Christmas TreeEveryone on the blog team would like to take this opportunity to wish all Avis customers, staff and readers of this blog a very Merry Christmas! We’d also like to thank all of our staff members who continue to work over the Christmas period, which is one of our busiest times of the year. Some of our airport locations are even working Christmas day! I spent the day helping out at Avis Mayfair yesterday and it’s great to see how dedicated and hard working our staff are.

Today is the blog team’s last day in the office until Friday January 2nd 2009. Any comments posted between now and then will be held in a queue and published and responded to when we return. However, please have some patience while we work through them all. We will do our best to publish the comments and replies as soon as possible.

So, once again, we hope that everyone has a safe and enjoyable Christmas and has a happy and prosperous New Year. See you in 2009!

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#6 in Tripadvisor’s hot spots for 2009 is Protaras in Cyprus…

What’s the deal?
Protaras is yet another coastal town on Tripadvisor’s list. Situated on the east coast of Cyprus, it is a town much smaller than nearby Ayia Napa. But that is only the beginning of its differences with its local neighbour. Tranquility and intimacy are buzzwords that are often used to describe Protaras, words that wouldn’t be used in association with its neighbour. The resort brags a 6km coastline of golden beaches with the majority of bars and restaurants to be found around the Fig Tree Bay and Pernera Bay areas. The combination of sun, sand and quiet, relaxed vibe make Protaras the perfect alternative to the busier Ayia Napa for fcouples and family holidays in Cyprus.

What are other traveller’s saying?
Ciao has quite a wide range of reviews (25 of them), which are resoundingly positive. All reviewers are complimentary about the beaches while one reviewer enthuses about the diving. Another reviewer provides a decent account of a selection of the local restaurants – with Nicola Tavern recommended for some local Cypriot food. But this is one thing you should not expect a lot of in Protaras. It is a purpose-built resort so you should not expect an authentic Cypriot experience.

How do I get there?
Protaras is about an hour from Larnaca Airport. Avis has an office at the airport and car hire is a good option in Cyprus, particularly if you fancy exploring more of the island.

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Koh TaoStephen told me off for writing such long posts so for my experience of Koh Tao (which marks my decent south to the islands of Thailand), I’ve decided to dispatch with the day-by-day account and provide a summary of events instead. For continuity purposes I’ll mention day 14 which was not that memorable apart from experiencing my first painful yet somewhat pleasurable Thai massage at Wat Pho. My time on Koh Tao – a small, chilled and very pretty island – on the otherhand was a fairly event free affair, except for 3 things. I’ll always remember days 15-18 because of the following:

1. The boat ride over – was the worst 2 hours of my life. That is not an exaggeration. The water was so choppy that the bow of the catamaran bobbed in out of the sea like a yo-yo. I lasted a mere 20 minutes before the inevitable happened. Many people lasted less. Few people lasted the whole trip. After an hour of sheer agony, I assumed the only position that would be bring me any comfort: the foetal position. And there I lied on the floor, without shame, until the agony was over.

2. I convinced myself I had rabies – when I went to the travel clinic to get all my jabs, the nurse made recommendations about other diseases I should be vaccinated against. That night I decided to do a bit of research – on Wikipedia of course. That’s when I got the low-down on the horror that is rabies. It’s a horrific disease which, unless you catch it within 24 hours, pretty much guarantees death (there are 7 known survivors and 6 suffered severe brain damage as a consequence – according to Wikipedia of course). That night while lying in bed in England I was convinced I was going to catch rabies. Fast forward to Thailand and I’ve been staying well clear of the mountain of stray dogs that roam the streets here. Except on my first day on Koh Tao.

While grabbing some lunch after the boat ride earlier, I was approached by a dog with a ball. Eager to keep the dog away I swatted the saliva-ridden ball away. This was not something I’d normally do but hungover, ill and shattered from departing the sleeper train at 4 in the morning, my judgement was blurred. As a matter of caution I washed hands vigorously.

24 hours later and my memory reflects on the day before. I recalled scratching a mosquito bite after lunch with the hand that tipped the ball away. Telling myself that a mosquito bite constituted a gaping wound and that a drop of rabies-ridden saliva had remained on my hand I convinced myself I had caught rabies. For 2 days I thought, no I knew, I was going to die a horrible, painful death. Of course once I’d caught up on my sleep and read that Koh Tao was close to rabies free, a simple bit of reasoning told me that this was not the case.

