On my way to Phi Phi island on my previous trip to Thailand, I spent a few days hanging out in Patong Beach in Phuket. Not something I chose personally, but since I was at the mercy of two males who thought they knew better, I didn’t really get to offer my opinion. I didn’t really enjoy Patong that much, but it does give me a new place to write about.Мокрый фасад – новейшая технология утепления

Patong Beach is a tourist location in Phuket, and the main attraction of Patong is Bangla Road. If you’ve not heard of Bangla Road, it is to Phuket what Khao San Road is to Bangkok. An array or bars, nightclubs, market stalls and touts, all trying to sell to the large crowds of tourists milling around throughout the day and night. It’s where you go to drink and party and have a good time, day or night. At night, the lights are blinding and Western pop music pumps through the speakers and vibrates in your lungs as you try to choose between the numerous bars on offer.

You’ll find nearly all the bars have girls “dancing” (read: hopping from one foot to the other) on poles, and it’s hard to find a place where girls aren’t performing. Don’t worry though, they very rarely get naked on the podiums or poles, and they’re not the kind of provocative dancers you normally see in Western strip clubs unless you actually go inside the closed off “go go bars”.

Also in Bangala Road, you’ll find a lot of touts selling you the usual assortment – cigarettes, cigars, lighters – and also some things I haven’t seen before – roses, flashing headgear, and photos with strange animals. I had large iguanas thrust at me several times (cue screaming) and was also accosted by a group of Thai people each holding a baby slow loris. One of the boys I was travelling with has the photos and I haven’t asked for them yet, but they’re very cute animals and I ended up somehow with them all over my body. 50% cute, 50% what-if-they-bite-or-poop-on-me.

If drinking and dancing aren’t really your thing, then I wouldn’t recommend venturing too far out at night, as that’s really all that’s on offer once the sun goes down. There’s a smattering of markets, but nothing like you’d see in Bangkok or Chiang Mai, and most of them resemble stores rather than market stalls. During the day is your best chance of getting to have a look around, but as Patong Beach is a tourist party town, there doesn’t seem to be that much to do. I saw a lot of people rent scooters and this is a lot easier in Patong than somewhere like Bangkok, because there is a lot less traffic on the beach, making it easier to get around without getting trapped in a 30-deep motorbike pack.

If you are going to rent a scooter, make sure you have your passport, as they don’t seem to rent to you without it. It’s also a good idea to get travel insurance if you don’t already, because if you do have a little crash, you want to know you’re taken care of. I wouldn’t recommend going out and renting a scooter unless you have knowledge of how to work one, or have someone with you that’s willing to give you a little tutorial before you head out on the roads. Make sure you wear a helmet and never drive drunk if you go out at night. Just walk or catch a taxi!

I didn’t get a chance to explore much of Patong in the day, because I got there at 7pm when I spent one night before Phi Phi and when I came back, it was pouring rain and my dreams of renting a scooter were dashed. ): I personally wouldn’t recommend staying more than one or two nights while in transit to islands or other parts of the country. Patong doesn’t offer the greatest selection of culture and entertainment, but it is good place to head to if you want a few nights of partying. Just remember that most bars close between 1 and 2 am and after that the whole city dies until morning.

Note: There is a rampant sex trade going on in Patong and I will touch more on this later. Please keep smart and refrain from perpetuating this industry. Also, the slow loris’ you see on the street are often stolen from their parents and it’s a good idea not to perpetuate this trade by having photos taken with them on the street. 

Price: $3 AUD per night for a 4 bed dorm
Location: 2 minute motorbike ride from Lat Krabang station.
Staff: Barely talked, but did offer me some foul Swedish licorice.
Sleeping: Average. I failed to get a good night’s sleep the whole time I was here.
Facilities: Only saw one shower/toilet when I was there, and the shower was freeeezing!
Laundry: Not offered.
Internet: Free wifi available.

Backpackers Airport Lounge & Hostel was the last place I laid my head in Thailand – because saying it’s located in Bangkok isn’t exactly accurate – and I left with pretty average feelings about the place.

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So this one is coming a little late, because by now it’s been about two weeks since my birthday, oops. But it’s finally happens, I am officially an adult. Hoorah!film Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 online

Instead of having just my birthday in Bangkok, I decided to be just a little more self-absorbed and treated myself to a birthday week. If you’re not familiar with the term ‘birthday week’ it’s really just an excuse for people with far too much money to celebrate for the week leading up to the big day. Now obviously I am not someone with far too much money, unless I’m in Bangkok, where I become stupidly rich – in my eyes anyway. So let me tell y’all what I got up to.

