Again, we are fine.

We were in Phnom Penh at the water festival, waiting for a night bus to Vietnam. We are fine. Poor Cambodians.

Shocker at Sokha

Where to begin…? So, we arrived safe and sound at the lovely Sokha Beach Resort, and enjoyed a marvellous 3 days in paradise. Our room, although the cheapest that the resort had to offer, was splendid, everything you would expect from a top class fancy hotel. We tried to cram in as much as we could in 3 days, using the pool, beach (sandcastle pictures to follow), gym, sauna, steam room, and even booking ourselves some spa treatments! Pez and I had 2 Khmer ladies lavish us with massages, something called a hot herbal compress, a herbal scrub and head, neck and shoulder massages. It was glorious! Although the tummy massage was too much for me as I burst out laughing and had to ask her to stop!

We were only booked to stay for 2 nights but had to extend the stay to 3 as the whole of town was booked up due to the water festival, a busy public holiday here in Cambodia. This meant we couldn’t get the night bus to Vietnam as planned. 3 nights was definitely the maximum our budget would allow so we booked to stay at another hotel on another beach in Cambodia (Victory Beach). We arrived today as scheduled to find out that our booking had not been made and that we were without accommodation. The staff were so kind and helpful and said they would not just leave us stranded, as this was Hostelworld’s fault not theirs. They were going to allow us to stay in one of the rooms occupied by a French man who works here, but we asked if there is anything they could do to get us to Vietnam. They rang various companies, who are not running due to the holiday, but eventually found us 2 seats on the night bus. So, that is now our plan, we leave on the bus for Ho Chi Minh at 8 pm. Phew!

We’ve had to pay for paradise, but it’s worth it.

We are now in Cambodia’s premier hotel, the Sokha Beach Resort. We are only here for two days so we are making the most of it. Full experience tomorrow, but for now, here is a snippet of our day in the best place we’ve been so far. By miles.

View from restaurant. Noony tried the food, and I had the same.


View from Noony's face.


Knees.


Private beach lol


Noony's face is bigger than the sun.


Sunset. For Patrick. Who likes nice photos.


Night swimming in hot water.


We've had thunder and lightning every night for 2 weeks. Here's a tiny, lucky glimpse.

Things happened.

Our darkest hour


Beach club resort. Poo central.


Shouldn't have talked to this fella after karaoke.


They went mental for my Weetabix.


Wet season hasn't finished yet at Aqua Resort.


Night lightning lit up the forest.


Ladies, I'd like you to meet Jeremy.


Jeremy flirting with Noony.


Noony during the regular blackouts.

Frogger

http://www.youtube.com/v/6RJc1KVWSrs

Location:Kanda St,Sihanoukville,Cambodia

So much has happened in the past four days…. So so much.

So we moved to a new hostel, The Beach Club Resort, and things were ticking along nicely. And then it happened. It was bound to happen. We had been in Asia for three weeks and things had been fine. It was all fine. Without going into any specific detail… we have both had utterly horrific traveller’s diarrhoea. Shameless, untamed, uncontrollable diarrhoea. In fact, it is still happening now, as I write. This is our fifth day. Noony said she thinks she’s dying and she can’t believe her end wouldn’t be in the two-way death pact at the old peoples home, like we’d planned, but on the toilet. Not a toilet. The toilet. Poor creature having to endure an ongoing nightmare. Noony and I have never been ones to discuss the final stages of peristalsis, but in the past five days we have discussed this more than marriage, babies, and which old persons home to do it in.

As you slowly regret having to read this and retch slightly into your coffee cup, don’t feel sorry for us. Noony may have the face of a lonely seal cub, but she is strong willed and know it will end soon.

We are trying to work out what it was. We never have the same meal which means it is either the ice in the drinks, the milk in the coffee, or the iron railings we licked on the way home from opium night at the karaoke.

I have had to tame myself as not to put you all off this blog forever, so I will have a thought for the day instead:

Talking to other travellers, of whom a vast minority are English, they insist of getting absolutely crunked each night and then recovering on a beach. Tattoos are prevalent. One Scottish nut job said he had trouble getting a visa because of his criminal record. This isn’t our scene. The clubs we have seen are the back of a parking lot with nothing but open buckets of cocktails for company. No, for the time being I have been just enjoying the scenery and company, (not sure what Noony’s been up to).

