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claires travel blog

Hi guys welcome to my travel blog.
Just a litle something so we can keep in contact whilst i am away!
Looking forward to reading your messages.
Happy working hahaha!xx

Diary Entries

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Location: Krabi, Thailand

Hey well firstly sorry for the lack of blogs, just havent had the time!!

Since i last blogged we have travelled around Laos, which includes Luang Perbang, stayed in a village in the mountains, Vietnienne,-Vietnam (Hue, Ho Chi Minh City, Hoi An, Halong Bay, Hanoi, Nimh Binh) and Cambodia (Siem Reap and Phnom Penn).
Had a pretty full on month and didnt stay in one place for more than 3 days.

The best bit was spending two days on a sailing boat in Halong Bay. It was a beautiful day and we spent all day sunbathing on top deck or diving off the roof of the boat into the sea. Well untill I got stung by a jelly fish ouch!!
We did cover a fair few miles in a month and the worst day was a 12 hour minibus drive to Nimh Binh as the air con had broken and the driver went mental if we tried to open a window. No tip for him!!!
We took a few internal flights and the most hilarious was Luang Perbang to Vientienne. The plane was sooo timy it was powered by propellors and the piolet was mental!! We landed at such a high speed we bounced 3 times off the runway. Scary stuff!! More so after you read the governments warnings about using Laos airlines!!
The most upsetting area was Siem Reap in cambodia as thats where the killing fields are. You could even still see bones and teeth in the mud in the ground. Its horrible

So after our month travelling we are now in krabi which is in south Thailand. We have endured a 18 hr busride from bangkok to Phuket, and then another 4 hr drive here.
Need to mention that we did not enjoy phuket as we stayed in the very hectic area called pattong. Club 19-30!! Hated it. Left after 2 days and headed to Krabi, which probably will be the same in 5 years but luckily for us not at the moment.
Its bens birthday todays so we are just chilling by the beach and then over the next few days we are going to travel to ko phi phi where the beach was filmed!! this is the life!!

Also the countdown begins.....under two weeks until we are home!!!

Monday, 28 July 2008

Location: Chiang Khong/Pakbeng, Laos

Sorry for the lack of pics but the net out here takes an age to download!!

Once we had all our bages loaded on the boat we set sail down the Mekong River. I had to get used to teh 'facilities' as we were stuck on this boat for 2 days ahhh!!! Luckily we didnt have to sleep on the boat. Once our 8 hours were up we stopped off at Pakbeng just inside the Laos boarder to have some dinner and sleep. Didnt get much of the latter as everyone owns a rooster and they go off and stupid O clock!!!
Ahh sooo annoying as we have another 8 hours on that tiny boat!!! So back on at 7.00am and set sail to Luang Prabang.

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Location: bangkok/chiangmei/chiangkhon, Thailand

Said Goodbye to dad and Lucie on Thursday, and I was quite sad to see them leave!! Was good to have some company!!
Afterwards we met our group and headed down the klong river towards Wat Po which is reclining buddha. We had just seen this buddha only a week before so we just chilled in teh shade and took a few more piccies.
Aroud 4pm we left Bangkok on teh overnight sleeper train headed for Chiangmei. It was such a giggle with teh 12 of us. we just sat there drinking Singa, which they sold by the large bottle!! Annoyingly, the staff make the beds up at 9.30pm so you have to go to bed a be quiet!! I was surprised at the amount of room I had in my bed. Poor Ben had the top bunk so im sure he was not as lucky!!
After a good, but disturbed nights sleep we awoke at 6.00am to find ourselves only 1 hour away from Chaingmei. After collecting our baggage and getting a taxi to out hotel I was fijnally allowed a shower. I felt so gross for sleeping on a train!!
We had a activity booked for the afternoon, elephant trekking. I was so excited. It was soo much fun, just a bit unfourtunate that teh baby elephant stepped on Bens foot. Its now slighty flat but ok!!
In the evening we headed up the mountain to Doi Suthep which is a pagoda, temple and monesrty on the hill overlooking chiangmei. We managed to get there in time to hear the monks chanting and praying, and it was a moving experience. I was lucky enough to be blessed by one of the monks and was given a wristbad to wear for good luck.
Ben was really excited about our late evenings activity- Mei Thai, the traditional kick boxing event. What did surprise me was they had kids involved and this sport is notorious for being very brutal and violent. Once we had seen enough kicking and punching we headed back for much needed rest!!
This morning we left Chiangmei around 9 and drove for 5 hours to the border Chiangkhong. Its a tiny little village on the Mekong river just outside of Laos. We are staying in a traditional Thai house which all the furnishings. Over the next few days we are going to be sailing along the Mekong so that should be an interesting expereince!!!

