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Thailand

From Indonesia we headed to Thailand, one of our favourite countries. We also headed to the beach to relax and wash some of the sweat from Borneo off.

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Ko Chang is a medium-sized densely jungled island off the south-east coast near the Cambodian border. It's surrounded by a marine reserve and some great reefs. However, rampant coastal development, the tourist high season and some poor weather meant that we didn't enjoy it as much as we hoped. After a few days we headed back to Bangkok so dad could fly back to Indonesia to work and we continued on.

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Bangkok is one of my favourite cities. Like all the world's great cities it always has something to do, but it also has some of the most incredible markets, temples, food, the world's biggest china town, ornate palaces, malls, transport networks and lovely people. There are a few down sides, like it's always hot and sweaty and traffic is usually manic but over the last 12 years or so there's been massive development with a skytrain and underground as well as massive, multi-layered highways. If only Auckland had a fraction of the investment in transport infrastructure!

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Wat Arun, mosaiced in old Chinese pottery that was used as ballast from mainland Chinese trading junks.

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The huge reclining Buddha statue of Wat Po

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Chatuchak in northern Bangkok is one of my favourite markets anywhere. It's the massive weekend market and you can by everything from a pet stingray to fake Levis to real Levis to deep fried giant cockroaches to delicious curries to freshly picked water lilies to antiques to huge murals to giant, golden buddhas to bizarre buskers and almost anything else you might imagine! If you're in Bangkok over a weekend you really should spend at least half a day exploring it.