A Travellerspoint blog

Krabi and Koh Phangan

We arrived in Krabi in the late afternoon and walked to the taxi rank. We soon negotiated a price and followed our driver to his car. We then were surprised to be throwing our bags into the back of his jeep and sitting against his speakers for seats. It turns out anyone can be a taxi driver over here!
We shortly arrived at our hotel and were greeted by some quite rude staff. After travelling all day this is the last thing you want to put up with. We finally managed to get a room through the other conversations the receptionist was having with her friends. Our room was very basic and so yet again we were glad of our sleeping bag liners.
We went out for a stroll and to get some dinner only to find that there is literally nothing in Krabi. The islands are lovely but the town is lacking anything of interest. It is definitely just a stop off place for many tourists. We made the most of our evening by playing pool doubles with another couple. We then decided to go on a scavenger hunt around all the shops to find some bananas for breakfast. We literally couldn't find any anywhere so we asked at a fruit shake stand whether we could buy the bananas and not a shake. The guy behind the counter thought this was hilarious and really did not want to let go of his bananas without blending them first.. so we headed to the market! After finally purchasing some treasured yellow beauties, we went off to bed.
We woke up early to get a minibus to a big bus! When we arrived at the big bus we had to 'check in' first. This consisted of telling the lady where you were staying and what ferry you were intending to get on, pretty straight forward I know. Only Ben and I would completely confuse the lady by saying we want to go to Koh Samui and then showing her a hotel for a different island (which we didn't know at the time). She then explained to us that our hotel was infact on Koh Phangan. We soon asked for the wifi code and went off to do some investigating. It turns out, the STA app is a bit poo as when you search for a hotel on an island, it decides to show you hotels on other bloody islands!!! We researched Koh Phangan and decided it looked pretty cool, better than Koh Samui. We didn't want to lose out on our payment to stay in the bungalows for 4 nights and so we decided to change our ferry plans. Luckily this didn't cost much and was easy to do.
We then arrived at the port and had to wait in the burning sunshine for 30 mins and I'm not really sure why as the boat was there waiting. We had more disgusting toilet trips but I won't go into any more detail. We got on the ferry which was more of a speedboat, we were starving as the bananas didn't do much, and so headed straight for the bar to fill up on snacks.
An hour and a bit later we arrived on the island which we didn't intend to be on but were soon glad to be. We then proceeded to the taxi rank and got completely ripped off for our ride. There were no other options apart from hitch hiking or walking and so in a mood we sat in our 'private jeep taxi'. Half way through our journey of jungle/rainforest our taxi driver just got out and walked off. We were just left there nervously waiting as we had already given the driver our money. Luckily they were just changing drivers and we arrived at our hotel safe.
We checked into our bungalow and felt like we were in Africa. We had a mosquito net with holes in, creaky wooden floors, and a bathroom open to the wild.

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We explored the resort and found it to be so peaceful and tranquil. It's so beautiful we were really glad to be here instead of Koh Samui.. it was a happy accident unlike the time we booked the wrong flight!!! But we won't talk about that.
We spent the afternoon on the beach where we were guarded by the hotel dogs from any passers by. It was so lovely to have a bar and restaurant right on the beach, we didn't have to move an inch!
After dinner we retired for the night. There was no air con in the rooms and so we left the fan on all night. Anna soon woke up a few hours later rummaging around the room in the dark looking for her fleece (little did she know she could of had her hand down a snakes neck). A few hours later we were woken by a massive bang! It was so scary we didn't know what was going on as it was pitch black. Ben soon plucked up the courage to go and explore. He opened the bathroom door and discovered that a coconut had infact fallen through our bathroom roof!! It left a big mess and a gaping hole but tired and confused we fell back to sleep.

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The following morning we pleasantly paid just 3 pounds each for a huge breakfast. We had sausage and eggs, hot chocolates, orange juice and seasonal fruits.
We were soo full and could barely move and so we decided to rent a motorbike! And what a bargain this was, £4 for 24 hours. We then set off to explore the local waterfalls. We really enjoyed it here as there were barley any tourists and there were no fees to get in.
After an hour or two of pretending to be Jane and Tarzan, we drove to the other end of the island as Anna hunted down some gluten free food. She ordered a sandwhich and it was the best meal she has had the whole trip because boy does she miss bread!

