The tour is back! If you’ve had enough, I promise this is the penultimate chapter! Back to regular non-Thailand posts soon.

After Ko Samui and reaching the mainland again, it was an incredibly long drive to Hua Hin. On the way I napped a lot (sorry Pops) occasionally waking up to snack. We bought this incredible sliced pineapple from a woman selling fruit on the side of the highway and stopped at many Tesco Lotus stores for supplies. It’s very odd seeing F&F on the other side of the world!

When we finally arrived in Hua Hin (9+ hour drive) it was pretty late in the afternoon. We checked into the hotel which was right in the centre of the city. It was incredible! The bed was huge and on a platform, with a wall of windows to watch the city going by. Also, possibly the best feature, each room had a phone shaped like a crocodile where the phone was the tail !?! I was incredibly stoked about that crocophone.

After a bit of a rest, we headed out to explore Hua Hin. Firstly we ate at this vegan restaurant which I appreciated a lot because I could eat everything on the menu! Afterwards, we wandered around the night market looking at things and people. It was so busy and hot. I bought a Rotee (that may be spelled wrong) which was like a crepe with hot banana inside and Nutella on the outside, which was then folded and cut into little pieces. Incredible. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

I had an excellent night’s sleep on the huge bed and woke up early to watch the world going by. I’ve always been fascinated by cities, I don’t think I’ll ever be a country girl!

On our way out of Hua Hin we stopped at an artist’s village which was incredible. It was early in the morning so it felt almost like a ghost town, we were the only people there besides one or two early-risers manning their stalls. I’ll insert some pictures below so you can get a feel for the colour and intoxicating nature of the place.

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After the exploration, it was on to Sai Yok – another pretty hefty drive. I convinced my dad to let me put on one of my favourite podcasts (blog post coming soon) so the journey passed a lot quicker!

We arrived in Sai Yok at what appeared to be a guesthouse made up of dozens of small buildings in different states of completion. There were children and dogs and chickens running around, a little shop, bar, restaurant, kitchen with no windows or walls so we could see the women cooking away. It was incredible! A proper family community. We were made to feel very welcome straight away, with the host who ‘didn’t speak any English’ managing to crack jokes and make fun of us within minutes! No English my arse! She was lovely. Once again we dumped our bags in our respective rooms and then headed to explore. We fought through the trees surrounding the homestead and found the railway which was still in use but we were assured it wasn’t active until the weekend…

21765207_10159317352435032_8572160482468515873_nThis is me posing away as we headed for the Sai Yok waterfall via the railway.

The waterfall was beautiful! We had some trepidation since the last waterfall we saw was more of a dribble, but this one was worth the walk!

IMG_1297Nice lil’ doggo having a drink.

21762536_10159317350210032_7876081777713838879_oMe looking very nervous because it was slippy as fuck up there. There were loads of tourists watching me & snapping pics of the waterfall – I just thought ‘wow this is gonna end up on YouTube if I fall’.

Sai Yok is also where I got my Thai massage, I figured I couldn’t come all the way to Thailand and leave without trying one. It was really interesting! I couldn’t pick between Thai and Thai oil massage so she kind of did a combo. The Thai massage is much closer to an athletic massage, there is all kinds of stretching and cracking and it feels amazing. Then the oil is basically and added bonus to help smooth out your muscles. Clearly I don’t really know what I’m talking about, but the wonderful lady came to my room right away when I expressed an interest, made me comfortable and then nearly put me to sleep with an hour of the most relaxing massage I have ever had. All that for less than the price of a Starbucks coffee? Don’t mind if I do.

The following day had more of a sombre tone. We went to see Hellfire Pass. This is a monument and museum open to visitors which depicts the loss of life during the second World War. Prisoners of war were used by the Japanese as forced labour in order to build a railway from Thailand to Burma. It is also known as the ‘Death Railway’. A large number of the labourers were British and Australian POW but many more Asian labourers were also forced to work on the railway. The men were given outdated and useless tools, surviving off two miniscule bowls of rice a day they had to work breaking and moving huge loads of rock with their bare hands. The humid conditions meant that any boots/clothing men arrived with soon rotted away and they were forced to work barefoot and craft loin cloths from scraps of cloth they could scrounge. Over 100,000 lives were lost in the construction of this railway which was only in effect for two years. If you’d like to learn more about the railway and Hellfire Pass this website is quite useful.

Frustratingly, the walk down to Hellfire Pass was stunning. It is such a beautiful place. I think this makes what happened so much more infuriating because of course the men wouldn’t see the beauty as they were barely surviving. I found the experience really overwhelming. Especially overwhelming was the museum also on site, which included videos showing the extent of the physical deprivation of these men and the disgusting conditions they spent their last days in. I’m an empathetic person which can come in handy a lot, but it was heartbreaking sat there in a darkened room sobbing because of all these men who shouldn’t have died.

IMG_1305I couldn’t take any photos of the monument itself because it was just too sad, but this is the tragically gorgeous setting. This was taken just before we reached Hellfire Pass.

It was a really fascinating place to stay and the surrounding area was beautiful. There’s only one last leg of the journey – Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai. I hope you’re not too bored reading about my adventures! I really loved seeing loads of different places and I hope there’s enough variety to keep you entertained.

Only one more post to go! Until next time.

 

Don’t forget you can follow me on twitter and instagram if you’re missing me between blog posts.

Posted by:MJ

20, studying at UEA in Norwich

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