3. I got my open water scuba diving qualification – which was actually the reason I went to Koh Tao. If you want to learn to scuba dive, you won’t find it anywhere cheaper than Koh Tao. 8,500 Baht covered the cost of the course, the equipment and 4 nights acommodation. I went with Phoenix who I would highly recommend and Neil, my instructor, did a great job – patient, helpful and a good laugh. And I got to see a couple of sting rays on my dives which I was chuffed about although sadly no sharks. Sairee beach, where the resort I stayed in is located, is the biggest on island and has a great, relaxed vibe.

Rabies scare aside, I really enjoyed my time on Koh Tao and the open water qualification gave me something tangible to show for it. And Stephen, sorry if the summary approach didn’t work. This wasn’t so short after all.

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Don’t be that guyAt Avis, we hear lots of stories from our customers (and our delivery drivers) about tailbacks and delays when the days grow shorter and the weather turns wintry. These can be caused by a car breaking down on the motorway, someone running out of petrol in the middle of the countryside and even snowdrifts or floods blocking the road! If it’s happened, we’ve heard it!

To try to ease the delays as traffic increases this winter, the Highways Agency have launched the “Don’t be that Guy” campaign. The campaign aims to help and educate drivers by reminding them of a few simple steps they could take to make their journeys this winter safer, easier and a little less frustrating for everyone.

Preparing as best as you can for any situation can really help you out if it all goes wrong on the roads. On the site, you can find information to help plan your trip, reminders to check and service your car regularly throughout the winter and details of what to include in your emergency kit: from jump leads and de-icer to warm drinks and blankets.

To help you during your journey, there are great tips on driving safely in every kind of unpleasant weather condition including rain, fog, snow and wind. And if something does go wrong despite all your careful preparation, the website tells you what to do and how the Highways Agency and its operatives can help you get home safely.

At Avis, we prepare all our cars especially for winter. Tyre pressures are checked, fluid levels are topped up, anti-freeze is added and an Avis ice scraper is put in every car. We also supply GPS units (dependant on availability) for an additional charge to help you get to your destination on time and without getting lost. However, the Highways Agency still recommends that you plan your route and check the traffic conditions before you leave and that you make sure you have got some warm clothes in your car, just in case you get stuck.

Always remember, a traffic free road is a happy place for everyone. Travel safe this winter and don’t be that guy.

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CambodiaDay 10
Having been forced to take the over-land route into Siem Reap I’m up early to take the minibus to the Thai border. The minibus is unable to take you across the border so you have to literally walk across. It was a surprisingly odd experience. And crossing the Thai-Cambodia border is like walking into a different world. Literally. The smooth, paved roads of Thailand meet the dirt, hole-ridden tracks of Cambodia. We are greeted by a pre-arranged taxi to take us to Siem Reap.

Along the way we stop off at a small roadside settlement for a quick break. Asides from our driver, this is the first real contact I have with the people of Cambodia. A young girl greets us and instantly melts my heart with her sweet charm and quick wit. It’s an experience which will later reveal itself to be indicative of most of the people I meet.

So onwards to Siem Reap and we arrive at dusk in a town that caught me a bit by surprise. My initial motivation to visit Siem Reap was purely driven by my desire to visit the Angkor temples. But I instantly loved the town. I stayed in the quieter north-east part of town at European Guesthouse – a more than adequate place to rest my head with a great host and, at $6 a night, a bargain! This side of town can also be identified by the pretty river which is nicely decorated with white fairy-lights.

The south-west of town is the busier end where you can find a plethora of bars and restaurants on Bar/Pub St and the Alley. Granted it’s a bit touristy but has a great chilled-out vibe. Check out Temple Club for some Cambodian dancing while you dine and Angkor What? – a cool, graffiti-ridden bar where you can leave a message of your own on the wall.

Day 11
The next mornng I’m up at 4am to watch the sunrise over Angkor Wat. We had a pre-arranged a tuk-tuk driver to take us around the main temples for the day. For $15-20 they spend the whole day with you, taking you to as many temples as you can take and waiting for you for as long as you want outside each temple you visit (although renting a bike for $2 a day would’ve been a cool alternative).