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After lunch, we went to a little cove where we found a quaint little beach. We found a spot in the shade for Ben and a swing in a tree for Anna to play on. We went for a swim (squat paddle as the sea doesn't seem to get deep for miles) and a sunbathe.
We then rode back to our hotel but stopped off at some other waterfalls on the way. These were actually closed but the guard turned a blind eye as we crept past. We were sweating in the heat trying to climb to the viewpoint before sunset as the waterfall (more like a stream, if you can even call it that) was a dissapointment. We never made it to the top as the path just seemed to come to an end. This was devastating considering the effort that was put in. We then proceeded back to the hotel in the dark and Ben finally let Anna have a go at driving!
When we got back to the bungalow, Anna went to go and see if the cleaner had cleaned up the mess off the coconut. She was casually looking around inspecting the quality of the clean and AAAASRRRRRGHHJJHHHH there's an effing snake on the sink!!!!!!!!! She ran out screaming to reception to get someone to remove it as it was touching her toothbrush. Ben was left with our new roommate where he proceeded to take selfies... No he was that scared all he got was a blurry picture of this beast! He stood watching it from the bathroom door and it managed to reach all the way across with its head. Ben tried to close the door but the snake put its head around to stop him doing so. Luckily it quickly jerked backwards resulting in Ben closing the bathroom door and quickly abandoning the bungalow to find Anna and some help.
After Anna ran all the way to reception she shouted up to the staff that there was a huge snake in their bathroom. She expected them to be as surprised and panicked as she was but they all just looked at each other like urgh who is going to go this time. The man soon lit his fag and followed Anna up to where Ben was waiting in the path. All 3 bodies entered the bungalow ready to fight the shake which had now disappeared! Anna insisted on a thorough check of the room including bags and bins but still no snake to be found. The man then told us that if it comes back we need to hit it with a stick and passed over a broom. We laughed as we knew if it came back he would be the first person to know and who would infact be the one hitting it with a stick.

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We originally intended to get showers and changed and then go for dinner. But the snakes appearance soon changed our plans and so we went for dinner hot and dirty and stressed! At dinner the man continued to make jokes at us and served us 'snake spring rolls' and 'pad Thai with snake'.
At 9pm we were kicked out of the restaurant and we hesitantly walked back to our bungalow. We decided to team it on our shower duties which involved Anna showering and Ben holding the broom at the door way and visa versa.
That night as you can imagine, we didn't sleep very well at all. We both woke up at 3am, we think the coconut ruined our sleeping pattern.
The next morning we got up early to explore the island before we had to return the bike. Anna opened the bike seat to retrieve our helmets only to be faced with a massive ugly ninja spider!! Ben tried to bat it away with a stick but it ran into the engine. We didn't want to get on the bike at all incase whilst riding the spider came back out! The first thing we did after was go to the gluten free cafe for breakfast. Anna had American pancakes and mmmmm best breakfast ever! She also had toast and homemade jam, she basically ate anything she could fit in.

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She then ordered a sandwhich and a brownie to take away for lunch time! We then went down the road where we passed a bakery which sold GF bread and so we stocked up on that too!
Over here fuel is just sold on the side of the road in glass bottles, after 6 weeks of seeing these and thinking its alcohol or something, we finally bought a few to put in our bike! We must have driven past loads of these in Vietnam when we were desperate for fuel.
On our way back to the bungalow we stopped to feed the elephants. These elephants were so much bigger than the ones in Laos! Anna noticed the skin on the elephants had lost its pigment. She asked the man if he spoke English and he said yes. She then asked if he could tell her what the pink colour was on the elephants skin. The man said yes. She soon realised she wasn't going to get an answer this way and so later googled it (it's a genetic thing and older elephants get it - it's freckles).
When we got back we booked our boat to Koh Samui and our flight from there to Kuala Lumpur. We decided to fly as we didn't fancy the 18 hour bus ride.
We returned the bike and had a beach day. Anna ate her soggy sandwhich, we read our books and had a swim.
Back at the bungalow we found yet another huge spider. We didn't hang around and went for dinner. Ben ordered a bacon cheese burger and it was so funny when it arrived as it didn't actually have a burger in it, it was just bacon and cheese on a bun with salad. We are looking forward to our city break, no snakes no spiders and real burgers!

