After a lazy morning in the hotel and our last mooch around Shenzhen, we checked out at 2pm and crossed the border to Hong Kong. I still can't get my head around how you can get from China to Hong Kong in 5 minutes, especially as all social media and Google is allowed again just a few yards apart.

From the Hong Kong border we walked out of the train station and waited in the pouring rain for a bus to take us to the airport to catch our flight to Bangkok. Everything was wet wet wet and made a massive change to the last time we were here. An hour and changeover bus later (it broke down), we arrived at the airport extremely early and excitement set in alongside boredom. We sat munching our snacks and talking and eventually it was time to go through as we were to be boarding soon - or so we thought.

20 minutes late we boarded the plane and due to the torrential rain and thunderstorms, we were sat waiting another hour or so till it was safe to take off - this gave us great reassurance... Just as I thought our plane would be cancelled and we would be asked to get off, we begun to take off for what was the worst flight of my life. It was the shortest flight I've ever done, just under 3 hours, but the most terrifying.

The weather definitely took its toll and as we were picking up height and speed, the plane jolted and dropped before getting up again. Eventually we got up but it still wasn't an enjoyable flight. We were shaking from side to side and dipping up and down, and as we tried to watch a film to distract us, I just couldn't concentrate. I felt sick and was sweating and have never been so relieved to get off a plane.

By the time we got off the plane and to our hotel in Bangkok it was 3am. However, the hotel was that incredible, we forgot all about our plane journey. We soon settled into our hotel suite and crashed out in the big comfy bed - felt like heaven in comparison to the hostels. (We had booked into the Banyan Tree, and it was UNREAL - highly recommend a stay here!)

We woke up on Sunday morning and decided to do a bit of research on what to do in in the area. We discovered that there was a weekend market that sold everything possible and wow was they right. When we arrived, the market was absoloutly gigantic, selling food, clothes, furniture, photographs, even puppies.

The weather in Bangkok wasn't as we both expected, as we were hoping for bright blue skies and instead were rewarded with cloud and humidity, followed by a torrential downpour in the middle of walking through the market - so much so that even under the sheltered bits of the market, the plastic sheets were caving in under the weight and under the shelter we still got drenched.

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To get out of the rain, we decided to find something to eat and came across a row of restaurants on the side of the road (when I say restaurants it was a group of plastic chairs around tables and an open cooker on the side). As we walked down the road deciding which one to settle for, we were warned off by one westerner who just shook his head and pulled a face at the food and we swiftly thanked him and moved on.

We finally chose somewhere and sat down and ordered our food. When it arrived, we both took one bite and realised it was cold and undercooked meat and rice, and after a few more unsure mouthfuls, and decided to leave it (it only cost £2 each, we were much happier to waste this than have food poisoning). We walked on and found a little bar still under the market stall where the majority of people were all huddled under shelter on wooden stools drinking beer off barrel tables. There was also a DJ set with loud booming house music, such a surreal atmosphere in the middle of a Sunday market.

You know when you imagine a big fat Italian chef, big belly, big grin, bubbly and with a big slanting chef hat similar to lady and the tramp? This guy was here, singing away, posing for pictures and cooking a giant pan of fresh paella. We were soon sat down amongst the crowd and ate paella and drank beer waiting for the rain to die down. After a few hours of walking around and sampling the street food (it never stopped raining by the way) we went back to the hotel for a shower and chill.

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Once we were ready we decided to try out the 'moon bar' which was the rooftop bar 64 floors up, something we had really been looking forward to trying - however due to the rain it was closed off. Gutted. We discovered that we'd come at the end of monsoon season which means still a few more weeks of rain (gutted again. I was expecting to lay on sunny beaches) but from reading blogs and reviews, it can be hit and miss and on some islands so fingers crossed!

As were still on the look-out for a drink, we grabbed a taxi to Khao San Road which was also recommended on several websites and by a friend who had recently been. This road was 1km long and was definitely the place to go drink as either side of the road was filled with bar after bar with dance music booming out of the speakers, similar to Magaluf. After a browse around the stalls at clothes and shuddering at fried tarantulas and scorpions on sticks, we settled into a few bars where we tucked into a Thai green curry and had a bucket of vodka mix each.

Even though there was plenty of atmosphere down here, it wasn't the kind we were after. So we finished our drinks and walked down a bit further till we found a quiet German bar set further back with relaxed music and fairy lights and settled in here. I know we probably sound really boring and old, especially as I'm only 21 (I'm 24 now, travelling was a while ago now! sigh..) but we much preferred somewhere with a chilled out vibe where we could still drink but actually talk to each other.

As it hit midnight, I informed everyone it was Daves birthday and he was given a free shot of tequila on the sly, aswell as a bun with a candle in and the staff singing happy birthday (it was actually his birthday, this wasn't just a way to get free drinks!).
As the bar closed around 1:30 am, we grabbed some cheese balls from the stall (BEST THINGS EVER) and got a taxi home - reminding Dave the whole time that he was now 30.

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Famous last words on China:

People spit everywhere
Erratic driving
Food is a massive part of the culture
Yangshuo is absolutely stunning, my favourite place of them all
Never drink rice wine
Normal wine costs a fortune
Take toilet paper as public bathrooms don't have any
Smoking happens everywhere, there is no ban
The locals like to ask for photos and cuddles, and are very generous

All in all, what a beautiful place to go to. We're both so glad that we chose to go here, and I would recommend experiencing China to anyone!

Sophie Amelia
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