Everlasting memories and friends!

July 12th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

Our last day – unfortunately. We had arranged to meet at 9am to head off to Chatuchak market. Unfortunately some (the late night revellers) were a bit tired and emotional, but nevertheless made the 9am call. They did not last long though.

 

The market is huge and it was a very hot day so Greg and Carolyn and Tom and Donna made their way back to the hotel and airconditioning. Alex and Emma shopped on their own, as did Allira, Mel, Sarah and Michael. Bron and Mark thought they knew where they were going, but once inside this “monster” they were bamboozled (thanks Duncan). We managed to find our way back to each other and decided we also needed air conditioning.

 

We needed to check out of the hotel by 4pm, so we all met up, pooled the luggage and a few of us went for a massage, or last minute shopping. After dinner we were picked up at 8pm for our trip to Suvarnabhumi airport and our long flight home. Most of us were able to sleep on the way home, except for Greg, who looked very tired when we arrived in Melbourne. Luckily the airport was fairly quiet, and after gathering all our luggage and getting through customs, we back to reality and our wonderful holiday was over.

 

After arriving at Jetport parking, we discovered that we had a flat battery and we had to wait another 2 hours to arrive home.

 

We all had a great time, have made new and ever lasting friendships and have fantastic memories of Thai 09!

Second last day!

July 12th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

Shopping was once again the order of the day for most – though we didn’t see Matt or Sarah until dinner time – they had a quiet one. Once again we all went our separate ways to find that last minute bargain. Mark and Bron got to MBK at 10 just as the doors were opening. Allira a Mel had their eyelashes ‘extended” – a bargain at just $25. Siam Paragon

 

Later in the afternoon we spent some time across the road at Siam Square, a great shopping precinct for the young ones, and Allira vowed to return the following day with all the girls. There were even more bargain’s to be had – the shopping never ends.

 

Afternoon tea at Siam Paragon with a magnificent French cake that we always have when we are are in Bangkok. We caught up for drinks with Tom, Donna, Greg and Carolyn in Tom and Donnas’ room followed by very late dinner at Manna in Siam Paragon. Back to the hotel for a night cap.

 

Mark and Bron caved at about midnight, followed soon after by Greg, but Carolyn, Donna and Tom kicked on, joined by Duncan, Logan and Sarah, and danced and imbibed until the early hours.

 

 

Shopping!

July 10th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

Today most of us spent shopping at MBK. Mark and Bron caught up with an old friend who Mark worked with while at Atex. Kung took us shopping and helped us obtain a cheaper price. We then ate lunch at a Japanese restaurant in Siam Square.

 

Jim Thompson's HouseAfter lunch, we walked to Jim Thompson’s house that he built in Bangkok during the 50’s. He was an American businessman who helped revitalize the Thai silk and textile industry in the 1950s and 1960s. A former U.S. military intelligence officer who once worked for the Office of Strategic Services, Thompson mysteriously disappeared while going for a walk on Easter Sunday, March 26, 1967, in the Cameron Highlands of Malaysia. Many hypotheses have been put forward to explain his disappearance, but what actually happened to him remains a mystery. We enjoyed a Drink with Kung in the hotel Lobby where we also met Donna, Tom and Emma.

 

Greg, Carolyn, Tom, Donna, Mark and Bron ate an expensive dinner at Vertigo (Banyan Tree Hotel) on the 56th floor. It was a night to remember.

Tiger Temple, River Kwai, Hellfire Pass

July 8th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

Our day started early again, ready for a 7.30am pick up. We headed off bound for our first stop, Hellfire Pass, which took about 2 and a half hours in a luxury mini-bus. It is great being able to travel through the outskirts of Bangkok and beyond and see how the landscape changes. On the way we made a quick stop at the Allied War Cemetery at Kanchanburi.

We arrived late morning at the museum at Hellfire Pass, which is a joint Thai/Australian project (funded by Aus). There is a good display and overview of what these poor men endured whilst working on the Burma railway. It was quite moving and a made us all feel so thankful for where we are and what we have. We then walked down to the trail where the railway was and walked along through the cuttings in the rocks. Some of the track and sleepers are still intact, but most has been removed.

Some of the hand tools they used to cut and drill the rock are still there. We all felt quite moved and humbled by this experience. Next we went to local restaurant for lunch, and once again had a great Thai feast for lunch – it will be hard to come back to sangers and soup every day again.

Tiger TempleOur next stop – and our most anticipated – the Tiger Temple. This is a Buddhist monastery and is a sanctuary for animals.

The tigers, about 12 adults and 10 cubs, are reared and cared for by the monks (with the help of volunteers). When we arrived we first saw the 6 month old cubs, which were gorgeous. You are able to pat them and have photos taken. Some of the girls  had photos kissing the tigers on the nose and the boys with their head between their front paws. Some of us had the opportunity to go in for a play session with the 2 month old cubs. We were able to play, cuddle and even feed them. We also got photos which the large adult tigers. It was surreal when you realised where you were and what you were patting.