Posted by Benannatravels 07:42 Comments (0)

Phi Phi

We checked out of our hotel in Patong at around 10, checkout wasn't until 12 so once again we were early! (You have to make note of the little victories). Anna had managed to get her bag on and comfortable then realised we didn't have enough cash to pay. Refusing to undo her hard work she trekked for miles in the blistering sun with her huge bag in search of an ATM while Ben sat enjoying the air con in the hotel reception/cafe. When she finally returned looking rather hot and bothered we endeavoured to catch the bus that the lovely old receptionist had assured us was "that way" and would be 10 minuets (any event that ever occurs in South East Asia happens in 10 minuets apparently). We walked to the end of the road to await the bus. Once again Anna stood in the scorching sun, still refusing to take off her bag while Ben found a nice comfortable spot in the shade (he was sunburnt already to be fair). The bus did finally come. We soon wondered whether or not we would have been better off walking as it could barley make it up the hills! It was a nice journey though with lots of views of the surrounding hills and jungle. The conductor informed us that he had a friend who could taxi us to the ferry port. When we got back to Phuket we were introduced to our "taxi" driver. After some negotiation on the price we were on our way. We hadn't quite appreciated how far the ferry port was and our driver entertained us the entire journey (it appears that marital problems are universal) so we paid him the price he had originally asked.

The ferry port was chaotic but very simple at the same time. We were passed from one member of staff to another like a relay baton among the hustle and bustle of all the other tourists and locals. We came to a desk with a Thai who spoke excellent English where we bought our tickets to Phi Phi island and then on to Krabi. We were starving and had a little while to wait so got a burger and some fruit. The most expensive meal yet! We boarded the boat and sat below deck, the windows above our head were level with the waves which was a rather surreal experience. Anna slept and Ben read.

We arrived at Phi Phi harbour and on the short walk from the dock to our hotel, despite carrying all our bags in the sweltering heat, we decided Phi Phi is our favourite place yet. It is beautiful. Palm trees, white sand, brilliant turquoise water and surrounding hills covered in jungle. There is also no roads here, you can only walk everywhere through the mountainous terrain. We arrived in our room and the first thing we did was shower. It is generally around 35 degrees in this area, we are acclimatising but slowly. Once we had freshened up we headed out for food! We ate Pad Thai in a small restaurant overlooking the sea. We had an unwelcome dinner guest but thankfully they didn't hang around (See Ben's Instagram for mozzy photo). There are no roads on Phi Phi, which makes a welcome change from the busy towns and cities we have been seeing, so we went for a walk after dinner. We walked almost around the whole island! We dropped off our laundry and booked a half day snorkel and sunset trip for the next day.

In 2004 there was a tsunami here where 70% of buildings were destroyed and 4000 people died. It is hard to imagine that such chaos and destruction occurred in such a beautiful part of the world.

After some research that night Anna found a bakery on the island that had gluten free bread and spaghetti. So come breakfast time we knew where we were headed. However even though Anna had messaged ahead to clarify they did in fact sell gluten free bread they did not have any. Sad Anna. We picked up our laundry that cost us £3 then headed for the beach. We thought a chill before an afternoon of snorkelling was just what was needed. While lying peacefully reading and enjoying the view we soon began to regret our positioning on the beach. One after another big speedboats each with three outboard motors reversed and dropped off shed loads of tourists (mainly Chinese) who seemed to have no concept of personal space. Our tranquil beach spot was no more. Among the hubbub a local walked over and placed a baby monkey on Anna's stomach while she was sunbathing. Unfortunately after our last incident photographing Anna with a monkey we didn't feel like paying to do it again so you'll just have to imagine what it looked like. It was cute.

As it was nearing one o clock and our time at the beach had obviously come to an end we headed over to the meeting place for our tour. We piled onto a long boat with about 15 other people and set sail (a propeller at the end of a long pole!) we were taken to another island not far away where we entered a large cove. Our first snorkelling stop and where we had our lunch (the smallest portion of egg fried rice you have ever seen!). It was beautiful with crystal clear water and a beach leading into the jungle.
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The beach wasn't just any beach though, it was THE beach. As in the Danny Boyle film starring Leonardo Di Caprio. It really is as beautiful as in the film. It is also a national park so you have to pay 200bht to set foot on the sand, that's roughly £4 and the money goes towards preserving the area. We had been told this when we booked so were ready to go, however some rather rude German girls took it upon themselves to decide on behalf of the entire boat that we wouldn't go ashore. Well. This didn't go down well. We hadn't paid for a snorkelling trip to sit on a wooden bench all day. We went ashore. Spoilt German girls be damned. And it was so worth it.
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Anna sunbathed while Ben pretended he was Leo. After only an hour it was time to get back on the boat and head to our second snorkelling destination. A coral reef on the other side of the island. It was amazing. We saw Angel fish, parrot fish, clown fish, puffer fish, pencil fish, sea anenames and a huge eel!

