Time to head north – and to leave Malaysia for Thailand. After spending so long in other countries – 3 months in Oz, a month in the States, Canada and New Zealand – it seems odd to be leaving Malaysia after just less than two weeks. However, we have spent over 2 months in Malaysia […]Read more "Taking the slow train north"
In the morning, after a Thai Railways breakfast (“Oh, don’t those fried eggs look soo attractive wrapped in clingfilm?“) we watched the Thai coast and countryside slide past as we headed further north. Although we’re only a few hundred miles north of Malaysia, the outlook is quite different – especially the architecture and the ornate […]Read more "Arriving in Bangkok"
The Khao San Road in Bangkok is synonymous with “backpacker”. It has been the historical backpacker haunt in the city since the early 70’s, and it is lined with shops selling everything the modern backpacker needs. Today that seems to be 1) beer 2) fake CDs 3) fake student/press ID cards and 4) hair braids. […]Read more "The Khao San Road"
Getting around Bangkok is a bit of a nightmare – in the non-air-conditioned buses you can sit for hours in a traffic jam with no breeze, breathing in the exhaust fumes all around. Air conditioned buses are much better, but are fewer, and cover less routes. Tuk Tuks – the kind of thing you’ve seen […]Read more "The Cop and I"
Bangkok’s roads may be choked with traffic and moving at a snail’s pace, but at least the river provides an alternative way to get around. As we had a few hours to kill before catching our evening train northwards, we took a river boat up the river to Nonthaburi, a suburb an hour north of […]Read more "Up the river"
We woke up on the train in a different landscape to that we’d left behind in Bangkok – everything looked a lot drier, as the dry season is in full swing up in the north. Instead of lush green trees and grasses, as around Bangkok, there is instead a profusion of different shades of brown […]Read more "Into the land of communism…"
It seems like ages ago that we arrived in Laos, but in reality it was only 11 days ago. But now we need to leave – our visa only lasts for a fortnight, and we’ve got other things to get to. We had 3 options – the two day slow boat to the Thai border, […]Read more "A week later – leaving Laos"
Streets in Thailand strike us as completely chaotic, just a mess of vehicles with motorbikes darting in and out constantly. It makes crossing the road a somewhat hit-n-miss affair, but at least the drivers slow down a little when they see a foreign family weaving its unsteady way across their path. One of the amazing […]Read more "The Streets of Chiang Mai"
We hired a car and travelled out to the Mai Sai village to visit the Elephant Training camp there (turned out to be cheaper to do that than buy the excursion tickets for 4 of us!). Thailand has got a glut of elephants at the moment, because they have stopped using them to work on […]Read more "The Mai Sai Elephant Training Camp"
We left Chiang Mai on the overnight Special Express train, which leaves at 5 o’clock in the evening, and gets you back into Bangkok at 6 o’clock in the morning. As usual, it was a pretty smooth trip, with comfortable sleeping berths, and a good Thai meal in the restaurant car, looking out onto the […]Read more "Back in Bangkok"
Today was a BIG day – the day we were meeting our director, who will spend the next week filming us around and about Bangkok for the Holiday programme. Ginny’s the director, and the great news was that we had the meeting over lunch at her hotel, so we enjoyed a pretty luxurious lunch in […]Read more "Meeting the Beeb"
Hmm. Here’s a challenge for you – make a factual programme about a family visiting the Bangkok City Palace, without being allowed to film in the Bangkok City Palace. Yup, defeats me too! It turns out that item number one on the schedule was sabotaged by the Thai authorities, who won’t allow filming inside the […]Read more "Bangkok Filming – Day One"
On our second day of filming, we didn’t have much packed down on the agenda, but the traffic in Bangkok makes it so difficult to get around – it takes ages to get between shots. Unfortunately the BBC’s hotel is on the other side of town from ours, so we had to set off at […]Read more "Not getting easier"
Today started really early, as we all had to get up at 5:30, to catch a 6:15 taxi to the train station. We were due to catch the 7:45 train out to Kanchanaburi, where the ‘Bridge over the River Kwai’ was built. But first we had to get through a filmed discussion on the platform. […]Read more "A long day out to the River Kwai"
Another day, another early start. We had to jump out of bed at 5:15, so that we were in a taxi at 6:15, racing across town to get to the BBC’s hotel. Then we all piled into the minibus to go to the floating market at Damnoen Saduak. There are a number of ‘floating markets’ […]Read more "To market, to market, to buy me a…boat"
We had a late start this morning, as the crew came to us for 10 o’clock! So we had time to sit down to breakfast, and read the paper. The Bangkok Post’s Quote of the Day, on the front page, was a rather prescient quotation from Albert Einstein – “Insanity: Doing the same thing over […]Read more "Tuk-Tuk-to-Tuk-Tuk, One More Time"
Well, we can’t say that we weren’t warned – we did know that the overland trip from Bangkok to Siem Reap would be terrible. But we also knew we had no choice – we really, really wanted to see Angkor Wat, and our budget couldn’t stretch to 500 pounds for us to all fly there […]Read more "The longest bus trip in the world"