Muslim Thai/Malay Adventure 

My husband has been twice before and speaks very fondly of Thailand. For that reason I have always wanted to visit this country and see what he is so fond of! We managed to take 2 weeks out, to do just this!

 

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We took 2 flights to reach Bangkok, our first stop. We travelled by Qatar who are a very clean airline with accommodating staff. The journey was in total 14 hours with a stopover in Doha for an hour and a half. Let’s just talk about planes for a minute, I’m not very keen, don’t get me wrong of course I love to travel and see new places but it’s the flight that sometimes puts me off. I dislike the taking off and landing (I’m sitting there with my eyes tightly shut reading every surah under the sun like a mad woman!), I don’t ever feel comfortable and there is no chance of me having a snooze with the AC freezing me into an ice cube. Oh and the plane food urgh! My husband is the one who has already gulped his down while patiently looking at mine!(but the good thing is on Qatar the food is halal)
Did I mention we decided to book as we went along?! My husband thought it would be best to book as we went along, so we just had the main flights and hotel in Bangkok booked and that’s really it! He thought it would be best as if we wanted to stay an extra day somewhere we could do. I mean I was reluctant at the beginning – coming from someone who likes to plan everything and know what I am doing. However, I am glad we did this as it gave us the flexibility that we wanted and needed for a trip of this sort.
Hmm now where was I … Oh yes we arrived in Bangkok at 11:30am, that’s 7 hours ahead of the UK. It took around 45mins/1hour to get from the airport to the hotel. Once we arrived at the hotel we had a little snooze and then off out we ventured.

We decided to stay one night at the Shangri-la Hotel which looked out onto the river.

 

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The hotel was impeccable, it was stunning, with the hotel staff in traditional Thai clothes! (I wish I took pictures I wouldn’t mind an outfit like that for myself). We chose to stay in Bangkok for one night as it is a busy city with a lot going on but maybe just a tad too busy?! It wasn’t very clean and I think we wanted to see a few things and maybe head over somewhere else.
Our first stop was at a big shopping mall called MBK, it has about 5/6 floors each with hundreds of stalls selling everything you can think of from souvenirs to clothes, gadgets to toys! Just everything, we were quite overwhelmed, there was just a lot to see.
Oh and the price difference, I think we were most shocked by that throughout the trip, it’s roughly 50baht to 1 pound. So for example we brought some souvenirs for 150bahts so that’s £3!!
From MBK we travelled by tuk tuk to a place called Asiatique, which was recommended by one of the members of staff at the hotel. (inside the tuk tuk there was a sign telling us to be aware of our bags as they could get taken and to be careful because we could get snatched by motorcycles?! – I didn’t think I ever clung so tight to my other half). Asiatique was a very chic buzzing square with lots of restaurants and boutiques. I would say it was similar to maybe carnaby street in London. We decided to have dinner here but instead of going into a restaurant we chose a local food stall, which they have at almost every street. Fortunately the people who owned the stall were Muslim so we had a lovely pad thai with halal chicken. We watched him clean the wok and cook the food fresh! I have to say it was the best pad Thai I had ever had! So light and full of flavour, I could have easily had one or two portions more!
From there we went to the last place called Khaosan road. A road full of restaurants/bars with lots of people who like to have a good old night out! It wasn’t really for us. But we walked down the road regardless and there were stalls that I’m pretty sure had fried spiders maybe even scorpions to be honest I tried my best not to look it wasn’t very nice! We went down another road and found a nice massage place we both went in and had a 60min aromatherapy massage for 6£! A little note – maybe ask for them to be a bit softer, the thing I have really found with the massages is that some can be quite hard! However, we came out like relaxed cats and we were back to the hotel and fast asleep before we knew it.
We were up the next morning ready to take our flight to Chaingmai. We managed to get up in time to enjoy the breakfast. Let’s just have a quiet moment for holiday buffet breakfast! The pastries, the fresh fruit, the all sorts of egg, the yogurts the muffins! The toast machine! Who doesn’t love the toast machine?! Oh I can’t help myself I don’t know what it is but I am pretty sure I am the one who is up like a yoyo and my husband is the civilised one who gets up once orders his omelette, toast and tea and is happily sitting there. But I mean i make the most of it 🙂 it makes sense breakfast being the most important meal of the day and all!
For this mornings breakfast I chose to have a bowl of freshly cut pineapple, I shared some omelette with the other half, before I was up again on the search for something sweet maybe a pastry or… Then I stumbled across French toast. I mean this French toast was the fluffiest, creamy, sweet toast I have ever had! But somehow that wasn’t enough, I was up again maybe my third time just you know seeing if I missed anything and I ended up coming back with a scoop of homemade mango ice cream … Mmm I could do with some of that right now!! I think I had indulged enough before we decided to leave for the airport with a nicely filled stomach.

