Sunday, 2 February 2014

Thailand Travels: Day 6, Boating, Wat Po & the Overnight Sleeper Train

On Sunday morning our group hired a boat and our tour guide Sek took took us along one of Bangkok's famous canals. There were swarms of catfish in the river which we stopped to feed with bread, before we went on to visit two beautiful, but very different temples.

The first was Wat Arun (which means temple of dawn) a temple dedicated to the 2nd reign of Chakkri Dynasty and cost 50 THB to visit. It's a landmark of Thailand located on the West Bank of Chao Phraya River and is made of grey stone engraved with beautiful flowery patterns.

It has very steep, vertigo-inducing steps to climb up which you don't realise are pretty high until you reach the top and start thinking "how the hell do I get down!?

One daring tourist decided to bring a baby up to the top, which was fine until it came to coming down, which was a lot more dangerous. I could barely watch the man and his wife carry the baby over their shoulder as they climbed down the steps gripping the railings!!!

The next place we went to was the temple of Wat Pho, a little more at 100 THB, where the gigantic golden sleeping Buddha resides. Literally as I arrived her the battery in my proper camera ran out which meant my iPhone had to suffice for piccies. Luckily I have the iPhone 5 and it has some great filter options for bringing the best out of your photography. This Buddha is actually amongst my favourites from my travels to date.

For the journey back, we took a public boat taxi which was really cheap, (just 15 TBH). Unfortunately, Ashlia a friend from another tour, who had joined our group for the day, didn't exit the boat in time and managed to miss the stop and get stuck sailing to the next stop!! Luckily Sek realised and sent a message to the driver on a wallow talkie to send her back to us on the return boat!

After the boat ride we walked back to the Bangkok Centre Hotel to pack for our next adventure an overnight ride on a sleeper train! On the walk back there were lots of photography opportunities for some street shots so I kept snapping away and holding up the group!

Later that evening we took a sleeper train from Bangkok station to Chiang Mai to make the 13 hour journey to the north. Before we boarded, we discovered that there's normally a disco carriage that sells alcohol and plays music in the evenings. Excited at the prospect, after dinner I went exploring with Kirsty (who I've been sharing a room with up until today - now we shared a sleeper bunk). It was about 8 carriages away from the one we were sleeping in but it wasn't long before we knew we'd found it! Some of the worst 90s cheese was blasting out of the carriage... Think Vegaboys, YMCA and the Macarena...

The disco carriage had tables and chairs where people could sit and eat dinner, however at this point it was about 8pm and most people had moved onto drinking. The drinking options were a bit limited with just beer or Smirnoff ice but we still managed to put away a good number of both.

Once the alcohol set in the music seemed very entertaining and it wasn't long before we had a carriage with about 40 people doing the Macarena... (the shame!) the Thai's found It very entertaining and started filming our antics on their camera phones. There was a security guard on the train behaving very oddly. He kept taking photos of the palest skin members of the groups as he walked past... Very unnerving but apparently it's quite normal as the Thai's love the pale skin and aspire to be the same.

Unfortunately the disco carriage closes at 11pm so the rest of the passengers can get some sleep, so our party was short-lived!

Tomorrow we will arrive in Chiang Mai and venture out to another temple and Tiger Kingdom. Part of the group is also choosing to go to see the long neck tribe after Tiger Kingdom, but I'm going to pass on this as it's an extra 600 TBH to pay.h

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