We are looking forward to Christmas at William’s house. He has been working in Laos for a few years now so he is pretty well suited for hosting us during the Christmas period. Noony would like a bicycle and i would like a xylophone for christmas. So if anyone wants to send us a card or something, it would be very nice. We won’t send one back. It wouldn’t feel right.

Such and such days until Christmas…

For those that don’t know, we are spending Christmas in Laos with Will.

If anyone wants to send us christmas presents they should send them to:

C/O William George Moss
Theun-Hinboun Power Company
2nd Floor, Simeuang Commercial Center
P.O Box 3382
Fa Ngum Road, Ban Phia Vat
Sisattanak District
Vientiane, LAO PDR

Do it! Or not, it’s fine either way.
X

Stories from Sihanoukville

So, after a fun 6 hour bus journey (apparently in a taxi it’s 2-3 hours max), we have made it to Sihanoukville. Again, as we arrived we could not get off the bus for all the tuk-tuk drivers shouting and bartering to get a handful of us as customers. As the bus had stopped on the side of the road, and not at the bus station as promised, we had to get a tuk-tuk to our hostel as we had no idea where we were. A short 3 minute journey and we arrived. The staff were all attractive young Cambodian girls, some with babies in tow and another was pregnant. We later discovered after spending some time at the bar that all the males in their lives are middle aged Americans who have settled here in Cambodia. The hostel was really nice, great food (Pez ate chickpea and sausage soup!) and had a really lovely pool. We have now moved to a hostel just around the corner as it is marginally cheaper with all the same amenities, a bigger swimming pool and a free pool table!

On our first afternoon here we wandered down to the nearest of many beaches in Sihanoukville (and the worst). The water is beautiful, great white sand, lovely bars, but it is heaving with people trying to sell you things. Pez zoomed off ahead of me saying no to everyone and I was stuck with a 10 year old called Pon trying to sell me bracelets, his 15 year old friend selling the same and a woman offering me a manicure. I said no, so they said maybe later and I foolishly agreed. So, they all held out their little fingers and insisted I made a pinky promise. I refused. Pon stuck with me for half an hour as we walked all the way along the beach. He was very sweet and told me all about school and his 3 older sisters. He told me his dad died when he was 8 and that his mother only has one arm and one leg. He also said he had “no business today”. Pez reminded me that it says in every hostel and guidebook not to buy off children as they should be at school so I said I would not buy anything today. All of a sudden the sweet boy and his friend changed their selling tactics. They said we must hate Cambodia if we do not buy, they told Pez he doesn’t love me if we do not buy, then he said if you do not buy “you will die of the body”. I’m not sure what that means but we had heard enough and told them firmly that they were being very rude and we did not want to buy from rude little boys. That was the end of that.

Sihanoukville has a very very poor electricity supply so for 2 days there have been lots of power cuts. Every decent bar and hostel have back-up generators though so within a few minutes everything is usually up and running again. However at our hostel the battery got taken away for repair this morning so the power cuts this evening have lasted indefinitely. It is good fun though!

On our way back from dinner this evening we stopped at the bar downstairs for a drink and a game of pool. Pez nearly squished a frog by using him as a beer coaster (he is blind without his glasses). The little frog jumped off the table and into the pool and swam away then hopped out the other side to freedom. I just wish we had our camera on us!

Gez and Pez and Noz in Cambodia

It’s taken three years to catch up, we went for pizza.

Angkor Wat at sunrise

Here come the photos! Angkor Wat by sunset








Mmm nom nom nom phnom penh

Just a note, we are trying to figure out a way to get photos to the blog. Our app keeps crashing so we might set up a google photo site and just out the link on the blog. It’s messy, but much less time consuming on our part. Anyhoo…

We arrived in Phnom Penh much more easily than we did to Siam Reap. Our little bus picked us up at 7am and supplied us with free water and a crazy jam filled pastry dish. Noony tried it and told me to tell you that it was good. On the five hour journey we passed exactly the same scenery; shacks, shanty towns and downright depravity. The mini bus driver enjoyed spending his time on the wrong side of the road after overtaking every car in his path. Rather than turn back he would happily force oncoming motorcyclists onto the dirt as, in a head-on road fight, the bus would win. Sitting behind the driver didn’t help and squeaking at every near missed did nothing to improve my cool credentials on the bus. The Cambodian couple behind felt the need to shout every part of their conversation, really belt it out. Not only that they felt the need to hold onto our seats so Noony’s hair was trapped in the man’s overhand grasp of the headrest and the woman held into the side, her fingernails digging in to my side. Their lack of awareness of personal space was apparent especially when they started stroking our ears.

