On first arriving in Bangkok all the clichés about this city seem to be true. We hadn’t even left the airport before we’d spotted a ladyboy, it seems perfectly acceptable, expected even, to have a beer with breakfast, and I’ve now heard enough Bob Marley to last me a lifetime.
But despite all the touts, their myriad of scams, and the rats brazenly strolling down Khao San Road, I actually really like Bangkok!
It’s an utterly insane place, but it has such a laidback atmosphere that it’s hard not to fall into the habit of grabbing a beer at
4 3 o’clock in the afternoon.
But Bangkok isn’t all cocktail buckets and ping-pong shows, and if your hangover can survive the heat there are some beautiful temples and museums to explore, too. Just as long as you’re back in the bar by 3!
Bloody hell it’s hot. We’re in Inle Lake now and the sun is fiercely hot – probably the worst possible day to have forgotten the suncream and then sit in a boat for six hours!
Inle Lake is a fascinating place. Whole stilted communities live their entire lives in the centre of the lake. Literally everything is on the water; schools, shops, the post office, monasteries and even allotments. For these people life revolves around the lake.
We decided the best way to see the lake was just to play the tourist card and hire a boat for the day. We did pretty much the entire length of the lake, paddling through floating villages and gardens, and stopping off at a silk factory, a cigar workshop and a silversmith.
Now we’re about to get on an overnight bus to Mandalay and then fly to Bangkok tomorrow morning. In hindsight a week really wasn’t long enough to do Myanmar justice, we’ve both loved it so much. I could have spent the whole three months here and still not feel like I’d seen it all. There’s so much of the world to see that it’s not often we go back to the same places but I’m pretty certain we’ll be visiting Burma again at some point.
Bagan. No words or photos could ever do justice to the sheer scale or beauty of this place. Over 3,000 temples, stupas, and monasteries are scattered across the Burmese plains, dating back more than 800 years.
It’s just incredible. It is so beautiful, so peaceful and as yet so untouched by tourism. We’ve spent two blissful, but extremely hot, days cycling around Old Bagan, scrambling up the sides of crumbling temples to enjoy the views and enjoying a nice cold bottle of Myanmar beer at the end of it.
It’s a shame we don’t have more time here but the next stop is Inle Lake!
…and what a year it’s been.
It’s hard to believe that this time last year I was standing in my bedroom at home, complaining to my mum about how I was going to fit my life into a 25 kg suitcase. Miraculously I somehow managed it! Fast forward a few hours and I was saying my tearful goodbyes to my parents at the airport, one-way ticket in hand, gazing out of the window at my last glimpse of England for 15 months and praying that I was doing the right thing. A year later I have absolutely no doubt that I was. There’s been countless highs, a few lows, and I’ve been dragged out of my comfort zone on a daily basis, but I don’t regret a single second of it.
Here’s to the next 12 months…