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  • Day174

    Koh Phangan, Thailand

    February 24, 2016 in Thailand ⋅ ☀️ 30 °C

    The journey to Bangkok started with a lovely surprise for Roisin and I as we were upgraded to Business Class for our Etihad flight from Sao Paulo to Abu Dabai. We were treated to fully reclining seats with a massage setting and spacious leg room. With one hostess for every four people, we were given great attention and drank the free champagne as we waited to take off. We ordered our dinner for the flight from the extensive menu and sat back and enjoyed the flight. The food came on real plates and cutlery with unlimited access to drinks throughout the flight. For me, the best part of the 13 1/2 hour flight was the breakfast, where I had real cornflakes and warm milk, (something we'd lacked on the trip) followed by scrambled eggs and a mango smoothie. Such a treat to have, before we returned to Economy Class for the final flight to Bangkok.
    We got through security with no problems before getting a taxi to Khaosan Immjai Hostel, just off Khaosan Road. The taxi was pimmed up in pink fury covers, flashing lights and various posters, all an unusual start to our time in Thailand.
    We had a day of site seeing where we got the public transport boat for €0.20 for the 20 minute journey from Pier 13 to Pier 8. We crammed onto the boat with the guy shouting out the various stop numbers while people scrambled on and off the boat. Our first stop of the day was the Grand Palace, built in 1972, where we hired some long robes and wandered through the beautiful buildings and courtyards. The main feature was The Emerald Buddha where we sat and enjoyed the amazing surroundings. To escape the heat, Nina, Edel and I got a tuk tuk to the Siam Paragon shopping mall where we had our now traditional visit to H&M to top up on some basic clothing. That evening, we went to the Asiatique night market. This was not like one we had seen before, with amazing lights and bright stalls. We got some Thai dinner, walked around the stalls and then went on the Ferris wheel to view the city night lights.
    Next day before getting the sleeper train to Chiang Mai, we got ourselves a Pad Thai dinner from a stall on Khaosan Road and sat on the kerb taking in the sites of the busy street. The overnight train to Chiang Mai was an interesting experience. With bunk beds running down either side of the old train, it felt like we were in an old war time movie. We lay there for the night trying to sleep and not fall out of the bed, despite feeling every bump we went over on the tracks.
    We stayed in Potao House just on the verge of the walls of the old town. We went to the Night Bazaar market and wandered along the blocks and blocks of stalls.
    Next day we went to the Art in Paradise museum where we posed for many photos at the amazing 3D art work. Then we walked through the old town visiting various temples including Wat Chedi Luang, Wat Phantao and Pra Singh Voramahavihara and took loads of photos of the beautiful buildings.
    That evening we had a cooking class with Asia Scenic. Our teacher Tup first presented us with Meang Kum (Welcome Snack) that is used at all gatherings. Next we got a tour of the garden and the local food market, where Tup pointed out the various foods and ingredients used in Thai cooking. We headed back to the kitchen where we cooked various dishes including Red curry, Pad See Uw (stir fry with rice noodles) and Tom Khai Kai (chicken curry in coconut milk). Roisin and I volunteered to cook the filling for the spring rolls for the group, just like a Masterchef Masterclass.
    The following day we had a long day of travelling with a 20 hour bus to Surat Thani before getting a boat to Koh Tao, where we stayed in Koh Tao Central Hostel. After a busy few weeks it was nice to be able to chill out on the island, watching sunsets on the beach with a cool cider in hand. Edel and I decided to treat ourselves to a manicure and pedicure in a little spa, close to the hostel. Our feet have taken a heavy beating over the last six months and the poor ladies really had their work cut out to make them anyway respectable looking. Our final stop in Thailand was Koh Phangan where we stayed in Smile Hostel for the Full Moon Party. On the day of the party, we purchased brightly coloured tshirts and painted ourselves in florescent bodypaint, before heading to Hadrin Beach for the all night party on the beach.
    Next day, we had an epic journey taking various modes of transport (boat, bus, planes and tuk tuk) to Siam Reap for the highly awaited multinational reunion in Cambodia.
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