We had a day in Bangkok and arriving in the city was like visiting an old friend. It felt familiar and relaxing and was a fitting end to our Thai experience. We had a few bits and pieces we wanted to get and so we spent several hours wandering around the local district of Sukhumvit. It's a nice area that apparently is home to a large expat community, but there were few signs of this. Really, we were just wasting time before our train departed for Laos, a spot of lunch a mooch around the shops.
Thailand has not been at all what we expected. We arrived feeling that Bangkok and Chiang Mai were to be tolerated in order to see the sights, we thought the islands were going to be entirely tranquil and beautiful, we imagined we were going to be bowled over by cuisine. Our reality was almost in stark contrast to our preconceived ideas. We loved Bangkok and Chiang Mai, both places are so different to each other but we felt so relaxed in either. On the islands and beach resorts we found very little Thai culture and the beauty is slowly being buried under the whims of tourists. But maybe that's what makes Thailand so much fun, and it is a great, exciting place to visit, it takes your expectations and suppositions, chews them up and spits them out, often leaving you feeling like you've just stepped out of a washing machine on a fast spin.
We're due to come back to Thailand in a couple of months before heading south to Malaysia, so until then. Laos here we come.