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Yo_Mang posted a topic in Travel BlogsWell in late 2011 me and my Mrs went backpacking around SE Asia and I made a promise to myself to blog every day and take photos so I had something to always remember it by. Ended up keeping to my word and found time to write a blog each day (or a few days behind, but wrote about each day) of whats been going on. There was heaps of time on our transport between towns so here's what I blogged! Keep in mind that these blogs were also dummed down a bit to keep the relatives and younger cousins that were following it happy. Especially parts like the whole Laos trip (which was insanely awesome, crazy place especially Vang Vieng) and Full Moon party. But if you have any questions let me know and I'll be more than happy to answer them! I had an awesome time and hope everyone gets a chance to head over there. Even if it's not to SE Asia, spending time in a different country and culture is such an awesome experience. Got stacks of photos in this thread. Only had a 50mm 1.8 lens to use so shots were hard to get but a pretty good length for a compact travel lens! My number 1 tip would be to travel around heaps. We covered 3 countries in 4 weeks and managed to see the best parts of each of them. The transport in SE Asia is easy as to organize, there isn't a real need to rush and book things as early as possible. Same goes for accommodation. Just have a look around the cities, so much cheaper turning up than booking online too we found. Leave yourself a bit of slack in your itinerary if you are travelling a heap because you'll most likely love a town and want to stay there another night. So yeh, here's my blog posts. Day 0 - Melbourne Arrival Ahh Melbourne - I've missed you! Had lunch with the family today to say goodbye for the next month. It's the first time I've been overseas alone. This time it's just me and my girlfriend Alicia. It's a bit daunting to think about traveling so many countries but going to be awesome After a 5 hour train ride running half an hour late, I arrived at Flinders Street Station - Melbourne. Such a good sight to see the city. Im planning to move to Melbourne once I finish Uni at the end of next year. Really love the city but didn't have time to get around. From there caught a bus and checked in at our first accommodation for the trip. Thats right - Formule 1. Living it up in style haha. I struggled to get the photo's taken of the room. Having only 1 lens that is a 50mm prime has it's downfalls - anything wide is pretty impossible! I managed to snap some by sitting on the floor pressed as hard as I could against the door into the room. After spending more on one meal for dinner than a whole days worth of food in Thailand I picked Alicia up from the Airport. She had an exam still today from uni so packed up after that to come straight to Melbourne. An hour delay this time for her flight but finally we are here back in out little shoe box for the night. In other news, we have started taking Doxycycline for the past few days as anti-malaria medication and so far haven't felt crap from it like a lot of people say they do. Lets keep that up haha. Room: The room we are staying in is the standard Formule 1 room. No options here. Pretty basic setup with 1 room and an ensuite. I haven't quite figured out how they fit the bed through the door - it's not very spacious to say the least. With one queen bed and a top bunk filling up most of the room, a small TV and sink, it's got all the essentials. It's what was pretty much expected for the price. The ensuite is smaller than the one that we had in our room when we went on our cruise. A shower that spills water onto the toilet with a lack of curtain or locking door compliment the sound of the constantly running exhaust. Price of this room was $109 AUD - not a bad price by Australian standards considering it's a few hundred meters from the airport but is definitely the place which will be the most expensive for the next month. Most of the places we will be staying in will likely be about 1/10th of the price! So thats its for the night before our flight out. Super keen to fly out to Phuket tomorrow. This time tomorrow will hopefully drinking cheap beer in Patong Beach. Hopefully I'll get another blog up tomorrow night once we get in to Patong. Day 1 - Patong Beach, Phuket, Thailand Biiiiggggg day of travel today. We left our swagger Formule 1 motel thismorning and headed off for the airport. Good location only taking a couple of minutes to walk there. After checking in we spent the next hour waiting to get through customs and then finally into the lounge. Time to say our final goodbyes and head off. Our flight was delayed by a bit over half an hour but nothing too major. We purchased our tickets through the website "Scoopon" when a deal came up for 24 hours for $599 return flights from Melbourne to Phuket. We had talked about going to Thailand before it came up so this was perfect timing for us to go. 30kg of baggage, "free flowing" beer and wine, free meal, date changes etc etc made us set it in stone and get the tickets. The flight was with Strategic Airlines who has since changed their name to Air Australia. The 9 hour plane trip over went pretty smoothly with only little parts of turbulence. Not a great deal of leg room but the chairs were comfortable enough for the flight. In house movies had a choice of 6 or 8 different films that were all only a few months out of cinemas, some still in. The staff were friendly and everything was fine. It was a