Chiang Rai

Wat Rong Khun was such an epic temple. It was much darker representing the underworld ironically being white. Hanging heads in tress & sculptures of hands surfacing from the ground. when we entered the temple there was an artist still painting the walls covered in stories. Inside the grounds there was a fabulous wishing well where we had a go at tossing in our Bhats & one of mine landed in the middle! I can only presume that means good luck?
It was a 1400 km climb up hill to reach Khon Khun waterfall. It was amazing just to be able to walk through the forest & be completely closed in by greenery. We had to cross the stream over bamboo bridges, we were truly in the wilderness. When we reached the waterfall it was everything I imagined a waterfall to be.
Singha park is a glorious place. Lined with hundreds of different flowers upon acres of land it felt good to be able to escape the hustle & bustle for a little while. On valentines day they put on a spectacular event & we spent the entire day here. decorated with all things love & heart the park looked beautiful. Later on in the day was the hot air balloon festival & on the evening the lit up the park with fairy lights & provided entertainment.
What a lovely way to spend your valentines & lovely way to say goodbye to Thailand.

Pai

It’s safe to say Pai stole a little of our hearts & I think that has a lot to do with how it looked when we arrived. After trawling through the winding mountains, up & down, for 4 hours to be welcomed into the streets all lit up by fairy lights & lanterns was just amazing. The atmosphere here instantly felt welcoming & exciting.
The food that was available here was incredible & soooo many vegetarian options. I felt like I was in heaven.
The place we were staying, Mountain View, was awesome. The guy who owned it was extremely helpful giving us a map & circling all the places we could visit. He then went on to ask us if we were going to be getting mopeds to which we explained we had never driven before. He informed us about a guy named Alan who provided lessons & that was it our minds were made up. Off to Alan we went. He taught us everything we needed to know & in just half an hour we were off to rent a moped of our own! We tackled a very steep hill (practically vertical & very scary) to get to viewpoint & it didn’t disappoint. You could see for miles & once again the scenery was breathtaking. Driving a moped at night night was also extremley fun & made my longing to get an official motorbike licence even more so.
The witching well is such a captivating cute little bar/restaurant themed basically like halloween & the food there was divine.
The night market here in Pai was just something else. It lined the entire street filled with street performers, artists, musicians & food. This place just had such a buzz about it I could understand why people planned to visit for 2 weeks & ended up staying for 2 months.
The hot springs were definitely worth a visit even though we heard quite a few people complaining about the price even though it was relatively cheap. The water felt so silky & warm I never wanted to get out.
the canyon was pretty spectacular to see too, we saw it once by daylight & again by sunset. Both very beautiful but sunset always wins especially when it comes to just sitting & admiring its beauty.
There was also a pool we visited. Now I can’t remember the name of this pool but when we were there the owner came out & annouced ” free beer for everyone” & went on to throwing bottles of beer in to the pool. Another movie moment.

Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is a wondrous place full of little treasures. We stumbled upon numerous temples all very different from previous ones we had explored. Here is where I saw my first black temple & it was extrodianry decorated in gold. Then there was the red temple which was just exquisite lined with flowers & ponds filled with turtles & the sky lined with floating umbrellas & bells. It felt magical to be here.
The elephant sanctuary is truly an inspiring place. All the elephants that were here were rescued, working, injured elephants & the people who worked here nursed them back to health & hoped that one day it would be safe enough for the elephants to be released back into the wild. unfortunately with the way things are in the tourism business right now that would not be any time soon.
These elephants were given acres of land to roam around & do as they pleased. The elephants would come to you if they wanted but you would not go & harass them. We had the privilege of being able to feed, stroke & even bathe them which was an incredible experience. Our guide told us about every elephants history & their story.
Oasis rooftop bar was a nice little find & when we decided to venture there the sun was setting across the mountain that lay in front of us once darkness had descended fireworks went off right in front of us. Another movie moment.
Suan Buak Hat park was another little find an open green park accompanied by a lake & people doing yoga. This was a lovely place to spend time just chilling out in the city.
The night Bazaar in Chiang Mai was something else & the food square here was a truly atmospheric place. Barrels of hay laying on the floor with people socializing or watching the permore play his guitar.
The Temple in the National Park was worth the view of Chiang Mai but to say the waterfall was a disappointment would be an understatement. Unless we were unlucky enough to find the wrong one I didn’t really understand what the hype was over it. There was barely a trickle. Perhaps it was because of it being hot season but I was underwhelmed.
Huay Lake is a must go. There were barely any people around & no tourists. The roads were quiet & the lake breathtakingly beautiful surrounded by the greenery of mountains. It felt so peaceful here & this is another image I hope to never forget.