Our next stop was monkey beach where we saw... 1 monkey. After the show they put on for us at Angkor Wat this was a bit of a let down. However it was still nice to see him in a more natural habitat than the side of a road. Our final stop was out in open ocean to watch the sun set. This was incredible. Especially as up to now we have always seen the sun set behind a hill or mountain or buildings so seeing it disappear into the sea was pretty magical.
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We returned to land and we were hungry! We went to a little place called Anna's restaurant where you have to take off your shoes to go inside. We ate so much! By far the best meal yet and the best Thai red curry of Ben's life! We had planned on going for a massage after dinner but couldn't face the thought of it while so full. We had a 3 course dinner Mmm!

This morning we headed back to the bakery and this time they had gluten free coconut bread!
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Anna had this after yet another omelette yet this was the best omelette of the trip! Having checked out of the hotel and a while to wait for our ferry to Krabi we were ready for our massages. We opted for half hour Thai massages which Ben thought was amazing. Anna thought she was going to cry. We were punched, stretched, kneed, elbowed and cracked! It was time to leave Phi Phi. The only problem was our particular ferry company didn't leave until 3:30. Something we had repeatedly been forgotten to be told. We found somewhere where we could swap our tickets to the 1:30 ferry for 150bht so we're finally on the way to Krabi!

Posted by Benannatravels 04:14 Comments (0)

Thailand

Well, we have never seen so many lady boys! Pattaya is a place where individuality is welcome. We have especially noticed it as going through Vietnam there is hardly any diversity, however in Thailand being different is highlighy accepted.
We woke up and packed our bags and went down to the lobby to check out. We asked at reception if they could call us a taxi to the bus station as we were travelling to Hua Hin. The lady said that this wasn't possible and that we needed to find a mini bus on the right side of the road. Us and our 343234 extra bags that we have accumulated headed for the road. Not long after walking in the searing heat, a pick up truck/bus thing pulled over. They asked us where we were going and we told them Pattaya bus station. After using Google translate on the woman's phone we showed them the bus ticket. This didn't seem to help either. She then began to call all the numbers on the tickets. After about twenty minutes and still no luck we asked them to take us down the road to the ticket office where we bought the tickets from so that the ticket office staff could tell the driver in Thai where we were going. We tootled down the road then the pickup bus took a wrong turn. In our panic we started banging on the windows and trying to get off. We were getting really nervous about missing the coach as we didn't expect getting there would take so long. The lady got out and told us she managed to speak to someone on the phone and they now knew where to take us. Although trusting them in this situation was a risky move, we decided to as we had no other ideas. Luckily we then arrived at the bus station which was only 5-10 min away from our hotel! We then got ripped off for the ride and had to pay £5 for the journey (should of been a £1). Perhaps she wanted compensation for the phone bill.. Who knows! We ditched our bags and got onto the best bus we have had yet! It was a huge coach with few seats, lots of leg room and reclining chairs. We had a five hour journey ahead but boy were we comfy..

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After what felt like a 2 hour bus ride, we arrived in Hua Hin. We found here just as touristy but a lot less seedy. Thai brides were the popular thing here! It seems lots of retired couples either live or holiday here. As it was 4-5pm we headed straight for the beach to get the last of the sun. The beach was really nice. There were lots of horses on there which you could pay to ride. It was amusing watching all the novices go by, the horses looked reasonably happy and healthy although Anna didn't feel the urge to have a ride. After the sun started to disappear, we decided to look for some ocean wildlife around all the rocks. We came across lots of crabs and starfish!

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We then headed back to the hotel to get some much needed showers. Anna has been researching gluten free in every town or city we visit. She managed to find this Italian which someone had written can offer gluten free pasta. We soon hurried to that restaurant to be greatly dissapointed as they didn't have a clue what we were talking about. Anna's dreams were destroyed and so we walked to find another restaurant. Anna decided (still in the mood for Italian) to get Bolognese on rice as it would be similar to chilli on rice without the chilli. This was the worst meal she had ever tasted as the Bolognese was so sweet it was as if sugar had been piled into it.

