22.10.2012 - 30.10.2012 34 °C
Arriving in Bangkok only to discover that my luggage was still at Heathrow, was not exactly the best start to our trip. But after a minor breakdown and a great deal of convincing from the airport staff that my bag would be put on the next plane, we ventured into the capital. Without makeup, toiletries, a hair brush or any girl’s clothes, it's safe to say that I'd looked better! We both agreed that 2 days would be enough in this chaotic city, it's filled with high-rise concrete buildings, frantic markets and stalls, lively bars and restaurants, tourists and traffic. (You gamble with your life every time you cross a road!). You really can buy anything in Bangkok, in the space of 5 minutes we were asked if we wanted to buy a tailored suit, a fried scorpion, a fake ID and a ticket to a ping pong show... this is not a table tennis tournament, as I originally thought. Shaun instead settled with a bag of fried crickets and a disco watch. After a trip to the Grand Palace, sampling the street food and strolling around the markets and busy streets we felt we ready to venture up to Ayutthaya. There was just one problem, we woke up late on the morning we were supposed to be catching the train, and I found that I couldn't stop being sick! I was sure it was the Penang curry from the night before, but Shaun seemed to think it was the Moijitos at 3am, either way it was horrendous! Only to be made worse by taking the 2 hour hot and cramped commuter train, on which I had to throw up 4 times into a plastic bag. This was however made marginally better by the friendly locals we were sat with. The woman next to me instead of moving seats just whipped out some wet wipes and smelling salts for me, and the man opposite ran to get tissues and even offered Shaun some of his beer.
Once we reached Ayutthaya we were taken by a Thai man with long dreadlocks that blasted out Reggae in a tuk-tuk that that had a sign that said 'no farting', to our luxury Thai villa that Shaun had secretly booked for my birthday. Neither of which I could fully appreciate at the time! Anyway, after a day to recover we went out to explore the ancient capital, a 4km wide island surrounded by 3 rivers. We hired bikes and took a boat across the river to the core of the city to explore the old temple ruins that litter the island. As you wonder through the ancient Wats (or temples) you kind of feel like Indiana Jones, especially when we found an ancient Chedi (a huge dome that’s built to house the remains of high ranking monks etc.) that was absolutely full of bats! We also went to floating markets where we tried sugar palm steamed buns and noodle soup, visited the elephant villiage and spent the afternoons escaping the heat in the pool at our resort.
On our way to Chang Mai we stopped off in Lop Buri, a really small town that doesn't have too much to see and has a kind of unfinished feel to the place. The temple ruins are quite unimpressive compared with those in Ayutthaya, but what brings the tourists here is the hundreds of wild Macaques that have completely taken over the town. They live in the temple ruins and are not afraid to steal anything you don't happen to have your hands on. A baby monkey ran up my leg and on onto my head! Shaun just laughed his head off from a safe distance away whilst I screamed and tried to shoo him off with a fan! After stopping for food in this little cafe that doubled up as an art school, we headed to the train station to get the night train 11 hours north to Chang Mai.