THAILAND: Learning to weave with the Karen people

Karen People, Thailand, Travel, Chiang Mai, Northern Provinces, Alternate TravelYuki had not been seen since John’s 48 hour rice whisky bender with the men from the village. A distant trundling the day after signaled her return; baby Misato is being towed in a pushchair with mud-caked wheels, and another woman is carrying a bundle of weaving implements.

The men had disappeared after spending the afternoon throwing homemade clay firecrackers and drinking more whiskey/surgical spirit. John would eventually return with a cow ‘s head and a bag of meat (by the way- the meat was delicious, the head not so much).
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Working at a Thai Resort: Getting savaged by ants and stopped by the police

Swimming pool, thunder, lightning, Faasai resort and spaWhile shifting compost you feel a little nip on your stomach. A closer inspection reveals that an ant is the source of the nip, and actually you’re covered in hundreds more of these tiny bitey specks. They’re swarming into your boots and up your trousers all hell-bent on burying their pincers as deep into your flesh as possible- and although you are the higher species (with the intellectual capacity for building cities and sending dogs into space), you have no recourse against such a large army.

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A cheaper way to travel: The day a sheep pooped into my sandals

Ratchaburi, Little farm friendly project, Thailand, wwoof, helpx, workaway

Today you chased two pigs back into their pen, swept up several kilos of animal manure and showered two dozen sheep- and aside from the mosquitoes, the fire ants and the pellets of digested grass squashed into your toes, you quite enjoyed it.

And the best part is that you got two cooked meals and a free place to stay for your efforts.

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Bangkok’s Lungs: Cycling through swamps and palm plantations in Bang Kachao

Bangkok, Thailand, Ships, Freight, Freighter, If you take the small, brightly-painted ferry from Khlong Toei across the Chao Phraya river, you will reach Bang Kachao- the aptly-nicknamed ‘lungs of Bangkok’. Rent a bike for 100 baht from the shop directly opposite the dock, and spend the day cycling through palm oil plantations, swamps and little clutches of houses raised on wooden stilts above the water. Monitor lizards can be seen here (we found one!), and the abundant greenery and water help keep the air cool.

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The Bangkok Art and Cultural Centre

BACC, Bangkok, Thailand, Art gallery, travelIt’s free, air-conditioned, and right next to the Siam Centre, Siam Paragon and MBK. Comprising 5 floors of art (the current exhibition is a collection of prints from Japanese children’s magazines and other bits by artists like Chihiro Iwasaki) and a multitude of shops offering ice teas, clothing, or both, it’s a pleasant enough place to spend a peaceful few hours. Deposit your bag along with your ID card (or 100 Baht- they don’t accept passports, but will return your money) and head up to the exhibition on the very top floor

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BANGKOK: The deliciously trendy Talat Rot Fai Night Market

Srinakarin Road, Srinakarin market, Bangkok, Thailand, Travel, Night, Night market, Street food, street marketA strongly accented rendition of Jessie J’s ‘Price Tag’ blasts over the stalls as you pick your way carefully over the disused track. There’s everything from stuffed toys to deep fried dumpling skins (quite nice, by the way)- and the clothes stalls aren’t just your average street market fare- there’s secondhand Tommy Hilfiger and Levi’s in some of the shops.. and American Apparel sweaters if you have the heat-tolerance of a Thai.

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BANGKOK: It’s madness (I thought London buses were bad)!

Boy, Thailand, Sitting, Bangkok, Temple, Buddha, Thai,
Wat Pho

You have been in Thailand for a total of two days already and all you’ve seen is the inside of a travel clinic and the Bangkok Sky Train (which, by the way, is pleasantly straightforward to use- bar the fact that you will have to change your notes into coins at the information desk if you want to use the ticket machine).

So, on day three, you venture into the Centre of the Backpacking Universe.. almost.

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