Back once again in Bangkok.

Waking up in Chachoengsao I packed up the few things I had taken out of my bag and Liam, via 5 minutes of driving down the wrong side of the road got us to the station.

The ticket cost about 10 Baht to take us on the hour long journey to central Bangkok. I got some tasty coconut batter snacks for the train and we began our short journey. It was so pretty as we passed rice fields filled with storks and the scenery starting to become less country and more City.

Liam had recommended a hotel near Asok train station so we alighted there and ten minutes later we were checking in. It was a really nice hotel and I had splurged for the executive lounge so we could get breakfast, afternoon snacks, and free drinks in the evening.

After a chillout by the pool with a Pina colada we got some free lunch at the lounge and headed towards Siam Square for the magical rainbow cheese toastie. Bangkok is pretty easy to navigate with its metro and SkyTrain and along with 7/11s they make a nice reprieve from the heat.

We arrived at Siam Square and found the Hokkaido Cheese Toastie shop on the ground floor of the mall. We ordered some drinks while we waited for the rainbow toastie and then realised they were cheesy drinks! Actually they were delicious, Liam had strawberry and I went for matcha and they had a cheesecakey float on the top.

Then the rainbow toastie arrived and it was everything we were hoping for and more. So pretty but also super weird as the different colours are different fruity flavours. But cheese.

We wandered around the mall for a bit checking out the randomness of it all, then found the Hello Kitty cafe. I was super excited but it was actually a bit disappointing inside, and the menu was overpriced so we didn’t stay. Instead we walked along the skywalk, checking out Erawan shrine from above and finally jumping the SkyTrain back to Nana for a beer and to people watch.

We sat here for a while watching ominously as dark grey clouds closed in on us before the heavens opened up. It was past 6 at this point and we wanted to enjoy the free drinks and food at the hotel, and after a soggy 40 minutes of being packed into the SkyTrain and metro like sardines we made it.

The food was great and they had plenty of vegetarian options, Liam was super happy he could drink white wine too as it’s something of a luxury for him. Feeling a bit tipsy we got changed before heading to Tuba antique restaurant and bar. A cool little place off the beaten track that Liam had suggested.

We arrived via taxi and it was pretty cool, lots of random objects dotted about the place and tasty cocktails which were huge! We sat at the bar and chatted through the night till I was too tired to talk. So we walked slowly back to the hotel and I passed out almost immediately.

I woke early in the morning, and went for a refreshing swim before trying literally everything vegetarian on the breakfast buffet. I waited for Liam to wake up and we got ready to head out. We wanted to head to Chang Chui market with its cool abandoned planes but realised it’s closed on a Wednesday.

Instead we headed to Jim Thompson’s house as a last minute decision, and it turned out to be pretty cool. It wasn’t super expensive about 200 Baht, this includes a tour of the house in your language. It was cool seeing this snapshot of post WW2 life for an expat and the gardens and decor were stunning. It’s also easy to get to, just take the SkyTrain to National Stadium and it’s a 5 minute walk from there. We also checked out the canal just past the house.

e took the BTS down towards Lumphini park, this place is famous for its water monitor lizards though unfortunately Bangkok council had the majority of the big ones removed as they were becoming a nuisance in the City, including one casually walking into a Tesco.

The park itself is a nice break from the city and you can rent bikes or pedalos. We visited in 2015 and it seems like it’s in a constant state of fluctuation. We enjoyed the lizard hunt and were rewarded for our endeavours by spotting a big one eating an even bigger fish.

From here our plan was to take the BTS around to Sala Daeng and hit the unicorn cafe, but Liam dropped his phone somewhere in the park. Luckily a local found it and we managed to get it back but by this point it made more sense to walk down to the cafe.

It was about a 25 minute walk from Lumphini to Silom district where the cafe is and it was totally worth it. Bright and garish it was like a crazy acid trip, with unicorns hanging from the ceiling and the most colourful desserts menu I have ever seen.

We ordered some iced drinks and one of the rainbow waffles, the drinks were so sugary and sweet we had to wait for the ice to dilute them a little but the waffles were incredible.

Buzzing from the sugar rush we wandered up towards the main street in Silom near the BTS and grabbed a couple of beers. We were going to head to some of the gay bars but they didn’t open till 6pm and like needed to get back to Chachoengsao.

