On July 5th I landed in Bangkok at about 11:55AM local time. I got a taxi to my hotel which was supposedly only 15 minutes from the airport, but it felt more like 30 minutes. I spent the day getting used to the heat and time difference. The next day, I asked the reception to call me a cab to take me to downtown Bangkok, but we had some language difficulties so I was taken to a shopping mall instead. Then Marius arrived and we managed to get to central Bangkok to Wat Pho.
I didn't think to look up the local customs before hand, but because we were wearing shorts and I had a tank top, we were loaned out clothes to cover our legs and shoulders at the Wat. They were very attractive (not). We spent some more time exploring Bangkok and were also interviewed by students in an English class.
The next stop was Phuket (Karon Beach on left). We got a flight down there and spent a couple days at Karon and Kata beaches. I loved the food! Then we had to take a bus from Phuket to Chumpon. There we took a night ferry to Ko Tao. The travel agent told us that it was a cargo ferry and that we just had to find a place on the floor to sleep; it wasn't nearly as bad as she made it out to be.
At 6AM we got to Ko Tao where we stayed at Ban's Diving Resort for our PADI certifications. We did Open Water and loved it so much that we decided to go for our Advanced as well and then a fun dive to top it all off. It was definitely the highlight of the trip! And somehow we always managed to attract the cats and dogs on the island.
Our final stop before heading back to Bangkok was Kanchanaburi. We stayed at the Sugar Cane guest house for 150BHT per night (REAL CHEAP!) and went to Erawan National Park to the 7 Step waterfalls. I had my first encounter with a wild monkey and it stole my lunch!
The next day we went on a day tour to Suk Yoi Falls, an elephant trek and bamboo rafting, Hell Fire Pass, and the Bridge over River Kwai.
On July 25th at 10AM, I landed back in New Zealand. Thailand was a fantastic trip and I was happy to be with Marius again.