Double T: Taiwan and Thailand 2016 Part 5 (Final)

Double T: Taiwan and Thailand 2016 Part 5 (Final)

Day 15 Bangkok to Chiang Mai

In a hilarious turn of events our friend had initially wanted to take us all to his favourite sushi restaurant in Bangkok. Unfortunately, the restaurant was renovating on that day only! Although we all wanted to try this place, we are also terrible people and found our friend’s distress unbelievably funny. So, instead we piled into a more upmarket sushi store to get our fix of Japanese food before a short plane flight to Chiang Mai.

The plane ride gave me just enough time to take a short nap. Before I knew it, we were being taken to Sheik Istana hotel in a courtesy car. The Moroccan styled interior was fairly novel but the rooms were some of the nicest that we stayed in for the entire trip. I for one was incredibly thankful for the much cooler weather in Chiang Mai. For the first time in days, I was finally able to wear a long sleeve top without feeling like I was turning into a puddle of sweat.

Our first night was just spent in the hotel. Their restaurant is actually surprisingly nice and I think everyone really enjoyed their meals.

Day 16 Chiang Mai

At the hotel we booked in a tour for an elephant and village and also a tour of an orchid farm. The elephant village actually had a whole range of activities including traditional bison riding and included lunch. The elephants in the elephant show were a heck of a lot more talented than me judging from their paintings!

The orchid farm was pretty small, but it was also fairly cheap to get in. There were maybe two areas where clusters of pretty orchids were grown. The rest was a bit of a tourist trap gift store.

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We decided to venture out into unfamiliar territory for dinner and wander the busier streets of Chiang Mai. In a genius move one of our friends looked up this delicious burger truck. Maybe I was craving burgers, but I really loved everything about this!

Day 17 Chiang Mai

Today we visited the highest point in Thailand: Doi Inthanon. In the morning we were all joking about how hot air rises and wondering how warm it would be at the top of the peak. Despite this, we all dressed like it was still summer. When I saw all the other tourists all wrapped up in jackets and jumpers I knew that we had made a mistake!  Now I have learnt that apparently in winter it can even snow up here!

Disregarding the weather, this was a really beautifully maintained area. The gardens had numerous flowers of all types and there were even escalators up to the two temples on the peak! Inside the temples everyone was almost silent, sitting on the ground and offering flowers to the Buddha statues. This felt like a really important religious place for many people visiting.

On our way down, we stopped for a market in the mountain with all sorts of dried fruits and beans. I was tempted to buy some of the dried fruit but I knew there was no way this was going to make it through customs so I settled on some coffee for my mum. We continued the day with more Thai street food and a waterfall.

Day 18 Chiang Mai to Melbourne

Our friend really wasn’t having much luck. His grandma had decided to visit Chiang Mai and have lunch with all of us. He was burning with embarrassment as we met his grandma and she treated us to a delicious lunch of boat noodles.

Sadly, this was our last day of holidays together so shortly after lunch we flew back to Bangkok airport. From there we parted ways. Our friend returned to his work in Thailand and we flew all the way back to Australia with promises to meet again.

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In all honesty I’m not in love with Thailand the same way I am with some of the other countries I have visited. I think that tropical beach destinations really just aren’t what I look for in a holiday. I can certainly see the appeal that Thailand has for a lot of tourists. I’m just not one of them. That said, I really enjoyed our time in Chiang Mai. I think the cooler weather just put me in a better mood for everything.

So concludes this round of travel posts. Just in time for a new round of travel!

In exciting news, I will be going to Europe for the first time ever later this month! I’m going to Italy on exchange. I’ll be studying in Prato, but living in Florence for about a month. I hope to get lots of travel done but also to have heaps of fun experiences. I’m equal parts excitement and trepidation about it. I hope I’ll be able to share news from Europe with you soon.

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Double T: Taiwan and Thailand part 4

Finally, we have reached the continuation of my Taiwan and Thailand trip. We last left off at the Taiwan portion of the trip, so as the title suggests it’s now time to move onto Thailand.

Day 9 Taiwan to Bangkok Thailand

Another morning, and another early start. We left our apartment at roughly 5am to get our flight to Thailand. The Taiwan portion of the trip had sufficiently relaxed me and I almost felt ready to go home, but at the same time I was still excited to visit Thailand for the first time, and more importantly to meet up with our friend.

