Thailand, 2001. One of the last trips I took with a friend. Later that year, with everyone I knew all out of vacation time and me with 10 days still to burn, I hit the backpacking trail solo. And never looked back. There#s a lot to be said for solo travelling. No compromise. One hundred per cent your holiday. But that’s not to say I didn’t have a great time in Thailand with one of the best friends. I sure did.
We landed in Bangkok and headed straight for Pattya, a beach resort, at the recommendation of a fellow passenger on our flight. The flight, incidentally, was a Garuda Indonesia plane with smoking and non smoking sections. One of the last of that type, surely? Our original plan to go down the peninsula had been derailed by tropical storms. We got to Pattya, realised why it would appeal to middle aged and elderly gents, and headed straight out. We hadn’t come for ladyboys and ‘teenage Thai wives’.
We rented a driver, guide and minivan for a ludicrously low price for 10 days of touring Thailand. The price even included hotels. We went into the jungle clad hills. To wildlife parks. To British war cemeteries. And to the infamous Bridge Over The River Kwai. You may have seen the film. If you have, you might know that the film was made in Sri Lanka. A country I posted about recently. And yes I did, I saw the ‘Bridge Over The River Kwai’ there too. Well, I saw a few bits of concrete and metal that made the foundations. They blew the bridge up at the end of the movie, after all.
The biggest highlight of the trip was a hotel built into the side of a river along the River Kwai. Paradise. One of my favourite places on planet Earth. We were due to stay just two nights. We stayed four. It had all the modern luxuries. But with none of the modern blights. Open plan wood was the theme, not concrete blocks. If only I could remember the name of that hotel. Nevermind. I’ve recently re-processed the photos I took and uploaded them to Flickr – click here.