We are now officially travelling folk. As I write this, we are on a train which is lurching and straining to make its escape from the overcrowded and stuffy chaos that is Bangkok. We only really spent one day seeing the sights of Bangkok, instead choosing to get out of town and see Ayutthaya yesterday but more of that later.
Our day in Central Bangkok started at lunchtime after the mother of all sleeps and a nice long breakfast in the hotel, consisting of some rice dish and some other, more Western stuff like cornflakes and croissants. A good start to the day. Once we’d ventured onto the streets, two things became apparent. First, how many people there are wherever you go and second, just how damn helpful they all want to be! They never give up, insisting on you doing EXACTLY what they suggest and getting very disappointed and merely restating their instructions when you suggest you’d rather do something else instead.
Soon, it was time for the first scam attempt though – a very nice man asking us where we were headed so he could helpfully inform us that, sadly, it was closed for the day due to a Buddhist public holiday and that our best bet was to take a tuk-tuk (would you believe it, here is one now!) to some other places for the equivalent of 40p. Surprised and shocked were our feelings then when, having walked to the palace in question, it was open all day as normal! One smartly dressed, official looking man tried to sell the public holiday/closed scam right outside the front gate!
The palaces are impressive but you do tire of them quite quickly – photos obtained, we moved on, taking a water bus down the river to the centre of town. Annika particularly enjoyed being told to hurry up and move inside the boat so that the angry conductor woman could squeeze some more people on.
Dinner consumed in town, we met up with Julia and Darren, friends from home, in their hotel for some rooftop drinks on the 59th floor, after which the four of us wandered to Pat Pong to see endless market stalls selling tat and bar upon bar insisting that our best chance of a good night out was to watch women using their genitalia for an array of interesting but ultimately pointless tasks. Having politely declined, we chose instead to have our feet cleaned by hundreds of tiny catfish which was quite fun.
A very short sleep later and we were on our way to Ayutthaya, an hour north of town, on a train to see the town of Wats (temples) on bikes, which is well worth doing and was much better than spending time in the streets of crazy Bangkok.
Next up is Ban Krut in the south where, hopefully, we have booked a hotel on the beach for 2 nights. The phone call was quite difficult though so we shall see where we end up.