I have been so busy that it feels like I have been here weeks and not days.
The last time I wrote was my first day in Bangkok.
What I learnt from that is that mant temples etc tend to shut around 3 or 4 pm so I went to the ammulet market to have a wonder and check out the different sights and smells of the market. Some of the food veing cooked smelled so inviting, others burnt the back of my throat when walking past, a little to spicy for me to try. The market is by the main river in Bangkok so I decided to go on a little boat trip tour. Myself and about 15 other tourists were loaded into this shallow roaking boat not to dissimilar to a gondola - the difference being in that there was a motor attached the the end of the long oar. It was scary in a humerous way as we sped off down the choppy river the boat roacking and spray coming over the sides (the driver had seated us so that the boat would be even in order I presume that we wouldnt tip). There was not much really to see, the back of a couple of temples, grand bridge and some hungry fish but the main thing I noticed was how one side of the river would be an expencive new looking tower blog and oppisite that would be a little sack made from bits of metal and wood. When I got back to Kho San road I had some food and chatted to a fellow traveller. Unfortunatly she was leaving the next day but we made plans to see the grand palace together in the morning.
So we went together. The grand palace is where the king used to live but doesnt anymore (It is also the picture shown, not mine as this internet would not uplaod photos). It holds the most prescious emerald budda and the funeral room and remains of the late royal famils of Thailand. The sight was impressive and we had hired a guide to be able to know alittle about the palace. You will have to see when I upload the photos! There were many different parts, statues and buildings, but where the emerald budda resides is the most sacred. You have to make sure you are covered up and that your shoes are off to enter the room. The walls were covered top to bottom in hand painted stories of the buddas life and in from was a golden sort of alter with different symbolic figures. At the top was the emerald budda, made from a sinlg epeice of jade. It is not large but very beautiful.
After that I went to Wat Po on my own as sarah had to leave. I did not have a guide this time so I was able to wonder at my own pleasing. I prefered it at Wat Po, it was quiter and not so regimented as the palace had felt. The layout was so that there were little openings and towers and hidden temples all over. Hundreds of golden buddas standing, sitting ang lying were all around. The most famous here being the giant lying golden budda which was awesomely impressive. The detail of the colours and sculptures in every part was beautiful, and amongst the tall and small towers were little exotic water features that made the place have a more serene, organic feel. It was origonally used as a healing temple so there is still a massage centre on slight and a buddist school. They look so at peace walking around this place I felt I could stay there fro days and not realise, and still finding new little temples to sit in. I was there for hours but eventually I went back to Khao San road. There I met another traveller and we had some beers and found a place that did live music.
The next day I had to get up very early and went on the bus to the floating market about an hour away from Bangkok. I sat next to some people I chatted to on the bus who were doing the same thing and we hired a boat to go down the market. It was selling mainly touirt tat but there were some selling fresh fruit and spices. The best part was when we were taken on a boat tip along by where the market traders lived and saw the coconut trees and fruits growing. Next we were taken to this 'museum' about the railway used in WW2 the 'museum' was a dive but the walk around the bridge and the scenery was amazing. Several tall but not wide mountains on one side covered in what looked like jungles. After that we went to the tiger temple, it was raingin hard before we got there and as such a red river of earth and water was flowinf down the park. It was more of a safari park that what I thought and I was not entirely happy how the tigers were used for people to have photographs. They are such beautiful creatures I just hoped the park helped a tiger charity in some way.
I was then taken to the place I would be staying that night. It was a goant river boat, which I had to walk the plank to get aboard. The view down the river and of the mountains behind more than made up for the questionable toilet facilities. So I sepent the night drikning a few beers with some spanish girls and brummie lads who were also staying there.
In the morning I was off early for a bamboo raft down the river, which surprisingly felt more safe than the boat ride in Bangkok. Elephant trekking was next, it is a shame my camera ran out of battry as the handler managed to convince both me and the girl I was with to (on seperate occasions) climb from the seat abover the elephant and sit on his neck. Which was fun, the handlers themselves were mental and so funny winding each other up. I haven't always heard good things about elephant treks but I was pleased to see the elephants seemed happy and the handlers kind. My final activity of the day was to see a small waterfall. It was a place that Thai families picniked and spent the day. The water didnt so much fall as travelled down roaks which the children climbed and jumped from. It was a beautiful place filled with people having a good time.
That evening I got the night train to Chaing Mai, which is where I am now. It was due to get in at 11am I arrived at 5pm a whole 6 hours late! (and I thought it was back in the UK).
Phew! So thats about it. I am off with the elephant conservation trip tomorrow for the week. So I will write then, though I will stay in the same place so I still will not be able to uplaod photos!
Love Love xxx