Sunnier Shores

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If you are wondering why we have been a little quiet in the last few weeks, we took a break to experience sunnier shores in Thailand and then made a quick dash to Cambodia.

Our journey started moments after New Year’s Eve where it was a little hard to comprehend packing, but with the bare minimum we headed to the airport.

After what seemed like the world’s longest flight, we touched down in Bangkok grabbed our bags from the carousel and headed to the door of the airport, as the doors parted the burst of heat that we had been dreaming of for hours hit with the impact of 100 burning fires.

Finally with the smell of Thailand in our in our noses we found ourselves a car to get us to our final destination Hua hin. This is an older tourist area of Thailand and host to the Royal family, a hidden little gem, set just to the south of Bangkok.

The soothing and satisfying feel of sand between our toes was almost upon us, but not before the journey of all journeys continued.Two and a half hair raising ours later we were there- but so was night fall, filling us with the depressing feeling that only the truly hardened sun bather would understand.

All that was left to do was grab a tut tut and head to the town for our first taste of Thailand. Morning came all to quickly and with a large dose of jet lag, I could only think of one thing, ‘the excitement of watching the sunrise’- so we grabbed a couple of bikes that looked a little like we had stolen them from the 80′s, and headed out to the beach front.

It was only about 5.30am and the heat was already piercing, it was mesmerising to watch the heat waves slowly rising from the road. Swinging a left from the main street that was filled with huts, shops and general bustle we found ourselves on a tiny little patch of deserted beach- the illuminating orange, yellow, pink and blue of the sunrise was uplifting, it was what every frozen Brit dreamt of, at least 45 minutes past before a single limb moved

The days rolled into one and we mainly spent the morning sunbathing and the afternoon cycling the sites and sounds of Hua Hin, however four days in the cycling adventures finally paid off and we stumbled across the ‘The Town of Heaven’ the Dusit Thani hotel. If you have ever dreamt about the most luxurious and over indulgent hotel you could ever stay in this would be it.

After discussing our possibilities with a little Thai lady, dressed in the most fabulous pressed silk gown on the front desk, we checked ourselves in for the stay of a life time. Every person in site squawked in a charming yet shrill voice “sawadika”. (Hello in Thai)

This was the place where people went to capture the perfect picture for a postcard.

Our days here where spent in the sun purely soaking up the luxuries that ‘The Town of Heaven’ had to offer. There where sunbathing options: The beach? Or the pool? Water delivered at 11am and 2pm and food just across the pool. It was only three days but each tiny second of it was incredible.

Eventually it was time to move again, our bags were packed and a very short flight away took us worlds apart to our new adventure. With our finger prints taken and visas issued, we were in Cambodia. The atmosphere immediately different, a grumpy and quite angry man ordered me to put my thumb straight on the finger print machine, making it clear this was an altogether very different place to Thailand.

Reality hit with a bang when the hotel we walked into had seen better days the air was dusty humid and full of pollution. Siem Reap was like Marrakech on acid, it was fast paced,dusty and full of possibilities. We were there to see Angkor Wat so we settled in to life in Cambodia, every person would shout “lady you want something”, or “tut tut you want tut tut”, they had very much fallen for the tourism element of life and there was also a street called ‘Pub Street’ reminiscent of some where in spain.

It would be easy to loose yourself in markets for hours- but with everything brought and sold in US Dollars it wasn’t like Thailand in fact, most things where hugely expensive. The night came and went and so did food poisoning but after a terrifying day of illness we were ready to see a ‘Wonder of the World’. If you go the day before you can watch the sunset fall and then head back for the day to explore its wonder, so we did just this.

We searched out a tut tut that would not charge the earth and also seemed hassle free, we found Mr Chen he was a relatively old man and had little english but a very calming hand shake. With eager excitement we headed to Angkor Wat- the journey was a little wobble as your tut tut shares the road with trucks, dogs, cars, bikes and anything that can fit.

We become aware that Angkor Wat was almost in our sights when we turned the corner and were presented with acres of perfectly calm water, it had an earay feeling of peace, and serenity.

As we approached the wonder, I was utterly amazed at how many tourists there were, but as you step off and walk up the long path across the water, the structure is so overwhelming and powerful everything around you disappears and draws you towards it, for a moment the thousands of tourist fade away and you and Angkor Wat are the only things that stand in the world.

The green/grey highs of the stone encompassed the whole area, it seemed powerful but as if the stones had a story, they were power but not perfection. Its true beauty was lit by the sunset- which feel over it at every corner, and lit every stone with the power of a million lanterns. That moment will stay in my mind for ever.


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