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Day 82 – 85 – New Years – Phenom Penh, Cambodia

Worst trip of my life

5 hours on minibus whizzing along on the back row felling sick on probably the worst road in the world. Just look at the pot holes! After this things got better checked straight into Mad Monkey and went to sleep!

New Years Eve

After a good rest we were ready to hit the town visiting Central market to find George some fake Havaianas and failing! After it was time for New Years… The events laid out as follows: Met an awesome chap Murray and his friend the lovely Miss Murray. Lots of winning in beer pong with team GP. Some awful Vodka with Murray. Hoping between Tuk-tuks with George and Jermaine into town. Saw some awful fireworks and started shovelling rubbish into a bin. Went to a roof top bar. Saw a gay guy dancing. George accidentally slapped someone. Had a great time in a club called Pontoon. All in all a drunk but fun NYE.

Watches & Football

Big breakfast to cure and fix last nights antics followed by some market shopping for watches with Murray. Where he manage to wiggle a free 6 month warranty with his new watch! Followed by a chilled out evening with 15 year old Jermaine of pool and football.

Exploration

Just mincing…

The Killing Fields

Time to do some cultural stuff. Not many pictures here, not really the place for pictures, but for anyone interested just Google about it.

S21

A school that was converted into a prison again for those who want to know more: Wiki Link

Last Night!

Last night out with the Legend that is Jonny and meeting Oli that night. Ended up in Pontoon again which this time was awful and full of prostitutes.

angkor-wat
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Day 81 – Angkor Wat & Temples – Siem Reap, Cambodia

Ronnie started by taking us to the largest collection of temples ‘Angkor Thom’ through the south gate. See the map below for reference (if interested!).

Angkor Map

Angkor Thom

Ta Prohm

After Angkor Thom we exited out of the East Gate to Ta Prohm the coolest temple! Ta Prohm temple has been left in much the same condition as it was originally found with trees growing over it. They also recorded parts of Tomb Raider here.

Angkor Wat

After being pretty done we didn’t spend a huge amount of time round Angkor Wat and when we got back to the tuk-tuk old big ron dog Ronnie was asleep :D !

siem-reap
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Day 79 – 80 – Siem Reap, Cambodia

First the bus ride there. Up early to get a mini bus from Koh Chang to the border where we got herded around and had to queue up for agers at immigration where only 3 guys were stamping people’s passports. Once we finally made it through (around 2 hours later) we got onto a bigger bus that took forever to get to Siem Reap. The driver was awful, and put multiple versions of Psy – Gangnam Style on really loudly so no-one could sleep. Someone approached him to turn it off and he just turned it up louder. After a while he turned it off, but then pulled into a place to eat just a few miles out of Siem Reap for 40 minutes! When we eventually arrived at the bus stop which was up some random dirt road we were bombarded with tuk-tuk drivers who hassled us to get in their tuk-tuk. The only positive part of this was that we got to ride in the Cambodian style tuk-tuk for the first time (a motorbike with a trailer attachment… see image below). This is when Ronnie started pushing us to go to Angkor Wat with him, tired and wanting bed we just told him to come back the next day! That night we shared a beer with a nice kiwi chap who had lots of knowledge to share and I had a Khmer curry.

Thinking the next day would start better… It didn’t. I went to get some dollars out the cashpoint and after a minute of saying Please Wait… It informed me that the ATM had malfunctioned. However the transaction had come up on my statement / my available balance. So I had a stressful time on the phone to HSBC. Ronnie rolled up but we had to check out so told him to meet us the next morning at Mad Monkey where I had booked for the next two nights, Ronnie left very happy. Pleased that we had sorted out Mad Monkey hostel we went to get a beer where we meet Derek in Mikey’s Bar, where they had 75 cent beers. After a couple of games of pool we headed out across the road to play happy sack / keep me up with a strange looking shuttlecock with Derek and a bunch of security guards. This is vintage Asia. Once we’d finished we needed money and to check-in to the hostel. But when we tried to check-in they said they were full so we had to mince around with our backpacks for another couple of hours before finally finding somewhere with rooms available (Naga Guesthouse).

After finally being sorted, we headed out to get some food and explore pub street and the night markets. An early morning meant an early night under a picnic blanket.

koh-chang
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Day 74 – 78 – XMas – Koh Chang, Thailand

We were up early to take our first bus of Thailand / Asia in elephant/ele pants attire. The drive and ferry ride to Koh Chang would take the majority of the day but we would be there for the evening. The island is not really a party backpacker island but for xmas this didn’t matter for us. A bit of pool, sun and sea would definitely but a new xmas experience!

Christmas Eve

Our first day of chilling on the beach and by the pool trying to loose those awful singlet/vest lines. I and George also made a trip to Tesco Lotus to stock up the fridge for an afternoon and night of drinking.

That evening was our xmas dinner ‘the gala dinner’ that we had to buy with our booking. It was all well presented and tried to be good but just wasn’t and the food wasn’t great, just more of a ploy to make as much money as possible.

Christmas Day

Time for the beach and matching outfits…

That evening our bathroom was inundated with ants so after a couple of complaints we got upgraded and had to move rooms twice. This slightly interrupted the Skype sessions.

