Some minor panicking and stress at HaNoi airport when Michal was rejected at check-in for not having an onward journey ticket out of Thailand. A complete twat of an Air Asia employee, who we’d found in a back office, insisted Michal buy a ticket from Bangkok to KL to satisfy the conditions and Phuket to Langkawi simply wasn’t valid.. Anyway, with minutes to go before the flight and after a timely power cut in the office, severing the Internet connection, we found some wifi in a cafe upstairs and he bought himself a quick ticket…

Not a long flight, but getting off into the warmth of Bangkok after the chill of northern Vietnam was sheer bliss. We got the train and a bus down to the Khao San road and found a place to stay where Emma had been on her last visit, then headed back out to explore this latest new place.

It’s about 5 years since I’d been on the Khao San road and it had changed loads! Forged document sellers, fruit vendors and t-shirt stalls still lined the street, but the amount of neon, electronic music and lady boys had gone crazy.. Maybe my outlook has changed a bit too – I think I noticed the ageing hippies a bit more than last time, marvelling at the lifers that couldn’t make it in the real world and had retreated into a simpler lifestyle of dreadlocks, tattoos, reiki and other twattery.

Still – maybe shouldn’t judge, eh 😉 Don’t agree with it, but live and let live and all that…(?)

Anyway – having brow-beaten Michal into doing a day tour with me the next day (minimum of two people and it was only us..), we set early alarms once again and got up, bundled into the minibus (after waiting for the fat one for a good fifteen minutes and apologising to the driver who was waiting so patiently) and got on our way.

Last time I was in Bangkok, I’d visited the Erewan waterfalls with the tour I’d been on and I’d been determined to revisit them on this trip even though I really only had one day free. The tour I found for us this time included the falls and also the Tiger Temple, where Thai monks hand reared tigers and you could get in and have pics taken with the tigers.

The falls were just as amazing as I’d remembered and having missed out on seeing all seven levels of it on my last visit due to time constraints, we made a beeline to the top. Unfortunately I hadn’t accounted for some dodgy Khao San pad Thai that wreaked it’s savage vengeance on my bowels somewhere around level five.. I think I’d just caught a peek of level six when there was an urgent knock at the back door and I (wisely) turned tail, engaged full rear clench and trotted rapidly back down to the third level toilets.

Disaster avoided, I headed back to level five, where I met up with Michal again and got straight into the gorgeous, cool, blue waters. The fish in there nibble away at you if you stay still for long enough, making getting in and out of the water extra perilous as balancing on awkward rocks isn’t the easiest when your ankles and toes are being gnawed upon by sizeable fish unseen in the water around you!

The tiger temple wasn’t as good.. The tigers themselves were beautiful and impressive. Huge things, dozy from the sun (or tranquillisers), they lazed around while we, the tourists, were led from one to another, posing for photos by each one in turn. In my case, posing rather awkwardly out of healthy respect for both the tiger and my skin. There was an opportunity to be caged up while the tigers were fed around us, but it all started to feel a little showy and exploitative, so we toddled off back to the minibus and headed back to Bangkok.

As we’d left the tigers a little early, we stopped off at the river Kwai bridge on the way back. I’d been there before and knew what to expect – a bridge and lots of shops, selling touristy crap… Still though, it was a good excuse to jump out for a few minutes and grab some fruit and wander around a bit..

Back in Bangkok that night, we nipped out and grabbed some local food and chilled out with a beer. Lovely to be back in the warmth, better to be leaving Khao San hippie central, but best to be off on my way back to meet my lady 🙂