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Travel Diaries of a Medical Student | The Stories | The Blunders | The Proof |
New pictures added to gallery!
04.06.2013 28 °C
Wow 5 days left, the last time I wrote in this blog (a long while back) I was probably resting up on a beach in the south of Thailand on Koh Phi Phi. The trip until that part had definitely been one on a beaten path, full of touristy spots, crowded areas, and more Europeans than Thai folk. It was great and we had a blast but after about two weeks it had been enough, we were drained, partially homesick and needed a refresher.
Since that time we have flown to the northern most major city, that of Chang Mai and are now in the neighboring eastern province of Cambodia in Siem Reap, home of the largest temple, the Angkor Wat!
Chang Mai. Love that city. If i had to move to a place in Thailand the only one possible would probably be Chang Mai. The amount of local culture and the amazing vibe we felt from the city and its locals were unbelievable. For one, its cheap, like slave labour cheap. On several occasions I purchased a lovely pho dinner for a loonie, and it was pretty damn good! The best part was I had no idea what I was ordering. See Unlike Bangkok and the islands, no one here really cares to cater to the Westerners and put signs up in English, so its pretty much all sign language, told the lovely lady I wanted chicken and she cooked me up a mean dish that left my wallet happy. The second night all the hostel people went out and we must have played that game to see how many people can fit in the volkswagon except we rolled in a pickup truck in which there had to be at least 18 people, quite the experience. Unfortunately, after the second night the hostel was boooked and we had to scurry the city for another hostel. Walking on a random street across from the night bazaar we found an awesome hotel that gave us a hotel style air conditioned room for only $10! Not sketch at all, definitely our best bang for the buck yet.
Enough about that, the best part of Chang Mai had to be the extra curriculars. Day one consisted of visiting the tiger sanctuary where we got to pet and lie down on real tigers!!! Pics are up! This was followed by a visit to the ancient temples inside old city and the night bazaar at night. This bazaar was like none I had ever seen before, its like Gerrard street multilped by a very large number. Arts and crafts, massages, musicians, sketch artists, food food and more food than the eyes could handle! And the best part being that it was practically a follar store In that you could try everything you wanted to and your wallet would barely feel a pinch! My dessert for the night consisted of a mcdonalds ice cream cone, pure mango shale and two popsicles all for a lovely $1.50, my linda dessert. Day 2 consisted of a popular Jungle trek where we got to ride on elephants, feed
Them bananas, hike up on a crazy trek to a waterfall where we got to go swimming in the waterfall and finally end off with bamboo rafting with a captain that thought he was captain jack sparrow! Funniest locals ever.
All that adventure was balanced out from a 22 hour journey from chang mai using three buses and a tuk tuk (the first bus had massage chairs an tvs!) I am now sitting pooped on my bed in our guest house in siem Reap, Cambodia where we just had an awesome indian meal and a $4 one hour massage. Best $4 spent ever. The locals here are one step cooler than those of Chang Mai because they can speak quite good english which means they can now joke around and we understand it and vice versa, which makes the bargaining game double the fun. Mr Shah taught a local store clerk how to play rock paper scissors and beat her in a game in order to attain a discount on his goods, we had generated quite a crowd watching this simple spectacle!
Tommorow we're finally going to go and see these infamous temples! Until then, over and out!
29.05.2013 - 29.05.2013
So its about day 13 on the road now, there hasn't been a recent post lately to due to spotty internet services and absence of computers, great for the vacation not so much for keeping readers updated! I've given in to the more modern method of writing blogposts using the iphone instead.
We've just landed in Ko Phi Phi, the most touristy island of the bunch, after having spent two nights on the island of krabi. Till now the weather has been awesome and we've avoided the giant monsoon season that scares many tourists, we had a resort on krabi for only $8 each a night! Gotta love the low season and the super cheap prices, we made best friends with the local travel agent with a sister that only spoke in sign and a brother that was a ladyboy, quite the interesting bunch. Layer on in the night we chilled put at a kareokee bar and chilled out with the locals and escaped from all the hecticness with a beachside fireshow from some super talented performers! Definitely the most relaxing bit yet. We also got to go on a 4 island tour and our first snorkeling spot although the water was cloudy during high tide so couldn't see much.
