Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Bangkok, Thailand

So here I am with the first of many posts about our trip to Thailand. We flew with Emirates which was great because with two flights & 12 hours of flight time they have a huge selection of films and music to entertain! I cannot for the life of me sleep on planes and if I do it's never 'real' sleep. I watched a total of 5 films on the way to Thailand (Saving Mr Banks, Pompeii, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Lego Movie) and the remaining time listening to the Inside Llewyn Davis soundtrack, which is beautiful! I was impressed with all of those movies by the way. All worth a watch.
Finally we made it to Bangkok. We arranged for our hotel to pick us up from the airport just to make it easier for us after such a long journey. No one wants to try and figure out how to get to a hotel when you've had no sleep. We figured out later on that it would have been easy enough to take the BTS Skytrain from the airport straight to our hotel which we didn't realise had a whole floor connected to it - however everything in Thailand was so cheap, we probably could have saved half what we spent on a private transfer but it didn't make too much difference to us. Now we're comfortable with public transport in Bangkok we'd know for next time.

We stayed at the Eastin Grand Hotel, Sathorn, Bangkok. Our requirements were breakfast included, free wi-fi & a swimming pool at all our hotels we stayed in so this was perfect. We got deals on all our hotels mostly from booking.com and ALWAYS use trip advisor for recommendations. We have never been disappointed or surprised by things we've found on trip advisor - mostly they are how they've been reviewed. Although I would say most of the negative comments we read on things tend to be from really picky people. If the majority of reviews are positive we tend to trust them. It's worked so far!

We had the biggest walk in shower, an array of complimentary toiletries and a really great view of Bangkok from the 21st floor!


Once we'd unpacked and settled in we checked out the infinity pool and ordered our first drinks of the holiday! I couldn't get enough of the fresh coconut! They turned out to be about 70pence and a pint of beer was less than £1. What a good start to a big adventure! We had some complimentary spicy peanuts and 3 of us made the mistake of going straight in for a dried chilli to then be in utter pain for 20 mins. I don't think we spoke for a while after that. We needed some recovery time. Ooops. 

On the first night we visited Patpong night market which is said to be a must-see place when you're in Bangkok. I can't say I see the attraction at all. Not my scene in the slightest & was quite happy to get 'out' and find somewhere to eat! 

One of my favourite things we did in Bangkok was a 'walking, talking & eating' tour which we'd booked through 'Tours with Tong'. I highly recommend this particular tour. We did it on our first full day in Bangkok so that we'd know what to do & where to go over the next few days. We met up with our tour guide George in a park near our hotel. He had lived in Bangkok all his life so knew it really well. We made the mistake of having a big breakfast before we started out because he took us straight to grab some street food. We powered on through it all of course! We began with an Thai iced coffee that we were served in bags with a straw. It has a strong coffee taste but is also sweet & made with condensed milk! Yum! We tried various dim sum as he took us walking all around Bangkok learning so much about the culture, the place and the food. 

Thai fruit - Mangosteen (my favourite), Rambutan (like lychees), dragon fruits & mango (sweetest, juiciest mangoes I've ever tasted!)

One of mine & Sam's favourite things to do when we go somewhere so different is to spend ages in their supermarkets looking at all the different things you can get. Some crazy things out there!

On the tour with George we got to experience more of Bangkok than we ever thought we'd see. We only stayed 4 nights so this tour was definitely the best way to see as much as we could. We took the bus, train, camel boat & river boat so we covered so many areas and saw so many things. That's the greatest thing about having a tour like this is you get to explore all the back alleys, buildings, side streets & more that you'd never know about if you were just wondering about on your own.

We went in the low season so it rained a few of the days but because the whether was so hot and humid it was soooooo welcome. George kept taking us under shelter but we were like "noooooo, we want the rain!" It reminded me so much of when I was little & we used to dance outside in the thunder storms! 
The picture below is the famous 'backpacker street'. It's Khao San Road and well worth a visit. So much interesting things to see and buy, lots of bars to choose from and places to hang out. We went back the day after George took us to check it out some more. We only went there in the day time, I guess it would be packed and a little crazy at night time as it's quite a touristy place & apparently gets a little wild in the evening.

