After the chaos of Vietnam I decided to spend the next part of my Career Break Island hoping around Thailand. The flight to Bangkok was good and was over in a flash. Strangely enough I bumped into a guy called Dave who I had met in HCMC weeks and weeks ago. He was leaving Vietnam and going to Hong Kong for a few days before heading back to Canada – we exchanged a couple of stories and then he gave me a book all about the Khmer Rouge.
When I arrived in Bangkok it was surprisingly cold and grey. I’d arranged to meet a friend from Nha Trang who was flying back to New York shortly. It was great as she knew Bangkok well. We met up on Khao San Road and then walked about 15 minutes to a guest house that she recommended. Wow, it was a fantastic guest house and I’m now staying in my first dorm, which has been really good. The guest house is right on the river: very peaceful and to get there you have to go down a maze of alleyways; I was so glad to have a guide! The dorm I’m in is made from wood and straw, with fans on the ceiling, mosquito nets and raised platforms for each bed – at first I really thought I wouldn’t do this for long but everyone is so friendly it’s not bad at all. Along the alleyways are various kitchens cooking a whole array of Thai food: all really really good and super cheap. It’s one thing I’ve been really looking forward to a lot.
I’ve only been here for two days and completely love the place. The local people are very friendly and everything is so cheap, which is always refreshing. Sadly my plan to head to the southern islands has failed as there have been massive floods and most tourists have been removed by the army as planes, boats and everything came to a complete standstill during the storms. Luckily I think I can get a refund for my flight because of this and have filled out a form, but have to wait 7 days to get a confirmation, which should hopefully work out fine!
A couple of Italian girls from the guest house are heading to an island closer to the Cambodian boarder called Koh Chang, which has not been affected by the bad weather; sounds good to me. Apparently it’s not as beautiful as the southern islands but the flood damage there could take 5 months to recover. Fingers crossed this new island is good. One of the Italian girls has been there before and says it’s great, so fingers crossed. Also there are a few more islands nearby so should be quite an adventure.
The weather is starting to heat up in Bangkok so it’ll be the right time to leave soon, but have enjoyed my stay.
Koh Chang and Koh Pha Ngan
Koh Chang was a wonderful island where I rented a small basic concrete hut by the water where I could watch the sun set. The island is very peaceful and has everything you could need.
After a couple of weeks on the island, rumours were starting to circulate that things had cleared up down south. I decided to take a chance and head on down by train and then a short boat trip to the island Koh Pha Ngan.
The island was nice enough, though slightly destroyed by the heavy tourism industry. Although the further north you went, the better it got. Life was easy, basking on the beaches and reading The Alchemist.
Days became weeks as one book turned into another.
Then I realised my visa was about to expire. It was a bit of a rush but I managed to fly to Bangkok and then down to KL, where I met up with an old friend from the States: David the rock star Howard. He was on his Asian tour with his band and it was great to hang out and catch a couple of his shows. He certainly was living the life, staying in wonderful hotels around the world and performing most nights. After many weeks on the road it was so nice to experience luxury again. We got to spend the week hanging out during the day and it was good to be able to catch up!
After KL I then flew back to Thailand to Phucket and continued with my tour of the islands. Island life was easy again and I met some Korean guys, who I got to hang out with for a few days.
It was here that I realised my funds had been depleted for travelling but I still didn’t feel like it was time to settle back in the UK.
You can follow more of Dominic’s travels here;
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