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We then made our way to Bangkok airport to take our next flight to Chiangmai, the flight was a quick and easy one, I am sure it was an hour and a half. We took a taxi from airport to the Rimping Hotel. It was the ideal hotel for us as we were close to all the places we wanted to be close to, night bazaar, local markets. A short walk across the iron bridge and we were right in the midst of things. The day we arrived we got chatting away with the taxi driver who also did tours, his name is Woody, we decided to visit the golden temple which is situated on a mountain! It took around 40minutes to get there driving round and round the mountain. We finally reached the point where we needed to offload and catch a lift to the temple. Once we reached we removed our shoes and walked in, to see the temple beautifully kept with amazing filigree. We then reached a corner which looked out onto the city. We watched the sun set and it was just beautiful. We then made our way back and Woody stopped off at a point on the mountain where we could see the twilight it was just stunning. Woody was kind enough to take photos of us there, he has a torch ready to snap a great photo of the view! To end the night we went into the night bazaar and somehow ended up in KFC – I blame the husband for this! I think it was his plan all along to be honest. We went there because it was halal and they have these to die for spicy chicken wings which are on fire but just so tasty. Then we had a walk around the markets and saw a little stall chopping up fruits and making ice cream on this frozen plate, and rolling them up into small pieces and popping them into a pot for us! We were very much impressed! – I will try to upload the video on here.

 

 

The next day after a lengthy discussion with a very friendly and knowledgable Woody, we had decided on which elephant sanctuary and tiger sanctuary we wanted to go to! (Very exciting I know!) I’m not sure if you have read my other posts, but I am a big fan of elephants I love them! Woody’s wife Tikki (who also does tours took us out this day) It took us an hour to get there, and it was up in the mountains, and all we could see were tall tall trees and when we looked down to see the base we were unable to see where they began! After passing some more trees and other sanctuaries where we saw elephants with baskets carrying passengers. We finally arrived!!

We were asked to change into local clothes as that’s what the elephant recognises. So off we went to change into our new attire and then we were taken to the elephants. I think I was in shock a little, there were 4 adult elephants and 1 baby. We sat only steps away from there where we given a booklet to read about them. We were told they are Thai elephants and they speak Thai, we then learnt some commands like telling them we had food, telling them well done, asking them to stop, to move left, right, slow, lift their leg, sit down and a few more. We were given a basket full of fruit and before we knew it we had trunks left, right and centre reaching over to our baskets trying to get some fruit! The baby one was so sweet it was just standing there swinging its trunk like it was happy mashAllah, when we asked it to lay down it did! We sat next to it and fed it! We then went over to an adult elephant and we sat on its bare back! The owner was explaining that his sanctuary is one where the elephants are looked after, they don’t hurt or harm them in anyway. They are happy elephants which is noticeable by their ears which are floppy and light rather than an angry elephant which has ears which stick out. For that reason he said that he doesn’t use baskets as it isn’t fair on them. Instead there was a loose rope tied around its stomach, so when we asked it to lift his leg it did and we used his leg as a lift to help us up. We rode the elephant separately at first and got used to it! It really was incredible! Then we went on an older elephant it was 55years old, it sat down completely and we both got on. It went on roughly a 30 minutes trip around the beautiful scenery full of tress and mountains it was breathtaking – but sitting on the elephant and seeing all this beauty I felt like somewhat mohgali! The trip ended with us and the elephant in the river where it sat down and we got completed soaked (but it was quite nice considering it was like 34 degrees). We then hopped off and were given buckets where we could bathe the elephant and I am sure it loved it because it was so hot, it gave out a trumpety noise 🎼 …

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Unfortunately, even though we were there for maybe 3 hours I felt like it ended oh so quickly. We were taken back to the camp to change and indulge in some lunch which was included in our half day package. During this whole day we had the lovely Tikki taking photos of us throughout our amazing journey and I am so glad! we didn’t even ask her to she just was clicking away and we have the most beautiful pictures because of her! While still on a high from the elephants we made our way to the tiger sanctuary, while eating a magnum, we were able to choose which tiger we wanted to interact with. Of course we chose the smallest one just because they won’t be able to swallow us whole and they are pretty cute! We walked in and there were 3 four month old cubs! Each cub had a trainer with them so they were free to roam around. They were so soft and so small but the poor things we did feel sorry for them as all kids they just wanted to go and play with their brothers and sisters.

