June 08, 2006

Bangkok

Bangkok has been great fun - we stayed with a friend of SK's just outside the city centre.

We went to the Royal Palace/Temple - which were both incredibly grand! Also went to Wat Poh a mega huge temple with the equally mahoosive 'Reclining Buddah'.

Photos are all on SK's Photo Album

Right I have little over 2 hours to get to the airport and check-in for an International Flight...

Next Stop Oz !

Posted by edwardnorthridge at 11:07 AM | Comments (0)

June 05, 2006

Paddy gets PADI'd

So I'm back from the "paradise" that is Krabi.

We flew down from Chaing Mai over the course of a day. The flights were a bit of a mess as the one we wanted to get ended up being cancelled - which left our only option being to fly business class from Chaing mai to Bangkok. Business Class on a budget Airline though - pot noodle and a slightly larger glass of water than the rest of the plane along with a complimentory newspaper.. speak of Luxury. We got another flight from Bangkok to Krabi and arrived at about 7pm.

Various dodgy dealings and haggling with Taxi drivers (indluding us walking outside the limits of the Airport) saw 4 of us get a taxi for a little under GBP 3.

We spent the night in the Hostel before getting the Longtail boat to Krabi. We decided to Stay on the Back-packer beach - 'Ton Sai' which is a 10 mintue walk around the coast to the North from Railay West. Our heavy rucsacs made it a 30 minute death slog through the jungle but we found a nice enough place and crashed :o)

We spent 3 days doing a Scuba Diving Course - the PADI open water diver. We did 5 dives in total and had a great time seeing loads of sealife from Turtles to Sharks and even Clownfish (think Finding Nemo). We're both qualified scuba divers now so we're really looking forward to diving in Oz on the Great Barrier Reef and the Whitsunday islands.
The diving was great, although our very last dive was cut short by about 10 minutes as I began to get awfull stomach cramps and not wanting to become "Ed the Human Squid" at 15m down had to head for the surface, remove all my kit and go for a quiet snorkel on my own... I'm sure your imagination can do the rest. ;o)

The rest of the time was spent lazing on the beach, although we did spend a few afternoons climbing at the beginner crags around the beachs. Despite a 10 month layoff from climbing I was plesantly surprised to see I hadn't forgotten everything I knew and still managed to get up a few 6a's. Saying that I probably won't be going back untill I can at least cruise 6c (everything over there is kinda gnarly).

We spent the final 3 nights in a "posh" resort on Railay itself - posh means they had electricity 24/7 not just from 6pm untill 2am. The resort had a free buffet breakfast every morning which we managed to make the most of - although it was kinda vile (frankfurters instead of sausages etc...)

So tomorrow we get to Bangkok, where we spend the day before catching our plane to Darwin, where we spent 5 days, before catching another plane to Cairns, where we have 3 weeks to do the East Coast of Austraila.

Hope all is well

Posted by edwardnorthridge at 01:26 PM | Comments (0)

May 24, 2006

Back from the Wilderness

So we're back from the Woods, overall the trek was hillarious.

Certaily wasn't amazonian bush-whacking through unchartered jungle, but equally we weren't walking along National Trust footpaths. We walked for about 3-4 hours and covered about 6km a day, so it was pretty relaxed. At points we were fording rivers knee deep or wobbling across single log bridges over small rivers. :o)

So it started on Monday, having met our fellow travellers in the head office we all bundled into the back of two 4x4s and drove for nearly an hour out of the city into the hills to the Elephant Camp. We were treated to a baby Elephant doing some tricks before being dispatched in pairs/threes to be taken on an Elephant ride through the Jungle. The ride was pretty uncomfortable but was certainly amusing as we were thrown about in our rain soaked seats trying to hang on while wearing our high class plastic ponchos.
My Elephant was called 'Muddah' and pulled off some pretty impressive moves up and down the various muddy/slimy slopes.

After that it was off for lunch and then onto the trail to begin the trek. Guiding us on our adventure was Nui, Eddy and Rainbow (who seemed to tkae too much care over his haircut to be a treking guide but nevermind).
The walking was broken up with stops at various waterfalls along the way - some of which we swam in. In the afternoon the rains came but we continued to truge uphill in torrential downpour and hill fog. We eventually got to our hill village and our hut which was to be our accomdation for the night.

