added bonuses : kanachuburi, ayutthaya all the km inbetween!
17.12.2011 - 22.12.2011 29 °C
After arriving at 6 am on saturday morning after travelling nonstop (since 10am friday the day before..) Bangkok certainly felt like home. We checked back into Shanti lodge who remembered us (nice feeling, even though it was probably the tired dazed looking faces that we arrived with a few weeks before that jogged their memory!). We decided to take a couple of days to see the things we didnt quite manage to the first time around. However nothing could have prepared us for the generoctiy that we were going to receive from the happier of thai people that day. We were walking to the Khaosan road to plan our route up North when we were stopped by a guy called chai. At first he was teaching us how to cross the road (thai style), we got chatting it turned out that it was 'National Tourist Day'. We were soon hooked by his words of wisdom(and football talk). and set out in a tuk-tuk. 20 baht for a whole day of sight seeing! Some very special places which we would never have found on our own and were only to tourist for 1 day. I ended up buying an early birthday present too from myself to myself - not 1 but TWO! thai hand fitted, tailored suits from a leading thai company apparently that makes hugo boss, and armarni for the ex-pats living in Thailand. after being some serious squids in we went on to a TAT office to get free information about the north of thailand. They are run by the government and set up to make sure tourists don't get ripped off. 1 hour later we walked out of the office with the whole of our trip organised to take us from bangkok monday morning to laos for the end of the month when our visa runs out, all very reasonably priced! sunday prooved to be an interesting trip to the tailors for a 3 minute fitting and then onto MBK - bangkoks equivilant of a shopping mall all 2,500 shops of them!( char was in heaven.... for the first hour then it got slightly overwhelming knowing that all we could do was window shop!)
Monday morning 7 am were picked up in a van and taken to the floating market, 2 hours outside of Bangkok. The first 10 minutes were exciting and a unique experience but from then on in its a tourist trap. Not really like the postcards they try and sell you but we were glad we had seen it. We continued our drive for another 2 hours west to kanachuburi where we stopped at the river kwaai and we were enjoying the feeling of escaping bangkoks smog. surrounded by lakes and mountains. scenary was amazing and apart from a disapointing train journey on the jeath railway we were throughly enjoying ourselves. this adventure continued when we pulled up after a long day to sunset by our accommodation. a floating set of huts on rafts on the river kwaai, all competetley attached to mainland by ropes and not alot else. with the sound of running water flowing underneath you it was something we had never experienced before. ( oh and the whole thing rocked when a speed boat drove by just incase you thought we were lieing about it being attached by ropes) after a scrummy dinner and a disastourous breakfast we set out on tuesday to see some waterfalls!
quite spectacular! Earawan Waterfall, total 3.5km trek up a mountain to see 7 distinctive levels of the waterfall, swimming in each of the tears in the coldest water iv swam in in a long time! not completely alone included as a bonus not described in the tour was a foot spa with the fishes that eat your dead skin on your feet - the new craze that you can pay for, except these fish were massive and had we kept our feet still, long enough we probably wouldn't of had much left of our feet!!!!! We have met some lovely people on this part of our trip and had some great conversations using english as a common tonuge. but they were all getting excited about going home for christmas something we couldnt be more opposite to. so there was no point dwelling on that too long. we got back to bangkok and got straight on a train to the old capital of Ayutthaya. Yes all in the same day!
Ruins, ruins, ruins.... ruins yup more ruins... all enclosed within an island. In its credit the amount the city had gone through being burnt back in the day by wars with burma, flooding since the wars it still has a few beautiful buildings standing and a lot of history even if 3/4 quarters of it is no longer. we got a tuk tuk for the day probably the best way to get around and see it if your short for time like we were and to be honest one day is probably all you would need. we saw big reclinning bhuddas and fragments of budhas that had been destroyed which have now been left as a testoment to the city. but not alot else! as you can see from our pictures its mainly a place to go and understand thailands past.
so we leave the old capital after having a delcious lunch from a street kitchen for 60 baht for two, to head further north to chaing mai. our sleeper journey was made all the more homely after sitting down next to three lovely thai lady's that looked after us. all sisters it turned out on the way north for a family wedding. they came prepared for the journey with food home cooked sticky rice and pies all of which we were offered. it gave us a chance to engage with local thai people and learn so much about the area we were travelling through. We wish we had taken a photo of these women, they were big boned and full of smiles and cheeky jokes, it was hilarious. As per usual on the sleeper trains you dont get much sleep! The journey started off boiling, but being in Thailand we're quite used to that now... what we werent ready for was the extreme drop in temperature as you head up the mountains through the northern villages..it was freezing! Anyway we are now Chiang Mai bound and ready to see what it has to offer! will keep you posted
loads and loads of love
Mike and Char xxxxxxxx