The Royal Guesthouse – Chiang Mai

I had some requests from subscribers for pictures of the Royal Guesthouse which I mentioned in this recent post.

It was lovely with trailing plants and a Greek feel to it (can’t explain it but it was like an urban derelict building themed as an abandoned Ancient Greek temple).

The Royal Gueshouse -Chiang Mai - North Thailand - Urban decay

The Royal Gueshouse -Chiang Mai – North Thailand – Urban decay


The Royal Gueshouse -Chiang Mai - North Thailand - Urban decay

The Royal Gueshouse -Chiang Mai – North Thailand – Urban decay


Next up: days forty-two and forty-three.

Previously: days forty and forty-one.

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Days forty and forty-one in Thailand – 2015

Day 40 – Tues – 14th July:

Up for my 6am alarm and down in the reception for 7.30am. Daniel was down before me but we had to ask the reception lady to wake Sijia for us (she was in the female dorm) as she had missed her alarm call.

It turned out to be very tight for getting to the station on time. We grabbed a taxi but it was close! We arrived at platform 10 seven minutes before it was due to leave at 8.30am and we waited on the platform for AUS Ryan (who was in a different hostel last night).

The doors literally closed behind us and the train left on time! Very unusual! We were given free water and a sweet bun, a common thing in these long journeys, it is included in the price and I think it’s so people don’t faint etc as the water from the sink in the train isn’t drinking water (same as all sinks in Thailand).

Well not much to say except it was a long and gruelling journey. Is was meant to be 12 hours but it was late, no surprise there. So 14 hours on a train in a tiny seat…. Yes I wouldn’t advise this journey lol. I wrote a few blog posts and read my book.

Here is a photo of Silja’s stolen from Facebook, of us looking very optimistic at the beginning of the journey.

Day train to Chiang Mai, North Thailand - 14 hours!

Day train to Chiang Mai, North Thailand – 14 hours!

The train arrived in Chiang Mai (North Thailand) at around 9.30pm and we got a taxi to a couple of hostels. The first one was full, we ended up at the second one.

I was a little annoyed as I didn’t get much choice of where we were going to stay but it was so late and many receptions close at 10pm so it was very tight.

A bit stressful. I walked down the road to try and find another place but couldn’t so I walked back to the hostel to find they had locked the doors! Oh dear. Lucky a girl who was staying there let me in and I found the dorm room where the others were.

I couldn’t check in though as the reception was closed. There were plenty of spare beds so I just took one. I will pay in the morning.

We went out for a quick bite to eat from a street stall.

.
Day 41 – Weds – 15th July:

A bit mentally exhausted today and we wasted a day travelling which was a shame. I paid for my gate crashed room first thing while the others lay in.

I felt I needed a few days break so I left the group in the early morning and found a lovely guesthouse with plants trailing up it. Very shabby chic and with a lovely pool.

Then I went to a bookshop and bought a bunch of books, to add to the three I was already carrying.

Here is my bookshelf…. So much for downsizing, I’m not sure how I’m going to fit them all in my bag.

My travelling library

My travelling library

I believe today the others went off to book some jungle treks for the next few days and to the cinema.

Tonight I ate in the hotel. They had a large reception/restaurant, with a pool table and a koi carp pond.

Next up: days forty-two and forty-three.

Previously: days thirty-eight and thirty-nine.

Days thirty-eight and thirty-nine in Thailand – 2015

Day 38 – Sun – 12th July:

Today we got up early about 8am and packed up the tents. This is because US Ryan was leaving today and we would swap our two, two man tents for one three man. We said goodbye to the Germans, who were going off on a planned hike with a guide (which you don’t need btw and it is very expensive).

I explored the campsite and there was a cool ‘Indiana Jones’ style swing bridge which lead to the start of one of the trails and a small coffee shop which only sold coffee. I think they would make money if they did breakfast (we all would have had it) so they are missing a trick there.

