredible feeling to be swimming alongside them.
The next day we hired some kayaks and went to monkey beach. There were a load of macaque monkeys there, and one woman was foolish enough to leave her bag unattended. It didn’t take long for the monkeys to rifle through her gear, and as she tried to save her belongings, the monkeys went for her. It took a lot of sand kicking to finally get them away from her stuff. The rangers on guard looked on and did nothing, which was nice. That night we caught a fire show which was great, unless you’re Jessica, who didn’t like it because nobody was burnt nor killed… That same night we went to a Muay Thai Boxing event where western idiots took to the ring to box for a bucket of vodka. They were usually pissed up, so pretty numb to any impact shots, and most of the time, if there was a knockout, you just assumed they were dead. What westerners will do for a beer, eh?
The next day was going to be, for Joe and I, a life box ticker. We went diving! Our instructor, the Sophster, was a great teacher and got us prepped in no time. We had two dives and saw some incredible things. I would recommend it to EVERYONE. You felt so weightless, and swimming underneath boats, looking up at the world, was the most surreal experience. It was the closest you could feel walking on the moon, I would imagine.
On our way to Chiang Mai airport.
Pudney’s limbs being called into action.
This picture has made me realise how long and incredibly slender my arm is.
The Twister champs.
Ednora dominating Kaboo.
Jessica pumped about going to go snorkelling with Sharks.
Excited about somefin, Joe? Lolololololololroflroflrofllmaolmao.
Until tomorrow, sharks, until tomorrow.
We hired kayaks for the day.
There were so many coves.
Ednora leading the crew.
Just building a cock, and a powerful cock it was.
The stage for the drunk westerner.
Dirty Sanchez have been here!
We went diving!
Jessica managing to find some confusion in the process.
Off he goes. What a lad.
This picture has made me realise how long and incredibly slender my leg is.
A two hour ferry ride took us to Koh Lanta, the sleepier island of the two. We went for dinner at a lovely restaurant and our waitress had an injury, we asked what it was, and, lo, a motorbike crash. We told her about perhaps wearing a helmet, now that she had had a bad experience, but she laughed at us like we were nutters. She then said that her daughter would drive her around for the time being, but then swiftly moved on to inform us that her daughter was fat. She laughed, and we awkwardly laughed along. We said that that wasn’t the nicest thing to say, but then she reassured us that it was fine, she just ate too much. We thought it was over until she actually called her daughter out of the kitchen. Her daughter stood in front of us, said hello, and then her mum pointed at her and called her fat. How we all laughed, even the daughter was laughing. She said, ‘I’m not pregnant, I just eat too much!’ And then we all laughed again. It was nice, all laughing along…
We got back to our room and in our bathroom was a toad. Ednora helped to remove it by screaming and running onto the bed. I took a bin and my red towel, and, looking nothing short of a matador, ushered it out of the villa. I was extremely impressed with myself, even though it took two hours. That night we slept soundly, toadless, or so we thought…
It was time for another cave. This one was called Pai Kaew and it was an adventure cave. There were lots of tight spots to crawl through, and some of the biggest spiders I’ve ever seen, which made it all the more exhilarating. Joe’s fear of spiders was put to the test, and he passed with flying colours, apart from the sobbing. When we stopped for lunch, it turned out that the Prince had been on the island too, and was heading back to mainland. Security was so tight that you couldn’t even cross the road 30 minutes before he came past in his 20 cars. It was odd, we hadn’t seen any police whatsoever in Thailand, but as soon as one of the royal family were knocking about, the cops were everywhere. Upon further exploring the island, we saw some elephants just chilling out, then a ‘handler’ hit one in the head with his stick, for no reason, then asked Jessica and Ednora whether they wanted to ride on it. Why anyone would want to ride on elephants kept as slaves when seeing the way they are treated, I will never understand.
We got back to the room and all was well and good until we went into the bathroom. Three toads! It was what can only be described as a small army. Once we (I had to call in Joe, the man of the group) had ushered these gits out, we barricaded what we thought was their route in.
The next day I was feeling slightly under the weather. Have no fear though fair reader, it didn’t hold the others back. They enjoyed another cave and then went to an animal sanctuary where Ednora is convinced she picked up fleas. And guess what happened that night, another toad! They‘re like ninjas!
The next day was our last in Thailand, so we headed back to Bangkok to leave Jessica and Joe there for a few more days. Thailand was a fantastic experience like no other, because we had so many friends and family visit. It was exhausting, but well worth spending time with so many incredible humans. Thailand was a great place for such an experience, so well set up for tourists. If there was something you wanted to do in Thailand – anything – this country could provide it. Next stop, Laos!
Surrounded by spiders, Joe still managed to give us a smile.
Jessica making friends with a kid.
Ednora stealing the same kid’s bike.
Puds cutting a lonely figure as he felt he was going to throw up. Please don’t worry about me though, fair reader, Puds recovered.
As Puds rested up to recover (worry not, fair reader), the others went to an animal sanctuary and took the dog, Lanta, for a walk.
We checked out some nice beaches in Koh Lanta too.