richard wiseman, oz trip, australia, asia, travelogue


Travel Writing > Travelogues > The epic adventures of Richard Wiseman


On September 2001 Rich Wiseman set off on a years trip to Asia, Oceania and South Africa here is selection of his emails as he travels:


07/09/02 - Bangkok

Dear All.

Bangkok is a seedy dirty poluted hell hole of a town.

Me and woodhouse have been chilling in Ko Samet for a couple of days after being hounded by endless amounts of pushy, over excitable tuk tuk drivers. Back in the frying pan to meet Parham then to Chang Mai.

14/10/02 - Bangkok Again

Walked straight out the centre of Bangkok, straight in to the middle of Croydon. i can't beleive it, I'm half way round the world and there's a bloody Croydon Bar slap bang in the middle of it. Gullivers Bar on the Kosam Rd is like your bog standard, slapper infested, crap music turned up to ear bleeding proportions, pissed up idiots bar you find all over Croydon. whatmakes this place different though is the fact that i can wear sandles in there. thenovelty soon wears off though beleive me.

Yep, I'm back in Dirty, poluted, Smelly, Hell Hole again. Actually, Bangkok isn't too bad once you know where to go and what to do. It makes a change from those irritating horn happy vietnamese who get great pleasure at blasting your with burst of irritating noise for just stepping off the side walk. I've met up with Woodhouse and Chris gain and we took him along toneof thefaous ing pong shows.. Damn these places are bad and just so unappealling. Youspend an hour drinking overpriced beer watch thie roughest women in Thialand do the roughest things to themselves, then to have 20 unattractive women hound you with massages and offering you "sucky sucky" for B1000.

Pie,(northwest of Chiang Mai) is a beautiful, sleepy town with friendly locals and no one trying to flog you stuff. Only spent one night there but it's well worth a longer visit. Spent 5 hours standing on a bus for the journey back to Chiang Mai and then 10 hours on a VIP bus to Bankok sitting next to a smelly german bloke with Hallatosis. (I probably wasn't much better having not showered for 24 hours with the aded bonus of Cheesy feet).

Spent a day at Kachanaburi nd got see the famous bridge over the River Kwai and the Death Railway from Burma to Thailand. Pretty interesting stuff. Went to et a fruit shake and ended up chtting to the friendliest person i think I have ever met. He owned a bar called something like The Railway Travellers Lodge (next door to Center Point Travel on Mae Nam Khwae Rd). thefruit shakes were amazing. Ask for Jon from Singapore. What a guy!

01/11/02 - Ko Ph Ngan

Kept having trouble in Ko Oha Ngan so this one's about a week late.

Well the mullet is history to be replaced by a slick looking all over - Grade 1. The trendy chin beard survives to fight another day!

It is my firm belief now that when travelling by coach people should be made to follow a simple set of rules before being allowed on it.
1. Have a bath.
2. Brush your teeth.
3. Wear clean clothes.
4. Do not have a case of food poisoning.
These simple rules would make travelling so much more enjoyable for everyone.

Ko Pha Ngan is the most chilled out place in the worldso far. Am presently holed up North west of the Island on a quiet beach resort called Mai Haad. the place has a lot of staying power and am finding it very difficult to move / leave /do anything. It's paradise!

Spent two weeks with 2 Sami Norweigens. Really cool, really chilled people. Ovla works in a museum and kills Reindeers in his spare time! Ravna is beautiful and sexy and has taken up kick boxing, (she was bloody dangerous before hand, now she's a lethal weapon - I have bruises to prove it!)

For everyone's information, David Hasslehoff is not big in Germany. despite the fact he thinks he is. Germans seem to get the same pained expressions on their faces as Aussies do when you mention Rolf.

Been able to update the long term travellers on that talented singer Darius. they're all converted fans and think Colour blind is a good song! _ Wait till they hear the non-wiseman rendition.

Sat chatting to a psycho swede last night. He's now a reformed character and he took great pains to explain this. But phrases like "You touch me, I kill you" don't go down too well!

The full moon party was a lot of fun. (Sorry mum but I'm not going to let a bunch of terrorists spoil my fun - Think BSE and you'll see where I'm coming from / Get it from!). It's kind of like Glastonbury except there are a lot of drunk people and a lot fewer people taking happy pills, (a diet pill mixed with copious ammounts of Vodka and Red Bull seemed to do the trick though). I'm not sure whether to believe this but apparently the redbull here is anphetamine based. (Correct me please if I am wrong.)

Heard a great phrase the other day: - Cock Blocker! It describes the bloke who was prevented me from pulling a beautiful Norfolk farm girl. when ever i turned round, there he was, sun burn included trying to find a way in. Neither of us got her, so it was all a bit of a waste of time in the end!

Got chatted up by the most minging sweedish girl the same night. As the beer goggles went on, she slowly became more and more desirable, that was until it occurred to me that she looked like my auntie! - Perhaps I should of set Cock Blocker up with her instead.

03/11/02 - Singapore

Just arrived in Singapore. the place is so clean it feels like I should have a shave or something. The 'Super Nice' Zenwan Express coach certainly lived up to it's name, only 3 seats to an isle and tons of leg space! they arn't just 'Nice' - they should rename the coaches "Ultra-comfy, fuckin' amazing, awsomme-mobil' - Actually managed to get some sleep for once! Immedietly i liked this place, it felt safe, it felt comfortable, you just know you arn't going to get ripped off, - and that was just sitting at the coach station.