It was good iced coffee in a proper printed cup (like Starbucks) only saying ‘Khao Yai National Park‘ with a logo of a deer.

We had a discussion with the park ranger but it was hard to tell where the trails were and where they started. I think most people hire guides at this point (he kept offering us a guide), maybe out of frustration.

Firstly we re-hired our gear (you had to check in with it every day) and then swapped our tents over. We loaded up US Ryan’s hired motorbike and he took the gear, with Silja, to the next campsite. Phakluai Mai Campsite, (last night we were at Lumtakonh Campsite), I think, as there were no signs and it was very confusing. Scroll down on the link here for info about both campsite and both waterfalls in the park.

Me and AUS Ryan walked to the campsite, along the concrete road, and it only took us about 25 mins. Silja and US Ryan had already set up the tents so after a drink in a cafe we set off.

So we took the trail (I think) called ‘Pha Kluai Mai-Haew Suwat Trail 3 Km’, and the first 30 mins (to the first waterfall) was along the concrete road.

The waterfall, ‘Haew Sueat Waterfall’, was lovely but you couldn’t swim 😦 so we hunted around and finally found what we thought was the continuation of the trail. We passed some Japanese tourists sitting on a rest bench as we wandered off into the jungle. They looked at us like we were crazy. I think (as I have said before) walking and hiking is certainly a tourist thing, no Asians would be ‘crazy’ enough to walk in the heat. I guess they have to live in the heat all the time, maybe if I did then I wouldn’t be so keen to hike.

So here is a pic of our map (it was a little worse for wear by the end of the day).

Free Tourist map of Khao Yai National Park Thailand

Free Tourist map of Khao Yai National Park Thailand

And after an hour of guessing the trail, which was incredibly underused, we came to the next waterfall. I think was the ‘Haew Sai Waterfall’, but it was so unclear and not signposted.

Amazingly we bumped into the Germans who had reached that point after three hours of hiking with their guide, and having not seen anything or any animals. Now seeing animals is always luck of the draw but I think it is defo not worth having a guide. It had only taken us 1.5 hours to the same spot from the same campsite.

We swam in this waterfall and it was lovely. Sijia took a retro snap on her Polaroid camera and then we all took pics of the photo with the waterfall in the background. See below.

Swimming in the Haew Suwat Waterfall in the Khao Yai National Park Thailand

Swimming in the Haew Suwat Waterfall in the Khao Yai National Park Thailand

We then walked on for another hour but couldn’t seem to reach the third waterfall? So in the end we turned back. US Ryan turned back about 40 mins before we did because he had to get out of the park and off to catch a plane he next day (I think from Bangkok City).

We arrived back at the camp at exactly 4.30pm. But the cafe was closed and the small shop was literally just closing and the lady was locking the door! I ran over and waved at them but surprisingly the lady rudely just walked off. Normally the Thai people would happily just open the door for five mins and let you buy something.

Anyway I was very hungry as I hadn’t eaten all day so we hitchhiked to the next campsite and found a shop and a restaurant. Then we hitchhiked back again. Defo pack your own food for this trip :/

Lots of deer roaming around this campsite as well, but no people! Just a couple of stoned white (not Thai) guys in a hammock. The place was dead, even quieter than the previous site? Where is everybody….

 

 

Day 39 – Mon – 13th July:

Today we packed up early as we had to be back in Bangkok City to meet Sijia’s friend from Denmark (her home country). It was his first time out of Europe so she planned to meet him in Bangkok and show him the city.

It was very hard to get a taxi out of the campsite. As I said last night there was nobody here and no Rangers either! Unlike the other site which a least had some staff.

We walked back along the road to the other site (we had to go there anyway to return the hired gear). It took us a little longer than before as we were carrying all the tents and stuff.

At the other site we asked for a taxi but they said 1,000 baht out of the park! Crazy! In the end we found a bunch of other people (also Danish) to join us and split the fee. It worked out about 150 baht each, which was doable.

