I arrived in Bangkok from Laos on the 22nd of December. I stayed in Kao San Road for 10 days. Big mistake! I may well have been in London or any other major western city. It was full of drunk tourists 24/7. Christmas was good and so was New Years eve, though the fireworks were a bit disappointing. One day a German guy called Dennis and I got up early and headed out of the city to visit a floating market. Although it was very set up for tourists it was still fun. On the way up the river in our boat our driver crashed into a house on stilts and destroyed the boats roof! It was hilarious! He was so embarrassed as he probably made the trip 10 times a day. He set to work repairing the roof as we waited on the river bank. We told him it was better without the roof as we could see more and it was a lovely day, so we continued our journey roofless!
The two Swedes and Dennis both headed to the islands in the South and I headed up North to a town called Chang Mai on the train. It was the best train I have taken so far. I met an American guy called Wayne who was in the same cabin as me. It turned out he had been living in Chang Mai for 21 years. He gave me so much priceless information, not only about Chang Mai but about Thailand in general. There was a dining car at the back of the train so we both went to eat. It turned out to be a dining car/disco car! Here we met 2 Dutch guys on holiday called Jano and Lukas, another Dutch fellow named Jaspar and an Australian girl called Brawghn, or something like that!
I discovered that the two Dutch guys were planning to rent a motorbike in Chang Mai and travel to a small town called Pai. I decided I would join them, only I would do a complete circuit back to Chang Mai.
The next morning we decide we would go to the jungle and do a spot of zip lining. It was amazing! There was over 2km of zip lines and we reached speeds of over 80kmh. We also saw some gibbons up in the trees, which was surprising as we were told it was unlikely we would see any.
I was relieved to here that Jano was ranked number 1 in Holland at classic motocross racing, as I had never ridden a proper motorbike before! He rode my bike back to the guest house and then his own and gave me an hours lesson in a car park. Thankfully I picked it up pretty quickly and soon became confident enough to ride around the streets with the traffic. The next morning we started our journey to Pai with our band new helmets we had to buy, as the hire shop's helmets were rubbish and didn't fit properly.
The road to Pai was fantastic. It is famous for its perfect road and 762 curves which ranged from huge sweeping bends to tight hairpins weaving there way up mountain sides. When we arrived in Pai I felt incredibly confident on the bike and was ready to continue my trip in the morning.
In Pai we met up with Jaspar who had made his own way up on a scooter. He looked hilarious!
We also met up with Brawghn who had taken the bus.
The next 4 days were incredible, I covered over 1000km with about 6000 corners/curves. The roads for the rest of my trip were just as good if not better then the road to Pai, plus the scenery was amazing. As the road during the end of my journey went into Burma I had to pass through countless military check points. The Burmese military had their guns pointing at the Thai's and the Thai's had their guns pointing at the Burmese. Every now and then they would go over and drink coffee together! Obviously I did not take photos.
This is a guy who owned a little shop on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere!
This was a water fall that took me 1 hour to reach and was hoping I could swim as it was so hot. This is as close as i could get, bummer!
Most of the roads were fantastic quality and really fun to ride fast!
Out of the way cow!
This is the river separating Burma from Thailand
When I arrived back in Chang Mai I slept for 20 hours and went trekking in the jungle for 2 days. It was loads of fun. There was supposed to be a group but it turned out it was just two of us. It took about 4 hours to drive deep into the jungle west of Chang Mai. We met our guide, called Mr Ton, and started our trek. We were both given a belt with a machete and a sling shot with a bag of stones. Every 50 or so meters Mr Ton would stop and show us a plant or a tree with medicinal or culinary properties, it was very interesting.
Very poisonous snake
Mr Ton made us jungle hats
Our trek finished when we met some elephants and they agreed to take us to a clearing where we could sleep for the night.
A family lived in the clearing raising live stock and growing crops.
We admired the view and had a rest.
Mr Ton then gave us some traps to catrch rats in, so we set the traps by the river and used nuts as bait which we had collected earlier in the day. It was then time to cook and eat! After dinner we sat around the fire and Mr Ton played his guitar and sang some western songs as best he could, it was great and a bit funny! It was then time to check our traps, we caught two rats! On the way back to the clearing we looked for tarantulas and found a couple living in holes. We teased it with a stick so we could watch it attack. It was really impressive. We then took our rats back to camp.