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Location: bangkok/hua hin/pattaya, Thailand

After the hectic life in bangkok, we travells 2 hours suth to Hua Hin. Hua Hin is a specail town to the Thais as the King still used it as his holiday home.
It was good to be near a beach and the air was noticibly cleaner than it was in the city. We spent the next week sunbathing and swimming in the swimming pool.
When we finally did drag ourselfs away, we took a trip up to monkey mountain. Its exactly what it says it is. There are monkeys everywhere. I bought soem monkey food and suddenly I was their best friend. Ben bought some food and they sat on his head!! Hilarious pictures.
After eating way too much and drinkinf far too much wine, we took a taxi to Pattaya, which is back upto bangkok and back down south on the other side. It took 5 hours so not the most comfy taxi ride but it was good to see somewhere new.
By day, Pattaya is a quiet seaside town where you can just browse through the shops and walk down the beach. By night, all the bars open and ladies are trying to drag you into ever bar. So, after dinner, and some lush mussells we headed back to the safety of our hotel and just drank the cocktails there!!
On our final day in Pattaya we did some parasailing. I have done it before but I forgot how much fun it is and we managed to get some good piccies of eachother too.
Later on that day we headed back to Bangkok as Ben and I had organised a trip around north thailand, laos, cambodia and vietnam which is leaving the following day.

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Location: bangkok, Thailand

Just before Dad asnd Lucie arrived on the Friday, Ben and I checked into the Rembrandt Hotel. Now, imagine two backpackers with massive bags looking like hippies trying to check in the hotel. The staff were not impressed!!! Nontheless, we got checked into our luxury finally!!
Once we had met up with Dad and Lucie (tried to surprise them at the airport, almost missed them!) we took them around central bangkok. I think they we pretty shocked at how busy it is and how much pollution hovers over the city. It was a really hot day too, temp was around 34 degrees and the humidity was something insaine!! We had a quiet night, so we could all be up bright and early to see the sights the following day.
As Lucie was with us, the thought the best thing to do was to take her to the day market, Chatuchack. It was packed and soooo hot, but Lucie was in her element. Handbags and Jewellery!!! She did quite well with her bartering skills and managed to buy god knows how many braceletts and things. Around midday the heat got to us and we retired to the pool back at the hotel. Not sure how to act around a posh hotel pool, just do what we do and make so much noise everyone else leaves!
After a relaxing couple of hours, we took them to the Khao San Road. What a contrast. I think they we taken aback how busy it is. But its brilliant for mooching around and we did pick up a few more bargains along the way.

Up early again (ok so its starting to wear a little thin!) to head to the Grand Palace and the Emerald Buddha. You did warn us Stas, but we still went in the wrong clothes!! Lucie and I had to put on a heavy shirts which was brilliant when the temp had alreay reached 32 degrees. The picture on Lucies face was hilarious, so much so I took a few pics and you can see them on there (sorry!)
The pagodas around the tempke are amazing. They ideas behind the design are from china, india and cambodia. The amound of coloured glass and gold used in terh design is immense. Im not sure the pictures do it justise. What was interesting was when we saw the Grand Palace was the 2nd floor design is based on Buckingham Palace, and the King even bought over street lamps from London to make the Palace look good!!
Our final trip of the day was a river cruise in a longtail boat. It was fun, and we fed massive catfish and saw those giant lizards in the river. The river looks quite dirty but it doesnt stop the children swimming in it-yuk.
Early evening we went to Pat Po market which is full of designed fakes. I was really reserved and only bought a wallet, but the others went a bit crazy. Lucie bought 3 hangbags and Dad got three watches!! This market is more agressive than the other stalls. If you are not interested in buying, they thais wont even let you look at the bags which we found strange!

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Location: bangkok, Thailand

Sorry guys getting rubbish at this blog thing.................