This taxi actually took us all the way to the town (different place than before), cutting out the Songtheaew part of the journey, and we jumped straight into a bus to Bangkok, so it was worth it.

We arrived back at Glur Hostel in Bangkok at about 12pm and after a rest I was introduced to Silja’s friend Daniel (also from Denmark), who had just flown in. This is his first time out of Europe and he has a long trip ahead of him planned to meet friends in New Zealand and also to tour round the rest of Asia.

Read about the awesome hostel Glur in a previous post (in day thirty-five).

His first few hours in Bangkok were rather hectic. First there was a rushed trip to the train station where we tried to get tickets on the night train for tomorrow night. Unfortunately it was completely full for the next five days! This is the first time this has happened to me in Thailand, normally I can get a ticket for the same day no problem but it is getting into a slightly busier season for tourists I think.

We glanced into the bus office but they looked a bit unsafe and we were not in for trying something new this time, just to get to our destination (Chiang Mai).

So we finally decided to take the day train which no one was very happy about but we had no choice (we were all on a bit of a tight schedule to meet other friends in a few days/a week etc).

The best thing about the night train is that the journey flies by and you save the cost of a night in a hostel.

As we walked back from the train station I saw the post office was open for another half an hour! Something I had planned to do tomorrow which was no longer possible as our train left before the post office opens. The hostel had told me it shut at 6pm but it was open till 8.30pm!

So I made a super rushed trip back for my bag of stuff to post, this involved me running for a local bus (35 to Robinsons Dept Store, 7 baht) and then running from the bus to Glur. Grabbing my stuff and running for a tuk tuk. I got there just as they were shutting the doors but they let me in!! Yay.

Let me explain. I had packed my bag and omitted more items (read here about my packing reduction) and I had planned to post the items home tomorrow before the night train. Anyway I was super glad I made it on time because I didn’t want to carry certain items with me on my onward journey and I didn’t want to repack again…..

Silja went off on a similar mission to downsize. She went to drop some items at a friend living in the city and I took Daniel out for his first meal.

We had a really nice pad Thai from a street restaurant with pudding from a street stall (fried battered cake thing with sweet condensed milk). It was a really locals place, an experience I would never have done on my first day.

Next up: days forty and forty-one.

Previously: days thirty-six and thirty-seven.

Days thirty-six and thirty-seven in Thailand – 2015

Day 36 – Fri – 10th July:

Today was another slow day. We met Ryan and went to the cinema for the 1.50pm showing of the new Terminator movie.

The cinema was very modern and busy. They had self service ticket machines but you needed a member card to use them. We started to queue for the manned till but a member of staff kept coming and drawing people out of the queue and serving them using the electronic ticket machine. He was taking cash and then using his own ‘unlimited’ staff members card (specially for the purpose I assume) to buy and print them off the machine.

The movie was very good but I like to think of it in a parallel universe as it contradicted a bunch of things from the first three movies.

It was also very interesting that we had to ‘stand for the king’, and watch a 120 second film about his good deeds around the country. Namely the laws against opium fields and various charity works.

We visited a lovely park, which we stumbled across on the off chance while on route to the night market. It was like a small Eden after the rush of the city and also not unlike Central Park. There was also a butterfly farm we wanted to visit but it closed at 4.30pm and we were too late.

In the evening we went to the ‘weekend’ night market which of course not very open as it was a Friday and they are only open from late Friday, then Sat and Sun nights. I arranged to meet the Dutch girl (whom I met on the train) here tonight and although we tried to speak on facebook we were unable to find each other in the large market.

A couple of interesting things we saw today:

On the way to the market there where hundreds of people (Thai’s), who appeared to be queueing in the street. We managed to ask a Thai girl (who was also on holiday in the city) and she said she was surprised at first too, as she had never seen anything like it but they were all waiting for a bus home. It seems multiple buses will pull up and pick them up in an hour or so.