I could’ve started my week on a Monday because my birthday this year fell on a Sunday, but seven days of myself would’ve maybe driven me mad, so instead I settled for five and began my week on the 20th. On the first day I was moving hostels, so to cheer myself up I went and got my nose pierced, the same thing I did for my birthday last year. Hopefully this now-yearly birthday ‘tradition’ doesn’t continue into 2013, because it hurt like hell this time. Worse than my tattoo! I maybe even cried a little. Maybe. Luckily, I cheered myself up with a fake plum Casio watch, and a real plum Revlon lipstick. I swear, lipstick soothes all my wounds.

On the 21st, I bought the only dress on the street I’d seen that would fit me, and then bought a new handbag to go with it. Hopefully this bag fares better than my last one from SE Asia, which I fell in love with, and in return, it fell apart. *tear*
The 22nd is actually a mystery to me (I should keep a diary) other than what I did for dinner, which was treat myself to the first, last and only real restaurant meal I had during my stay in Bangkok. I went to Himali Cha Cha & Son, a lovely little Indian place where I stuffed my face with palak paneer and garlic naan. Good, expensive times.

When I woke up the next day, I was resolved to go and rewatch 007: Skyfall at the Lido, but alas, when I finally got there only Breaking Dawn: Part II was showing. Not being one to turn down a movie experience, and needing to see how it all ended, I went and saw it. It actually wasn’t that bad, the slightly cringeworthy moments aside. Returning from that outing to the New Road Guesthouse, the gang there announced they were all headed to the Sky Bar, so I tagged along to admire Bangkok from great heights. This is actually an outing I would recommend to you if you visit the city.

If you’re unaware, the Sky Bar is located on the 64th floor of the Sky Tower. This probably sounds super unfamiliar, but if you’ve seen The Hangover II and remember the rooftop confrontation scene, then you’ve seen the Sky Bar in all it’s glory, as it was filmed here. They’re still serving the “Hangovertini” – a specially created cocktail for the cast and crew of the movie – and will probably keep serving it for the next ten years.  Whilst I was up there, my birthday ‘treat’ was the most expensive mojito of my life. Excuse me, but fuck VAT and service tax.

On my birthday eve, the 24th, I played leader in an outing with three Dutch girls to the Chatuchak weekend markets, another outing I’d recommend if Bangkok is your destination. All I bought there was a hairband and some of my beloved smoked chicken which is so good. That night I dragged my new Dutch friend, Florine, to see Cloud Atlas. I’d been obsessing over this movie for about two weeks since first seeing the trailer – which I’ve nicely placed below for your viewing pleasure.

Even though we both left a little dazed and confused, it was a beautifully made movie which I would recommend to anyone who is capable of following multiple storylines. But perhaps read the book first.
Returning home from the cinema, we watched the clock tick over to the 25th, Florine brought me a beer and sang Happy Birthday and then we crashed out in bed.

Finally at the big day itself, I woke up at 6 am and wandered off to Mcdonalds in the rain for the best hashbrowns ever, and when I returned to the guesthouse and awoke after a nap, Florine fed me pancakes and tea and we set off on the boat towards Khao San Road. When we got there we headed off to the “massage garden” that Mark recommended to me, and left about two hours later feeling quite refreshed after our massages in little tents. Following this, I watched proudly as Florine bartered down the prices of some cute dresses for us both, and then we triumphantly took a tuk tuk home, with some obligatory tailor stops along the way. My birthday adventure would’ve ended there, if not for the taxi driver I encountered at the airport on the way to my next hostel.

After driving around for about an hour without the meter on, looking for Airport Backpackers Lounge, we finally found the place and the time came to haggle the price down to something reasonable. Imagine my surprise when instead, the taxi driver offered to take me to dinner. I agreed, and he drove me to Banglamphu, and we ate the best fish soup ever in a little street restaurant. Then he drove me all the way back to my hostel – not without some awkward attempts at handholding and me squeaking “Have boyfriend!!” – and let me out without paying for anything. Oh, and he even gave me a hat as my “present, present” for the day. Such a lovely guy, who really gave the day a great (and slightly hilarious) ending.

All in all, I think that this week and my birthday were perhaps the best so far. And now that I’m an adult, I can happily stop ageing and and never celebrate getting older ever again. But hey, if someone wants to give me some ice cream cake when I get home, I wouldn’t be totally adverse to it.

Lately I have been crazy obsessed with Hong Kong. Like, crazy. I had a dream the other night I was there and it was so amaaaazing. I mostly blame the latest 007 film, Skyfall, for my current thoughts, because the city is showcased a little (not enough in my opinion) in there, as is Macau. My friend Jyrah and I were discussing how we should travel together next, to somewhere non-Western. I totally choose Hong Kong! The trouble is that Hong Kong means serious saving, but for such a rad city I could convince myself out of every pair of high heels – or at least nearly all of them, which is close enough.

