Published: February 13th 2008February 12th 2008
Well i'm back! hope all is well with everyone?! I had an awesome time in Thailand!
We started in Bangkok, and on first impressions Bangkok was not on our list of places to stay, we arrived and had booked a hostel, number one mistake, and the area was to put it politely slightly unsavory!! and was out of the main reach from the main old city! our second time back in Bangkok and i loved it, back down in Kho san road area where everything was walkable or tuk-tuk capable!!
After the first night we decided that hostels were not the way to go, we could get private rooms for between 3 and 4 pounds per person!! And that was choosing the expenxive swimming pool hotels!!
Well our overal plan was to arrive in Bangkok, spend a few days around the sights, then catch the train to Ayuttheya and the overnight train on up to Chiang mai, do some hiking around the northern area exploring around the further north chiang rai before heading south to an island for a few days relax before into the hustle of bangkok for the last day and the off!
so this blog will be split
into chucks! Bangkok, Ayuttheya, Chiang mai, koh samet (island about 4 hours travel time from bangkok)
Saturday 26th January
So first! Bangkok! This city is sprawling, i couldnt get over the size, from our first stay up in sukhumvit road it took us 45 min just to reach the outer old city by bus!!
We arrived and got our taxi, having to be very firm to the fact tht we would only pay 400bht!! we arrived and headed out to sukhumvit, full of prostitution, seedy motels, and were curious as to wether we wanted to stay for the entire 3 days! we went for a walk and found an amzing park - lumpini park full of thais on weekend days off with theire families, aerobics and yoga classes in every direction you looked and a beatifully kept park, it was like an oasis from where we were staying!!
we headed back and for dinner and an early night, nothing tempted us from the nightlife scene in this area!!
Sunday 27th January
next day we had decided to get up and out early to get to the floating markets, left the hotel at 5.30 am!! impressive!!
and got a taxi to the south bus terminal to catch a bus to Damnoen markets, a two hour bus ride for 60 thb (note for anyone visiting - although the organised tours cost a little more, save the hassle of the taxi, the bus and bartering and book one!!!)
After much bartering we managed to secure a private boat for just over an hour for 400thb each (they started at 2000 each!!!)
The markets were amazing, touristy - yes, but worth it to see some of the local life on the way, and to get the atmosphere of floating sales! Because we'd booked a private boat we were able to request to cruise through the back water houses which was a real insight to see the houses perched on the boards that looked like they'd tipple into the water!!
In the markets it was great to see the vegetable sellers and there were some bargains if you bartered!!
Headed back on the bus and decided to hop off at Nakhon Pathom because we'd seen a huge temple there on the bus ride in. We visited the Phra Pathom CHedi, the tallest buddhist monument in the world, or so they
Was a great sight to see, you could hear the bells being rung all around the outsude, and the different buddah poses lined around the edges, the inner ring housed the monks who were having schooling and then the main dome.
I couldn't get over the gold statues inside, each person would enter with their lotus flower, candle, insense and gold leaf which they would later add to a relelvant icon as they desired. Then lined at the front of the monument was a line of pots, which each person would drop a small coin in each in sequence, they looked like the monk bowls but im afraid im still finding this information out!
The noise they made as the coins were dropped was tranquilising as it echoed inside the rounded bowls. Monked roamed freely offereing blessings and their usual daily life.
we then headed back to Bangkok for lunch paad thai - a stir fried noodle dish with chicken, vegetable, chilli in a peanut sauce. Out then to buy our train tickets ready for heading to Chiang mai.
Down via local bus to the river front and to the free boat taxi up to Thasi Phraya
and the riverside complex.
We wandered around the vegetable market, the chilli market and then the flower market - wow what a sight all the bundles of every flower possible!
Decided on some relaxation and in to a foot massage, one hour for 250 thb approx 3.50 uk
Dinner on the river front to watch the tradition thai dancing and music!
Monday 28th - Bangkok temples!
well up and out at a leisurely 8am! caught the bus into the centre of town, 45 min, off first to Wat Pho, and all i can say really is..wow!!!! It did really feel like we walking into Disney land, we there nice and early and had the place to ourselves :) just couldnt get over the amount of spirals and the colours in each one! The patterns from afar seemed so detailed and yet up close were very large and almost clumbsy, it was incredible. The reclining Buddah was remarkable, the perspectives looking down from the feet was just incredible.
After Wt pho we headed to the Grand place, and this one well Wow wow!! This palace really seemed make believe, so many different statues, and turrets, just couldnt believe their
placement together, the colours were just out of this world. To the river and the boat to CHina town to get truly lost before home, all in all a wonderful day :)
Thursday 7th February - our return to Bangkok!
well this time we stayed down at the Rambuttri village hotel and it was gorgeous!! :) and in a very good area for all over access to the sights of Bangkok!
We arrived back in Bangkok by mini bus from Ban Phe and decided to head for a walk around Kho San road markets before the huge storms of rain hit! everyone was taken by surprise, the shops flooded the streets were knee deep in water and everything just froze awaiting for it to end!
Caught a tuk tuk to CHina town in search of CHinese new year, but it seems the rain had dampened their plans too! so back via a scenic tour on my tuk tuk to see the temples by night of Bangkok - gorgeous to see all the lights! :)
Friday 8th February - our last day!
Well we decided on a cultural day today after our relaxation on the beaches! Headed to hte
National gallery and and museum, was very good and well worth a visit to be more informed about the temples youve visited!
Had some lunch before a wander to find the royal barges! and a wander it was!!! haha!! we had to walk around some of the slums on the river, we really did question if we were heading to the royal barges as we saw the hand written scrawl signs on the wall we were following!! The barges were just out of this worls, so large and so mighty! Just like Thailand i guess, covered in gold and glass beads which glistened every colour in the sun!
Was very interesting to read what each deity on the fron was for and could relate to the similar we'd seem in the temples.
Then for our last stop - the monks bowl village, well after searching and searching we found a taxi driver who knew what we were looking for, and once again off we trotted into the back of beyond! this slum area was so so friendly with a little old lady leading us to the 'master' as she kept telling us! each room had 15 plus people crammed
in, and at the time they were dealing with a cockroach infestation which was...well interesting!! haha!! but we found the 'master' who showed us how each monks bowl, used for the monks to request food from the followers daily was made from 8 pieces of steel, each cyt with teeth which interlocked and then were copper welded in lines, hand beaten and formed.
It was amazing to watch them work, even dodging the cockroaches!!
Had a laze by the pool in the afternoon before out for dinner of chicken and cashew nut - yum yum!!
Next to Ayuthea....
There are more photos below