We though they were crazy, they could easily walk a couple of streets, in the hour that they would have to wait, it was like hordes of zombies blocking the way.

The second thing was the market itself, we sat and ate our food while watching a very bad performance with three men dressed as Batman, Robin and some other strange character. They did some crazy dancing on their own constructed stage and a bunch of kids were watching them. They were throwing bangers (floor fire crackers – they just make a loud noise) down on the ground and trying to make a bit of a show for us. We didn’t bother putting anything in the donation pot.

The market also had a bunch of stalls selling toys and junk from the ninety’s. I recognised quite a lot of childhood favourites. Another thing they seem to sell is second hand shoes?

We passed, but didn’t go in, a bar with hundreds of lamps made out of old plastic and metal drums and various upcycled seats.

 

Day 37 – Sat – 11th July:

So the plan for the next few days is to hike in the nearest national park to Bangkok city, which is called ‘Khao Yai National Park‘.

This was Ryan’s idea but I love hiking so it was good with me.

We spent much of the morning trying to find Ryan, a supermarket and a place where the two of them could buy yoga mats to use as sleeping mats. It was all rather rushed and last minute.

We finally found Ryan and dropped back via Glur for our bags. Ryan made homemade trail mix on a counter in reception, using the stuff he had bought from the supermarket while we were looking for him. Another small downside of not having a working phone outside of wifi.

We hunted for a Tesco Lotus (the Thai brand of Tesco) and bought some more odds and ends. We then got the Skytrain to the Victory Monument station and met Silja’s friend Ryan from the USA (same name lol, this is USA Ryan in the post).

We got a bus from the small bus station next to the monument. We asked for four tickets to Khao Yai National Park and all the Thai people roared with laughter. It was a pretty universal thing so we understood, they had all had a bet on how many people were going to turn up next and where they would want to go etc.

Anyway it was 160 baht each and we filled the last seats in a mini van. These vans don’t leave until they are full and I have heard Facebook tales of people waiting for hours for the bus to fill up.

The four of us were crammed into the back row, and it was really uncomfortable, the only plus side is that the bus departed almost straight away for Khao Yai National Park.

After 2.5 hours we arrived in the town of Suphan Buri and they turned round to us and said 200 baht each for the next part of the journey. We knew that was a rip off, so we got out and walked a short way to where there was a Songtheaw waiting, nearly full.

They said 40 baht each to the park, so we got in. We chatted to a German guy and girl who where also headed to the park. The guy only had a little English and the girl even less. We waited a while for the Songthaew to leave and then it took about 40 mins to get to the park.

When we arrived they had just closed the gates and it took a lot of broken English and Thai to get them to let us in. It was 4.30pm and the sign said they closed at that time. We said that the bus told us they would get us here on time so they should let us in. I’m not sure what got across but in the end they let us in. We paid the standard 400 baht foreigner ticket price.

We also had to pay for a taxi 500 baht for everyone but then in the end just me, AUS Ryan and the Germans came in the taxi and US Ryan and Silja hired a motorbike and followed us. This is because they wanted to do some of the longer trails and US Ryan only had one day before his flight home.

Then it turned out that the Germans didn’t have much money on them. They thought there would be an ATM at the park. This was rather frustrating for the rest of us, as we had planned in advance and actually when the topic came up, everyone said they never traveled without at least 2,000 baht hidden somewhere and I travel with around 5,000 in case I cannot draw money for several days.

The taxi waited while the others went to hire the bike. Then US Ryan did a quick run with the German guy to the nearest ATM somewhere in town.

So finally off we went. Another really bumpy and speedy car ride in the back of a truck. The scenery was lovely but it grew dark about half way into the 30 min drive to the campsite.

At the main building we (me and AUS Ryan) decided to hire a two man tent and put it up and then wait for the others. You could hire all the gear there, tents. mats, blankets, sleeping bags, the lot. I only went for a mat and a pillow as I had my silk sleeping sack.

