Hitting the beaches...

Trip Start Feb 28, 2012
Trip End Nov 22, 2012

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chiang mai

Flag of Thailand  , Chon Buri,
Friday, March 23, 2012

Its 10:45a and, it's a beautiful day. I am on the bus from BKK to Pattaya or 'Put-oy’ as a guy from Lampang, who was sat opposite me on the train I just took from Chiang Mai, told me Thai’s say it like…but when I get to BKK Mochit BS and say this, they look at me quizingly and say back ‘you mean Pattaya’! Pretty much sums up Thailand…

So in about an hour I’ll be in Pattaya. I have been in Chiang Mai for 2 nights from my exerts in Mae Sariang. I am typing my first diary on my own laptop which I decided to buy in Chiang Mai. After researching and finding the best option for a day I buy it the next day, communication is tough but we manage and on the first night there is a night market where I find a copied software place and buy windows ultimate 7 and MS office 2011 for about 3 quid each! So next day they load them on for me as there is no problem here with copied software; in the Pantip Shopping Plaza where I bought it there are 3 shops which sell copied software! Everything from Adobe Master Collection Premium Suite for 3 quid (bought!) to Garden Designer Software. Anyway, I go for a notebook in the end for the low weight and small size, its 1.2kg and 10" and was the right choice to carry around with me though the bag Lisa’s mum got me is splitting more and more so need to find a new bag today. Anyway, they packaged the laptop up for me in a case I bought but when I got the overnight train to BKK last night I realise they haven’t put in the free external DVD drive that came with it so I have no DVD drive…. I tried calling from BKK BS and the phone zapped 50B in about 1 minute and they spoke no English… so my plan is to go straight to Pattaya TAT (tourist info) to ask about staying in Pattaya but also see if they can call for me, sort it out and hopefully get one sent to BKK to the Samsung service centre there so I can pick it up on 26th or 27th before I get my flight to Bangkok. Its worth 30 quid and need it so hopefully this can be communicated and arranged.

So far I have been a bit concerned with the extra valuable I am now carrying around but now being on a bus and being able to do my diary is pretty good. I have backed up all my photos and have personalized the netbook and set the security options up too so hoping buying this was the right choice.

Havent eaten since 5pm yesterday so got headache but had a coffee on train this morning which may have been why I have just had my first taste of needing the loo on a moving bus…! Not a good experience when you only have one hand rail, a bucket of water and a McDonalds cup..! Say no more…

So after spending a good few days in Mae Sariang I decided that rather than cramming in treks and the northern circuit which would be more difficult to travel anyway, that I would get closer to BKK for the flight and try Pattaya and then Ko Chang. A few Thai’s Have said Pattaya is good, it’s a big coastal place and nightlife place too so have decided to stop one night then get the bus to the SE island of Ko Chang which looks very beautiful and explorable for the 3 days I have. This way when I come back to Thailand I plan to enter from Southern Laos and travel up the Eastern Thai border, round the North border then back to the North Western places I missed Pai and Mae Hong Son and then down to do as much of Southern Thialand as possible and if time is tight I can always travel down one side, do a visa run to Malaysia and then do the other southern coast then go to Malaysia.

So after a relaxed, sleepy and pleasant few days in Mae Sariang I took the 5 hour bus trip to Chiang Mai. I sat opposite a Phalang but just nodded and kept myself to myself for a bit as didn’t want a long chat the whole journey so thought id try speak later. On the journey down there was a great roadside river perfect for white water rafting and loads of places to stop and this is only backing up my idea to maybe take an international driving test license and buy a bike to travel through Asia. Like the UK you have to buy a ticket to your destination though on the swaentghaew you pay where ever you get off which is good but you cant then get off, look round and get another, you have to wait and probably for a while too but on a bike you can really explore so I have a post on Lonley Planet asking what insurance I would need and license and also whether its possible to travel SE Asia by bike and if so what spec bike I would need. Hoping that by time I get to Phnom Penh I know what to do and can take the test and buy a bike there.

Chiang Mai was as expected but maybe a little better, I thought it would be just like BKK but it wasn’t as bad… lots of phalang and when walking round loads of bars, go-go bars, massage places (mainly cosha – I think?!) but I spent the first day walking to 3 shopping centres where places sold laptops and at night I met Marc, who was the phalang on the bus I later chatted with, a retired French guy who kinda kept pulling faces like Mr Bean does,  so I met him for dinner and he told me all about the thing with ‘Peter’ who was the guy who succumbed to Nazi pressure in the 2nd world war and caved in to the Germans…. I had heard this was an embarrassment for the French but didn’t know the story so he filled me in…