The next day we decided to get up early again (not quite sure whats got into us!) and head to the Wat Chang Songkhram. This is a monestry located just on the end of the Khao San Road. Again, the amount of gold in the temple was amazing, and the amount of money in the collection boxes is unbelieveable but its nice to see even the children here thake their religion seriously.
Once I had been quiet long enough we headed to the National art Gallery and the National Museum. Outside both there were groups of 'friendly' locals who advised these places were closed, but they had a friend who owned a tuk tuk and they could take us on a temple tour for only 10 baht!! What a scam, we know they never close!!!
The art in the gallary was amazing, but a little dissappointing that they dont preserve their art very well. A lot of the tapesrys had faded and falling apart. The most impressive room in the museum was the funaral cart room. It had actual carts that are used in processions when royalty passes away. The size of these carages is immense. Unfourtunatley we are not allowed to take any pictures!!!
After a quick bite to eat we tuk tuk-ed it to the Bayoke Skytower. This is the highest building in bangkok, and it stands at over 300m high. The views are amazing, it was just a shame we went up there in an overcast day. On top of the building they have a revolving platform so you can be lazy and not walk the whole way around. They have erected a high fence around the barriers as some Norwegins base jumped off the building!!!

Feeling a little sick of the height we walked to the Lingam Shrine. This is a shrine dedicated to fertility, and couples that are finding it hard to conceive visit here. The whole thing is a load of,well large penises, around 8 foot high. I know its bad but we could not stop laughing. We didnt hang around too long incase the 'luck' happened to us!!
After a heavy day we went back to the hotel pool and chilled and tried to top up our tans, we wanted to make Dad and Lucie jealous when they arrived tomorrow!!

Monday, 07 July 2008

Location: bangkok, Thailand

Arrived in Bangkok after our overnight stay in Singapore. To be honest we went straight to bed in singapore so we will do more exploring when we come back in a few months.
For our 1st night we decided to treat ourselfs to a very nice hotel on Rambuttri Road in Bangkok. Ok, so it only cost us 1850baht for the night (16 quid ish) but for here, thats quite expensive. We were tempted to get room service and go to bed but we were a stone throw away from the famous Khao San Road (in the beach) so we decided to explore.
Its crazy, loud and full of westerners but we love it. The Khao San Road is about 400 long and jam packed full of market stalls, market bars, road traders and dogs. Its such a hectic experience and every other person is trying to sell you a hammock/necklace/ping pong show/tuk tuk/taxi etc, and i have certainly got the art of saying no!
After a few days settling in and finding good accommodation (thanks nick & backy) we set off to do some sightseeing. It was an early start (6.30am), and we headed straight to Languini Park to watch the locals to Tai chi, and see a bit more of the city. The park is really really clean and surprisingly quiet compared to the Khao San. It was quite an amazing sight to see locals dotted around the park doing Tai Chi, and I did fell uncomfortable watching so wejust strolled around taking it all in. We spotted a massive lizzard, around 1.5m long and it was gross!! To our amazement, in the rivers and lakes within the park there were loads of them!!
Once we had enough of lizard watching we headed to Erwan shrine, which is a budda shrine in the heart of New Bangkok. This shrine in crazy, and built around it is a massice spaghetti junction, and a array of designer shops. Quite the contrast!! We didnt stop here too long as there were masses of people trying to prey. We even managed to squeeze in Wat Ratchanatda which is another buddist shrine. Its localed within masive high walls and everywhere you stand, you are within a sight of one of the many buddas within the compound.
By this time it was noon and the heat was getting very unberable so we headed back to our hotel for a dip in the pool. Where its sooo hot you could sit in the pool all day and not get cold. Very good weather for siting around drinking beers though. Incidently, a large bottle of Singa costs 50 baht which is under a pound!!
We are trying not to go tooo crazy with the purchases but to be honest I have now got a new rucksack loads of clothes and jewellrey!!
Later on in the evening we watched the sunset at Santichaiprakan Park which is just off Rambuttri Soi. So many locals were just chilling there by the river. We even got to see the Royal Pavillion all lit up too. Headed back to the Khao San to try the local tipple, and bucket of sansung and red bull with Pad Thai (noodles, veg and egg). Those buckets are lethal and after two between us we did not drink too much more!!

Wednesday, 02 July 2008

Location: cairns, Australia

Back on the road, so didnt have too much time to recover after the sailing trip. No worries though, we were heading upto Cairns and the weather was 31 degrees so pretty warm.
We stopped off at a crocodile farm. The farm actaully breeds crocs for their mest and their skin. Only if the corcs have been born in captivity can they be used for this. If the crocs are caught in the wild they are protected. The guy who was showing us around was such a loser, and hated us brits. Every time we went to w new pen he was like "lets feed the brits to the crocs" haha funny the 1st time, but not the millionth. Anyway after seeing loads of crocs it was time to feed the kangaroos!! How exciting, like we have never seen them before. Actually it was cool as one of the 'roos had a little joey in hr pouch. It was disgusting as it had no fur!!