The next day we went downstairs for breakfast. There was so menu, only a Thai lady offering us eggs, eggs or eggs. Standard.
We later got a green pick up truck bus thing to the bus station to book our sleeper tickets to Phuket. We then got a taxi to the water park!!!!! What an amazing day we had it was so much fun. There's not much to tell here really apart from Anna's towel got pooed on by a bird and we thought there was a dead baby in the lazy river but it turns out it was a dummy which they were testing the life guards with. On one of the slides we went on... The best one, we had to go on with 3 or four other people in a huge yellow ring. We shared the ride with a few Chinese people and we laughed all the way down as their noises and reactions were hilarious!!

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After the water park we went to tesco!!!! To get some snacks for the night bus. We then thought if we walked to the end of the road we could get a pick up bus instead of a taxi saving us a lot of money. We basically walked onto the motorway then decided it was a bad idea as no pick up trucks went passed and we could end up getting ourselves killed. After about 25 minutes of worriedly pacing, a pick up bus finally came to a hault and agreed to take us to town. We walked across a road to get to the hotel and we must have passed under a night club for birds. There were thousands of them all up on the electricity wires and the noise was incredible. It was so loud, we practically ran past to avoid getting deposited on!
We didn't hang around in the lobby as it was full of mosquitos! We quickly grabbed our bags and headed to the bus station. We then waited hours for the bus to turn up!! Finally it arrived.
We slept right through the journey being exhausted from the water park. The only thing that woke us were the two rude women behind! One woke Ben to tell him she couldn't get in her seat yet her friend managed to get into and out of hers? They had no consideration for sleeping passengers and proceeded to annoy us the whole way.
We arrived at 9am in Phuket. We had no idea where we were, we had no plan, no hotel, and so we decided to get a pick up into town and go from there. Luckily we found some wifi and decided that Patong seemed to be the place to go. We found a hotel then sat on another bus for about 30 min waiting for it to leave. Getting busses instead of taxis is so much cheaper even though their timing is painful! The hotel we found on booking.com turned out to be way more expensive when you just show up and so we were able to find another one right next door. We got changed and went to patong beach. It's stunning with its blue water and white sand! We read it wasn't very nice and very touristy but after experiencing pattayas beach, it was heaven. We also read online that paradise beach was suppose to be the nicest beach in Phuket. We decided to get a taxi there. It cost us about £6 and we also had entertainment from our driver who enjoyed making sound affects when his car couldn't make it up the ridiculous hill to this private beach. We then found out we had to pay £10 each just to get in. After feeling ripped off, and after walking through very over priced shops and restaurants, we got to the beach and felt a bit better about our spends. There were beach chairs, bean bags, tree swings, lilos and rubber rings, beach volley ball and snorkels(although we used our own thanks daddy). We spent the day relaxing and playing! We paid £8 for a pretty disappointing lunch though. Ben had a fake chicken burger, Anna had a portion of chips and we had 2 drinks!
When it got to around 4pm we discovered this is where they have the full moon parties as they all started setting up. After our day we couldn't think of anything worse than staying to party and so we were soon on the shuttle bus back down to Patong.

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We couldn't for the life of us remember where we got the taxi from and it turns out we aren't very good at guessing as we got off the shuttle bus way to early and ended up walking all the way back. We passed through all the touristy shops and restaurants on the beach front and we're glad of the location of our hotel.
We went out for dinner a bit later on and found this really cool bar with live music and free BBQ with your drinks. This bar and was home to the local biker gangs and they neatly very proudly parked their bikes outside the front for show. It was really nice and the owner sat with us to make sure Ben was enjoying his much wanted Thai red curry.
Today we are going to the Phi Phi islands and we can't wait to be in paradise!

Posted by Benannatravels 05:53 Comments (0)

Cambodia and back to Thailand

After a loooong lie in we were in the mood for a full English fry up and some English breakfast tea to prepare us for the day ahead. Ben asked for no ice in his apple juice and Anna asked to substitute her bread for beans "yes" was the reply, which if you read about the taxis in Bangkok you'll know doesn't mean much! Ben got ice in his Apple juice. One of the many joys of experiencing different languages and cultures. We booked our bus to Siem Reap at the hotel reception paying in US dollars but recieving a handful of Cambodian notes as change as they don't use Cents. We then rushed up to the room to panic pack (a phrase we're thinking of copyrighting the amount we use it) as the bus would arrive in only half an hour! We were ready just in time to wait 20 minutes, when the "bus" arrived it was a mini bus with no leg room and no toilet for Ben to throw up in as he was still feeling ill. Thankfully after picking up a few more passengers we were dropped at the bus station where a coach awaited which was fully equipped with air con, a toilet and refreshments served throughout the journey.

