Thailand and the Philippines have much in common. Both are blessed with beautiful tropical islands, fringed with gorgeous beaches. The people that inhabit these lands are also some of the friendliest you will encounter on your travels.
There is a BIG difference though, between the two, and in our eyes, an all important one. The food. Thai food is world renowned and rightly so. Filipino food is not. We’ll leave it at that.
Much the same as Argentina, we felt at ease, returning to a country we’d travelled to before. We had become a little ‘Beached out’ and the mountains of the North were calling. Chiang Mai was to be home for a few days. The hub of the North, it’s touristy and busy. If your heading up north, you will undoubtably pass through. There’s plenty to do from sightseeing at temples to visiting waterfalls. The food is great and the shopping good.
It isn’t quite in the mountains though, so after a few days we followed the road up and based ourselves at Chiang Dao. Now this is what we were looking for. A small town with an artsy vibe, nestled under the limestone peak of Doi Chiang Dao, it’s easy to lose days here exploring the countryside, which was to our liking. The Monastery, tucked away in a cave inside the mountain was the most peaceful place we have been in a long time and our daily trips there even produced a few classic lines for Bet. “Shhhhhhhhh!!!! its a monastery mummy!”
Overlooked by a vast majority of tourists making their way from Chiang Mai to Pai, we would not hesitate to recommend a stay and it was probably the highlight of our stay in Thailand.
It was back to Chiang Mai for the night train down to Ayutthaya. A 2nd class sleeper ticket is the ticket to have. Leave the food and buy some before you board, sit back and then wait for the night guard to come and make the bed up! (Bag a bottom bunk as they’re bigger!) I still don’t know who was more excited, Betty or Naomi………Probably Nay.
Ayuttahya has temples galore! It was the capital of the Siam empire after Sukhothai and even though most of the temples were destroyed, there are still lots of sights for the weather-beaten traveler. Most of the sights are on the island part of the city and can be visited by bicycle or motorbike, however be warned, if you’re there March/April time, as we were, it will be super hot, so strike out early or late. Midday is not for winners.
One thing we learned in Ayutthaya is that the bucket bath is our friend. Betty loved bath time in Ayutthaya, weeks of struggling to wash her down in the shower became a thing of the past, Bet was hooked on the bucket bath and long may it continue!
After a passing conversation with some people, weeks ago, Kanchanaburi was firmly placed on the itinerary. We were not to be disappointed. For those that don’t know this is the home of the infamous ‘Bridge over the River Kwai’. Constructed by thousands of allied prisoners of war and civilians, it was only part of the so called ‘death railway’ which ran from Bangkok to Rangoon. Other than visiting the bridge there are plenty of other sites for history lovers. Two allied cemeteries, which are beautifully maintained and a couple of museums will keep you occupied in town, whilst out of town we thoroughly recommend visiting the ‘Death Railway’ museum as well as some light relief at Erawan Falls, waterfall. Our time at Kanchanaburi was made complete by our wonderful stay at PY Guesthouse. It was home from home with the kindest most generous owners, a perfect place to rest your weary head after all that emotion.
After a quick overnighter in busy Bangkok, our final stop in Thailand was Koh Lanta. More akin to a holiday than travelling, partly due to Nay’s friend, Sandra and her family, who joined us for the Easter break. It was a last minute change to the plan but it worked out just right, and I think it suited us all better than a more remote island further North, which was the original plan. Importantly, Betty also had a friend for a few days, as Reece, Sandra’s grandson was also here. She also became a fan of the sea again! Partly due to the calmness of the water, but mainly due to the blow-up rubber ring we bought her. Arguably it was the best 150Baht, we spent in Thailand. We had a few laughs, especially the day we hired a tuk-tuk! I wouldn’t be quick to recommend getting one, as there not easy to drive, however just hoping down to the next beach, it was great for us all.
How much to Saladan driver?”, “Sorry, i’m fully booked!”
Koh Lanta is a great family friendly island and became our home for 10 nights, which is unheard of for us! There are prettier, more beautiful islands in this part of Thailand, however as a family friendly break you can do much worse than to kick back here. After all we got the ‘castaway’ T-shirt’s in the Philippines!
- The food in Thailand generally. Eat on the street, it’s the best food at the cheapest prices
- Wat Tham Pha Plong monastery, Chaing Dao. Such a peaceful place
- Making lovely friends who showed us Chiang Dao’s best bits. Thank you Reinu, Scott and the gang
- Bua Tong Waterfall. Its sticky and you can climb it! Bizarre
- Makhampom Art Space, wow!
- Koh Lanta old town. Still the same as it was years ago
- The coffee again! You may have to hunt a little, but you will find a decent cup
- PY Guesthouse, Kanchanaburi. Like having the Grandparents around. Loved it.
- How good is Thai food?
- Just popping next door for a Pad thai
- “My friend! Whats his name mummy?”
- “I’m not hot, i’m just sweating!” (Betty)
- “How much to Saladan driver?”, “Sorry, i’m fully booked!”
- “Kop Kun Kaaaa” (Betty, all day, everyday)
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