A Travellerspoint blog

Hello 2013 / 2556!!

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First on the agenda today...another trip to Breakfastworld! It really is that good...trust us!

Jo still being super poorly went back to the hostel to bed after this. I had a nice walk around the centre, got a manipedi, stocked up on toiletries at Boots (yes, there are Boots stores here!), and enjoyed a nice cup of Earl Gray tea on the walk back to the hostel!

Jo and I spent the afternoon watching Water for Elephants on the cable TV in our room. Great film!

That evening I went to a local church for an hour to coincide with my Nana's memorial service in South Africa. It was so peaceful and I had it all to myself which I really appreciated. It was a nice place to sit and remember Nana and think of all the family.

Later on I went to meet our Chiang Mai friends at their hostel in the centre. We bought some Chang at the 7/11 to enjoy on the walk to Thapae Gate, on route stopping to light some lanterns to send up into the night sky. There were hundreds of lanterns floating up and over the city. It was so pretty. On getting to Thapae Gate, we were greeted by the sight of a huge, mostly Thai, crowd enjoying the live music performance on a stage which had been set up by the gate. We all somehow managed to squeeze into the mass of people to enjoy the concert with them. The music was so fun...very cheesy pop tunes with everyone in the crowd singing along (except of course for us who could just about "la-la-la" along with the tune)! After listening to a few songs it was countdown time. And then some amazing fireworks!! After having a gin fizz at the Reggae Rooftop Bar, we headed to Zoe's corner for some live music and dancing to end the night.


Tam xx

PS - explanation of the title of this blog...the year in Thailand is now 2556 not 2013 :-)

Posted by Tam-Jo 20:45 Archived in Thailand Tagged chiangmai Comments (0)

Cat fight over bus seats....

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The only eventful thing that happened today is that we caught the bus back to Chiang Mai, and Tammy showed her ruthless nature in this task. The bus was due in at 3.30pm and in fairness, one did arrive at this time. Unfortunately, it was the bus that was scheduled to arrive at 2.30pm. Thinking that we definitely did not want to wait around to see what time our bus would arrive, Tam jumped in and got us the last two spots on the 2.30pm bus whilst a couple of other girls were ummming and arrrrring over whether or not they wanted the seats.... You snooze, you lose, ladies!! Moooohahaha! So four hours of twisty roads later, followed by an hour of traffic jams in Chiang Mai and a fight to get an overpriced tuk tuk in the crowds of tourists that have suddenly appeared here since we left and we were home, sweet home!

Jo xxx

Posted by Tam-Jo 03:31 Archived in Thailand Tagged pai Comments (1)

Hot springs and street food

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This morning we went to the natural hotsprings with Louise, one of the people we'd met in Chiang Mai. We spent an hour sitting in the different pools which are all naturally heated. It was soooooo relaxing!

We had lunch at a cafe back in Pai which served goats cheese salad! Neither of us have eaten goats cheese since we left the UK so this was most enjoyable!

Then we all had a foot, back and shoulder massage down the road. There was a bit more "Thai massage" to these than we expected...a lot of twisting in unnatural positions, joints creaking, back cracking, but it felt good afterwards!

Jo was still feeling poorly from yesterday so went back to the hostel for a lie down whilst Louise and I looked in all the clothes stores (of which there are many in Pai).

That evening, with Jo feeling really poorly and me feeling completely drained, we loaded up on street food (pad thai, spring rolls, baked potato and banana fritters), which we ate back in our room whilst watching Northanger Abbey on the laptop.

Tam xx

Posted by Tam-Jo 02:59 Archived in Thailand Tagged pai Comments (0)

Six Singaporian men and us in a cave

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One of the only things we wanted to do whilst up here was to visit a cave recommended to us by Felix and Sarah - Cave Lod. It took over an hour on more twisty roads to get to the site of the cave, where we then had to try to barter with the lady at the gate to get in (lady - it says on the sign how much it is, we're not that stupid!). Then a short wander through the forest to the cave mouth - massive!


We had to enter the system by bamboo raft. With Tam and me perched just above the water level on this rather unstable floatation device we began to hear the occassional eerie splash around about us. Obviously our first thoughts went to horror films (or Harry Potter!) and dead things in the water about to snatch us from our raft! The splashes turned out to be a lot of large fish all trying to get near the "boat" for food. Off the raft and in we went for a wander through a number of huge caves. They were truly cavernous with some amazing formations and ancient cave drawings in them. They also housed 50,000 swifts and bats, so the stench was something in itself! But the sights we saw were completely worth the smell and the endless steps! It was quite spectacular!