Fun fact for the day: (this one is more of an observation so if anyone has a fact to explain it that would be grand) men grow there fingernails extremely long over here. A couple of times Ben has jumped out of his skin thinking he was handing the baggage to a witch!

Traffic in Cambodia once again differs drastically from the uk. Cows, Buffalo, cats, dogs and people do not stop the traffic. Neither for that matter do roadworks as we found on a number of occasions travelling at speed head on towards another bus or lorry. We did however arrive in Siem Reap with all our limbs attached and in working order to a free of charge tuk tuk to ferry us to our hotel. Although he was not ready and waiting to ferry us to our hotel. He was not there. While we waited we exchanged books with a fellow backpacker, Dave from New York. We passed on Kane And Able and he gave us The Damage Done, the true story of brutality and terror behind bars in a Thai prison👌. Our tuk tuk arrived and we left Dave and headed to our hotel. The hotel we booked had a beautiful looking pool (at least it looked beautiful on our tiny iPhone screens) for us to hopefully get some R&R after the long drive through Vietnam and the stress in Saigon.
Siem Reap looked very nice if not a bit too touristy. We found a decent looking restaurant and had ourselves Buffalo Luk Lok with a side of fried egg rice :) we had a fresh fruit salad for pudding and have both decided we do not like dragonfruit.

The next day we got up relatively early, after a breakfast of plain OMELETE! We headed for Angkor, home of Angkor Wat temple. We found a bike rental shop/shack/shed/bikesinsomeonesfrontgarden and rented ourselves a couple of bi-cycles which cost us £1.40 each for the whole day. We arrived at the ticket office where we had our photos taken for the tickets! Once again Ben was too tall for the camera (I'm starting to notice some repetition in our blog posts) and had photos of his chest and neck taken several times. Once through the barriers we headed for the temple, distracted only by a large family of wild monkeys playing on the side of the road. We stopped to take pictures and the monkeys enjoyed playing on our bikes!

We locked the bikes up and set off around Angkor Wat temple on foot. It was amazing. So big. Ben was even asked by a rather strange German girl if she could have her picture taken with his girlfriend. Not by Ben but by her "partner". Anna and the German posed together at the top of some ancient stairs while Ben hid in the shadows like Quasimodo. On the way out of the temple it was Anna's turn to ask for a photo, at least this time it was of a monk and not another tourist (although he did have a guest pass round his neck) (and then pulled out a iPhone and asked us for our photo as a reminder of his trip) (I guess we're all tourists somewhere).

We had to cycle for a couple of hours to do the small tour of the rest of the temples dotted throughout the forrest. We got ourselves some mango and pineapple from a street vendor to help us on our way. As we came to the next temple we came across yet annother group of monkeys on the side of the road. This time there were lots of tiny babies running around playing. A couple of the bolder ones were straight up on the bike grabbing the bag with the mango stone straight out of Anna's basket! Ben managed to hold onto the pineapple bag long enough to hand out the pieces directly into the monkeys hands!
As we were ending our tour of Angkor we came across a couple more lone monkeys. Anna had acquired a piece of corn along the way in the hopes of getting some last close and personal photos with them. She held out the corn and was swiftly relieved of it. She knelt with the primate not 3 feet away. Unfortunately although Anna looked beautiful as ever in the shots the back of the monkeys head was not such a pretty sight. In order to get its attention she thought a leaf might serve as some amusement and distract the monkey long enough from his corn for Ben to snap a pic of them both. Apparently however our new friend was not a fan of getting his picture taken and foiled Anna's plans instantly. With barred teeth and sharp claws he lashed out against Anna's leg leaving some nasty scratches. Luckily Ben did get a picture of this 👍.
We eventually got back to town and after our usual fight with half the neighbourhoods ATMs we were starving and parched! We found a little bar/restaurant where we got ourselves some nice local fare. A cheeseburger and chicken nuggets. We got back to the hotel and headed straight for the poolside where we spent the rest of the afternoon.