First we had to give them a bath.
We then put them in the fire to loosen their fur.
We skinned them, only to find out the larger of the rats had two fat worms living inside it so we couldn't eat it.
I gutted the smaller non-infected rat and stuffed him with a spicy paste thing Mr Ton had made.
He then went on a grill above the fire for about 20-30 mins.
He was then eaten, delicious! Look at her face, lolocaust!
After my North Thailand adventures I started to make my way down South, stopping for a few days here and there on the way. My first stop was a small town called Phitsanulok. There wasn't much to do or see in the town it's self but 50km West was a well preserved ancient city called Sukhothai. I took a bus there and hired a bicycle to ride around the the ancient wats, temples and huge Buddha statues. It was such a relaxing lovely day. I was the only young male tourist there so i was happily riding around on my own reveling in the local female attention I was receiving. I must have had 20 photos taken of me with different girls!
From Phitsanulok I travelled by bus to a town called Nakhon Ratchasima. There was nothing very exciting to do. There was a large night market which was nice to wander round sampling some of the local foods. As i think I was the only white person in town again I got a lot of attention, some nice, some not so. I got the impression from the males that I wasn't welcome there and again every girl wanted to get their picture taken with me, swings and roundabouts!
I then took the train to an even smaller town called Surin, again nothing there! I spoke to a friend online and he recommended a place called Kanchanaburi West of bangkok where the famous River Kwai bridge is. I traveled over 500km across central Thailand by train close to the Burmese border. Kanchanaburi was a really relaxing, scenic and easy going place full of interesting people. It's the kind of place where days seem to merge into each other and before long you forget how long you've been there, in a good way! I met a couple of guys who had lived in Thailand for a long time. They were called Rob and Renee. They both spoke Thai and they had a car so I went with them to few interesting places. One of which was the infamous Hell Fire Pass. This is a section of the railway Japan built in WWII in order to connect Bangkok to Burma to transport military supplies as going by sea was claiming to many of their ships. Captured soldiers as well as Burmese and Malay captives were transported to the jungle and forced to build 415km of railway. It is known today as the Death Railway as it's construction claimed over 100,000 lives, mainly due to the brutality of the Japanese guards. The story was made famous by the film 'The Bridge on the River Kwai'.
A memorial for the men who lost their lives
The infamous 'Hell Fire Pass'
A twisty tree!
Sunset from my balcony
Bridge over The River Kwai
It turned out that Rob and Renee were going by car to Bangkok, so I hitched a lift with them. As soon as I got to Bangkok I caught a bus straight to a small town on the coast called Prachuap Kiri Khan. It had been ages since I had been by the sea so it was lovely walking on the beach and having a swim. There was a large rocky, hilly, mountain to the North of the bay which I decided I would climb the next day. I got up at 05.30, packed a bag with everything necessary to make a day out of it and began the long trek along the coast watching the sun rise over the horizon. After 3 hours of difficult climbing I discovered it was impossible to reach the top without any climbing gear and I wasn't prepared to risk my life in order to prove something to the hotel staff that said I would never make it! It was still a great day out, I found a low point and crossed over to the other side and was met by waves crashing against the rocks.
A view of the bay
View of Prachuap Kiri Khan
The sun rising over the rock I had intended to climb
No way up!
The other side of the rock
The town was also overrun by monkeys!
I continued my journey South to a place called Chumpon and then took a ferry to an island called Ko Tao. It was really nice there but was mainly for people wanting to get PADI certificates and I wanted to save my money for Ko Phangan so I went there! I met an American guy called Mark and a Swiss fella called Samuel. We spent the majority of our time riding motorbikes around the island and partying on the beach.
Hat Rin beach (where the fun happens)
Names that escaped me
Found a drum and bass dj
Beach rave and fire limbo
Experimenting with my manual exposure
After 5 nights on the island I was running out of time and money so I went back to the mainland and traveled to Malaysia by rail.