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We had a decent sleep in, showered again, ate some breakfast… JAPANESE RICE BALLS!!! (Rice ball count :1) Downstairs, we weighted our bags.. and we are underweight.
We walked along the main road and got a tuktuk at the hospital to the temple of dawn “Wat Arun”. It was a completely different temple covered in seashells and saucers. Next door was another beautiful temple that reminded me of the grand palace from yesterday.
We got a taxi to the grand palace in central Bangkok. It is the most spiritual and holy place in the Kingdom…. Also the most expensive ten fold.
The sun was beaming down and it was 40 degrees. We had applied ample sunscreen (half a squeeze bottle) but by the time we had entered, the sunscreen was pooling on our necks and legs. On entry, you first walk into the area that houses the Jade Buddha.
Today we got up at 5am to get on a full day tour of the ancient capital city of Ayutthaya situated 100km north west of Bangkok. Today is the Thai public holiday for Buddha's Birthday.
We were the first to be picked up and ended up getting a few people before going to Khao San Road to get on a different bus. Khao San road is meant to be the ‘go-go bar’ and tourist area but I found it tacky and it was very smelly.
Today we were up at 6.30am to be ready at 7.10am for our bus. We are very lucky to be getting picked up from the hotel as we are on the opposite side of the river to most of the hotels.
Our tour guide picked us up in a HiAce van and drove us 1.5hrs to the famous floating market. It was great to drive outside of the city and see rice fields and coconut and banana plantations.
Woke up with an insane headache. Took some aspirin and tried to make it better.
It didn't go away so we eventually headed out at 9.30 in search of food.
7/11 didn't have anything fantastic but we found a street market that sold an array of things. We found a bakery stall that had the freshest of fresh bread with Frankfurt's in it. It was delicious!!!!!!
We got on our free shuttle boat across the river to the other side that docked at a train station.
We made it to the airport with ample time and we had packed leftover pizza from the night before for the flight. Of course being Jetstar, no food was provided so we had to plan ahead.
Once we had boarded our flight, there was a screaming child nearby and I had realised that I hadn't packed restavit so I knew that it would be a long flight.
I wasn't wrong. I only slept a few hours in total and I could not get comfortable.
I woke up early and had a look outside… It appeared very gloomy. I was feeling pretty certain that we would not be able to go out onto the bay today. With my disappointment, I returned to bed. Nearly two hours later, it was time to get up and see what the day would bring. My casual morning soon became hectic when a phone call from James said that everyone else was downstairs waiting for us!
Today we had to leave the hotel, pack an overnight bag and head down to Ha Long Bay for our cruise. Well, that was the original plan. Unfortunately, the weather patterns for the next 12-24hrs showed us that a cyclone would be traveling from the ocean and hit Ha Long bay at some stage in the night. During these circumstances, the government is very strict about whether boats are allowed in the bay or not and in this case, they weren't.
Today was a difficult day to get out of bed. All of us struggled. We had breakfast in the panoramic room- outside room with a pool. I mainly stuck with the fresh fruit as there was such an abundance available. Passionfruit, dragon fruit, watermelon, pineapple and lychees. Outside waiting for us were a whole bunch of cyclos that James had prepurchased to take us to into the city. Thankfully, it wasn't a sunny day so it was very mild whilst being cycled around through the insane traffic of Hue!
Having a decent night sleep was what we needed after a gruelling day out in 36 degree heat. I managed to dress myself fully today! It was a big milestone!
Emma and I went back to the tailor to collect her shoes. The sweat was pouring off my legs and back. After that, we went for a walk back up to the Japanese bridge and popped into a few stores to buy souvenirs and the like.
Up a early once again! This time I was feeling 100% better!!
In a minibus out to the My Son temples with our cute little tour guide Van who was constantly smiling! I don't know how he did it- wearing a suit on a 35 degree day!
Because we were visiting a sacred area, all women had to cover shoulders and knees to be respectful.. This is very hard to do considering it was boiling hot in the direct sun.
Today in Nha Trang, everyone got up early and went for breakfast while I died in my room. Emma was a fantastic room mate, she applied moisteriser on my back while I groaned in pain. I felt so nauseous too. We hopped into our bus which took us to the airport to catch our flight to Da Nang. I wasn't well at all so I slept the majority of the way.
Another early start and a hectic schedule. Ate breakfast at the hotel then changed into bathers. Piled into a mini bus which took is to the docks to board our boat…. SNORKELING!! This rickety old fishing boat awaited. On board, we wore life jackets until we were out of the main bay. Our boat tour leader was Bin, he loved to crack a joke or two. With music on the boat at a reasonably loud volume and ice cold beer in our hands, we were off cruising.
After returning to the hotel last night and eventually falling to sleep well after 1am, Emma and I were awake at 5am to the tooting of scooters and general road noise from the streets. Went for our breakfast in the hotel, heaps of fruits and traditional Vietnamese foods available. Sat with a few of the other contiki travellers and discussed alcohol and drugs in each of our countries!! Packed our bags and checked out… Ready for our adventure through the city.
After sleeping 10 hours in a king sized bed, I woke up refreshed and ready to face the hustle and bustle of KL. I had breakfast at the hotel (free food so why not!) and I tried to keep it authentic.. Instead of going for the typical baked beans or eggs on toast, I opted for Malaysian pastries with coconut jam. Pretty decent.
I didn't get a chance to have a proper walk around the city last night as my feet were killing me so now was the perfect chance to.
After arriving at the airport at 3am, finally boarded my MH146 flight to Kuala Lumpur. I managed to fit in a bit of duty free shopping but in all honesty, it isn't that much cheaper!!
I was unable to get an upgrade to business class but it didn't matter anyway, I had four seats to myself… With complimentary Sunday Age to read!! Where I am sitting (in row 31), the three entire rows in front of me were empty and every middle row from aisle 29-44 only had one person seated.