Being our last long, overnight bus journey we would be doing, we were hoping the 12 hour ride from Chiang Mai to Bangkok would all go smoothly. Unfortunately, someone wanted it to make sure it was one to remember!
We were taken to a petrol station at 6pm to wait with about 50 other people for the bus. A Thai man who spoke very little English kept telling us '20 minutes' when we asked when the bus was coming. He said it was something to do with a tyre. 3 hours later, we the bus finally pulled up. We all clapped when it started, only to find it pulling in to another garage 10 minutes down the road. We found out from the one Thai lady on the bus that the brakes were failing, and we ended up sitting there for another 2 hours. We then decided at midnight that even if we did leave once it was fixed, the bus seemed too unsafe to travel on. So we cut our losses (so we thought!) and got a taxi with another English couple and 2 Swedish girls to the airport which was only 5 minutes down the road. (We had a flight to catch the following day to Hong Kong, so we had to be in Bangkok by 1pm at the latest!) As Chiang Mai airport is so small, it was closed by the time we got there at 1am! We didn't want to pay for a hotel for a few hours, so we set up camp in a 24 hour MacDonald's, and 6 hours actually passed quite quickly while we shared our travel stories with our new friends, who actually live in Bristol near James' Dad. So we went back to the airport at 7am, to find a flight leaving at 8am which was perfect. We arrived at Bangkok airport at 9am, with 7 hours to wait for our flight to Hong Kong! We passed the time by eating all of the free samples of biscuits and rice crackers at the shops so we didn't have to spend any money! So by the time we made it to Hong Kong, we had gone 36 hours with not one wink of sleep, so we were so relieved that we had booked a nice hotel to go straight from the airport to!
It was way over any budget we'd set for hotel's before, but it was well worth every penny! We got room service the first night, then when we woke up went up to the roof top pool to sunbathe in the morning.In the afternoon, we took the tram and went around all of the sights; Hong Kong is basically a huge city of very impressive sky scrapers, built on 2 sides of a river, with green hills gracing the backdrop. We found that just walking around and taking the ferry to the other side was the best way of seeing it all.We were staying in the old quarter on the Victoria Harbour where there were very few Westerners and lots of old markets. As it was our very last destination, what else could we do but treat ourselves to a nice meal?! We had heard that the high-class hotel buffets were the best way to sample the local cuisines, so we headed to the Shangri-La. We started with cocktails in the old fashioned bar, where Em had a 'Twilight' which had Frangelico, Vodka, Cointreau and Yakult in! Different but delicious! Then we headed to the buffet, where we had lobster, crab, sashimi, scallops, dim sum, sushi, curry and anything else you can imagine, and as much as we could eat of all of it! We found that alcohol was stupidly expensive, sometimes up to £10 for a pint! So when we got offered a buffet wine menu with over 20 wines to choose from, and as much as we wanted for £12, we couldn't resist! It was the perfect evening to round off our budget travels!
The next day we went over to the other side of the river, to Kowloon, and just wondered around the shops and sights there. We had a Ploughmans and deep fried camembert for dinner, a true sign we were ready to go home! Every night at 8pm Samsung put on an amazing light show in the city, which lights up all of the buildings in the skyline for about 10 minutes to music. After watching the spectacular show, we headed back to the hotel as we had been walking around for 9 hours straight, and had to be up for our flight home at 5am the next day.... it was time to go home!!