Sunday, 15 July 2012

Final blog post from Asia - Bangkok

We have finished our 12 week trip by staying in Bangkok before flying home tomorrow morning. Bangkok is huge and has loads to do, we just scratched the surface with a few sights and a little market shopping. 

The only problem with Bangkok is so many tourists come here that you get some unscrupulous people trying to rip you off nearly everywhere. Everything from "tourist police" trying to sell you a tour package after claiming a sight is closed, to shop owners selling your broken faulty items and tuk tuk driver tripling the fare compared to what locals pay. It just gets a bit tiring to be the constant target of scams. 



But we have seen some impressive things in Bangkok. For our final day here we were also joined by Kerry (and her friend Megan) who we visited in Pattaya a couple of weeks ago.



We went to The grand palace today, where the king used to live and hold court, but that changed when he decided to move out to another palace to let the public walk around the outside of the palace and visit the attached temple (gaining money from tourists to restore the palace). The attached temple houses a Jade Buddha statute that is so special only the king can dress him for the different seasons.



  

   

  



Just out side the palace walls is another temple complex with a huge reclining Buddha. The reclining Buddha is a 15m high and 43m long. This huge statue of Buddha is covered in gold leaf and has mother of pearl decorating the soles of the feet. It is pretty impressive to see! 

 

The grounds around the reclining Buddha have a number of Pagodas, other statues and landscaped areas. Both of us were very impressed with the very elaborate roof decorations that shine in the sunlight with thousands of reflective pieces in a series of mosaics. 

   



    

In the afternoon of our last day in Thailand we explored a very random shopping mall that was themed with a different country on each level. We ran up and down all the levels so we could claim we visited 7 countries in under 4 minutes! 

  \

France and Japan

    

Rome and London

   



Istanbul and San Francisco

The Bahamas


A crowning jewel of our time in Bangkok was seeing a giant furry Sid the sloth and Scrat from Ice Age 4. Again we run (chased!) and caught them and got photos!
    

   

  


Sitting in our final hotel room, writing about our final day exploring feels very odd. Thank you for everyone who has read our blog, everyone who has emailed us or sent us a message we feel very loved even when we are thousands of miles away. (Special thanks to Kerry and Gareth's Mum and Dad for leaving so many comments!). See you all in the UK soon.  






Thursday, 12 July 2012

Going to the real "The Beach"


We had the opportunity to do an special trip to visit the principle location for the filming of the 2000 movie "The Beach" (yep the one with Leonardo DiCaprio). Above is the view we got as we finally got onto the beach. That longboat on the beach is what brought our luggage to the island, we didn't get to the island so simply. 




As part of the experience we got to swim to the island from our boat. The swim was about 200m to a little cave that is covered by netting. This is the view of the boat we had swam from. 





After going through the cave we went through a path and then going through the island jungle we came out onto the beach. 





The beach was stunning and we were lucky to be staying on the island for the night. During the day hundreds/thousands of people visit but at night only 20 people are allowed to stay on the island. 


We went for a swim as soon as we got the beach and the surrounding limestone cliffs were great, covered in lush vegetation. 



   




On the outside of the island there is a cave called "viking cave" where birds nest at night, which people harvest to make bird nest soup. There are also some great coral reefs where we found a nice big crown of thorns starfish and a nice puffer fish :D



   






As sunset came closer some clouds started to roll in but this treated us to a great sunset. 






After sunset we were treated to a great Thai curry for dinner and then a chicken BBQ a couple of hours later. Sitting around on the sand with light torches (they look great but are in fact a beer can, stuffed with toilet paper soaked in diesel).


We then got treated to a fire spinner show. Two guys spinning sticks around and occasionally dropping them. 

Getting ready


Spin Spin Spin

Looking chilled






It was a great night in a stunning location and a bit of an adventure, during the night a rainstorm rolled in and we had to shelter/sleep in this hut below.


Not the most glamorous accommodation but the stunning location made up for it :)  


But the storm overturned our long boat so that it couldn't take our luggage back to the main boat. So remember that route we swam to get onto the island, we had to do it in reverse in the morning with our luggage. 


Some people trusted their bags (wrapped up in rubbish sacks) to the guide in a tiny canoe. Me and Michelle decided that it would be quicker and better to swim out carrying our bags above the water to our boat.



It was a great and very different experience to finish our trip to southern Thailand. Next we are heading to Bangkok and then home to England :)