I haven’t actually researched anything about the city to learn more, because right now when I’m travelling and poor and not making any money but sooo close to Hong Kong, I will just make myself sad. So while I am leaving researching for another time, what I have been doing is basically stalking my photoblog, and other much better travel photoblogs, to find the best photos of Hong Kong. Mainly for my viewing pleasure, but hey, take a look. Maybe my obsession might catch on. More »

Price: Free for a night spent in rooftop hammocks. 
Location: 10 minutes from Saphan Taksin BTS, 5 minutes from Pier 1.
Staff: Helpful, knowledgable, really friendly and approachable.
Sleeping: In the hammocks, so-so. The weather is a big indicator of how well you’ll sleep.
Facilities: Mostly clean and always available. Only cold showers in the dorm building.
Laundry: Done hotel style, by-item.  
Internet: Free wifi available, as well as computers where Internet access can be purchased for 1 Baht per minute.

New Road Guesthouse was the last place I stayed for a whole week in Bangkok, and to be honest, normally I wouldn’t have stayed there if I hadn’t scored the cheapest accommodation in the world – not even exaggerating.

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Price: $6.30 AUD per night for a twelve bed, air conditioned dorm.
Location: 5 minutes from Lumphini MRT and Lumphini Boxing Stadium.
Staff: Helpful, happy and sweet.
Sleeping: Really good. Good temperature, and the couch upstairs is comfy too.
Facilities: Always clean and readily available. Hot showers possible.
Laundry: Available next door, 40 baht per kilo and ready within 24 hours.
Internet: Free wifi that works on all levels, and 3 computers with all-hours access and net connection.

I’ve actually been excited to write this review, because aside from May De Ville Backpackers in Hanoi, and the Sea and Sand Hotel in Hoi An, both in Vietnam and both places I would recommend, ETZzz Hostel was my favourite place I’ve stayed in SE Asia.

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Price: $6.90 AUD per night for a ten bed, air conditioned dorm.
Location: 8 minutes from Khao San Road.
Staff: Distant and uninterested.
Sleeping: So-so. If you’re a light sleeper, the sound from the busy main road may make it hard to get to sleep.
Facilities: Mostly clean and readily available. Warm showers possible.
Laundry: 40 baht per kilo and ready within 24 hours. May or may not be damp.
Internet: Free wifi offered, but mostly unreliable. Internet cafe down the street for 20 Baht per half hour.

Feel @ Home Backpackers was the first place I’ve stayed at by myself in Bangkok, but sadly, I can’t say I felt “at home” or anywhere close to it. And I know it’s just a name, but what I’m really trying to say is that I enjoyed my stay here the least of all the places I’ve stayed, every time I’ve been in Bangkok. At my last hostel I actually told a girl NOT to stay here.

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It’s no real secret that there are a million “teaching English jobs” in Bangkok for people who are travelling and looking for work, and it shouldn’t be a huge secret that most of these “jobs” are total scams. Usually it’s pretty obvious that it’s all crap because there’s no real office, the people barely speak English themselves, etc. Which is where the company that calls itself FTC Educational Services comes in and changes the game.

I saw a flyer for FTC when I was wandering around Banglamphu in Bangkok, which is right near the tourist area of Khao San, if you’re not schooled in Thai geography (and who is?). It was just stuck to a phone box, and I saw a lot more stuck to walls, next to ATMs, outside 7/11’s – basically most of the places that tourists would be frequenting. It has an email and a number for a man who goes by the name of Arthur, Arthur Wood. So, being keen for some extra cash and adorable Thai kids, I shot Arthur an email and told him I would be willing to teach English until I left Bangkok in three weeks time. He emailed me back really quickly and had great English (first reason I thought it would be okay) and told me it would be around 300 Baht an hour and I could come in for an interview tomorrow, and get free accommodation there if I got the job.

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Hanging out on the rooftop at ETZzz Hostel

Sometimes I met really rad people and whilst I will eventually blog about all of them, so far, this has been my favourite gang.

In this group there’s Nick, Josh, Helena, Hanna, Rianne, Ellie – all who are teaching English in Malaysia – and then Jeff, Andre, Leo and myself. This was our party crew for Khao San, minus Leo and Jeff, and then it was our hangout crew/s for the next two days. Team A and Team B, as we were christened by Leo. I just had a really awesome time with everyone, and today the last of the crew checked out and headed on to another location, and I’m the last one left here now ))):

Tomorrow I’ll be checking into my 1 Baht a night (3 cents!) accommodation, and basically I’m praying that the rooftop there is at least half as rad as ours was here at ETZzz Hostel – which I totally recommend staying in if you’re ever in Bangkok!

So if partying and travelling are two things that appeal to you, there’s a fair chance you’ve heard of Khao San Road, located in Bangkok, Thailand. If not, Khao San Road is an infamous party road in Bangkok, in the Banglamphu district. It’s filled with market stalls, pad Thai and roti carts, tattooists, tuk tuks, bars and restaurants. Mostly frequented by tourists and backpackers, young and old, it seems to constantly be awake and thriving, no matter the hour.

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