Leaving England and arriving in Thailand

30th January 2014

We had a wonderfully relaxing two weeks in England catching up with friends and family. A bit of a holiday from the holiday really! We spent the first four days at a couple of friends’ flat in North London who were gracious enough to let us use their sofa bed. We (and by “we” I mostly mean Richard…) paid them back by cooking them some food at night and taking them out to Wagamama on our last night. I have to say that I could very much see ourselves returning to the UK and living in London in a near future and it was great experiencing life there from an apartment rather than a hotel room. Thanks Tara and Will! We love you!

The last ten days or so were spent in West Berkshire where Richard’s mum lives and where Richard is originally from. It was beautifully peaceful and we got to walk the dogs daily in the foggy countryside, do some cooking and recharge our batteries. The weather was overall dry and pleasant except for the last few days, which made it easier to leave, with the prospect of sunny Bangkok ahead of us. Having previously lived in England as a non-vegan and having tried the deliciousness that is clotted cream, I searched the web prior to our arrival for any vegan alternative and, to my surprise, stumbled on some vegan alternative! Obviously we ordered 4 tubs of it and we (and by “we”, I mostly mean “I”….) went through all of them with home-baked scones, jam and tea. That was amazing.

And off we went!

We made it to Bangkok from London after a 7-hour flight to Dubai and another 6-hour flight from there on to Bangkok. I have to give a shout out to Emirates airline for the fab efficiency of their service and the very decent vegan in-flight meals.

Arriving into Bangkok in the early evening from the overnight flight and with a 7 hour time difference from London, we were pretty shattered and confused by the time we got here and were most happy to find ourselves a room and a bit of food and go straight to sleep. Given the political situation and the protests going on in the city right now, we changed our plans slightly and decided to leave Bangkok as soon as possible after sorting out a few bits of shopping we had to do, and head slowly to Northern Thailand. We will return later when things have cooled down a bit, not that we actually noticed anything happening I will have to say.

For convenience sake, we came to Khao San Road, which Lonely Planet dubbed “a safely padded landing strip for jet-lagged travellers”. I think these 2 days here will do me just fine. First observation: I can’t find any durian anywhere 🙁 Also, no, I do not wish to attend the ping pong show, thanks. Nevertheless, it was a great first contact with Thailand. The Thais are warm and the fruits are lush, minus the unfortunate nonexistence of durians. Them Thai bananas are wonderful! Like banana flavoured bananas. We stayed at Wild Orchid Villa, which, at 600 Thai baht a night, was comfortable, clean and perfectly adequate for the zombies that we were.

Food-wise, I knew we’d have no problem finding vegan food for breakfast and lunch (aka fruits), but I was happy to spot quite a few vegetarian and vegan options here and there, as well as a Jay restaurant in a little side street far enough away from Khao San that we were the only farang in there. If you don’t know Jay is a style of veganism followed by Thailand’s Chinese Buddhists. If you are interested, you can read more about it here. Although this restaurant had an English menu, nothing from there seemed to be available that day, and the lady owner didn’t really speak much English. She firmly said “Rice? Vegetables? Two? Yes?” And that was exactly what we wanted. And it was spicy and delicious, with all the condiments you would hope for in a Thai restaurant, except vegan. I’ve got to say that I really enjoy the way Thais cope with the language barrier in restaurants thus far. They just bring you what they think you want. And so far it’s been perfect. We also had an amazing dinner at May Kaidee, which is also a vegan cooking school.

So we are making our way to Chiang Mai with a first stop in Sukhothai where we should be staying a few days to break the journey in two. I guess so far I have been too busy taking it all in to take photos or videos, but I will do my best to get snapping once I get a little more focused and a little less “oh wow!” this and “oh wow!” that.

So far, all I have is a photo of that little Jay restaurant where we ate. Who knows, maybe it is just a tactic to keep you coming back for more 🙂

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