This was a wonderful experience for us all. Next, and last, stop was at the Bridge over the River Kwai. When we get home we will watch the movie again – which a different appreciation of it. We were not able to ride the death railway today as there had been an accident and the line was closed, but it had been a long day and we were all looking forward to getting back to the hotel for dinner and an early night.  

 

Bangkok Day 2

July 8th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

We started the day with a magnificent breakfast at our hotel and then hit the shops. We ventured across to MBK to get Alex some clothes and then we met up with the rest of the crew at Central World. The kids were so used to cheap shopping, they went back to MBK so the adults looked around Central World a little longer and Greg managed to find a sports store that sold Gold equipment so we spent the next hour golf shopping which was a fun experience.

 We ate a Mos Burger for lunch and then went back to MBK to meet up with the rest. We returned back to the hotel for a few drinks and then met in the hotel bar to meet up with Bruce a Kiwi living in Bangkok running a tour business, we talked about the tiger temple tour. Matt was up singing with the band and he attracted an audience.

We acquired 7 tuk tuk’s down to Pat Pong. We spent some time walking around the market and returned to the hotel on the BTS (Sky Train)

Hello Bangkok

July 8th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

We arrived in Bangkok late morning and was driven to the hotel in a bus to accommodate all of us. When we reached our hotel we were surprised just how modern and different our hotel was. A few rooms were ready and after we settled in our rooms, we hit MBK. The girls went crazy as there are so many shops.

We met up with Michael and Logan and ate dinner at Siam Paragon. Greg was busting for some meat, and we found a restaurant called Tony Roma’s which is an American style rib restaurant. 

Another early night since we had a big day!

Last of Phuket

July 8th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

Charlies Angles?Sunday was a lazy day, most either slept or lazed by the pool, we also did some last minute shopping.

 

Mark and Bron took Allira, Alex, Smucha, Mel, Emma to the shooting range at Jungceylonwhere we hired a .45 pistol. First, Alex squeezed of 5 rounds at a target followed by Allira, Smucha and Mark. It was lound, but fun.

 

We ate dinner at J-One and a final drink at Lekey’s bar.  All the younger adults purchased a rugby top which they all signed and presented it to the girls in return, they gave Matt a watch as a memory of their fun time. 

 

We said our goodbyes and had an early night as we had to get up at 5.30 for a 6.30 pick-up to the airport.

Diving

July 6th, 2009 § 4 comments § permalink

Day 6

 

It was an early start to the day, Greg, Mark, Donna, Matt, Sarah, Mel, Alex and Emma all went on a discovery dive tour. We departed the hotel and ventured south of Phuket island to meet our boat for the 2.5 hour journey to the island of Ban Raya. After arriving, we suited up with all of our equipment and took a dinghy to shallow water where we entered the water. Our instructor (Stefan) took us one at a time down to the bottom and we did our checks and we all passed with flying colours.

 

We then swam to deeper water where we could see a lot more marine life.  We then surfaced for and was towed back to the mother ship on the dinghy. We had a wonderful Thai lunch and shortly after, we prepared for our second dive, this time it was in deeper water. We jumped into the water one at a time and slowly went down a line to the bottom, from there we ventured down to 12 metres. 

 

We saw many wonderful marine life as well as some colourful coral however our dive was cut short as Mark ran low on oxygen and we all had to surface. We had a quite night and had dinner with new friends Tom, Donna and Emma from WA!

 

Day 5

July 2nd, 2009 § 2 comments § permalink

Mark, Bron, Allira, Alex and Sarah (Smucha) spent the morning touring around the island (complimentary from the tour company, and the Gem’s Gallery!). First we travelled to Karon and Kata Beach, which is another area, like Patong, but a bit smaller and quieter.

 

 It reminded Mark and Bron of Koh Samui, then on further and we stopped at Promthep Cape, which is the best lookout spot to see the sunset. Then we went to the Big Buddha, which is a giant white marble Buddha, and sits high atop a mountain overlooking Chalong Bay. Next was Chalong Temple, a beautiful Buddhist temple, and the largest on Phuket. The Gem’s Gallery (the worlds largest jewellery store!!) was our next stop.

  

This is the where all the tourists are taken and shown how stones are cut, shaped, and set and then they have a huge show room which you pass through on your way out. Smucha was the only one tempted and she bought herself a gorgeous green sapphire ring.

  

Next was a very quick stop and the outlet malls (more shopping – not much fun though) and then back to the hotel. The rest of the group spent a quiet day shopping, relaxing and just having a holiday. As it was Sue and Dave’s last night we headed out for “pre’s” and to watch the sunset, which we did at Baa Rim Pa Restaurant – the supposed best on Phuket. Then make to town and dinner at The Port where there were bands playing.

 

We were joined here by a “table” of about 40 Japanese women – who were drinking Heineken Towers – it was very funny. Finally back to Lekey and Jenny’s bar for a few drinks. We ended up meeting all the kids here and kicked on until about 1am. So much fun – the boys were dancing on the bar and the kids were riding the motorbikes around the market. A great way to farewell Dave and Sue, who we are really going to miss.

 

Dave and Greg don’t make good tabletop dancers