When we arrived in Phnom Penh a huge mass of men hurtled towards the bus. They wouldn’t let us off the bus step until we had agreed to use them as a tuktuk. Little did they know, a man was standing at the back with a sign with Noony’s full name on (a worker at the last hostel said he would call his friend to personally take us to the hostel, good lad). Noony parted them like the Red Sea with a loud imperative and we were taken to the aptly named ‘Me Mates Place’.

Checking in felt a bit similar to the scam hostel, them asking many questions then agreeing with what we said then looking down and fidgeting. Finally after fifteen minutes of waiting, they told us that the room would be ready in half an hour. Lovely. We sat down at the spacious diner booth and looked at the huge A3 laminated menu. The music was absolutely good. Jeff Buckley, Van Morrison, Beach Boys, Postal Service. It has been the best music so far compared to Asian love songs with midi synth arrangements of the last hostel. When we finally got to our room, we were pleasantly surprised. But again, you don’t really care about the room. Needless to say, it was good.

The next morning our driver took us to the Killing fields. Bones and teeth were scattered along the paths, brought up with each rainfall. Most of the buildings were torn down after the discovery so signs were put in its place. One tree had a sign that said that this tree was used to kill babies by hitting them against it. A painting in the museum showed soldiers use them as clay pigeons. 129 mass graves uncovered different stories. Teachers, professors, intellectuals, children, babies. A glass tower was erected with 5000 cracked skulls placed inside. Didn’t take any photos today. Didn’t seem right. It was very hard to imagine what it was like and Noony and I were left wondering how and why and every other question. It wasn’t until we went to S-21, the old Khmer prison, that everything started to sink in.

S-21 used to be a school until education was abolished under Pol Pot’s regime. The classrooms were turned into prison cells, mostly single cells. The original bed, chain and rusted iron foot cuffs remained in each room alongside a single photo on the wall of the inmates as they were found, tied to the bed and brutally murdered. There was barbed wire alongside the top balcony to stop the prisoners committing suicide. Methods of torture were simple and brutal. 20,000 people from all backgrounds came to S-21. Seven survived. They only survived as they could carve and replicate Pol Pots head on a bust. Individual portrait photos of thousands of inmates were stuck up behind glass panels, some children as young as three or four.

Anyway, enough lols, here’s Noony.

After an emotional day we went back to the hostel for a bit and then went to dinner to a lovely restaurant called the Titanic. Very plush place on the river front with fountains and women dressed in silk and the food was yummy. There was a little lizard on the ledge that joined us for dinner. We fed him rice and parmesan cheese and he licked the soy sauce bottle. He was very cute.

Today, we went for a long walk and went up the one hill in Phnom Penh with a temple at the top called Wat Phnom which is what the city is named after. There is a story behind why it is called this but it would probably be a better read and more accurate on wikipedia.

Phnom Penh has lived up to expectations. It is dirty, busy and pretty much like any other city in the world. We considered staying longer but I am not in love with the city, plus I think our hostel has bed bugs… Not fun. So tomorrow (Thursday 4th) we leave on a bus for Sihanoukville on the coast of Cambodia. There is not much to see there apart from beaches, wildlife, and Cambodian islands… which is nice. We are hoping the weather picks up a bit though as it is surprisingly cool at the moment, only a high of 29 degrees today and about 22 – 25 at night. It’s warm but not swimming weather yet.

Temple Hopping

This is my second attempt at this so not so poetic as the first. It will have to do.

So, after a lazy day around Siem Reap recovering from the scam bus we finally orgainsed a tuk-tuk to take us to the temples. Our driver was lovely and has been ferrying us around for 3 days. We went to buy a ticket for the next day in the afternoon and if you buy it before 5pm they throw in sunset for that afternoon for free. Our driver took us to the foot of the hill of the temple we were visiting and we set off up the hill through the trees. Time was ticking on so we had to rush up the hill overtaking all the slow-mos! When we reached the top we could see the temple peeking through the trees glowing orange in the sunset.

After a moment to catch our breath we started the climb up the temple. The steps are ridiculous! They are about 10-15cm deep and over a foot high. The people of Angkor must have had tiny feet and long legs! With each step I had to pull myself up with my arms like climbing a ladder, and I daren’t look down! When we reached the top it dawned on me that the way up was also the way down. I thought I would have to travel the 50 metres down on my bum! The sunset was lovely setting over the masses of water and jungle canopy that surrounds the area. We also bumped into 4 of the people we travelled with on the scam bus from Thailand. It turns out they were taken to the wrong hostel and scammed also, so at least we weren’t the only ones!