After, by chance I found a place with Thai boxing on so I went in and it was a boxing stage surrounded by about 10 bars, all with go-go girls in and one place with Ladyboys!!  So I sat to watch in a cunning position to see the wonder that is the Laydboys! I think most of you have seen Alan Partridge and his strange curiosity with Thai Ladyboys but now that is even funnier because I understand the strange curiosity… they are a bit of a phenonomen…. I don’t know if I mentioned but Swedish phalang told me the reason you get ladyboys is to do with the diet in Thailand?! And that the spices in food affect estrogen levels?! and that before healthcare for it here became free, Thai’s couldn’t afford the medication so babies had a 50/50 chance of being a lady boy, but also when they grew up they actually take estrogen pills, injections etc to be even more feminine…. All sounds far fetched but who knows…. They are all ultra feminine tho, way more than women are and they range from BA in a tutu to actually stunningly beautiful…! And there really are many that you cant tell with and also many you wouldn’t wanna get in a fight with either!! So anyway the Thai boxing was good but after a while I realize its like WWF and think it’s a bit staged but I managed a video or a knockdown which I will put on youtube, but then I took a sneaky 2nd video and panned round to the ladyboys and one chatting to a phalang sat in their bar… its dark so ill work on a better one if I get chance again!

So I am in Pattaya and immediately I see why Thai’s have said to come here and the reasons are 2 fold; firstly there are many Thai’s here who come to holiday or spend time at the beach and enjoy the seafood and secondly because I am a phalang, this is phalang central and possibly in some parts, the sleaziest place on earth! And I thought Kanchanaburi was bad with the 20 or so bars on the one street there,  but here there are that many on every street, its either restaurants, pharmacies, bars or massage places and these don’t look like the cosha kind! So on arrival I fear the worst and wonder why I am here but things change and its actually OK here… but first I get to the tourist info place TAT and the guy is great, he speaks good English and he phones the computer place up and they arrange for me to collect the dvd drive from near BKK airport before I get my flight – result… he also tells me that for my idea of buying a bike I would need to take an international bike license test at a cost of about a tenner and also that I would need insurance but cant get in Thailand, I would have to find something online from an international or UK insurer… so a good start to being here I then hail a sawngthaew and go to the, so the TAT guy tells me, ‘quieter’ side of Pattaya at Jomtein Beach but when I get here it is ‘same, same’ as they say in Thailand but certainly not as bad, the bit I initially got a sawngthaew thru was like a cross between Benidorm and hell, not that there is much difference between the two I know, but here is better so it’s 40 degrees today and I am carrying my huge bag round looking for a hotel without any luck as they are either expensive or full… Thai’s always laugh at you carrying a huge bag in this heat but you see why and, as always, its an endearing, almost welcoming laugh and I just nod in comprehension and smile…. OK, so pretty much all the hotels and guesthouses I see have a bar at the front or below and theses bars, even in the early part of the day have Thai women in asking you in, but don’t get me wrong, its not in a bad way, they laugh and joke, youI laugh and joke back as you walk by and say ‘mai, kawp kun krap’ (no thankyou) and walk on so I find one and its 500B which for me is expensive but the guy at the TAT said that would be a best price here….. so the women who work the bar, which the owner owns as well as the rooms, are all, dare I say, either a little past their sell by date or were simply never actually in date but, like most places, they are just a group of friends who sit have a laugh and just hang out at the bar, but they are all very friendly and smiley but I get my key and get to the room when get my chance!

So I go back down and there’s a mobile food vendor and I ask how much to do a big pot I can share with everyone, he says 100B so I get one and eat and share with the bar women and we chat and I learn their names and we joke and they ask if I am here for a Thai woman! And I explain no, I am here for the beach and to relax but thank you anyway, and so the records set and they seem to find that ‘different’ but you see they like it and so we all chat, get on and laugh and joke…. As I type this I am not sure how it all sounds, but the reason I am putting this in is obviously as it’s a diary but also to try and explain what Thai people are like, you see they really are amazing, 99.9% of them anyway, so remember they are nearly all devout Buddhists and sometimes I am not sure if that is why they are so nice or whether they are just naturally very friendly and being Buddhist just adds to this pleasantness. People do what they have to to get by and there is a sense of warmth between all Thai people; they all accept the ladyboys, just with a wry smile tho, there seems to be no class divides anywhere I have seen, they love life and live it as best they can so you see, unlike in the UK where the vice industry is illegal, its legal and fully accepted here, you wont find anyone turning there nose up to anyone else whatever they do and if someone is struggling, has a problem or needs help they will help anyone, even phalangs! You see instances of this every day here, and its quite addictive and for me its perfect because it fits well with me everyone being that way with everyone else. Like today I have been at the beach all day (recouperating from last night) and I went for a swim and there was a Thai lad, maybe 25, in the sea on his own but just kind of behaving like a child, he had this big smile of pure joy just being in this nice warm water and he was splashing around and collapsing under the water suddenly and just looked like he was having the best time he had ever had! You’d have to see it but if you do, in that instance you see exactly what being a Thai person is… so when I say I made friends with the women at the bar I hope you see that they are just Thai people and when you say its not for you or no thank you but pleasantly they accept it, think no less of you and then you would think maybe  they would go about their own business but 99% don’t, they will continue to chat, ask where your from, your name, how long you have been in Thailand because they are just genuinely extremely friendly people… OK I have gone on about it but hopefully it explains a little about Thai people but also shows that I don’t want anyone getting the wrong idea about who I talk to out here..! You all know me, ill talk to anyone and everyone!!