It turned out we probably could’ve gone there as the BTS was full of commuters so we decided to risk the Bangkok traffic and take a taxi for 100 Baht. Google maps said it would take 45 minutes but almost 2 hours of bumper to bumper cars we finally arrived at the Avani.

Liam quickly sorted out a taxi back home and I prepared for my morning departure to Myanmar, the first official leg of my tour.

Singapore slingin’ and supertree groovin’. 

We were up this morning for a quick and easy breakfast at the hotel in Kuala Lumpur ready to check out and take a taxi to the airport. It worked out just as cheap as taking the monorail and train and it’s much easier to travel this way sometimes.

Arriving at the airport it was an easy hour long flight to Singapore, I grabbed a quick 45 minute nap and awoke to what seemed like hundreds of ships surrounding the City. We landed and soon made our way through customs where we jumped in a taxi straight to our hotel for the next few days. Another Park Royal, this time on Beach road, so named because before land reclamation the beaches were found here.

We quickly checked in and freshened up, eager to get out and explore the City. It was hot and humid as we walked along beach road towards the famous Marina Bay. As we wandered along checking out the huge skyscrapers around us the heavens opened and it started to pour down with rain.

Taking shelter I took some Singapore dollars out and we hid in a little cafe having coffee and cake to perk us up. The rain soon subsided and we found ourselves a few minutes walk from the famous Raffles hotel. Raffles has existed here since Singapore was just an up and coming colonial outpost and is a Singaporean institution.

Unfortunately the exterior was being renovated, but one of the bars was still open, it was only lunch time but we were on holiday so thought we would treat ourselves to a Singapore Sling.

Supposedly invented at this hotel the Singapore Sling is a fruity gin concoction. I don’t think I’ll ever have a better one… it’s pretty pricey but worth every Singapore dollar. A bonus are the free monkey nuts, you even get to discard the shells onto the floor without even a raise of an eyebrow.

Once we had an early afternoon buzz from the gin the rain had stopped so we pointed ourselves in the direction of Marina Bay. Now this is the place that travel photographers will dream about, with the iconic Marina Bay Sands hotel, the water lion statues, and the framing of the whole bay by skyscrapers, colonial buildings, and fancy architectural developments.

After enjoying seeing parts of the F1 tracks we diverged from out path to check out the Merlion fountain, the views over the bay from here are mesmerising and as good as I had imagined. It was exciting to think we would be on top of the huge ship-shaped hotel that looks over the bay.

After checking out the interestingly shaped theatre building we carried on along the promenade and across the cool Helix bridge to Marina Bay Sands. This was a little tease of what was to come as we stepped onto one of the walk ways above the reception area.

It was crazy to think we were staying there in a couple of nights! It was so cool, in more ways than one as we enjoyed the aircon. It was starting to get pretty humid outside and we enjoyed the change in temperature.

Emerging out onto the other side of the hotel we were hit with another incredible view, the whole reason we had planned the trip. Gardens by the Bay and the futuristic supertrees.

Everything had lived up to expectations so far and this was no exception. You could see for miles out to see past the tops of the trees and out to the Singapore Flyer across the bay.

The best part of the gardens is that it’s free! So we stopped and grabbed a refreshing drink and sat in the shade before wandering through lush vegetation and into the supertree grove.

The trees are actually living breathing factories, supplying the rest of the gardens with resources including water, electricity and cooling systems. They are around 16 storeys tall and you can take the lift up on to wander through the skywalk, taking in a different view from above and getting up close to the interesting plants found in the trees.

We were actually getting hungry at this point so taking a stroll along the waterfront we headed to Satay by the bay. This is a collection of food stalls where you can grab any number of things.

The food was pretty good and cheap, plus I got to try Cendol, a traditional shaved ice dessert made with mung bean and covered with various chewy sweets. It was so nice and refreshing in the heat, on our way back we did some otter hunting. The otters returned to Singapore in the 90s and have been flourishing ever since! Sadly we didn’t see any this time.

We headed to the two huge greenhouses that inhabit the gardens, these you do have to pay for and it’s around £15 for both of them. One is the cloud forest with a huge waterfall and plants all based around a central column you can climb up through and around. The second is the flower dome, full of different blooms all shapes and sizes.

We enjoyed this little guy, guarding all the pumpkins for autumn. They were nice to walk around and the amount of flowers and plant life was amazing.

