Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Postcards from Thailand

Well what a busy few days we've had! Bangkok was crazy, non-stop and very, very hot. As we stepped off the plane we were hit by a wall of heat and humidity, a lot like going into into a steam room. We were relieved to have booked into a lovely hostel with a pool and very stylish outdoor bar area where we discovered the delights of Chang beer (and the corresponding hangover after finding out it's 6.5% proof!)

Not to be defeated by the jet lag we headed straight out to soak up as much culture as possible. First up was the city temples and the Grand Palace, outside which you have to leave your shoes before you can enter. In the surrounding streets I was amused to see rows of market stalls selling worn shoes, which I can only assume have been pinched from outside the temples!

Next up was the Khao San Road to try our hands at bartering and to stop for a couple of Thai beers, but it's literally impossible to sit still for two minutes without being hassled to buy some piece of tat (I'm good for wooden croaking frogs, beaded bracelets and croched hats, thanks.) The offer of 'fish massage' was intriguing but I'm a little bit too squeamish, I think!

The jet lag did eventually catch up with us the following day, when we couldn't sleep all night but then didn't wake up until 1pm. So we took a stroll around the weekend market at Chatuchuk, eyeing up the bewildering array of street food (only for the brave or initiated, I think!) and then resting our weary bodies with an hour's foot and shoulder massage, all for the princely sum of about four quid.

On our final day in Thailand we left the city behind to do a day trip to Ayuthaya, the old Siamese capital to take in the old temple ruins. I was fascinated to see baby elephants being used to give tourists tours of the area. We even had our photo taken sitting on a baby elephant's knee! It was scary and thrilling being so close to a huge wild animal, but in hindsight, so sad to see the elephants being made to do tricks, getting into poses for the tourists' delight - not wild at all really and probably drugged to avoid risk of the animals hurting anyone...

The train to the Cambodian border was an interesting experience: six hours trundling through rural Thailand and some lovely snapshots of local culture from the windows. We seemed to be the only Westerners on board, so we had no idea what was going on when the train apparently hit something on the track and we stopped in the middle of nowhere in the blistering heat. No one appeared to speak any English either, so we were relieved when the train shuddered back into motion within an hour or so. The border crossing itself was suprisingly quick and easy, and the journey to Siem Reap was altogether pleasant, albeit a sweaty one on a coach sans air conditioning.

My next post to you will be from Angkor Wat - a sight we've been really looking forward to seeing.

Sarah & Kev xx

1 comment:

  1. they do that fish thing in London twas on the tv not that long ago
    looks like your having fun! enjoy!