It's not the cleverest thing to walk around Singapore with a jumper on whilst carrying 2 rucksucks and a guitar, (even if it is 8 in the morning). Spent 20 minutes getting lost and then after getting found walked another 15 minutes befor I found a hotel. done a bit of shopping and everyones really friendly and helpful if you look lost on the corner of a road with your trusty copy of the lonely planet. I love the place.

Forgot to mention a cafe in Tong Salat (Ko Pha Ngan) - The Valentino Resuraunt and Bar.. Served propper English breakfasts - I mean propper. - English Sausages, fried bread, fried egg, fried bacon, beans, mushrooms and tomatoes - and brown sauce. The 'Doorstep' sandwiches were also fantastic. (Coincidently you could buy Fred Nuts at the place i was staying - poor old fred).


Really liked Penang too. The place is full of Scandinavian women, - it's great! Spent an uneventful 10 hours waiting at Surat tani train station waiting for the sleeper to malatsia with just 20 Baht, some water and the station staff trying to get me to sing Scorpians songs and Hotel California (at least they didn't ask for the Titanic). Thought I was blatently going to wake up with food poisoning after a dodgy "mutton" curry, which wasn't even heated up properly.

Got in to a drinking game with a Danish (Don't you cryay tonighiayayayayayayayayaayayayt - Sorry, G'n'R playing in my internet Cafe!). Think they underestimated my drinking capacity (i think I did too since coming off the Malaria tablets) Anyway it was a very messy evening which resulted with me somehow ending up with a jar of marmite, (don't even ask, I don't know - I'm just happy I've got the stuff!) Turns out these two Danes were huge mullet fans! The last I remember is going on a hunt with my camera and two Danes to get pictures of us next to peope with mullets (the photos should be interesting). Spent the next night having crisp and marmite sandwiches with

Furthering my Chesney Hawkes point a few e-mails ago. I'm probably the first person to listen to Darius whilst travelling through Vietnam. I won't say I'm proud but it brings a smile to my face - just humor me o.k).

Must give final mention to Jimmy, the owner of The Love Lane Inn in Penang. What an absolute star!

Thought for the day: A smile is a curve that sets a lot of things straight.

11/11/02 - New Zealand

I'm in New Zealand, It's bloody freezing, and I'm wearing sandles! (That should please the Brits just heading for Winter.

I'd liketo take this opportunity to thank an amazing bloke, - Ken. Ken took us out for three nights in Singapore and paid for our drinks in Raffles and paid forour trip to the night Safari. Whenever your in England mate, the trip is on us! Thanks alot you were an absolute star!

It's amazing the people you meet when travelling around, in my hotel in Singapore I was staying in the same dorm as this Norwegan bloke who is famouse in england for kidnapping his own daughter (yellow ribbons might jog people's memories). He said he was happily in love with his new girlfrien yet he took every opportunity to cheat on her behind her back. Today in Queenstown I was in the Salvation Army shop when a bloke asked if I was from Israel, (that the 5th time - I'm starting to get a complex, - most of the Israelies I have met have been complete wankers!). the bloke then proceeded to talk about Jesus and the bible, (oh god here we go). The bloke then said that Jesus had given him a gift to see the future. Here they are

1. Monte Carlo is going to go under water.
2. A missionary bloke called Graham Hill is going to get shot by an Arab posessed by a demon.
3. New Zealand is going to have a huge earthquake bringing the two islands closer together.
4. Israel is going to got nuclear bombed by palestine.

I think he was goingto try and convert me from judism to christianity. shame that i don't beleive the bible and think Jesus was a terrorist against the Roman government.

The bloke seemed to think that White people were the superior race and that was because god had made us so. the Jews were plagued with blood and always would be whilst Arabs were all posessed with the devil. He justified this by saying that Anglo Saxons and Celtish races were a lot better off than other nationalities. I think the blokewas just thinly covering over racism using religion as an excuse. He didn't like my little bit ofknowledge that one of the lost twelve tribes of Israel had now been traced to Pakistan.

Anyway, met up with Pete (Finger Beaver) and Destiny in Christchurch and travelled down in their van to Queenstown. Spent a very cold night by Lake Takapo in the van and was rusely awoken at 6.30 amby their hammok falling on me.

Much more to tell but will have to wait. Sky diving on Wed and Bunjy tommorrow!

11/11/02 - Brisbane and Byron Bay, Australia

Got off the plane at Brisbane and the Customs people spotted me a mile off. Much rummaging by customs and two hours later I'm finally through having gratefully avoided the strip search. Brisbane was a nice city. Australians know how to do Xmas, even down to the old man who looks like father xmas playing the accordian on the street corner. Spent 5 days of luxury with my cousin Mat who has a very nice apartment overlooking the South Bank.

Just arrived in Byron bay Australia. The place is fantastic, especially after the plastic hell hole known as Surfers Paradise. What a bloody stupid name for a place. There was one redeeming feature however, a hostel called Trekkers. Got stuck there after the Oz Bus could not get me outta the town for 6 days. Michael Franti and Spearhead were playing at the Beer Garden, damn good and well worth the six days I would have rather been doing anything else. Ended up getting a ride out of there with a couple of 'filthy' canadians and two fine looking sweedish girls, stopped by Ninbin to jump off a waterfall. the town is full of old hippies and crusty old men. We were offered drugs before we even got a chance to get out of the van. Half an hour was enough. Never did find the waterfall. Staying now in a place called the Happy House. Lots of stoned people, lots of chilled people, lots of beautiful people. Think I'll stick to my cigarettes and alcohol.

Still yet to see a Kangaroo, a crocodile a possum, Rolf Harris or Steve Irwin. Doesn't feel like propper Australia yet Eventually met some Aboriginals. Brisbane and Surfers Paradise seem distinctly lacking in this department.





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