Then the others arrived on the bike and hired another tent. The Germans and me went to bed and the others took a short walk around camp.

There were deers wandering around all night poking at the tent, quite unafraid.

Just to summarise, we had to leave a copy of our passport to hire the gear and the costs for two nights are as below.

Tent around 200 baht, pillow 30 baht, mat 50 baht, then double that as those prices are per night but we split the tent fee between two so that was 360 for the gear for two nights and then the park entry fee 400 baht, one payment for any number of days.

So that is 760 baht for two nights in the park without food, the same price as a hostel so not too bad in terms of value.

Now there are a few restaurants in the park serving a limited menu but they all close at 4.30pm or earlier if there are no customers, so bear this in mind. We managed to get some really gross canned food and crisps from an elderly couple who had a small makeshift shop (table with food for sale) at the campsite.
You can hire camping stoves so I would advise bringing all your food for the trip or staying at one of the other campsites that has a small restaurant (ours just had a coffee booth).

Also trip adviser says you can do this as a day trip but I think it would be a tight turn around. Four hours each way and then the hiking as well. Tomorrow we are hiking to some Waterwalls.

Basic two man tents at Khao Yai National Park

Basic two man tents at Khao Yai National Park

Next up: days thirty-eight and thirty-nine.

Previously: days thirty-four and thirty-five.

Days thirty-four and thirty-five in Thailand – 2015

Day 34 – Weds – 8th July:

I packed and left the Bounty Resort in the taxi I had booked yesterday.

The taxi turned out to be the hotels own service and car. The manager (I think) whom I had spoken to before, drove me. She spoke to me briefly, again (very common) she thought her English wasn’t very good, but I said it was. And our conversation touched on my travel plans etc.

She kindly dropped me off at the ticket companies office (which was also next to a bookshop). The office didn’t open until 9.30am so I had to wait in a cafe until it opened.

Now I was sure that I had my ticket I went to browse the shops. I popped into the bookshop (of course) but is wasn’t a very good one. The hammock shop was also not the same one described in the blog but it was ok and had the hammocks I was looking for. I bought two, one, one man in purple and one large (same as the hotels provide) for two people (I actually posted the larger one home, read this post).

I sat and waited for the ferry at the pier. There are three different companies supplying the island, Songserm, Seatran and Lomprayah and they all run at different speeds.

I got a little lost in Thong Sala on the way to the pier but I managed to ask for directions in Thai, Merry and Sherry would be pleased with me (my Thai Language teachers).

They were playing the classic Mr Bean episodes on the boat again. I like these but I have been on several ferries in the last few weeks and they just seem to play the same DVD over and over. I think is it the only disk they have.

I had to wait for the night train to Bangkok at Surat Thani as it was delayed by two hours. I bought some meat skewers off the street and a fruit smoothie and then sat in a posh western cafe above the station for a couple of hours. While I ate my meat skewer a very hopeful looking dog came and sat opposite me and gazed at me.

Tip: I followed the locals to the street stands when buying food. I think speaking a little Thai helps but I managed to get some great food for next to nothing. 25 baht for a strawberry smoothie and 20 baht for a large meat skewer thing.

At the station a random Thai man came and chatted to me for a while. He wanted to know where I was going etc. I think they are just curious and I didn’t mind but he also wanted to know how much I paid for my train ticket etc. He was probably interested in what level of commission the tour company had given themselves, but I bought directly from the train station.

     

Day 35 – Thurs- 9th July:

In the morning I woke up early (read the end of this post for more about the the night sleeper train and pictures), and ate a little food I had put by the night before for breakfast.

As we neared Bangkok I struck up a conversation with a Dutch girl (from Holland) and she told me that she just had a couple of days in Bangkok as an intro to Asia to reduce the culture shock on her next stop which was China or Singapore.