Plenty of good food was eaten over the few days we were there. Admittedly we tried a few Japanese places because we wanted to give our friends we were travelling with as big an experience of asian food as we could. 

Some of the best food we ate was the street food. You have to be brave enough to just go for it. I don't mean because of dodgy tummies (which we didn't get) I mean because of the hustle and bustle of the busy streets. You need to make a quick decision and get in there! Everything is so packed in around the street food but the Thai people are so quick to find you somewhere comfortable to sit & enjoy your meal. Above & below were some of the nicest soups we ate and it was only about 90pence each!

I can't tell you how cheap Thailand is. You can eat like a king for less than £10 each a day. That's breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, ice cream, drinks! At least if you go for street food. We LOVE our food so we probably ate more than the average person while we were there - we just wanted to try as much as we could. If you go into a proper restaurant they are still cheap compared to England. The four of us could have a few drinks, main meals, pudding for around £25 at the most. The most expensive thing was the flights (and we even got an amazing deal on those) then 4&5-star hotels can be as little as £40 per night depending on where you stay.

Something else we wanted to experience was a real Thai massage. We were recommended by a friend to go to Baan Dalah Spa. We were supposed to go for one of the oil massages but I think in a panic we all opted for a classic thai massage - the ones where you get pulled and bent in all sorts of different ways! The four of us managed to do it altogether in one room which was the most hilarious experience because you just heard the odd groan or 'oouchh'. Once it all finished (an hour later) we all just burst out laughing, however, we all agreed that as much as it hurt on occasion we all felt so good afterwards! 

Bangkok was great. I would say that once you've been you don't need to go again. I feel like I've done that. It's a busy place & wouldn't really be a holiday destination for a long time in my opinion. 4 days was enough for me. I was ready to move on to the next adventure!

If you have an questions or want to know anything else about our trip to Bangkok, leave it in the comments or drop me an email & I'll get back to you.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Currently in July

Recovering from our holiday to Thailand! I will be uploading our photos over the next few days/weeks with places we went and things we did. We had the most incredible time although I managed to get food poisoning on the way home so we had a horrendous journey back, that mixed with jet lag meant I slept for about a week. My immune system is fully down & I'm holed up in bed with an ear ache & cold. Having said that I'm....
Enjoying the sunshine in England! Since we've been home the sun has pretty much stayed out for us so the English summer has done us proud again. There's been plenty of BBQs, picnics, water fights and long evenings hanging outside with friends. 
Excited to meet our friends baby boy born last night! 
Learning to use my time for effectively and be more productive.
Watching all the old planet of the apes movies. Since the new one has come out I feel like I need to be a little more educated on the background. It's been funny seeing the connections between the old movies and the new ones.
Planning our next adventure! Always planning the next big trip. Travelling is in our hearts, we can't hold it in. We're back & we're like 'where next!??'
Ordering some football boots for Sam. A new team is starting up in our community & Sam's going to be part of it. He's never really been into it before but it's been so fun to see him come back from practice feeling so good about himself.
Wanting to find something new to be a part of for myself. Feeling the FOMO!
Drinking a lot of tea! Nowhere does tea like England & I missed it so much, plus it was way too humid in Thailand to even think about drinking hot stuff.
Looking forward to the coming weeks. Life just gets more intriguing, exciting and so much is going on over summer I don't want to miss a thing. 
Celebrating every single day!

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Being thankful

This is just something to encourage a little thankfulness in your everyday. I struggle sometimes of how to give back to this life I've been given in the little ways as well as the big. We all do acts of kindness, give our time and feel thankful but I've felt more recently it's good to write some of the things down so that we don't forget in that moment what we are or have been thankful for. 

Make a little chalkboard and get writing on it daily the things you are loving right now in this moment, heck, don't even make a chalkboard just get a notebook you can carry around that you write at least 3 things in that day that have made you feel special & good. I have done this is the past and it's so nice to look back and remember those moments of goodness - it's time to pick it up again.