We arrived in Carins quite nervous, as we both had booked a scuba dive to do. Now dont get me wrong i was excited when i booked it but the thought of being underwater for ages....freaks me out. However, the following day when we did it i loved it. To be honest when you first go underwater it is quite strange and it felt like you could not breathe properly, but after a while i got into it. The fish and coral we saw was sooo amazing. Our visibility was not great, but what we saw was brilliant. What was surprising is that the fish just swim right upto you, just dont seem bothered at all.
Once we had finished we set sail on our catermaran back to Cairns, and Yes we had caught the sun at last!! The heat hit 32 degrees and there was a slight breeze which meant you did not know if you were burning, but we kept on slapping on the suncream!! The whole trip was brilliant as we were allowed to snorkel for as long as we wanted, and it luchtime it was an all you can eat fish buffet!!Yum

Spent the next few days lounging around the lagoon the aussies have built by the shore. This is because saltwater crocs like to hang there so not really a great place to swim!! The lagoon is a massive non heated swimming pool which is great. we managed to waste a few days just swimming and sunbathing.
Leave Australia tomorrow and we are so excited about Thailand!! To be honest wont be coming back to Oz in a hurry tho. Just wasnt what I imagined.


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Recent Messages

From Nick
Hey guys - glad to hear you're having fun...back in teh swing of things here which is all good.

See you soon
Nick
x
Response: hey as you can see the blog is not going to well at the moment......!!!! Hope home is not too bad anymore!! See you when i get back-in 2 weeks aahhhx
From Emma Hawkins
Hi Claire...loving your pic's and sun tan...very jealous! Me and Lisa are going to see Netia in Dubai soon, can't wait. No need to ask if you're having a good time. I love those kids in Laos...can you bring one home for me???
Response: hey! You both are very lucky going to dubai!give nets a hug from me. Will let u guys no when I coming back so we can have some drinks in the alex lol!!!fx
From stasia
sounds like you are having a fab time hope dad enjoys the fun on the beach lucie sure will enjoy love stasiaxxxx
Response: i think lucie enjoyed the sjopping more haha!!xx
From becky
still loving reading yor blog...memories of the horrid aussies..they're just jealous of us brits! Safe journey to Thailand, hopefully you'll love it as much as we did. Have a singha for us ;)
becky x
p.s. Nick wants to know how many books you've read in the last 12 minutes?!?!??!
Response: haha need to buy a new book actaully!! Loving Bangkok, took ur advise and stayed in Rambuttri Inn!! Had a few buckets last night....not feeling too great now!! x
From Mum & Dad
Picture of the boat Defender look great Mum's quite jealous of the accommodation. Lucie not to keen on the red back spider!
Will send details of hotel etc. to you hotmail address.
Nick has e-mailed me some suggestion which I will also pas on but I don't think we have that much time but you can let me know.
Lov e you look after yourselves see you soon, Mum & Dad.
Response: haha jealous of the accommodation-are you joking?? Had such a brill time. In Cairns now enjoying the erm...rain!!xx
From Nick
Dont come back, its CRAP !!!!
Response: Still trying to think of a plan so we dont need too!!! Oz is exactly like you said it was!!! Blah blah poms-thats all they say!!
From Nick
Com'mon Claire - something must be happening in that land down under.....
Response: haha being well rubbish with this!! Updates coming soon...... pay per view!
From STASIA
hi still having lots of boozy fun chemist must be doing well. GREAT photos oh what fun. HAV lots more LOVE Stasiaxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Response: having loads of fun but not since its started raining in oz boo!! Need a detox when I get home!! But you glad to have ur Nick back!! xxx
From Nick
Did the 80 dollars cover the mobile bill ?!?!
Response: haha!! no i still have inclusive txts to the UK!! Otherwise we would of lost!!xx
From nick and becky
Yo G's !!! How are you doing? vegas was aweosme btw....how is NZ looks great still...we loved milford and queens. Told you your mum would make it to Thailand !!! hope all's well love nick and becky xx
Response: Hey guys!!! Cant believe you are back at home. I think you are seeing them this weekend cos you guys need to re-convince my Mum. She has changed her mind!! doh!!xxx
From Mum
Oh Claire please don't do anymore skydiving my nerves can't stand it. But i'm so glad your having a fab time. We're off to Ireland in a weeks time, so i'll keep in touch thru text.

