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Published: January 23rd 2012
and no Pierce in sight
It's been over six months now since we hung up our rucksacks and stored away all those travelling essentials, but finally it’s time to dust it all off and load up for another Asian adventure. So those of you who are going to continue our adventure with us ... welcome back and we hope you enjoy the ride, we certainly intend to.
Catching up with family and friends and celebrating Christmas and New Year at home has been fab but, as the cold weather starts and the excesses of the festive season continues to take its toll on our expanded waistlines, we both agree we have picked the right time to head off into the sunshine. The warm weather, beautiful beaches and clear blue sea are calling to us and we shall answer that call. Before we go though, we would like to say that once again we are eternally grateful to our families for making sure that we have been housed and fed (not for the whole six months I hasten to add, that might be more than they could stand).
So our destination this time .... Thailand, definitely, and Malaysia, probably .... but
Impressive house for a very impressive buddha
with only the outward and return flights booked and no fixed plans who knows what may happen. That's the beauty of it, anything is possible.
So, with all pre-travel plans completed the day had finally arrived and we found ourselves on the train on the start of our long journey and we made it all the way to ……… Dorchester. Not necessarily what we were expecting considering we were hoping to make it at least out of the country before any mishaps. So we ground to halt in between Dorchester and Crossways courtesy of a vandalised signal somewhere on the track ahead. Information from the all knowledgeable rail people said it would take between 60 and 90 minutes to repair so be prepared to sit and wait it out. Not happening with a flight to catch, but luckily, just before Chris was about to open the doors and throw me and him out, the train moved off. With an unscheduled change of train at Bournemouth and a decision to get off at Woking and catch the bus we finally made it to the first part of our destination, Heathrow, with the hopes that the rest of the
no one rushing in rush hour
journey wouldn’t cause us as much aggro.
Flight was okay if you like to be cramped up for 12 hours with a broken entertainment system. So all in all the pretty uneventful flight ended with a rather bumpy landing which saw me gripping the arm rest and we had arrived in sunshine. Normally we would take the train, but little sleep had left us both a bit fragile so we decided to get a taxi to the airport which meant that unfortunately we hit the Bangkok rush hour; never really sure why it is referred to as “rush hour” because certainly no one was rushing anywhere.
We had pre-booked the Royal Presidential on Sukhumvit, slightly classier than we normally stay in but felt it would be sensible to help combat the jet lag. Very nice hotel and in the morning we found it served a very, very nice inclusive brekkie – yummy. Our first night in Bangkok and we headed out in search for some good old freshly cooked dinner. Lots of roadside stalls gave us lots to choose from but a sign advertising Pad Thai got Chris’ juices flowing and so we sat
The Golden One
all £170million quid of him
down on plastic chairs to sample our first dinner for just over 50p each.
The following morning came very early, 2.30am, so feeling jet lagged, but fuelled up with a very nice brekkie, we headed off on the BTS to the Eastern Bus Terminal to get our tickets to Koh Chang for a few days’ time. Train negotiated, bus terminal found (after a bit of searching) and bus ticket bought we now had the rest of the day to kill with very few plans. An exploration of the local area found very little of interest, but got us out of the hotel for a few hours, otherwise we would have given in to the jet lag and slept the day away. The choice of hotel was good for another reason as we stayed along Sukhumvit, one of the areas of Bangkok that we haven’t visited, it’s much more of a working area full of Thais simply getting on with life rather than drunken backpackers partying all night. As we may have said before once you get past Bangkok’s manic top level it really is a nice city, not necessarily aesthetically pleasing but a nice place to spend
Our second full day in Bangkok again came very early for one of us, 2.00am this time. We had decided that China Town was almost the only touristy place that we hadn’t visited on previous occasions and, as it was nearing the New Year celebrations for the Year of the Dragon, we thought it might be an interesting destination. A train ride and short walk found us in the heart of Chinese commerce. Firstly, we stopped in at Wat Traimit which boasts the largest Golden Buddha in the world, weighing in at 5 tonnes of solid gold and worth a staggering £172 million by weight alone. Cast in the 13th
century, when it was brought to Bangkok by Rama III it was encased in plaster to hide the fact that it was gold, its hidden secret wasn’t discovered until 1955 when a bit of the casing was accidentally knocked off. Imagine the shock. Well this started a Buddha bashing craze in the hope of finding more golden ones. Not sure how that went! The temple housing the Buddha was very impressive with 4 levels and topped off by a huge golden spire. The Buddha itself
practicing for the NYE party
was impressive, not the biggest one we have seen but when you remember it’s gold it’s awe inspiring. After standing admiring it for a while we both realised there was absolutely no-one guarding it, but then it’s not as if you could quickly stick a 3m /5 tonne Golden Buddha in your pocket and casually walk away, is it?
A further walk into the chaotic streets that made up the commercial centre of China Town found us navigating small alleyways along with motorbikes, trollies and vans laden with all manner of goods. Absolutely everything was available from shops upon shops of bling to Chinese medicine, fabrics, paper lanterns, shoes, gemstones and almost everything you could think of. The alleyways were cramped, hot, aromatic, bustling and bursting at the seams with locals going about their business and holidaymakers trying to take it all in. Rush hour traffic here saw trucks, motorbikes, trollies and walkers all vying for space – great fun.
We topped the day off with a quiet evening and early night ready for our 5 hour bus ride to Koh Chang the following morning. Bring on the sunbathing!
and they call this
Chinatowns Walking Street!!
the itinerary has already changed with Chris booking us a cheap flight to Sri Lanka. So Malaysia is off the itinerary and Sri Lanka is on, mainly so Chris can watch something called a Test Match! I may even go to watch it myself, if the weather is nice it may be worth a day out!!!!
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