That night was our seemingly customary visit to the local night market. Ben has been practising his bartering somewhere as we bagged ourselves some amazing deals! Even when it seemed everything there no matter what stall was 3 dollars! Anna got herself a dress with elephants on to add to the book, bag, top, pillow and keychain that are also elephant themed!
While looking around for somewhere to eat we encountered "Pub Street" this is not what we had imagined when we were sat at our desks dreaming of our travels. It is more of a lads on tour destination. We took it in our stride and continued on in search of food. We came across our first street vendor selling creepy crawlies. There were spiders snakes and others that we would rather not remember. We were offered a taste of snake which Ben snacked on while Anna looked on in horror. As Ben was clearly now feeling better we braved the local street food once again. We found a pancake vendor that used sticky rice instead of flour so we had ourselves some chocolate and banana pancakes for pudding. Unfortunately they were incredibly chewy and put up quite a fight!

The following morning Anna managed to get fried egg and potatoes instead of omelette and bread that Ben eats! (I know right). We thought we would wait for our bus back to Thailand by the pool. Our tranquil morning sun bathing session was interrupted by billowing smoke engulfing everything! We ducked back into the hotel lobby and were sent into a room to take cover from the smoke. We still don't know what caused it or why it stopped but it soon did and we were back out in the lobby. Our bus was now an hour late and Anna was feeling increasingly unwell. Here are her own words as to what happened: So, the previous day I read an article about the increased amount of gluten intolerance. I read that people aren't allergic or intollerent to the gluten, but to the pesticides that are spread onto the crops. I thought surely they don't use the same pesticides over here that they use in the UK. I decided to see how wheat affected my gut over here, but boy did I regret it. I either caught the bug that Ben had or my body can not tolerate wheat at all. I will never know, but what I do know is I will never attempt to eat wheat again.

After an hour and a half there was still no bus but a Tuk Tuk arrived which took us to another hostel and left us there with no explanation. Dave from New York was also waiting for the same bus which made us feel slightly better. After another wait a mini bus arrived, we were informed that we would be mini bussing it the entire way to Pattaya in Thailand, not what we wanted to hear with Anna in the state she was in. It didn't take long for her fried eggs and potato to reappear mostly in a plastic bag but some on the floor of the bus as Ben and the elderly Cambodian man next to him were unable to escape with the child lock on. So after an uncomfortable 2/3 hour drive, swapping drivers and stopping for the toilet we arrived at the Cambodian/Thai boarder. As cars are not allowed to cross we had to walk the distance with Ben carrying everything. We made it into Thailand where we were informed we were waiting for four more Chinese passengers that could take up to 2 hours to get through customs. That did not sound like a barrel of laughs given our current situation, not even a small bucket of chuckles in fact so we decided to pay an extra 8 dollars each to get an earlier mini bus with a different company. This was a 4 hour journey with lots of stops to pick up other passengers. But we did, eventually, arrive. We then paid 7 bloody quid for a taxi! Desperate times call for desperate measures. We finally got the invalid to bed.

Today after finally leaving the room at 1pm we strolled to the beach, had a sunbathe, booked our bus tickets for tomorrow, had a swim in the hotel pool and are now knackered in bed. We aren't hanging around in Pattaya because of how touristy it is. So onwards and upwards as they say.

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Posted by Benannatravels 08:23 Comments (0)