The Angkor temples have got to be one of the most fascinating, awe-inspiring structures you could find anywhere on this planet. I can’t really use words to describe them. You’ll just have to check them out for yourself! And it doesn’t matter how many temples you go to you’ll never get bored because each temple has it’s own unique charm or story, riddled with Buddhist and Hindu symbolism. It’s a tough one to choose but here are my top 3 temples:
- Angkor Wat – impressively vast, it’s a Cambodian icon featuring on the flag and even their beer!
- Bayon (pictured) – it’s a bizarre one but my favourite. Built by King Jayavarman VII as a Buddhist temple in the city of Angkor Thom, it is recognisable for the 11,000+ carved figures sculptured into the walls
- Ta Prohm – the ‘Tomb Raider’ temple for it’s appearance in the film. Once upon a time the jungle was allowed to engulf all the Angkor temples. To preserve the temples, this jungle has been removed although some of it has been allowed to remain at Ta Prohm, demonstrating it’s awesome power. This temple is like something straight out of Indiana Jones.

My experience at the temples though doesn’t just educate me on the awesome power of the Angkor people of the past. It educates me on the greatness of the Cambodian people today. Our young tuk-tuk driver is a kind, quiet lad who, by demonstrating an unnecessary level of gratefulness that he is our ride for the day, really makes you warm to him. And there are many young children who, initially, are desperate to sell you an assortment of goods with crys of “one dollar!”. But stop to talk to them and you instantly fall in love with their sweet, bright, charming nature. Outside of one temple, twins Corn and Choi were quite happy to forgo the hard sell when we stopped to talk to them, gleefully talking us through their school work. Excitedly Corn shows us her school workbook while we calculate algebra in the dirt floor with Choi.

I came to Cambodia to visit the magnificant temples of Angkor. Little did I realise that Cambodia’s biggest attraction would be it’s people.

Day 12
As I was now travelling overland instead of by plane, my stay had been cut to 2 days instead of 4. If I had more time I would’ve visited the floating villages of lake Tonle Sap. Instead I went into the countryside to visit a couple more temples and the landmine museum.

The countryside dwellings consist of wooden huts on stilts and we are greeted by child after child smiling and waving ecstatically at the sight of us. We visit another impressive temple, Bantaey Srei, before heading for the landmine museum. Run admirably by dedicated landmine clearer Aki Ra (who also runs a care home for children affected by landmines), the museum is a small simple structure but, in it’s simplicity, really gets the message across. Not only do you learn of the life shattering impact the landmines have (and it is estimated that there are still over 6 million still active in Cambodia), you learn of the devastating Khmer Rouge genocide. Their inhumane reign brought about the deaths of 2 million (out of a population of 7 million). If this is not a subject you are very familiar with, I’d urge you to read more. These events are all too recent in our history.

Visiting our final temple for the day, I feel a little depressed. Having grown quite attached to the people here I can only thank God that these amazing people no longer suffer at the hands of the Khmer Rouge. And I am relieved that it is something the children I’ve met will never experience.

Day 13
The next day I’m back over the border to Thailand on the taxi-minibus combo. I leave feeling almost like my time away is over. Like it’s the end of a holiday. I fell in love with Cambodia, it’s people, the town of Siem Reap and the Angkor temples. But I’ll be back and I’d urge anyone else to make their way there.

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At Avis, we’re committed to reducing our impact on the environment. We’ve previously supported the CarbonNeutral campaign, introduced Electric Bikes for deliveries in London and in Jan 2008, we were voted the Greenest car hire company in the Telegraph travel awards.

Now, we’re supporting ACT ON CO2, a cross governmental campaign designed to help people to save money and fuel as well as reducing their CO2 emissions. Visit the ACT ON CO2 website for more information on buying, driving and sharing cars.

There are a few easy things you can do to reduce the amount of work your car engine has to do, the amount of fuel you burn and your CO2 emissions. By following the below tips, you could cut your CO2 emissions by around 8% – equivalent to saving up to one months fuel per year.

1. Pump up to cut down

Under inflated tyres create more resistance when your car is moving, increasing CO2. Simply check your tyre pressures regularly and before long journeys. This will also help to increase the life of your tyres. However, remember that over inflated tyres can be unsafe, so check your car manual for the correct tyre pressure.

2. Less clutter means less CO2

Clutter in your boot is extra weight your engine has to carry around. By removing it, you will burn less fuel and cut your CO2 emissions.

3. Driving at an appropriate speed reduces CO2

Staying within the speed limit increases driver safety and drivers should never exceed the speed limit. It also reduces CO2 emissions and saves money on fuel. At 70mph you could be using up to 9% more fuel than at 60mph and up to 15% more fuel than at 50mph.

