12.04.2013 - 13.05.2013
It was definitely a nice treat to fly instead of getting on a very long bus journey. It saved us a whole day and only cost around £50 to fly from Phuket to Bangkok.
Got to the hotel and unpacked, chilled out for a little bit then forced ourselves to get up make a plan for our short amount of time there then set off on our final leg of the adventure...
We got on a local bus to go to Wat Pho (a.k.a. the Reclining Budha). On the trip we went through the streets on Bangkok and it was such a change! You can certainly tell it is the capital - it was so busy! Each pavement was so busy that you could not see the floor...thousands of people everywhere and lots of different markets stalls. It was mental but seriously cool too. The Budha was really cool, a lot different from the last one which made me glad we had chosen to get and see that one. The area it was in was so different, I actually felt like I was in USA!
We just so happened to be in Bangkok during Songkran, which is the Thai New Year. It was pure coincidence as we had no idea when we booked it but I am really glad it fell onto that weekend. During Songkran the locals (and the tourists!) all join in in a massive water fight. I did not realise beforehand how involved they get in it, but it is crazy! We would be walking down the street and a truck would drive past with the back full of both kids and adults with huge buckets of water that they threw at everyone and anyone. We went to Kho San Road on the main night of the celebrations, so the road was cut off and a huge party and water fight took place. It is safe to say we got soaked. There was some local celebrities that everyone was going mad over walking down the main street (they were something to do with the government and tourism and very popular - although we had no idea who they were) and they came over to us to ask us questions, it was all filmed so I was on Thai TV!
The next day we got up early and went to Chatakan Market. We had been told it was big but I had no idea it would be like that. It was ten times bigger than any market I have ever been to - at least. We saw a bag in a shop earlier on and decided to go back to get it - it took nearly an hour for us to find the shop again. It was such a maze. The only thing that I did not like was the "pet" section. Lots of animals, mainly puppies, in tiny cages looking like they were dying, it wasn't nice. We easily spent our remaining money on souvenirs and presents.
We had tea in China Town. I have been to a few China Towns before but this one has to be my favourite. The food was amazing and very cheap. Plus the atmosphere was unreal. And it was mainly outside - so we just sat at a little table on a random pavement eating wantons and noodles. Really good experience.
Our final day in Bangkok (and in Thailand) was one that we took a while to decide what to do. I was torn because I really wanted to go and see the tigers and Tiger Temple. I was torn because of all the rumors you hear about how they are all drugged up, but at the same time who doesn't want to get their picture taken with a huge tiger? It was also not the cheapest trip, but after some deliberation we decided it was not something that we wanted to regret not doing - so we got some money out and booked the trip. The most annoying part was that you couldn't do a trip that took you just to the temple, you had to do a full day and a lot of other things that we were particularly wanting to do.
The first stop on the trip was the floating markets in Karachinabari, which to be fair was really cool. It was so different to anything I have seen before, which made it worth while. Next we went to the bridge over the River Kwai (for those of you who don't know there is a film named The Bridge Over The River Kwai and it is set there) We also stopped for lunch. Then finally we got to go (after another two hour bus ride) to Tiger Temple.
Once we got off the bus we were immediately told that we would not be allowed inside because of what we were wearing. Beforehand, we were only told that we could not wear bright colours but had not been told anything about being completely covered up. There was, of course, a shop there where you could buy clothes from but they weren't cheap and I didn't even have my card with me. A girl that was on the trip with us kindly borrowed me a spare blouse she had with her. I put that on and pulled my dress down to make a long skirt and got told I could go in. Clare and I made a deal - I would go in for the first half hour, come out and swap clothes with her, then she could go in for the second. Once I finally got in I had to run to get near the main area. I saw one tiger and got a random girl to take my picture with it, which resulted in one of my head only, and one of the tiger only. Oh, and a near-by tree. Great. I saw another one and got a guy to take it for me and, although it wasn't great, you got the idea. Conscious of the time I asked a woman that worked there where the rest of the tigers were, who replied with "Oh, it all finished at three, they have all gone now" (We did not arrive to the place until three!). She mentioned that there would be two more making their way past in the next five mins, but that would be it. I was worried Clare would miss out so ran all the way back, only to get there and for them to tell us it was too late for her to go in, and I was not allowed to re-enter. Basically, it was a bad experience and I did get really annoyed. To top it all off once we got back our plans to go for a drink on one of the skyscrapers roof-top bars got called off as a big rain storm came in - so we ended up in McDonald's! I do feel though that the tigers that I saw were not drugged, as they seemed very awake and with it, if not a little fierce.
Even though it was our last day in Thailand and it had not gone to plan, we were able to do so much in the two and a half weeks that we were there and so much could have gone wrong, so really it wasn't ruined. It was just a shame.
I had such a brilliant time in Thailand, doing so many things that you could not do anywhere else and ticking a lot of boxes on the old bucket list. I am already looking forward to the next trip back - there's still so much more to do there!