We had an interesting discussion about learning foreign languages and I mentioned that I was learning Thai and she said ‘ok’, and I think she was thinking a few phrases not properly and was quite surprised when I got out my workbook etc to show her.

She said that it is always hard to express yourself in a foreign language, even if you are fluent. It is partly because you have a limited vocabulary and have to supplement words for easier ones. Much like a dyslexic person does when they cannot spell the word while writing. Some of the original meaning is lost along the way.

We decided to head to the hostel she had booked and I had nowhere to stay so I thought I would have a look at it too. She wanted to walk, which I was happy to do, but as usual everyone we asked for directions said it was impossibly far for anyone to walk (see day 23 of this post for walking and Asian culture).

In the end a nice member of the railway staff said we could get the number 35 bus (I have only just started using these and they are awesome and so cheap). So we flagged one down and paid 7 baht each. But even with my limited Thai is was crazily hard to explain where we wanted to go. A young Thai (19ish) helped us using her iPad but no one could really understand where they where going. I really can’t understand how they cannot know their own bus route and streets. My sense of direction isn’t brilliant but I do know what street I am going to in England. And I may be exaggerating but I do believe I have seen Thai people look out of the window (like I have been doing), see that they have gone past and then get out at the next stop and walk back. Like they don’t even remember their own home stop?

In the end the conductor gestured for us to get off and we walked in what we thought was the right direction. We asked many people and in the end we spoke to an awesome Thai lady (and her mother) who had lived in a England for a few years and spoke excellent English. She gave us directions and then a leaflet for some Christian Belief spread the word thing. I am using it as a bookmark.

Anyway we reached ‘Boxpackers’ which was her hostel and she checked in. It was 600 baht a night and I was being tight as I was hoping for nearer 400. We did stop for their continental buffet breakfast however, for about 150 baht which was alright.

Sijia messaged me and let me know where she was staying and did I want to join her. She was staying in a hostel called Glur Bangkok so I decide to go and meet her. I arranged to meet the Dutch girl tomorrow night before she left for China. I pointed out some good spots for her to visit in the city.

I got the Skytrain to station S6 ‘Saphan Taksin’ and walked the two minutes to Glur. Silja was not there but I asked and she had checked in earlier, so I did the same.

Glur Hostel advertises itself as a ‘new design hostel’ and there are a few like it in Bangkok. This new style dorm room features ‘pods’, which can be anything from complete pods, wooden or plastic enclosed boxes or just beds with curtains. It is a twist on the traditional dorm and I really like them. Glur is a mix of box and curtain, with three sides of the bed up against the wall and the front being a curtain, see picture.

The hostel is very narrow and on six floors: the reception which is also the coffee shop and restaurant, the common room floor, which features sofas, a breakfast bar and a common fridge, the next floor is the female dorm and is pink and also has its own name (I can’t remember), and then there is the shower floor, then the ‘tuk tuk’ the blue themed floor which is a mixed dorm, and finally there is ‘the pad thai’ a yellow themed floor that also hosts a mixed dorm.

The dorms are very nice with only 12 beds/pods in each room. You get given a key card which had a sticker on the back explaining the floors and a real key for the lock box under you bed. A very large roomy box and the beds at roomy too, even the single beds (upper is single and you can get two people in the lower bed), are very wide.

The only thing I didn’t like at first (I am used to it now, sneak peek, I have since gone back and stayed at Glur again) was the 18 degrees air con in the dorm rooms. For someone who has now adjusted to Thailand temperatures and has been living in a fan room for the last two weeks, it was too cold. But they supply duvets so it was ok.

The shared fridge is also awesome. There is a shelf of things you can buy, they are labeled with prices and then they add it too your bill (like a mini bar), the next shelf is included in the price of your dorm room, and has bread, jam, and soy milk in different flavours. The next shelf is labeled ‘foods not for shared’ (bad translation) and is where you put your own food, and then the top shelf is where you put food you don’t want any more and is a free for all. This is labeled ‘food for other travellers’.

