The Last Stop

Trip Start Dec 30, 2006
Trip End Mar 15, 2007

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Flag of Thailand  ,
Saturday, March 10, 2007

 Bangkok was the last stop on the trek. We left Ko Phi Phi on the 2pm ferry, made our way to Phuket town, ate a beautiful meal for 1euro and jumped on an overnight bus for a 14 spin to Bangkok! To be honest it was probably the most comfortable bus journey we had. There were 24 seats on the coach, enough room to recline right back, blankets and pillows(!), toilet and TV on which they showed a movie - albeit in Thai. Action movies don't require much dialogue so with our Ipods on full volume we were happy out!  

We arrived in Bangkok at 8 am so we hung around Soi Rambuttri for a few hours until we could check into our guesthouse - Lamphu House. It was a pretty nice place, but for 560baht (€12) I think we expected a little more. However, the air con and absence of spiders was definitely welcomed! We stayed there 2 nights and in that time managed to fit in some shopping on the Ko San Road. Plenty of pirate DVDs and fake sunglasses to be found!

  We had decided to treat ourselves for the last 2 nights of our trip and splashed out on a €45 a night hotel in Chinatown - The Shanghai Inn. It was such a cool place. It was a bit posher than what we had been used to. Dave was excited to see his name on the welcome board outside but we were a bit embarrassed to have our packs wheeled in on a bellman's cart by the concierge. I think it brought too much attention to our backpacker-ness! It was even worse later on when he kept trying to hail us taxis and we insisted we wanted to catch the 30 cent bus instead!
The room was great. It was the quirkiest place I've ever stayed in - straight out of China. The colours made it really bright and, yellow and purple lanterns, red doors, green, yellow and red stained glass windows, red wash basin, purple walls, lime green silk cushions on the four poster bed and red silk slippers set out for us! It might all sound a bit crazy but the pictures do it justice.

  Cathy and Neil had stayed on Phi Phi for a few days after our departure and they then surprised us by staying in the same hotel for two nights! They flew out to Dublin the same day we flew on to Melbourne. We managed to drag them to MBK - Mah Boon Krong, one of Bangkok's Massive shopping malls...we had been there 2 days in a row and thought it deserved a third visit. Well Dave was lured by the presence of a McDonald's restaurant and I couldn't resist the cheap €5 Gucci bags, €15 fake Diesel jeans, €1 Mac eyeshadow, fake watches and endless supply of souvenirs. The best part was a Toni and Guy senior stylist haircut for €14! - (Dave says: for all the guys, thats a cheap hair cut)

  We felt obliged to do some of the touristy stuff while in Bangkok so we set off - on possibly the hottest, most humid day of the trip, to visit the Grand Palace and the reclining Buddha. To make it even worse, when you're entering these places you have to cover your legs and arms which means no strappy tops or short pants, not even 3/4 length bottoms. Dave had to wear his jeans and I wore long linen (backpack-ery) pants and 2 layers on top. I reckon we shed a few pounds through sweat that day. It was unbearable. At that stage I didn't care about seeing any more temples or shrines or lighting incense, I was too preoccupied with standing in the shade! After dragging ourselves around the Grand Palace (at 5euro for tourists and free for Thais) we then WALKED to the reclining Buddha. Probably not the longest of walks but when you're gasping for air it seemed like a lifetime. Now and again I'd say "how far away is this Buddha?" - whatever answer I heard was definitely equalled to "too far" but I was dragged on. In fairness it was quite a sight to behold when we finally got there. It's housed in the largest Wat (temple) in Thailand. The gold plated reclining Buddha is 45m long and 15m high - huge in other words.  Just about worth being ripped off again as a tourist - $1.50 for tourists, free for Thais!

    Back at the hotel, there wasn't much to do at night time in Chinatown apart from eat at overpriced Shark Fin Restaurants.  So we had a great DVD/ pizza night watching Black Books and Dylan Moran stand-up with Neil and Cathy on their four poster bed. Together with our combined 8 pillows and 4 silk cushions we had a wonderful chill-out night before the onward flights the following day.

  Dave's excitement at going home was incontainable. He hadn't lived at home for 3 years and had only visited briefly last year. I was pretty excited to be continuing on my adventure to another country and to get back to a familiar lifestyle. We flew out at 9pm. We were at the airport in good time , 3+ hours early - that's how excited he was! Our €200 Jetstar flight was probably the best bargain of the trip. 9 hours flight and we had a portable video on demand unit, a comfort pack and pretty nice food. The flight went smoothly and the only delay we had was at Melbourne Airport when the tables turned and for a change I was in the non-nationals' queue and Dave waltzed on through (like Matilda :p) We were then held up by Australians super extra tight custom controls. Our wooden articles from Thailand had to pass the "no bug" test and eventually we got through to an excited Greene family on the other side.
  And so ends the big trip.  

  Thanks for reading xx                    
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