After a couple of snaps! We left for the hotel, it had been a long overwhelming day and we were ready for some food and abit of rest.

The next morning we took an early flight to Krabbi. Where we then took a taxi to the pier to catch a wooden boat to Railay Beach. Once we arrived about 25mins later, we had to get off the wooden boat with out luggage, I mean of course we had help but it was pretty scary! We then walked across their … To the hotel. We stayed in the Bhu Nga Thani hotel, a beautifully made hotel made to look like it was built on water. We booked a standard double room but they upgraded us to a deluxe room. It was so spacious and had a walk in bathroom, with a shower and a big bathtub with its very own waterfall. It was very fancy! Ohhh how can I forget they greeted us with towels folded elephants! We stayed here for 7 days, we didn’t plan on it we just booked 3 days and just decided to stay longer (the beauty of not booking anything beforehand). There are two sides to Railay beach, the side that we came in to and where our hotel was, which is a 5 minute walk away from the side where the beach was. The beach was stunning, the sand so soft and so light, the sea so green and transparent. It was enclosed by huge rocks so green with trees. It was a small glimpse of how amazing paradise would be! We went straight away for a swim, the water was luke warm with warmer currents. You could swim quite far out and still be able to stand up it was so nice it felt safe, even the seabed was soft and not full of pokey coral like Maldives.

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Most days I spent just floating and staring up at the sky! It was so surreal it was my thinking place I loved it! I would come off to dry with the heat beating down on us, while the husband would be off getting us some fresh coconut water, which was my new thing! I finally tried it and I loved how refreshing it was! From that day on I had probably 2 a day 🙂 I guess I am a creature of habit, I just had chicken pad thai noodles, thai green curry and rice and lots of fresh coconut! There were a few days we travelled to other islands like Ao Nang by boat and hired a scooter and off we went riding into the jungle (which was very cool! I did attempt to try and ride it but my brain couldn’t quite figure it out so I went on the back and left it to the husband). Another day we took a private boat to the four island tour, which stopped off a different islands and we got off and just stayed there for a few hours, they were secluded and untouched, no resorts just sand and sea. On one day we decided to take out a canoe and work together to paddle far ( mthis was our second attempt in a canoe, the first time was on honeymoon and oh it was lots of fun as you can imagine our first task of working together! All I can say is we both came back in the canoe this time and no one was thrown over so that’s a plus!)

 

 

Unfortunately there were a few days I wasn’t feeling great, I think it was the combination of the heat and the ice cold AC that did it for me. I felt really down and just wanted to stay in bed all day. But I didn’t want to waste a day and somehow we ended up climbing up the big rocks to get to the view point. I have always loved rock climbing (indoor of course) and I used to do it alot with my brother in London. But that was a long time ago so I was excited and slightly nervous – to see if I was able to hold my weight and balance my way to the top! We decided to go bare foot just so we could have a better grip and we wore crappy clothes because of the Rock was like clay red and whatever touched it would colour it and ruin it. So off we end up and it was challenging but I loved it, it was a nice thing to do with my other half something different and a bit of team building and trust. The viewpoint itself made it completely worth it. From there you would have gone climbed down a very steep mountain and to the lagoon but I think that was abit too much for me. I definitely recommend doing this climb!

On the last few days the weather wasn’t too great, well for one whole day it rained from 8:00am till about 9:00pm it was crazy! And it was heavy scary rain so we decided to make the most of the DVD library and watch a crazy amount of films and order room service and just be lazy. We had two friends doing the same thing in our porch!
We then decided to leave the next morning for Kuala Lampur our final stop. We took an afternoon flight but unfortunately the flight was delayed for about an hour and my husband had already decided we were going to the closest KFC and he knew where it was from his last visit! I can’t say I wasn’t excited! It took us an hour and half to get to KL and we stayed in the Madarin Oriental Hotel – a stunning hotel, with amazing staff and lovely food! We requested a room where the petronas towers were visible. (The hotel was quite busy it had a lots of balls/events held there and the cars that pulled up outside showed that people of importance visited quite frequently)
The hotel was based quite central, the area we were in I would call it a Canary Wharf equivalent, very built up. Just next to the hotel was KCCL Suria a shopping mall which had designer shops and local shops like Zara, h&m, mango and Mac. We had a walk around and tired ourselves out. We ended up on a road call Bin Tang Street (aka china town) it is all night food market that doesn’t close till 5am! There were all types of food and we couldn’t quite decide what we wanted and somehow ended up in an Arabic restaurant called Maroush. Before we knew it I think our tiredness had kicked in and we were back to the hotel and soon enough fast asleep.
We were up in time for breakfast and oooo it was amazing it was such a beautiful restaurant where the breakfast was served, it was a buffet and well we both went all crazy! The day was full of mall visits (there’s not much to say about them, so I will list the ones we went to over the few days we were in KL).