I definitely enjoyed the cloud forest more, it was great seeing out over the supertree grove which was starting to light up ready for the evening show. Although I did enjoy the harvest showpiece in the flowerdome.

Every night there’s a show at the supertree grove, where the trees are lit up to different songs and music. It was an incredible moment and I loved every minute of it, once it was over we were pretty tired so headed back to the hotel for a night time swim in the pool and planning our second day in this amazing City.

Cracking on in Carcassone

I was up and about early, walking back to Beziers train station. It was hot even at 8am and I knew I was in for another scorcher. I had pre-booked my ticket online for 14Euro for first class! It was only 50cent or so extra so thought I’d splash out. 

The train was only marginally delayed and I was soon on my way, watching the French countryside roll past as we trundled along. We soon arrived in Carcassone and I checked my maps before heading in the general direction of the famous citadel. 

Passing over the canal du midi again, along a leafy boulevard, and over a lovely square. I hit a bridge over the river. From here I got my first glimpse of my destination. I was super excited to explore it, but first I had to drop my main bag off at a hotel. 

I was using Nannybag for the first time and it was so useful, you can leave your bag at a participating hotel for around 5E and it was really easy. 

Now I was free from the shackles of my bag I went straight up the hill to Carcassone citadel. Marvelling at the towers with their bright blue conical roofs. It started as a Gaulish settlement in the 3rd century before the Romans decided to fortify it. 

Now it’s half winding alleyways half tourist filled restaurants and shops. The best tip I can give is to buy your tickets to walk the walls from the tourist office, there’s no queue here compared to the regular ticket office in the grounds of the main castle. 

My first stop in the citadel was the church, there were monks singing inside which really added to the atmosphere. I left feeling very calmed, and began to explore all the winding streets. I walked around the perimeter and found a cute little garden area beneath the bridge into the main castle. 

I was excited to get up high onto the walls so passed through the barriers and went straight up to my left onto the walls. The views over the City and countryside were excellent and the wind was a nice cooldown from the 35°c heat. I passed through towers and looked down into the citadel, gaining a different perspective of the place. 

After a couple of hours wandering round the Citadel I decided to go into the City and possibly walk along the canal again. I walked back down the hill and crossed over the river on a pedestrian bridge. I checked google maps for the little brown circles that indicate places of interest and headed up the Boulevard Barbes. 

It was a lovely tree lined pedestrian street with fountains, the portail des jacobins, a gateway inro the old city, and the Sant Michel cathedral. 

I could see a green space on the map at the end of the Boulevard so I decided to continue walking towards it. As I got closer I saw that it was a walled garden of some sort. Walking around the walls I found the gateway and walked in to quite a creepy old garden. 

It was pretty cool, with an old abandoned church under a load of dirt and rocks and a big Jesus statue located right at the top. 

I love little finds like this, wandering around discovering things that aren’t the stereotypical sights. I passed through the town which has some nice streets, and headed up the canal again. Big boats cruised past and cyclists/joggers/dog walkers passed me by as I took in the beautiful scenery. 

My plan was to walk up until the canal came close to the river, and walk back down towards the Citadel to pick my bag up. After missing the turning off for the river I finally made it and enjoyed the leisurely walk in the sunshine back up to the hotel through gardens and parks. 

I picked my bag up and said goodbye to Carcassone, an absolutely beautiful place which definitely lived up to it’s hype. The citadel alone is worth it! 

My next destination was Toulouse, the trendy student City near the Pyrenees mountains and the Spanish border. I had only really decided to stay here for the onward journey to Andorra but after doing some research I was looking forward to it.
I was staying in a hostel near the river and one of the main sights in Toulouse, the Basilica of saint-sernin. I arrived late on and after checking into my shared room I decided to head straight to the river and see what was going on. I couldn’t believe how busy it was when I got there, teeming with people sat eating, drinking, and laughing everywhere along the riverbank. 

Seeing everyone having fun in the warm evening made me a bit sad that I didn’t have anyone with me to enjoy it, the one time solo travel really bothered me on this trip. 

I sat in a gap between some groups and watched a gorgeous sunset over the river. At this point I was starving so once the sun was down I went in search of food, I was craving something unhealthy and cheap and found the perfect thing…kebab and chips! 

I was ready for bed after a lot of walking about, and when I got back there was nobody in the room, so I got in bed and slowly dozed off. I had a full day to explore Toulouse and wanted to make the most of it.