Trip Start Mar 15, 2008
30Trip End Oct 02, 2009
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My thoughts so far of Thailand is that Bangkok has been reminiscent of India and yet the people are friendlier and not as pushy. The hustle and bustle and busyness is pretty much the same as any large 3rd world city. The weather has been very hot and humid and it makes me wonder how on earth I coped last time in India for 6 weeks?
Our arrival into Thailand was somewhat unexpected with airport hiccups seemingly a recurring theme of this trip so far. We left Kelly and Anthonyīs house(Ben's cousins who kindly put us up) for our first real length of time carrying our packs. We made our way to the airport via a couple of trains and then proceeded to have our flight delayed for four hours!
Qantas were kind enough to give us snack packs and I was grateful that I had eaten a whole foot long sub for lunch earlier as dinner was going to be a late one
The flight was a long 8.5 hours of which I think I dozed for 2. I was lucky enough to see `I am Legendī (Gotta love international entertainment!) We rocked into Bangkok airport where our transfer had left without us and we had to get the lady there to track it down and get them to retrieve us at 3am Bangkok time. We finally stumbled into bed at 5am (9am Sydney time). Bloody long night!
The next day we got up at 9am to go down and have breakfast what a fantastic buffet that was! And then crawled back to bed until 2pm. Our afternoon was spent wandering around the neighbourhood and finding somewhere cheap for dinner. As our hotel is in Chinatown we found a great chinese restaurant which ended up costing us a total of 250 Baht (or $10) for food and drink for both of us! Yum!
The 2nd day we decided to be a bit braver and catch a tuk tuk to see the Grand Palace and Wat Pho (the reclining buddha and temples).
We took some great pics and after being hassled by numerous men trying to convince us that places were closed and we should let them organise a cheap tuk tuk for us so we could visit their friends jewellery/suit/insert hoax here store instead we headed back to the hotel
We followed up the evening with a great meal in the Café in the hotel lobby that consisted of Pad Thai and Green Chicken Curry. We went for another wander around town and got some gelatinous dessert squares then headed back to our room and lazed around until it was time to head downstairs for our Traditional Thai massage that we had booked for an hour. After quite a work out (as the massages are not your usual run of the mill relaxation kind) we went to sleep in anticipation of a full day tour the next day.
Anyway, as Leah said, Bangkok is pretty crazy and full-on. When you cross the road you run, because cars donīt necessarily stop for a red light, and there are always a barrage of cars, tuk tukīs and scooters roaring along. There arenīt a heap of pedestrian light around either. One cool thing they have is at traffic lights thereīs a count down clock that tells you how long until a red light changes to green or a green to red. So keeps traffic a bit more relaxed and keeps things moving.
Anyway, after our second day, we decided to get away from the busy, crazy and smelly Bangkok and go on a tour
There are some world heritage listed ruins here that are very cool and picturesque. There are rows and rows of stone Buddha statues without heads, because treasure hunters have raided the old city for itīs gold and valuables to sell at market.
Beyond the ruins we were taken down the street to something even more exciting: more ruins! But as we drove by, we passed about four elephants. The tour guide gave us a choice - an hour to see the elephants or an hour to see the other ruins. Long story short, we spent an hour getting real close to some elephants.
Leah and I took a ride on the back of one, which was pretty bumpy, with long, slow sways from side to side, but was a really cool experience. Cost us about $8 each for the ride.
You could also get your photo taken, sitting on the elephantīs knee (no kidding), which we didnīt do. But some nice British tourists shared their sugar cane with us so we could feed the elephants. There were also some pellets that the elephants vacuumed out of our hands, which felt kind of weird.
The next day we decided we had to get out of Bangkok a bit more, and get the tourists perspective on Thailand.
We caught a train 4 hours south to the beach town of Hua Hin. Finally we got a taste of the Thailand all those westerners have bragged about. Our first full day in Hua Hin we spend most of the day on the beach. And on our second day, we spent most of the day on the beach - you get the idea.
We were hustled at the train station by a German man on a scooter who lead us to his hostel where we were glad, in the humidity with backpacks weighing us down, to find a double room, with Internet and breakfast included for a very cheap price. Plus: air conditioning!!
Hua Hin is much quieter than Bangkok with lots of Westernerīs around, mostly Germans, Swedes, Norwegians and Brits. The night market is fantastic and we enjoyed heading down there to each a big meal and a bottle of beer, really cheaply. Plus Leah bought some clothes, even though sheīs pushing the 20kg airline luggage limit already. But itīs so cheap and where weīre going next, it isnīt getting any cheaper.
So we head back to Bangkok tomorrow, catching a train out at 6am. Our flight to Japan leaves at about midnight, so we might need to do some sleeping at the airport. And to make things worse, in Japan they donīt let you check into a hotel/hostel until 3pm. So, we might be a little tired by Monday afternoon. Oh, well. The life of a traveller eh?