So after eating and having a good laugh with everyone (I have a pic I will upload too) I decide that after 3 weeks here and only the odd beer I am gonna have a look round and have a good night, game of pool and a few drinks and chat to some of these phalangs…. So I chat with a some guys, Germans, English, Belgium, there’s all nationalities here and generally they are nice guys, here on holiday and what they do is their business but they are mainly all retired and probably looking for a Thai bride! But generally all good but of course I did chat to some very sleazy and strange guys too, one in particular from Sheffield, but I suppose this is the ideal place for them…. I also have a game of pool and find this big bar which has some good tables, which are usually scarce here, and there is one table with about 15 Thai guys, all with same t-shirts on with a bar name on playing on just one table, singles too, all watching the one match and taking it in turns even though there’s a free table right next to them… so I ask if they want to play me and not one of them does?! – Odd. After that I go in a bar and there is a girl who speaks excellent English  serving who turns out to have lived in Sheffield for 3 years so I ask about pattaya and Thailand and a few language things and then a ladyboy at the bar joins in the conversation! So we chat for about half hour and again have a good laugh and the ladyboy, called Marlene! (how many of your said that in Boycy’s voice??!), is very pleasant and at some point in the conversation I somehow say I know he/she is ladyboy (its very obvious!), its not a problem, its not my bag but like talking to him/her and just like at my hotel, that’s fine, i have bought a drink at the bar so all is good and can just chat… so anyway I got a photo (and yes, you can tell I have had a few beers! Otherwise would I really get a photo taken with a ladyboy?!) so ill upload that too… even I am half laughing that I had a chat with a ladyboy and got a photo too!

So anyway, that was my night out, I had a great night, it seems strange that I speak so little Thai but now manage to have conversations in half Thai half English all the time and in the 3+ weeks I have been here have probably spent 75% talking to locals and 25% to phalangs…. My time so far has been perfect, a perfect mix for me of my own time, time with the locals and some time with phalangs and that’s without doing a single tour, trek, course or anything but I know that when I come back to Thailand I will do the cooking course and a few treks too and look forward to now meeting some phalangs and maybe travel buddies but at the moment I am liking how it is going, and its probably going to be the same same for Cambodia too and I am really looking forward to going…. Oh yeah, and in Thailand and Cambodia, in mid April its New Year and they have this water festival thing where for about 3 or 4 days the country goes wild, everyone is off celebrating the whole time and everyone, and apparently this really is everyone, just throws water over each other! In streets, in bars, restaurants and I’m talking with buckets, cups, barrels, water pistols, anything and all day for the whole time too! Now I had heard about this and was gutted as I thought it was just Thailand but I bought my Cambodia book and it says they do it too but that they also throw talcum powder too so everyone is just covered in like a white clay mixture all the time! Sounds bizarre and amazing too so I will get pics, maybe a video too and just hope I don’t get a soaking when the camera is out! Think I will have to get some water proof bags for inside my bag to keep the laptop and everything dry!  Oh yeah, on the first page of the Cambodia book, it says when to go and not go and guess what, April is the hottest month of the year 40+ degrees C – I am gonna be cooked!!

OK, so I am staying in Pattaya one more night as travelling to Ko Chang is difficult by bus but I found a local service that will take you right to the coast by air con mini-van for 400B which includes the ferry over which is probably only 50B more than getting the buses and ferry separately but is much quicker. So my next update will probably either be from Ko Chang or when I get back to BKK for my flight over to Cambodia…. Can’t believe its almost been a month, its gone very quick, I am loving it and want you all to know I miss you all though but also to say I am well, good, enjoying the travel and there is nothing to worry about – all is good. Love to you all…x

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Delly on

Great updates as always bro, you and the locals, I'm so impressed! I really enjoyed reading all about what thai people are really like, I must admit I had preconceived ideas which I now know are unfair, really interesting stuff! Haha can't wait to see the pic with you and the lady boy! Wonder what the deal was with the guys in the pool hall??

Its lovely to hear your happy and well and enjoying every twist and turn you face, can see already that this experience its making you am even lovelier and more rounded person... You're learning so much!

my one tip for cambodia... STOCK UP ON FACTOR 30 SUNCREAM!!! Remember that pic when we were kids and your stood against a white wall lol, no repeat of that please :) continue to take care, eat well, steady in touch and live your dream... So so so proud of you love sis xxx

wix on

Thanks for your great comment Delly, i loved reading that just now.... i am just updating the site now as i am on phase 2 Cambodia! The sun cream is ready and tomorrow i start out on a trip to see The Killing Fields, one of the highlights of the whole trip for me and though Thailand is going to take some beating as the past month has been the best of my life! i think Cambodia is going to be pretty special too and inparticularly, visually, the largest temple in the world at Angkor Wat... cant wait for you to see the pics i am gonna get....

Love you loads too, thanks again for posting your message, speak soon OK...xx

PS. the pic with the ladyboy is on the site, me and Marlene!

Delly on

OMG just went back to look at the pic I missed, I totally thought Marlene (yes I defo do think/say that like off only fools and horses haha) was a girl!!! Blummin eck they look so feminine! Haha x

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