So it's back to Bangkok for the third time. On the plane there I got chatting to a nice Canadian couple, Jenn and Warren who had just left Canada to travel for the next 3 months. We got on and swapped contact details to grab a beer together as we were going to be in north Thailand at the same time.
I got to Bangkok airport and the queue for passport control was crazy, eventually after some time I got through and my bag was ready and waiting. It's a quick route back to, the now very familiar, Old Town hostel by the city train and metro. Shattered from being up so early in the Philippines, the first day back in Bangkok had me doing very little m with laundry being first on my hit list. Mark was still at the hostel waiting on his bank card to arrive and when he appeared we headed dorm the road to an Irish pub down Si Lom for a late lunch. I resisted a beer, what with it being January might as try be a bit better. Then it was a chilled day of ambling about, ordering a Pizza Hut and a evening walk around Saphan Phut night market which sells a bit of everything before hitting the hay.
The next day, 8th January, was a slow start just hanging at the hostel chatting to randoms and drinking coffee...it's a tough life! Having decided I needed to leave Bangkok and head to Chiang Mai, Mark and I headed over to the train station so I could buy my sleeper train ticket. Glad I did it 3 days in advance as there were only 2 beds left in second class for the 15 hour journey and only 851 bahts (£18). Sorted, I had my next plan in the pipeline. Again it was another lazy afternoon heading over to the MBK Mall in search of a new daypack and trainers. The place is huge and you end up getting disorientated and bored of it, least I did. But the food up on the 6th floor more than made up for it, fresh, cheap and tasty. Back at the hostel I got chatting to my dorm - Ole (Danish), Sagar (Dutch), Andrew and Lise (English) and another two who I forget the names of. I joined them for tea at a little cluster of local street food stalls for noodle soup, the best satay I've had in a while and delicious pork dumplings and over good banter. And all for 90 bahts (less than £2). To keep in line with the cheapness we headed to 7 Eleven for a few bottles of Chang to demolish at the hostel. Having decided that as most of us were up early we all headed to bed and still chatting away at 1am decided that a mass dorm order of McDonalds was required...well why not. Not every day you have a dorm full of cracking people. Finally in bed by 2am not so much fun as I had to be up at 6am.
Sure enough I managed to get up at 6am in time to catch the 7am train out of Bangkok for a day trip to Ayutthaya, an old city from 1350AD and a UNESCO site. The train journey was a bargain at 20bahts (40p) for a two hour journey north. The journey itself was uneventful but a pleasant trip out of town and past the countryside and only arrived at Ayutthaya 30 minutes late. After a bit of navigation using the trusty Maps With Me app (a travellers best friend) I found the main historical site in Phra Ram Park which contained the burnt (by the Burmese in 1767) but still impressive ruins of the historic temples along with the Buddha Head in the tree roots. The temples cover a large area across several sites with the city and the two main areas are only 50baht (£1) entrance fee - National Trust take note! There are certainly enough Wat's here to get your fill of temples and they are scattered across the entire city and to easily kill half a day with. I thought it was well worth the trip and barely cost a thing for a day out. I was back in Bangkok by 5.30pm and spent the evening chilling and chatting away at the hostel.
The next day was Saturday and also my last day in Bangkok. I had planned to head to the Chatuchak weekend market but the rain stalled me for a bit before I eventually dragged myself there in order to buy trainers. The market is great with loads of stalls selling everything you could need and at a decent price and there's always room to barter. The food stalls there are also great and I ate a bunch of poached quail eggs and garlic bread. Managed to get some trainers as well for £9. Mission accomplished. Now to go do nothing but eat a good tasty thai green curry until my train up to Chiang Mai.