bit of a surprise when we were asked to pay for our drinks, but after sorting through their paperwork they figured it out. Ended up with free beer the whole flight so can't complain! We arrived at Phuket airport about 5 or 5:30 in the afternoon in the hot and humid weather. Waiting outside for us was "better deal" after "better deal" of thai taxi drivers wanting to take us in town. We ended up catching a mini bus into Patong beach costing us 150 baht each (around $5 AUD each). Not complaining after I paid $16in melbourne to get the bus from central to the airport. The hour long trip in the air conditioned mini van went pretty quickly and opened my eyes to how different things are here. Scooters and bikes everywhere! Most not bothering with helmets weaving in and out of traffic. Intersections go first in best dressed and the taxi driver has no problems weaving in and out of traffic to get ahead. We arrived at our accommodation, 'Loveli Boutique Guesthouse" in the taxi and couldn't see it; the store front is a travel agency / tour booking company so it's pretty disguised. We went in and met the owner Andrew who showed us to our room, gave us some advice on things to do in Phuket, had a chat and then upgraded our room for us. Score! More on the room below. After checking in we went in search of some dinner and found a food market at the end of the street. Heaps of vendors selling all types of different foods. This is when I started to realise how cheap thailand really is! We ended up getting a Pad Thai for 50 baht and 2 lots of corn crepe ball things for 40 baht. All up costing a total of $3 AUD for the both of us, which we ended up throwing some out because we were full. After tea we went to the 7/11 next door to our accommodation and stocked up with water and a Yault equivalent for the next few days. Walking through the 7/11 was what surprised me about the price of everything. 2 bottles of water, 2 Yakult equivalents, a bag of cola bottle lollies and a Chang beer came to a total of 65 baht - a little over $2 AUD. It's really taken me by surprise how cheap it actually is for everything. Room: Tonight we are staying at the "Loveli Boutique Guesthouse" in Patong Beach, Phuket. The room setup is very comfortable. A large double bed as well as a sofa and a coffe table make up the main room. There is also a cupboard with a PIN type lockable safe, a TV, fridge and a few tables etc. Very generous room size. Air con in the room is great - don't know what we would be doing without it. It masks the muggy humidity that Thailand has. Although it's not so hot by night time, the humidity makes the air con a necessity. The bathroom is a bit on the small size but enough for the essentials. Just a basic toilet and shower. Toilet also has a bum squirter if your not a fan of toilet paper. Location, location, location. Being only a few hundred meters from Bangla Road and a few hundred meters from Patong Beach - this hotel is in a great central spot. Markets everywhere near by, huge shopping center down the road. The road is a little noisy but easily ignored. Andrew, the owner / manager of the guesthouse is a really nice guy who showed us around and made sure everything was looked after. They also book tours and the like here so we will most likely book them through here. I'd definitely recommend this place if anyone is looking for a well priced, good location hotel in Patong. When we head back to Patong in December we will probably book here again! We paid 900 baht for the room (450 baht each, a total of about $30 AUD or $15 AUD each per night) You can check out more on the Loveli Boutique Guesthouse by clicking this link As for tonight, it's about 10pm here now and both dead tired. We might go over to Bangla road, or just sleep off the time difference and flight. Day 2 - Patong Beach, Phuket, Thailand Epicly long day today - got so much done and seen so many things - good and bad haha. Started off the day in search of some breakfast around our accommodation. Ended up taking a walk for a while and found a place that did "Fish Foot Massage". We paid 150 Baht each ($5 AUD) for the massage. Basically put your feet in a tank of water with hundreds of little fish that bite and peck at your feet apparently eating away all your dead skin. Such a weird feeling at the start! Tickling / tingling for a while but after a few minutes pretty relaxing. Walking round after actually felt pretty good. Weird thing to do but was one of the things on the list to cross off to do in Thailand! After searching through markets of live fish, eels and crabs as well as fruit and meat, we ended up at a small cafe for breakfast. After that searching through the large supermarket nearby found some new "Genuine Ray Ban" sunnies for 200 baht ($7 or $8 AUD) so couldn't resist a set. Actually feel better than a $20 no name brand from home! With nothing planned for the day in Phuket we decided to rent a motorbike for the day for 400 baht ($13 or $14 AUD for 24 hours). I've riden a motorbike 1.5 times before so was a bit daunting but fine after a while. Such a weird experience driving in a foreign country with no road rules, about 2 sets of used traffic lights within our few hours of driving and loads of traffic but it was actually really easy to drive with. Once you get used to the way people drive over here, weaving in and out of cars, expecting people to overtake you etc etc it was all pretty easy. From Patong Beach we rode down the south coast of Phuket to Karon Beach and stopped for a swim Also grabbed lunch there too which was 400 Baht ($13 or $14 AUD) for both of us including a drink each. Can't complain! Lunch was Chicken Rice in a Half Pineapple for alicia and Sweet and Sour Chicken for me. From there we left and headed south further to Kata Beach and had another swim there. Warm, clear water on a nice, great looking beach that was alot less crowded than Parong or Karon. Pretty good to be able to just kick back, have a swim and do whatever for a change rather than Uni and 2 jobs! After that we headed on to Rawai Beach but didn't swim and instead just headed to Wat Chalong, a big temple. Wat Chalong was pretty amazing. A fairly large temple with alot of attention to detail in it. Statues all throughout the temple as well as paintings throughout the 3 levels of it and a worship part up the top with ruby's and jewels surrounding the middle. After Wat Chalong we headed back to Karon Beach where we spotted some large markets on our way past. Lucky I took a bit of money on ou trip. Could get carried away easily spending a stack of money here. Heaps of clothes, sunnies, jewelry. shoes, caps etc etc all really cheap. This is where the bartering started, although the more successful we were with bartering the more we bought. 5 shirts and another pair of Ray Bans later I was done. all up costing just under 1000 Baht (About $33 AUD). The bargains start to come out when you start to walk away from a shop. Makes buying clothes more exciting haha. After finishing at the markets we headed back to Patong and returned the bike and helmet (singular not plural after Alicia managed to lose hers), got my passport back and headed back into our accommodation. Heading back out for dinner we were chased down by the bike owners asking for the second helmet. After a bit of heated discussion telling them that we left them with "both" helmets all was well and good. Markets down the street again for tea and couldn't resist the lure of Pad Thai and chicken again for tea. At 50 baht a server (Under $2 AUD) it's an awesome dinner. After dinner we headed down Bangla road - what a crazy place! We checked it out last night but didn't go in anywhere because we decided to go tonight. This place is like a big Disney Land for sex and alcohol! Everywhere you look walking down the road a girl is stripping in bars setup throughout the whole place. This road goes off every night with bands or music pumping from every club you pass. While we've been here theres always people bugging you for something, and one thing that I did want to get while I was away was a tailored suit. After talking to the guy on the street for a while who was nice and not pushy like the rest as well as seeing a few people trying on their suits that looked awesome I decided to go here. The place I got mine from in called New Era's Fashion on Taweewong Road, a side street off Bangla Road. After checking out all different materials, talking about prices and options I decided to option a few things up and the total came to $160 AUD for a tailor made Suit, Pants, Shirt and Tie. After losing 17kg over the last 9 or 10 weeks it's a way of congratulating myself haha. we fly out for Chiang Mai tomorrow morning early so I will wait a few weeks until we are back to pick it up. So much cheaper than Australia - Never had a suit made up to suit me before either. Tick another one off the list. After being measured up and putting on a deposit we continued down Bangla. "PING PONG SHOW, AY MATE YOU WANT PING PONG SHOW?! COME COME PING PONG SHOW" was what you hear every 20 seconds or so. Another thing to do on the list too so naturally we had to go. And bonus, free entry* (on the condition you buy 1 drink). After heading inside and seeing the drink list of a Chang Beer for 800 Baht ($26 AUD compared to the $1 AUD I paid at 7/11) we started to walk out. Thats when another menu managed to come from nowhere with new prices for us. 500 Baht for a Chang ($16 AUD) which is a massive rip off but its something that IMO has to be seen if you are going to Thailand so we paid it. The "waitress" also isn't subtle about wanting a tip, to the point where she blatantly said you need to give me a tip and waited until we did... Needless to say we only had 1 drink while we were there. What a weird thing to watch. I guess I can tick off "Have a balloon popped from between my legs by a dart shot from a Thai womans snatch" from my bucket list! The program consisted of many "shows" including a birthday show, dart show, razor show, ping pong show, paint show and heaps more - you can paint the rest of the picture yourselves! Needless to say it was an experience haha. Although it may be a bit much for some, I think its one of those things that you have to do if your going to Thailand! On Bangla we also stopped at another bar with a Thai band just up from the suit tailor that was really good! Playing a stack of western cultured songs with a few good Aussie hits in there too. 2 for 1 cocktails, great, just don't mind the 10% "service fee" they put on top of that too! Everyone here wants more than a cut from you wherever they can! Room: Tonight we are staying again at the Loveli Boutique Guesthouse. For a review / info check out last nights blog. For now it's back to the room ready to head off tomorrow for Chaing Mai. Flight at 10:30 which means an early start for the hour or so drive to the airport plus check in time so hopefully I'll have another blog up tomorrow. I haven't had time and cbf right now to upload the photos onto the computer but will put them on the computer on the plane tomorrow and upload them into this blog tomorrow night.