We were ready to head on. This is probably the most sketchiest part of the trip. To get on the ferry required us to walk 25m through the ocean with our bags, hop onto a long boat (similar to a fishing boat) and finally meeting the ferry halfway in the indian ocean where we literally skidoodled from the edge of the longboat onto a makeshift ramp. Insanity.
Now on to a 45 min ferry ride to ko phi phi. Its *** hot. On our way to get some wood oven pizza we felt like we were being burned in a wood oven ourselves. We've taken solace to our dorm room for a midday nap before we head outside to trek to the panaromic viewpoint and then on tomorrow to Maya Bay where the "Beach" was shot and some more snorkeling on the island!
25.05.2013 25 °C
It's been a bit hard to write a blog update lately due to constant rush of house music and the allure of the beach. This is an island that truely never sleeps and the tourists here are all amazing people who've been travelling anywhere from a few days to 6 month escapades across India, Australlia and the Maldives! Crazy stories have been heard.
Last night was the first time I was able to truely get a sense of peace and just become lost in the openess. They say a picture is worth a thousand words but sometimes even that isn't enough. Staring at the open waters under a nighttime sky is something that cannot be taken a picture of, it would just look ugly or plain, especially without all the jazz of a DSLR. But instead of posting a picture of the amazingness I'll sort of recreate the emotion, a very zindigi na milegi dobara moment (great movie for those of you haven't seen it!).
Sitting on the edge of a beach deck, hundreds of people behind you partying with house music blasting in the background, dark midnight sky with the roar of the full moon in the background illuminating an entire ocean of water, hillsides in the background creating a serene landscape , filtering out all the yelling and just relating the beats of the music to the waves of the water, crazy cool breeze cooling everything down to a standstill.
No talking needed, people often came up to me and asked hey! why are you just sitting down! It's truely a surreal moment that I can enjoy for hours and hours on end, getting lost in the water, losing my thoughts, getting some new found focus, a real inspiration.
Time to get ready to tackle our second last night on the island, sorry for the terrible grammer, it's sort of one of those posts. I hope you all have a chance to experience a moment like that, my words do no justice, you gotta see it to believe it.
- The Vijilante
Bangkok ------> Surat Thani -----> Koh Phangan!!!!
23.05.2013 34 °C
Bangkok is lovely. Always promising one thing and delivering something else.
A joyous 19 hours later we have finally reached the island of Koh Phangan (pronounced Ko-pan-young, really really fast). The journey was supposed to be one AC bus and a connecting ferry leaving at 6 pm and arriving at 10:30 the next day. Instead, we left at 6 pm, walked through the alleys of bangkok with the guide picking up tourists at various stops and finally boarded the bus at 7:30. Cool, minor delay, next up at 6 in the morning we had to transfer to another smaller bus which we had to wait an hour for. Finally, we ended up at the pier where we had to wait a final 45 min, getting us to this island at 1:30. The Thai locals take advantage of not being able to speak English and utilize their select few lines to simply give commands and nod to pretend they understand, nevertheless they got us to where we needed to go and our bags are safe and sound!
The second part of our journey begins!
We've come to the land of blue waters, mountains, white sand beaches and bustling beach villages without all the nonsense of the Tuk Tuk drivers (check older post for rant). The view is awesome! And apparantly, it gets even more awesome at every subsequent island. We're on this island for about 4 days with activities such as relaxing, chilling, lying on a beach and soaking up some sun on the schedule (I realize these are all synonomous). Oh and an attraction or two from the list of snorkelling, shooting range, ATV's, safari treks, beach volleyball etc. If you know me you know which one is definitely going to happen !
So coincidently enough and totally not on purpose, we checked into a local beach hostel 100 metres away from blue beaches, named the Om Ganesh Hostel. Quite fitting for two brown guys. (The only other brown people we have met so far have been two cool med students from the UK, seems to be a trend? Looks like the south asian population is sticking to Goa and Europe) It's kind of cool though to actually be able to communicate with a local in broken Hindi as opposed to blank stares from the Thai people we got in bangkok, and hey an all you can eat indian buffet tomorrow night, who can say no to that?
As soon as the camera charges up I'll post some super cool pics of the area!
Time to go explore!