Bangkok’s backpacker hub is located in and around Khao San Road. This is where we always arrange our tourist visas for neighbouring Asian countries. The process is hassle free and really reliable. It generally takes a couple of days for Vietnam visas. But as we had sent our passports off to the Indian embassy, it would take around 9 days to receive them back. This meant we couldn’t exit the country, and we had to double back for the collection. So we had some time to kill….
Koh Chang is a picturesque and quaint little island only a stone’s throw from Bangkok. Here our temporary home was a gorgeous little bungalow by the water for a budget price. In between our lazy days filled with tropical beach living, natural fruit shakes, and of course – hammocks… we managed to explore every square inch of this tropical paradise. From the underwater with some island diving to hiring scooters for a few days to venture further inland.
It was this exploration with scooters which created some of our more memorable experiences from Koh Chang. Amongst theses notable memories was our drive over terrain which was probably more suited for 4w driving. Tackling these almost impassable paths for hours on end lead us out to the islands most isolated beaches. Here, in Koh Chang’s most distant oasis laid one lonely little guest house without running water or electricity. However, their generators ran for a few hours a day, so fortunately we were able to indulge in their delicious traditional Thai menu for lunch before heading back, the same way we came in…
Island living was the relaxing kick off needed – especially for me as I had just wrapped up my Uni course only the week before. So feeling recharged we did a quick dash through Bangkok to collect our passports, in time to catch the night bus up to northern Thailand…
Well, that was the plan anyways… The bus was scheduled to leave at 11pm, which worked for us. But… after nestling into a comfy little cafe with cushions on the floor surrounding low lying tables, we got a wee bit distracted. The food was amazing and the beers even better!! Who were we kidding, we had no hope of remembering to collect our passports before the place closed. We proceeded to ‘face-palm’ at approximately 9pm. We were left without a choice – we quickly sourced a room to spend the night and took back to the street bars. We were half way there so may as well finish the job… A morning bus instead!!
Finally, we have made it to the north of Thailand to the home of cool breezes and warm showers… sure, it’s still a balmy 30 odd degrees – but minus the humidity!! This means I had a little more energy for the upkeep of communications. These big tasks get tough when all days roll into one and everyday becomes a lazy Sunday. And lets face it – Sundays are no days for productivity…
Our first stop in the north was Sukhothai. We were here for a few nights and hired bicycles to cycle our way around the historical park (also known as the ‘old city’). As far as South East Asian ruins go, these were surprisingly quite impressive. The ruins were well preserved and crowds were reasonably low. Sukhothai doesn’t generally seem to be on the top of the ‘to do list’ for most travellers.
From here we continued on further north to Chiang Mai and then on to Chiang Rai. Like many travellers, this was our last stop before heading across the Meekong River and entering into Laos. And I must add, of all the border crossings I’ve done, this is up there amongst the quirky ones. You checkout of Thailand, take a long boat across the river to Laos, and then check in halfway up the hill… Whatever works!
How about yourself? Can you see yourself exploring Thailand’s beauty in the future? Or have you been lucky enough already?