Also included in the price is dried cereals and oats and instant coffee and iced water.

There is also a cabinet full of pens and tape, labelled something like ‘get your bag ready for the road’ and in one corner of the room there is a tub where you can put clothes, toiletries and travel gear you no longer need, for other people to take.

Anyway is is a nice place.

After a shower Silja appeared and said hi and updated me on what was going on. After she had a rest and I made use of the food in the common room, we met her friend Ryan (from Australia) in the reception. We got the Skytrain to the Victory Monument stop where there is a famous (well known really), Jazz bar called ‘The Saxophone‘.

It was nice and the music was good, although more blues style rendering of modern pop songs than jazz and the killer was the drinks were extremely expensive! And it was a bit like the sky bar (read day two in this post), as the place was so popular you couldn’t sit and take up space unless you were ordering drinks.

250 baht for a tiny Black Russian and it was all ice! The water was 90 baht for a tiny bottle. I not sure it was better than the Blues Bar that I went to a few weeks ago (on day ten).

The modern pod style hostel - Glur Bangkok

The modern pod style hostel – Glur Bangkok

Next up: days thirty-six and thirty-seven.

Previously: days thirty-two and thirty-three.

Days thirty-two and thirty-three in Thailand – 2015

A very short one today but I don’t want to skip any days, and no pictures sorry.

Day 32 – Mon – 6th July:

Last lessons today and a final use of the swimming pool at the Bounty Resort.

      
Day 33 – Tues – 7th July:

Today was a sad day as it was my last full day on Ko Phangan. I have been here 13 days, the longest I have spent in any one place here in Thailand.

I’m glad I came and I was totally planning to skip this island completely because of its reputation for the Full Moon Parties

Now I am going North again to Bangkok to meet some friends of mine. Silja who I mentioned in this post and this post, from Denmark.

I cycled off to the bike hire shop and returned my hired bicycle. I then asked in the nearest tour office for a ticket to Bangkok on the sleeper train, with a combined bus and ferry from the island.

The lady told me I could pick it up tomorrow at 10am and the ferry was at 12pm. This would still have given me time to get to the pier but I wanted to leave the Haad Yao area early at 8am and take a look at the town Thong Sala. Namely to buy a hammock after reading about a special Hammock shop I had read about in this blog post.

I explained that that was too late and in the end she gave me a receipt so I could pick the ticket up myself from the ticket branch in the town Thong Sala.

There was a rustic giant wooden swing on the mini private beach at the Bounty Resort. I had a swing and read on the beach but it looked overcast so I decided to go and have lunch.

In the afternoon I made use of the hammock on my balcony again (one of the reasons I would like to buy one as a souvenir) and read my book. There was a really heavy thunderstorm with lashing rain and lightning.

I pre-booked a taxi with the reception staff for 8.30am to the ferry pier (this was the earliest she would book it for).

     
Next up: days thirty-four and thirty-five.

Previously: days thirty and thirty-one.

Days thirty and thirty-one in Thailand – 2015

Day 30 – Sat – 4th July:

Today I think was another day off for lessons but I can’t remember. Maybe I had the normal lessons at 8am? Oh dear, my handwritten diary is a bit spotty for these days as I was concentrating on learning Thai.

I do know that today I spent some time taking account of what I have spent so far and since I have nothing to write for today I thought you guys and other backpackers might be interested in how much my trail has cost me so far. Also we are on day 30! which is sort of a milestone.

Ok so here goes:

Expenses before I flew to Thailand:

Flights: £454.95

Student pass: Included in flight price above (£12)

Gecko trip (see this post for info on this trip): £440 – credit card

Visa: £25 – cash at embassy

Insurance from Insure and Go for three months: £130

Malaria prescription: £20 – credit card

Malaria tablets: £45 – credit card

Rabies vaccination: £150 – cash

Hep B vaccination: £35 -cash

First two nights in Bangkok booked because I was leaving on my Geckos tour from this hotel: £60

Total: £1,359.95

Whew that’s a lot of money before we even leave! This is all in GBP just so you know.

