Our first country, our first city, the start of our travels, and what better way than to start off then by easing in slowly by staying with Gavin (Sid) one of Lou’s old friends from University in Sussex. As he now currently works in Bangkok and is engaged to Nam, a very nice Thai Lady, he has a very nice Thai condo in the centre of the city and this is where the Journey began. Having travelled for around 36 hours to get to Thailand, we spent most of the first day in bed before venturing out into Bangkok with the future Mr and Mrs Gavin Terry for our first Thai meal at one of their locals. A brief drink at a little cute bar, lit up by fairy lights and set back from one of the City Busy roads down one of the ally’s was nice for Lou to catch up with Sid after quite a number of years.
The following day followed the same pattern as the first as we spent the day catching up with sleep until sunset when we then head to the famous Khao San Road where we were staying at Lucky House and meeting Lou’s Kiwi friend Sean who she met in Thailand a few months earlier. Wanting to be able to keep an on the go scrap book throughout our adventure, we bought a Polaroid camera from Terminal 21 in order to “capture the moment” with people we meet along the way. With Lou being sick after our first street Pad Thai, it wasn’t the greatest of starts to our Journey but it soon became of little significance Sean spotted her through the crowds. Our first night on Khao San road with him and one of his close friends, Kyle was a weird but funny night and the ideal way to start our two weeks together.
Our first night out was not your typical western night out but was equally enjoyable being on Khao San Road. Our initial intention was to start at one of the bars along the street and move along, but things really didn’t turn out to plan, and it’s a good thing they didn’t. Only a small bar with about fifteen people close to the start of Khao San road, but it was all that needed after we had our first bucket experience. Unknown to us was the fact that at midnight drinking on the streets is prohibited and so many bars with outside tables needed to be moved to within their indoor premises. With this being due to the country run by the army, the streets were frequently patrolled and so most of the vibrant street atmosphere was lost. In order to avoid any potential trouble the owner decided to pull down the front shutter and that is when it all began. After getting to know the owner and her allowing about fifteen of us to stay, the music was playing and we soon became our own bar tenders pouring our own buckets to our desired measures. Despite the few people, it became a small house party with a great atmosphere and everything we needed and so we spent our entire night within this bar just drinking and getting to know our fellow captives haha.
Venturing out into Bangkok after a heavy night was difficult but worth it as we got to see a bit more of the city with the majority of the sights being temples. Having very little knowledge as to how to explore the city we went to the first attraction on foot where we spoke to a local who gave us some useful information. With the yellow plated tuk tuks being subsidized by the government we only had to pay 40baht for the day and were able to see a number of famous sites. After visiting a small temple to start of with, we then had to visit a travel agent for ableSet ten minutes in order for the tuk tuk driver to gain a specific gasoline token which we assumed to be part of the deal they have with the government. Following a brief stop we visited the large Buddha which was a tall golden religious statue and had quite a number of locals praying to it an providing offerings. When returning to our tuk tuk we realized that it was the end of our tour, with our driver and tuk tuk having disappeared. Clearly the initial price was ridiculously cheap as he was looking for a customer in order to obtain this gasoline token. Luckily we hadn’t yet paid but had to flag a taxi in order to visit the final and most impressive temple.
Wat Arun, on the rivers edge, is clearly a major place of worship due to the number of monks in the area but is also a popular tourist attraction with many visitors in and around the site. The intricate detail and steep colorful facades of this symmetrical monument along with its beautiful surrounding gardens meant it was definitely our favorite site despite the large number of tourists. The ability to also climb up the sides of this beautiful structure and whiteness the impressive views across the river and into the city meant it was well worth the visit.
Apart from the high number of beautiful temples across the city, as well as the enjoyable, vibrant life along Khao San road the city is just a busy city with many similarities to all major cities. With the possibility of potentially returning if we fancied it, we took the overnight sleeper train down to Surat Thani where we then got a ferry across to Koh Samui. The sleeper train was definitely the best way to travel with each carriage of seats being converted into about 20 sets of relatively comfy, private bunk beds.