4. Less stopping and starting means less CO2

Every time you stop and start in traffic, the engine uses more fuel and produces more CO2. Keep an eye on the road ahead and slow down early by gently lifting your foot off the accelerator while keeping the car in gear. In this way, traffic may have started moving again by the time you approach the vehicle in front. You can simply change gear and be on your way.

5. Over revving accelerates emissions

Modern engines are efficient from the moment they are switched on, so revving up like a Formual 1 car in pole position wastes fuel and increases engine wear. Using your gears wisely can also reduce revs. If you drive a diesel car, try changing up gears when the revs reach 2000rpm. For a petrol car, change up at 2500rpm.

6. Idling is wasting fuel

When the engine is idling, you’re wasting fuel and adding to CO2 emissions. If you’re likely to be stationary for more than three minutes, switch off the engine.

Why not let us know on this blog what your tips are for saving money on fuel and reducing your carbon footprint?

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TigerDay 8
Last night was bizarre. A little lost trying to find a hotel some friends were staying at, a tuk-tuk driver (a bicycle one, not motorized) decided to try and help. He was a crazy old man who spoke little English and clearly did not know where he was going. Instead, with a personality that I can only describe as Rafiki from Lion King, he took me round in endless circles with numerous promises of finding me “boom boom”.

Thankfully the next day’s experience was a little more straightforward and definitely a memorable one. I had a morning to kill before getting the sleeper train back to Bangkok so I decided to head to the Tiger Kingdom. It was an amazing experience. Tigers up to one years old live at the sanctuary and are well cared for. You have a choice of 4 different ages groups which you can pay to join in their habitat. Firstly, I opted for the tiger cubs. The attendent advises you not to let them bite or scratch you but the little critters don’t give you much of a choice. But their cute faces make them all too easy to forgive. We also spent time with the more formidable one-year olds who, despite their awesome size and power, are quite happy to let you chill with them.

In the afternoon I made the trip back down to Bangkok on the sleeper train.

Day 9
Arriving early in Bangkok I had a whole day to kill before flying to Siem Reap, Cambodia the next day. Unfortunately, over breakfast I heard someone asking about troubles at the airport. I thought nothing of it at the time, thinking that any protests at such a major airport would be quickly disbanded by the afternoon.

So blissfully unaware of the problems ahead, I finally got to make my way around the Grand Palace. This was by far my most rewarding experience in Bangkok. The grandiose style of temples in the complex and the palace itself were impressive and it was great to finally see the emerald Buddha. The complex also houses a miniature version of Angkor Wat and the sight of it was giving me goosebumps about my upcoming visit to Siem Reap. Exiting the palace, I also visited the nearby Wat Pho – home of the enormous reclining Buddha.

Looking to kill some more time I used the opportunity to visit some of the nearby markets where there was not a tourist in sight. Finally, I thought I’d check the status of the airport. Horrified I found that all was far worse than I was expecting. Absolutely committed to making it to Siem Reap the next day I sought to find transport overland across the border. I overlooked this when I booked the flights as I heard that there is trouble at the border. But another traveller I was speaking to, who had made the trip before, reassured me it was fine. So I went ahead and booked the minibus/taxi combo, saving myself £100 in the process.

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Fiat 500In order to keep things new and interesting on the Select Series, we will be introducing a number of new cars throughout the year that will be available for a limited time only. We will be calling these “Select Series: Limited Edition” cars.

The first of these, I am delighted to announce, will be the iconic Fiat 500. The Fiat 500 was launched last year to a wave of excitement and anticipation. It’s not the most powerful car around but the engine is lively and the steering is light (the steering felt like that found in a bumper car when I gave it a go).

But isn’t it such a cool looking car?!. Throw in a quality chic interior, good fuel economy and it’s rating as one of the most safest super-minis around and you’re on to a winner. Oh and did I say how cool the car looks!

Auto Express are spot on when they rated it as “a triumph of pure Italian design”. Even Jeremy Clarkson has given it the thumbs up (and I have to admit I thought he wouldn’t buy in to the 500), describing it as an “instant classic”. Personally I’m such a fan of the 500 that, if Avis hadn’t provided me with a company car, this is what I’d be buying.

The Fiat 500 will be available to book from today for pick-ups between the 13th of December and the 31st of January 2009. Remember it’s available for a limited time only. And if you’ve already tried the Fiat 500, let us know what you think!

