General, Travel

Friends, Fun, and Flying

When we knew we had a week off in the middle of the semester, we always planned to come to Bangkok. Part of me wishes we hadn’t, because as soon as we left the hotel I remembered how much I disliked the place, but so far, it’s been the break we needed from teaching and Roi-Et.

Instead of having a conventional Christmas, we spent it in work, teaching, and watching sports day. Speed forward a week, and we’re on holiday, in Bangkok, planning our New Years Eve celebrations. Thailand is just so different to England in what it celebrates, and how it celebrates it. They may have a low-key Christmas, but the place knows how to celebrate New Years. It’s apparently the 8th best place to celebrate New Years, so we thought we’d give it ago.

We put off leaving for Bangkok at the weekend from Saturday until Sunday because we wanted to save a bit of money and have a day to sort the house out. I’m glad we did, the bathroom floor was horrible, and we got to sort out our souvenirs and our Christmas presents. Sunday was spent doing little more. We decided to get up early, but buses don’t run between Roi-Et and Bangkok in the middle of the day, we were left with hours to kill. So we spent it making fake sharpie tattoos for New Year, and sorting boxes of souvenirs to sent home.

We used the little short-cut that the tuk-tuk driver showed us last week, and found it actually cut a lot of time off the journey – winner. When we got there, the wonder that was Google translate helped us communicate our destination to the driver, and we were soon on our way to Bangkok, well, the bus station to get a bus to Bangkok. We risked booking onto a late over night train leaving at 10pm and getting in at 5am to save a night’s accommodation in Bangkok and to hopefully sleep through the journey. After a few hours burnt in Dairy Queen and KFC, Tescos premier dining outlets, we got aboard our bus armed with snacks, pizza, and water.

The buses were not like coaches at home. The seats were large leather recliners, that we later discovered had massage functions. There was a TV, unfortunately in Thai, and we were provided with a snack box, bottle of water, and a blanket. considering this was the cheapest way to travel, it was not bad at all. After playing most of the card games on the screen, we both fell asleep. There may have been a few interruptions but the ride was pretty good, and of course, the one time when  we hoped the bus would arrive late, it arrived at 3:30am, leaving us stranded in the bus station.

After munching on pizza, we caught a tuk tuk through Bangkok to our hotel, which considering the price (especially at New Years) seemed to be pretty nice. We had to wait until 6am, for what we thought would be bag-drop off, but they let us check in 8 hours early. fter napping, and lengthy discussions about Florida park pass options, we ventured out to meet friends and go for proper Western food.

Terminal 21 is a mecca for all things Western in Bangkok. It has different floors for different place,s and features restaurants, cafes, and shops from different places in the world. We quickly realised there were next to know authentic British food places (they can’t cook potatoes or pastry here – a big issue when attempting British food) so we opted for Mexican. So worth it, the combo platter was unbelievable. It was nice to see friends as well, just spending time with different people and checking in on how they’re doing. Danny and Claire both live in Bangkok, so it was interesting to hear how different (and more expensive) it is here. We’re thinking of meeting up with Claire for New Years Eve, while Danny parties the night away in a sky bar.

Yesterday, we finally got to do Flight of the Gibbon, which was the first thing that we looked at and decided we would do 2 years ago, when this crazy adventure entered initial planning. We met up with a few others, some about to embark on the g adventures tours we did 2 months ago, and got vans to Chonburi. After some farcical organisation, a lot of waiting around, a fairly nice lunch, some slightly dodgy loos, and a close encounter with some giraffes and a rhino, we were kitted up and on the way to the first zip-wire.

The setting was unbelievable, and the climbing not to difficult. Once we were up on the first platform, Jade and one of our NZ group friends noticed the height, and were a little scare,d but everyone made it easily across the first zipline. It was amazing, literally above the canopy of the rainforest. The ziplines varied in speeds and lengths, so there was ample opportunity to get photos and videos of us zipping through the rainforest; there was even a honeymoon zipline, so we managed to get photos in the air of us together. The ropes bridges and descents were also fun, the bridges allowing us to walk through the canopy, and cross something off my bucket list. It was well worth it.

After we stood round for a bit before being taken (and slightly rushed through) the Go Gibbon experience, which is like the high ropes course you get in England, just in the rainforest, not a park 20 minutes down the road. It was fun, more tiring than the zipline was, and a different thing to have done. Definitely a good day. It’s just a shame we didn’t get our free souvenir. Oh well, hopefully a quick email will sort that.

The van on the way back dropped us off at Terminal 21, rather than the villa we went to in the morning, which was perfect for us as we wanted to go there again for dinner. This time we opted for a Piri-Piri chicken place that also did burgers and steak, and treated ourselves. We just don’t get access to anything approaching this sort of Western food back in Roi-Et. We also visited the toilets here, as advised by King Kong during orientation week. Toilets have featured a few times throughout my blog, usually for negative reasons. not this time. They must have been the jazziest, best decorated toilets I have ever been to in my life. Every floor (yes we did decide to look at the decor on more than one level) was unique tot he place that the floor was emulating and was well done. The toilets them selves had heated seats, varying shower/bidet functions and settings, a drying option, and toilet roll (OK so the last thing there should be standard, but we’re in Thailand). I had to take a picture.

I’m a little tired and sore this morning, which makes sense after yesterdays pursuits. We have big plans for Friday, to visit the sunflower fields of Lopburi, and we have New Years Eve plans this evening at Central World, so we’re having a day to wander round Bangkok, do some shopping, and maybe get a massage as well. We shall see.

Enjoy New Years Eve, wherever and however you are spending it!

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