Home for a chilled out afternoon followed by a wander around the streets at night. Whilst waiting for some freshly made pad thai from a street stall, we ran into some people we met in Chiang Mai. We spent the rest of the evening with them and ended up in a cafe with some live music for a few (non-alcoholic - I know, shocking!) drinks. And now it's bed time - we're both feeling a bit under the weather.... clearly slowing down our travelling schedule is dangerous to our health!!!


Jo xxx

Posted by Tam-Jo 02:44 Archived in Thailand Tagged pai Comments (0)

A day of nothingness...

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I cannot actually remember much of what we did on this day (I am writing this on the 4th of January!) but I'm pretty sure it involved no more than wandering the streets of Pai, eating, drinking, getting foot massages and people watching.


In the evening we met up with a couple of girls from our hostel, Anna and Ruth, and their Canadian friend Kyle, in a bar with some live music. Half way through our beer, Jo felt it was time for us to try a local delicacy...fried insects! So she marched us up the street to the food stall that was selling them to buy a "mixed bag". Back at the bar we tucked in. Or not! I only managed one grub worm. Jo and Ruth fared better trying one of each of the four different types of bug in the bag. Kyle, who eats bugs at home so clearly enjoys them, poured half the contents of the bag into his mouth. I personally don't think I'll be trying them again.

Tam xx

Posted by Tam-Jo 02:32 Archived in Thailand Tagged pai Comments (0)

Breakfast - the most important meal of the day...

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Amazingly, we woke up today (Boxing Day) without hangovers - I don't remember that happening to me in the last 10 years! It was a good feeling! We made the most of our healthy appetites and fresh heads by making our way to a place we'd heard rumour of called Breakfast World. As Tam's favourite meal of the day is breakfast, and as we are both seriously missing real Western breakfast food, we decided to try it out in the hopes of finding all the things we were craving. We were not disappointed! Thank God for the German guy who set the place up! It was like heaven! Real crusty bread! Real jam with actual fruit in it! Tea! Real sausages! HOT baked beans! Oh my God! I might just eat here every meal we have left in Chiang Mai!!!

Admittedly though, a huge breakfast followed by a 4 hour, twisting journey through the mountains to a small hippie town called Pai (pronounced pie) was not the best idea! Tam in particular was not feeling her best by the time we fell out of the bus and onto the main street at our destination.

From what we can tell Pai is a bit like marmite to travellers - you either love it or hate it. We love it! OK, so it is ridiculously touristy, every other person is wearing hemp clothes and/or has dreadlocks, and almost everything sold is for the benefit of the tat collections of travellers. But we want to stay forever! Perhaps it is the laid back attitude or the feeling that we can stay here and feel guilt free about doing next to nothing for a few days, or perhaps we are turning into actual hippies (!), but we're happy to be staying put for a few days....... Tam, is it just me or is that hemp skirt actually really pretty?? Only joking! :-)

Jo xxx

Posted by Tam-Jo 02:26 Archived in Thailand Tagged pai Comments (0)

Merry Christmas

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After unsuccessfully trying to watch an iTunes rented copy of Miracle on 34th Street on the laptop, we opened our gifts from each other (tat bought at the nightmarket in Bangkok!). I treated Jo to a lovely golden waving cat ornament. It will surely look classy on her mantlepiece at home!! And I was "thrilled" with the pineapple shaped sunglasses which Jo had picked out for me! Thanks again Jo!!!

Once we had decorated ourselves with some tinsel, we made our way to the British pub where we had booked to have Christmas dinner. We arrived just before midday ready for some turkey, having not had breakfast in preparation of a large meal. We soon realised that midday here means 1pm, not 12pm! Oops! It was certainly worth the wait though; party poppers, stupid Christmas hats, sherry (I made Jo drink mine as I can't stand it!), paté, wine (which I also couldn't drink as it was so awful...Asia is not the place to be drinking wine!), a full turkey dinner and Christmas pudding! Of course, it didn't compare to Christmas dinner in our respective family homes back in the UK, but it was nice all the same.

Being unable to walk far after eating so much, we went to the beauty parlour across the street and each had a manipedi. The most bargainous manipedi ever at a grand total of £6!

The rest of the day was spent watching films back at the hostel, skyping family and friends, and me falling into a tuk-tuk on the way to dinner that evening which resulted in the biggest bruise on my leg that I've ever had (and I hadn't even been drinking). Ouch!

Merry Christmas to all our family and friends across the globe!

Tam xx

Posted by Tam-Jo 02:18 Archived in Thailand Tagged chiangmai Comments (0)


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Sadly this evening, I had the awful news that my Nana had passed away. Nana, I'm so sorry I won't be able to tell you of all my adventures in person. But I know you're watching over me wherever I go.
Rest in peace.
Your loving grandaughter Tam xxxxx

Posted by Tam-Jo 02:04 Comments (0)

Flight of the gibbons

The day we flew through the jungle canopy!