So then in the first thirty-two days (I am starting my re-budget from the 8th of July so this is from the 4th June to the 7th July) I spent a total of:

£528.74

This is of course not including hotels for the first ten days which were included in the price I paid for the Geckos tour (see above).

There were a few expensive items in there that I will explain:

£30.49 – posted a box home (read here about that experience)

£18.28 – a decent quality snorkelling mask

£10.40 – a 15 litre dry bag/shoulder bag for the beach

£92 – seven days intensive Thai language course

So if we take these things out I spent £377.57 on food, accommodation and transport. This includes ferries, trains etc everything. That’s £11.80 a day! But if you account the first week with the geckos tour (let’s say I hadn’t done it and I had paid for accommodation independently) I think that would be about £13.50 GBP a day.

This doesn’t include alcohol really as I only had about ten drinks in that lot (so it will cost more for those of you who drink).

I was spending around £25 on the days I was traveling, amounting to £10 on accommodation, £10 on travel and £3 on food and an extra £2 on snacks and coffee on arrival someplace to use the wifi.

On other days it was just £10 on accommodation and £5 on food and other items. This is all very approximated.

So my budget was £15 a day but I have gone way over by buying Thai lessons and on postage and other things mentioned above.

So from now on I am going to have to try and stick to £15 a day! I’m not sure it will work but anyhow. I have also stayed in private rooms for the whole trip so if you can stay in dorms then this same trip is totally possible for you to do under £15 GBP a day (not including flights or pre trip vaccinations).

So £1,359.95 before leaving and £528.74 in the country. A total of £1,888.69.

I hope that was interesting. I was going to write a separate post but as this was actually the point in my trip that I took note of my finances it seemed appropriate to put here.
 
Day 31 – Sun – 5th July:

So back to the trip itself. Today I moved to Bounty Resort which is next door to High Life Bungalow and is 400 baht a night instead of 500 baht (baby steps here with the budget :p ). I think it is actually owned by the same people anyway lol.

I also left my laundry for the first time with the hotel! This sounds gross but I have been washing my clothes in the traveler way one piece every night in the sink so nothing was ever left dirty. However although the clothes were clean the constant ‘leaving them to dry in the sun or in the room’ seemed to have left them with a musty smell so I decided to brave the laundry. It sounds daft but I wasn’t sure if they might lose items of clothing etc?

So I had lessons from 8am to 12 pm and again from 4pm to 6pm with a private lesson from 6pm to 8pm. Whew!

My private lesson was with Marie again and we ate again in the evening in the big kitchen, which, I didn’t explain before, is where they teach the cooking and is a large wooden roof on poles with a wooden floor but no walls. It is full of wooden work benches and free standing metal gas hob cookers, with large gas canisters next to each stove.

This is a perfect set up for the Thai climate as otherwise cooking in this heat would be unbearable.

Anyway we had a very interesting discussion about the economy in England and Thailand, minimum pay, that you would need only £2,000 to set up an entire business here in Thailand but £30,000 at home in England.

We also talked about the crossover between charity and business that is in the UK. I have also (sneak peek here) spoken to a German girl on day 55 and she said that she lived in England for a few years and was also surprised by this). It seems to only really be in the UK that we run charity’s as business’s.

Marie said she understands how it works but not the mentality. To her charity is something you do for free out of kindness in you spare time and business is your work where you get to keep all the money you make. It was very interesting.

Back at the Bounty I was late for my Skype ‘appointment’ with Mum and Dad because the discussion went on for a long time. So I updated them (another hour so lol) and then went to bed.

My new bungalow and the pool at the Bounty Resort

My new bungalow and the pool at the Bounty Resort

Next up: days thirty-two and thirty-three.

Previously: days twenty-eight and twenty-nine.