I was up again at 0415 and walked to the lake (Lake Kawaguchiko). You couldn’t see the mountain at all. I went back to bed.
I tried again round 0730… Result. Much, much better than yesterday. I could see the top, I could see a reflection and blue sky too!
Yesterday afternoon I took a bus to a lava forest, created by a Mount Fuji erruption around 800 years ago. As you walk down the steps into the cave the cool hits you! It stays at a constant zero degrees Celsius, so having no shoes to my name my feet were pretty cold! There were big icicles in the lee and at some points the roof of the cave was only waist height. It’s called the wind cave because for lighting they used to take a candle in with them. The candle would then blow out as they entered the cave. It wasn’t actually blown out by the wind but by the change in humidity.
Sorry I’ve been quiet recently. My poor old iPad isn’t up to the job of uploading pictures for the time being so when I have time I will post some updates, but without many photos (maybe one or two… We’ll see how the old beast copes with it).
I will, however, occasionally post individual photos. You can always click on the photos in the side bar to the right, or click the ‘My Instagram’ link on the menu bar to see some recent favourites.
Currently trying to keep warm on the chilly lower slopes of rainy Mount Fuji in Japan. I was up at the crack of dawn (0415) to try and see the legendary peak. I got a lovely view but it has spent the rest of the day hiding in the thick clouds.
(28th-30th April 2015)
Pai is a small town/ large village north west of Chiang Mai toward the Myanmar border. It has a reputation of having a really chilled out hippy vibe. Everyone goes there to ride around the countryside on a scooter and to see the views. Another thing I’d being dying to do on this visit.
It takes around 3-3.5 hours to get there from Chiang Mai. The road is incredibly bendy, with 762 curves in the 136km drive. There are hairpin turns every few metres. The road climbs up and up through gorgeous green forests. I’m glad I was sat in the front of the minivan or I would have had terrible travel sick!
Arriving in Pai it was raining, but it stopped soon after. I found my hostel, which was opened a couple of years ago by a westerner who had fell in love with the area. I could see why already. I got chatting to the other people in my dorm, asking if they knew about motorbike/ scooter hire, and if it was still possible for people who hadn’t driven before to hire (as I knew it used to be). A girl said to me that she was happy to take me on hers, as she had had a bike while working teaching English on the coast a few hours east of Bangkok.
And so the following day we headed out after getting sun creamed up and finding breakfast, we split the cost of a scooter and fuel and headed out of town.
(22nd April – 6th May 2015)
Chiang Mai is a place where I have been wanting to go for ages. It’s in the (slightly) cooler north of Thailand.
When I lived in Surin a group of teachers from my internship went for a long weekend, but I joined another group to an island called Koh Chang.
When I had finished my travels in Vietnam, in December 2013, I had a flight booked back to Thailand so that I had time to visit Chiang Mai before flying home to Scotland, but I loved Vietnam so much that I didn’t take the flight, and traveled back to Bangkok overland instead.
Now, when planning this trip, I have made absolutely sure I have time to go!
And here was the time.
I had looked through my options of getting there from Bangkok – train, bus or plane?
The cost of a flight was outside of my budget really.
The train sounded fun, I like train journeys and it’s overnight meaning I would save on the cost of accommodation, though still quite expensive for me, and I would have had to book the sleeper a week before hand.
I’ve heard things about the tourist buses in Thailand. They pick you up from the main tourist market/pub street – Ko San Road. Your bags go underneath, as on the majority of the long distance buses, but what you don’t see is someone going in there with them. There are so many stories about people’s bags being raked through while they are travelling and unawares of what is happening.
The choice seemed clear to me. I wasn’t going to fly. I wasn’t getting the overnight train and I most definitely wasn’t getting a tourist bus out of Ko San Road.
(20/21st April 2015)
I had an eight hour transit in Colombo airport (Sri Lanka), where I ate my complimentary dinner, looked round all the shops and smelt every perfume on offer within the first three hours, and then slept awkwardly bent over a chair handle onto a cushion on the next chair for the remainder of the time.
Bangkok airport confused me. It’s a lovely airport, don’t get me wrong, but it was 6am and I wasn’t fully awake.
I saw a guy from my flight filling in a visa on arrival form, so asked him where he’d got it. He pointed me down a corridor that seemed to be under construction, and I went into a hall that was total chaos. It was like being back in India in a train station- pushing, shoving and minimal order, and full of Indians too! I had no idea what to, so I joined a sort-of queue and waited for a few minutes, then asked someone else where they got the form and they pointed to another sort-of queue. So I went over there, but then saw people filling in the forms at a table. So I went over to look and found a spare one. I filled it in then noticed at the bottom I had to pay in Thai Baht. I went back out to the main concourse to find a currency exchange, where I exchanged my spare US dollars, I also asked the lady behind the desk if the photo machine beside the exchange could be used for visa pictures, and if I had to pay extra.
She then told me that UK passport holders get a free visa on arrival and I didn’t need any of the forms. If I’d had the Thai baht before going out to the exchange I’d probably STILL be in Bangkok airport.
(12th-19th April 2015)
We had an early start that day because we were going on a cycle tour of Mamallapuram, and it was going to get hot. Just incase I hadn’t mentioned it – India is H.O.T. Mamallapuram is a town with a population of around 18,000, where Sanjay (our guide) lives with his wife and son. The town was hit by the 2004 tsunami when the wall of water went in by about 200m, killing ten people there, and a (not so) grand total of 10,000 along the East Coast of India. Someone made the point that they didn’t remember hearing about India when it happened- it was all about Thailand. I don’t remember hearing about it either.
Our bike tour took us to several different places of historical interest in the town.
1. Vishnu’s Butter Ball
This huge rock is balanced on a close of solid rock. No one knows how! Legend has it that Lord Vishnu stuck it onto the hill with butter and it hasn’t been moved since. When the British gained power of India, they decided the risk of it falling was high and they worried about the safety of houses in the rolling line of the ball. They used 7 elephants to try and pull it free, without it moving an inch.
I tried really hard to push it, with the help of a few others and guess what?
We didn’t move it either.