The next morning we woke up at 4.15am to get to Angkor Wat for sunrise. It was surprisingly cold on a tuk-tuk at that time in the morning and I had dressed for a hot day of climbing up and down temples. On our walk to find a good spot to sit and watch sunrise we came across a little crab side-stepping along on the path. The Cambodian behind us explained that there are lots of them around that come up out of the water and people like to catch them and eat them. That explains why we only saw the one! The sunrise was beautiful as it comes up directly behind the large temple. (Photos to follow) There were of course hoards of people once more! After sunrise we wondered around the back of the temple to look at the water and the south gate of the monument. As we were about to leave to get back to our driver a congress of Macaques rushed out of the trees. There were big ones and lots and lots of babies!! We took plenty of photos and videos. There was a woman who was setting up a little stall on her bicycle to sell bananas to tourists for the monkeys but as she turned her back a huge bunch of about 12 bananas was taken by one of the monkeys and he ran up one of the trees to chow down! Clever thing.

We then went on to visit several other temples, each with more ridiculous steps than the last. The final temple we visited was the famous one you will all know from Tomb Raider, guidebooks and TV. It is well known for the huge trees and roots growing all over the walls and steps of the monument, as the temple was engulfed in the jungle for over 500 years. I can definitely see why it is the most popular! After a good 6 hours of temple hopping we returned to the hostel as we were hot, tired and I was starting to burn.

I have to say, I think this is the best hostel we will ever stay in. The room is fantastic with A/C, a fan, a huge bed (Pez and I could sleep about 6 feet away from each other!! But apparently I only leave him a few inches to sleep in!), a great bathroom and a TV with 80 channels! The best thing about this hostel though is the staff. It is one big family, but not all related. Some of the younger people work here for free, so eat and sleep here so that they can go to school. The owner has almost adopted them to allow them to get an education. We have had many long talks with each of the staff and it is lovely to hear them talk so enthusiastically about school. There is a donation box in the corner that goes to the local school which we will definitely be leaving some money in before we go tomorrow.

Call that a knife!?

Busy few days! We met up with old Muso Gez, Noony didn’t want to be involved with the rhyming names so she kept her’s the same. We left Noony out of the conversation for about 20 minutes whilst we caught up about old friends and fierce enemies. The pizza kept us relatively entertained, Noony had to be different again and had a burger. Having not seen him for a few years, the dark Cambodian backdrop did nothing to dampen our spirits and conversation. The beggers asking for money to help fund schoolbooks and shoes for the local school or something was a downer. I mean I’m just trying to enjoy my Italian pizza. After the crying turned to a distant echo we made our excuses and left.

Noony walked behind Gez and me as we walked through town stopping only to look at the stuffed crocodiles. They were in a human fighting pose and they looked ace. I thought to myself, “Where do they find these crocodiles that already know how to fight?”

The next day I found the answer.

A girl staying at the hostel, (which is a brilliant hostel; free coffee, water and breakfast. Noony will give a better review I’m sure) said to the staff they could see crocodiles from their window and, being a lousy eavesdropper, noisily twisted my wooden chair round, crossed my legs and stared intently. They asked if they could go see them. The young daughter of the owner said yes, but the mum said to just take up to the top of the building and look down. We were a bit disappointed, even more so when our camera died after just one photo. When the mother left the daughter said to come with her, so we put on our shoes left at the foot (boom boom!) of the hostel and squeezed through a gap between the metal fence and wall and meandered into the crocodile farm owner’s garden.

We climbed onto the four foot high scaffolding to look at these marvelous seven feet crocodiles and their strong twitchy back legs. We only later found out that feeding time was about half an hour after we left and considering these creatures only get fed once in a while I knew tucking my toes in behind the wooden slates was not a paranoid delusion.

Today we went to Artisan Craft Centre which was set up to teach 18-25 year olds the art of stone and wood carving, metalwork, silk painting and, to a lesser extent, nude drawing; they asked me to put my clothes back on. To learn that it was free (for both us and young Cambodian apprentices) was inspiring and goodies made were sold in the shop. We bought a little metal elephant that you can open up to find empty space. This let me know that it was hollow.

