Our time in Thailand is over! We have crossed over the border to Laos, and have spent the last week here packed full of adventures. I feel like for the time we have had, we have done a pretty good job of travelling to a few of the main towns and cities in the mainland. Looking back at this last month, we have done so much! I’ve realised that I haven’t really talked about what we have done with our time here, so thought I’d share a few thoughts on the places we have seen and my highlights.
We started off with two nights in the bustling capital of Bangkok, which I must say I didn’t really enjoy. It was a little overwhelming as our first look into South East Asia. The constant traffic, the Tuk Tuk drivers hastling you, the massive size of the city, and the intense heat all combined together, two nights was enough! I am sure if we spent more time there, we would get to know the different areas we liked and enjoy it more, but for me it was too busy! I was therefore pretty happy to get on the bus to Pattaya, which is about two hours from Bangkok, to visit some family. It was so nice to relax for a few days, enjoy some sit-down meals and eat lots of cheap ice-cream! Although we had to head back to Bangkok for one night to be able to travel north.
We travelled from Bangkok to Ayutthaya by train, only 15 baht each, which is 35p, for a two hour journey! Although it was slow, hot and busy, I am glad we travelled this way as it was full of locals, and people would walk up and down selling snacks and drinks. We were lucky to get window seats, so we just spent the time looking out the window at the surrounding landscape. The next day we rented bicycles and attempted to cycle to some temples. I wasn’t too excited about the idea to begin with as I am a massive wimp and haven’t ridden a bike in years. I was fine going in a straight line, but if we had to go round a corner I didn’t realise I had to lean with the bike and just ended up losing control a little and stopping. Lucky there wasn’t much traffic! Eventually after some coaching from Jack I was able to go round corners and not crash! Secretly I have been hoping ever since that Jack doesn’t mention hiring bikes again. I enjoyed our time in Ayutthaya, it felt like there was a lot of history and that we were getting to know what Thailand was about.
We then made a detour by bus to Kanchanaburi, and spent two nights there. We had arranged a tour to go to a waterfall, however not realising until we arrived that because of all the rain the day before we wouldn’t be able to swim. This was the main reason we went to Kanchanaburi, but instead of swimming we decided to walk to the top of the waterfall. I was quite enjoying it until all of sudden we had to take off our shoes and walk through parts of the waterfall, even climb over massive slippery boulders. I was not prepared! We didn’t even make it to the top of the waterfall, I applaud anyone that did that day! We also visited Hellfire Pass and the Bridge on the River Kwai, it was interesting to learn the history in this area. However I feel like beyond this tour there wasn’t a whole lot to do.
From Kanchanaburi we travelled by bus to Lopburi, which is full of monkeys wandering the streets. We took a visit to the Monkey Temple and one of them was cheeky enough to climb up Jack and try and steal his hat. They ended up having a tug of war over it, before Jack had to give up as the monkeys friend starting hissing at him. Since then, we tried to give them a wide berth! As per usual we spent our time visiting temples and seeing what the night market had to offer. It is worth stopping off here if you are travelling from Bangkok North to Chiang Mai and want to break up the journey.
We had booked the overnight train to travel to Chiang Mai, and got a decent six hours sleep! Chiang Mai was the city I had been looking forward to the most, and we decided to book seven nights in an Airbnb which I think was definitely needed for all the activities we wanted to do. Even though we are not massive foodies we booked a full day Thai cooking class, which I would highly recommend if you go to Chiang Mai. We cooked seven dishes and learnt about all the ingredients used in Thai cooking, I came back absolutely stuffed! Another highlight was the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary, we spent most of the day feeding them, that is all they seem to do all day! We also got to bathe them in mud and then wash it off after, they all seemed so happy and you could see the different characters of all the elephants. We could easily have spent longer in Chiang Mai, we were sad to leave and I hope we go back someday.
Even though Jack didn’t have much experience on a moped we had hired one to drive to Pai! The journey includes 762 corners, and took about five hours including stops, by the end we were pretty sore and glad to get off! We had three nights booked which for us was the perfect amount. There were a few things to do such as the waterfalls, hot springs and the canyon, but I think most people go for the chilled atmosphere. There are lots of cafes and bars and the hostel we stayed at had a big social scene, but for me it wasn’t anything I’d stick around for. The drive back to Chiang Mai only took four hours, we managed to miss the rain but once we got back it didn’t stop all night.
Luckily we were leaving for Chiang Rai the next day, our last stop before leaving Thailand! We made a visit to the White Temple, and enjoyed the food court whilst watching Thai dancers and musicians. We were both sad to leave Thailand, we had gotten used to how it worked and were leaving to then have to work it all out again in Laos! But we will be coming back in a few months to travel South through the islands, I am so looking forward to a few weeks in paradise!