Luca thanked the Thai custom officials, upon our entry into Thailand two days ago, in Malaysian. Naturally I quickly looked up our trusty Lonely Planet to learn to express the Thai equivalent and have been repeating it to Luca, and to whomever appropriate the situation in Thailand dictates, ever since. Luca is also playing little games to himself and talking out loud as he does so about how much different things cost: 2 Ringits, 4 Ringits. (The Ringit being the Malay currency). The latter and his border  faux pas, which everyone smiled adoringly at, quite aptly manages to sum up the way we've all felt over the last day or two. As we all de-Malaysian-ize ourselves and  Thai-ify ourselves.  It must be an island country dweller thing (is it? Anyone?) but I never fail to be amazed at how one can cross the border into a neighbouring country and suddenly be in such a vastly different place, within minutes. (Now I know that there's a border on our own island - I am literally talking about non-island countries).  I remarked the same when we were cycling through Europe - constantly.

Some very initial thoughts on Thailand and how it compares with Malaysia (remember this is only after 2/3 days): greener, wilder,  more rustic, friendlier (with a caveat*), a bit more relaxed (again this comes with a slight health warning*), cheaper, dog friendlier (we only saw approx. 2 dogs in Muslim Malaysia; Muslims consider dogs dirty)  and, well, spicier. Thailand seems cycle friendlier too with designated lanes on roads for cyclists and motorbikes.


We've encountered only one problem cycling in Thailand so far and that's keeping our hands on the handlebars as we  wave back at friendly passers-by constantly :). The Thai's love children and are tickled pink at the sight of Luca on his Dad's bike seat.  We spent our first  night in Thailand in the Southern town of Trang which, despite attracting an underwhelmed paragraph in The Lonely Planet, we really enjoyed apart from some stressful cycling as we dodged the mopeds and motorbikes which came at us from all sides  like speeding bullets. There were fantastic night markets and coffee houses there. From there we made our way by mini-bus and ferry to Koh Lanta. We chose to stay two nights in the Old Town - a working fishing village where the old style wooden houses hang over the ocean. We were staying in a beautiful dark teak wooden cabin which literally rested above the ocean, which we heard lapping at night, as we lay nicely fanned under our billowing  mosquito net. Very Somerset Maugham - with mod cons. Yesterday we cycled to the other side of the island to do a reconnaissance and found a lovely beachside spot to move onto from here. So we're currently packing up to move on. Goodbye Old Town. Hello again beach living.
(*The Malay are exceedingly friendly as are the Thai. But we've found that the Thai are a little bit more relaxed/less formal, maybe, if that's the right word. The Malay are very by the book. The Thai seem willing to bend the rules  a bit. There are good and bad aspects to both from a travellers viewpoint.)

8 comments:

At April 12, 2011 at 2:38 PM Sarah said...

Koh Lanta Yai is where we went on Honeymoon - would love to go back!! Enjoy it - Sawade ka (I think that's hello?!) xx

 
At April 12, 2011 at 5:23 PM Linda de Paor said...

No way! Where did you guys stay? We're now on Klong Nin beach. Going elephant trekking tomorrow with Luca and got him the cutest linen shirt with an embroidered elephant for the occassion. Might be nice for us to get s.thing for the kids here as this is where you were on h.moon. Will it be warm when you go to US on hols? x

 
At April 13, 2011 at 12:23 AM Anonymous said...

Maeve was thrilled with the call yesterday! Thanks for that! We had a lovely Birthday FESTIVAL with her & hopefully you'll be in on the action next year. Latest post from Thailand sounds like it will be another great chapter in the adventures!Glad to hear it's cycle friendly too... Lots of love from all of us here! AINE XXX

 
At April 15, 2011 at 1:48 PM Linda de Paor said...

Thanks Elder Lemon. We were delighted to speak to Maeve and then to have our Skype call the next day with you all. Luca was so excited that it was Maeve's birthday :). We had a great time at the Elephant trekking later that day and then were initiated into the Thai New Year traditions - and duly drowned with ice cold water with every step. I couldn't take any photos as I thought my camera would come to an untimely and wet end. Did some cycling networking today and met some fellow cyclists and got good advice on good cycling routes etc. so leaving Koh Lanta tomorrow and heading up North. Hope you all enjoy the rest of your holidays...Will speak soon. LOL.x

 
At April 15, 2011 at 2:07 PM Anonymous said...

Through one entire country already..
well done guys.

Thailand looks beautiful too and much more cycle friendly I am glad to see.
The adventures keep me going - weare off to Spain for Easter with the kids . Its a comfort to return to a place where you know the set up - you have me hanking for adventure now !!!
keep peddling Love Niamh

 
At April 15, 2011 at 2:17 PM Linda de Paor said...

Oh Niamh - it's really beautiful. We went elephant trekking the other day and I thought of Stephen and how, when you met him anyway ( probably still?) he thought elephants were sublime. Think you guys would love it here. Weather is great, food fantastic and the people are wonderfully friendly. We're loving Asia. It's nice to have a home though and a home away from home too. Believe it or not I am looking forward to being settled again but no wishing my life or time in Asia away. Will try to call you later - maybe if you're in we could even Skype? Love to all and have a fantastic holiday in Spain. x

 
At April 19, 2011 at 12:06 PM Anonymous said...

Hi! Just had Bev & the kids over for dinner. It's been a beautiful few days in Sydney & am loving being on holidays. The adventures look wonderful but Bev & I were saying it will be so great to have you around! Think you should spend as much time as possible enjoying such an amazing part of the world! ELDER LEMON! X

 
At April 20, 2011 at 6:18 AM Linda de Paor said...

Aw - thanks Sis. We are just having a fantastic time but equally, while not wishing our time away, we are SO looking forward to arriving in Oz & being there with you guys. I got your lovely text too - hope you and Paul had a lovely full moon autumnal date. I am replying to your texts on the net and while it says "Delivered" I know you aren't getting them. Going to email you now. Love to all...Delighted you are enjoying the hols and a big Happy Easter! x

 

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