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Trip Start Jan 01, 2011
Trip End Mar 21, 2011

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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Yesterday, after a very short sleep, we woke up and headed into Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, in a metered taxi. We arrived at our hotel, the Roofview Place Hotel and then went for a walk up to Khoasan Road (15 minutes away) and to find the Stray Travel shop to ensure that everything was in order for our departure the next day. The weather was warm (30 degrees) and sunny out, but unfortunately, Bangkok is quite polluted, so it was hazy. We stopped for lunch on Khoasan Road, which is the main backpacker area, and had our first Thai meal (pad thai for me and green curry for Jeff). Both were slightly different than at home, but were delicious. I must apologize to those who have requested more food photos as we have no pictures of this meal but will endeavor to post more in the future. Khoasan Road is a bit of gong show - there are tourists and people trying to sell you stuff everywhere.

As we hadn't quite acclimatised yet, we headed back to our hotel for some A/C and a nap. For dinner, we walked back to a street that we had come across just before Khaosan Road and stopped for fried chicken and cashew nuts for me and chili basil chicken for Jeff. Then it was back to the hotel for an early bedtime as we had to be up early the next morning.

Today, we woke up nice and early around 3am due to some jet lag and finally got up just before 5 am. We got ready and walked over to the Stray shop to start our trip. The walk was very peaceful in the early morning hours. Not many people were out, there was little traffic and it was not as warm (still probably 24 degrees though). On our walk, we noticed people sitting around and then we saw monks collecting their morning alms. I found this really neat as I didn't expect to see this in such a large city as Bangkok.

Today was a travel day. We took a taxi from the Stray shop to the train station, a train to Phitsanulok and then a large covered pickup truck to Sukhothai. In total this took 8 hours. At the Bangkok train station, we had time to pick up breakfast and snacks. Jeff has decided to follow in his Uncle Ken's footsteps and purchase random foreign snack foods. Today's choice was Spicy Garlic Fried Corn Chips and boy were they tasty.

While sitting at the train station waiting to board, at 8 am, a police officer blew his whistle and all of a sudden everyone was up on their feet, including us after being told to stand up by one of the Stray crew. Some music was played, some speaking was done, a little more whistle blowing and we were done. Apparently, this is done twice a day as a Thai act of patriotism.

Finally, it was time to board the train. The train journey turned out to be very comfortable with A/C and decently spacious seats. We even had a snack and a meal served, which was unexpected! On the way, we saw Lopburi, which is a collection of ancient temples which monkeys running around. We saw tonnes of monkeys from the train. We might head back there at the end of our trip.

We arrived in Phitsanulok, used the lovely squat toilets at the station (I am quite impressed with my ability to use this with a small backpack on!), and then boarded the covered pickup truck to Sukhothai, which is the old capital of Thailand. We checked into our hotel and then went to see the ancient ruins. You could choose to walk, bike, tram or drive through the historical park. We decided to walk and saw the three main temples. The walk was quite pleasant.

By the end of our walk, we were starving, so went for dinner (massaman curry for Jeff and pad yum noodles for me) and met up with some of our fellow travelers. Then it was back to the hotel for an early bedtime to try to shake off the jet lag.

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