See you soon in Thailand!!!!!
All our love, Mum, Dad and Luce. Oh and the cats!
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Response: I am being cleaver about it tho- only telling you after the event!! Dont worry tho, I cant afford it any more!! take care love you all xx
From stasia
hello guys stunning views you must be viewed out! Looking a bit on the chilly side now you must be looking forward to some sunshine. Spoke to Nick yesterday they are having a laugh in Vegas moving on Sunday to Miami and HOME hurrar have fun love from your F. A.xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Response: hey yeah feeling that way really need the heat from oz!! cant believe you convinced mum to come see me in thailand!! dont tell her but i did another sky dive!!haha. xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From si
i'm still bored
Response: I was having the time of my life until I checked my bank & credit card statements. Now my chest hurts from the shock.
From Dad
Met up with Stas & Alan yesterday, 3rd, exchange birthday presents, hear Nick & Becky are now in US. Sound as if you are having great time especially in such a large bed. Not heard anything from Katie will text her as we have to go to So'ton next week to get the car serviced, boring things, received some vouchers for M&S from your work, save them for Xmas. Love you, look after Ben. Dad. Ps when we going to see you on skype?
Response: Hi Dad, yeah its cos work owe me money so dont spend them haha. Say happy belated bday to Stas from me. In the middle of know where at the moment and who is on a picture on the wall-JESS!!!! Have you got a microphone for skype?? You need one to chat to me online xx
From Paul Gumn
Hello Claire,
Great to catch up on your NZ experiences. In case you missed it, I sent you an email with the address of our friends in Blenheim. They said that they would love to meet you, if you have time. We are enjoying France, lovely weather and about as much drinking as you are doing!
Continue to enjoy yourselves.
Love
Paul & Penny
Response: Apologies Paul, in Wellington at the moment will need to look at the map where Blenheim is!! NZ is fabulous, having a brilliant time especailly the skydiving!! Mum was not too pleased!!xx
From Becky
omg the skyjump looked amazing on your pics, you're much braver than us two scaredy cats!
x
Response: it was sooo scary especailly when he hung me out of the plane before we jumped!! Got a DVD will premiere it soon on facebook!!xx
From Mum & Dad
Great photos especially from the plane, who took the photos? Did not see any of Ben! The ice bar looked fun suppose if was all vodka and the like. Mum doesn't fancy the ells your welcome but the sky diving instructor looked cool!! Don't think we would want to go caving just to see glow worms though if your there it has to be done I suppose. Enjoy speak to you on skpe soon love from us all xx
Response: lool at bens planet ranger www.planetranger.com/sinchester and you will see the pics. we still cant believe we have done it ahhhxxxx
From Becky&Nick
hi guys, missing you! in Hawaii now, hope your having fun in new zealand. guess what Claire...went shopping today and Nick bought more than me again...it's just not right!??!?! am in complete panic mode now and feel a bit spinny. Hope Ben's ear is better. catch up soon xxx
From Willy
Just been checking out your Fiji pics......Korovou looks sooooo bella! Shame about the lack of plugs!!! Hope all's good in NZ, keep the pics and updates coming. Lot's of sleazy Italian Love atya! Lily x
From stasia
Hi you two fab photos of my Nudie and you of course. Looked like you had a really good time. They other travellers should be in Hawaii by now. Great you were able to meet up. Enjoy the rest of NZ Love your favorite auntie xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From katie
ahhh i see uv got a tan!!! lucky sod!! xxxx
Response: i love the tan beaut ut its gone already sob sob !!! xx
From Dad
Of course we have visited your site, you look prity well both of you, we have skype will contact you with details, stay safe even if you are surfing down dunes.
Love Mum & Dad. X
From simon Clement
i'm bored. just thought i'd let you know
Response: thought i would let you know i am definatley not. in auckland now about to go out!!
From Willy1Horn
Frampers!!!!! Loving your updates! None from Fiji yet?!! It must be too hard to drag yourself away from the sunbathing! x Hope all's well, Lily x
Response: lol!! Its the lack of techology thats stopping me. its taken half hour to log in onto this. On a little island called Korovou and its tiny. No plugs for strighteners ahhh!! Will add some pics when back on mainland xxxx
From Toad
Hey guys! This site is really cool, love reading about what ur up to! (With jealousy too lol!) Hope ur both ok and loving Fiji. I'm just about to watch the Grand National then lug my stuff down to Weymouth! Come and stay when ur back! Sending lots of love xxx PS Don't get too brown lol xx