Craig celebrated his birthday in Bangkok. We treated ourselves to stay in a lovely self catering apartment with a nice pool and restaurant on site (& a launderette that we made the most of! ) The apartment was huge and it was nice to cater for ourselves. Craig enjoyed a trip to one of Asia's largest markets on his birthday;-) Before a cooling off dip in the hotel pool (it was very hot - about 36 degrees) and a lovely meal in the restaurant. Whilst in Bangkok we visited the famous 100yr old floating market which, unfortuately, has been replaced with an over priced tourist scam. The rest of the time was spent planning our trip to Laos, when we found that it is a high risk area for malaria. So we spent our last day visiting numerous pharmacies to find anti malarial drugs. The search included 2 hospitals where we were eventually helped by a lovely nurse who made some phonecalls before directing us to the hospital for tropical diseases. After a 3 hour mission and a 10 minute consultation with a doctor, we had the drugs, and all for a cost of £6. That night we took the night train to Nong Khai, the border town with Laos. Thai trains are much more modern than Indian trains- the steward comes and makes up your bed, with sheets and pillows, and you even have a curtain for privacy-luxury. After a quick change of train we go across the Friendship Bridge across the Mekong river into Laos. Our hotel in the capital, Vientiane, is another lucky find (Thanks trip advisor). Our room has a fridge, minibar, tv & dvd player, tea making & a hairdryer! Vanda's forgotten how to use a hairdryer! ! Oh, and it's got a pool. Vientiane is a very clean, modern, city sat on the banks of the Mekong. We enjoy exploring the city and night market (treating ourselves to some dvds at 40p each! ). Vanda's birthday was spent going to the Vietnamese embassy to get our visas then a visit to the COPE Centre- a rehabilitation and treatment Centre for injuries sustained by unexploded bombs that were dropped by the Americans. An amazing place not least because we learnt about the scale of the problem! Laos is the most bombed place in the world and people are still being killed by the bombs, when they are found in fields, villages etc. Then we came back to hotel to relax by pool before going out to a nice French restaurant for dinner and a bottle of wine. Vanda enjoyed Steak and chips after living on a vegetarian diet for 3months! When we got back to hotel the young guys on reception gave Vanda a birthday cake- very sweet. Then they gave us each a beer and we sat chatting to the owner- a 30 year old Vietnamese who told us how he had no education but he now part owns 4 hotels. We had an interesting chat with him. Certainly a birthday to remember.