Bangkok & Ko Samet

After completing Visa run in Penang it was time for the Bangkok experience.  We jumped the 2.30pm train from Butterworth to Bangkok and, once again, we were off.  But this was not the same train as we had been on twice previously – much smaller seats (which become the bottom bunks) so we were a bit chuffed we hadn’t spent the extra for the bottom ones.  And also very rattly, shaky & noisy.  If trains had wheels, this one had flat tyres and one missing completely.  But I like trains and don’t mind being thrown around a bit, more of an issue was the Air Con which blew straight into my bunk & was leaking on to my feet.  I’m mean how bizarre, I was freezing!!  (Reminds me of the last America’s Cup – it’s too hot, it’s too cold, it’s too windy, it’s not windy enough, it’s too slow, it’s too fast, the water’s the wrong colour, it’s too wet, it’s too dry, the stars are in the wrong position ad infinitum, ad nauseam).  But we got there, and by gummy gums it was HOT! I decided public bus was the way to go, and by some fortunate quirk of nature, I was right.  We crammed onto an old rattle box & met a very nice Indian gent who spoke to the conductoress and made sure we were turfed off at the right(ish) stop.  Not far from tourist central, Khao San Rd.  Tuk-tuks for miles, but only had to walk few metres in any direction and there was tons of budget accommodation.  We ended up in a guest house with a room right next door to the large central bar – oh gosh, how did that happen?  Went walking that night, fantastic, bars, food, market stalls, people everywhere.  Loved it.  Experienced our first (but nowhere near our last) tuk-tuk scam – thank you Lonely Planet guide – we were not scammed.  Had my first go at bartering, pretty sure I suck badly at it.  Next day was Jim Thompson house & the Art Gallery.  Met a local who pointed us in the direction of the water taxi (10 minutes as opposed to an hour on the bus, funny as, go like a bat out of hell, although must avoid any splashes from filthy water – death by sewer anybody?  No thanks).  We were approached four different times by locals who assured us that our destination was not open on that day, and offered to take us somewhere else even more awesome, cheaply.  Yeah right.  It was open (of course, favourite scam, telling you where-ever you’re headed is closed & then taking you to tailors and/or gem shops).  We saw hoe they make silk from the raw cocoons, and there was a Thai wedding going on so definitely got our money’s worth.  Art Gallery was free entry & well worth a visit.  After two nights next to rowdy bar on the hardest bed in the world, we met up with friend Karen from NZ, and moved up town to be closer to our Bus Station for next day’s departure.  Well, you know what you have to go see when in Bankok, so we decided to kill 4 birds with one stone:  have tuk-tuk ride; pay way too much for it; get taken somewhere we didn’t ask for; and see sleazy show with ping pong balls and other stuff.  I am clearly way to old for this sort of thing as all I wanted to do was go and give the girls a big hug.  The pole dancing was a shuffle, everything was underwhelming, all performers looked bored to the point of death, it was full of young tourists and probably the worst “show” I’ve ever seen. But now I’ve done it and never have to do it again.  Walking back to our room we saw lots of middle aged European men with young gorgeous Thai girls.  Icky.  Worst thing was the little girl left to sleep on an overpass all night in the hope people would leave money in her little jar – heartbreaking – couldn’t wait to get out of that part of the city, I’m way too soft.  My mate Donna thinks I’m going to arrive home with 250 cats adopted from all over South East Asia, at this rate there may well be several hundred children as well.  Next destination, Ko Samet.  See you there.

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