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We woke this morning feeling a little sick with nerves..... in some crazy moment of fearlessness a week ago Tam and I, who are both pretty scared of heights, signed up for a day of ziplinning through the forest canopy. Since booking the trip I have been ignoring the fact that it was going to happen, but there was no escaping it this morning! We got on our tour bus and spent an hour driving around Chiang Mai picking up other crazy people. By the time we got on the road to the forest our minibus was full, and eerily quiet - it turns out that we weren't the only ones a little nervous.

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Things to endure before we hit the canopy - an hour long ride into the jungle, a visit to a nearby waterfall, including a gruelling trek up to the top, a lot of faffing at base and finally harness fitting. By the time that was all completed and we were heading to our start point with our guide, jovially chatting about how this was his second day on the job (it wasn't!), we were all feeling on the verge of terrified!

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A short walk down to a wooden platform gave us our first views of one of the 33 ziplines strung up between trees 100m above the forest floor..... Why are we doing this again?! A very brief (but as it turns out, thorough) run through the safety rules and I'm being attached to the wire, the first to glide out into the canopy.

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Totally terrifying but AMAZING!! By the end of the day we felt like pros, gliding through the trees without a care in the world, completely (or almost!) unbothered by the fact that we're all precariously gathered on a small wooden platform 100m above the ground! Some highlights/some of the most terrifying moments:
1. The fifth zipline in and the longest at 800m - you can really gather some speed on that! Cue some screaming as you plunge into the canopy at high speed! One of the guys was going so fast that he actually shot through the brake at the end of the line and went careening into the safety net!
2. The Indiana Jones style bridge - strung between two trees, the slats of the bridge have big gaps between them, allowing you a good view of the dizzying drop below.... utterly horrific!
3. Superman - we had the option of ziplining this one but clearly our adrenaline levels were too high at this point, as we decided instead that we would get hooked up to the line by our back and dive out into air, hoping that we were in fact attached to something! There were a tense few seconds as we dropped into the canopy before the line finally became taut!
4. The last zipline - not the longest or the fastest, but this line was at the edge of the forest and was the only one where you could clearly see the forest floor with tiny little ant like people wandering around below. And then the instructor tells you to plunge off into air - crazy!

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What a fantastic day though! We loved every second of it! We even got to see a family of gibbons in the jungle! And you girls will be glad to hear that the guys screamed way more than us!! We looked positively brave by comparison ;-)

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In summary - Tam and I think we'd make good gibbons... perhaps we'll go and build ourselves a tree hut somewhere with some ziplines...

Jo xxx

Posted by Tam-Jo 03:57 Archived in Thailand Tagged and thailand chiang mai Comments (3)

More elephants and some dogs too...

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This morning we spent a couple of hours with our guides walking around the grounds and visiting the different elephant families. We first went to see the baby Naveen...he was even cuter today than yesterday and seemed intent on munching on our guide's pair of Converse and generally making an adorable nuisance of himself! Then onto visit more of the elephants in the park where at one point we had to make a pretty speedy getaway as Hope, a teenage male elephant, came stomping towards us and the elephant family we were with. Apparently he can be a bit of a handful so the best approach is to get out of the way when he is around!

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We were lucky enough to be able to bathe the elephants again this afternoon and it was just as much fun as yesterday. Our arms were pretty tired by the end...throwing the water high enough to land on the elephant's back is challenging!

We all then watched Hope take his bath in the river from the stilted walkway. After which he proceeded to spray water up and over everyone who was in the splash zone!

Our last stop was a visit to the dog rescue centre. As well as looking after 34 elephants, the park also has over 370 dogs to care for, many of these rescued during the devastating floods in Thailand last year and in the areas surrounding the park since.

The work that the Elephant Nature Park does is really quite incredible and we've both been touched by what we've seen. Perhaps we'll come back again in the future and spend some time volunteering!

This evening we had a wander down Sunday Walking Street in Chiang Mai which is essentially a normal street every other day of the week except for on Sunday when it turns into a market selling all kinds of crafts, clothing and food! We've decided to come back again next week to feed ourselves on street food and buy some hippie clothing! Tonight, we dined at the Writers Club bar which was recommended in the Lonely Planet. Good work Lonely Planet...it was tasty!

Plan for the rest of the evening...laundry...snore! Needs to be done though as we're fast running out of clean clothes to wear (again)! Early start tomorrow anyway to go and play at being gibbons :-)

Tam xx

Posted by Tam-Jo 03:34 Archived in Thailand Tagged and thailand chiang mai Comments (0)

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