Compared to Perth, the first thing you notice about Margaret River is that the temperature is a few degrees cooler and the wind has dropped considerably, so it was much easier to pitch the tent!
We arrived on Kev’s birthday so we headed straight out to start celebrating. The wineries were all a short drive away so we decided to stay in the town instead and visited a new brewery that has recently opened and sample some of their craft beers.
The next day we booked on to a wine tour so we’d both get to taste the wines and neither one of us have to drive. Gemma recommended us a company called Bushtucker Tours, which took us to four vineyards, a chocolate factory, a dairy (to sample some of the local cheeses) and a brewery – with a big lunch thrown in to soak up some of the alcohol!
We were treated to a gourmet buffet of local delicacies including kangaroo, crocodile, quondong (a fibrous desert fruit) and ‘bush limes’ – it was our first time to eat kangaroo and crocodile and both were lovely – lean and flavoursome and not really like anything else I’ve tried.
The weather began to turn on our last day, so we decided to head back to Perth before the rain started and pack our bags ready for our flight to Bangkok and the next leg of the trip.
We’ve been to Bangkok once before – at the start of our last trip – so we decided to spend just one night there before flying up to Chiang Mai for the start of our travels around Northern Thailand.
Still, it was good to be back. Bangkok is a huge and crazy city so we booked a place to stay on the Khaosan road – it’s really touristy but good fun for one night and has plenty of entertainment and things to do.
One of the first thing we noticed when we arrived was the humidity compared to Australia – given that the temperatures are pretty similar, it’s a lot more humid here, even though it’s dry season (or Thailand’s winter)
As the evening progressed, the city really began to wake up. More and more people flooded the streets and there were hawkers everywhere, selling their wares. It was really vibrant and great for people watching...
Amongst the many bars, restaurants and market stalls there are also loads of massage places, with a Thai massage costing just £2 or £3 for half an hour – this was a welcome sight and we opted for a foot rub, but soon went back later on for a shoulder, neck and head massage – to undo the damage done by carrying around a heavy rucksack. I think we’ll be having regular massage during our time in Thailand! The only slight drawback is the language barrier so Kev found it hard tell his massage therapist if the pressure was a bit too firm – the standard was otherwise pretty good!
Chiang Mai is the capital of Northern Thailand and is much less hectic and smaller than Bangkok.
We've been staying in a hostel a short walk away from the night market and a short tuk-tuk ride from the temples of the old town/city centre. We enjoyed taking in the temples by day and shopping, eating and soaking up the atmosphere at the night market in the evening.
We spent a day wandering around the old town's many temples, filled with golden Buddhas and monks in their orange robes.
We felt like we'd hardly scratched the surface - there are so many of them!
At the Dumbo Elephant Spa (so called because you get to give the elephants a mud bath then wash them off in the river afterwards) there are six elephants, of which five have been rescued and one baby who has never known any ‘circus life’ or any cruelty.
Tomorrow we’re off to our next destintion, Pai. I’ll write again from there.