A loooooooong day in the life of a tourist...
This morning I got up at 6AM tried to pack my bag as stealthily as possible with the aid of my trusty headtourch and was picked up by my tour guide at 7. Most of the day consisted of sitting on a minibus and after an hours drive we reached the Floating Market. I was immediately thrust into a separate long boat from my group and was soon speeding along the narrow waterways of Damnoen Saduak. After the high speed tour of the back waterways the rest of the group and myself opted to take a paddle boat ride around the floating market. It was an amazing experience, passing souvenir, food and other stalls by boat and was made even more interesting when anyone stopped their boat to buy something and created a jam.
After our boat ride myself and two Brazillian girls I had made friends with walked around the rest of the market and shared some friend Banana, which was delicious.
Back on the bus and our next stop was elephant village, right up my street. I lovingly took photos of the elephants whilst some of our group went on rides. Back onto the minibus.
We went to a war museum after having a Thai lunch. Museums aren't really my thing and I found it a bit morbid. Luckily down the street a girl had a pet leopard cub that tourists were having their photo taken with. That and ice cream soon lightened the mood.
Finally onto the Tiger Temple, this turned out to be a sort of miniature safari. We walked around and saw deer, buffalo, warthogs and other animals. We then queued up at "tiger canyon" to see the very sedate Tigers. Once I reached the front of the queue one Thai volunteer took my camera off me whilst another grabbed my hand and led me to a Tiger. It was a surreal experience in many ways. The Tigers hardly noticed you and I suspect they were sedated in some way. Later I asked a tour guide and they said that the Tigers were tame from living with the monks but also sedated by being fed a lot of food and lying out in the sun. Nonetheless it was a once in a lifetime experience and my helper managed to take enough photos to exhaust my camera battery, and when it could no longer switch on I was worried he had broken it. We carried on walking round and also saw bears and monk walking his tiger.
Then there was the long drive back to Bangkok and as there became fewer and fewer people on the bus I thought it best to check the drive knew he was to take me to the stop for the overnight bus...He didn't have a clue and clearly didn't speak or understand English, eventually catching the words bus and Chaing Mai we set off again. Myself and the remaining 2 passengers sat on the bus looking worried one jumping out at the nearest train station left me and a man and I hoped not to be the last person on the bus having no idea where I was headed. Luckily the next stop was mine and I had enough time to stock up on snacks before getting the overnight bus to Chiang Mai.
The overnight bus wasn't exactly living to its advertised VIP status, the toilet was particularly grim but with the aid of my eye mask, earplugs and travel neck pillow I could sleep anywhere and when I woke up I had arrived in Chiang Mai.