Our tuk-tuk driver that we had kept for the past three days not only spoke good English, but drove slowly and well! This meant we could lean back and enjoy the view. Of desolate housing, working toddlers and polluted river fishing. It certainly does open up your eyes, or it would have if dust hadn’t kept flowing behind my new Ray-Ban sunnies.

Upon writing this Noony’s hour long masterpiece about Angkor Wat was deleted by the blog. She is furious and is currently writing a letter to the head of wordpress. No wait, it’s the blog again.

To finish I’ll tell you that my favourite quote this week came from the street children at Angkor Wat trying to sell cold drinks, scarfs and paintings. They were incredibly insistent and followed you even after saying, “No, thank-you” about 30 times. We decided to be much firmer with our responses so when asked if we wanted a cold drink I replied, “No, thank-you. I DON’T. WANT. ONE.”

“Oh, you want two?”

Angkor What?

This stupid thing deleted my blog about the temples. I am too annoyed to write it again now so it will have to be at a later date. Grr!

Bangkok – Siem Reap: What a nightmare!

We are absolutely fine and dandy but we had an exhausting day yesterday. We are now in Cambodia in Siem Reap but the struggle to get here was much harder than expected! We got up early to catch the bus which was fine which took us to the border at Poipet between Thailand and Cambodia, but the tour company were cheeky and took us to their travel agents a mile from the official border and were charging about $45 for a visa, when at the border it costs $25 at most. Pez and I had paid for an E-visa when we were online in Thailand which was $25 each so we didnt have to worry but they were scamming the extra money out of the other tourists. They were all asking advice from me and Pez and we were the only ones who had bothered to read up anything about the border (idiots!). I told them they could quite easily get the visa cheaper but if they did that the tour company would not take them any further, but that at the other side of the border they can get a taxi the rest of the way for about $12. They all wanted to do that but couldnt be bothered with the effort so paid the extra money.

Pez and I paid them so that we could get a taxi organised by them all the way to Siem Reap and straight to our hostel, which was fine as they saw us through the border and put us in a taxi as promised. Half way to Siem Reap the taxi stopped at a rest stop with a toilet (basically a girl selling drinks and food out of her house). Pez and I got 2 cans of 7-UP and the girl tried to charge us 50,000 Cambodian Riels which is about $11!!! Everyone there was shouting about the prices she was charging but I didnt want any hassle so I gave her 10,000 Riels and told her she can have that or nothing (politely of course!). She of course accepted as even that was over paying.

When we got to Siem Reap the taxi stopped at the edge of town and put us on a Tuk-Tuk (a little motorcycle with a covered seat pulled along behind) which insisted they were taking us to our hostel called Bun Kao Guesthouse. They took us to a hostel, but not the hostel we asked for! There was no sign to say where we were but we knew we had been taken somewhere else so they could get commission for us to stay there instead.

Pez and I were so tired and fed up at this point that we paid to stay there. But after discovering the air-con didnt work and that there was no fan AND the bathroom was flooded and filthy with a centipede running around the sink, we completely lost our temper and wanted to leave. It was just after 7 in the evening after getting up at 5 am for the bus and we had had enough of being ripped off for one day. So, we picked up our bags and told the man at reception we knew we were not where we had asked and said we wanted him to write down the address of where we were and we asked for our money back. We had paid $25 and at first he said he would give me money back for 1 night only as we had been in the room, I told him I wanted all the money, but finally caved in and said if you give me $20 I will leave now and that will be the end of it. He complained but gave me $20 from his wallet.

We stepped outside and met a really lovely Tuk Tuk driver who took us to the real Bun Kao Guesthouse. He explained that the hostel doesnt have a real name so they can take people there and get commission, but he said he does not associate himself with that Guesthouse. He charged us $3 to take us around town to the right place, but we paid him $5 and he was very shocked and happy. After a long day it was nice to finally meet someone kind and honest!

So now we are at the right place and stayed here last night. Our room is really lovely and the family that run it are very sweet. I am so glad we made the decision to leave the other hostel as Pez and I were convinced our things were not safe there. But all is well now! We went to bed early and only woke up at 10am this morning. We have wondered around the Old Market centre of Siem Reap today and I bought a lovely pair of silver earings and a silver and turquoise pendant – very cheap!

Tomorrow, we are planning on getting up at 4 am to get to Angkor Wat for the sunrise, but we will see how that goes. We are here until Monday so plenty of time to go there for sunrise and sunset.

