Well we have just come to the end of our 3 week holiday (adventure) in Thailand we have both had an amazing time,dont really know where to start.
We spent our first 3 days in Bangkok and crammed a lot of sightseeing in going to all the famous places especially the temples and Grand Palace ie the reclining Buddha, the emerald Buddha,the golden Buddha (weighing 5,500 kg of pure gold estimated to be worth 23.5 million) and for many many years unknown and covered with a kind of plaster.
Although the traffic is very heavy in Bangkok I was struck by how considerate the motorists are, you hardly even hear the honking of horns unlike Beijing, ands its true about Thai people they are so warm and friendly and always smiling and its very infectious.We went to the worlds largest open air weekend market and we were sat on the metro next to a group of schoolgirls and they were all laughing giggling and having fun and close by was stood a blind man suddenly one of the girls jumped up spoke to him then stood with him till the train arrived at his destination helped him off then sat back down resuming her conversation.
We got the overnight sleeper train to Surrathani a 12 hour journey it was a comfortable journey with nice food arriving at 7am where the local agents tried to get us onto the minibuses for the 2 hour trip to Khao Sok national park and rainforest at £5 each but we took the local bus at 90pence each.We spent the next 5 days living firstly in a tree house (4 nights) then a bungalow by the river.After the first night Jun said "what was trying to open the door and banging about during the night?" We knew the next day when the group of monkees came back to visit again haha.
We went trekking through the rainforest with a guide to see the worlds largest flower The Raffelia and found one blooming one about to and two that had decomposed,It was a bit heavy going for me but definately worth it.We hired mountain bikes and went up the park trails,meeting an elderley german couple into their 11 month of biking from Germany on route to Malaysia,amazing.To get from where we were staying to the local shops,massage clinics etc involved a 1 hour walk till we discovered we could do it in 15 minutes if we waded across the river, that was fun especially coming back at night using our little flashlights to see our way across.The monkees used the same route themselves dropping out of the overhanging trees to swim across.On the last day I was walking by the river bank and very nearly stood on a 1.5 metre snake we also had a paradise tree snake slither along the balcony right in front of us.
On the second last day we hired a scooter and rode to the lakes it took about 2 hours to get there the park itself is 740 square kilometres then we took a long boat ride to see part of the lakes they are absolutely beautiful but on the way back we hit a monsoon in a open boat we were completely soaked then I had to drive back in it, that was some expierence haha.
We left the next day by bus in heavy rain and broke down eventually arriving back at Surrathani for the train ride to Chumphon to catch the early morning ferry to Khao Tao island the train was only 1.5 hours late but we did not get into Chumphon till 12.30 am and had to walk to the hotel after refusing the late night tuk tuk prices.We were no sooner asleep then up again at 5.15 for the ride back to station to get bus to the ferry pier.
We took the fast catamaran 1.45 minutes it was a little choppy and quite a few people were seasick and it started raining again just after arriving,Jun met her chinese diving instrutor Suki and started that same afternoon on her open water diving course I went swimming in the sea and walking about the island it was only about 20 k in total,on the evening we had a good massage from the clinic opposite us with the beach being literally 2 minutes walk and a nice eating place 3 minutes away.
The next 2 days I was quite ill either caught some tropical cold ( Suki said) or it was something I suffer from once or twice a year the symptoms being the same.After I recovered I hired a scooter the next morning to tour the island which took all of about 5 hours haha no roads really to speak of apart from the main one going north to south and that was a road more by name than actual fact, the rest were dirt tracks,the hire shop owner looked very suprised when I brought it back without any scratches he checked it all over twice scratching his head and mumbling about no extra charges haha.
Anyway Jun completed her diving course and did 4 open water dives at the end to qualify she found it quite difficult there really was a lot to learn and practice I took some photos of her at the start with Suki in the swimming pool but did not go out on the boat with her.
We left the island after 5 days and caught the slower ferry back to Chumphon 3.5 hours then onto a bus/converted truck for the 1 hour trip back to Chumphon train station to catch the 8.15pm overnight train back to Bangkok of course we did not actually leave till after 11pm all trains,buses and ferries run late but especially trains, I had a great conversation with the railway policeman every time I asked him where our train was he would say "Its the next one" which of course it wasn,t.Later he would say maybe tomorrow which it nearly was we had a good laugh about it and as we left we shook hands and arranged to meet on the station next year, same time. same day haha.I have learnt two truths in Thailand 1 Your train is always the next one and will always be late 2 If you ask anyone for directions but then ask how long will it take to walk?The answer is always 10 minutes regardless of how long it will actually take.
So we arrived back in Bangkok for the last 4 days at 9.30 am instead of 5am and made our way to a nice guest house a couple had recommended to us.We spent some time just wandering around and one day Jun went shopping so I visited the city zoo.On Chinese New Years Eve we went to China town and witnessed a big fire in a block of flats a guy I was speaking to the next day said sometimes they are started on purpose by gangsters to get the people out of the slums so they can get the land.We also took advantage of the river taxis to go up and down the river (A lot cheaper than booking a cruise).
Our last big visit was a booked day trip to the ancient capital of Thailand Ayutthaya which is a world heritage site the ancient Buddhist temples were stunning all built around 1100 to 1300s there was so much to see a lot of them were a mixture of Burmese/Thai construction depending on which country was dominant at the time.We saw quite a few temples with small huts on stilts where Monks and Nuns lived and pictures of the whole area as it was last Oct/Nov when it was completely flooded,there was one of a 35 metre long reclining Buddha and about 10 metres high and there was a guy in a row boat about third way up rowing past it.
We finished the tour with a 1 hour trip to the royal families summer palace beautiful grounds patroled by armed Thai soldiers who still had time to smile at you,a really lovely race of people and a wonderful country.