SAAWWWW WAAADEEEE CAAAAAAAAHHHH
Six Thai women flit around us, talking between themselves as they plaster our faces with yet another funny coloured ointment. Yes we are in Bangkok. Yes we are hungover. Yes we are getting facials. We have been in this salon all day now for the grand total of six pounds. Facials, massages, manicures, pedicures, hair dye and much needed waxing. An absaloute bargain.
To put it mildly we had a little shock coming here from green, rainy, mountainous Sri Lanka to the heart of Bangkok City. On our first night here we befriended a group of teenage street dancers, the youngest of whomb was about the age of my little brother, 9. These guys were actually amazing, and would dance in clubs and the street bringing in the punters. It definitely worked! We saw the most beautiful women who turned out to be ladyboys (with the best ones you can never really tell) and were invited to the notourios ping pong shows (google it). Bangkok is an incredible city, and somewhere that you should definitely spend a few days, but it wears out your wallet pretty fast so we moved on before we lost all of our money.
When you arrive in Thailand, especially the Islands, there is guarenteed to be some stunning local talent. Think Kokoum from Disney’s Pocohuntas. Long dark hair, caramel skin, pure white teeth (they don’t chew tobacco here) and generally covered in traditional bamboo tattoos. And even if your not a fan of tattoos, you will be on these guys. I guess maybe that’s why I ended up sitting in a kwirky hippy-shop, getting repeatedly stabbed by ink dipped bamboo stick. Now that was some news to break to my parents. Anyway, apart from the beautiful men and beaches, Thailand has become a very touristy place. Although it is nice not to be stared at for once (like we were in India and Sri), white people over here actually outnuber the locals. We did a survey one day, and it turned out in every 10 people, only three were Thai. It’s crazy. It works two ways though, if you like to party, Thailand is your place.
If you have never been fortunate enough to have attended or heard of Koh Phangan’s Full Moon party, then you are missing out. It is an experience like no other. Fourty thousand people, one beach, everyone covered head to toe in neon body paint, dancing until the sun comes up. This one strip of bay hosts the monthly (and half monthly) communal binge, selling buckets (literally) of alcohol accompanied with red bull shots (which are now illegal in the UK). Skipping ropes are set alight and only the bravest (or drunkest) attempt to beat them, many leaving the party with huge burns wherever the rope decided to wrap itself around them. The fire theme is continued with throwers, dancers, and a huge slide which goes through a massive burning ring of fire. Along the bay there is a bar for every person, each has a unique atmosphere and plays a different kind of music.
After Phangan we went to Koh Tao where Jo got herself qualified as a diver! Unfortunatly for me I have dodgey ears which don’t allow me to equalise, hence I cant go scuba. But we did this amazing boat tour in Koh Phi Phi where we were taken away from all the swarms of people, and dropped on the most beautiful reefs where we swam with sharks, and shoals of fish- I wanted to grow gills and just live there it was so beautiful. We visited Leonardo at ‘The Beach’, saw the talking monkey’s on Monkey Island and played pirates with our kayaks- our guides were fantastic so we had a whole load of fun.
After seeing all the Islands, partying to our hearts content and swimming with plenty of fishies, we decided to head up North to Chang Mai to do some trekking. We got ourselves onto a tour where we trekked through the jungle for three hours (uphill may I just add) and then stayed with a tribe overnight. This was a really great tour even though the tribe was really just a bamboo dorm made for tourists. We saw the strange long neck tribe with and without their necklaces, and then went home to stay up to sing songs around our campfire. I thought that Elephants wouldn’t be able to climb up rocks, and through tiny paths in the jungle but it turns out that they actually don’t take up much more room than us foot-wise despite their size. I know this because the Elephants we rode literally took us up a mountain and down a cliff face, I was completely terrified throughout may I add. We white water rafted down to the bottom of the mountain, and were so completely and utterly hopeless (there were 5 girls) that our guide actually evacuated the raft and swam away from us! It really was a hilarous trip, something that I would recommend to anyone. After all of this exercise of course we needed yet another massage!
All around Thailand there are massage and beauty parlours on every street, and I can tell you these girls can do a mean wax. After months in India and Sri Lanka of being waxed with jeans (literally cut up trousers), newspaper, bed sheets and generally anything that can vaguely resemble a wax strip, it was a total shock to FINALLY get someone who knows what they are doing. Bliss.
The massage and beauty parlour’s are not just for the tourists, for locals it is a completely normal thing to get massaged every day. And a Thai massage is unlike any other. ‘A full body click’ one of the girls described it as before she stood on my back. Bones you didn’t even know you had will click. But beware, lots of these girls are used to a certain type of massage, so if it looks a little seedy, and that isn’t the street you want to go up, then take a rain check!
After spending so much money on mainly drinking, but also massages, food and accomidation (necessities) we are now heading to Vietnam to get a job. I was told by a friend never to meantion the J or W word when travelling, but the time has come to break the rule, bite the bullet, and get some work!
Remember to pick up the next gallery to read about Vietnam and Cambodia!