Sohgoh – locals mall like a debenhams equivalent

Plaza Lowyat – electrical mall

Surria – designer mall

China town – a market which sells everything you can think of. And a lot of fake stuff too.
(One thing you need to think about is the time you want to go somewhere KL is full of traffic a lot of the time. The train was our best option it was quite easy similar to the London system of trains so to get about was quicker this way).
On the Thursday night husband had planned a surprise dinner he was very excited about it was in the KL towers Menara Atmosphere 360 restaurant which used to be one of the tallest buildings and it was a revolving buffet style restaurant. Where you literally felt like your head was in the clouds. It was quite funny actually the area where the tables were was the part that was revolving and the food buffet bit stayed still. But it just meant every time we went up for some food we were unable to find our seats! We had a good laugh but I have to say the food wasn’t too good at all, but the views made it just perfect it was a clear night so we saw all the lights in the city it was stunning along with the live band made it an unforgettable experience.
Our last day of our holiday fell on a Friday so we had planned to pray Jummah namaz at the national mosque which was beautiful. (The only thing is maybe we got there a little late but there wasn’t a place for women to read 🙁 ) we went from there to the Muslim Islamic Art Museum which was about a 5 minute walk from the mosque and we just fell in love. It had the most beautiful Islamic art from different countries, have a look at the picture I think they speak for themselves…

There was also a floor full of miniature versions of famous mosques from around the world. The first one we saw was the mosque in Makkah and honestly it was incredible it was so beautiful and had so much detail I wanted to take them all home! There were mosques from Pakistan, Dubai, Turkey, Iran and many more places. I think we spent the most time here we were very impressed. The next section was different clothes, jewellery and prayer mats used back in the day! But at the back of this section was something amazing! One cover of the Kabah Sharif was there behind a glass cabinet! It was so beautiful and seeing it took me back to when we were in Makkah. As you do we ended up in the gift shop and to be honest everything was so beautiful I could have brought everything from there, the books, magnets, key rings, frames, prayer mats, tea sets I could go on! We ended up getting a few Islamic art tiles which we plan to get framed and a few magnets and some post cards (the post cards were for our holiday scrap book). Before we knew it we had to go to china town to buy a suitcase to put these bits in!

Our flight was on Saturday morning early and we had to leave from the hotel at 10:30/11:00pm so we decided to go back to the hotel as we had seen from our window that they had a water fountain show, it was very nice we sat there for ages and watched the fountains and the lights we were amazed. We had dinner (our last meal on our holiday 🙁 ) in the hotel restaurant called Madarin Grill, it was a qwerky restaurant with very nice touches to it. The husband obviously had steak and I had mushroom risotto and some vanilla ice cream for desert and then we left for the airport. Our journey home was a long 14 hours with a stop on Doha. It wasn’t too bad and I didn’t feel dead after the flight as we managed to sleep abit more on this leg. But that’s it our holiday was over before we knew it, we could have stayed longer but I think it was time to come home to our house and I couldn’t war to sleep in our bed!

We had the hustle and bustle of Bangkok, the adventure of Chiangmai, the relaxation in Krabbi and the shopping of Kuala Lampur.
Would I go back again? Yes in heartbeat, it was an amazing trip and we had a lot of fun. I definitely would recommend going to Krabbi/Railay Beach it had to be the best part of the break. KL was nice but I am not sure if we would go there again. Bangkok we have decided we will spend a few more days than just the one we spent this time. And of course I could easily see the elephants in Chaingmai again!
I guess we didn’t realise how much we needed a break from work until we stopped. We now feel refreshed and are ready to get back into work mode 🙂
I hope you liked my very long adventure!
~~ Sarah ~~

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