....Tentatively heading for the sea
Well I've moved south from Bangkok and down to Hua Hin - a stop to break the journey on the way to the islands. I have to say I really liked Bangkok and could have stayed longer - so many people had said "only stay two days, it's mental" but I thought it was fab. Sure, it was busy, congested, polluted, full of tourists, but so is London... and I managed two years there. But then there is the heat, which is kind of oppressive. I think I did well for location with my hotel because I could jump on the river ferry - only a five minute walk away - and this zooms you up and down the city cheaply and quickly, taking in lots of the sights whilst also providing a cooling breeze - bonus! I think getting around can be kind of difficult if you don't have this option though.
Anyway, explored China town, the Khosan area, went to the Grand Palace and impressive Wat Phra Kaew and Wat Pho (temples), got the skytrain to the shopping district, but was too knackered to shop by time I got there....(yes really, me suffering shopping fatigue).
I think what I really liked about the city was the way it had obvioualy been invaded by tourists/travellers and was a thriving modern city but still so Thai - it's really managed to hang on to its culture and there's no mistake you're in the east. My favourite bit of this is the food sellers on the street who are cooking everything you can imagine out there in the scorching sun and all the locals, including people dressed in business clothes, sit on little plastic seats by the side of the road eating their lunch freshly stir fried or grilled in front of them. And I'll add at this point that the food is fab and I am loving it, you cannot go wrong in terms of eatery or order it seems.
By the way, did manage to get my pics onto the site in the end, seems STA were updating their site just as I was attempting to get up and running.... so there is a bit of Bangkok to look at now.
Decided to get the 'government' bus down to Hua Hin rather than the expensive tourist option and it was pretty entertaining. I thought it would be really relaxing just to sit there for four hours after so much sight seeing etc but was quite hairy and being one of only three 'farangs' (foreigners) on the bus I got lots of attention from the conducter. He came to share my ipod at one point, much to the amusement of everyone else. But the really funny thing was how quickly you had to get on and off. For such a laid back country, transport is the anti-Thai and must be where their inner-agro is vented. When the bus gets towards where it will stop the conducter orders you down to the front so you are ready to leap and the people waiting under shelters outside run towards it when they see it coming... all very wierd and I was terrified for about an hour before my stop in anticipation of the big event!
Not so keen on Hua Hin. My accomodation is pretty awful, the landlord assures me it's normal to sleep under a large towel. It's a guest house but no backpackers here, just a couple of of young Germans who are always playing pool. In fact the whole resort is full of Germans, people think I am and say "gutten tag!" Hua hin is supposedly very smart, it's where the people of Bangkok come to holiday, it's also the holiday retreat of the king himself - and they how they adore their king! But I think it's way too resorty, definitely not on the must-see list. The beach is nice but nothing jaw-dropping. There are horses to ride along it but I don't like the way the people who look after them ride them around so I am abstaining on principle (whilst longing for a good gallop through the surf).
Moving onto to Ko Tao tomorrow which will be the first island stop and am expecting stunning beach action - it's the best place for diving and snorkelling so will give it a whirl. Will hopefully drop a line from there... Laters!
Disclaimer: You may notice there are millions of spelling mistakes and missed out / repeated words etc etc in my blog postings, this cannot be helped. I'm aware of it but have neither the time or inclination to rectify it when perched in an internet cafe with the clock ticking. Apols for this.