After waiting in the longest immigration line of my life in Bangkok airport, we met up with the friend that we had lost on the first day of our travels. He had managed to finally finish his work and was there to greet us. Seeing his familiar face was unbelievably reassuring and also a source of great happiness for all of us!

On a less positive note, nothing could have prepared any of us for the unbelievable heat of Thailand. First things first, we decided to visit the temple of the emerald budha (wat phra kaew). The architecture was absolutely stunning but the weather meant that I really did not want to linger and could not wait to get into the shade or air conditioning. Thankfully my friends took lots of photos for me and you to examine later at a leisurely pace in the comfort of my own home.

Although I had been warned about the traffic in Bangkok, once again I was not prepared! The sudden starts and stops resulted in the worst motion sickness that I had experienced in years. After being stuck in traffic for a few hours I was almost in tears! We did stop to get some pretty delicious food, but sadly I couldn’t really enjoy it because I was still feeling really ill from all the traffic.

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To say that I had a rough time in Bangkok is a bit of an understatement. However, reuniting with our good friend will forever give me good memories to balance out the not so good!

Day 10 Pattaya

I was more than happy to have left Bangkok and to arrive in the less crowded Pattaya. We didn’t really do much this day apart from eat copious amounts of Thai street food and go for a few rounds of go-cart. I am the only person in the group who does not know how to drive, so needless to say I was the absolute worst at go-cart. At least my numerous crashes were a great source of mirth for my friends.

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We also went to see Tiffany’s show. This is a ladyboy show comprised of numerous musical acts and a lot of costume changes. This didn’t really have a coherent story but everything was really flashy and the Chinese musical numbers really appealed to the Chinese tour groups in the crowd.

Day 11 Pattaya and Sriracha

Everyone woke up a bit late this day so our adventures were a bit delayed. Our first stop was actually lunch at a Japanese town in sriracha. I found the whole set up really charming. It resembled a traditional Japanese town and it was pretty fun to run around in the grass for a change.

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The real reason that we were going to sriracha was to visit sriracha tiger zoo. We had chanced upon the zoo in the hotel guide book and thought that it would be fun to check it out. Sadly, this zoo was really run more like a circus for people’s entertainment with little regard to the animal’s well being or conservation efforts. On the flip side, the goats and pigs seemed pretty happy.

Day 12 Pattaya

This was one of the most relaxing days of the entire trip. We didn’t really do anything apart from watch a movie and eat!

That night’s dinner was not Thai food for once. Instead we went to a fancy restaurant which semi inspired tomorrow’s extravagant seafood dinner.

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Day 13 Pattaya

Once again I slept through breakfast, so the first meal of the day was another round of Thai street food. Not that I’m complaining. I think that I won’t be able to eat Thai food here anymore after being spoilt in Thailand!

Initially we had ambitious plans to see a temple and explore some more, but after stuffing our selves at lunch and roasting in the heat none of us really wanted to move. Instead, we visited a fish market to get some ingredients for the over the top seafood dinner that our friend had planned. Sadly, the lighting meant that there weren’t really any good pictures of this meal but suffice to saw, 4 lobsters, 2 fish, 8 scampi, heaps of scallops and chips is a really filling meal when shared amongst 7 people.

While dinner was being cooked, we messed around in the pool and worked up an appetite. Unfortunately we were defeated by the food. Not people to be easily discouraged we still decided to pop by a night market and bakery afterwards for even more food!

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Day 14 Pattaya

Another relaxing day! We stopped by the beach for some fun water adventures. Or rather, my friends splashed around in the water and on banana boats while I minded everyone’s things and liberally applied sunscreen every now and then.

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In a sad turn of events my boyfriend lost my glasses and my favourite t-shirt on the beach. On the other hand we had a great dinner at the humorously named cabbage and condom restaurant. This was actually the first time on the trip that we had Thai curry and it was amazing! The location along the waterfront was also pretty great, but we decided to leave soon after eating because it looked like it was going to start storming any minute.

This portion of our Thailand trip was incredibly relaxing and it was so great to just do nothing. I didn’t really feel pressured t go see the sites. Having our friend who is a local who can speak Thai was also a great help because it’s been so long since I’ve been to a country where I don’t know any of the local language! Even though we didn’t do much, I really enjoyed being able to find out more about the place our friend lived in and grew up in.

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P.S The massive pool in the middle of the hotel was incredible.