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ElephantDay 5
I was up early enough to be collected for our 3 day jungle trek and we were quickly in the countryside typified by dirt roads and markets sheltered by wooden huts. Having made a quick stop for supplies, we made our way to the first part of the adventure: a ride down the river on a bamboo ride. A nice tranquil ride was followed by a precarious slide down some mild waterfalls and rapids. With no harness or regard for health and safety, I was loving it!

We then had our first experience with a hill tribe for lunch before setting off on our trek through the jungle. Predominantly up-hill, the trek was exhausting but our destination made it well worth it. We set up for the night at a camp that consisted off a couple of huts, a shelter for a cooking area, a shelter for a dinning area and some benches that surrounded what would be a late night camp fire. All this to a back drop of the jungle and a gorgeous pool and waterfall. Hot and tired everyone went straight for the pool where the waterfall provided the best power shower I’ve ever had! Our hosts then put together a great Thai feast before we settled round the campfire for some well deserved cans of Chang.

Day 6
I slept ok but waking up on wooden floors and a thunderous waterfall that, at 4 in the morning, I found not at all tranquil, I felt tired and not at all excited about the trek ahead. The day was spent hiking and was pretty uneventful. But the reward was the night we spent at the hill tribe. Bar the constant stream of travellers which I’m sure interrupt them on a daily basis, the hill tribe remains completing uninfluenced by the western world. There was no evidence of electricity, with cooking performed over a fire and a shower little more than a tap in a wooden shed. But the people appeared happy and the children laughed and played without a care in the world – and without the need of a TV or playstation. It was really quite humbling. The tribe cooked us dinner and again the evening was spent around a campfire where the children gathered and sang for us.

The evening was also memorable for a Thai local that was known simply as “crazy man”. He asked if anyone would buy him a beer. I obliged. As some kind of twisted reward for doing this, “crazy man” beckoned me to the middle of the group. There I had to embarrass myself by joining him in a sing and a dance of the “elephant song”. Trying to copy his Thai words and dance moves that included way too much thrusting, I managed to make a complete fool of myself!

Day 7
Again a shocking night sleep. Sleeping on wooden floor boards again, this time it was a relentless rooster that woke me at 4am in the morning. By 11 we were on the road again for some more trekking. After having some lunch we made our way up for one of the highlights of the trip: the elephant ride. It was great to be so close to these amazing animals and it was a brilliant experience (despite feeling like my seat was going to fall off). The ride finished with the opportunity to feed the elephants bananas which was just reward for their hard work.

That marked the end of the jungle trek. In hindsight I do think I could of get a better deal than going through the travel agent. If you do decide to make the trip to Chiang Mai, make sure you book the train in advance as tickets can quickly sell out and, trust me, you do not want to be in 3rd class on what is a 14 and a half our trip. You can easily book all your excursions when you are up there. Would I do the 3-day jungle trek again? The total experience was something that I might never do again and it was totally worth it. I could’ve done without the 2nd day trekking but then going to a 2 day trek would have meant missing out on either the hill tribe or the night by the waterfall.

To be honest there is so much to do in Chiang Mai that I could’ve done with a few more days. There are plenty of extreme sport activities plus Flight of the Gibbon, the snake farm and the Tiger Kingdom (which I will talk about in my next update) which have been recommended. It would have been good to have gone to the elephant sanctuary as well where you can be confident that the elephants are enjoying a good life. A work colleague also recommended taking a scooter up Doi Suthep. There is simply too much to do and too little time!!

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Monk Day 1
First day of my travels and I reach Bangkok with trepidation. I touched down at Suvarnabhumi Airport accompanied by a couple of other lonely travellers who, by sharing a taxi into the city, helped relieve my initial fear of loneliness in a foreign city I’d never visited before. But this feeling of comfort would subside for a few hours as we split to find our individual hotels in the area of Khao San road. Bustling with bright lights, bars, markets and hounded by promises of cheap suits and croaking wooden frogs I struggled to find my hotel amongst all the glowing signs. Enlisting the help of a number of tuk-tuk drivers and of the promoters of the cheap suits I was initially trying to avoid I find my hotel, off-load my bags and make my back out into the lights.