Last day

Our last day in Koh Chang, tomorrow we would be leaving Kirsty and crossing the border to Siem Reap, Cambodia.

bangkok
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Day 69 – 73 – Bangkok, Thailand

Once off the plane we were greeted with yet another surprise from Emirates. We got to use the Premium lane with no queue and no questions to get our visa. And checked into Phoenix Hotel near the airport for more sleep. Since we didn’t pre-book a hostel we got the sky train into the city centre but had no where to go. After 2 hours we manage to find somewhere (Khaosan Immjai) but for only one night. We finished the day with a Pad Thai at Khao San Road.

The next day we smashed a free breakfast with about 8 pieces of toast and 4 Lipton’s teas. With decent internet we planned our route for Asia a little before setting out to get a new hostel, having some food and mincing round the markets. Later that afternoon we met Fernando from Mexico who struggled after a Chang and a cigarette. That night we met up with Kirsty aka K Dog out our 3rd accom of Bangkok (Samsen Skyline Hostel – where we had booked 2 nights) to book our hotel for xmas…. This was a struggle after a few Changs. We then went out with them and tried scorpion which was disgusting! Salty burnt crunchy crap. Oh and played some ping pong.

After being kicked out of our hostel as the guy messed up our booking we decided to catch a pink cab to Kirtsy’s swanky 4 star hotel ‘Prince Palace’ and chilled out by the roof top pool. That night George went to the gym and I went swimming in a very cool pool outside which was pretty awesome. After that we went back to Khao San for some food and made a failed attempt to find Kirsty.

It was in our intention to remove lots of our bulk from our backpacks and travel light for Asia. We found out that we could leave a suitcase with the hotel for free until our return. On that note we set out to find a cheap suitcase and got a taxi with Mr Bandit. This was pretty stressful as we didn’t have long till checkout and we got in trouble bartering between two different stores. Then once again it was time to check into a different place this time Penpark guesthouse.

Our last day in Bangkok before we return in March. It was time to buy some elephant pants and some beer branded vests! Before leaving to our xmas island resort of Koh Chang.

business class
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Day 68 – Business Class & Sydney, Australia

Our 24 hour stop over in Sydney started a bit badly after it taking agers to check into the hostel. But once it was sorted it all got better. We met up with George’s friend for drinks and she snuck us in to Madame Tussauds the next day which wasn’t quite as good as London with many Australian chaps in.

Sydney was to only get better when returning to the airport the woman behind check-in looked round the counter to see what we were wearing and said, “I’m just checking you look appropriate”. On informing us of our free business class upgraded me and George started to get very excited and I took far to many photos on our 9 hour flight to Bangkok. Best flight ever…

auckland
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Day 66 & 67 – Auckland, New Zealand

Auckland we checked into ‘The Attic Backpackers’ that had a very old manual lift. We decided to only have 1 day here to have a mince round. Our last night in New Zealand we decided to go to The Hobbit at the 3D iMax, perfect way to end NZ and I loved the comedic parts of film.

IMG_4380
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Day 63 – 65 – Paihia, Bay of Islands, New Zealand

Along day afternoon on the bus and we were in Bay of Islands where we met Irish Sarah who was also staying at our hostel (Bay Adventurer). We heard there was little to do apart from go out at the bar / club across the way. Once dinner and a couple of beers not really feeling it we resorted to the Vodka but it wasn’t enough. Standing on the stage in the bar and guessing the names, years and artists of the songs we thought it would be a good time to head home where we had a date with Eric and Becky and their bottle of wine under the stars.

Feeling fairly fresh we had a little spluge with Becky by the pool and agreeing to another ‘date’ before setting out to explore Paihia, the beach was fairly nice but not fantastic, the town quite small (Classic NZ) and we kind of gave up half way on the way to a trek to a waterfall that wasn’t meant to be that great. So we decided to start having a few beers and watch Superbad. Maybe a bad idea as that led to more drinking and after many card games Sarah getting annoyed at us saying Classic Sarah we were very drunk. George probably more so putting himself to bed instead of going out.

The next day was pretty horrendous for everyone involved. We got fantastic burgers and I umpired a game of tennis between George and Juan Fernando, in the intense heat! We did however get a free professional haircut from Pidgeon before getting the bus to Auckland.

hobbiton
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Day 62 – Hobbiton, New Zealand

It was finally time to visit the much awaited Hobbiton! Walking to the bus we bumped into Marvellous Martin arriving in Rotorua. I swear he was following us around. Boarding the bus we were greeted by the awesome kiwi driver, whom made us sing ‘She will be coming round the mountain’ whilst driving round in circles in the Hobbiton car park. In the shop they sold 1% beer called ‘SobeRing Thought’. This was brewed espaically for the movie during party scenes so that the actors could get a little tipsy but still act! Also the Hobbit holes are a range of sizes some are large so that the hobbits seem hobbit size / small. And some are very small so they could be used to make other characters look big. The holes themselves were originally built with polystyrene and temporary materials for The Lord of The Rings but now built permanently for The Hobbit and the tours. Each hole is just large enough to fit a few people in. From here on the photos do the talking, but it was pretty cool to see!

After the tour we went to the green dragon pub for an ale and a stout (a cider was also available). The beers/ciders are brewed especially for the pub and only available in Hobbiton. I had the ale and a muffin which were yummy! We sat in front of the open fire with pickles the cat in true hobbit fashion.

rotorua
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Day 61 – Rotorua, New Zealand

Checking into Crash Place and discovering that they charge you $60 to see a natural occurring geiser… Rotorua turned into a massive mince with a half decent night out at Lava bar.

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