Well then here we are! after what seemed like an eternity of planning, packing, sorting our affairs and explaining our route to friends we have finally made it to our first destination. Our flight was pretty uneventful and smooth and I slept most of the way here whilst Kate enjoyed the 'On Demand' TV system. We arrived in Bangkok at about 3.30 and made our way to the Hostel in a taxi. From reading various other Blogs over the past few months I think we were both expecting a hair-raising ride in a bashed up old Nissan Sunny. The reality was that the journey in a brand new air conditioned Taxi was frankly a little boring! Oh well, I'm sure that over the next few months there will be enough scary Taxi rides to last us both a lifetime.
The Hostel here, Baan Dinso, is a lovely little place with friendly and welcoming staff. It is immaculately clean and it is a rule that shoes must be removed and hands washed before entering the front door. After dumping our bags off in the room we headed straight out for a wander, and headed to the notorious Koh San Road for dinner. We chose a small roadside restaurant with a sign outside stating 'Very Good Thai Food' …..Where could we go wrong! After we eat we headed home as we were both feeling pretty jaded but excited at the prospect of the next few months. Tomorrow we plan to explore more of Bangkok. We also need to find our next hostel and sort our visas for Vietnam.
Today we spent the day travelling to Siem Reap in Cambodia, but more on that later as we have 2 days in Bangkok to write about.
Our first full day in Bangkok was an interesting one. We left the hostel in the am with the plan of going to the Grand Palace however a Thai man came over to us whilst we were reading our map to advise us that the palace did not open until 1 PM he then drew up a list of lesser well known sights of Bangkok, hailed a tuk-tuk driver, negotiated us a price and sent us on our way. Halfway round the trip the driver took us to a tailor in the city which was supposedly putting on an exhibition of thai materials in a grand building which usually government officials only were allowed in. In reality it was a bog standard tailors which neither of us wanted to see. We now suspect that the kind Thai man was in cahoots with the tailors and probably sent many others on the same route during the day. Adding to our suspicions also was the fact that when we did actually visit the Grand Palace we found out that it had been open all day. We didn't really mind as it only cost us £1 and we saw some fantastic sights.
The next day we left Baan Dinso hostel as they had no rooms available which I (Kate) was disappointed as there rooms and service were great! But I think it was probably best for our budget that we did move on! I think we were spoilt with our first choice of hostel however, ! So we got into a taxi and got dropt off where we thought our new hostel, the New Road Guest House, was. However, after 25 minutes of walking fully loaded with all of our backpacks in the mid 30s degree heat, we realised the taxi driver had not understood us and dropped us on in completely the wrong place….and we were walking in the wrong direction! We got in a taxi and eventually found our hostel, which was basic but ok. After lunch we went to Jim Thomson's House which was really interesting. He was an American who fell in love with Thailand after the Second World War and built a house in the Traditional Thai style in the middle of the city. Alex spent his time moaning about the poor restoration technique and bouncing on the floorboard to check if they were solid, after a few glares from me he stopped so that we could listen to what the guide was telling us.
Finally we went to the night market where again we were tricked by a Tuk-Tuk driver who this time took us to a sea food restaurant near the night market and was not happy when we refused to eat there. This annoyed us as one of the reasons we were going was because of the vast choice of food stalls in the market!
Right, today (Thursday) we got up v early and caught a bus from Bangkok train station to the Thai border with Cambodia at Poipet. The border crossing went smoothly as despite warnings in the guidebook and by the official Thai tourist advisors the Cambodian border officials did not rip us off. On route from Poipet to Saem Reap our bus driver kept stopping, firstly waiting half an hour to pick a friend whilst we were sweltering on the mini bus, and then stopping in a random restaurant to have his dinner in which he obviously had some connection with. He did one final stop when he saw some friend he wanted to say hi to. When we arrived to caught a Tuk-Tuk to our hostel, Happy house hostel, which our first impressions of are very good. We have just taken a walk into town where we saw lots of inviting restaurants, bars and night market and has a very different feel to Bangkok. We both feel that this is the sort of place we came travelling to see and are looking forward to visiting temples of Angkor Wat tomorrow.
Until our next update, ta-ta for now!
Alex and Kate