Reaquinted with my new found friends, and filled with Pad-Thai costing less than a pound (despite the unfavourable exchange rates), we set ourselves up in a make shift bar comsuming Chang beer. Being new to the backpacking environment I was amazed by how quickly fellow travellers descended around our location and I was quickly mingling with others from Canada, Ireland, New Zealand and Australia. We were also joined by a couple of Thai children who were trying to sell bracelets and other cheap goods. Not interested they decided to take me on at rock-paper-scissors. If I lost I’d have to cough up. Admiring the girl’s confident, fearless attitude I decided to take on the challenge. I lost. I coughed up. But she deserved it!

Day 2
It was highly recommended to me that I make the trip to Chiang Mai but in all honesty I had no idea what I was really heading up there for. I booked a 3 day jungle trek including a stay with a hill tribe and an elephant ride. I couldn’t help feeling that, without the opportunity to shop around, I could’ve got a better deal. But being on my second day I was still feeling a bit naive and anxious about everything. I guess if you’re going to get ripped off then do it in Thailand where the implications are a mere couple of quid.

Now for some sight-seeing. Armed with my Lonely Planet guide I was quite committed about what I was going to see. That was until I made it to the end of Khao San Road where I was bombarded by promises of cheap tours of the city. For just 100 Baht (approxmately £2), we were promised to be taken to a number of “must-see” temples as well as some “Thai fashion”. I was aware of these “deals” where you could organise a cheap tuk-tuk because, by taking you to these stores, the driver would be rewarded with a fuel voucher. A quick stop at the tall standing Buddha and the marble temple were followed by the inevitable stops at 3 suit-makers and a jewellery store. We arranged to be dropped off at our final destination (the one I had really wanted to see): the Grand Palace. Unfortunately, the palace was closed due to the death of the king’s sister: Princess Galyani Vadhana. The temple, I was told, would be open again tomorrow so I would return then.

This day was also typified by my first attempt at haggling. Khao San road is renowned for it’s market stalls offering the cheapest t-shirts, hats, bags and flip flops you’ll ever find. My Lonely Planet guide suggested that the opportunity to haggle in these markets is something I should enjoy. Unaccustomed to acquiring goods in this way, I picked up a bag and asked the price. Floundering, I suggested an alternative price. She accepted straight away. Clearly, I’d gone in too high and the failure compounded my unease at trying to barter. Feeling embarrassed I quickly took my goods and made a hasty exit.

Day 3
The plan for today was to check out the Grand Palace during the day before taking the overnight sleeper train to Chiang Mai in the evening. Unfortunately, by the time I made it to the Grand Palace it was closed again. Apparently, on it’s first day of re-opening it was only open to the tourists in the morning. I had not got there in time. Instead I checked out the nearby National Museum which taught of the origins of the Thai people and of the conflicts with neighbouring countries in addition to displays of impressive throwns and Thai artefacts.

In the evening I caught the sleeper train to Chiang Mai. Your seats fold out to provide a surprisingly comfortable bed and the addition of a curtain and a personal light somehow conjured childhood memories of camping. 3 days in, it was the highlight of my experience so far!

Day 4
I have to say that I was much happier to get to Chiang Mai. Much quieter and tranquil than Bangkok, I was relieved to get away from the constant hassle I received every time I made my way to my hotel on Khao San. I spent most of the afternoon visiting a number of temples and I found more impressive than the ones I visited in Bangkok. My recommended temples are Wat Chiang Mun (the town’s oldest), Wat Phra Singh and Wat Jedee Luang.

Also, Bangkok had made me unfairly suspicious of anyone local who wanted to help me. But there was no hint of an ulterior motive here and I find the people of Chiang Mai approachable and extremely helpful. One of the locals I struck up a conversation with was a Buddhist monk (pictured left) at one of the temples at Wat Phra Singh. He asked if I had any questions about Buddhism. Typical of many people of my generation, my complete ignorance of the Buddhist religion meant that I had no question I could ask as I had too little knowledge. Kindly, he started from the beginning.

In the evening I decided to hit the Night Bazaar in preparation for my jungle trek the next day. Perhaps finding myself acclimitising to life in Thailand I had found a new-found confidence in my bartering skills. Finding what I needed I got a bit of banter going with the street seller. After a series of exchanges I managed to squeeze every last Baht out of my opponent. Buoyed by my success I got a little carried away and, for the fun of it, found myself buying a number of goods that I really did not need. I did pick up a t-shirt sized medium. I should of known that a medium size in Thailand would work out ridiculously tight on me. Oh well, it will make a good present for my 14 year old brother who I’m sure would be more than happy to don a t-shirt promoting Chang beer!

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