Day two dawned overcast and wet and for some slightly hungover due to the massive amount of beer that was drunk. More walking lead to another waterfall and more swimming. Afterwards the merry band of trekkers continued winding their way through the various paddy fields and jungle which surrounds Chiang Mai. Lunch was had at a village on top of a hill, we arrived just as the clouds broke and had a great view over the various valleys beyond. The weather broke again in the afternoon so it was another long 2 hours truding in more torrential rain to our 2nd mountain village and another dry nights sleep (aided by more beer and more awesome food cooked for us by our guides)

A breakfast of pancakes greeted us the next morning so recharged by that we headed on to the bamboo rafting camp. Our raft made from 8 bamboo poles lashed together and was steered from the front by a local guy with a bamboo pole - he basically punted the raft along. 3 people would sit down in the middle then 1 person would be at the back with another pole to (try) and help the guy at the front steer. I ended up being the guy at the back so spent the 30 odd minutes ducking low hanging trees and trying my best to push/turn the raft away from the worst the rain swollen river had to offer. It wasn't quite Class 5 white water but it was certainly alot worse than the Thames with various fast tight turns and rapids to keep things interesting.

Afterwards we dried off and jumped back into a 4x4 for the drive back to Chiang Mai. That evening (last night) we all went our for a meal at a local restaurant and some more beers afterwards. We eventually got back to our hostel at 3am and crashed into bed.

We had a brief look around the Night Market so tonight we're going to go back and try and grab ourselves some bargins...

Tomorrow we leave Chiang Mai and fly south to Krabi to (hopfully) get some sun, sand and snorkelling done (and maybe some climbing) ;o)

I may get some photos up on the website soon :o)

Posted by edwardnorthridge at 10:39 PM | Comments (0)

May 21, 2006

I'm Going for a Walk...

This will be done in bullet point styleee.

- Spent Today looking around the city.
- Went to a temple on top of a large mountain overlooking the city, t'was covered in gold and very bling
- In afternoon evening we looked around the Sunday Market, which was huge - 1 square and about 4 streets, didn't really see all over it in about 3 hours.
- Tomorrow I'm going treking in the forest/Jungle south of here. 3 days and 2 nights. Doing elephant riding, bamboo rafting and general hiking to waterfalls etc. Should be fun - I am however going to get s***caked in mud because...
- The rains have come early, it's been alternatling between broken sunshine and torrential rain all day. Bugger.

Anyway, See you all in a few days

Posted by edwardnorthridge at 06:07 AM | Comments (0)

May 19, 2006

All Quiet on the Eastern Front

So here I am in Thailand!

We arrived in Bangkok at 4:30pm on the 15th feeling a little groggy after the 11 hour flight which unfortunatly wasn't incident free, my water bottle leaked into the overhead compartment and upon opening promtly unleshed a deluge of water on the unsuspecting honeymoon couple sitting in the row behind. Arse :o(

After making ourway outside the terminal we caught a taxi to the Bus Depot and got on the 10 hour overnight "VIP" bus to Chang Mai - 700km to the north.
The Bus was great, fully reclining seats, 'hot' meal, drinks and snacks all the time entertained with bad Thai kareoke videos playing - complete with phonetic western subtitles...

we arrived in Chang Mai around 4:30am and got a "Sawngthaew" (Toyota truck with 2 benches under cover on the back) to the Hostel, a few hours sleep was all we got before investigating the streets to see what the city had to offer.

We had a 1 hour tour of the city by Tuk-Tuk, saw a few temples and visted one of the markets. We signed ourselves up for 3 days of the Cooking Course and following a 3 GBP meal (curry, rice and beer each) we crashed out in bed again.

So far the 2 days of the cooking course have been great. In the morning of each day you do an activity of some sort - on the first day it was a market tour the second vegetable carving.
You then learn how to cook 6 dishes throughout the rest of the day -everything from green curry, to leaf wrapped fish to spring rolls. You firstly watch one of the demonsrators cooking the meal and then you go to your own cooking station and have a go yourself, everything has been pretty sucessfull so far. After you've cooked a dish (or two) you sit down and eat it.

After each of the days I've been too full to eat anything untill the morning after.

we're doing that again tomorrow and we will then head up into the hills and do a trek of some sort, before heading south to the beaches of Krabi for some snorkelling and (injury permitting) some climbing!

More drivel when it happens

Posted by edwardnorthridge at 06:46 AM | Comments (0)