Hello from Bangkok!
So finally after 7 months of waiting we have started our adventure. Both our Mum's and Dad's took us to Heathrow which ended in some tearful farewells. After going through the security checks we made our first stop - the bar - the first beer of many!
The flight was smooth - I managed to sleep most of the way but Gavin struggled with only two hours sleep, he did have the window seat as compensation though.
We finally made it to Bangkok after our 13 hour flight and took a taxi to my Aunty and Uncle's 8th floor condo in Sukhumvit. That evening they took us to a restaurant where we experienced our first real Thai dinner - yum! We then passed out after too much food, beer and lack of sleep - well Gavin anyway!
Tuesday was our first full day in Bangkok. Uncle Richard took us on the Sky Train to the MBK shopping centre where we had to buy a watch because we both had forgotten ours! Doh! After this we were on our own - argh! From here we took the Sky Train to Saphan Takhsin and caught the Chao Phraya River Express to Tha Tien so we could visit the Grand Palace. We went to Wat Pho first to see the reclining Buddha - it was massive and gold!!! We finally made it to the Grand Palace after some 'friendly' locals said it was closed and just happened to know some other attractions to go to - lucky for us we took Jenny's advice and carried on regardless to find out for ourselves - funnily enough it was open!
Inside the Grand Palace, Gavin had to cover up his exposed parts (legs!) with some rather attractive green baggy trousers that he had to hire. This is because the Palace and its Wat Phra Kaew are sacred places, so tourists need to cover arms and legs before entering. I also overheard a bunch of young thai boys in football tracksuits pointing at Gavin who had mistakenly identified him as 'ahhh Gerrard!' (Steven Gerrard for you non-football fans). We then saw the Emerald Buddha, not actually made of emerald but beautiful all the same.
Again Aunty and Uncle treated us to a 'homestyle' chinese dinner at one of their favourite restaurants.
Today, we caught the Sky Train back down to Saphan Taksin and took the Chao Praya River Express to Tha Tien, this time catching the Cross River Ferry for 3B (about 5p!) to see Wat Arun (the 'Temple of the Dawn'). Here we climbed up some very steep steps which gave us some fantastic views across the river and of Bangkok. From here we took the Chao Praya River Express back down to Tha Ratchawong where we took a wander through the streets of Chinatown. This had an amazing atmosphere and nothing like we've experienced before. We also had a delicious lunch off a street vendor for only 10B each (approx. 15p) - bargain!
From Chinatown we made our way to Hualamphong Station to book our Thai Rail Passes to enable us to get to Chiang Mai and later on to the islands.
As we headed back we decided to stop of at the Siam Paragon which is a massive department store where we worked out that everything was normal price and we couldn't afford anything, so we settled for two cokes down in the food court - classy! On our way out we discovered there was an aquarium in the basement. It was really fantastic - especially watching the sharks feeding frenzy. After this we headed back to the condo and we've just got back from having a Japanese dinner. Well done Gavin for using chopsticks, eating chicken heart and sushi!
Tomorrow we head off to Kanchanaburi, where we are planning to visit the Bridge over the River Kwai and Erawan National Park which has a seven tiered waterfall.
We're having problems uploading our photos from Bangkok so we'll try and get these on as soon as possible.
Hope your all well!
Helen and Gavin