Ayutthaya

Here in Ayutthaya we embraced cycling & nothing seemed more exciting than to be on a bike exploring unknown territory. On out first cycle trip we only had a few hours of daylight left but did manage to see a few of the old temples that still stood from the Burma invasion.
The day after we spent an epic 5 hours cycling to & through the otherside of town & of course ended up completely losing our bearings. In the midst of being lost a lovely local woman asked us where we were going & hopped on her moped to sow us the way to the boat to get across the river. Once the boat arrived we had to cycle on board & perch on them until we reached the otherside. We also stumbled upon a maze of a park which we seemed to be trapped in for hours. There were so many routes I thought we’d never find the exit not to mention the lethal remains of bridges we had to cross to get to the other side. It was all fun & games though right?
We also visited all the old grounds of remaining temples & it was just mesmerising. Ayutthaya certainly had a charm of its own.

Kanchaburi

Our first stop was a railway which had been bombed by the japanese in World War II. We had to follow the railway track which was all well & good until we reached the bridge where there was just a thin stip of middlle along the middlle to walk across. There was a cave along the way which was pretty cool & had a Buddha statue inside but the we had to cross the bridge. It’s safe to say I was little more than just nervous. We were very high up & the only upside of having to tackle this obstacle was the breathtaking scenery we could see from this height, looking across the river over to the distant mountains. We passed numerous monks along the way who all asked to take photographs of us. This had become somewhat of a recurring theme & we were kind of used to strangers asking to take our photographs now.
It was then on to Hellfire Pass where there was a museum about the British & Australian prisoners of war who were forced to make the railway we walked along by the Japanese. Here at Hellfire Pass there was more railway that we followed running through mountains & now forrests.
The drive on to the National Park was just incredible mountains lining the landscape with nothing but desert surrounding them.
There were 7 stages to Erawan waterfall & it involved lots of mountain/rock climbing. Stairs up & down & bridge crossing. We made it to stage 6 & as we were off to number 7 a park ranger came down to tell us it was now closed due to the sunset fastly approaching. Even though we didn’t make it to the top we still saw some amazing sights with waterfalls gracing each stage.

Ratchaburi

The ceramic pot gallery was certainly a little find. we hadn’t even heard of this place until out receptionist at space 59 recommended we check it out, something to do before the bat cave this afternoon.
When we arrived it looked more like an outdoors art studio. Ceramic figurines, tea cups & animals dotted around all the other weird & wonderful creations. We spent a good couple of hours here & there was plenty to see. Some parts even resembled a pot graveyard. Pots stacked upon pots it was pretty bewildering.

It took us around 45 minutes to reach the Bat Cave & we once again had the same tuk-tuk driver as we had earlier on in the day. He was a lovely man & arranged to come & pick us up at 6.30.With a little while until sunset we decided to take the opportunity to explore the surrounding area. Fortunately the bat cave was situated amongst some temple s so off we went into the first one. A monk approached us & gestured for us to pick up a stick which looked like an arrow so of course we obliged. Looking around there were many of these sticks with money inside so ahead we went & placed in 20 Bhat. The monk then gestured for us to kneel & bow so of course we did popping our arrows in a holder. Proceeding over to a gold statue we had to rub 3 gold leafs upon it & sit in front of the monk. He went on to splash us with water & hit us on the head, with what looked like a fan on a stick, several times. He then said something to us which of course we didn’t understand all shared a laugh & nodded goodbye. to this day this is still one of the most surrealist experiences of my life. We had been blessed by a monk?!
We carried on snooping around outside & came across a lot of monkeys roaming around outside the bat cave.
Around 6.15 the sun began to set. Slowly but surely the bats bean to emerge from their caves with little people around to embrace what was going on made this experience feel so much more special. When they had got into the swing of things 1000’s of bats leaving their cave, they created the most beautiful patterns in the sky. What an unbelievable sight I was witnessing.
This is a day I hope I never forget.

Bangkok


The bus to Bangkok surprisingly turned out to be a rather posh one complete with a hostess who provided us with blankets, snacks & drinks. Arriving at Bangkok bus terminal was just pure insanity even at 6am this place was heaving with people. With a lot of effort we finally found our stand for bus 3 & it was off to Khao San Road!

The Emerald Buddha & grand palace was 500 Baht to enter (around £10) This was tourist attraction like no other & the crowds were insane but this place was worth it. It was breathtaking to see such beautiful buildings covered entirely in tiny mosaics glistening underneath the sunlight. The Grounds were huge & it was easy for the hours to slip by but definitely time well spent.