This is Britain, and everything’s all right. Everything’s all right. It’s okay. It’s fine.

We are in Cambodia, but no wireless for iPad so on a Microsoft windows XP com-puter?

So yes, we’re fine, but we are never using a tour operator to get us across the border… ever… again.

Scams galore, which Noony will explain later once we can get back on this computer.

Our shortest post so far…? Not for long.

x

Koh San Road by candlelight

The Grand Palace…







I finally managed to rescue the iPad from Pez’s clasp!!

Yesterday (Saturday 22nd) we had made plans to get up super early and do the tourist thing. We had been advised to do our sight seeing early before the heat and the hoards of people arrived. However, after a terrible nights sleep we woke up at 11 am and so had missed our free breakfast and well and truly missed our early start.

So, like the fools we are we set off in the heat of noon. After all the saying goes “only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun”. Our first mission was to hail a taxi from the main road. The taxi drivers are cunning and switch off their meter for white folk so they can charge astronomical prices. We were quoted 150 Baht (£3 approx.) which may sound reasonable but for the 4 minute journey we would pay no more than 30 Baht on the meter. We moved on and haggled a more acceptable 50 Baht and the driver dropped us right at the front gate of The Grand Palace. Pez nearly took the taxi drivers door off by trying to get out onto the main road rather than the pavement, but survived the ordeal.

The Grand Palace is a walled off area (218,000 square metres) in the centre of the old city where the Chakri dynasty used to reside. Now it is a tourist’s haven and a “hotel” for dignitaries visiting Thailand. The buildings, the palace and temples are breathtaking. Every inch is covered with gold and mosaic tiles of every colour. It is extremely well preserved and looked after. The entire interior of the wall surrounding the grounds is covered with an intricate mural, again in gold and fabulous colours. The main highlights were the Grand Palace itself, the Emerald Buddha and the coronation thrones, one made of gold, the other mother of pearl. The Emerald Buddha is housed in an ornate temple, sat high up on a shrine made of gold. Although the Buddha is relatively small it is astonishing that it is so old (discovered nearly 600 years ago) and made of solid jade. In the temple you were welcome, once your shoes were removed, to kneel and bow to the Buddha. Many were doing so, including a special area sectioned off for the Buddhist monks.

After walking the entire grounds and being bombarded with the locals on the tourist stands outside we walked around the walled palace to Wat Pho, which is the temple of the reclining Buddha. Again housed in a stunning gold temple (which seems too small to house it), this is the largest gold object I have ever seen. It is 46 metres long and 15 metres high, covered in gold leaf and mother of pearl at the head and feet and symbolises the passing of the Buddha into Nirvana.

We then returned to our hostel on Koh San Road as 3 or 4 hours in the heat was more than we could stand – air conditioning is the best invention ever!

We don’t know whether it was because we are hardened to the hassling by the locals or whether it was the Chang beer but we were more relaxed to wander up and down the Koh San Road and haggle for unwanted knock offs of which in the end we bought none. I desperately wanted a sun shade made of wood and paper like Geishas carry but Pez sensibly advised that they will be cheaper elsewhere. Besides he insisted that if I was allowed a Geisha’s brolly he was allowed a Geisha himself.

—–

Today we managed to wake up in time for our free breakfast. Hooray! Many had complained but we were pleasantly surprised by the real yummy coffee and 2 pieces of toast, as that’s about all you can eat in this heat.

We have taken up some excellent advice from Chris Whyld about staying at the Atlanta Hotel on Sukhumvit Road. It was an hour of sitting in hot, sticky, smog-filled traffic, but he was quite right, this place is an Oasis in Bangkok.

Stepping through the traditional glass doors was like stepping back in time. The foyer is decadent, dark, and red, and has black and white tiled flooring with a sweeping spiral staircase leading up to the rooms. The room is basic but we have a balcony and air-con once more. The real hidden treasure of this historic hotel (the first ever built in Bangkok in 1952) is the outside space. There are coca nut trees galore in a small canopy of jungle-like gardens where they are keeping pet turtles, the largest and oldest of which is called Archibald! Then on the other side of the jungle is the first ever swimming pool in Bangkok, which although we haven’t ventured into yet looks very tempting to get out of the 34 degree heat (and that’s in the shade!).

We sat quite happily soaking up the atmosphere and imagining the British 1950s holiday makers wandering the foyer listening to the wireless… I imagine we will be staying here more than 1 night.

Location:Sukhumvit Road,Thailand

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