Ho Chi Minh City and Phnom Penh

We woke up nice and early ready for a hearty breakfast. What we received was an omlette... Just an omlette. Only egg. We walked to the gluten free shop which we mentioned in our previous blog post. When we got there we were so glad of the air-conditioned room and we ready to search the shelves for gluten free goodies. We could only see mixes (for brownies, cakes and bread etc) so we asked the lady if the products on the next shelf were also free from gluten. She obviously doesn't take allergies seriously as we luckily noticed before we bought the items that they were full of flour. We soon returned them to the shelf and continued the hunt. We ended up spending just under £30 on Nutella, rice cakes and cereal bars! A well stocked up Anna!
We then drove to the backpacker area of the city to try and sell our bikes. After hours of riding around practically begging people to buy our bikes, we decided to retire to a cafe as we were getting no offers or as little as a hundred dollars. We left our bikes with the signs on outside the cafe hoping they would draw some sort of attention. This was another unsuccessful attempt. We decided to take a break and to attempt to find the bus station where we could buy our tickets for Cambodia. The drive there was stressful as there is no order on the roads and it is literally a free for all. We arrived at a bus station and badly communicated our needs to the security guard. He didn't have a clue what we were talking about and so Ben went off to find the ticket office. Here they spoke no English and so booking a ticket was a complete disaster. Alls he got was pointless hand gestures and the number 325 which meant nothing to us.
We also posted an advert online for selling the bikes but only one traveler showed any interest.
We then decided to go back to the hotel where Ben took another shower... Ho Chi Minh is really hot!
We decided to go back out to try to sell the bikes, this time we were leaning more towards $100 each. I guess they are probably worth that as Ben's had no petrol, it kept stalling, the exhaust kept exploding and it had no mirrors. Anna's bike had lost its horn and sounded like a tractor.
After attracting a crowd around the bikes on the side of the street, we soon found ourselves in a hagelling argument over $10. The man would only offer $190 and we wanted $200 for both. We soon came to a conclusion... $190 plus a beer and a 7up.
We then decided to spend some time on foot in the backpacker area. We saw a lady boy, lots of pubs and clubs, and bought some nice Vietnamese souvenirs. Again we had a fight with a few cash machines, they just love rejecting the English bank cards.
We then headed to the food and night markets where we whitnessed a mugging. A man was thrown to the ground as his bag was raided. He was soon on his feet and he and his wife chased the culprit. Ben then wore his backpack on his front the whole night.
We arrived at the food markets which were surprisingly clean and organised. The food looked amazing and Ben was brave enough to try ostrich.
We went for a mooch around the night markets where we each bought a new tshirt as the rain destroyed our ones when dye ran all over them during our motorbike ride.
Back at the hotel, we told the receptionist about our bus dilemma and she very kindly was able to book the bus tickets for us and also arrange a taxi to the correct bus terminal so that nothing else could go wrong.
We returned back to the room and watched a film and fell asleep by 9pm, it had been a long day!!! And it was about to be a long night....
Ben woke every hour on the hour throwing up his ostrich. It was a horrible night and we won't go into too much detail.
In the morning Anna woke to another exciting omlette as Ben rested in bed. We then checked out and got our taxi to the same bus station as the previous day however the ticket office was across the road at number 325... Dduurrrghhh!!! We soon were on the bus and Ben was horrified to discover there was no toilet. This made him anxious but Anna made him a sick bag Incase of emergency. Hours later we arrived at the Cambodia border where we stood in a line waiting for our visas. We had our finger prints and photos taken, it felt like we were in a line of criminals waiting to go to prison, especially as we were in a boiling hot and very unpleasant warehouse.
We arrived in Cambodia and ofcourse were hammered by offers for tuktuks! We found a guy who spoke good English and who definitely knew where our hotel was. He told us to grip onto all of our bags as 'the bad boys' often steal out of tuktuks!
By the time we got to our hotel we were starving. Ben passed the time by naming all the lizards. We now have a frank and Jeff to add to the Steve! Anna had egg fried rice which turned out to be a fried egg on rice and Ben had a burger after not eating all day. He soon wiped the plate clean!
Back in the room we soon discovered that the toilet was broken. The bowl would fill with water but nothing would drain. Again we will spare you of the details but we were able to laugh the situation off with the poor hotel man who brought his plunger.
We had the best nights sleep. We had soft pillows! At the previous hotel it was like sleeping on bricks and so we were glad of the comfort.

Today we went in our tuktuk (as our driver insisted on taking us) to the killing fields. Neither of us knew much about the genocide which took place here in Cambodia and so it was an emotional day. However we found it very educational and learnt a lot. We bought flowers in respect of the three million who died and Anna left her hair band at the killing tree out of respect for the women and children.
After lunch (Ben still feeling unwell and struggling to eat) we returned to the hotel and spent the rest of the afternoon reading by the jacuzzi in the sun. Resting was such a relief after 10 days of motorbiking non stop.
This evening after dinner, we went to explore the night markets. The city is alive at night and there is people gathered in all of the parks sat having pikniks. We enjoyed the atmosphere and the markets were and improvement to the ones in Vietnam. There was also like karaoke! They love their karaoke here, there's more karaoke bars than people!
Tomorrow we are getting the bus to a different part of Cambodia, post soon :-)

Posted by Benannatravels 09:26 Comments (0)

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