We left Siem Reap and headed for the Thai border crossing feeling a bit tired and sad to leave Cambodia. It took about 2 ½ hours to reach it and had to go through on our own, lugging our bags in the sticky heat and the queues but we got through OK after being given a 15 day visa for Thailand. The only hassle was from a French guy who kept trying to queue jump in front of us and Waffle wasn’t having any of it (anyone who knows Waffle can imagine the conversation between them both). Let’s just say he French guy wasn’t going anywhere before us!
We were offered a minibus just to ourselves to Bangkok which was great as we could stretch our legs. Half way there our driver stopped off to refuel and we took the opportunity to take a toilet break – I had a bit of a mishap – in the toilet I accidentally caught the overhead shower tap and got soaked from head to foot (why put a shower in the toilet anyway!). I had some strange looks when I came out dripping wet and a puzzled look from Waffle but as this wasn’t the first time on this trip I have been drowned in a bathroom he just laughed and shook his head. Another hour later we arrived in Bangkok but it then took us another hour to travel along Sukhumvit Road to our hotel in solid traffic – we could have walked faster! Our hotel was in a quiet side street close to Nana Place which is notorious for go-go bars and ladyboys... there were quite a few suspect cross-genders but you can’t be sure.
As I had been to Bangkok before in 2004 I was Waffle’s tour guide...We went to some of the Wats and monuments in the city including a giant standing buddha and a 5 tonne solid gold Buddha (they do everything big here). After that we visited the Grand Palace along the river which is huge (Phnom Penh’s Palace was modelled from this). We got caught in a thunderstorm, pouring of rain on the way back which was refreshing but I soon realised that my black wrap-around trousers I bought in Cambodia was not colourfast and my legs
and feet were covered in black streaks! The next day we found Jim Thompson’s old house and gardens tucked away in a side street. JT was an American CIA guy who took a liking to Thailand and started the Thai silk industry in the Western world back in the sixties where he made his fortune. His house is Thai style and is very beautiful - made of teak and mahogany with many local antique artefacts. He disappeared in the jungle when he was 61, never to be seen again – which had been predicted by a monk many years before and makes you wonder if the CIA had anything to do with it.
The devastating events of Japan that has had a large earthquake and several tsunamis along the coast has been on the news constantly. It continues to add fears in the area due to the nuclear reactors having impending meltdowns. (Just a note to anyone who knows us – we are well away from the danger so please don’t worry about us). All our thoughts and prayers go to those affected and hope that the dangers pass very soon.
Our next stop was Chiang Mai, in a Northern Province of Thailand close to the ‘Golden Triangle’ where Thailand meets Laos and Burma (Myanmar). Bangkok Airways were offering a cheap flight so we decided on that as opposed to an 11-12 hour bus or train journey.