The Jungle train was fantastic, even if for the first hour we were practically thrown about the place, only to be told the suspension was broken!! We moved down a carriage, which was much comfortable.
After crossing the border into Thailand we boarded our train to Surat Thani where we got our over-night ferry to Koh Samui complete with cockroaches which as we were sleeping on the floor didn’t please us (Anna!) too much.
Our beach hut at World Resort on Koh Samui was amazing, complete with swimming pool, spa and restaurant which were all real luxuries for us. The first night there we booked a speed boat trip over to Koh Phangan where we joined thousands of people for the Full Moon Party (photos to follow). Despite the stormy weather it was an amazing and surreal experience, people dancing everywhere, huts/stalls set up all along the beach selling drinks, fire breathers/jugglers, fire skipping ropes and a fire slide which Wayne went down. By midnight, after thousands more had joined, the party was packed and pretty crazy, even people going swimming in the sea!! The journey back was pretty chaotic though, with everyone trying to board the speedboats at once. It was a bit scary at times, but we got back safely at about 5-5:30am.
The next day we spent relaxing and sunbathing, in fact relaxing a bit too much as Wayne managed to jump in the swimming pool and after a few minutes realised that his iPhone was in his pocket, and to top it off an arm from his glasses came loose and lost the screw!! But after a couple of days of drying out the iPhone it’s now working, and Wayne has temporarily fixed his glasses with a paper-clip!
We then left the exotic Koh Samui for the hustle and bustle of Bangkok by night train which was a very different experience. The seats on the train folded out to make the bottom bunk and the top one folded out from the ceiling. They were pretty narrow though! And we got woken up at 5am for ‘breakfast’ if you could call it that. Not sure the Thai definition of toast means that the bread actually has to be toasted!!
When we arrived in Bangkok station we decided to wait for bus number 53 to take us to Khao San road - where all the bars restaurants and market stalls were. Our hostel was situated two streets away from Khao San. We eventually found ‘NapPark’ – our hostel and were very impressed with it! Bangkok was definitely one of the liveliest places we’ve visited. After visiting the temples through the day, we would browse the market stalls and relax with a cheap but nice and cold beer! We managed to get used to the constant hassling of the tuk tuk drivers wanting to take us to where we were going! And we also managed to practise our haggling skills and we’re pros now! Well we think we’ve got the knack anyway! On the Saturday we were there we didn’t realise that it was Election Day and unfortunately with all the previous trouble there has been in Bangkok, they banned alcohol which we were a bit gutted about! But the second night it was banned, bars just decided to serve it in paper cups instead! Very sneaky!
We also started taking the malaria tablets in preparation for Cambodia whilst we were in Bangkok as well which often caused Anna to have weird dreams and talk in her sleep! Not sure all the other 22 roommates found it quite so funny though!
Coincidently we also bumped into a family that had been staying at our hotel in Koh Samui, in Bangkok! How strange!
Our next journey, to Siem Reap in Cambodia, wasn’t one we were looking forward to after reading stories about the many scams, pickpockets and bag snatchers. After finally getting to the Bangkok Bus Station we got the bus to the Thai/Cambodian border, the first scam was getting you to buy your Cambodian visa, normally £15, for £20-£25. Luckily we had already bought ours back home, first one avoided. The second one was after Thai passport control, the Cambodian visa officers would scam you out of more money if you bought your visa at this point, avoided. Third scam was the transportation from Poiphet to Siem Reap, many different scams of touts claiming to taxi or bus you there cheaply, but then take you to a Hostel/Guesthouse to get commission, but we had already reserved ours so demanded to be taken there.
Hopefully another update later today.